Cost of living

In addition to paying course fees, the Australian Government estimates that the average living cost for an international student is A$18,000 - A$20,000 per year ($A350 - A$400 per week). This pays for accommodation, food, telephone, gas, electricity, transport and spending money.

Your living costs could be higher or lower than this, depending on the lifestyle that you live.



Guide to living costs for one week

ItemWeekly Cost Range (Aus dollars)
Accommodation (house or apartment shared with others)$100-$150
Food: meals and groceries$90-$100
Utilities: telephone, electricity, gas (shared costs with others)$20 - $40
Public Transport$30-$50
Spending money: entertainment, clothing, personal items$50-$60

Estimates of common expenses

ItemCost (Australian dollars)
Cinema/movie ticket$12 (student concession)
Dinner (restaurant)$18-$35+
Lunch (cafe)$10-15+

Note: All costs are in Australian dollars and are provided as a guide only.


There are a large number of local and foreign banks and other financial institutions in Australia.

When you open a bank account you must bring identification with you (birth certificate, passport or visa). The bank may also ask you for a Tax File Number which you can get from the Australian Taxation Office.

When choosing your bank and bank account:

  • Compare interest rates, fees and charges at different banks. Some banks provide students with accounts where fees are not charged.
  • Ask whether you can transfer money from your home country directly into your bank account by telegraphic transfer.
  • Ask what fee the bank charges for transferring or receiving funds.

After you open an account at the bank you will be issued with an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card. You can use this to get money from ATM machines or use your ATM card to pay for things. You can arrange money from your home country to be transferred directly into your bank account. A telegraphic transfer takes 2 to 4 working days to be deposited into your account. Your Australian bank will also charge a fee of between A$5 - A$10 for transferring funds.

Banking hours are usually Monday to Thursday, 9.00am to 4.00pm and Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm. Some banks/building societies are open on Saturday mornings. Many banks have ATM machines which you can use 24 hours each day to withdraw cash.

Shopping in Sydney

Supermarkets sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, frozen foods, canned goods, bread, paper products, stationery, personal needs and some non-prescription medicines.

Department and variety stores sell products including clothing, furniture, cutlery, gifts and shoes at a fixed price. Compare price and quality and look out for store sales when goods are discounted.


The Australian dollar (AUD) is based on the decimal system with 100 cents to the dollar. Australian currency is available as plastic notes and coins in the following values:

  • Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
  • Gold coins: $1, $2
  • Silver coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c

Most stores also accept credit cards and debit cards.

Large businesses, including telephone, gas and electricity companies, also allow you to pay bills directly from your Australian bank account, by telephone or internet.

Budget tips for students

  • To set up your home on a budget consider buying second hand furniture and items on popular free website  and check out ‘For Sale’ notices on campus noticeboards.
  • Save money when you shop for food by shopping at the end of the day when the supermarkets discount fresh food. If you’ve got storage space, buy staples like rice in bulk.
  • Cook and prepare food yourself! Make your own lunches and bring a water bottle or flask when you’re out and about.
  • If you’ve got access to a freezer you can freeze cooked meals for later and keep bread for toast or sandwiches.
  • Take advantage of student discounts on movie tickets and shows.

Our CRICOS Provider Code is 00591E and CRICOS Provider Name is TAFE NSW - Technical & Further Education Commission.


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