Cost of Living in Sydney for International Students

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Hagar Samir

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24 September, 2023

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6 mins read

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Sydney is one of Australia’s largest cities and the capital of New South Wales; it is famous for its harborfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. The city is a tourist destination, drawing in tourists from all over the world. It is also best known for being one of the most liveable cities in the world because of its diversity, culture, and artistic scenery.

Home to the University of Sydney, the city is making itself more attractive for international students looking for the best quality of education. This is also in addition to the several world-renowned universities. That’s why there are a huge number of international students living and studying in Sydney.

Because of how famous Sydney is, it’s also known that the city is very expensive. So, with a high cost of living, staying on a budget as a student is not easy. Students always have to prepare themselves and make sure that they’re aware of everything they’re spending. You don’t have to worry about savings that much while you’re abroad; if you can, that’s great! However, not being able to save does not mean that you’re planning poorly. We’ve gathered a list of the most important things you pay for and the Sydney cost of living!

Sydney cost living

Sydney Cost of Living 

As a famous city in Australia, it’s expected that students will need to spend much more money, which is right. It’s known that Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in Australia; students spend around AU$ 74,052 per year, which is around AU$ 6,171 monthly. The average cost of living in a city like Perth is around AU$ 2,800 per month. This cost of living in Sydney is for basic living expenses like rent, utilities, transportation, food, and groceries.

University and Tuition Fees

Sydney houses a variety of high-quality educational institutions and universities, including the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, and Western Sydney University. 

Aside from scholarships, students should always know their tuition fees, aside from their Sydney cost of living. Of course, these fees are a rough estimate, and they differ from one university to another, one programme to another, and one course to another. Some of the degrees include:

  • Architecture, design, and planning: For undergraduate studies, students pay around AU$ 69,984 yearly. As for postgraduates, they pay around AU$ 66,874 per year. 

  • Arts and Social Sciences: Undergraduates pay around AU$  66,000, while postgraduates pay AU$ 71,000. 

  • Business: Undergraduates pay around AU$ 74,000, while postgraduate students pay AU$ 80,000 yearly. 

  • Dentistry: Undergraduate students spend around AU$ 80,000, while postgraduates pay AU$ 113,000 per year.

  • Pharmacy: The average tuition cost for an undergraduate student is AU$ 80,000, while postgraduate students pay AU$ 83,000 yearly.

Student Travel and Transportation in Sydney 

While budgeting, students should always include transportation. Some students do not give much thought to transportation, while, in fact, it could cost them a huge part of their monthly budget. A monthly ticket for public transport in Sydney costs around AU$ 183, while a taxi trip on a business day costs AU$ 28.

Sydney cost living

Rent and Utilities 

The cost of living in Australia usually does not include rent and utilities. While studying in Sydney, students have the option to live on-campus or off-campus. They both differ according to which room type they choose. In general, the monthly rent for an 85 m2 furnished accommodation in an expensive area costs around AU$ 5,846, while in a normal area, it could cost around AU$ 3,972. Casita, our accommodation marketplace, offers a wide range of accommodation options in case students want to go that way! These options include Scape Darling House, Western Sydney UV Parramatta, and UNSW Village.

Grocery Shopping 

Groceries differ according to what students want to buy; on average, they cost around AUD$300 per month. We’ve done a breakdown of the necessities that students always pay for each month; they include:

  • 1 litre of whole-fat milk: AU$ 1.91

  • 500 grammes of boneless chicken breast: AU$ 7

  • 12 large eggs: AU$ 7

  • 500 grammes of local cheese: AU$ 13

  • Bread for two people: AU$ 3.24

  • 1 kg of potatoes: AU$ 4.05

  • 1 kg of apples: AU$ 4.36

  • 2 litres of coca-cola: AU$ 3.97

  • 50 ml deodorant: AU$ 4.36

  • 400 ml shampoo: AU$ 5.72

  • 4 rolls of toilet paper: AU$ 3.43

  • Tube of toothpaste: AU$ 4.10

Sydney cost living

Food and Restaurants 

It’s okay to order food every now and then; however, don’t make a habit out of it; you’ll end up spending more money than you should. You have to add in your budget the cost of eating out, which is why we’ve put together a list of the foods students normally get for you to check out while budgeting your Sydney cost of living!

