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

Time Out (Sydney) - - Cheapskates - Claire Fin­neran

Com­mu­nity gar­dens

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.

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