Student Finance: Cost of Living in Perth

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Reem Mohamed

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26 December, 2022

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6 mins read

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Student Finance

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With 300 days of sunshine annually, hospitable and welcoming locals, loads of history, and a vibrant atmosphere, Perth is an inviting city with something for everyone! Known as Australia’s urban oasis, Perth is tucked away amid Western Australia's enormous wilderness. The city is a relaxed one with stunning landmarks and a thriving cultural scene. 

Perth, Australia’s Education City, offers convenient, economic, and affordable living for local and international students. The city is known for its strong economy, top-ranked universities, low unemployment rate, and State-Nomination Migration Programs, all of which make it a desirable destination among over 35,000 international students. 

The challenge of living in a foreign city on a student budget is not an easy one, this is why it’s always important to be prepared. The cost of living in Perth is considerably affordable, making it easy for you to stay on budget and manage your finances well in the city. Join us as we dissect all the places where your money would be spent in Perth! 

Tuition Fees in perth

Cost of Living in Perth 

Being cheaper than almost 50% of the cities in Australia, the cost of living in Perth averages around AU$ 2,800 per month. This estimate is set to cover basic living expenses, including rent, utilities, transportation, food, groceries, and entertainment. It does not, however, account for tuition fees or any additional study expenses. Here is a breakdown of the cost of living in Perth! 

University or College Tuition Fees

Perth is home to several top-ranked universities and renowned learning institutions, including Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, the University of Notre Dame, Perth, and the University of Western Australia

Tuition fees in Perth, while not included in the estimated monthly cost of living, should be known beforehand anyways. These fees differ according to the type of study program or degree you’re enrolled in. Here are some of the degrees and their corresponding fees in Perth. 

  • English language studies: An average of AU$ 300 per week (depending on the length of the course).

  • Vocational Education and Training (Certificates I to IV, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma): AU$ 4,000 to Au$ 22,000.

  • Undergraduate Bachelor Degree: AU$ 15,000 to AU$ 33,000.

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree: AU$ 20,000 to AU$ 37,000.

  • PhDs: AU$ 14,000 to AU$ 37,000.

Student Travel and Transportation in Perth

Getting around the city of Perth should also be factored into your student budget. The city has a highly extensive transport system that includes buses, trains, and ferries. A monthly ticket for public transport in Perth costs around AU$ 168, while a taxi trip on a business day in basic traffic will cost you an estimated AU$ 23. 

Rent and Utilities

While studying in Perth, you can either live in on-campus or off-campus student accommodation, both come with different price ranges, with on-campus accommodation being slightly cheaper. Generally, student accommodation in Perth averages around AU$ 70 - AU$ 400. Renting a single room in a PBSA (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation) costs about AU$ 195 with utilities included. In case utilities are not included, they usually total up to AU$ 147 on their own. 

Grocery Shopping 

Grocery shopping in the city costs around AU$ 60 - AU$ 80 from the total cost of living in Perth for international students. Here is a breakdown of some grocery products as well as some personal care products and their prices in grocery stores in Perth. 

  • 1 litre of whole fat milk: AU$ 1.79

  • 500 grams of boneless chicken breast: AU$ 7

  • 12 large eggs: AU$ 5.88

  • 500 grams of local cheese: AU$ 10

  • Bread for two people: AU$ 2

  • 1 kg of potatoes: AU$ 3.42

  • 1 kg of apples: AU$ 4.93

  • 2 litres of coca-cola: AU$ 3.11

  • 50 ml deodorant: AU$ 4.39

  • 400 ml shampoo: AU$ 5.87

  • 4 rolls of toilet paper: AU$ 3

  • Tube of toothpaste: AU$ 3.58

Delivery, Takeout, and Eating Out

On busy days, when you don’t have time to cook or prepare a meal for yourself, you find yourself ordering food, or opting to get takeout on the way home, or even stepping into a restaurant to eat with your friends. This all comes at a price, and you should definitely make room for this in your budget as it affects the Perth cost of living. Here are some meal prices in the city! 


  • Basic lunchtime meal in the business district: AU$ 22

  • Combo meal in a fast food restaurant: AU$ 12

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

  • Dinner for two at a fancy restaurant: AU$ 107

  • A cappuccino: AU$ 5

Entertaining Yourself in Perth

The student life in Perth is vibrant and busy, allowing you to engage in an array of activities throughout your study period. Unfortunately, like everything else, this also comes at a price. Worry not, though, as an affordable city, Perth prides itself on having accessible entertainment activities and venues that are within reach, some of which are even free. Here are some of the numbers regarding entertaining yourself in Perth. 

  • Movie ticket: AU$ 18.5 

  • A cocktail drink in a downtown club: AU$ 19

  • A beer in a neighbourhood pub: AU$ 11

Retail Shopping

Shopping for clothes might be the thing that makes a bigger dent than most in the total cost of living in Perth. Buying clothes, like a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes for example, from well-known brands or famous retailers can cost a bit over AU$ 200. 

Ways to Save Money as a Student in Perth

The cost of living in Perth is pretty affordable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money while studying there. Often, students misunderstand the concept of saving money or following a budget and interpret it as depriving themselves of luxuries, which is definitely not the case. Here are some of the ways through which you can save money while still getting the full student experience in Perth! 

1. Make a Timely Plan

Making a plan, or in other words, setting a budget, for a specific period of time is a helpful start to learning how to better manage your money. A budget or a detailed plan that includes all the expected expenses to be paid over an estimated time period helps you manage and track your spending activity, which in turn not only helps you save money but also allows you to have enough leftover money to treat yourself with! 

2. Travel Green

The greener you travel, the more you contribute positively to the environment and the more money you save in the process. While buying monthly tickets or investing in public transport cards like the SmartRider card will save you money, travelling green will save you even more! Cycling or walking to your university or simply just to run errands is the way to go when you want to spare some cash!

3. Shop Smart

Grocery and clothes shopping take up a big chunk of your budget, this is why it’s always essential to find more ways to shop smart and savvy. Smart shopping can be done in many ways, including shopping in bulk, shopping at stores that offer student discounts, buying secondhand items, buying store-brand items instead of splurging on brand names, and planning your shopping trips around the holidays where discounts are at their peak. 

4. Cook Your Own Food

This might sound a bit hard or challenging, especially with the hectic schedule of an international student. However, cooking your own food, or meal prepping, is a quick and easy process that helps you save money, time, and energy. 

All you need is a weekend trip to the grocery store, and then you cook easy meals that can be reheated and had at any time throughout the week. It saves you takeout money on days when you don’t have time to cook, and you always have a ready meal in the fridge! 

5. Find a Job

Again, this might prove challenging, especially on a tight schedule like yours. However, applying for a part-time job will greatly benefit you in more ways than one. You get to save money, gain experience, add to your CV, and improve your overall skills, what a win! 

Working as an international student in Perth means you can either have an on-campus job, like a receptionist, a tutor, a librarian, or an assistant, or an off-campus job like a barista or a server. In case you don’t have the time to go somewhere and work, you might want to check out these earning apps for students!

6. Cash in All Your Student Discounts

One of the perks of being a student in Perth is access to student discounts, you can reap the benefits of your student ID, which grants you a number of discounts at various places. You can get discounts on food, drinks, clothes, groceries, books, transportation, university supplies, and much more. Do not miss out on the chance to have free or discounted services and use your university ID as much as you can! 

As the education city of Australia, Perth is known for its affordability and the way it accommodates both local and international students. Your life in the city is guaranteed to be smooth-sailing, especially now that you have a guide to the cost of living in Perth. What’s the hold up now? Perth awaits! 


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