How Much Money Can You Save in One Day?

By Angela Monroe - October 19, 2021

Save Money Lifestyles Compared h1

Saving money isn’t easy, nor is it too hard. We compare a day in the life of two different people to compare expenses.

Person A – high cost lifestyle
Person B – low cost lifestyle

Check out the results below to see who can save money and how much, it’s pretty surprising!

Firstly, who are they?


The background. We’ll say they both commute to work in their own “average” vehicles.

For our test, both person A and B are also “average” Australians.

The average commuting distance in Australia is 16km one way, or 32km per day. The average rate of fuel consumption across all Australian vehicles is 13.1 litres / 100km.

We’ll also take a look at coffee, food, alcohol and even tobacco use.


Car selection

Taking the average 13.1 litres / 100km of fuel and 32km of daily commuting into consideration, Australians spend around $6.41 on fuel per day.

That’s at an average petrol price of $1.53 per litre, the average for October, 2021 in Australia.

Petrol prices fluctuate in most populated areas in Australia. According to the ACCC, this is due to: Price cycles are the result of deliberate pricing policies of petrol retailers, and are not directly related to changes in wholesale costs.

Of course, filling up on low-price days is the way to save petrol costs.

Fuel costs comparison / day
Person A: $7.34 (bought at high-price time at $1.75 / litre)
Person B: $5.78 (bought at low-price time at $1.38 / litre)

So far, person B is $1.56 better off per day



The average Australian adult drinks two cups of coffee per day. Prices of a cup vary with the type, mocha, flat white, iced latte, for example, the Australian average price of a cup of coffee is $4.13.That means $8.26 on coffee per day if you buy coffee from cafes.

Instant coffee, on the other hand, comes in much cheaper. You’ll get 58 standard cups of coffee out of 100 grams of instant coffee, according to Nescafe.

Although prices vary depending on where you go shopping, the rough price for a 100gm jar of Blend 43 is around $9.50.

That means one cup of instant coffee costs about 16 cents or $0.32 per day for the average person. We won’t factor in water, milk or sugar costs but, if you’re interested, most people add between 150ml – 200ml of milk per cup.

Coffee cost comparison / day
Person A: $8.26
Person B: $0.32

So far, person B is $9.50 better off per day



A food budget can be pretty elastic for most people. Buying produce on special (discount) from supermarkets to eating out at high end restaurants has a huge impact on expenses.

The average weekly grocery bill for Australian households is around $255, however, this figure includes families with children.

One person, (a single person under 35), comes in at $122 per week. Note that these figures cover ‘groceries’, not only food products.

Assuming that $122 covers 3 meals per day for a week, one day of meals comes in at $17.43. This means preparing meals at home and bringing them to work.

Eating out is far more expensive.

Breakfast ranges from around $6 for toast to around $25 for a big breakfast. We’ve already added coffee above, so we’ll pitch breakfast at an average cafe at $12.

Lunch menus again vary considerably. We’re looking at food and one drink (non-alcoholic) and after some scouring online in different capital cities in Australia, we’ve pitched lunch in an average restaurant at around $16.50 – that’s for a meal and a drink.

Dinner is the most expensive meal for most Australians who like to eat out. We’ve found the average cost of a meal WITHOUT a drink to be around $19. That’s taking fast food, suburban restaurants and urban eateries into account.

Meal cost comparison / day
Person A:$47.50
Person B: $17.43

So far, person B is $57 better off per day



It might be hard to believe (for some people), but the average person aged 18-35 spends only $22 on alcohol per week. The highest is families of four with the youngest kid over 15 years of age. This demographic comes in at $47 per week on alcohol per household.

The average Australian household spends around $36.40 on alcohol per week. Of course, not drinking at all is the most cost efficient way to go but for our example, person B is on the low end of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol cost comparison / day
Person A:$6.71
Person B: $3.14

So far, person B is $60.57 better off per day



Smoking is, from all points of view, hugely expensive. The cost on a person’s health is, as we all know, astronomical. So is the cost on one’s wallet.

According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), smokers aged 18 and over smoke an average of 12.9 cigarettes per day.

According to data, the average 20-pack of cigarettes costs around $35 in Australia. This means $1.75 per cigarette or $22.57 per day for the average smoker.

Smoking cost comparison / day
Person A:$22.57
Person B: $0.00

So far, person B is $83.14 better off per day

That’s $581.98 per week, or $30,262.96 per year.

Most people don’t live so extravagantly

Fortunately, most people don’t buy petrol at the most expensive times of cycles or eat out each meal, for example.

Even more fortunately are decreasing smoking rates. In 2016, 15.6% of Australian adults regularly smoked tobacco, that figure dropped to 11.6% in 2019 – nearly one in ten. In the early 1980s, around 35% of Australians smoked.

Take a leaf out of the data above and apply some of the ways to save money to your life.


  • Budget Direct
  • Petrol Spy
  • ACCC
  • Energy Consumers Australia
Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.


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