Civic & Acton
Civic has something to offer all budgets, and you’ll soon spot the difference between a high-end boutique and a bargain bin. Clothing stores typically hold sales at the end of each season, with the biggest savings on offer at the end of the financial year and in the weeks following Christmas.
You can also bag a very decent deal on groceries if you shop at the Canberra Centre’s discount supermarket, Aldi, where food is often much cheaper than at the bigger stores. While you’re there, pop into Top Bargain opposite Aldi, which sells handy household products like detergent and bathroom items much lower price than the chain supermarkets.
Most places offer cheap meal deals at the beginning of the week so keep an eye out for current offers. Similarly, most bars, pubs and clubs will offer drink specials at certain times of the day which can help keep the cost of your night out down. The Palace Electric Cinema in New Acton also sticks to the bargain theme early in the week, offering cut-price movie tickets on Mondays.
Kingston & Manuka
As a general rule, Kingston and Manuka aren’t the most favoured destinations of the budget conscious. While you do get quality goods and services for your money, expect to pay mid to high-end prices for food and drink.
Having said that, it costs little more than pocket change to enjoy an excellent coffee or caramel cronut so you’ll always be able to afford a small piece of luxury for small change.
If you’re in Kingston, ordering take away from the bakery and having it on the grass in Green Square is a lovely way to enjoy the neighbourhood in summer, and much cheaper than having a sit-down meal.
You should also take note of weekday meal specials offered at most restaurants in both precincts; in particular the half-price mussel deal at Little Brussels Belgium Beer Café on Tuesdays. Also, be on the lookout for the early evening drink specials on offer at most bars and pubs.
Braddon & Dickson
Good food can come cheap in Braddon if you’re happy to visit on weeknights when restaurants offer special deals. Most popular is local pizzeria Debacle’s two-for-one deal on Monday and Tuesdays, where you can happily feast on half-price gourmet pizzas while enjoying the wide range of boutique brews. Civic Pub offers similar daily deals like a ten dollar parmigiana and soft drink deal on Wednesdays and fifteen dollar T-bone steak deal on Thursdays.
Gourmet takeaway is another option for those looking to keep costs down. Mandalay at the northern end of Lonsdale Street on the edge of Haig Park is a must, serving Burmese takeaway cuisine from the back of a seemingly abandoned yellow bus, while the BING BANG street food stall on Lonsdale Street plates up sausages and corn dogs for hungry passers-by.
For some fitness and sightseeing take the trek up to the Mount Ainslie Lookout. Not only will you get some free exercise but you will be rewarded with a stunning view over the whole of Canberra.
Most clothing and homewares stores in Braddon are boutique and come with a mid to high-end price tag. But if you’re dedicated enough to shop the sales or save for something special you’ll be a happy shopper for sure.
Belconnen & Bruce
It’s easy to get out and about for a cheap night in Belconnen and Bruce. Tuesday night is cheap movie night at Hoyts in Westfield Belconnen, with tickets for only $9.50.
Check out The Lighthouse for student deals on Wednesday nights or for Ladies Night on Saturdays. Or for that mid-week movie night or last-minute costume party, Kmart at Westfield Belconnen is open 24/7 for all of your late night movie and party needs.