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Money and Living Expenses

Make the most of your money

You want to enjoy a healthy and happy life during your studies in Australia. Knowing how much money you’ll need for your living expenses is a great starting point, but bear in mind the cost of living may vary depending on where you live in the country.

The Australian Government suggests you will need around AUD$20,000each year if you’re single, plus an additional AUD$6,940 per year if you’re married. If you also have children living with you, they say you’ll need AUD$3,000 per child per year. This doesn’t include the cost of any social, sporting or other recreational activities you may want to take part in, or any health or emergency costs not covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Your budget guide
Accommodation costs:

  • Hostels and Guesthouses: AUD$90 to $150 per week
  • Shared Rental: AUD$85 to $215 per week
  • On campus: AUD$90 to $280 per week
  • Homestay: AUD$235 to $325 per week


Other living expenses

  • Groceries and eating out: AUD$80 to $280 per week
  • Gas and electricity: AUD$35 to $140 per week
  • Phone and Internet: AUD$20 to $55 per week
  • Public transport: AUD$15 to $55 per week
  • Car : AUD$150 to $260 per week
  • Entertainment: AUD$80 to $150 per week


Your banking and payments options
In Australia, you pay (and are paid) in Australian dollars and cents. You can make purchases using Australian notes and coins, fund transfers or a debit or credit card from a local or international bank, credit union or building society.

To setup an Australian bank account before or after you arrive in the country, you’ll need your Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE), Letter of Offer, passport and other forms of identification. You may also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN), which you can apply for from the Australian Taxation Office.

Getting your phone and internet organised
You’ll probably want to get a phone and internet access organised pretty quickly once you arrivie in Australia.

With phones, you basically have three main options:

  • Landline: usually only if you live off campus. You might be able to fix a better deal by bundling your landline with internet access, or you might choose not to have any landline and rely solely on your mobile.
  • Mobile – prepaid: this gives you control over how much you spend and you of course you can stop using the service whenever you want. Pre-paid SIM cards are widely available from Australian shops and supermarkets, as well as from mobile phone providers.
  • Mobile – contract: depending on how much you use your mobile and what you use it for, a contract with an Australian mobile phone provider could well be cheaper. Mobile plans in Australia typically include some Internet data.

Mobile plans in Australia typically include some Internet data.

Making international calls
International calls can be significantly more expensive than calls within Australia. You may well want to buy an international calling card (which gives you better rates) or instead use online options such as FaceTime or Skype. International calling cards fcan be bought from most convenience stores.

  • To call an Australian number from overseas, enter the country code (61), followed by the area code and the telephone number.
  • To call another country from Australia, enter 011, followed by the appropriate country code, the area code (if required) and then the telephone number.

Accessing the internet
There are a lot of options for internet access in Australia, but it pays for you to shop around to find the plan that offers the best price and download limits for your specific needs.

Most educational institutions provide students with free Wi-Fi which you can access with your student logon and password. If you can’t access the internet on your own laptop or computer, you can usually find one to use in the institution’s library, at an off-campus public library or in an Internet café.

Some locations in Australia do offer free Wi-Fi, but in many Internet cafes for example, you will be charged by the hour. Don’t forget to check the security of any network you are connected to.

People and Culture

Even if you haven’t been to Australia before, you’d probably recognise it on a map. It’s the world’s largest island - surrounded by the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans – but it’s also the world’s smallest continent.


You want to enjoy a healthy and happy study life in Australia. Knowing how much you need to for living expenses is a great starting point, but keep in mind the cost of living may be higher or lower depending on where you live.


You’ll want to explore your local town, city or even the whole of Australia while you study. Depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from, your transport options include buses, trains, taxis, ferries, planes, cars, bikes and of course, walking.

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