Expats Tell Us What Their Living Costs In Australia Look Like
If you’re trying to calculate Australian bills and Australia living costs for when you move here, or if you’re wondering how to pay bills in general, we’ve broken it all down in this post.
And if you’re wondering how to pay bills online in Australia when you’re low on cash, make sure you check out Deferit, a genius bill paying app, which we’ll talk more about later in this post.
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Australia Living Costs: How Expensive Is Australia To Live In?
It’s true when people say Australia is so expensive, but how expensive is it when you actually live here? It’s probably no wonder Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, and is currently the third most expensive city to live in the world behind Vancouver and Hong Kong according to this report.
When we moved back to UK for six months back in 2018, I was shocked to see that it actually seemed like it was more expensive to live in UK than it is in Australia. So I wrote all about the cost of living between Australia and UK here.
But when it comes to the finer details, we felt like we needed to break it down so you’ll know how much to expect to pay for bills – because bills in Australia actually differ a fair bit compared to in England.
So we asked our readers how much their Australian bills cost each month and I tell you what, it was so fascinating to see what everyone said which we’ll share with you in this post.
A house in Glebe.
Unfortunately housing isn’t the best in Australia, unless you’re happy to pay a lot for it. All I can say is, say goodbye to double glazing or insulation as it doesn’t exist.
Monthly rent can vary so much depending on what suburb you’re based in Sydney and more annoyingly rent is always calculated in a weekly amount.
For example, a small two bed apartment in Bondi averages around $800 a week. And generally a one bedroom apartment costs anything between $450-$600+ in Sydney but don’t expect it to be big.
What our readers said The average cost our readers spend on rent each month is between $2000-$2500. 14% spend over $3500 a month whilst one person told us they spend nearly a whopping $6000 a month on rent.
Other readers who have a mortgage pay anywhere between $1300 – $4000 a month for their homes.
When we rented in Sydney, we paid anything from $470 a week for a one bed (Kirribilli and Cammeray) and then $620 a week for a two bed in Neutral Bay.
How Much Do House Bills Cost In Australia?
An iconic ocean view Bondi Beach building.
There’s not as many utility Australian bills to pay as many rent costs include water.
Gas Bills In Australia
Whilst not every place in Australia has gas because it’s a rarity to actually see any central heating over here, your monthly bills might be less than you think.
What our readers said Most of our readers told us they pay between $50 and $100 a month for gas.
Electricity Bills In Australia
Electricity bills in Australia can vary massively, especially if you have reversible aircon.
What our readers said Most of our readers pay around $100 a month for their electricity bill although it can go up to a good $250 during the hot summer months.
One of our readers said they have to save an extra $200-$250 a month for the hot summer months and cold months because it can be freezing indoors during Winter due to the lack of quality built housing.
Water Bills In Australia
Whilst most rental properties in Australia don’t charge for water, if you do have to pay for it, our readers mentioned it’s around $30 a month.
Weekly Food Shop Costs in Australia
One thing that will surprise many people is how expensive food shops are in Australia. We find Aldi is the cheapest Australian supermarket, followed by Coles and then Woolies.
Don’t let Aldi fool you though, the quality of Aldi fresh food and products are a million miles better than what they sell in their UK stores.
Steve and I shop mostly at Aldi and we still spend around $125 a week on food each. We do spend around $30 a week on boxed spring water because we both suffer from terrible gut issues so our combined weekly shop is around $250. We also plan our meals so we buy the right amount of food – something I must admit we’ve only started doing in the last few months.
What our readers said It turns out Steve & I must spend a lot on our food shops because our readers mostly spend around $300 each a month on theirs. But we did have a few readers who said they spend more than $1200 on their monthly food shops too. Make sure you let us know your food shopping hacks in the comments at the end of this post.
How Much Is Internet?
The old workers cottages are still hanging around in Glebe!
Let’s be honest, internet in Australia isn’t the best. When we first moved back here, we wondered what was going on because it just kept dropping out all of the time. Then we remembered this is just Australian internet. I don’t think it really matters which provider you go with to be honest, they are pretty much the same.
Because we travel around Australia a lot and we both work online, we actually pay a whopping $200 a month on two hub spots. This means that as long as there is phone reception, we have access to the internet. And I must admit it’s really fast and never drops out.
What our readers said Most of our readers pay around $60-$70 a month for internet in Australia
Mobile Phone Costs In Australia
Row of houses in Paddington.
Mobile phone plans can vary loads. I must admit, I’ve never gone onto a mobile phone contract in the 8 years I’ve been in Australia. For some reason, I’ve always stuck with a pre-paid plan instead and I pay $30 a month.
What our readers said Most pay over $50 a month for their plans with the majority spending more than $100 a month. If you’re lucky, a phone plan might be included in your work contract.
Joining a gym is a standard thing that most people do when they move to Australia as the country seems to make you actually want to get fit in a good way. You can get away with skipping gym membership as you can do your cardio outside and use the many outdoor gyms scattered around Sydney or any other city.
When I first moved to Sydney, I managed to get six months worth of gym membership for FREE. Do you know how I did it? I literally scoped out all of the gyms in Sydney CBD who offer free weekly passes and I managed to get six months worth for free just by going along to a different gym each week.
Most gyms will offer either a three day free pass or a week free. I spent about 10 minutes with a gym dude whilst he did his sales pitch on me but to be honest with gyms, it’s like you need to try it out before you commit. That was always my reasoning behind it 😉
What our readers said Gym membership in Australia can vary massively. From what our readers said, their gym membership ranges from $20 a week up to a whopping $900 a month for gym & personal trainer. So my gym hack I mentioned above might be worth pursuing to try before you commit to this direct debit every month.
