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Your Shopping Advisor

The article is written by Rebecca Todesco

We all know what our go-to stores are when we need something. When we’re at home, it’s easy. But if you’re moving all the way to the other side of the world then there’s a good chance the stores you know and love aren’t going to be making the journey with you.

It can be very overwhelming finding yourself in a new country. All you want to do is settle in, buy your groceries, set up your room and make sure you have everything you need. But you don’t know where to go to find anything!

Sometimes your host university will help you and organise trips to take you to these shops in your first few days. But for those of you who are on your own, here are some suggestions to help you find your way in your first few weeks (some of these stores might vary from state to state but these are based on Victoria).



The two companies that monopolise the Australian grocery market are Woolworths (Woolies) and Coles. Both stores have a great range of fresh produce and store items as well as bakeries and delis for all your culinary needs. Each of the chains offers heaps of cooking tips and recipes as well as their own home brand to help you save extra money.

If you’re happy to shop away from the name brands then ALDI is a great way to save your money. Although a little bit harder to find than Coles or Woolworths, the German supermarket chain is perfect for students on a budget. In addition to the food sections, I highly recommend browsing the shelves in the middle of the store: you can find seasonal goodies like ski gear and thermals in winter and appliances and outdoor gear in summer.



The best place to get your hands on some budget threads are at your local thrift stores. Keep an eye out for any Salvation Army or Red Cross stores in your area to nab a fantastic deal without burning through your cash.

If the second hand life is not for, you’re not completely out of options!

You can find all your basic clothes for a reasonable price just by heading into Target or Kmart. You might not be winning any fashion awards with these clothes but more often than not they’re sturdy, cheap and will last you until you’re through with them.

Got a hot date and need some fancier clothes in a hurry? You can find something cute and reasonably priced at a few different stores but my personal favourites are Temt or Valleygirl. You can find these at almost all major shopping centres (at least in Victoria).

Room setup:
Setting up your room on exchange is the first chance a lot of us get to be an interior designer and it can be really easy to go overboard. My advice: go to Kmart!

Kmart is the topic of many memes on Facebook: you go in for one item and end up leaving with a full trolley.

Kmart has plenty of the things you need to turn your room into a home for your stay. You can get enough pillows and blankets to accommodate all your friends. You can decorate with rugs and pillows and fake plants. In addition to this, Kmart’s culinary section will help you unlock your inner Masterchef and conquer the kitchen.

If you’ve got a bit more money to play with then you can’t beat a trip to Ikea. Get your friends together and head down to the Swedish powerhouse for easy-to-assemble furniture. Unfortunately, despite being the largest furniture retailer in the world, Ikea stores in Australia are few and far.



You can try as hard as you can to avoid it but sometimes you can’t help getting sick. If you’re after some over the counter medication, then there are a few pharmacy chains that will fill your needs. These chains include Chemist Warehouse, Amcal and Priceline. Each of these options also sells a variety of other products, including skincare, haircare, makeup and vitamins.

The cheapest of these chains is Chemist Warehouse, with several hundred stores around Australia.

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