I need a crash course in finding good prices in Melbourne.
April 27, 2009 8:26 PM   Subscribe

What shops should I go to in Melbourne, Australia, to buy inexpensive necessities (clothes, shoes, groceries, linens, electronics)?

I'm in Melbourne and I need to find the cheap places to go shopping. I'll only need these goods for six months to a year and then I'll be giving them away or tossing them out, so price definitely wins out over long term quality.

The things I will need to buy are women's clothes (shops I often use in UK: H&M, Primark; in US: Target, Marshalls, Forever21), shoes, coats, groceries, toiletries, housewares, basic electronics (burnable dvd's, usb headset, etc.), or anything else you would normally shop for during the course of a year

I have this down to somewhat of a science in the US, where I know more or less where to look - and where to avoid - for the best deals on these basic categories of goods. But I know almost nothing about Australian stores and where, for example, it will be cheapest to buy deodorant. I went into a Target in the CBD yesterday, and it looks about the same as a Target in the US, with cheaper clothes and dishes and such, so that's a start. Where else should I be looking? Any Melbourne specific details, such as which Salvation Army location is best for kitchenware vs. best for clothing, or which specific shopping centers I should look at/avoid are much appreciated.

If you're a very price conscious shopper, please share your expertise or favorite web resources with me!
posted by mosessis to Shopping (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Target in Australia is only linked to the American one by name, so the stock will likely be very different.

For electronics, I would look at JB HiFi or Dick Smith (avoid Harvey Norman as they are normally more expensive).

Big W (a WalMart clone) might be helpful too for cheap cosmetics and stuff, but Priceline Pharmacies might be more useful.

I am a 30 year old male, so I can't really help with the clothing stuff.
posted by threeze at 9:01 PM on April 27, 2009

For electronics, avoid Dick Smith like the plague. JB are generally pretty good. For chemist-y things, there's a big Chemist Warehouse discount place in Footscray which is really cheap.

Also, Melbourne's pretty big. Where are you?
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on April 27, 2009

Clothes: try the outlet places on Smith St Collingwood.
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: Also, Melbourne's pretty big. Where are you

I'm currently in Essendon, but I'll be moving more towards city centre in the next couple of weeks and working in the CBD. However, I have access to a car and frequently use the public transit and will absolutely travel to find a shop that's cheap, so anywhere in the Melbourne city area is fine.
posted by mosessis at 9:19 PM on April 27, 2009

Big W, Kmart & Target are good for basics: underwear, long sleeve t shirts, trackies. I find the fit not quite right on their pants/skirts/tops, but it might be worth a try if you need work wear.

Try Savers for clothes too. I know people who visit weekly, because you can pick up a designer bargain.

Try Aldi for budget groceries. Or the Victoria/Footscray/South Melbourne markets for fresh food.

You'll find Coles, Safeway/Woolworths/ Priceline always have sales on shampoo/conditioner/deodorant. It just depends on the week.

http://www.lasoo.com.au/portal/ may help you out with Catalogues to view online
posted by WayOutWest at 9:23 PM on April 27, 2009

Welcome to Melbourne! Feel free to mail me if you need any more Melbourne help.

Women's clothes - Target are not bad these days. If you are ok with secondhand, you might like to look at Savers (closest store to the city is Brunswick). Should be able to get a good coat for less than $10. Often good for shoes too. I find the Greensborough one less picked over for shoes etc - it is out of the city, but on the train line. Target shoes are ok, but not ones with heels (they will last less than a week before breaking, believe me). Otherwise, one of the Direct Factory Outlets could be worth a look - there is one at Essendon airport. Just realise that it is completely insane there on the weekend! I would look for shoes there. Also a few shops that do good prices on good brands of women's underwear there too.

Personal hygiene / medical - Chemist Warehouse, which is in more places than just Footscray now. Cheap for things like shampoo and deodorant, as well as medical and prescription items.

Groceries - Aldi is the cheapest. Not sure where you are, but they even have a store in the middle of the city. Some organics too, if you like that sort of thing. Cheap alcohol also, though otherwise try Dan Murphy. Aldi often have cheap electronics and homewares also. There is not much competition in grocery prices here, so if not Aldi, you are usually stuck with Coles or Safeway/Woolworths which are much the same (though vary by area). You can probably pay similar prices to Aldi if you only buy their housebrands.

Otherwise, people will probably say that the markets in Melbourne are cheapest for fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, especially around closing time. Queen Vic market in the city, South Melbourne market just outside, Footscray to the west, Preston market in the north, Prahan market also.

Homewares - recommend Target. Also Savers above. Ikea is in Richmond, usual cheap homewares, good cheap 100% cotton sheets. Also nearby in Victoria St are lots of Asian shops with cheap bowls etc.

I'll be back if I think of some more useful info.
posted by AnnaRat at 9:27 PM on April 27, 2009

Prices in the CBD are higher than prices outside. Even supermarkets adjust their prices according to the local income level: poor areas tend to have lower prices than wealthy ones.

If you can do your fruit and vegetable shopping at the Queen Victoria market do so. Prices are generally lower; quality is better; and if you turn up just before closing time you can usually get even better prices. The fruit and vegetable markets are open Tuesday and Thursday from around 6 AM to 1-2 PM; Friday from 6AM to 5 PM.

For furniture, there's Ebay if you have a car. People hardly ever seem to want secondhand furniture unless it's antique. Except bookshelves, for some reason. Oh, and there's Ikea, of course - once again, if you have a car.

Good luck!
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:43 PM on April 27, 2009

Savers in Sydney Rd for everything except socks and undies (ew)

Didtto JB for electronics. They also bargain heaps so hassle the store clerk and you can do well. Chemist Warehouse are in a few places now, Box Hill, Brunswick, Camberwell (probably Essendon) (and they are heaps cheaper)

And Ditto Aldi - also a good trick is to find a large coles and a large safeway sharing the same shopping center- on Saturdays they complete for fruit and veges (even cheaper if they are sharing a fresh food market like box hill or Oakleigh). Wait until after 1pm to buy meat from safeway on Saturdays, they mark it down. DFO for clothes (not DFO in the city)
posted by mattoxic at 10:08 PM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: This gives me a great start. I will definitely go check out an Aldi, Chemist Warehouse, and Savers this week. Thanks to everyone for the help!

Welcome to Melbourne!
Thank you! I'm very excited to be here.
posted by mosessis at 4:10 AM on April 28, 2009

Mosessis, you're in Melbourne?! I think a meet up is on order. To stay on topic, I suggest Pompomtom knows about where to get beer.

Nthing what everyone else suggests above. Do stay away from Dick Smith, they are well overpriced for everything EXCEPT for disposable batteries. (40 AAs for $25, which keep my Wii Motes & cordless mouse happy). JB HiFi for blank DVDs/CDs. CPL & MSY for computer parts & electronic gadgetry (see the Green Guide in each Thursday's Age Newspaper for price lists).
posted by goshling at 7:29 AM on April 28, 2009

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