Living Costs and Banking

Studying abroad can be expensive.  Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation.

Here is some useful information about Australian currency and living expenses, plus helpful tips on budgeting and setting up a bank account.

Australian Currency

The basic unit of Australian currency is the dollar (AUD). There are 100 cents in 1 dollar ($1). Australian currency is the only legal tender (payment of coin) in Australia. There are:

  • 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c silver cent coins,
  • $1 and $2 gold dollar coins; and
  • $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 plastic notes.

Living Costs

Minimum cost of living

The Department of Home Affairs has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia.

Please refer to the step by step Student Visa Subclass 500 application and Document Checklist Tool for details on how to provide the evidence required to cover the costs of your stay, including your travel, study and living expenses.

As of October 2019 the 12-month living costs are;

  • For students or guardians - AUD$21,041
  • For partners coming with you - AUD$7,362
  • For a child coming with you - AUD$3,152

All costs are per year in Australian dollars. To convert to your own currency visit

Other living costs

The costs below are an approximate guide only and don't take into account your budget and spending habits.


  • Hostels and Guesthouses - $90 to $150 per week
  • Shared Rental - $95 to $215 per week
  • On campus - $110 to $280 per week
  • Homestay - $235 to $325 per week
  • Rental - $185 to $440 per week
  • Boarding schools - $11,000 to $22,000 a year

Other living expenses

  • Groceries and eating out - $140 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity - $10 to $20 per week
  • Phone and Internet - $15 to $30 per week
  • Public transport - $30 to $60 per week
  • Car (after purchase) - $150 to $260 per week
  • Entertainment - $80 to $150 per week

All costs are in Australian dollars and are estimates only. See the Study in Australia website for more information.

Useful Links


Australia has many local and foreign banks as well as other financial institutions. Most banks provide telephone and internet banking, savings and cheque accounts, credit cards and debit cards, foreign currency exchange and travellers cheques, loans, transfer of funds and other financial services.

Usual Banking hours

Monday to Thursday: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Friday: 9.30am - 5.00pm

Most branches offer 24-hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATM).

Opening a Bank Account

In Australia, most income including salary or wages and government benefits are paid directly into a bank account. Here are some quick tips on setting up your bank accounts.

  • You can set up a bank account before or after you arrive.
  • To open an account you will need to have your Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE), passport, Letter of Offer and other forms of identification
  • You may also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office

Check if your current bank has a branch in Australia, they may be able to assist you with setting up a new account.

Visit the Study in Australia website for further information on Banking.


While studying in Australia it is recommended you work out a budget covering costs including clothing, food, accommodation, transport and entertainment. Travel costs and childcare, if applicable, should also be taken into consideration. It’s important to be aware of how much money you spend and where you are spending it. Sticking to a budget will ensure you are aware of where your money is being spent.

Read more about budgeting at

If you experience financial trouble while living in Canberra and studying at CIT, please contact the CIT International for assistance.