Australia is known for being an expensive place to live, and rightly so. Even with the exchange rate, I found that the prices in Perth were considerably higher than the prices in the US.
There are luckily, however, some easy ways to save money during your time abroad in Perth! Here are my top six recommendations:
1. Bring Some of Your Favorite Toiletries From Home
While abroad, I found that toiletries/makeup in particular were very expensive. For example, CoverGirl mascara was around $22 in Perth, while the same brand goes for about $7 in the US. If you have some extra room in your suitcase, I highly recommend bringing an extra of your favorite product(s) to help save you money later down the road!
2. Register Your TransPerth Card Correctly
As soon as you arrive in Perth, you’ll want to buy a TransPerth card. This will allow you to use the local public transportation system and “tag on/off” all the busses, trains, and ferries to get around. You can conveniently purchase your TransPerth card right at the Guild at Murdoch University, but don’t forget to register your card as a full time student! Instead of paying the standard fare, you will get a huge discount each time you use your card (which, trust me, will be a lot!).
3. Take Advantage of the “Treasure Chest”
The Murdoch University Village has a great room that they refer to as the “Treasure Chest.” If you want to save money on basic household items, the Treasure Chest contains a huge selection left from former study abroad students. My friend and I bought several pots, pans, and bowls from the Treasure Chest, and were only charged $5 for everything! Make sure to look there first before heading to the store and paying full price on items you will only be able to use for a few months!
4. Avoid Paying Full Price for Textbooks
To avoid paying full price at the campus bookstore, I would recommend checking out a couple of other options. Go to the Guild’s secondhand bookstore located right on campus (and now online!) to see if they have any discounted books you may need. There is also a Facebook group that is specifically for Murdoch students to join where you can view a list of postings from other students selling their books. One of my friends was able to score a book for $25 when the same book was being sold in the campus bookstore for $110! What’s also great is that at the end of the semester you can sell your own books in the group as well, and make some extra money before heading back home.
5. Budget for Unexpected Living Costs
While all of your major housing costs are included with AIFS, there are a few minor things you will have to pay for yourself. At my home college, WiFi and laundry were included in the overall cost, but at Murdoch this was not the case. I ended up paying an additional $50 a month for WiFi, and each load of laundry would cost me another $6. To save some money with laundry you can purchase a drying rack, which will save you $3 per load (every little bit helps!). And if you want to avoid paying for WiFi, you can always go to the library and use the free WiFi there, as well.
6. Travel with a Group of Friends
While abroad, you should definitely travel and see as much as you can! Traveling in Australia, however, can be expensive, so one of the best ways to save money is to travel with friends. Not only is traveling with friends more fun anyway, but you can split the large costs of a rental car or housing with a group of people. By doing this, you’ll end up paying way less than if you went by yourself or with one other person.
This post was contributed by Isabel Hansen, a former Alumni Ambassador who spent a semester studying abroad with AIFS in Perth, Australia.