Living Costs and Banking

Studying abroad can be expensive, so 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. The Cost of Living financial requirements have increased and the new legislative instrument ( has updated the following annual living costs and expenses in line with the Customer Price Index (CPI) increases from June 2017 to June 2019:

  1. for a primary applicant: an increase from AUD20,292 to AUD21,041
  2. for a spouse or de facto partner of the primary applicant: an increase from AUD7,100 to AUD7,362
  3. for a dependent child:  an increase from AUD3,040 to AUD3,152
  4. annual school costs: an increase from AUD8,000 to AUD8,296
  5. personal annual income if there is no secondary applicant: an increase from AUD60,000 to AUD62,222
  6. personal annual income where there is a secondary applicant: an increase from AUD70,000 to AUD72,592

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

Other living expenses

  • Groceries and eating out - $80 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity - $35 to $140 per week
  • Phone and Internet - $20 to $55 per week
  • Public transport - $15 to $55 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 a large number of local and foreign banks and 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 child care, 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.