We all know Australian TV isn’t the best and it’s what most expats complain about the most when living in paradise. The great news is you don’t need to pay for a TV licence in Australia like you do in UK!
Netflix is obviously a given for every household these days so you’ll be looking at paying around $13 a month for it.
What our readers said It turns out many of our readers also pay around $80 a month for Foxtel – Australia’s version to Sky TV which has access to more British TV (not a lot though).
A lot of expats also pay for a VPN so you can watch British TV even though we do get a fair few British TV Shows on free to view Australian TV. VPNS can be anywhere from free up to $150 a year. This is definitely something I’ve been meaning to look into for ages now!
Car Insurance, Rego And Tolls
King Street, Newtown, Sydney
If you’re reading this post before your big move over to Australia and you’re wondering whether you need a car, personally I have no idea what we would do otherwise.
Although I can’t speak for other cities, in Sydney you would want to get public transport to work because carparks in the middle of Sydney CBD are beyond crazy expensive during the week (but actually cheap on the weekend).
On the weekends, almost everyone drives everywhere because it tends to be much quicker to get around. Also, to me, the best part about Sydney isn’t in the city itself, it’s the surrounding areas (although the city is beautiful).
The amount of absolutely amazing secluded beaches, hikes and waterfalls to check out near to Sydney is unbelievable. Trust me, there is more to Sydney than Bondi Beach that it won’t be long before you want to buy a car and go exploring.
What our readers said So there’s quite a few things to consider when it comes to getting around Sydney in particular.
Car rego tends to be around $800 a year whilst insurance is around $70 a month (we pay that too with AAMI who have been excellent so far).
Then you have to factor in your drivers licence which costs $50 a year or you can buy it for three years or longer to make it cheaper.
Our readers also mentioned they can pay up to $100 a month on tolls. Be careful with this because Sydney charges a fortune to drive around the CBD.
We recently got a new car and didn’t have an E Tag (which you’ll need when driving Sydney roads) and when we got the bill through for what was meant to be a $3.75 toll, they added on a $10 admin fee. We crossed like 7 tolls during that weekend and as you can imagine, those small fees with a admin fee on top for every toll added up very fast.
Get yourself an Opal Card when you arrive which is the equivalent to an Oyster Card to use on Sydney buses and trains. It’s capped at $50 a week meaning you’ll never spend more than that when using Sydney transport during the week.
It’s also worth a mention on Sundays travel won’t cost more than $2.80 to anywhere in the Sydney area which also includes Blue Mountains and Newcastle which is amazing! So yeah public transport is really cheap in Australia. I still can’t believe I paid $1000 a month to travel to work when I lived back in UK.
Kids Costs In Australia
It’s kinda mad to think how much fees cost when you have kids in Australia. It’s been an eye opener to read what our readers had to say about how expensive it is just to send a child to school here.
What our readers said Something that might not be mentioned very much on the internet is Australian school fees. It’s not the same as England where you have the choice to send you child to a state school or a private school.
In Australia you have to pay to send your kid to a state school. Expect to pay around $5,600 a year per child just to send them to school. One reader told us they spend $17,000 a year just to send their three kids to school.
Nursery fees are also expensive in Australia as one reader told us how they spend $180 a day on it.
Whilst another reader told us they have to save $1000 just for their kids activities for the year.
Health Insurance In Australia
Whilst you should be able to get yourself a Medicare card in Australia, a lot of people take out health insurance unless your work includes it in your salary.
You’ll need to find a Bulk Bill Doctor which basically means a free doctor with your Medicare card. If you want to see a private doctor, they usually charge around $80 but you’ll get like nearly half of it back on your credit card when you present your Medicare card. It’s kinda weird and I’ve never understood why they charge the full amount and then reimburse the rest.
What our readers said Most people pay between $100-$200 a month for health insurance. One reader said they pay $180 a month for the most basic health care package purely because Medicare won’t pay for an ambulance if you need to call for one.
Australia Living Costs Summary
After giving you a loosely based picture on how much your bills will cost, here’s a summary so you can get a clearer idea.
AVERAGE MONTHLY COST
$300 (per person)
Transport To Work
To Send 1 Child To School
$180 (a day)
How To Pay Bills In Australia
A lot of bills in Australia such as; water, electricity and gas can hit you up with quarterly payments. But, what if you just don’t have the money to pay them when they come through? Or just in general, what if you’re just not on top of your finances (I’m totally guilty of this!), and you need a hand from time to time?
We wanted to introduce you to Deferit which is an awesome, ethically responsible Australian company who pay your bills for you, and you just pay them back in four fortnightly instalments.
Wondering what the catch is? You just pay Deferit a measly $5 a month only when you need them to pay your bills. There’s no interest, no hidden fees and no late fees from them. Ever.
Sounds a bit mad, right? Deferit was purely started to help people like us all who need a hand from time to time to just get by. They don’t encourage you to spend more at all, in fact they have a strict policy about NOT paying off credit card bills, rent, loans or discretionary items. Instead, Deferit are interested in helping you out with your other bills like; utility bills, car rego, phone and internet.
Do you know what we love about this genius bills paying app? All you need to do is just take a photo of your bill and upload it to Deferit. Then the rest is taken care of! You’ll even find out on that same day when they’ve paid your bill for you as the team are based in Australia so they work on the same time as you do.
So let’s bring down that $300 million Australians pay in late fees every year because it’s all about getting smarter with paying your bills now that we finally have access to Deferit.
Our Australia living costs post is brought to you thanks to Deferit. All words are my own.
Australia Living Costs
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