Below is an estimated overview of general weekly expenses comparing a shared house, living on your own, or living on campus. This is a guide only, and costs will vary depending on your lifestyle choices and needs.
As an international student, the Department of Home Affairs has financial requirements you must meet to receive your student visa. From 1 July 2016, a single student must show they have the financial capacity to cover the living costs of at least $20,290 AUD per year. This increases for additional family members.
A great tool to help plan your budget is available on the Australian Government's MoneySmart website.
|Shared House/Unit||1 Bedroom Unit||On Campus College (Catered)||On Campus College (Self-catered)|
|Weekly Rent||$250-$350||$470-$650||$446.40 average cost approx||$388.50 average cost approx.|
|Groceries and eating out||$80 - $280||$80 - $280||$10 - $50||$80 - $280|
|Utilities (gas, electricity)||$35 - $140||$35 - $140||--||--|
|Phone and internet||$20 - $55||$20 - $55||$20 - $55||$20 - $55|
|Public transport||$15 - $55 (depending on location)||$15 - $55 (depending on location)||--||--|
|Entertainment||$80 - $150||$80 - $150||$80 - $150||$80 - $150|
|Weekly total||$480 - $1,030||$700 - $1,330||$556.40 - $701.40||$568.50 - $873.50|
|Total estimate (one academic year = 37 weeks)||$17,760 - $38,110||$25,900 - $49,210||$20,586.80 - $25,951.80||$21,034.50 - $32,319.50|
Food and groceries
Listed are some prices for commonly purchased food and grocery items. Please note that prices vary between one supermarket and another.
|1 litre of milk||$2.00|
|1 packet of noodles||$1.00|
|1 kg rice||$3.00 - $4.00|
|1 kg fresh fruit||$3.00 - $8.00|
|1 loaf of bread||$3.00 - $6.00|
|6 eggs||$3.00 - $8.00|
|4 pack soap||$3.14|
|50 ml deodorant||$4.20|
|110 ml sunscreen||$10.50|
Sydney has a variety of large supermarket stores where you can buy cold food, dry food, fruit, vegetables and household supplies. They are usually found in most major suburbs and shopping centres. You can search for store locations via their websites by entering your suburb or postcode details.
There are also smaller independent grocers, corner stores and specialty shops. It is cheaper to shop at larger supermarkets than smaller convenience stores.
Summer average high: 26 degrees Celsius
Winter average low: 8 degrees Celsius
Factsheet: Second hand furniture, crockery and clothes
Extreme temperatures are not uncommon with approximately 14 days reaching above 30 degrees Celsius during summer. Sydney can also experience cool winters with temperatures to dipping below 8 degrees overnight. Rainfall is spread throughout the year so it’s always good to have a lightweight raincoat and umbrella for all seasons use.
Make sure you bring some warm clothes with you for the winter and cooler clothing for the summer. If you need to purchase items there are plenty of places to get clothes from department stores, second-hand stores and even online stores.
Furniture and electrical
If you are moving into an already established share house, chances are there will be some common furniture and whitegoods (whitegoods are electrical items like fridges, washing machines and clothes dryers).
If you are moving into a new unit or house you will most likely need to furnish it with basic items unless otherwise specified as ‘furnished’ or ‘partly furnished’. Many rental properties do not come with a fridge or washing machine while some older units have shared laundries between all residents. When you inspect a rental property or share house/unit it is good to ask about these items in advance.
Factsheet: Second hand furniture, crockery and clothes
Cheaper new furniture
Online second hand furniture and electrical
A local council clean-up is when local residents are allowed to put larger items out for street collection such as chairs, tables and bookcases. It can be a handy and free way to pick up a piece of furniture for your new unit or house. These collections usually happen twice a year but varies from each city council. Check local area councils for dates and times of clean-up collections.
Another way to find free items is through the website Freecycle.
Fridge, washing machine and electrical rental
Utilities (banking, mobile phones, internet, power)
Australia is serviced by a number of large reputable banks with many branches throughout Sydney. You can usually open a bank account online. Some accounts attract monthly service fees if you do not deposit a certain amount each month so it is important to read fee information before opening an account. There is only one bank with a branch located on our Kensington campus, and that is the Commonwealth Bank. However, there are many ATMs on campus where you can withdraw money. If you want to visit a bank branch there are a number of different bank branches in nearby Randwick. Australia is a leader in online banking and you will be able to pay most bills and transfer money easily online with an Australian bank account.
Some providers are listed below. Please note this is not a complete list and students should make their own investigations into a suitable banking institution.
The University has free Wi-Fi on campus, however if you want internet at home you will need to contact an internet provider. Many internet providers in Australia are also mobile or fixed phone carriers and offer pre-paid or contract internet plans that you can sign up to. If you sign up to a contract service, you will receive a modem and pay a monthly rate to get a certain data allowance.
You also have the option of ‘Bundles’ with most providers where you can combine your home phone and internet together for a set monthly rate. Often this can include unlimited data, but you need to check with the company the terms and conditions, as most monthly plans have a minimum of 12 – 24 months that you are contracted to the plan.
Some internet providers are listed below, however you need to do your own research to find the best internet provider and plan that will suit your needs.
Factsheet: mobile phone stores near UNSW
Australia has several large telecommunication companies who provide mobile phone plans both pre-paid (no contract) and post-paid (with contract). Most plans include a monthly dollar value for calls and text messages and a certain data amount. These prices remain fixed when talking or texting anyone in Australia; however, international calls and text messages attract higher costs. It is important to consider your budget and whether you will be using your own compatible handset on an Australian mobile phone plan. To get a mobile phone plan, visit one of the store locations of the companies below and make sure to take identification with you.
TIP: Pre-paid options help you budget your spending on your mobile phone as you pay for phone credit upfront.
Fixed landline home phones
If your property has a working home phone line socket you can usually connect a landline phone. If you intend to have a fixed home phone line make sure you ask if the property has a working phone line before moving in. The advantages of a home phone are cheaper local and international calls than a mobile phone. You will still pay a monthly access fee and may be required to enter into a contract for 12 – 24 months.
TIP: Think about bundling home phone and internet into a package with one provider for a better deal.
Some home phone providers:
Gas and electricity
You will need to get your electricity connected as soon as you move into a rented property. In some cases you will need to also get gas connected for stove tops, ovens and sometimes hot water systems. Ask about gas and electricity when you are inspecting rental properties and share houses. Budget between $35 - $140 a week for energy costs.
TIP: Avoid using clothes dryers as they increase electricity bills substantially.
Some gas and electricity companies:
If you are renting an apartment you will not be required to pay for water usage. If you are renting a house you will be required to pay for water on a quarterly basis (every 3 months) unless otherwise indicated in the tenancy agreement. Water usage will vary on the number of tenants so budget about $20 - $50 a month for water usage in an entire house.
TIP: If you are in a house and paying for water usage, make sure you keep your showers to 5 minutes or under.