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 67th most expensive city out of the 227 cities surveyed for Mercer's 2022 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 November 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 1,818

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 1,489

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 3,427

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 2,322


Eggs (dozen)

AUD 5.36

Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.95

Rice (1kg)

AUD 3.08

Loaf of white bread

AUD 3.33

Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 12.27

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  

AUD 40

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 13.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.78


AUD 4.75

Bottle of local beer

AUD 10

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

AUD 120


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.25

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 75.26

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

AUD 218


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 1.80

Bus/train fare in the city centre

AUD 4.60

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 2.06

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