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Australian Cost Of Living: Budgeting Tips

Here’s BeMoved's Australian cost of living breakdown for housing, utilities and general expenses such as groceries, travel and clothing.



Average single-person household monthly total: $658 + housing

  • Electricity and gas: $106
  • Water: $74
  • Home Internet: $70
  • Groceries: $408

Average two-person household monthly total: $869 + housing

  • Electricity and gas: $126
  • Water: $89
  • Home Internet: $70
  • Groceries: $584

Average four-person household monthly total: $1057 + housing

  • Electricity and gas: $135
  • Water: $108
  • Home Internet: $90
  • Groceries: $724

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Australia is a big place, and your cost of living will vary greatly depending on which part of the country you’re budgeting to live in. Of course, lots of things will come into play here – whether you’re moving into a CBD area or the suburbs, the number of people in your household, the amount of travelling you expect to do, and the kinds of luxuries you’re accustomed to. The purpose of this blog is to give you a baseline to guide you through budgeting for your primary household expenses: rent, utilities, groceries, travel, entertainment and the like.

Is Australia expensive to live in?

Australia actually makes it onto the list of the world’s top 10 most expensive countries to live in. According to internations.org, average living expenses in Australia are higher than in the US, but lower than the UK.

Saving for rent, the average Australian family of four spends around $4700 per month on basic living costs. For singles, it’s around $1300 per month. Splitting expenses in a shared household is definitely the way to go if you’re trying to keep costs down, whether that be with family or flatmates. But the main thing to keep in mind is that housing is often the largest expense for any Australian, whether they’re paying for rent or mortgage.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be using rental prices for the housing portion of your budget. This will be the bedrock of your budget, and will determine the split of expenses allocated to the rest of your living costs.

Housing & Rent

The overall average Australians pay for rent per week is $447, according to a report published by Domain in late 2020. Broken down by cities – Adelaide and Perth have the cheapest average at $340 per week; Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane average around $390 to $400 per week; and Sydney and Canberra around $480 to $495 per week.

In Australia, rental prices historically tend to increase the closer you get to the CBD of a given city. According to the Australian Financial Review, however, average apartment rent in the Melbourne CBD has fallen over the past year to $393 per week, a decrease of 34.4% over the previous year. In turn, rent further away from the city centre has increased in suburban and rural areas. Though this phenomenon has been most noticeable in Melbourne and Sydney, other Australian cities are experiencing a similar shift, which experts attribute to economic slowdowns in CBD areas caused by COVID-19.

It’s still unclear when or if rental price dynamics will return to normal in the rental market, and on the whole, city versus suburb pricing patterns are probably not most influential factors in how people decide where to live.


The amount you’ll spend on utilities depends on three main factors: which providers you choose, the number of people in your household, and the kinds of facilities your house includes – do you have ducted heating? An electric hot water system? A heated outdoor pool?

Of course, the more people living in a single household, the higher each utility bill will total. However more people living under the same roof means that utilities will actually be cheaper per person.

Bear in mind that some utilities like water and gas are billed quarterly, as opposed to monthly, depending on the state you live in and the supplier you use. For the purposes of this article, we’ve broken things down into monthly expenses, to help you develop a baseline for your monthly budget.

Want to obtain a quote for utility bills and removalist costs ahead of your upcoming move? Simply head to the BeMoved Utilities page discover more.

Electricity & Gas

According to a study carried out by Canstar Blue, the average single-person household spent approximately $106 per month on electricity in 2020. The average two-person household spent around $126 per month, and the average four-person household spent $135 per month.

For gas, the average monthly expense tends to vary less depending on household size. Canstar Blue’s survey found that in January 2021 the average household spent about $60 per month on gas supply, with negligible differences between larger and smaller households.


Water bills across the board in Australia average out at $91 per month. For single-person households the average monthly cost sits around $74 per month, two-person households average at $89 per month and four-person households average at $108 per month.


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