As of September 2021, the average monthly cost of living in Melbourne for a single person and family of four is $3,659 and $6,583 respectively. This average includes housing rent, utility costs, food, transportation, phone bills, and many others. Cost factors are often affected by the number of members in a family, living preferences and forms of accommodation chosen, and these amounts are only an estimated figure. Despite being costly, Melbourne is still one of the most popular cities to visit and live in by many people in the world – which explains Australia’s rich cultural diversity.
With its amazing street art, beautiful landscapes, thrilling sports, exquisite dining experiences, famous local coffee, live music bands and more, who wouldn’t consider living in Melbourne? But before we get there, it is important to do your research and understand the costs that come with living in the city. This can help you to estimate how much you will need before moving to avoid the shock of suddenly having no cash at hand. It is also good to monitor the currency exchange rate and the hidden cost for the payment of service before you make the exchange and carry on with your planning as it might affect the amount of money you have after changing.
This may seem a lot to take in but fret not. This article will bring you through every aspect of the cost of living in Melbourne so that you will be financially prepared despite being in a totally different environment.
Average housing rent
The average monthly rent for an 85m² (900ft²) furnished accommodation in a high-value area and a normal area is $3,071 and $2,214 respectively. Similarly, the average monthly rent for a 45m² (480ft²) furnished studio in a high-value area is $1,869 and $1,404 in a normal area.
Most locals generally refer to apartments as flats. When you are hunting for a property, it may also be common to hear words such as “studios”, “houses” or “units”. Units usually refer to larger flats with split levels like a house but built in blocks like flats. Houses, on the other hand, are larger and include a garage space. For more information, you can search for rental prices online here.
Where applicable, do obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) first before purchasing your property. Application fees may apply for certain types of property. The fee estimator on the FIRB website would give you a good gauge of how much the fees are. If you/your spouse is an Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident, you might also be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.
You can also purchase personal property while holding a temporary visa, but not as an investment. Upon leaving the country, the property will be sold.
Average transportation cost
Public transportation services
The average monthly public transportation cost is $156.
Getting around Melbourne is made relatively easy thanks to the efficient public transport system that includes tram, rails and bus services. Be sure to register for a myki card and you are good to go! Furthermore, the city offers a Free Tram Zone in the central business district, making it easier and cheaper for commuters to move around. For more information on getting around, visit the Public Transport Victoria.
Purchasing a car
While public transport services are a cheaper alternative to make your way around the metropolitan city, you may be looking for a more convenient albeit costlier mode of transportation, especially if you are living in the suburbs of the city or staying in the country for a long time.
Depending on the types of cars you choose to buy, the average initial cost of:
a city car is $20,593.
a small car is $15,890.
a small SUV is $24,623.
a medium car is $40,960.
a medium SUV is $42,823.
a sports car is $74,626.
a luxury car is $303,366.
Fuel consumption, the type of car, the initial costs of the car, how old the vehicle is, depreciation and maintenance issues are all factors that will affect the total amount of money you need to pay on a yearly basis. Buying a car also means paying for fuel, servicing and maintenance costs, comprehensive car insurance, registration and licensing costs.
Renting a car
Car rentals might just be the best option if you are here for a short-term stay. Depending on the companies you are renting from, most allow individuals with ages 18 and up to rent a car. Meanwhile, some require customers to be at least 21 or 25 years old. Some rental companies including Kayak allow you to book rental cars online with affordable pricing that might just as well fit your budget. The current average price of a car rent is $33 per day with good deals going as low as $26 per day, depending on the type of car you choose.
Getting a taxi or using the Ride-sharing app
If driving a car is not one of your options for travelling from place to place, you can call to book a taxi which operates according to a meter system. The average cost of a taxi’s starting fare for a normal tariff is $5 but can range from $4.20 to $7.
You can also opt for shared rides through various ride-sharing apps such as DiDi, Ola, GoCatch and Taxify. Depending on your personal preference, these services give you the option of sharing a ride with people going to the same area as yours, or you can also choose to book a solo ride. Some of these apps offer fixed fares while some calculate fares by the meter. To get an estimation of the cost fare, you can input your ‘pick up’ and ‘drop off’ points in the app and a fare estimate will be displayed under the vehicle icon.
