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Living costs

Planning for everyday expenses and accommodation

Keep to a realistic budget by understanding the costs you're likely to face as a student in Sydney.

As a guide, a single student living away from home will spend anywhere between $1400 and $2000 every month on accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment.

Keeping the costs down

Many of these expenses are unavoidable, but by shopping around, doing your research, and finding efficient ways to cut down on energy and hot-water usage, you can keep bills to a minimum.

If you experience financial difficulties while studying, we may be able to offer you an interest-free loan or bursary. Contact our Scholarships and Financial Support Service for advice.

Weekly expenses

Whether you’re moving here from overseas, interstate, or you’ve grown up in Sydney, there are various weekly outgoings you'll need to budget for.

Our estimated prices are indicative only. We strongly encourage you to do your own research.


  • Rental properties in the student market can cost between $220 and $600 per week for a self-contained studio, apartment or house.
  • A private room in a shared property generally costs between $200 and $400.
  • Homestay students can expect to pay between $150 and $270, depending on your boarding arrangement.
  • Residential colleges on campus cost between $420 and $550, which includes three meals per day.

Groceries and food

  • A weekly grocery bill for one person is usually between $100 and $130.
  • Buying lunch on campus is a more expensive option, with most meals costing $10-15.
  • Put aside another $40 per week for miscellaneous items such as toiletries and household products.


  • The cost of electricity and gas in a rental property will vary depending on how many with whom you're splitting the bill. A studio apartment with one tenant will use $10-15 of electricity every week.
  • Gas and water are payable in certain types of properties. Tenants in an apartment or shared dwelling do not have to pay water rates, and not all properties require gas.
  • Broadband internet starts at around $12.50 per week.
  • Post-paid phone plans start at $7.50 per week (SIM card only).



  • These expenses will come down to personal lifestyle and choice. As a rough guide, budget $80-100 per week for socialising and entertainment.



  • Long daycare (8am to 6pm) costs up to $300 per week (after government subsidies).
  • Before-school and after-school care costs around $80 per week.
  • Public school tuition is free for Australian permanent residents, however uniforms and levies can cost about $500 a year.
  • If you're an international student with school-age dependants in Australia, find out about the costs of schooling here.

Academic support

  • Printing, photocopying, stationery and other study incidentals can cost about $15 per week.
  • Private tutoring cosys about $80 an hour, but free tutoring and mentoring support may be available through the University.
  • Depending on your course, you may also need to budget for textbooks, lab/medical equipment or clothing, calculators, software and other course-specific materials. Your faculty can offer advice on what to expect.

One-off expenses

Remember to budget for setting-up costs.

  • Travel-related expenses, such as airfares, a removalist, and temporary accommodation on arrival
  • Rental bond – typically four weeks’ rent upfront, plus two weeks’ rent in advance. This can be higher if you’re living in a furnished property.
  • Installation and connection costs and administrative fees, such as connecting electricity, internet and gas
  • New or second-hand furniture if you’re moving into an unfurnished property
  • White goods, such as a refrigerator, microwave oven, laundry, and any household items not included with your rental property
  • Specific course-related costs (aside from your tuition fees), such as textbooks, unit-of-study notes, lab/medical equipment or clothing, calculators or software.