In recent years, the cost of living has risen around the world and Australia is no exception. Yet Australia remains more affordable than many other countries.
According to the 2010 Mercer cost of living report, Australia’s largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne – are cheaper to live in than Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Rio De Janeiro, Vienna and many more. Australia’s smaller cities are cheaper still.
A 2006 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that Tasmanian households had lower average weekly costs than other Australian homes – AU$759 per week compared to AU$893 nationally.
How much money you will need to live in Tasmania really depends on what kind of lifestyle you want to have. While some things are cheaper to buy in Tasmania, this is not true for everything. For example, while rent in Tasmania costs much less than in Sydney, the price of petrol is often higher. So decisions like whether or not you choose to use a homestay or drive a car are very important.
There are many smart ways to manage your money. Whatever strategy you choose, you must budget enough to cover your food, electricity, transport, clothes, health insurance and your studies for each week. Try to leave a little bit extra for fun too.
Budgeting on a student income is a challenge that many Australian students also deal with. Ask them how they save money. If you can keep a successful budget it will make your Australian experience much more rewarding.
A good indication for how much money you will need to live in Australia is provided by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship:
$18,000 a year for the main student
$6,300 a year for the student’s partner
$3,600 a year for the student’s first child
$2,700 a year for every other child and where required.
These figures represent what someone could live on as a bare minimum. In most cases your living expenses will be higher, but only you can know how much you will really need.
If you are under 18 and not living in Tasmania with a relative, you will need to live in a homestay. Students who are over 18 have a choice. Click here to gind out more about GETI's homestay program.
The price of your rent will depend on what agreement you make with your landlord, flatmates or homestay host. If you want to include some meals, power or internet, this will obviously cost more.
These figures are only approximates and actual prices can vary greatly.
Tasmania is a fertile island which produces a lot of wonderful produce, so if you buy Tasmanian grown food you can save money. As well as large supermarkets, there are also regular farmer’s markets each week all over Tasmania where you can buy straight from the grower, which is a great way to shop cheaply.
Tasmania also has some small stores that specialise in Asian, Indian, African and European groceries. Be prepared to pay more for items from your own country however, because you’ll need to pay for the cost of bringing them to Australia!
Here is a rough guide to how much items should cost. These are not exact. Remember, you should be trying to live within your budget. As a good indication, you should try to spend a maximum of $100-$150 per week on groceries and less if you can…
Though Tasmanians pay about the same price for electricity to other parts of Australia, Tasmanians will spend more through the winter months. So a good way to save money is to make sure you have warm clothes, bedding and an efficient heater. Any kind of heater with a fan will be the most expensive kind to run.
All electricity in Tasmanian is provided by the government-owned Aurora Energy, which has two kinds of billing systems: standard and Pay As You Go (PAYG). If you are renting on your own you will need to pay a connection fee, based on what kind of meter is on the property.
You can visit Aurora Energy for more information.
Of course, if you choose to live in a homestay then you do not have to pay a connection fee and may be able to negotiate a homestay fee that includes the price of electricity.
Some students are able to walk to classes within half an hour of their homestay, but this is not always possible. Most will use Tasmania’s public transport bus network. International students at schools and TasTAFE are eligible for discounted bus tickets, but must show their student card when asked.
On average, students can expect to spend $15-$20 per week on public transport. Electronic ticketing systems are also available that provide cheaper fares when paying in advance.
Click here for more information on bus services in Hobart and Launceston, and in Devonport.
Due to Tasmania being an island, it unfortunately has some of the most expensive petrol prices in Australia. Of course, these can go up or down at any time. It is still possible to shop around for cheaper prices on certain days of the week and in the right locations. The best thing way to get advice is to ask a local.
The phone company you use in your own country may have a global roaming service, but this will make your calls very expensive. If you are staying in Australia for more than a couple of weeks, you are better off buying a local phone or SIM card and using a pre-paid credit plan.
How much you will need for calls each week obviously depends on your level of use and how many international calls you make. There are many plans to choose from and many different phone companies. As a minimum, you should expect to pay at least $30 per month.
Many Australian homes have broadband internet access, but it may be slower or more expensive than what you are used to. Australian internet services are currently undergoing a major national upgrade, with fibre optic cable being laid right around the country – starting in Tasmania. In the meantime, existing services often have data limits. Wireless internet is also widely available in Tasmanian cities.
If you are in a homestay, your host might already have internet services connected. You will need to negotiate a cost for using it. If you want to connect your own service in Australia, you can compare the many different providers and their plans here.
Buying textbooks can be expensive and Australians tend to pay more for books because of taxes. Good ways to save money are to buy second hand text books, or to shop online. Depending on what course you are doing, you could expect to pay over AU$100 per semester for text books.
Some courses also require additional equipment, like uniforms. It is your responsibility to know what is required, but you can contact GETI for assistance.