Water taxis and ferries
Melbourne Water Taxis provides a limousine-like service that transports you around the city. It may be a faster mode of transport as compared to taking public transport, by foot or by car as these are more prone to traffic congestion during the peak hours. An average one-way ticket fare for an adult is $10 and $5 for a child. Besides reaching your destination safely, riding a water taxi allows you to witness a spectacular view of the bustling city’s harbour and experience the ambience of the numerous restaurants and cafes along the riverside.
Melbourne is a bike-friendly city and cycling is a great way to get around the city as well as stay fit and healthy. Bicycles are easily available everywhere and purchasing one wouldn’t be a problem but if you do not wish to buy a bicycle, you can choose to rent one.
Lime is Melbourne’s e-bike rental app and you can hire one of these through Uber or the Lime app. A fixed-rate is charged for unlocking the bike and after which, you will be charged per minute for riding it. If you are a daily rider, you might want to consider Lime Prime, a monthly subscription plan where it offers you unlimited free unlocks of the bike and you can ride as many times as you like in a month. Ride Pass is another option for daily riders to consider. Although it offers unlimited rides within a set period of time, you will be charged at a per-minute rate if you exceed the time limit set.
Click here for more information on the transport in Melbourne.
Average food and entertainment expenditure
Melbourne is packed with neighbourhood pubs, fast food chains, cosy cafes and classy restaurants which offers a wide range of food and dining options, from meat lovers to healthy vegan options, hearty desserts, hotcakes, cocktails and wine.
Depending on your budget, an average cost of:
a basic lunchtime menu including a drink in a business district area is around $19.
a meal in a fast-food restaurant (e.g. a big mac meal) is around $13.
a cocktail drink in a downtown club is around $19.
a cup of cappuccino in the expat area of the city is around $4.55.
a basic dinner out for two in a neighbourhood pub is around $52.
a fanciful dinner at an Italian restaurant in the expat area for two pax which includes appetizers, main course, desserts and wine is around $85.
For grocery shopping purposes, the average cost of a:
500g of boneless chicken breast is around $6.
1kg of potatoes is around $3.23.
1kg of white rice is around $2.49.
1kg of apples is around $4.62.
1kg of tomatoes is around $5.30.
1kg of chicken fillets is around $11.15.
Besides the array of food choices to choose from, Melbourne is also known for its bustling nightlife and entertainment programmes which are suitable for most types of people, whether musically inclined, fitness junkies or those simply looking to enjoy a show.
An average cost of:
a ticket to the movie is around $19.50.
tickets for two pax to the theatre for a musical or dance performance with the best seats is around $286.
a month of gym membership in the business district area is around $72.
Average medical cost
Healthcare can be costly if you are not covered under Medicare or any other health insurance coverage. A short 15 minutes to a private clinic can already cost you around $85 while a box of antibiotics with 12 doses is about $18. To avoid unnecessary costs, check out if you are eligible to apply for Medicare here.
If not, you can also click here to find out more information on the various health insurance available.
Average phone bills
The average monthly cost for phone bills is between $50 to $80. The four largest telcos in Australia are Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. Before you settle on which telco to use, be sure to ask if the telco has coverage in your area.
The price for a one month 8 MBPS Internet is $50. According to Gizmodo, the fastest internet speeds are provided by Aussie Broadband, iiNet, TPG, Internode and Dodo. To compare the prices of the various broadband providers, you can use youcompare.com.au and iselect.com.au or look at reviews of the various providers on productreview.com.au. As with choosing a mobile network provider, contact the internet service provider to confirm coverage in your area.
Average utility cost
The average monthly utility bill (electricity, heating, cooling, water, gas, etc) for 2 people in an 85m² (900ft²) flat is $305, while a 45m² (480ft²) studio for only 1 person costs $166. 1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff with no discount or plan costs around $0.21.
Average childcare cost
The average monthly cost of private full-day childcare in a preschool or kindergarten for a child is around $2,484.33 and enrolling a child in an International Primary School costs around $17,691.67 yearly.
Now that you have an idea of how much it may cost you to live in Melbourne, it is advisable to start your financial planning journey as early as possible so that you can estimate how long it will take you to save the amount of money you need. Melbourne may not be the cheapest city to live in if you’re on a tight budget, but if you plan your expenses wisely and stick to them, it is still possible to enjoy your life without breaking the bank!