There’s two things I’m good at: saving money and spending money.
Ever since I started making my own income at fourteen teaching toddlers how to do front rolls at a gymnastics club, money has been my best friend. There’s nothing more satisfactory than a hards days work resulting in a good chunk of cash to put towards something special. Unfortunately, there’s also nothing as thrilling as buying a new outfit, phone app, book or good meal out.
Money comes and goes, but in Sydney I’ve learnt that it goes away much quicker than it comes by. Thankfully, I’ve finally mastered the ways of living: thrift stores and markets (thank you Macklemore for making this so obvious to the rest of the pop-culture world).
Sydney is full of fantabulous markets. I’ve had my eye on a bunch since I’ve moved here, and in good form had the opportunity to tackle them all in one glorious weekend (thanks to B and the Benz for getting me around).
I was on the hunt for a few things: souvenir ideas to ship home, birthday presents for family and friends and a few selfish treasures to add to my wardrobe and pantry. The search ended in much success.
Market Hop #1: Glebe (Saturday)
A short walk away from Central Station is Glebe, home to a trendy neighbourhood full of cafes, hipsters and second-hand goods. I had high-hopes for Glebe as everyone I spoke with raved about it. It sure didn’t dissapoint!
Knowing I had at least three other markets to visit, I was tame with my spending and held back as much as I could. Down the aisles you found: cheap new and re-loved clothing, unique jewellery in every material possible, books that were loved by many beforehand, records, CDs and plenty of other knick-nacks. I walked away with a simple summer black dress ($10) and fishman pants ($15), which are the urban yoga pant.
Market Hop #2: Paddy’s (Wednesday-Saturday)
I’ve been warned and warned. “Paddy’s is shit!” people would tell me. I wouldn’t rest until I saw myself, so next we ventured into Chinatown for round number two.
It’s a safe assumption that you can find just about anything at the Paddy’s market. Whether you’re shopping for cheap Australian-themed souvenirs or an ultra interesting piece of lingerie, 15 minutes was all I could handle in the crazy indoor sales hub. I wasn’t leaving empty handed though, and scored a cute gift for my little nephew, Cylus, to send home.
With a little patience and a lot of open-mindeness, Paddy’s would be a good place to dig through the many overcrowded booths for funny things to send to friends and family back home.
Market Hop #3: Paddington (Saturday)
Sitting in the heart of Paddington/Surry Hills, an upper-class, trendy-chic area of the city, brings the delicate market of Paddington. Live music was accompanies by stalls full of great gift ideas including: beautiful paintings, hand-made candles, expensive jewellery, crocodile skin purses and exquisite jams and spreads. This market is definitely targeted towards market-goers with lots of paper to spend and lots of taste for fine things.
I fell in love with many things at this market: a gorgeous antique silver clock necklace, a mirror-plated geometric iPhone case and a few bohemian dresses and tops. I settled on a white, silver striped tank top to fit with my ever-growing white wardrobe ($25).
Market Hop #4: North Sydney (3rd Saturday of every month)
After being spoiled with three previous city markets, heading into the North Sydney market crowd was a lot less extravagant and had much smaller choice of stalls. That being said, being only a 5 minute drive down the road, I’d definitely hit up the NS market to pick up a new read, fresh veggies or a nice jar of marmalade. With the recommendation to try out lemon butter, I left with a home-made jar of lime butter (a jam-like-consistency sweet topping) for toast, ice cream and crepes (my new favourite).
I’d like to go on an empty stomach next time, because they did have some tempting food booths I’d be willing to take a bite out of.
Market Hop #5: Kirribilli (2nd Sunday of every month)
This was my second visit to the Kirribilli market and I went with a purpose (picking up my skull sweater and shopping for new summer wear from my favourite Aussie store, Vine Apparel). Set-up beside the beautiful Milsons Point station, not only are the Kirribilli markets easy to get to but it’s filled with decently priced jewellery, cakes and other baked goods, lamps and other unique home decor, and of course LOTS of new and used clothing.
I’ve previously bought a pair of pre-loved white jeans ($10, 1 size too small but who’s looking?), a navy blue beach dress ($5) and many pieces of clothing from Vine Apparel which I wear on a daily basis. Definitely making Kirribilli a Sunday tradition!
Even with Sydney being one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, living on a tight budget doesn’t have to be excruciating. Finding gems like these markets above have made my save/spend lifestyle adventurous, unique and easy to follow.
Happy market shopping!