Melbourne may be the second most expensive city in Australia after Sydney, but for expats who need to stick to a budget and a low cost of living, there are plenty of ways to save money in the city, particularly when it comes to life’s 'non-essentials'. 

Melbourne is ranked as the world's 59th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed for Mercer's 2021 Cost of Living Survey. Though ranked below Sydney, it's more expensive than Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

Cost of accommodation in Melbourne

The biggest outlay for expats in Melbourne will be the cost of accommodation. Rental prices near the city centre can be particularly high. As with most cities, the further outside of the city one lives, the more money one can save – but there are nonetheless some hotspots with high prices even an hour or more outside of Melbourne's main centre of activity. 

Cost of public transport in Melbourne

To get around, most people in Melbourne find public transport to be the cheapest and most convenient option. To avoid traffic jams, high parking fees and fluctuating fuel prices, it’s not uncommon for city-dwelling expats to avoid owning a car altogether. 

Cost of food in Melbourne

While it's home to a plethora of fine-dining restaurants, Melbourne also has an assortment of great places to eat out without breaking the bank. In the city centre and the suburbs, diners will find restaurants where they can eat fantastic food for little more than the cost of a fast-food meal. Locals are proud of the city's 'cheap eats' and will probably be more than happy to provide recommendations.

Grocery prices in Melbourne are largely in line with Australia’s average pricing. For expats who want great fresh produce, a lively atmosphere and lower prices, visiting the markets will be the best option. Fresh food markets can be found in the city centre and suburbs all around Melbourne, and it's usually well worth taking the time to explore these bustling food centres.

Cost of living in Melbourne chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for March 2022

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 1,600

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 1,400

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 3,200

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 2,200


Eggs (dozen)

AUD 4.75

Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.60

Rice (1kg)

AUD 2.70

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 11.30

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  

AUD 40

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 12

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.20


AUD 4.40

Bottle of local beer

AUD 10

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

AUD 100


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 70

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

AUD 200


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 1.60

Bus/train fare in the city centre

AUD 4.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 1.60