Australia’s leading international student news website

How to spend just $50 and still have a great day in Melbourne

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Thu Aug 04 2016


HOW much do you spend on eating out, hanging with friends and entertainment on the weekend? Do you think $50 dollars is enough to spend on one day in Melbourne? Trinity College Foundation Students Johnson, Vivian and Quinn carry out the experiment!


Australia’s cost of living is quite high and spending a day out in Melbourne without breaking the bank can be quite challenging.

We wanted to know if it was possible to have an enjoyable day out by spending no more than $50. To conduct this experiment, we documented a single day in the life of one of our group members to see if it was achievable to live on $50 in a single day and make it matter or feel meaningful.

Morning exercise 

Waking up at 9.00am, the first activity in the day for her was to get some exercise which, thankfully, doesn’t have to cost you anything. Going for a run, she didn’t have to worry about spending money at the gym and still got the workout she wanted. Some places we recommend to go for a jog in the morning include Royal Park, a great place to get some fresh air and go for a jog in the city and the Tan Track, a jogging route that goes through and around King’s Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Groceries and brunch

After exercise, comes grocery shopping for dinner later that night. A true test of our budgeting experiment, we knew there was an abundance of supermarkets here in Melbourne but which one was the most economical? Although prices vary for different goods in different supermarkets, we did a general comparison using chicken wings and found that Queen Victoria Market had the cheapest chicken wings at only $3 – $4 dollars, while ALDI came in second at $5 dollars.

Once she determined what was needed for dinner, it was time to take a bath and prepare for brunch. To be a true Melburnian is to have brunch and for a cheap fix we recommend Don Don. Located near Melbourne Central, they serve delicious rice boxes and noodles at affordable prices.

Afternoon entertainment

To enjoy the afternoon, students can do one of several things including visiting markets such as the Camberwell Market, Rose Street Artists Market and the summer-time only Night Market at Queen Victoria Market which specialises in hawker-style food and live music.

You can also enjoy Melbourne’s artistic side by walking around exploring which can cost nothing! Buskers are all around town so they’ll have your night’s entertainment sorted. Some galleries are free, depending on the exhibition, with locales such as the National Gallery of Victoria boasting exhibits with free-to-view artworks.

Alternatively, seeing a film at the cinema is a reliable past-time. Sure the tickets are little expensive but go on cheap Tuesdays and you won’t have a problem. Otherwise, there are ways to get cheap, discounted tickets too — some mobile providers have a rewards system which includes discounted movie tickets.

For more entertaining activities around Melbourne that you can do for free, visit Lonely Planet’s guide on the 20 free things you can do in Melbourne.


Once dinner time rolled around, our group member used the things she bought earlier in the day to cook up a meal for herself. While it is easy to eat out, it’s cheaper to eat in and cook for yourself. To make your meal more meaningful, invite some friends over for a potluck dinner. The more the merrier!

So by day’s end, we evaluated the budget and noted that it was indeed possible to have a good day out in Melbourne for only $50 dollars. The breakdown of our expenditure is as follows: brunch $13.50, groceries $10.00, afternoon activities only $5 while watching a movie cost $21.50.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via