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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.

A useful budgeting tool is available to help you manage your income and expenditure. 

For international students, the Department of Home Affairs have financial obligations you must comply with. As a single student you must be able to show you have the financial capacity to cover living costs of at least $20,290 Australian dollars per year. There are additional costs for extra family members. 

Therefore, using this amount as a guide, a single student living away from home will require at least $1,690 per month for accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment. NOTE: Actual costs will depend on your lifestyle choices and needs. 

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 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.

NOTE: Listed costs are indicative only and based on the information from the websites/sources listed. Prices in Sydney may differ and we strongly encourage you to do your own research. 


Student Accommodation

Accommodation specifically for university students typically provides a furnished room including bed and desk. You will most likely need to provide your own bedding, towels etc. See the University of Sydney 2018 Accommodation Guide (PDF 2.2MB) for further details and costs regarding: 

  • Accommodation in a studio or shared apartment in University of Sydney-owned residences costs between $205 - $431 per week. 
  • Residential colleges are private colleges on campus and cost between $397 - $687 per week, which includes three meals per day. 
  • Other independently-run student housing costs between $90 - $616 per week for options including self-contained studios, shared apartments and shared cooperative housing. 


The Sydney Homestay website suggests students can expect to pay between $195 - $500 per week, depending on your location and boarding arrangement. 

Private rental

According to the website, Sydney Moving Costs approximate costs for accommodation in the Sydney property market can cost between $350 - $570 per week for a one bedroom apartment (after set up costs). Renting a private room in a shared rental property generally costs between $300 - $400. Flatmates and Flatmate Finders are popular sites to locate shared rental accommodation. Student Accommodation Services also have a database of private rentals that you can search. 

Remember to budget for setting-up costs:

  • 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 lease preparation, 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. 

Utilities and communication

  • The cost of electricity and gas in a rental property will vary depending on how many people with whome you're splitting the bill and your usage. Expect to pay between $35 - $140 per week for energy.
  • Water usage is payable in certain types of properties. Tenants in an apartment or shared dwelling typically do not have to pay water rates, and not all properties require gas. 
  • Mobile phone and internet costs are usually between $20 - $55 per week, depending on which company you are with and what type of plan you are on. Visit the 'You Compare' website to compare different companies plans. 

Additional living costs

The Study in Australia website estimates general living costs for students, including:

Food and groceries

  • A weekly grocery bill for one person is usually between $80 - $280. You can save money by buying groceries at supermarkets including Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. Shopping at fresh food markets like Paddy's Market can save you money too. 
  • Buying lunch on campus is a more expensive option, with most meals costing $10 -15 each. Buy a USU ACCESS Card to purchase food and drinks at USU food outlets on campus to save around 15%. 

Lifestyle expenses

  • Put aside around $80 - $150 per week for entertainment and socialising. Lots of places including movie cinemas offer student discounts so keep your student card with you. 
  • Don't forget to budget for other incidental expenses like clothes, shoes and toiletries. 
  • Expenses may vary depending on your lifestyle. 

Academic Support

  • You may need to purchase equipment for university, including stationary and study materials such as textbooks and laboratory coats. Essential items are listed in your Unit of Study Outline. You can find information about where to buy them and costs on the Getting Started website. It is suggested that you have at least $500 available at the beginning of each semester and keep an eye out for second-hand textbooks and supplies to save money. 
  • Printing and photocopying cost around 10 cents per page. Further details about printing on campus are available on the ICT website
  • According to Tutor Finder private tutoring costs range from $50 - $80 an hour, but free tutoring and mentoring support may be available through the University. 


  • Access public transport with an Opal card. You can order a card online or buy from a registered retailer. Single trip tickets are available at retailers and train stations. 
  • If you’re a full-time domestic student, you may be eligible for a Concession Opal. Have your student card with you as proof whenever you travel. 
  • NOTE: International students are currently not eligible for concession tickets. Fare prices are listed on the Opal website.


  • Overseas Student Health Cover is compulsory for international students. Costs will depend on your insurance provider and your level of cover. 2017 rates per month for the Essentials Policy from Allianz range from $55 for singles to $312 for Multi Family coverage. Check with your insurance provider for rates for your selected cover. 
  • You may have additional costs including fees for specialists and prescription medications. 
  • Alternative forms of coverage are available for non-student visa holders. Please check with a provider for details. 


According to Care for Kids:

  • The average cost of long daycare (8am to 6pm) in Sydney are approximately between $70 - $190 per day. Some students may be eligible for government subsidies. 
  • Before school and after school care costs around $15 - $30 per day. 
  • Public school tuition is free for Australian permanent residents; however uniforms and levies can cost about $500 a year. 
  • Private schools may charge additional fees. 
  • If you're an international student with school-age dependents in Australia, visit the Department of Education website for approximate costs of schooling.