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If you are considering moving to Sydney, you are probably already starting to gauge the costs of living in Sydney. I am not going to sugarcoat this: Sydney is expensive. Good new is that the quality of life in general is quite high over here, meaning that wages are relatively high compared to the costs. The costs of individual items might be scary, but if you look at it relatively you get a lot more for your money than many other major cities.

How to calculate your salary

Before thinking about the costs of living in Sydney and what you are going to spend, let’s have a look at what you have to work off. The average pay in Sydney sits around $68K annually which allows you to live a comfortable life. To figure out what salary you can expect, check out Payscale, where you can get an average pay depending on your profession, years of experience and other factors. For example Account Managers earn $66K on average, people with 5-9 years of experience make $99K annually on average. I also recommend having a look on Glassdoor, where you can have a look at the specific companies you are applying at, and see what the average wage is for your role.

Your salary usually consists of your annual or hourly wage + super (mandatory private pension) + Bonus (if relevant). To calculate what you will get after tax, use the Pay Calculator. When you negotiate your salary, make sure you ask if it’s excluding or including super (read more about superannuation in this article). Earning the Sydney average of $68K annum (excluding super), your salary will be $4,414.67.

Monthly spend depending on your budget

How much you are going to spend is obviously highly depends on priorities and lifestyle, but here is a rough guide. To help you work it out, we break all expenses out further down.

BUDGET COMFORTABLE SPLASHING
Weekly Monthly Weekly Monthly Weekly Monthly
Rent $350 $1,517 $500 $2,167 $750 $3,250
Utilities $13 $55 $28 $120 $28 $120
TV+Broadband $7 $30 $21 $90 $28 $120
Transportation $18 $80 $28 $120 $28 $120
Mobile phone $8 $35 $23 $100 $35 $150
Groceries $50 $217 $120 $520 $170 $737
Personal Hygiene $5 $20 $12 $50 $23 $100
Insurance $16 $70 $23 $100 $35 $150
Sport $15 $65 $40 $173 $70 $303
Clothing $23 $100 $69 $300 $115 $500
Entertainment $50 $217 $70 $303 $150 $650
TOTAL $555 $2,405   $933 $4,043   $1,431 $6,200

Home and utilities

Your biggest expense will be home and utilities in Sydney. Most people I know spend 30-40% of their salary on rent. It’s very common for young professionals, even in their 30’s to rent a room in a shared apartment, rather than having your own place. Having said that this doesn’t mean that you will need to give up on the good things. In fact many people have gym, pool, sauna and concierge in their apartment building. You might decide to live by yourself, it is still affordable to live in the heart of the city or close to the beach.

In terms of utilities, most of the time you are expected to arrange your own contracts for electricity, gas (not all apartments have gas) and broadband. Water is generally paid by the landlord and you won’t have to do anything about it. Broadband and TV is paid on a monthly basis, gas and electricity is charged quarterly and if you pay in time you usually get a small discount. Use comparison sites to find the best offer for your needs;

Energy Made Easy (government site)

iSelect

Canstar

Compare the market

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for home and utilities you can expect

Expense Average cost
Rent for a room in Central Sydney (weekly) $380
Rent for a one-bedroom Apartment in Central Sydney (weekly) $550
Rent for a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs (weekly) $500
Electricity for a one-bedroom apartment (quarterly) $270
Gas for a one-bedroom apartment (quarterly) $60
Internet (unlimited) $80
TV $26

Transportation

Getting around in Sydney is certainly reasonable (especially comparing it to London). Public transportation is set up for pay as you go, with automatic daily caps and discounts. If you have a car, your monthly costs for fuel is low, but you can expect hefty parking fees and insurance costs. Many people choose to drive around on a scooter, because it is easier to get around, find a parking spot and fuel is cheap. There are more and more people taking bikes, however there are no bike lanes, and Sydney is quite hilly so this is only advised for advanced bikers.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for transportation you can expect

Expense Average cost
Public transportation (monthly) $150
Fuel (liter) $1.5
Car insurance (yearly) $1,000
Car parking (weekly) $100

