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Cost of Living in Adelaide

Understanding the cost of living is a key factor for international students when moving to Adelaide. With lower rent, food and public transport costs than most major Australian cities, you’ll be able to afford more of the wonderful lifestyle that Australia has to offer. 

Below is an estimated overview of the general costs associated with living and studying in Adelaide, South Australia. 

This is a guide only, and costs will vary depending on your lifestyle choices and needs.

Understanding the cost of living is a key factor for international students when moving to Adelaide. With lower rent, food and public transport costs than most major Australian cities, you’ll be able to afford more of the wonderful lifestyle that Australia has to offer. 

Below is an estimated overview of the general costs associated with living and studying in Adelaide, South Australia. 

This is a guide only, and costs will vary depending on your lifestyle choices and needs.

Accommodation 🏠

Accommodation is one of the largest expenses you'll encounter as an international student. Adelaide provides many options to suit every taste and budget, allowing you to find a place you can truly call home.

🏫 Residential College

This is a popular choice for many international students due to its convenience. Living on or near campus means you're just a stone's throw away from your classes and it's a great way to immerse yourself in campus life from day one. Fees typically include all utilities, amenities, internet, meals and even tutoring. The average cost per week in Adelaide is AUD$500.


🏢 Student Accommodation

This is another excellent option, particularly for students who prefer a blend of independence and the social aspect of living among peers. These apartments are designed with the needs of students in mind and offer flexible leasing terms to match university semesters. The cost of student accommodation in Adelaide is usually between AUD$300-$600 per week.  Click here to see the wide variety of options available in Adelaide. 


🛏️ Renting a room

If you're looking to make your living expenses more cost-effective, renting a room could be the answer. Not only will you split the rent and utilities, but you'll also have the chance to make lasting friendships and learn about different cultures. Renting a room can cost between AUD$150-$300 per week.


🏠 Renting an entire place

For those who prefer having their own space, private rentals are available throughout Adelaide. While this option might be slightly more expensive, it offers privacy and the freedom to create your own space. Private rentals could be a house, apartment or unit, and cost between AUD$400-$600 per week. For families relocating to Adelaide, a rental with multiple bedrooms will likely cost more. Please note that these costs usually don’t include utility bills - there is more detail on them below. 


👨‍👩‍👧 Homestay

A homestay offers a uniquely immersive experience for international students in Australia, providing a safe, nurturing, and culturally enriching environment, and is particularly suitable for under-18 students. This option generally includes meals, utilities and internet. The costs can range between AUD$250-$510 per week.


Click here to view the complete guide on accommodation in Adelaide and some of our tips for your search.

Accommodation is one of the largest expenses you'll encounter as an international student. Adelaide provides many options to suit every taste and budget, allowing you to find a place you can truly call home.

🏫 Residential College

This is a popular choice for many international students due to its convenience. Living on or near campus means you're just a stone's throw away from your classes and it's a great way to immerse yourself in campus life from day one. Fees typically include all utilities, amenities, internet, meals and even tutoring. The average cost per week in Adelaide is AUD$500.


🏢 Student Accommodation

This is another excellent option, particularly for students who prefer a blend of independence and the social aspect of living among peers. These apartments are designed with the needs of students in mind and offer flexible leasing terms to match university semesters. The cost of student accommodation in Adelaide is usually between AUD$300-$600 per week.  Click here to see the wide variety of options available in Adelaide. 


🛏️ Renting a room

If you're looking to make your living expenses more cost-effective, renting a room could be the answer. Not only will you split the rent and utilities, but you'll also have the chance to make lasting friendships and learn about different cultures. Renting a room can cost between AUD$150-$300 per week.


🏠 Renting an entire place

For those who prefer having their own space, private rentals are available throughout Adelaide. While this option might be slightly more expensive, it offers privacy and the freedom to create your own space. Private rentals could be a house, apartment or unit, and cost between AUD$400-$600 per week. For families relocating to Adelaide, a rental with multiple bedrooms will likely cost more. Please note that these costs usually don’t include utility bills - there is more detail on them below. 


👨‍👩‍👧 Homestay

A homestay offers a uniquely immersive experience for international students in Australia, providing a safe, nurturing, and culturally enriching environment, and is particularly suitable for under-18 students. This option generally includes meals, utilities and internet. The costs can range between AUD$250-$510 per week.


Click here to view the complete guide on accommodation in Adelaide and some of our tips for your search.

Transportation 🚌

Getting around Adelaide is easy and affordable, thanks to a variety of transportation options available to students.

