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Guide to Living Expenses in Australia for International Students

Oct 19, 2023

Australia, renowned for its leading universities and cosmopolitan cities, is a prime destination for international students. Along with considering tuition fees, it’s crucial to be aware of the living expenses in Australia for international students. Having a clear understanding of these costs not only aids in effective budgeting but also ensures a stress-free and fulfilling student experience. This blog will delve deep into the various facets of living expenses and offer practical insights to help students plan their Australian adventures efficiently.

Accommodation Costs

Regarding living expenses in Australia for international students, accommodation is a significant factor. Housing is often the most considerable expense for students. Renowned for its world-class institutions, Australia also has diverse accommodation options catering to student needs. Options range from university dormitories to private rentals. While university accommodations provide the benefit of proximity to campus and often include utilities, shared houses or apartments could present a more economical alternative. It’s important to note that the cost of living in Australia varies based on the city and proximity to educational institutions. Locations near campuses generally command higher rents, so students must weigh the convenience against the cost. Budgeting effectively and making informed choices can substantially affect monthly expenses.

Type of AccommodationEstimated Price (per month)
University DormitoryAUD 800 – AUD 1200
Shared House/ApartmentAUD 600 – AUD 1000
Private Rental (1 bedroom)AUD 1200 – AUD 1800
HomestayAUD 700 – AUD 1000

Food and Grocery Expenses

Living expenses in Australia for international students encompass various essentials, with food and grocery expenses taking precedence. Australia boasts a rich culinary tapestry. Whether you’re sampling from global restaurants or cozy local cafes, the options are boundless. However, dining out often can inflate the Australia living expenses for students. The economical alternative is sourcing ingredients from grocery stores and embracing home-cooked meals. It not only provides budgetary relief but also aligns with a healthier lifestyle. Brimming with fresh produce, local markets often have competitive pricing, ensuring students achieve health and financial balance. By astutely managing food expenses, students can relish Australia’s gastronomic offerings without deeply denting their wallets.

ItemEstimated Price (per week)
Dining out (average meal)AUD 20 – AUD 50
Grocery Shopping (weekly)AUD 70 – AUD 150
Local market produce (weekly)AUD 30 – AUD 60
Coffee or SnackAUD 4 – AUD 8
Breakfast items (cereals, bread, etc.)AUD 10 – AUD 30
Dairy products (milk, cheese, etc.)AUD 10 – AUD 25
Meat and PoultryAUD 20 – AUD 50
Fruits and VegetablesAUD 15 – AUD 40
Snacks and BeveragesAUD 10 – AUD 30
SeafoodAUD 20 – AUD 60

Transportation Costs

Navigating the living expenses in Australia for international students requires attention to various aspects, with transportation being an integral component. Australia boasts an extensive public transport network, encompassing buses, trams, and trains. These modes of transport offer reliable ways for students to move around cities and between regions. Recognizing the significance of transportation in the cost of living in Australia for international students, many areas offer concession fares to students. These concessions can result in substantial savings over time. For those commuting regularly, purchasing monthly or yearly passes often proves more economical than daily ticket fares. Students can navigate the vast Australian landscape by understanding and optimizing their transport expenses without unduly straining their budget.

Mode of TransportEstimated Price (per month)
Bus Concession PassAUD 30 – AUD 90
Tram Concession PassAUD 35 – AUD 100
Train Concession PassAUD 40 – AUD 110
Taxi or Ride Share (per ride)AUD 10 – AUD 30
Bicycle MaintenanceAUD 5 – AUD 15
Car Maintenance and FuelAUD 150 – AUD 300

Healthcare and Insurance

Within the scope of living expenses in Australia for international students, healthcare and insurance costs are paramount. Australia is renowned for its high standard of healthcare. While the services offered are top-notch, they can also come with a substantial price tag. Ensuring their health while managing living expenses in Australia is crucial for international students. It is why most are mandated to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). With OSHC, students can confidently access necessary medical services without dreading excessive bills. This insurance coverage ensures that unexpected medical situations do not lead to financial strain. Students must familiarize themselves with their insurance policy’s details and the related costs to maintain health and budgetary wellness.

Service/Insurance TypeEstimated Price (per annum)
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)AUD 500 – AUD 700
General Practitioner VisitAUD 40 – AUD 70 (with OSHC)
Specialist ConsultationAUD 100 – AUD 200 (with OSHC)
Prescription MedicationAUD 10 – AUD 50 (with OSHC)
Dental ServicesAUD 100 – AUD 500 (varies by procedure)
Emergency Room VisitAUD 0 – AUD 100 (with OSHC, depending on conditions)

Academic Expenses

Understanding tuition fees is pivotal when considering living expenses in Australia for international students. Australia has a mix of public and private universities, each with a distinct fee structure. Public universities, funded by the government, usually offer courses at a lower rate than private institutions. However, private universities may provide specialized courses, smaller classes, or unique academic experiences that justify their tuition fees. It’s crucial to note that the Australia living cost for international students largely hinges on the choice of institution and the course of study. Researching and comparing tuition fees across institutions and programs is essential in financial planning for prospective students.

