The Cost of Living “Comfortably” in Australia

Today, I want you to meet Hilda……

…..and talk about living comfortably in Australia. But what is comfort?

comfortAs you know, we like a good survey here at BobinOz. Sometimes we even like bad surveys, like the one that said Adelaide was the best city in Australia. But what has that got to do with Hilda?

Hilda is the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia. They conduct a survey each year and have been doing so since 2001. According to their website, these are the four main areas of Hilda….

  • Households and family life;
  • Incomes and economic wellbeing;
  • Labour market outcomes; and
  • Life satisfaction, health and wellbeing.

They gather information from over 7,000 households and almost 20,000 individuals to create a report. This year’s report is huge, 193 pages in all. It covers too many subjects to get through here, but some subjects covered according to the index that caught my interest were….

  • Childcare issues.
  • Wages and wage changes.
  • Hours worked.
  • Job and life satisfaction.
  • Social exclusions.
  • Job related discrimination.

But the area I am going to discuss here is “individuals perceptions of their financial wellbeing”. People were asked:

Given your current needs and financial responsibilities, would you say that you and your family are…

1. Prosperous
2. Very comfortable
3. Comfortable
4. Just getting along
5. Poor
6. Very poor

The results of that particular survey have not changed too much between 2001 and 2008, the years covered by this report. Here are the results for 2008:

1.7% described themselves as prosperous and 14.6% as very comfortable. The majority of Australians, that’s 53.1%, describe themselves as reasonably comfortable. But those who describe themselves as just getting along accounted for 27.1% making it the second most popular answer.

The good news is that those saying they were poor (2.9%) and very poor (0.6%) amounted to only 3 1/2 percent in total. On a satisfaction scale of nought (totally dissatisfied) to 10 (totally satisfied) 28.7% went for five or below and 71.3% said six or above. Seven was the most popular answer with 21.3 percent.

There! That’s how happy (or not) we are here financially in Australia.

But what does it all mean?

Well, Hilda has put a number on it. It would probably take too long for me to work out how they got there and way too long to put it into words here. So I will just blurt it out.

For a couple with one child, the magic figure for which they are more likely to be satisfied with their income than not is……..


I poured through the report to try and find out if this figure was before or after tax deductions. I found this:

Household disposable income.

The main household income measure examined in this report is ‘real household annual disposable income’. Household annual disposable income is the combined income of all household members, after receipt of government pensions and benefits and deduction of taxes, in the financial year ended 30 June…..”

So, after tax then!

What do I make of it all?

Firstly, it has to be noted that although the report has only just been released, the figures are talking about 2008. So it is already three years out of date. Secondly, statistics can be proved to show anything and I have said that many times elsewhere on this blog. It is hard to make out what this statistic actually proves.

In last month’s federal budget, the Chancellor froze some tax benefits to families with incomes above $150,000 a year, suggesting they did not need the money. So the message seems to be if you are taking home around $80,000 a year, you will probably be okay. If you are earning closer to $150,000 a year, you’re probably doing pretty good.

As you know, my family is as described above; we are a couple with one child. Personally, I would say to describe ourselves as “comfortable”, our joint incomes would need to be around $100,000 a year before tax deductions.

So I am inclined to agree with the figure quoted and it’s not far away from the one I use on my page about a comfortable family income. But bear in mind that the size of your monthly mortgage or rental bill on its own could easily make the difference between comfortable and just getting along.

Reading the comments from the article when it first appeared in the Courier Mail adds further enlightenment, or maybe not. There weren’t many when I last looked, just 19. I went through them all to see what the general opinion was about how much it really costs to live here comfortably.

Six people seem to think it would be really difficult to survive on $78,243 a year and another six thought it would be easy. The remaining seven commented on other matters. So word from the street is divided.

How much you will need to survive and live “comfortably” here in Australia is very much a subjective question. What is comfortable is subjective. But hopefully there are a few more pointers here to help you find the answer that is good for you. Either way, I would highly recommend you download your free report from Hilda, it has got lots of interesting stuff in it.

You can get it here.


Thanks Hilda!

Visa Assessment Service
{ 111 comments… add one }
  • Penelope williamson February 15, 2018, 10:58 pm |

    I know this has been asked a lot and there are lots of posts with very detailed responses in them! However if anyone has a personal opinion or bit of info that would be great!

