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MONEY

29 ways to save money in Austria (but still have fun)

In case you hadn’t realised, life in Austria has become even more expensive. Here’s how to still have fun without breaking the bank in the Alpine Republic.

29 ways to save money in Austria (but still have fun)
It is possible to have fun in Austria without spending lots of money, as this guide explains. (Photo by Eliska Trnavska / Pexels)

Inflation in Austria is almost at ten percent, energy bills are skyrocketing and the rising cost of food is showing no signs of slowing down.

But it’s not all grim and there are still ways to enjoy life in Austria without emptying your bank account.

Here’s our guide to saving money and having fun at the same time.

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Going out

Budgets might be tight right now but there are still ways to maintain your social life on the cheap.

One top tip is to switch from going out for dinner with going out for lunch instead. Many restaurants and cafes do special lunch menus at a set price, which are usually much cheaper than the a la carte prices.

In some places in Austria, these lunch deals are known as Aboessen (subscription food – literal translation) or Mittagsmenü (lunch menu), so keep an eye out for them.

In the mountains, another option is to hike to a mountain hut for lunch or an early dinner. Most huts have cheaper options on the menu like Kaspressknödelsuppe, which is cheese dumplings served in a broth. It’s delicious, filling and affordable.

For the evening, many bars and pubs in Austria do open mic nights that are free to enter and some even have happy hours for cheap drinks. 

If you’re in Vienna and like to stay out late, then try visiting the bars at the Stadtbahn arches under the U6 train line where some places have a happy hour until 4am.

READ MORE: Cost of living: Why are restaurants getting more expensive in Austria?

Arts and culture

Even when trying to stick to a budget, it’s still possible to enjoy Austria’s cultural offerings.

Vienna’s State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) famously has cheap standing tickets for performances, and budget prices for some seated tickets.

There are two ways to get a standing ticket: register for a free federal theatre ticket to be able to purchase tickets online up to two months before, or buy a standing ticket on the day.

For the second option, go to the Stehplätze (standing room) ticket office on Operngasse. The office opens 80 minutes before the start of a performance. Prices for these tickets range from €13 to €18, depending on the section.

Another tip for people in Vienna is to take advantage of free entry to museums on the first Sunday of every month (special exhibitions are usually exempt from this). This includes the Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Roman Museum, Collection of Clocks and Watches, Wien Museum Hermesvilla and the Museum of Military History.

Also, many museums in Austria’s capital city offer free entry for under 19s on a daily basis, or discounted annual passes for adults.

Then there is the BundesMuseenCard that allows holders one visit to eight federal museums within one year. The card costs €59, which means you save around 50 percent when compared with day ticket prices.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’?

Sports

Taking part in sports or outdoor activities for cheap (or free) is easy in Austria.

In most towns and cities there are outdoor gyms in parks, government-funded outdoor fitness classes and groups like Open Yoga Vienna that offers free yoga outside.

Plus, there are hiking trails, lakes to swim in for free or cheap entry to public pools, and many cycle trails across the country to explore.

For winter sports fans, it is even possible to enjoy the season without spending a fortune by opting for cheaper options that don’t require a ski pass. These are cross-country skiing (Langlaufen), snowshoeing and ski touring (hiking up on skis before skiing down). 

Also, lots of gyms and fitness centres in Austria offer discounted or even free trial periods for new customers, so always ask what is available before committing to a contract.

READ MORE: When and where in Austria can you join free exercise classes

Transport

Having fun sometimes means having to travel somewhere. Thankfully, there are ways to cut transport costs in Austria.

If visting Vienna for a limited period of time, it’s worth investing in the Vienna City Card for free public transport, discounts at museums, restaurants and tourist attractions, and optional airport transfers. Prices range from €17 to €23, depending on whether you buy a 24, 48 or 72 hour ticket.

If you live in Vienna and use the train network on a regular basis, then consider buying the Wiener Linien Jahreskarte. The annual pass gives you unlimited access to city centre public transport for just €1 per day. For people aged 65 and over, the price is even cheaper at €235.