Mobile phone

There are probably hundreds of options for mobile phones in Sydney. If you already have or ready to buy a handset out right, you can get a SIM card and pay as you go, or get a package with fixed amount of data, calls and texts. Otherwise get on a plan for a year or two with your phone included.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for mobile phone you can expect

Expense Average cost
Data pack: 5GB + unlimited calls, 30 days $35
IPhone contract : 50GB + unlimited calls, 24 months $120

Groceries

Similarly to any other big city Sydney has a range of grocery outlets, from the big supermarket chains, through budget supermarkets, farmers market and your upper class options. The main two supermarkets are Coles and Woolworths (aka. Woolies), their offering and prices are quite similar. Aldi has smaller selection, but it’s considerable cheaper. There is also IGA which is slightly more expensive, however it is your best bet for gourmet items. If you prefer high quality, organic and fresh ingredients Harris Farm is your best option. Fresh produce prices at the Farmer’s market are on par with the big supermarket chains.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for groceries you can expect

Expense Average cost
Loaf of bread $2
Chicken breast (200g) $8
Banana (1 kg) $3.5
Cheese (180g, sliced) $4
Milk (1L) $1.30
Bottle of water (1.5L) $3
Bottle of spirit (0.7L) $40
Bottle of wine $15
Beer (6 pack) $20

Personal Hygiene

You can either buy your personal care products in the grocery stores or in the pharmacy. The two main chains in Sydney are Priceline and Chemist Warehouse. CW is considerably cheaper than everywhere else.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for personal hygiene you can expect

Expense Average cost
Shover gel (500 ml) $7
Shampoo (250 ml) $5
Conditioner (240 ml) $5
Deodorant (spray, roll or stick) $6

Insurance

You will need to be covered either by national (Medicare) or private insurance. Medicare is available for Australia and people from select countries. It’s 2% of your wages and is automatically deducted from your salary. If you are not eligible and/or earn over $90K you need to get private medical insurance. Read more about how medical insurance works in Australia.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for insurance you can expect

Expense Average cost
Basic Cover $70
Medium Cover $100
High cover $150

Sport

People in Sydney are generally very active. Even if you haven’t been moving around much prepared to be infected by the healthy living obsession in this city. Most people have a gym membership, attend yoga, boot camp or some sort of sport/dance class. If you are on a budget, Sydney has plenty of free outdoor gyms as well.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for sport you can expect

Expense Average cost
Gym membership (week) $25
Yoga class $18
Martial-arts membership (week) $40

Clothing

Sydney used to have a reputation for how expensive clothing is, however this is no longer the case at all. There is a wide variety of stores including budget, luxury options, and the big commercial stores opened their doors in the last few years as well. Kmart and Target will be your cheaper options. Mid-range high street stores include H&M, Zara, Sportsgirl, Country Road, French Connection, Top Shop and more. Departments stores like Myer and David Jones are slightly more expensive. And of course you have your classic Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton et al. Sydney still has a huge number of small indie designer clothing stores. For most of them you can expect triple digit prices.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for clothing you can expect

Expense Average cost
Pair of Jeans $80
T-Shirt $30
Shirt $50
Dress $60
Pair of Shoes $120

Entertainment

One of the great things about Sydney is the endless options for getting out of the house. There are plenty of free options, but Sydney also has an amazing food and fun scene.

Here are the costs of living in Sydney for entertainment you can expect

Expense Average cost
Lunchtime meal $15
Meal in an average restaurant $25
Meal in a more expensive restaurant $40
Glass of wine $10
Pint of beer $8
Cocktail $18
Cinema ticket $20
Coffee $5
Basic Cover $70
Medium Cover $100
High cover $150

 

 

LIVING GUIDE FOR SYDNEY |The e-book expats wish existed when they moved

  • How to get a visa to Australia?
  • Where to live in Sydney?
  • What documents do I need for renting?
  • How much tax do I pay in Australia?
  • How to get around?
  • What insurance do I need?
  • Where are the best spots for dinner?
  • What shops and supermarkets are there?
  • How to apply for university?
  • How to find schools and nurseries?