    We have a 4yr old girl and twin 2yr olds. We would like to try out Australia for a year in about 2yrs, probably 2020.

    If we moved to Brisbane and my partner was offered $70,000 (we would hope more like $80k but have to be realistic!) and I didn’t work until the boys were at pre school. So initially for 6-12months I would have to stay home with the kids until we can get them in full time school so I can work!

    I think he would come out with about $1000 a week.
    I can find rent for about $400-$500 per week in areas we like (Bulimba, Teneriffe) that are a bit shabby but would be fine for a year!
    So would we survive on $500 a week for bills and food?

    We probably wouldn’t get a car until I was working. We would be happy to be frugal and just do free things in the city etc but would be survive or would we end up racking up debt every week?

    We really want an outdoor life for our kids and would happily sacrifice our social lives for a year or so if it meant sunshine and parks all year round!

    Thanks so much for any advice or tips!

    Also what do people do about childcare after school childcare and school holidays if they don’t have family to help out? I would probably go self employed or part time so I could work around my kids….

    So much info and I’ve read every article going but it’s so much to take in!

    Thanks again

    • BobinOz February 16, 2018, 6:55 pm |

      With very tight budgeting, and and as you say, entertaining yourself with all the free things, yes I think you could get by. I’m sure many Australian families do get by on this kind of income, after all, the average salary these days is something like $70,000-$80,000. Some may even suggest it’s even less these days.

      I’m not so up on after-school childcare, although I do know that quite a few schools do offer early drop-off and late pickup, I’m not sure what the costs are though. This page might help…

      Good luck with your plans, Bob

  • Avishek Sharma November 22, 2017, 2:47 am |

    Hi ,

    I have been offered a salary in Sydney of 120000 AUD . Post Superannuation the reference salary would be 110000 AUD. In this salary would l be able to comfortably live in Sydney with my wife and 8 year old school going kid . I have heard that for a primary school i would be levied a charge of 5100 AUD as school fees annually . My wife too intends to work

  • Rahul Sinha October 16, 2017, 3:48 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I am an Indian and will move to Brisbane in December,17. My annual salary would be $71k before tax. I will be coming on 457 visa.
    Is this salary is sufficient for me to survive in Brisbane. I am expecting to shell out $200 a week for rent.

    Thank you in advance.

    • BobinOz October 16, 2017, 9:35 pm |

      Yes, I think the salary would be perfectly sufficient for you here in Brisbane. As mentioned in response to your other comment, the $200 a week you will almost certainly be looking at house share. If that is what you end up paying for accommodation, then I think you will be quite comfortable.

  • Emelyn July 12, 2017, 2:36 pm |

    Hi there,
    I am from Malaysia and is currently considering to move to Sydney for work. Do you think a salary of AUD 70,000 per annum is sufficient for one?

    Just to add, I have a financial commitment in Malaysia that is around MYR 2,200 per month (which is equivalent to about AUD670), so will have to take that into account as well.

    Appreciate the comments and feedbacks!


    • BobinOz July 12, 2017, 6:57 pm |

      I think your finances will be very tight, everything hinges on how much you will need to pay for your accommodation. $70,000 is a slightly below average salary in Australia, and Sydney is our most expensive city. With that monthly commitment to Malaysia, I think you will find things quite tough.

      I’m not saying it’s impossible, maybe as it is just you on your own you will get by, but you will need to work out your budget very carefully including making sure you know exactly how much your accommodation is going to be when you get here.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Hona May 4, 2017, 12:45 am |

    Hi Bob,
    My husband got a job offer in Melbourne, salary 70000 pa. We will be moving with a 2 years old son. Is this enough to survive the first few months until I find a job? Also, although my husband is English I’m Polish so I have a pretty strong accent? Would this put off potential employers in Australia eventhough I have worked in supply chain in the UK for big, well known international companies? Last question, how much is a child care in Australia and will we be entitled to any benefits towards the childcare if we have permanent visas. Thank you! ?

