Before reaching Australia, like anyone else even I did a research on the internet about the cost of living in Australia as a Student. Even though I found several resources, after 8 months of living here, I can say many of them weren’t realistic. This post is dedicated to such students who are searching to learn about the cost of living in Australia as a student.
Finding a home to stay at and the rental amount involved
Firstly, finding a good place to stay at within your budget is quite a challenge here but if you have some friends or contacts here, it just becomes quite easier. While travelling to Australia, I wouldn’t recommend you to straight away make arrangement before reaching here for a long stay. It is a good idea to arrange for a temporary accommodation here and in a week you can find a decent place to stay at. You can start your search at Gumtree (a popular classifieds portal here) and contact the owners to discuss the rent and other details. Another option is your university housing assistance team – most of the popular university has a student housing portal where they and other students advertise house share for rent.
Most of the international students here stay together sharing a house and you can easily find single rooms in a house for rent. The average weekly rent amount for a decent single room is 120 – 160 AUD per week. Make sure you check with your landlord if the weekly rent is inclusive of the “bills” as well. I stay at a place where my rent including all the bills is 140 AUD per week and that is average. As most of the universities are away from the city, the rental costs will be much cheaper when compared to that of the city. If you are willing to stay a little far away further from the university, there are places you can find for as cheap as 90 AUD per week.
In my opinion, it is better to find a place near to the university or between the uni to the city. You will easily save couple of dollars every day if you are planning to stay at a walking distance to the university. In case you find a part time job and you have to anyway travel, then look for a place in between.
Cost involved in Commuting / Travelling in Australia
Travel costs differ from different cities in Australia. But if you are in Melbourne, there is only one ticket and it is called MyKi. You swipe the Myki card each time you get on a transport (train, bus or tram) and you touch off when you get off. The whole of Melbourne is divided into 2 zones (Zone 1 and Zone 2). If you are travelling within the same zone, you can travel a whole day for approximately 6 dollars but if you are travelling in both it could be from 8 – 10 dollars approximately.
If you travel every day to work or uni, the best option is to take a Myki pass. I travel to work every day and live close to the Uni, so for my the Myki pass saves a lot of money. I take a monthly pass for 130 dollars and I am able to travel anywhere in Zone 1 unlimited (luckily my university and city fall in the same zone)
Phone Bill or mobile phone usage cost
Another expense you will have to manage is the Mobile Phones. If you are travelling in, you have an option of carrying your own phone and purchasing a prepaid SIM card from here. If you don’t have much of international calls, you can limit your entire bill within 20 Dollars on a monthly basis. Don’t hurry and get into a post paid plan, take your time, research, understand your requirements and choose. On an average 30 dollars a month is a good amount to spend for your phone and phone + SIM package can cost you 60 Dollars a month on contract (yeah, you get to choose any damn phone model for free).
Food and other living expenses
This is a tricky part, I know people just spending less than 70 – 80 dollars a month on food. You can choose to purchase your groceries and cook at home. Almost every accommodation you find here will have kitchen, gas and all other facilities included, so cooking is not a pain. Eating out can cost you anywhere from 5 dollars to 30 dollars on an average. A meal at the Hungry jacks food joint could cost you 6 – 8 dollars. An average coffee could cost you anywhere from 1.5 dollars to 4 dollars.
That’s pretty much it, I think I have covered the basic stuff. If you plan well and organize stuff in a smart way, you can easily manage your living expenses in this Very Expensive city. To sum up – 550 AUD (Rent) + 30 AUD (Phone) + 60 AUD (An average amount for travel) + 100 AUD (Food) = 750 AUD should be a decent monthly expense but am sure it could shoot much above that (you’ll start spending when you start earning, so a job is a must here).
Hope this has thrown some light on how it is to live here and spend. Let me know if you guys have any questions, will be happy to answer.