UniversityUndergraduate Tuition (per annum)Postgraduate Tuition (per annum)
University of SydneyAUD 20,000 – AUD 30,000AUD 25,000 – AUD 35,000
University of MelbourneAUD 25,000 – AUD 40,000AUD 30,000 – AUD 50,000
Monash UniversityAUD 22,000 – AUD 35,000AUD 27,000 – AUD 40,000
Australian National UniversityAUD 23,000 – AUD 34,000AUD 28,000 – AUD 45,000
Bond UniversityAUD 30,000 – AUD 45,000AUD 35,000 – AUD 55,000
University of QueenslandAUD 24,000 – AUD 38,000AUD 29,000 – AUD 48,000
Miscellaneous Academic Fees (All universities)AUD 500 – AUD 2,000

Personal and Leisure Expenses

Balancing the living expenses in Australia for international students involves more than just academic and essential costs. For a wholesome overseas experience, personal and leisure activities play a significant role. While academics are at the forefront, activities like watching movies, staying fit, or hanging out with friends are vital for emotional well-being and holistic growth. These, however, can incrementally add to the Australia living cost for international students. The silver lining is that many establishments recognize the financial challenges faced by students. Hence, student discounts for cinema tickets, gym memberships, and various outings are prevalent. Such concessions help students balance leisure, personal growth, and a manageable budget.

Activity/ItemEstimated Price (per month)
Cinema TicketsAUD 12 – AUD 20
Gym MembershipAUD 30 – AUD 60
Eating OutAUD 20 – AUD 50 (per meal)
Weekend OutingsAUD 50 – AUD 100
Hobby Classes (e.g., dance, music)AUD 40 – AUD 80
Shopping (clothing, accessories)AUD 50 – AUD 200
Entertainment (concerts, events)AUD 20 – AUD 150

Phone and Internet Costs

In today’s digital age, staying connected is an integral part of the living expenses in Australia for international students. Whether for academic purposes, staying in touch with loved ones, or simply for entertainment, reliable phone and internet services are non-negotiable. Thankfully, Australia boasts a range of service providers, each with its array of student-friendly mobile and internet plans. Given the significance of phones and the internet in Australia living expenses, it’s imperative for students to diligently research, compare, and select a plan that not only meets their connectivity needs but also aligns with their budget. By doing so, students can ensure seamless communication without facing unexpected and hefty bills at the end of the month.

Service TypeEstimated Price (per month)
Mobile Prepaid PlansAUD 20 – AUD 50
Mobile Postpaid PlansAUD 30 – AUD 80
Home Internet (Unlimited Data)AUD 50 – AUD 90
Mobile Internet Data PackAUD 10 – AUD 30
International Calling PacksAUD 10 – AUD 50

Miscellaneous Expenses

While major categories like accommodation, food, and transport form the bulk of the living expenses in Australia for international students, there are always those unexpected or miscellaneous expenses to account for. Students must be prepared for such outlays, whether seasonal clothing, personal care items, or unanticipated unexpected costs. Australia has a thriving culture of thrift shops, which can be real saviors regarding clothing and accessories on a budget. Moreover, bulk buying or availing sales can result in notable savings for everyday items like toiletries. Maintaining a small buffer in the budget specifically for these miscellaneous costs is essential, ensuring students are always on guard financially.

Expense CategoryEstimated Price (per month)
Seasonal ClothingAUD 50 – AUD 150
Personal Care ItemsAUD 20 – AUD 50
Haircut & Salon ServicesAUD 15 – AUD 70
LaundryAUD 20 – AUD 40
Gifts & Personal ShoppingAUD 10 – AUD 100
Unexpected CostsAUD 50 – AUD 200

Tips and Tricks to Reduce Cost of Living In Australia For International Students

Navigating the living expenses in Australia for international students can be daunting. However, careful planning and informed choices can make the journey smoother. Here’s how you can economize:

  • Student Discounts: Always have your student ID. From transport to movies, many establishments offer student discounts.
  • Cook at Home: It’s healthier and friendlier on the wallet. Plan meals, bulk-buy ingredients, and consider batch cooking.
  • Second-hand Stores: They are a haven for essentials such as furniture, books, and occasionally electronics.
  • Share Rides: If public transport isn’t an option, carpooling with peers is an economical alternative.
  • Free Entertainment: Major Australian cities host numerous free events. Staying updated with local event listings can save a lot.
  • Prepaid Phone Plans: They’re typically more economical and prevent unexpected high bills.
  • Limit International Calls: Use online platforms like Skype or WhatsApp instead.
  • Mindful Utility Usage: Practices like turning off unused lights or conserving water can decrease bills significantly.
  • Work Part-time: International students are permitted to work a certain number of hours weekly, providing an opportunity to earn and integrate.

A strategic approach to spending can significantly enhance your Australian experience, ensuring you savor every moment without financial strain.


Embarking on an educational journey in Australia is undoubtedly an exhilarating experience. However, managing the living expenses in Australia for international students is equally paramount. Australia is a land of opportunities, and with meticulous budgeting, students can immerse themselves in all its offerings without financial pressures. It’s all about balancing memorable experiences with wise financial choices. So, dive into the Australian student life, but always remain prudent with your finances!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do seasonal changes in Australia affect monthly living expenses for international students?

Yes, during winter, heating costs can go up, and in summer, expenses may rise due to the increased use of air-conditioners. Additionally, some fruits and vegetables can be pricier in the off-season.

How do living expenses differ for students in metropolitan cities versus regional areas?

Living in metropolitan cities like Sydney or Melbourne is generally more expensive compared to regional areas, especially regarding rent and entertainment costs.

Is there a student discount for utility bills in Australia?

Not usually for utilities, but students often get discounts on public transport, entertainment, and some retail stores.

How does the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST) impact a student’s monthly expenses?

GST is a 10% tax on most goods, services, and sales. It’s included in the displayed price, so students must account for it in their budgets.

Does Australia’s diverse flora and fauna affect grocery prices, especially for exotic fruits or seafood?

Local produce, including exotic fruits or seafood, is generally cheaper when in season. However, imported goods can be pricier due to transportation and import duties.

Living Expenses in Australia for International Students


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