In this blog, we’ll take a look at the cost of living in Australia, including estimates on how much you’ll be spending on common expenses like food, accommodations, transportation, and so on. Along with those are tips on how you can cut down costs and make the most out of your budget.
The cost of living refers to the amount of money needed to cover basic expenses such as food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and education. This varies depending on the location, lifestyle, and personal choices of the individual.
It’s important to understand the cost of living in Australia before you arrive, so you can plan your finances accordingly.
As an international student, you’ll need an estimated amount of around AUD$ 20,800 annually to cover the cost of living – that’s at least AUD$ 1600 to cover the average living expenses per month.
If you’re wondering why it’s so expensive, it’s because of the high standard of living in Australia, which includes top-notch education, healthcare, and other essential services.
The table below will give you an idea of how this amount can be allocated across different types of common expenses you’ll likely encounter during your stay in Australia.
However, remember that your actual expenses can vary depending on the specific city or region you choose to study in, as well as your lifestyle. The Australian Government has a cost of living calculator you can use to estimate your weekly or monthly expenses.
|Estimated monthly cost
Before we delve further into the matter, you may be wondering what the difference is between cost of living and standard of living.
On one hand, “standard of living” refers to the overall quality of life in a place. For example, if residents in a particular area enjoy a good living wage and have easy access to high-quality education and healthcare, the place is said to have a high standard of living.
On the other hand, “cost of living” is basically the amount of money you’ll need to sustain a particular standard of living in a specific location. So, by logic, a higher standard of living generally means a higher cost of living.
Accommodation and housing costs are usually the biggest expenses.
It’s difficult to provide an exact value for the cost of accommodations, as the price usually varies depending on the city or region you’ll stay in and the type of accommodation you choose. A good benchmark for decent accommodations would be around AUD$ 500 per month, while more expensive ones could cost up to AUD$ 1200 per month.
Types of Accommodations
To give you a better idea, take a look at the table provided for the common types of housing and their price ranges.
Apart from the cost of renting a furnished room, there are other essential housing costs that you need to keep in mind. We have mentioned them earlier, and these are utilities, internet, and security bonds. Utilities include gas, electricity, and water. Among these, electricity is usually the most expensive, costing around AUD$105 per month, while gas and water cost around AUD$60 and AUD$90 per month, respectively.
For internet access, the average monthly fee is around AUD$ 70 to AUD$ 90. As previously discussed, most of the housing rental options usually include utilities and internet in their rental conditions. However, in case they are not included, at least you already have a good idea to be aware of how much these services would cost you.
Another thing. When you rent a place, you may be required by your landlord to pay a certain security fee or bond, which is a form of financial security for the landlord in case of any damage to the property or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. The fee varies, depending on factors such as the length of your lease, market conditions, and so on. Typically, the bond or deposit will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy if there is no damage to the property, and all rent and bills have been paid in full.
Tips for Finding Affordable Housing in Australia.
Of course, unless you’re staying on campus grounds or just a few steps away from work, you’ll need to find a way to travel.
Fortunately, there are several modes of public transport available for you to use, including buses, trains, trams, and ferries. But, note that public transportation costs can be a bit pricey and can cost you around AUD$ 75 – AUD$ 216 per month.
Also, transportation costs can vary depending on where in Australia you are residing. If you’re a student, you can take advantage of transport concessions, which can help you save some money for your other expenses.
There are many public transport options in Australia but the availability and cost can vary in each city. Refer to the table below featuring the different states/territories, the public transport methods available, and the cost of the full fare per month.
To learn more about the transportation system and how it operates in each state or territory, visit their respective transportation websites.
Here are some tips for saving money on transportation expenses:
Food and groceries can be a big part of your daily expenses. If you’re looking to cook your own food, here’s a list of prices to give you an idea of the cost to expect for common grocery items:
Note, however, that those prices are just estimates, and that they greatly vary depending on the brand and where you are purchasing your groceries.
If you are fond of dining out, however, know that it’s going to be more expensive than cooking your own food. To give you an idea, here are the costs:
Below are some tips on how you can cut costs for food and groceries:
To give you an overview, Australia’s healthcare system, considered to be one of the best in the world, provides all Australians with access to basic medical care and services. It’s composed of the public health system, known as Medicare, which is government-funded, and the private health system, which includes privately-run hospitals and clinics.
As an international student, you can utilize Medicare services, but not before applying for the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Basically, OSHC is a type of health insurance that covers any medical treatment you might need while you’re studying in Australia. Through it, you have coverage for things like:
Many universities in Australia have preferred OSHC providers, which can make the process easier for international students. So, you can check with your university and see if they offer OSHC options that suit your needs.
However, if you prefer a different provider, you can purchase OSHC on your own. Just make sure to do some research first so you get the best value for money and ensure that the policy covers all your needs.
Either way, to get OSHC, approach your university or preferred provider and express your intent to apply for OSHC. Then, you’ll be required to complete an application form which further requires you to provide information like citizenship, birthdate, visa information, length of stay, medical information, and so on.
Keep in mind that when choosing a plan, make sure that it is valid for the entirety of your stay in Australia. If you are extending your stay in Australia to continue your studies, you will need to purchase a new OSHC policy to ensure continuous coverage.
The cost of OSHC varies depending on the duration of your stay, the level of coverage you choose, and the number of persons included in your policy, if any. So, it’s best to consult your university or your chosen OSHC provider. Some reputable OSHC providers include:
Apart from OSHC, there may be additional healthcare expenses that you need to consider since they are not usually included in an OSHC policy. For example, dental care and specialized medical services such as optical treatments, physiotherapy, and so on. So, if you need coverage for these services, make sure to discuss it as well with your chosen health insurance provider.
If you’re an expat who meets the criteria for permanent residency in Australia, you can enjoy the benefits that come with Australia’s Medicare. Or, if you come from one of the countries with which Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement, you can still qualify for majority of the public healthcare benefits.
Unfortunately, if you don’t fall under these categories, you’ll need to obtain private health insurance. This is even a requirement during the visa application process, as you need to show proof of adequate private health insurance.
The cost of the insurance will vary depending on benefits and provider you choose. So, make sure to find a plan that covers all your health care needs and offers the best value for your money.
Australia offers top-quality education, and if you’re looking to pursue your education here, you probably already know that. In fact, Australia’s higher education system is world-class, attracting a number of over 500,000 plus international students in 2020 alone.
In terms of education costs, the first thing you need to consider is the tuition fee. The cost of your tuition fee varies greatly depending on the program you are taking and the university you enroll in.
To give you a benchmark, a bachelor’s degree would cost you between AUD$ 20,000 and 45,000 a year. On the other hand, a master’s or PhD would cost you around AUD$ 22,000 to 50,000 annually.
Note that that’s just a benchmark. It’s better to keep in touch with the universities you are prospecting so you’ll have a better understanding of the tuition fees, as well as any other associated university fees.
Aside from tuition fees, you will also need to consider other expenses such as textbooks, equipment, and course materials, all of which can vary based on your program and the requirements of your coursework. To be safe, budget at least AUD$ 500 a year for these.
Here are some tips to cut down on education costs:
Moving to Australia can be an overwhelming experience. Apart from adjusting to new norms and culture, and managing your finances, you must also navigate through a plethora of paperwork.
However, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team at KBA Global is here to share the burden with you and make the migration process as smooth as possible.
We’re here to assist you in achieving your goals of migrating to Australia, whether it be for work, study, or permanent residency. Whether you have questions or worries, we are here to answer them and provide you with advice so you can have peace of mind every step of the way.