8 ways to save money while living in Sydney
It’s hard out there in the big smoke. Rents are rising, and apparently putting all of your groceries through self-serve checkouts as ‘potatoes’ is stealing. Here are some legal and semi-honest ways to survive. By
You can grow your own fruit and veg rather than buying it. Who knew? Have a thorough look on your local garden’s Facebook or the council website to see if a plot is available, or chat to someone who’s actually digging around in there. Friendliness is key, especially if you want to trade fresh loot with your neighbours.
PIF communities and online swap groups
Buying brand new things in Sydney on top of your regular cash-quicksand expenses can be almost impossible, so why not try to get the stuff you want and need in exchange for stuff you no longer care for? Facebook is a goldmine of trading communities so have a search for local PIF (pay it forward) groups or hit up the trading backwaters of Gumtree.
Costco cash card
The bulk food metropolis is pretty staunchly members only, however, there is one significant loophole to unlocking the beauty of huge quantity purchases without having to fork out the joiners fee: Costco cash cards. But if a member buys a gift card on your behalf you can use that card to get, say, a kilogram of Cheezels, and no one will bat an eyelid. You can also use a combo of cash card and cash if the purchase goes over the card’s quantity, so just like a healthy casual relationship you can basically reap benefits without commitment.
Eat other people’s leftovers
That pile of abandoned, rapidly cooling fries from the table next to you at the pub is about to go in the bin. Close your eyes and visualise those salty potato treats slowly decaying in landfill somewhere, surrounded by billions of other wasted chippies in plastic bags. Open your eyes, do your duty and eat them before you have time to think about boring things like germs and judgemental glares.
Department store makeovers
Got an event coming up that requires a duffel bag’s worth of product on your face? Or just want to treat yourself to less eyebrow or more eyelash? Both David Jones and Myer have expansive options in their gladiatorial beauty arenas. You can often get yourself Spakfilla’d as a complimentary side to a small purchase or get the whole ‘rendered feature wall’ with one of their makeovers that include all the products. Spritz yourself with your fave perfume/cologne on the way out.
Befriend someone in a bakery
Because capitalism trains us to desire ‘fresh’, bakeries have to make bread every bloody day and are forced to throw out the day’s leftovers. Ideally, they donate spare loaves to OzHarvest or another charity, but some do just chuck them in the bin. If you are a friendly person, absolutely go guns blazing with your charming customer chat until you are best friends with the entire bakery and they will definitely fling you a cob once in awhile. If you aren’t very social, linger in the bakery around closing time looking quietly sad until someone gives you a sourdough to make you leave. (I have worked in a bakery and plied both of these kinds with the goods.)
Attend art openings
It’s true. Art openings have free or insanely cheap wine and beer. This is because they want you to get sauced enough to buy the art. And you will buy art eventually, once you’ve saved heaps of money on booze over several years. Get yourself on a gallery mailing list or follow them on social media to find out when the openings are. Just avoid ostentatious displays of “I am only here for the drinks” by, say, wearing sunglasses inside or spending too much time looking at the framing from awkward angles.
Shadow a student
Like backpack-encrusted beacons of frugality, Sydney’s uni students know how to save a buck. It helps if you know one, but a little ‘stalking lite’ won’t go astray. Watch where they go to eat, drink and entertain themselves. Obviously their concession cards help, but you can still find out a lot from their lifestyle. Also while you’re hiding in the bushes of the campus, sneak into the library to watch DVDs or join a trivia team at the uni bar and win some beer.