How To Enjoy Melbourne On A Budget

© Alpha/Flickr
© Alpha/Flickr
Photo of Kathryn Lewis
30 September 2016

Calling all students, backpackers and cheapskates. Australia’s most livable city may be known for its overpriced coffee and decadent food, but amidst the high-priced goodies are some gems perfect for anyone on a budget. From where to eat to where to head for a good night out, we explore Melbourne for misers.

© Taki Lau/Flickr

Eating Cheap

Lentil as Anything

An affordable meal is quite easy to find if you know the right places to look. For those residing in the chilled out suburb of St Kilda (and Abbotsford), Lentil as Anything is perfect to get a good feed and help the community with their ‘pay as you feel’ mantra, meaning you pay what you think the meal is worth. The funds go back into the community because the guys at Lentil provide training, counselling services and visa sponsorship among heaps of other good stuff.

© Alpha/Flickr

Jimmy Grants

George Calombaris’ new restaurant chain, Jimmy Grants, boasts the best chips going around, covered in oregano and feta and delicious souvas all for around $16. Stores can be found all across Melbourne from the CBD to Fitzroy and even out in Ormond.


Sometimes nothing can beat a classic cheeseburger, and when Huxtaburger has one on offer for under $10, how could you resist? There are plenty of options for everyone with chicken burgers and kids sizes available too. This little gem can be found on Smith St north of the city, in the CBD and on Chapel St for all the south-siders, as well as a few other locations.

Burger and Fries | Courtesy of Huxtaburger

Oasis Bakery

Oasis Bakery, situated in the heart of south-side suburbia, is a trove of amazing Lebanese cuisine, from bread to falafel and hummus. You can score a drink, chips and a wrap or plate of goodness of your choice for under $7. Oasis is opening a new store in Mornington, so everyone out on the peninsula will soon be able to enjoy the cheap goodies Oasis has to offer.

The Happiest of Hours

Hoo Haa Bar

Hoo Haa Bar on Chapel St has two-for-one cocktails Wednesday to Sunday nights as well as $5 beer, wine and house spirits. This trendy restaurant, bar and beer garden is a Chapel Street staple for after-work drinks or to start a big night.

Spirituosen bilden die „Basis“ der meisten Cocktails. | © Stefan Giesbert/wikicommons

Asian Beer Café

Just about everyone who has ever had no money in Melbourne has started a night at Asian Beer Café in Melbourne Central. Celebrating eight years, ABC is a student staple. Its CBD location makes it easy for everyone to get to, and happy hour from four till eight every night means $7 cocktails, $6 spirits and $10 jugs. The atmosphere is always vibrant, and the eclectic Asian décor mixes perfectly with the diverse crowd.

Big Mouth

St Kilda’s nightlife is always pumping but not always the cheapest; Big Mouth on Acland Street is the number one spot to hit on a weeknight. There is Tuesday night trivia, $10 cocktails on Wednesday and make Thursdays a big one with happy hour running from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Plus, there is a dance floor, so once you’ve had a few cheap drinks, everyone can get down to the good tunes.

Beer Samples | © Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Shaw Davey Slum

For all those north-siders, Shaw Davey Slum has $8 cocktails and $10 jugs every day. This Melbourne University favorite is perfect for any student in the area, with concession specials daily and parties for stressed out students post-exams and long weekends.

Keeping Busy

The Corner Hotel

Music lovers flock to The Corner Hotel in Richmond for its perfect location and cheap live music. Just a couple of minutes walk away from Richmond Station – the Corner always has great live acts from local names like Japanese Wallpaper to international acts such as George Maple. Tickets range in prices but can be as cheap as $20. With a huge range of genres and demographics covered, the Corner will have something for you.

Astor Theatre

Sometimes you need to stop watching Netflix and get out of the house; the Astor Theatre has your movie desires covered with their famous double features at just $15.50 for concession. Most nights will include some throwbacks from Alfred Hitchcock classics to Mean Girls. The Astor is an icon in Melbourne and a must-visit for anyone wanting to head to the pictures for half the price.

1000 Steps

1000 Steps (aka the Kokoda Memorial Track) in the Dandenong Ranges is one of many outdoor adventures awaiting the Melbourne cheapskate. This is an absolute must for anyone who’s ever been to or lived in Victoria. The walk is steep and around an hour and a half return but worth it for a fun and cheap day out. Of course, Victoria also has heaps of beaches and parks on offer that are not only beautiful and a great way to get a tan but also 100 per cent cost-free.

© Ricardo’s Photography/Flickr

It would be a sin to be in Melbourne for more than five minutes and not head to the MCG for a footy match. Student tickets are only $17 and are a great way to start the night or have a chilled afternoon.

Let’s keep the Melbourne icons theme rolling as we throw out the number one attraction for any miser/hipster hitting Melbourne: the famous alleyways filled with intoxicating street art. Scattered across the CBD, Melbourne’s graffiti scene is an ideal addition to a day of exploring.

© Alpha/Flickr

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