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Cost of living in Adelaide

With a mild Mediterranean climate, vibrant parks and renowned festivals, Adelaide is one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Average cost of living in Adelaide

Adelaide is cost effective compared to other cities. It is 16% cheaper than Sydney and 13% less than Melbourne. Most students find their average living costs range between $350 and $700, depending on varying lifestyles. This calculator will provide a guidelines for expenses.

So how much can you expect to spend in Adelaide?


If you’re living in a college or catered residences, the main expense would be phone/ data. You can get pre-paid or post-paid plans, depending on your needs and budget. 25- 40GB of data a month will cost you between $20 and $30 on a pre-paid basis, while a 12 month contract means a monthly expense of $45 to $60 for 60GB+, depending on the plan. These are the biggest expenses to consider when renting a home:

Home internet

Costs can range between $60 and $80 a month. Unlimited data for streaming is common, so make sure to consider an uncapped plan.


The average monthly bill is $150 a month however fewer people per household could result in a lower amount.


If you have hot water heating, gas cooking heating, costs per month can amount to $90 a month. As your gas costs rise, electricity costs can decrease.

Water and sewageThese are the responsibility of the landlord in SA. As a tenant pay for water, you may be eligible for a water rate remission. Per thousand litres, you would pay around $2.40 to $3.70.


Weekly groceries will cost between $90 - $135 a week. If you are living in a hall, college or homestay, it’s common for meals to be provided as part of the agreement.


Rental costs vary depending on where in Adelaide you stay, and the kind of accommodation.

  • Homestay with full board: Around $300 a week

  • Homestay accommodation only: $190-$200 a week

  • On-site apartment with Urbanest, single room in an 8 person apartment $321 a week

  • On-site apartment with Urbanest, large studio with double bed $455 a week

  • On-site university townhouse with private bathroom $285

  • Private rental home 85m2 in CBD $530 a week + utilities and food

  • Private rental home for 85m2 in suburbs $369 a week + utilities and food


If you live off-campus and need to get to uni, Adelaide is well-connected for public transport. They have buses and trains as well as Adelaide City Bikes which are free cycles you can borrow to get from A to B. Get a student metroCARD so you can take advantage of discounted fares. There are free tram and bus services on certain routes, including the city loop bus, and the free tram zone in Adelaide is from South Terrace to the Entertainment Centre stops.

You can expect to spend about $20 to $40 a week on public transport.


Keeping up with fashion trends is easy in Adelaide as they have a wide variety of clothing store to shop from. Your average pair of Levi’s costs $90, and a pair of runners will range from $100 to $200, depending on the shoe and brand. A summer dress from Zara will be around $70.

How to keep your living expenses down


Make sure you get a student metroCARD to save as much as possible on fares. Also take advantage of BikesSA’s free cycles—Adelaide is a flat city, perfect for cyclists, and no need to have a gym membership!


Use WiFi whenever possible. Have a cap set on your data/ phone calls so you know how much you’ve spent before you accidentally over-spend.


Shop around. There are many, many providers and they all offer slightly different plans. Some will also try and beat the opposition on price, so it’s well worth calling them and asking if they can do better than their competitors.


Aldi is the cheapest supermarket in Australia. Try to buy items on special when available, and buy in bulk if possible. If you love farmers markets, then shopping at these will mean you’ll be buying direct from the farmers, which means fresher produce.


Clothes can be expensive and the absolute best way to buy clothes is second hand. It’s common in Australia and a good way to a way to save money, save the environment and have a unique wardrobe. Often you can find well known and quality brands at very low prices. Check out the local second-hand stores like St Vincent’s (‘Vinnies’) and the Salvation Army ("Salvos")

Things to do in Adelaide for free

If you’re on a budget, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of amazing things to do in the city that are free.

Stroll through the beautiful gardens and nature at Adelaide Botanic Gardens . There is a unique a rose garden and a conservatory filled with rainforest plants.

There are beaches galore in Adelaide, and all only a bus ride away. Glenelg Beach is a favourite, a good place to spend the day enjoying swimming and sun-bathing. Or, take the coastal walk from Glenelg to Brighton, which usually has less people.

There’s the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. Both are free to enter and are great to immerse yourself in history and culture.

Adelaide hosts a number of festivals including free and paid admissions ,ranging from Adelaide Writers’ Week, free for literature enthusiasts to Adelaide Festival, packed full of dance, music, theatre and art events.

Adelaide Central Market is a cheap and fantastic way to try a whole bunch of new foods. Meat, fruit, vegetables, breads, speciality cheeses and so much more await you.

Want to move to Adelaide? Good choice.

Find out how IDP Education can help you study in Adelaide. With a wealth of knowledge about learning institutions and visa requirements, IDP have the skills to help you get to where you need to be. Start planning your study in Adelaide today, call us at 1800 664 700 or book an appointment to speak to our counsellors.

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