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  • International Study

How much it costs to live in Perth as an international student.

February 25, 2020

Australia’s West Coast is a unique location, with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Australian Outback on the other. Perth’s population is about 1.6 million people, an ideal size for new international students - not too big that it takes forever to get from A to B, but a perfect size for exploring and meeting new friends along the way. 

Whether you’re interested in exploring the beaches around Perth on the west coast, or immersing yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city, Perth will offer you a chance to explore different landmarks, get a great education and allow you to enjoy your Australian study experience.  

Although Perth offers a lower cost of living compared with other Australian capital cities Melbourne and Sydney, it’s still recommended you set up your finances to get the best experience out of your time in Perth. Plan ahead, set good financial habits and choose realistic living options to set you up for success. We have compiled everything you need to know about budgeting for your big move, including average costs of accommodation, transport, health, admin, entertainment and phone charges in Perth, Western Australia. 


Campus accommodation

The average cost of living on campus at a university in the Perth area ranges between $460 - $620 per week. Campus accommodation is an expensive option, but will come with perks and added convenience. You not only wake up daily on the university’s doorstep but you save money on other expenses such as food and transport. 

You will have your meals cooked for you every day, your utilities will be included and you’ll have lower travelling fees. However, don’t forget to factor in costs for eating out, health, phone bill and entertainment.

Weekly cost: $460 - $620

Annual cost: $22,080 - $29,760

Student accommodation

Get a similar lifestyle to living on campus with off-campus student accommodation at a more affordable price. You can rent a room in a student residential complex, which usually includes a bed, desk, some storage, and shared bathrooms, kitchens and common rooms. 

Commercial accommodation for students is scattered across Perth’s CBD. Student accommodation such as Campus Perth, My Student Village and UniLodge are great options if you want to stay somewhere in the city centre and among other international students.  

The cost will vary depending on the company and your room choice, however, it’s important to remember this only includes your rent and utilities. Food, entertainment, eating out, phone and health costs will all need to be budgeted. 

Weekly cost: $195 - $500

Annual cost: $9,360 - $24,000

Sharehouse accommodation

On average, organising accommodation in a sharehouse will work out to be the cheapest option when you move to Australia. However, forecasting a budget for a sharehouse can be tricky, for example: 

  • Where is it located?
  • How many tenants are you moving in with?
  • How old is the house?

Your individual preference on the factors above will impact the price. On average you can expect to pay between $120 - $250 per week in Perth, keeping in mind this does not include your utilities. Flatmates and Flatmate Finders are popular sites to find shared accommodation in Perth and may help you fall on the cheaper end ($120) of the rental price. 

To note: When signing a lease for a share house in Australia you are expected to pay an upfront security bond payment to the RTBA (Residential Tenancies Bond Authority). The standard is 4 x your weekly rent payment, but could be more depending on the individual home. Once you have decided to move out of your sharehouse, you will receive your bond back (minus any damages or cleaning fees).

Weekly cost: $120 - $250

Annual cost: $5,760 - $12,000

Temporary accommodation

If you aren’t sold on any of the above options you can always book in something short-term when you first get to Australia and settle on a long-term option later. Having the option to fly over and check out the university and surrounding suburbs will give you the freedom to have a good look around and get a feel for the place so you can be sure of what will suit you best.

Because this is a short-term option, we suggest looking into short stay accommodation. YHA Australia has plenty of options or you can check out lower rate hotels on Wotif and Last Minute who both offer advance and last-minute discounts.

Weekly cost: $130 - $450

Monthly cost: $520 - $1,800

Cost of being 100% sure of your accommodation choice before you commit: PRICELESS


You can’t forget to factor in utilities. Utilities may or may not be included in your housing option. Electricity, water, gas and internet are generally split between tenants, but if you are planning on renting by yourself, this will be more costly. An average home in Perth costs:

  • Electricity: $500 per quarter
  • Water: $300 per quarter
  • Gas: $169 per quarter
  • Internet: $120 per quarter 

Depending if this is split between five people or just yourself the below budget is set. 

