Backpacker travelling around Australia reveals budget eating hacks

With the cost of living crisis looming over our heads, many have found it more and more difficult just to feed ourselves each week.

While most individuals in Australia have a weekly grocery bill of $104, this thrifty traveller has managed to keep her food costs to around $21 a week – a staggering $83 below the national average.

Dominique Nutall left her Manchester, UK, home behind back in 2018 on what was meant to be a year-long Australian adventure.

But four years later, the British traveller is still here after falling in love with the country – and has now packed up her life to explore the country in a van with her Australian boyfriend, Jesse.

Dominique is now gaining followers on TikTok after sharing how she keeps her grocery bills incredibly cheap while on the road – with some meals costing less than 80 cents.

She said the pair’s weekly grocery bill is always less than $50, and the pair can usually eat for around $3.30 per head, per day.

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“How often we go shopping for groceries totally depends on what our plans are,” Dominique told

“For example, if we go out camping out in the bush for a week, we will only go food shopping once that week.

“Each shop is usually less than $50, and that’s including personal items like loo roll and toothpaste.

“In our average weekly food shop we buy cheap staples like bread, milk, tinned tomatoes, beans, wraps, eggs, lentils, coconut milk and pasta.

“We also stock up on fresh produce such as potatoes, carrots, onions and apples.

“We make all meals in our van, unless it is a very special occasion. We have a 2 burner gas hob and a box full of cooking utensils.”

Dominique is currently sharing a 5-part TikTok series of how to eat cheaply on the road – with some meals costing just 80 cents.

Some of her cheapest meals include French onion potatoes, pesto pasta, lentil dahl, fried rice and chicken wraps.

“One of my top tips for someone wanting to eat on a budget is to always buy items on special, and to always check which brand is cheapest.” she said.

“Cutting out meat, or at least reducing the amount you eat, will save you a lot of money. Plant-based protein such as lentils or beans are cheap and filling.

“You need to learn the ‘reduction time’ of your local supermarket, for example we always knew the time of when our local shop is marking things down.

“If you have the capacity, I’d recommend buying frozen vegetables, they’re much cheaper than fresh.

“Self-discipline is really important, it can be hard at first not eating out at restaurant or not buying coffee out, but it will save you so much in the long run.”

Dominique said she has no current plans to return to the UK, and wants to make her Australia adventure last as long as she can – all while saving some cash.

“I love Australia, it feels like home to me” she said.

“I came out here at 18 years old in 2018, and was only meant to stay a year, but have kept extending.

“I met my Australian partner a couple of years ago on the East Coast, and we decided to buy a van together and begin travelling.

“Of course, we haven’t been able to travel non-stop, we take breaks to full up our bank accounts. We stop into towns to complete stints of work for a few months at a time.

“Then we hit the road again to start a new adventure.

“To budget the money for our trip we both got super into saving, we saved for a good six months before heading on our travels.

“It is cheaper than people think, living in a van you don’t pay any bills or rent like you do in a house. I’d really recommend it for anyone thinking about doing it.”


Coffee 30c each = 60c

Toast & Vegemite 30c each = 60c

Chicken Wrap $1.72 each = $3.44

Lentil Dahl for dinner $1 each = $2

Average price each day for two = $6.64.

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