Cost of living

3 minute read

People sitting at a cafe with a person on bicycle blurred in foreground

At first glance, Melbourne can seem expensive. But you’ll soon find a lifestyle option that suits your budget.

You might choose to live in the inner suburbs and walk or cycle to University. Or you may save rent by living further out – but then you'll need to think about the costs of public transport or a car.

You can also cut costs by:

  • sharing accommodation
  • shopping at Melbourne’s famous markets
  • exploring food co-ops and veggie box deliveries
  • walking or riding a bike
  • exploring op-shops or second-hand stores for clothes, household items and furniture
  • having dinner parties, movie nights or get-togethers at home, a park or local cheap eats restaurant
  • attending free or low-cost gallery openings, film screenings, talks and lectures
  • using our libraries and the student-owned co-ops
  • cooking meals in bulk and taking lunch with you to University
  • bringing a BYO (bring your own) bottle of wine to dinner at a restaurant
  • using an inexpensive phone card to call home
  • using computer, IT and lab equipment on campus
  • attending free events on campus.

Calculating your cost of living

Relocation costs

In your budget, include:

  • flights
  • visa application fees
  • overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

If you have a scholarship, you will receive a relocation allowance to help with these costs. International scholarship holders will receive OSHC, but are still responsible for paying health cover for partners or family members who are also relocating.

Please note: Unlike many other universities, we do not charge an application fee for international graduate researchers.

General expenses

You will also have to pay for a range of other expenses. Here is a sample of some of the expenses you may incur (in Australian dollars):

  • Takeaway meal – $8–$15
  • Coffee on campus – $3.50
  • Bicycle – $150 new or second-hand or hire $3/day
  • MYKI (public transport) travel pass – $44/week. (Note: You may receive a discounted rate on an annual pass if you sign up for ‘staff commuter club’.)
  • Phone payment plan – $50/month

Total annual living costs

Below is a list of indicative annual living costs for students at our Parkville campus. These costs depend on the type of accommodation you choose.

Many costs will be similar for our other campuses. Rental or residential college costs are likely to be lower, and transport costs may be higher.


  • The total annual living costs below include food, transport and utility bills.
  • They do not include Student Services and Amenities Fees (payable by domestic graduate researchers, but deferable for Australian citizens). You should factor this in to provide your true cost of living and studying.
  • These costs are a guide only. They will vary depending on your personal preference and lifestyle. Also, the more research you do, the more chance you'll find cheaper alternatives.
  • All figures are in Australian dollars.
Type of accommodation Total weeks Weekly rent / board range Estimated annual rent / board Estimated total annual living costs (rent / board plus other expenses)
Renting entire premises (3-bedroom house or flat) * Close to Parkville campus 52 $675–$825 $35 100–$42 900

$89 148–$96 948

Within 6 km of Melbourne CBD 52 $600–$720 $31 200–$37 440 $84 491–$90 731
Rural area 52 $285–$345 $14 820–$17 940 $67 205–$70 325
Sharing rented premises (with two others) Close to Parkville campus 52 $225–$275 $11 700–$14 300 $26 000–$36 500
Within 6 km of Melbourne CBD 52 $200–$240 $10 400–$12 480 $24 500–$35 000
Rural area 52 $95–$115 $4 940–$5 980 $19 000–$28 000
Student apartments Two-bedroom 52 $270–$325 $14 040–$16 900 $28 500–$40 000
Single 52 $355–$435 $18 460–$22 620 $33 500–$46 000
Premium (utilities included) 52 $425–$520 $22 100–$27 040 $34 000–$46 500
Hostels One-bedroom – shared bathroom/kitchen varies $230–$285 varies $26 500–$38 000
Residential college (on or near campus) Graduate fee varies $425–$695 varies $24 500–$37 500
Homestay Full board, living with a local family varies $295–$360 varies $28 000–$36 500
*Total annual living costs for renting an entire premises are based on a family of four.

The total annual living costs above also include the following expenses. These figures are based on a single person, unless noted otherwise:

Weekly cost
 Food and groceries  $80–$150
 Bills (electricity, gas, water, internet)  $60–$80
Phone $10–$20
Public transport fares $44
Spending money (entertainment, clothing, gym) $50–$100
Annual cost
General course costs (not including tuition fees) $500
Establishment costs
Bond (usually one month's rent) 4.33 x weekly rent
Telephone / utilities connection $150–$200
General furniture items (excluding whitegoods) $450–$800
* Information source: Department of Health and Human Services rental report June Quarter 2018. It is current as of November 2018.
Extra notes:
  • Health insurance is not included – add if applicable.
  • Rental property prices vary from suburb to suburb. Check real estate websites to compare rental costs. Use online maps to check distances.
  • Compare your weekly shopping list to the prices quoted on online supermarket sites.

The annual inflation rate in Australia is about three per cent. We recommend that you add this to the above estimates when budgeting for future years.

Childcare and education costs

If you have young children, we encourage you to investigate the cost of childcare early. The University's Early Childhood Education Services is a good starting point. Please remember that places are limited, and costs are often higher elsewhere. Book early.

If you bring school-age dependent children with you to Victoria, you must enrol them in school. The Victorian Government study website gives an indication of fees for government schools.

Online budget calculators

An online budget calculator will help you estimate your yearly expenses. We recommend the Money Smart budget planner site.

Further information for international students:

  • The above estimates are in Australian dollars (AUD$). Check the Victorian Government's Goods and Services price list for more information. Here, you can also compare the cost of living in Melbourne with similar costs in the USA or China.
  • If you’re not receiving OSHC as part of your scholarship, then include the cost of health cover in your budget – it's compulsory.