Weekly cost: $15 - $80

Annual cost: $780 - $4,356

Accommodation annual range $6,540 - $35,316


When it comes to getting around, public transport is a good start and, in some areas, students travel cheaply or for free! All Central Area Transit (CAT) buses within the Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup zones are free for everyone - map here

For all trips outside of this free zone, international students receive a 40% discount as a Tertiary SmartRider. Register to be a Smart Rider here

Weekly cost: $5 - $35

Annual cost: $240 - $1,680

Transport annual range $240 - $1,680

Food & drinks

Food. This is where budgeting gets tricky. With the rise of UberEats and MenuLog in Australia, it is getting harder to save our pennies and cook or prepare meals at home. However, buying groceries and meal prepping is the most cost-efficient method. 


Depending on your taste preferences and whether you are eating salmon or sticking with canned beans for dinner the average cook up at home will cost you:

  • $2 a day for breakfast
  • $5 a day for lunch
  • $11 a day for dinner 

Eating out

Eating out will cost you a significant amount more, with the average prices of meals in Perth:

  • $18 for breakfast
  • $18 for lunch
  • $30 per meal at dinner. 

Drinking out

Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE. If you are a coffee drinker and you have an acquired taste for barista-made coffee, you will know we are looking at a budget killer here. An average cup of coffee in Australia is $4.20 per cup. Depending on your weekly threshold you could be looking to spend between $655 - $1528.80 a year just on that delicious liquid.

To save some money, you can make your own coffee at home - it’s FREE. 

Other than coffee, the average Aussie loves a social glass of wine, beer or kombucha with their lunch. On average in Australia, a glass of wine, beer or cider ranges between $10-$12 each, with spirits being on the more expensive end costing around $12-$25. 

If you were to eat all your meals at home for 6 out of the 7 days ($108) and indulge on Saturday ($60) you are looking at around $165 per week on food. Adding on 3 coffees per week ($12.60) and 3 social drinks ($36), your weekly total would be around $220. This total will range significantly depending on individual habits and preferences. 

Weekly cost: $200 - $365

Annual cost: $10,400 - $18,980

Food + drinks annual range $10,400 - $18,980

Admin & stationery

Assuming you are bringing a computer/iPad from home you will just need to worry about your admin/stationery. Officeworks and Kmart will be your best friends for budget-friendly stationery. 

  • Note books: $3 - $15
  • Yearly diaries: $6 - $50
  • Stationery accessories: $1 - $10

Weekly cost: $1 - $4

Annual cost: $60 - $200

Admin & stationery annual range $60 - $200


Overseas student health cover is mandatory for your student visa when coming to Australia. Not only is it great for peace of mind, it covers doctors' appointments, hospital costs, emergency ambulance and prescription medicine. 

Use the Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) tool to check the price and book your overseas health cover today. 


Entertainment is another expense you will want to factor in while you are in Australia. Ranging from going to the gym, watching a movie, taking a trip to the beach or enjoying a comedy show. Below are a few different options you could add to your budget. 

  • Movies (student night): $7 - $9
  • Fitness: $15 - $30
  • Shows (comedy, plays etc): $50 

Weekly Cost: $72 - $89

Annual Cost: $3,744 - $4,628

Entertainment annual range $3,744 - $4,628


A prepaid phone plan is the way to go when you are coming to Australia with a working phone. These will range in price but are the best value for money. Some options are:

  • Optus My Plan Plus 12M SIM
  • Telstra 4G Pre-Paid Max 

Visit Finder to compare more phone plans and pre-paid options. 

Weekly Cost: $7.5 - $15

Annual Cost: $360 - $780

Phone annual range $360 - $780

TOTAL Weekly Budget: $420.50 - $1,208
TOTAL Annual Budget: $21,344 - $60,384

Voila, your comprehensive guide to help you budget for your move to Perth, Western Australia. Whether you are coming over on a tight budget or have been saving up so you can spend big, save on international money transfers with Cohort Go. Visit our website to learn more.