  • Basic lunchtime meal, including a drink, in the business district: AU$ 24

  • Combo meal in a fast food restaurant: AU$ 15

  • Dinner for two in a neighbourhood pub: AU$ 65

  • Dinner for two at a fancy restaurant, like an Italian restaurant: AU$ 110

  • A cup of cappuccino: AU$ 5.49


Sydney is one of the most popular cities in the world, which is why it’s easy to find entertainment in the city! Students can easily find things to enjoy while staying in Sydney that are within their cost of living in Sydney! We’ve gathered some of the most entertaining things to be enjoyed in Sydney! Here are some of the most entertaining things in Sydney:

  • Two tickets to a movie: AU$ 45

  • A cocktail drink in the downtown club: AU$ 23

  • A beer in a neighbourhood pub: AU$ 11

Clothes and Shoes 

Not all students usually go shopping while studying abroad; however, if you ever feel the need to buy new clothes, it’s important to know that it’s on the pricier side of the Sydney cost of living. For example, buying one pair of jeans can cost up to AU$ 119.17. A summer dress costs around AU$ 90, a pair of running shoes AU$ 178, and a pair of leather shoes AU$ 209.

How to Save Money in Sydney 

Because of the high cost of living in Sydney, it’s important to set a budget for yourself and to know the exact cost of Living in Sydney. Of course, this does not mean that you never get anything for yourself! Budgeting means spending your money wisely and hopefully saving some. We’ve gathered a list of tips to help you save money in this Sydney cost of living guide!

1. Choose an All-Inclusive Accommodation 

Choosing a Sydney student accommodation option that offers all-inclusive utility bills will save a lot of money and will prevent you from making any miscalculations or paying any extra fees! Luckily, there are several places where you can browse and choose a suitable accommodation option, including Casita, which offers a lot of housing options close to all universities in Sydney. These options include:

Western Sydney UV Penrith

Western Sydney UV Penrith is a Sydney student accommodation that provides students with housing close to their respective universities and institutions. The student accommodation offers a wide range of rooms for students to choose from, suiting different needs, budgets, and preferences. All units are furnished at the building and come with a single bed, a wardrobe, a workspace, a TV, a coffee table, two shared bathrooms, and a kitchen with a fridge, a microwave, an oven, a dining table, and chairs.

Sydney cost living

2. Set a Budget for Yourself 

Make a plan to know how much you spend each month. It’s important that you add up how much you spend on necessities and entertainment! If you make a plan that doesn’t include an outing every now and then, you’ll be fooling yourself and not making an actual budget plan! It’s also important to track your spending activities in order to help you plan better for the next month.

3. Pay on Time 

It’s important to pay all of your bills on time to avoid any extra fees. Always keep track of your bills, preferably at the beginning of the month, to help yourself remember to pay on time. After you pay, plan what you’re going to do with the rest of your money according to what this month needs.

Sydney cost living

4. Eat at Home 

We know that not everyone knows how to cook, but it’s important to make a meal plan for yourself, at least because eating out all the time will result in poor budgeting. If you spend around AU$ 15 every day for only one meal, how will you be able to pay for the rest of your necessities effectively? Still, if you want to treat yourself to a meal out, there are several places where you can eat in Sydney.

5. Do the 50/30/20 Rule

The 50/30/20 rule is a budgeting plan that mainly means dividing your money into three categories: needs, wants, and savings. Add 50% to your needs, 30% to your wants, and 20% to your savings.

Living abroad is not easy; it’s challenging to find the right balance while also studying and creating a future for yourself. This is why it’s good to plan everything beforehand and to also talk to others who have already travelled before. It’s not an easy process, but it’s doable and manageable. Good luck!


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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to live in Sydney as an international student?

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The average cost of living in Sydney ranges from AU$ 1,985 to AU$ 2,216 per month. Of course, this differs according to the month and the conditions of the student.

Which city is cheapest for international students in Australia?

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Adelaide is known to have the lowest cost of living in Australia. The average monthly cost of living for students who choose to live in the city centre is AU$ 2,100 (rent included). This is less than Sydney's average cost of living by 27%.

Can international students work in Sydney?

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Student visa holders can work in Sydney. Working is another effective way of making money as a student living abroad.

Do international students pay more in Australia?

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Students will pay more in Melbourne, Sydney, and Queensland. This is because they are the most famous and important cities in Australia.