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Sorting Out the Cost Of Living in Sydney Before You Move

Sorting Out the Cost Of Living in Sydney Before You Move
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To Help You Estimate Your Cost of Living in Sydney, Here is a Breakdown of Daily Expenses.

This is Part Two of my cost of living in Sydney series. Part One was all about rents in Sydney.

This article discusses daily and monthly expenses like groceries, utilities, public transportation, and more fun things like shopping, dining out and going to the movies or cinema if you’re from the UK.

Ok, let’s get into it.

Cost of Living in Sydney: Monthly Utilities

After you have secured your apartment in Sydney, you’re going to need to keep the lights on and, during the winter months, pay for your space heater as apartments, and most houses, in Sydney do not have central heating.

This means your electric bill will be more during the winter. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have at least two space heaters, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. No, it doesn’t get that cold in Sydney but after living in Sydney during a hot summer, you will be surprised at how chilly it can get at night in July, the coldest month of the year. (Remember seasons are switched around in the Southern Hemisphere.)

We even own an electric blanket for those chilly nights. It was worth every penny getting one that has a timer. No more getting into a cold bed during the winter months. Plus we both sleep better being bundled up, nice a warm. I absolutely love it and wish I didn’t wait a full year to get one.

Cost of Living in Sydney: Monthly Utilities

That is an average monthly cost for basic utilities for a whole year. As I mentioned before there will be months when it’s more and months when it’s less. Just like back home. Did you happen to notice the price range? It’s pretty large.

Cost of Living in Sydney: Grocery Shopping

Avocados in AustraliaSome groceries are, of course, seasonal so the prices will range quite a bit for the whole year. The table below is very general but it should give you a basic idea of prices and allow you to compare with what you pay back home.

Of course where you shop will also have an affect on what you pay. The two major grocery stores in Sydney are Coles and Woolworths (aka Woolies). There is also IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia), Aldi, Harris Farm Market (great for produce and now has online shopping, yay!). There are other independent markets spread throughout the city but those are the main ones.

Cost of Living in Sydney Groceries

Cost of Living in Sydney: Public Transportation

Public Transportation in Sydney is pretty good in my opinion, but I’m from Seattle where there is no train and I don’t like taking the bus, pretty much the only option for public transport in Seattle. It’s not really taking the bus that bothers me, it’s more the waiting and having to work around someone else’s schedule.

When you arrive in Sydney, you will hear many Sydneysiders and expats, who have moved from cities with good public transport, complain about the public transport in Sydney but in my opinion the train is a great way to get around the city quickly. It runs so often that I never feel like I have to wait for long but I live very close to Bondi Junction Station and I don’t have to commute during peak hours to get to work.

Public transport is definitely something you need to think about if you’re commuting from a distance. Traffic in Sydney is pretty bad and parking in the city is expensive and limited. Be sure to consider not just the cost but time sitting in traffic stewing vs sitting on a train reading.

Cost of Living in Sydney Train Fares
Cost of Living in Sydney Bus Fares
Cost of Living in Sydney Ferry Fares
If you go out for an evening in the city and miss the ferry and bus (the buses run pretty late so we’re talking about a big night out), a taxi will cost you about $50-65 from the CBD to Manly.

It can be hard to get a taxi to Manly late at night because taxis are usually unable to pick up a fare going the opposite direction. Therefore they don’t want to be “stuck” in Manly with no fare back to the city. So be sure to keep that in mind especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve when it’s impossible to catch a taxi.

Same goes for Parramatta and Cronulla too.

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Cost of Living in Sydney: Dining Out

Top, more expensive restaurants are not included in the table below because when people usually go out to eat it’s more of a casual affair. But just to give you an idea, Tesuya’s, one of the city’s best restaurants, can be as much as $250 per person.

Again, these prices are very general but will give you an idea of how much things cost. I have a list of my favourite cheap eats in Sydney that includes a map and recommendations on what to order.

Cost of Living in Sydney: Dining Out

Cost of Living in Sydney: Shopping

Cost of Living in Sydney: Shopping

The first time I went shopping for jeans in Sydney not only was I in shock from the prices but also in tears. Tears because women’s sizes in Australia are not the same as the US. I am usually a size 8 in the US but a 10-12 in Australia when it comes to jeans. Ever female American expat that I have ever met has had the same experience when shopping for clothes in Australia.

Before you move to Sydney, go shopping at home for jeans and shoes. You will save yourself money in the long run.

Cost of Living in Sydney: Sports and Leisure

Cost of Living in Sydney: Sports and Leisure

That’s it. We covered pretty much all your daily expenses in Sydney except for Health Insurance because that’s more individual as there are a number of options to choose from.

Where did I get this info from? Here is a link to Numbeo, a cost of living survey site.

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About The Author


Hi, I’m Lauren, and I LOVE being an expat in Sydney but am fed up with all the misinformed and useless expat guides out there, not only giving bad advice but also charging for it! So I created Sydney Moving Guide written by expats, for expats. Click here to read my story.