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Cost of Living

Cost of living in Melbourne

To help you understand how much it might cost you (and your family) to live in Melbourne, check these price summaries from the Mercer Cost of Living Report:

The Mercer Cost of Living Report compares the living costs in the world’s biggest cities for more than 200 items including food, clothing, household goods, health and personal care, transport and entertainment.

All the prices displayed are the median price reported for Melbourne and recorded in March 2014. At that time, one US dollar (USD$1.00) was worth $1.18 Australian dollars (A$1.11725). To find out the current exchange rate, visit

The cost of living in Melbourne is generally higher than the cost of living in Victoria's regional areas.

Expenses to consider

When estimating your cost of living, consider these expenses at least:


  • Rent or mortgage costs
  • Food and groceries
  • Expenses involved in owning your own home – such as home and contents insurance, council rates and water rates
  • Utilities such as electricity, gas and water
  • Telecommunications, including telephone, mobile phone and internet access costs
  • Furniture and appliances.


  • The cost of buying, registering, servicing and running a vehicle
  • Car insurance
  • Public transport costs.


  • Clothing and shoes
  • Personal care and cosmetics
  • Medical costs and health insurance.


  • Childcare
  • Education costs including school fees, books, uniforms, camps, excursions.


  • Debt expenses including repayments on personal loans, car loans, credit cards
  • Savings including superannuation contributions and regular investments
  • Pet food, maintenance and veterinary costs (if you have pets)
  • Take-away food and restaurants
  • Sports and hobbies
  • Entertainment including films, theatre, newspapers, magazines, books and music
  • Holidays
  • Gifts
  • Donations to charity.

Shopping in Victoria

There are a variety of shopping environments across Victoria:

Shopping centres

Shopping centres have hundreds of stores, including large department stores and supermarkets, retail chain outlets and smaller specialty stores, usually under one roof.

Discount centres

‘Discount’ centres such as Direct Factory Outlets (DFOs) and Brandsmart where large retail chains offer major discounts on sample, second and out-of-season stock.

Shopping strips

Shopping strips (high streets), are retail precincts with shops on both sides of the street.


There are many local markets. The most famous market is the Queen Victoria Market, which has stalls selling everything from clothing to fresh fruit and vegetables, in an open-air or semi-covered environment.

Trading hours

General shopping hours on weekdays are from 9.00am to 5.30pm. Many shops open for extended hours on Thursday and Friday – usually until 8.00pm or 9.00pm. Most stores are open on the weekend and many supermarkets, fast-food stores and petrol stations are open 24 hours.

Shopping tips

  • Bartering and haggling over prices isn’t very common in Australian stores, except on expensive items like household appliances and vehicles, or when buying in large quantities.
  • In general, refund and/or exchanges are accepted on faulty products, as long as you provide your receipt of purchase.

For information about your rights and responsibilities regarding shopping, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.