The cost of living in Sydney is a shocker to almost everyone moving to Australia, even for those moving from cities more expensive like London.

I get several emails a week asking me if it really is that high and how the heck do we get by. The truth is, it took us awhile to catch up on our finances to get back to the point where we actually had something in our savings account. There were many expenses we didn’t plan on plus a few other financial hiccups that were costly. I won’t go over them again as I have a post about how much money you needed saved for your move to Sydney that goes into detail.

A short while ago, I got an email from an SMG reader that forwarded this to me from a forum for people moving to Sydney from South Africa and had to re-post it here for anyone moving to Sydney with small children.

Outline of Cost of Living in Sydney for a Family of Four

We’ve been here in Sydney as a family for 9 months, my wife works in the heart of the CBD and are a family of 4 with a 3 and 5 year old and moved from Cape Town.

Here are our monthly costs, they’ve been pretty accurate month to month.

Rent – $4,000
Mobile phones – $45 (1 phone – Unlimited Calls, Texts and 2GB data with Optus, other phone is covered by my Wife’s company)
Internet – $124 (Home Phone, Unlimited ADSL, FetchTV with Netflix)
Transport – Public – $100
Vehicle – Bought for Cash on Arrival, sold both cars in SA and used the cash to but 1 here.
Petrol – $80
Vehicle Tax – $58
Insurance – Vehicle – $91
Insurance – Health (Family) – $200
Insurance – Household Contents – $52
Electricity – $100
Gas – $50
Water & Council Tax – $57
Groceries – $1000
Total = $5957

A few extra things we have include the following:

Clothing – $150
Haircuts – $72
Tolls/eTag – $20
Bank Charges – $12
Others – $300
Total = $554
GRAND TOTAL = $6511

You can find the original posting on the SAAustralia Forum here.

A Few Things to Note

First, the person that posted this in the forum has a permanent residence visa which explains why health insurance is lower than what we pay on our 457 visa. Before you ask, our health insurance is $265 a month for two adults but we have some add-ons and could probably get away with less if we were on a tighter budget.

Another thing to note is that there is no mention of childcare costs. This is because one parent is staying home with the kids, a huge savings as full-time childcare in Sydney can easily be $30,000 plus a year, per child, if not more.

For those on a 457 visa, you will have to pay $5,000 in tuition for your child to go to a public school in Sydney. For more about schools in Sydney please read my post here.


Also there is the mention of $300 for “Other” expenses. Since he does have groceries/food listed above, I was thinking that this was probably for entertainment and other things like takeaway that sometimes don’t get added to monthly budgets or for expenses that are not monthly but just seem to pop up.

I have two other posts that might interest you on the cost of living in Sydney.

  1. Rents in Sydney by Neighbourhood
  2. A Breakdown of Daily Expenses in Sydney

If you agree or disagree with the outline above or think something has been left off, please leave a comment below. Many find the comments to be helpful. Your input counts.