Budgeting for living and accommodation costs
The cost of living in Australia varies according to a number of factors including which city you live in, the type of accommodation you choose to stay in and your preferred lifestyle.
Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation. As a guide, a single student living away from home will spend anywhere between $1,400 and $2,000 every month on accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment.
For your reference, here are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia. The estimated costs below are indicative only. All costs are in Australian dollars. You are strongly encouraged to do your own research.
There are various accommodation options available when studying including shared renting, hostel and guesthouse, homestay and short-term accommodation options. A selection of these are described below.
You can rent/lease a property through either a real estate agent or privately. Most leases in Australia are for periods of 6-12 months. A rough estimate of weekly rent is given below. This varies by city and suburb and searching for accommodation on the web should give you a good idea of what you might pay.
In addition to rent you will also be expected to pay a bond of up to 4 weeks rent up front and at least 2 weeks rent in advance. Bond is used to cover any damage that may be done to the property while you live there and if no damage is done it will be refunded when you leave.
Homestay consists of a single room in a private home where the householder often provides meals for you and you share the life of the family. Homestay can be a good way for you to improve your English, learn the culture, and meet people when you first arrive. The Australian College of Applied Psychology has teamed up with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN) to give international students the opportunity to be hosted by a specially trained AHN homestay host for their introduction to accommodation and living in Australia. For further information refer to the AHN website.
When you first arrive in Australia, you may need to stay in temporary accommodation while you look for something more permanent. Typical choices include hostels, hotels or short-stay apartments.
• Hostels and Guesthouses - $90 to $150 per week
• Shared Rental - $85 to $215 per week.
• Homestay - $110 to $270 per week
• Rental - $165 to $440 per week
In addition to accommodation, the following estimates are what you could expect to pay while living and studying in Australia. These can vary quite significantly depending on your chosen type of accommodation. For example, when renting you often need to pay for the use of electricity, the telephone and gas on top of your rent. This is usually charged quarterly, i.e., every three months. These cost are sometimes included in homestay arrangements.
• Groceries and eating out - $80 to $280 per week
• Gas, electricity - $35 to $140 per week
• Phone and Internet - $20 to $55 per week
• Public transport - $15 to $55 per week
• Car (after purchase) - $150 to $260 per week
• Entertainment - $80 to $150 per week
If you have a school-aged dependent (aged between five and 18 years) accompanying you to Australia they are obliged to attend school whilst in Australia and full school fees will normally be required to be paid irrespective of whether the school-aged dependent is enrolled in a government or non-government school.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) requires all student visa applicants to have sufficient funds available for the duration of their stay in Australia. The DIBP has some financial requirements that a student may be requested to demonstrate in order to receive a student visa.
As a guide, below is the DIBP’s 12 month living cost requirements for study in Australia from 1 July 2016:
• Student/guardian - AUD 19,830
• Partner/spouse - AUD 6,940
• Child - AUD 2,970
For further details about the DIBP’s financial capability requirements visit their website. Note: Please note that while people granted a student visas on or after 26 April 2008 receive permission to work with their visa grant from when they start their course, you should not base your financial decision about your ability to meet all course and living costs on an assumption of being able to work long hours during semester. Please also be aware of the impact that fluctuating exchange rates may have on your ability to meet expenses while studying. For further information refer to the DIBP’s information on work conditions for student visa holders.
- Study in Australia – The official Australian Government website for International students, managed by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)
- Tenants’ Rights Organisations in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane
- The Department of Immigration and Border Protection
*Figures from studyinaustralia.gov.au