Planning your budget

Living expenses in Australia can vary, depending on your personal tastes. You should have access to at least A$3,300 when you arrive to settle in, and budget a minimum of $475 per week (single) or $825 (family of four) per week to cover the cost of living in Perth.

Curtin University is a vibrant destination with many food outlets, health and childcare facilities and outstanding sports facilities. Perth has excellent shopping and leisure centres, museums, beaches, wildlife parks, events and festivals. With more sunshine than any other Australian capital, Perth gives you plenty of opportunities to combine study with your favourite activities.

Planning your budget and finances is an important element of making the most of your time in Perth.

Hear what our students have to say about budgeting and cost of living in Perth.

“Perth is a very international city. You have amazing theatres, you have a lot of activities that you can do, festivals, international concerts. I love the sporting culture. I like going out running, going to the parks and of course the best beaches in the world!”

Laura Machuca Suarez, Colombia, Research Fellow, Corrosion Engineering at Curtin University

Settling in

There are costs associated with settling into Perth, so we recommend you:

  • arrive in Australia with at least AUD$800
  • have easy access to another AUD$2,500 during the first week to cover initial accommodation costs, including the bond (security deposit) and the first two weeks rent, paid in advance.

Weekly budgeting your day-to-day living costs will vary, depending on your personal tastes and whether you also have a family to care for. Before you arrive in Australia, you should plan a budget that suits your preferences and needs.

Examples of the cost of day to day items and rent in Perth can be found on the Expatistan website.

Suggested weekly budget*

ServiceSingle (A$)Family of four ($A)
Rent (furnished residence)180390
Services (gas, water and electricity)3560
Public transport2055
Clothing, toiletries and entertainment120145
Health insurance9**42**

*The costs provided are an approximate guide only. 

**OSHC insurance fees may be subject to change. For more information, visit the Bupa website.

The ‘Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator‘ is also a useful tool to help estimate your cost of living.

Approximate living costs


Type of AccommodationCost range ($AU dollars)

Homestay means living with an Australian family for all or part of your study period. It is a great opportunity for you to learn conversational English and experience first-hand the friendly Western Australian lifestyle and culture.
$235 - $325
On-campus student accommodation:

Curtin University offers full-time students a variety of accommodation options.
$152 - $336*
Renting a home or unit:

If you want to be completely independent, you can rent a property and share living expenses with other students or friends.
$165 - $445
Renting a room:

If you cannot afford the upfront costs of renting a property, you may want to consider renting a room. Students and families often rent out furnished spare rooms in their houses and apartments, and this can be a great way to live independently without the expense of renting on your own.
Youth hostel or guesthouse:

Hostels are either privately-owned or run by non for profit organisations such as Youth Hostels Australia (YHA). Perth City YHA as well as Fremantle Prison YHA offer dedicated Twin Share and Single Student Rooms with personal desks and 5 star facilities like a swimming pool, movie room, communal kitchen and a shared bathroom.
$90 - $160

*prices correct at time of publishing, 12 November 2018

Other living expenses*

 prices in Australian (AU) dollars 
500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast$5.84
1 litre (1 qt.) of whole fat milk$1.25
12 eggs, large$5.17
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes$4.29
500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese$8
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples$3.97
1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes$2.64
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV (or equivalent), with no extras, new$26,168
1 litre (1/4 gallon) of gas$1.44
Monthly ticket public transport$80
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles)$20
Personal Care 
Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands)$10
Short visit to private Doctor (15 minutes)$73
Deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.)$4.80
Hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.)$6
4 rolls of toilet paper$3.39
Tube of toothpaste$3.52
Basic dinner out for two in neighbourhood pub$61
2 tickets to the movies$36
2 tickets to the theatre (best available seats)$195
Cappuccino in expat area of the city$5
1 month of gym membership in business district$44

*Intended as a guide only

Children’s schooling

If you choose to bring your family with you, you can enrol your school-aged children in public or private schools, provided the school has the capacity to accept them. Schools normally require you to pay international tuition fees. These fees will be listed on your Confirmation of Placement letter. Before you arrive, you will need to obtain a visa for your children from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). If your children require extra English language support, there may be additional fees and we recommend they have some English language training before arriving in Perth. If your child has special needs or a disability, there may be additional fees so that your child can learn in an inclusive environment that meets their needs.

If you have a child under the age of five and require childcare, Curtin University’s Early Childhood Centre provides a warm and caring environment for young children to grow and learn. Find out more about the childcare centre services, hours and fees. Please download the Curtin Dependant Schooling information sheet [.pdf – 125 kB] for more information and regarding visa processing, obtaining a CoP letter, school fees, enrolments and a list of schools.

Study and work in Australia

Your student visa gives you permission to work in Australia once you have started your course. You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks. However, you shouldn’t rely on your earnings to pay your tuition fees or other living expenses.