Transport options in Adelaide include:

🚆 Public transport

Adelaide Metro is a reliable and frequent service that includes buses, trains and trams. A regular monthly MetroCARD for eligible full time students costs AUD$56.10, which is a 50% discount on the normal fare and allows you unlimited travel during that month. For your convenience, Adelaide Metro also provides several free public transport options servicing the city and North Adelaide. Learn more about transport in Adelaide.

🚲 Bicycles

Adelaide is also known for being one of Australia's most bike-friendly cities, with numerous bike paths and lanes across the city. This is a cheap and eco-friendly alternative for getting around the city, especially for shorter commutes. To save money, you can find a second-hand bike on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree - just remember to be cautious and protect your information from potential scams. For valuable tips on online safety, visit Scamwatch.

🚙 Owning a car

If you prefer the flexibility and convenience of driving, owning a car is another option. However, it's important to factor in costs such as insurance, fuel, maintenance and parking. These costs can be between AUD$50-$75 per week, on top of the cost of purchasing a car.

Getting around Adelaide is easy and affordable, thanks to a variety of transportation options available to students.

Transport options in Adelaide include:

🚆 Public transport

Adelaide Metro is a reliable and frequent service that includes buses, trains and trams. A regular monthly MetroCARD for eligible full time students costs AUD$56.10, which is a 50% discount on the normal fare and allows you unlimited travel during that month. For your convenience, Adelaide Metro also provides several free public transport options servicing the city and North Adelaide. Learn more about transport in Adelaide.

🚲 Bicycles

Adelaide is also known for being one of Australia's most bike-friendly cities, with numerous bike paths and lanes across the city. This is a cheap and eco-friendly alternative for getting around the city, especially for shorter commutes. To save money, you can find a second-hand bike on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree - just remember to be cautious and protect your information from potential scams. For valuable tips on online safety, visit Scamwatch.

🚙 Owning a car

If you prefer the flexibility and convenience of driving, owning a car is another option. However, it's important to factor in costs such as insurance, fuel, maintenance and parking. These costs can be between AUD$50-$75 per week, on top of the cost of purchasing a car.

Food and groceries 🍎

Adelaide has an affordable and exciting food scene, from fresh produce markets and local grocery stores to restaurants and cafes. Here are some tips to know about managing your food and grocery expenses as an international student in Adelaide:

🥦 Groceries

Local supermarkets offer a wide range of products to cater to every dietary preference, from vegan and gluten-free options to international foods that allow you to enjoy a taste of home. Students can expect to spend between AUD$60-$200 per week on groceries, depending on individual eating habits and preferences.


🍴 Eating out

For those times when you feel like treating yourself or simply don't have the time to cook, Adelaide's restaurants offer diverse and delicious options. A meal at a restaurant in Adelaide typically costs between AUD$15-$30.

Click here to view the complete guide on shopping in Adelaide

Adelaide has an affordable and exciting food scene, from fresh produce markets and local grocery stores to restaurants and cafes. Here are some tips to know about managing your food and grocery expenses as an international student in Adelaide:

🥦 Groceries

Local supermarkets offer a wide range of products to cater to every dietary preference, from vegan and gluten-free options to international foods that allow you to enjoy a taste of home. Students can expect to spend between AUD$60-$200 per week on groceries, depending on individual eating habits and preferences.


🍴 Eating out

For those times when you feel like treating yourself or simply don't have the time to cook, Adelaide's restaurants offer diverse and delicious options. A meal at a restaurant in Adelaide typically costs between AUD$15-$30.

Click here to view the complete guide on shopping in Adelaide

Health insurance 🏥

Healthcare in Australia is of high quality, but as an international student, it's mandatory to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This insurance will cover a significant portion of your healthcare costs should you need any medical assistance during your stay. There are multiple insurance companies that offer different products which will affect the cost but as an idea, costs can range from as low as AUD$580 a year to AUD$4,000 a year depending on the level of cover and whether it covers you as an individual, couple or family.

Healthcare in Australia is of high quality, but as an international student, it's mandatory to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This insurance will cover a significant portion of your healthcare costs should you need any medical assistance during your stay. There are multiple insurance companies that offer different products which will affect the cost but as an idea, costs can range from as low as AUD$580 a year to AUD$4,000 a year depending on the level of cover and whether it covers you as an individual, couple or family.

