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The cost of living in Brisbane, a complete guide for students

Read on to learn how to get the most out of the city whilst maintaining your budget

Average cost of living in Brisbane per week

The average cost for a single person to live comfortably in Brisbane is from $400 to $750 per week depending on your living circumstances. Use this calculator to get a rough idea of your estimated living expenses.

So how much can you expect to spend in Brisbane?


If you choose to live in catered accommodations like on-site colleges and homestays, then your only utility expense would be your phone and data plan. You can choose from post-paid plans, or pre-paid. A post pay is generally a 12 month contract for more then 60GB of data, which ranges from $45 to $60 a month. A pre-paid plan will cost about $20 to $30 a month with up to 40GB a data. If you live alone, you may have other expenses.

Home internet: You can expect to pay between $60 and $80 a month, but it does depend on your plan. If you need streaming services, you need an uncapped plan.

Electricity: An average electricity bill in Queensland is around $140- $150 a month which varies depending on the number of people per household.

Gas: Homes in Australia are powered by gas for hot water, cooking, and home heating. If you use all three, you can expect a gas bill of $90 a month.

Water and sewage: These running costs should be handled by your landlord if you’re in a shared building. However, you are responsible for paying the metered water if it’s individually to your property. It costs around $0.79 per thousand litres, up to 74,000L a quarter.


An average person can spend between $90- $135 a week on groceries. If you live in a facility that provides all or some of your meals, you’ll only need to pay for additional food which would be small.

If head out for a meal, a McDonalds Big Mac combo will cost $12 and a cheap meal in the city averages at $20.


Rental costs will differ according to where in Brisbane you choose to live, and the style of accommodation.

  • Homestay with full board: Around $350 a week
  • Homestay accommodation only: $200-$250 a week
  • On-site university residential college $400 - $645 a week
  • Private rental home 1 bedroom in CBD $421 a week + utilities and food
  • Private rental home for 1 bedroom in suburbs $309 a week + utilities and food
  • Private rental home shared with others ~$250 a week


If you’ve chosen to live off-campus, you’ll need to consider transportation. Brisbane’s public transport system, includes buses, ferries and trains. The cost of driving and parking your own car can be up to $150 a week, making it less affordable.

If you do decide to use TransLink, be sure to make use of tertiary student discounts. Grab a GO card and save up to 50% of your travel costs. Weekly usage can range from $20-$40 a week.


Queensland has modern malls, quirky boutique stores, and high-end brand shopping. If you need to replace your favour rite jeans, you’ll be likely to pay about $90, and a pair of running shoes will be anywhere between $100 and $200 depending on the brand. A summer dress from a high street shop will be about $90.

How to keep your living expenses down

On a budget? No problem, we have some ideas on how you can save.

Transport: Grab a Go Card and with a tertiary student discount and save up to 50% on travel costs.

Data: If you are at a college or homestay, use the local WiFi to reduce data usage. Put a cap on your data rate and be notified when you exceed or come close to the limit.

Utilities: Don’t waste water or electricity. Make sure to turn off appliances that aren’t in use. There are many electricity providers so be sure to find one that offers a competitive price.

Food shopping: Try to buy items in bulk when they are on special. Aldi is more cost-effective supermarket thanColes or Woolworths in Australia. There are farmers markets which allow you to buy direct from the supplier , a fresh alternative to purchasing produce from supermarkets.

Shopping: Buying new clothing can be expensive. It’s common to to buy second-hand clothing in Australia. Try your local Vinnies or Salvation Army store for clothes that save the planet as well as making you look amazing.

Want to move to Brisbane? Good choice.

Brisbane can offer you a fantastic lifestyle. If you want to make the move, contact us at IDP. From application at your favourite university, through to visa assistance and helping you choose the best accommodation, we’ve got your back. Make the move today, with IDP.

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