Help + advice

 Living Expenses


In 2019, Greater Perth is considered the second most affordable capital city in Australia, based on research into average household spending.

When you arrive in Australia you will need to think about the following:

  • Currency
  • Getting started
  • Opening a bank account
  • Budgeting
  • Additional costs
  • Part-time work


In Australia we use a decimal currency system with 100 cents to the dollar. Notes and coins are currency used with the Australian Dollar, the basic unit of currency. The different values of currency are as follows:

Coins (c=cents) - 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2.
Notes - $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.


Please see below for websites that can help you to current your currency to the Australian Dollar.

Getting started

Students should arrive in Perth with at least $1,000 and have access to another $2,000 during their first few weeks for expenses associated with organising housing. Funds may be needed to pay bond on rental accommodation or for other services.

It is a good idea to have either travellers’ cheques or an international credit card when you arrive in Western Australia. Any bank or currency exchange in Australia will cash your Travellers’ cheques.

If you do not have permanent housing organised for your stay in Western Australia, you must arrive several weeks before orientation. This will give you a chance to find accommodation before you start your studies.


It is fairly easy to open a bank account in Western Australia. It may be possible to open a bank account before you leave home, otherwise you will need t​o do this upon arrival. It is important to take your passport with you as a form of identification.

Most banks and financial institutions offer special student accounts that offer no, or minimal, fees for transactions that would be attached to normal savings accounts.

See below for banks that offer accounts for international students.


Once you have opened a bank account, it will be possible to access your money using ATM’s (Automa​tic Teller Machine) in the following locations:

  • Shopping centres and areas
  • Hotels
  • Banks


EFTPOS is an electronic payments system that provides a convenient and fast method of paym​ent. It is available throughout Australia and can be used when paying for the majority of goods and services. Most places have a $10 minimum purchase amount and some will allow you to take ‘cash out’, an easy way to withdraw money from your bank account while shopping.


It is useful to develop a budget that will​ allow you to live within your means and make sure that you will have enough money to meet payments and pay bills such as electricity and water. Keep your budget flexible to allow for any changes and unexpected events.

Many students choose to share a rental house or apartment with other students as this reduces costs. The average rental price for a furnished room in share accommodation is $160 per week but can range from $70 - $250 per week. This cost does not usually include electricity, water or gas expenses. Be sure to arrive well in advance of your course commencing to secure good accommodation.

If you are planning to buy a car you should account for additional expenses such as petrol, insurance and licence costs.

A guide to more living expenses in Australia (AUD, sourced from

​Food and eating out​$80 - $280
​Gas and electricity​$35- $140
​Phone and internet​$20 - $55
​Public transport​$15 - $55
​Car (after purchase)​$150 - 260
Entertainment​$80 - $150

You can also use Insider Guides' Cost of Living Calculator tool to help discover how much your lifestyle would cost in Australia.        

Disclaimer: The information and contacts provided by TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) are to provide you with details of living expenses in Western Australia. The information provided is compiled in good faith, and is intended as a guide only. TIWA may not investigate the content of any information provided and does not endorse, guarantee, warrant, or recommend the accuracy of the information or necessarily subscribe to any such opinions or recommendations. TIWA does not profit in any way or sponsor any of the contacts listed, they are provided solely as a convenience to you.

International Student Discounts

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