Study materials 📚

No matter what course you undertake, some study materials will be required such as textbooks, calculators and equipment. These costs can range from approximately AUD$500 to AUD$1,500 per year, however, you can reduce these costs by purchasing second-hand materials. These usually can be found on student portal forums, on-campus notice boards and Gumtree (a free local classified platform). Be careful when purchasing second-hand textbooks that you are buying the current edition being taught in your program.

No matter what course you undertake, some study materials will be required such as textbooks, calculators and equipment. These costs can range from approximately AUD$500 to AUD$1,500 per year, however, you can reduce these costs by purchasing second-hand materials. These usually can be found on student portal forums, on-campus notice boards and Gumtree (a free local classified platform). Be careful when purchasing second-hand textbooks that you are buying the current edition being taught in your program.

Utilities and internet 💡

💧 Utilities

These costs typically include electricity, gas and water. They can vary based on usage and the type of accommodation, but on average, expect to spend around AUD$140-$200 per month.


🌐 Internet

Staying connected is paramount as a student. Whether it's for studying, staying in touch with family, or simply streaming your favourite shows, you'll need a reliable internet connection. The cost of a good broadband connection is between AUD$60-$80 per month, but you can sometimes get great value deals through your phone provider. Do not forget to check Adelaide free WiFi service.

💧 Utilities

These costs typically include electricity, gas and water. They can vary based on usage and the type of accommodation, but on average, expect to spend around AUD$140-$200 per month.


🌐 Internet

Staying connected is paramount as a student. Whether it's for studying, staying in touch with family, or simply streaming your favourite shows, you'll need a reliable internet connection. The cost of a good broadband connection is between AUD$60-$80 per month, but you can sometimes get great value deals through your phone provider. Do not forget to check Adelaide free WiFi service.

Entertainment and leisure 🎪

Adelaide is a city that thrives on its arts scene, outdoor activities and sports, ensuring there's always something exciting to do.

🖼️ Arts and Culture

Art and history lovers can enjoy free entry to the South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and MOD., with the exception of special exhibitions. Film enthusiasts can enjoy student concession tickets at most cinemas around Adelaide for AUD$10-$15.


🥎 Sports

Whether you enjoy playing or watching sports, Adelaide has you covered. Gym memberships are between AUD$15-$30 per month, and a ticket to watch a game at Adelaide Oval typically costs AUD$30 for general admission.


🍷 Nightlife

Adelaide has a thriving nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs and music venues. The average cost for a night out, including transportation, drinks and entry fees, can be between AUD$50-$150 depending on individual lifestyle and preferences.

Adelaide is a city that thrives on its arts scene, outdoor activities and sports, ensuring there's always something exciting to do.

🖼️ Arts and Culture

Art and history lovers can enjoy free entry to the South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and MOD., with the exception of special exhibitions. Film enthusiasts can enjoy student concession tickets at most cinemas around Adelaide for AUD$10-$15.


🥎 Sports

Whether you enjoy playing or watching sports, Adelaide has you covered. Gym memberships are between AUD$15-$30 per month, and a ticket to watch a game at Adelaide Oval typically costs AUD$30 for general admission.


🍷 Nightlife

Adelaide has a thriving nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs and music venues. The average cost for a night out, including transportation, drinks and entry fees, can be between AUD$50-$150 depending on individual lifestyle and preferences.

Personal expenses 🧻

Personal expenses are an essential part of any budget, particularly for students who are often managing their finances independently for the first time.

🪥 Toiletries

This includes products for personal hygiene and grooming such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and toilet paper. Depending on the products you prefer, you may spend between AUD$25-$50 per month.

👕 Clothing

The amount spent on clothing can vary significantly depending on your shopping habits. On average, a budget of around AUD$50-$100 per month should be sufficient for most students. You can further save money by shopping at Op shops (second-hand shops) like Savers, Salvos and Vinnies.  For more information about shopping in Adelaide, click here.


📱Mobile phone plans

 Mobile phone plans can range from basic to comprehensive, depending on your needs. You can expect to pay between AUD$40-$100 per month. Vodafone has great student deals to help you manage your budget.


🎮 Other personal items

This can include items such as books, subscriptions, haircuts and hobbies. Depending on your interests and habits, you could spend anywhere from AUD$30-$150 per month on these items.

Please note that prices can vary and this guide serves as a general estimate as of June 2023. To effectively plan your finances and get a personalised estimate of your monthly expenses in Australia, try out StudyAustralia's Cost of Living Calculator


Personal expenses are an essential part of any budget, particularly for students who are often managing their finances independently for the first time.

🪥 Toiletries

This includes products for personal hygiene and grooming such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and toilet paper. Depending on the products you prefer, you may spend between AUD$25-$50 per month.

