How Much Money Do You Need To Live in Australia

You know, I can only tell you through my experiences of how much money you really need to start a life here in Australia. This is only from my personal experience. In saying that, I hope you can somehow gauge and decipher a little bit of what you might need to start living in Australia. You still however, need to do your own calculations based on your needs and wants.

I belong in the lower end of the community—the average Australian income earner. I say average, because, I earn similar amount to those average folks who are employed and working for somebody—earning an income based on our working standards. This guideline can be found at Industrial Relations (NSW) website.


There are of course many types of bills you will be getting, but the common and essential ones, at least some of them are these.


We have to put a roof over hour heads right? Renting or owning a house, we still have to pay for a dwelling. I was walking past a local real estate agency and was having a look at what the going rate is if you are renting a property. Obviously, it is common sense, that the varying type of property you are looking for and the location will vary in prices. In this case, the cheapest, I have seen for a flat/town-house/villa, are between $200-$300 per week. Houses of course would be much more than that. I haven’t seen anything that is below $400 per week. Did I mention location makes a big difference too? In curiosity, I searched the web for properties for rent in an an area I used to live in. I wasn’t surprised, when I saw, that a town-house/villa for rent was about $400 each week!

This is one of the reasons, why here in Australia, we prefer to own our own houses instead of renting. I owned a house in the past, and was making a minimum repayment towards the mortgage of $500 per week. This was for a 3 bedroom house in a 570sq lot.

So as you can see, there really isn’t that much difference between renting a house and owning a property. I couldn’t say much about the difference between renting a flat or owning one because we owned a house.


Food is not cheap here you know. Compared to Philippines. I remember buying an Okra in Surigao whilst visiting my fiance Jobelle Alaysa. For 10 pesos we got, three bunches. For just 10 pesos! We ended up throwing it away, because after I bought it, I put it in the fridge, but forgot about it and went to waste weeks later. As I was visiting Philippines, it was far more easier just to eat out than shop and make our own meals. I mean, I don’t really know how to cook for two people and a toddler. I tend to cook for 5 or more people—which really makes it more expensive to cook at home than eating out and eating more than one dishes at that!

So going back, food isn’t cheap here in Australia. The meat is expensive, fish is expensive too and even vegetables and fruits—but you get used to these pricing and makes it…well…normal. I know a lot of Filipinos are fish eating folks—I am one of them. Well, Australia may have great varieties and quality of fish, but they are normally more expensive than meat.

Overall all, though, your shopping budget would be at minimum $200 per week and these just makes it for your essentials…a very tight budget, because you won’t get much for $200 grocery shopping as we found out based on our requirements. The $200 budget, really would not last a week!

Utility bills

Just recently, the price per unit for electricity has just gone up. Council rates jumps too and other utility bills that you might get if you are owning a house. I owned a house in the past, but I was in charge of the mortgage, so I really didn’t have much to do with this area. But from the receipts that I saw, we were looking at about $400 each month for council bills. About $400 for electricity bills and $100 for basic landline phone bills. Excluding mobile phones and internet.


Bikes and tricycles don’t exist here as mode of public transportation. We don’t have jeepneys either or a multi-cab. What we do have are, buses, trains and taxis.

How much you will be paying for transportation really depends on how far you live from your place of employment or place you want to visit. What mode of transportation you will be using will also depends on the location of your work.

Train is the cheapest. I used to work in the city and have access to a train station without having to take another public transportation just to get to a train station. Weekly, it was costing me about $40.

But then I moved houses, and was in a location where there is no train station. I would have to take a bus to get to a train station. Bus fares isn’t actually cheap—I was looking at about $4 each ride. So in this case, it was cheaper for me to drive my car and park it at a railway station and catch my train there.

I then changed jobs. This time, it was not in the city. Literally, there was no public transport available either. The only mode of transport, was well, by car. As I lived about 1 hour away, I was forking out about $60 per week just on petrol. Not factoring in the other expenses owning a car, such as car maintenance for daily usage of my car.

Calculate your cost of living in Australia

So, if you’ve never set foot in Australia, and want to start a new life here, you might want to do a bit of research first of how much money you will really need to start a new life in Australia and how much money you will take with you to start you off.

You need to consider, that you need some time to find employment too, so you will be factoring that in to your research and the costs that you will be incurring whilst living a life here.

As a side note. These figures are in dollars OK? Not in Philippine peso. I know in Philippines, renting a property there costs in thousands, so you may think hundreds is cheap. Well it’s not! Try not to think of Philippines and Australia in terms of commerce, because it won’t work out. We who visits Philippines always converts the value of money to our Australian currency and we would always say, wow, that’s cheap. But if you talk to the locals there in Philippines, they would tell you that it’s expensive. That’s true to here.

With my current income, as an average income earner. I really don’t have much room for lifestyles. I can only afford to pay for the necessities to live in Australia. To date, my expenses is about $3,500.00 per month—and that’s not including rent, electricity, water as I moved back living with my parents, until I can get myself back on my own feet again and living in my own house.

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Jojie Certeza

Jojie Certeza is a Sydney based photographer. His passion for photography started in 2007 after being introduced by a friend who is also passionate about photography. He also founded;— a food photography service. He can be hired for food photography assignments

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About Jojie Certeza

Jojie Certeza is a Sydney based photographer. His passion for photography started in 2007 after being introduced by a friend who is also passionate about photography. He also founded;— a food photography service. He can be hired for food photography assignments