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Cost of Living in Sydney: Sydney is the most populous metropolitan city in Australia. Being a diverse and multicultural city, it is known to be welcoming to international workers and students alike. Having two of the universities in the city ranked among the top 50 universities worldwide, the city is packed with international students from all over the world.

Apart from the top-notch education, the city has great weather of long sizzling summers and mild winters. Sydney’s museums, popular attractions, as well as city markets, are ideal for students and families alike.


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Cost of Living in Sydney

Being a metropolitan city, Sydney is ranked the third most expensive city in the world. However, for anyone working in Australia, the pay is much higher compared to other countries especially the United States.

When it comes to renting a house in Sydney, the first few months might be a bit expensive. That’s because apart from furnishing the house, you are required to pay the rent every week. However, you can be able to save some money by buying second-hand furniture and appliance on online platforms. The other great way to save money is to find a house in the outer suburbs of the city.

If you do not want to live in the outer suburbs, you can check affordable apartments in Greenwich, Leichhardt, and Kensington among others that are only a few kilometers from the CBD.


In Sydney, housing accommodations will use up a large portion of your income. For a rental house, be ready to spend $540 per week while an apartment will cost you $530 per week. Remember that the more you stay near the city, the more expensive housing will be.

For rentals within the CBD, a studio costs $505 per week, one-bedroom is $625, and two bedrooms will go for $930. Additionally, a three-bedroom house will be $1250. As you move away from the CBD to the suburbs within 10-20 kilometers, the cheapest apartments are located in the Croydon area and cost $425p/w.

However, the suburbs further than 20 kilometers from the CBD, Carramar area has the cheapest rental apartments at $320 p/w while Willmot offers the cheapest rental houses at $340p/w.

For international students, finding perfect accommodation can be quiet challenging as the cost of housing depends on different areas. However, there are affordable student housing ranging from $140-$570 per week. The houses are ideal for students since they have essential facilities such as study rooms, laundry, and gym among others.


Apart from rent, you will need to pay for utilities such as electricity, gas, and internet. Electricity prices usually range between $100 and $150 a quarter for people who are power conscious. However, know that the price will rise significantly according to your power usage or the winter season as most Sydney houses and apartments do not have central heating.

If your home requires gas, the basic cost normally begins at $80 but might go upwards depending on your usage. Internet is a lot cheaper especially if you search around for unlimited internet which mostly goes for $50-60 a month. When it comes to phone expenses, mobile call rates will see you pay $30 for a basic monthly prepaid phone package inclusive of data, calling credit and unlimited texting.

Note that, to be able to get the best deals on electricity and the Internet, there are companies such as iSelect who are willing to help you compare prices for free.

Food & Drink (Eating Out)

It is a fact that cooking food at home in Sydney will save you a lot of money. Nevertheless, it is not bad to treat yourself at a local restaurant or a higher establishment once in a while. For fast foods restaurant, the price for a meal at McDonalds is $11 while in a local restaurant it is around $15.

Some restaurants serve food and drink under $10 around China town while some pubs offer meals from $10-$12. Drinks are usually $5+ in local clubs and bars. Moreover, upmarket cocktail bars, nightclubs, and restaurant charge $30 for a glass of French champagne or a cocktail.

Sadly, Sydney restaurants like any other city in Australia close their doors as early as 9:30 to 10:00 pm. Furthermore, nightclubs and pubs near the CBD usually don’t allow anyone on their premises after 1:30 am. If you are already inside the pub or club after that time, you will only be allowed to buy alcohol until 3 am.


In most households, grocery cost depends on the quality of food bought and also the quantity bought at a time. However, because of the most fixed price in the supermarket and local markets, the average cost per week can be from $50 to $170. Nonetheless, fresh products such as fruits and vegetables are a bit expensive in supermarkets than in local markets.

Therefore, if you are trying to save some money on groceries, it is advisable to buy non-perishable goods in bulk while visiting the market place once a week to top up on the perishable products.

 If you know you are an impulse spender, you can avoid buying unnecessary stuff by ordering your groceries from supermarkets that offer delivery services such as Coles and Woolworths. However, if you are looking to buy groceries at cheap prices you can opt for discount grocery chains such as Aldi.


Transportation in Sydney is expensive. However, the cost of public transport has been made cheaper through the introduction of an Opal card. The card enables you to travel as much as you want on bus, ferry, train, metro and light rail services. With an Opal card, you are guaranteed not to pay more than $16.10 a day and for a child $8. In a week it will cost you approximately $50. On Sundays, you can travel all over the network with little as $2.80.

If you are more comfortable using a car, you can save on the fuel bill by knowing which day’s petrol stations have slightly reduced fuel prices. Since the petrol stations go through a weekly pricing cycle, you can download fuel-related apps like Fuel Map, GasBuddy, PetrolSpy among others on your phone and find out which petrol station have cheap fuel prices to visit for a refill. Although the fuel cost will depend on how often you drive your car and the distance, the average fuel cost for a family of four is $71.27.

Entertainment and Travel

Sydney is a lively city and you will find all kinds of entertainment to suit your taste and budget. Being new to the city can be overwhelming on the places to visit and how much to spend. Therefore, to be able to enjoy some entertainment without spending a lot, you can start by visiting the cheap entertainment joints or spend a day at the free tourist attraction.

The beach is a good place to start, as well as movies theatres which usually cost $23 for an adult but on Tuesday it’s a lot cheaper to purchase a ticket. For a chance to see the best of Sydney attractions without spending so much, you can choose the economical Sydney combo passes. The passes allow you to choose several places to visit in a day at a low price.

Clothing, Electronics and Other personal Items

In general, clothing, cosmetics and electronics are expensive in Sydney and Australia at large. Nevertheless, you can save money by ordering items from online stores in Australia called the Grey market or from Asia using eBay.

For instance, you can purchase a brand new camera on eBay for $800 that could have cost you $1200 on Sydney electronic shops. The camera and many more products are usually of the same quality as Australia products and come with a warrant.

To purchase cheaper cosmetics and clothes, Australia chain stores are available while chemists and Priceline offers cheap and moderate-priced cosmetics. For cheap fashion clothes, you can visit H &H, Supre, Ally, and Cotton and get clothes that cost from $10 to $40.


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Written by Lexi
Lexi is an Australia travel expert sharing Australia travel inspiration and tips on how to easily plan your trip. She aims to make planning your next Australia trip fun and easy.