👕 Clothing

The amount spent on clothing can vary significantly depending on your shopping habits. On average, a budget of around AUD$50-$100 per month should be sufficient for most students. You can further save money by shopping at Op shops (second-hand shops) like Savers, Salvos and Vinnies.  For more information about shopping in Adelaide, click here.


📱Mobile phone plans

 Mobile phone plans can range from basic to comprehensive, depending on your needs. You can expect to pay between AUD$40-$100 per month. Vodafone has great student deals to help you manage your budget.


🎮 Other personal items

This can include items such as books, subscriptions, haircuts and hobbies. Depending on your interests and habits, you could spend anywhere from AUD$30-$150 per month on these items.

Please note that prices can vary and this guide serves as a general estimate as of June 2023. To effectively plan your finances and get a personalised estimate of your monthly expenses in Australia, try out StudyAustralia's Cost of Living Calculator


Tips to save money as International Students 💰

Budgeting your expenses as an international student can be a challenging task, but with a few practical strategies, it is possible to manage your funds effectively and enjoy your life in Adelaide to the fullest. Here are some tips to save money:

🍳 Cook at home

One of the most effective ways to save money is to cook at home. It's healthier, more cost-efficient and can be a fun way to connect with housemates and exchange recipes from your home countries! You can also consider meal prepping on weekends which can save you time and money.


🍞 Grocery shopping at local markets

Adelaide has fantastic local markets like the Central Market and the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market, where you can buy fresh produce at reasonable prices. Planning your meals in advance and making a shopping list can also prevent impulse buying and reduce food waste.


👟 Shop at Op Shops

Op Shops, or opportunity shops (second-hand shops), such as Savers, Salvos and Vinnies, offer a wide variety of clothes, homewares and sometimes even textbooks at a fraction of the original cost. It's not only a good move for your wallet, but also for the environment.  Discover here for the benefits of shopping at an Op Shop. 


🍿 Take advantage of student discounts

There are numerous student discounts available in Adelaide, ranging from transport fares, movie tickets, museum entries and gym memberships. Always carry your student ID and don't hesitate to ask about student discounts.


📖 Use free community resources

Adelaide offers a variety of free community resources, such as public libraries, free city-wide WiFi and free buses and trams within the CBD. You can also check out the free community events and other free activities happening around the city.


💡Be energy efficient

Simple habits like turning off lights when not in use, reducing heater or air conditioner usage and minimising water waste can lower your utility bills significantly.

Remember, saving money doesn't mean you can't have fun. Adelaide has a lot to offer within your budget. The key is planning, spending wisely and taking advantage of the cost-saving resources available to you. 

With these money-saving tips, you'll be able to make the most out of your time as an international student in Adelaide.

Budgeting your expenses as an international student can be a challenging task, but with a few practical strategies, it is possible to manage your funds effectively and enjoy your life in Adelaide to the fullest. Here are some tips to save money:

🍳 Cook at home

One of the most effective ways to save money is to cook at home. It's healthier, more cost-efficient and can be a fun way to connect with housemates and exchange recipes from your home countries! You can also consider meal prepping on weekends which can save you time and money.


🍞 Grocery shopping at local markets

Adelaide has fantastic local markets like the Central Market and the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market, where you can buy fresh produce at reasonable prices. Planning your meals in advance and making a shopping list can also prevent impulse buying and reduce food waste.


👟 Shop at Op Shops

Op Shops, or opportunity shops (second-hand shops), such as Savers, Salvos and Vinnies, offer a wide variety of clothes, homewares and sometimes even textbooks at a fraction of the original cost. It's not only a good move for your wallet, but also for the environment.  Discover here for the benefits of shopping at an Op Shop. 


🍿 Take advantage of student discounts

There are numerous student discounts available in Adelaide, ranging from transport fares, movie tickets, museum entries and gym memberships. Always carry your student ID and don't hesitate to ask about student discounts.


📖 Use free community resources

Adelaide offers a variety of free community resources, such as public libraries, free city-wide WiFi and free buses and trams within the CBD. You can also check out the free community events and other free activities happening around the city.


💡Be energy efficient

Simple habits like turning off lights when not in use, reducing heater or air conditioner usage and minimising water waste can lower your utility bills significantly.

Remember, saving money doesn't mean you can't have fun. Adelaide has a lot to offer within your budget. The key is planning, spending wisely and taking advantage of the cost-saving resources available to you. 

With these money-saving tips, you'll be able to make the most out of your time as an international student in Adelaide.