For those wanting to travel across Austria (and reduce their impact on the planet), there is the KlimaTicket. It costs €1,095 and can be used on all regular public transport services for one year. Find out more at klimaticket.at.

However, sometimes there is no other option but to drive. In this case, try using the ÖAMTC app to find the cheapest petrol station to fill up your car before setting off.

READ ALSO: The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

Wifi

Gaining access to wifi might not sound like having fun, but it can be important when trying to contact friends, find directions to a venue or check out a review for a restaurant.

In Vienna, there are around 400 free wifi hotspots in the city, with 40 in the 1st District alone.

Visitors and residents in Vienna can find free wifi at City Hall Square, Stephansplatz, the MuseumsQuartier, Naschmarkt, in the Prater and on Danube Island.

Additionally, free wifi can be found at the tourist information office on Albertinaplatz, at the wienXtra-jugendinfo office on Babenbergerstrasse and at food outlets that have a Free Wave hotspot.

You can find all locations for free public wifi in Vienna at this interactive map from the City of Vienna.

Elsewhere in Austria, most towns and cities have free wifi, as well as many bars, restaurants, cafes and venues.

READ NEXT: Digital nomads: Who can work remotely in Austria?

Events

To find free events in Austria, it’s worth checking out the Eventbrite website. 

Upcoming free events include a talk on the future of Vienna, free concerts for children and a traditional Korean orchestra at the Wiener Konzerthaus.

Other free events taking place across the country are weekly traditional music concerts in your local Dorf (village) and free food and culture events, like Lang und Klang in St Johann in Tyrol. 

Lang und Klang is a weekly summer series of late night shopping, food and live music. The last event takes place on Wednesday September 7th and entry is free.

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

Austria is known as a country with a high standard of living, but it also comes with a high cost of living. Here’s an overview of what you can expect to earn in Austria.

How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

As with most things in Austria, the question of ‘what is a good salary?’ is difficult to answer as the cost of living (and wages) can vary between states and cities.

For example, the east of Austria is typically much cheaper than the west for housing (with the exception of Vienna). And those living in cities often have easier – and cheaper – access to public transport when compared with people living in rural areas. 

READ ALSO: ‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Childcare is also something to consider with huge differences between Vienna, where there is access to heavily subsidised services, and places like Tyrol where childcare costs more.

To delve a bit deeper, we looked at the data to find out the average salary in Austria and how it differs between professions and locations.

What is the average salary in Austria?

In 2021, the average gross annual salary in Austria was €44,395, according to the latest data from Statistics Austria

However, in the latest survey by online job platform Step Stone, the average gross annual salary in Austria is €49,609.

The Step Stone survey then broke it down further by industry with those working in pharma earning the most at €60,504. This was followed by energy at €60,345, medical technology at €59,106 and banking at €58,711.

The industry with the lowest average annual salary is hotels/gastronomy at €37,546, followed by agriculture at €39,779 and tourism at €43,965.

FOR MEMBERS: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Occupation also plays a part with people working in management earning the most – on average €66,768. Consulting came second at €53,721.

And like many other European countries, the gender pay gap in Austria prevails. The average annual salary for a man is €52,633 and for a woman it is €44,330.

Furthermore, the top earning city in Austria is Bregenz in Vorarlberg with an average annual salary of €54,620. When comparing the west of Austria with the east, the median salary in Vorarlberg is €46,450, whereas in Burgenland it is just €39,100.

What is the average cost of living in Austria?

Many international residents will find everyday living costs in Austria to be expensive, especially for those that come from countries with a much lower cost of living.

Inflation has also been rising steadily in Austria throughout 2022, leading to some steep rises in prices for groceries, housing costs and energy.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

However, the average cost of living varies across the country, depending on the location. For example, Vienna and Innsbruck in Tyrol are two of Austria’s most expensive cities, but more affordable places to live are Graz in Styria and Klagenfurt in Carinthia.

In Vienna, the average price for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre is €915, going up to €2,000 for a three bedroom apartment, according to Expat Arrivals.

Whereas in Graz, the average cost of a one bedroom city centre apartment is around €609, and a three bedroom apartment is €1,170.

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