Skip to Content

Living expenses

The cost of living in Melbourne can vary according to the type of accommodation you choose and the lifestyle you lead.

Although the cost of groceries, eating out, utilities and entertainment is similar across Melbourne, the cost of accommodation in and around the city centre is greater than in the outer suburbs. On the other hand, travel costs may increase the further you live from the centre of the city.

You will need to budget approximately AUD$2300 – $5000 for the initial costs of establishing yourself in Melbourne. We require that you budget an approximate minimum of AUD$23,000 - $30,000 per year for ongoing living costs (excluding tuition fees or airfares).

We also recommended you allow AUD$1000 – $2000 for the purchase of a personal computer.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) advises that applicants for student visas require AUD$18,610 per year for living expenses.

The table below provides a breakdown of the costs you will need to budget for when studying at Swinburne. You should contact service providers directly for confirmed costs.

Average estimated living costs for one single student (AUD$)

Accommodation Homestay ¹
(full package)
On campus (UniLodge @ Swinburne Place or Residential College, full year contract)2 Shared accommodation (room only in 2-4 bedroom house) Renting accommodation
(1 bedroom unit/apartment)
Establishment costs
Accommodation bond $230(placement fees1 ) $1350 (inc. reservation fees 2 ) $800 $1200 (one month rent based on 52 weeks calendar month rent)
Rent paid in advance $1110 (1 month rent) $2000 (2 month rent) $800 (1 month rent) $1200 (1 month rent)
Utilities set up – inc. phone, internet, gas, electricity 0 $0
(Phone in room, if requested $150)
$30 $120
Furniture & house hold items ( ie. couch, TV, washing machine, fridge, linen, towels, crockery) 0 $300 $700 $700
Personal computer/laptop $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000
Estimated total per year $2340 $4650 $3330 $4220
On-going weekly living costs
Weekly rent/board
(without rent paid in advance - see establishment costs above)
$2701 $250 $185 $300
Food & groceries (excluding dinning out) $50 $100 $100 $100
Utilities (gas, electricity, mobile phone, internet) $10 (internet) $0 $30 $40
Spending money ( e.g health, personal care, entertainment, clothes, dining out, hobbies) $60 $60 $60 $60
Travel (public transport/ fuel) $50 $50 $50 $50
Estimated total per year $21800 $21920 $21360 $27400
Annual costs
Books, stationery, photocopying, etc. $800 $800 $800 $800
Miscellaneous items (e.g. car insurance, car registration, expenses related to unexpected events) $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000
Estimated per year (52 weeks) $23600 $23720 $23160 $29200

1 Swinburne Homestay information
2 Student Residences - Information for applicants

Additional information

Online budget calculator

Students are encouraged to make a budget to help them estimate their yearly expenses. There are a number of good online calculators:


Swinburne offers a range of accommodation services to assist international students in securing, living in and leaving their accommodation.


Transport costs will vary for students depending on your chosen mode of transport and how far away you live from your campus.

Personal computer/laptop

Student wishing to purchase a personal computer or laptop can expect to pay anywhere between AUD$1000- $2000 depending on the type of processing system, included software, age of computer and study needs.

Good Condition second-hand computers may meet your needs and will cost less to purchase than a new computer. We advise all students to test and sight in person, any second-hand goods before exchanging cash/funds.

You can try the following links for purchasing a second-hand computer:

The university has a large number of computers available for student use, including 24 hour computer labs and laptop loan program. Please see the library for further details.

Costs for students with families

If you are bringing your family, you will also need an approximate minimum of AUD$19,000 per year for your spouse and AUD$10,000 per year for each child (not including school fees and uniforms).