    • Mark May 4, 2017, 9:39 am |

      Its an OK salary.. Its not a great one. It will net out to about $4,520.33 It may or may not be enough to get by on but if you are frugal you should manage? Of course it depends what you are bringing with you and where you will live…There is as far as I know no benefits paid to you for childcare over and above anything that the government subsidises. We have not looked into this but I am pretty sure it only applies to citizens not visa holders.. Its all here
      You will have no problem or rather should not have getting a job accent wise Melbourne is perhaps one of the most multicultural cities in the world and there is, as many cities have a Polish community link.
      Its all down to the salary and its perhaps not the greatest time here for securing jobs. You will lay out some 1600 in rent as a likely minimum per month… Have a look on real estate in the areas you are thinking of living plus allow a minimum 400 for bills electric gas water etc. that leaves around 2500 for food bills travel costs and so if you are needing rental car that’s an expense you may need as you will need to look around at houses…a rental bond of say 2000 again as I say its back to what you are bringing with you…What you will need to buy whilst furniture and the kettle arrives. Hope this helps.

      • BobinOz May 4, 2017, 6:41 pm |

        Mark has covered you on this very well, and by the way, he does live in Melbourne so he is well placed to give you a more accurate answer than I could have. All I want to add though is that maybe, just maybe, you may get some kind of childcare subsidies, to explain that, this is what happened when we arrived.

        Our daughter was 3 1/2 and we wanted to send her to kindergarten, but they would not accept her without our family Centrelink number. Centrelink is the social services in Australia. As we didn’t have a number, we went off to see Centrelink to get registered and during that interview they asked us what our salaries were, well they were zero for both of us, we’d only just got here.

        When we returned to the kindergarten with our number, and the staff punched it into their system, we automatically qualified for the biggest subsidy and only had to pay about three dollars or something silly like that per day for our daughter to go to kindie. We were on a PR visa, but that was back in 2007. I don’t know how it works now, but I suspect once you register with Centrelink any subsidies you are entitled to will hopefully we applied automatically.

        • Hona May 8, 2017, 7:08 am |

          Thank you both for the reply. We’ve just been told that my husband’s occupation has been removed from the shortage skills list. So we cannot go ahead with employer sponsored visa and I’m assuming there is no chance we would get any other type of visa now 🙁

          • Mark May 8, 2017, 10:39 am |

            I am no expert for that you need a Mara agent, Id check its gone from all the states lists as they have different lists and its not gone from the regional list Eg out of town work …You may be able to apply for a state sponsored if it has not gone from everywhere…Grab one of the free points calculators to see where you come on the score on that..I think its sixty minimum..Alternatively the new lists are out soon but having said that I personally think more jobs will be removed than are currently listed. Hope it all works out for you

            • Hona May 8, 2017, 6:40 pm |

              Thanks so much for your reply!

  • Sai November 14, 2016, 3:23 am |

    Hi Bob,

    We are moving to Sydney in a couple of months. I would like to know if 90,000pa is sufficient for a family of 3 (me my wife and our baby girl of 2) to survive in the most expensive city of AUS? Appreciate your reply!

    • BobinOz November 14, 2016, 5:28 pm |

      Yes, I’m pretty sure you will survive, but you will need to budget very carefully. As you have pointed out, Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, housing costs are incredibly high. Your first big task will be to find somewhere to live at a price that you can afford to pay given your salary.

      You can search for properties through the links on my page called Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      Then, of course, you will need to budget very carefully for everything else. I would, if I you, take some time to work out how much money you will be taking home after deductions and then work out as best as possible your expected outgoings in order to try and see if you could live within the budget that you will have.

      You can get help working all that out on my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Sai November 14, 2016, 8:21 pm |

        Thanks a lot for the information.

  • Jazmine October 28, 2016, 1:58 am |

    If a salary is listed at $80,000 how much of that is take home? I currently live in the US and my family of 4 is considering making the move. We want to be sure we can afford to live. Also when getting a loan to buy a home do they run credit checks the same as they do in US. We currently make 50,000 here.

    • BobinOz October 28, 2016, 6:48 pm |

      Yes, finance companies will need to do some kind of checks on you before offering you a loan, but I don’t know exactly what they do check.

      As for tax, I have a tax calculator on the following page which has been updated for the current financial year, you can work out your tax liability from that…

      Good luck, Bob

      • Larry Langman December 31, 2016, 9:15 am |

        For someone coming from the United States to Oz….its not just the income but the whole nature of Home Loans…..and Home Lending that Jazmine and family will need to come to grips with…..I am just getting into your brilliant site and maybe you have some coverage on the nature of Loans and Lending in Australia that you could point Jazmine to….the laws and rules are very different from those in the US.

        • BobinOz January 14, 2017, 7:33 pm |

          Hi Larry

          Yes, I know it can be a bit of a minefield, but I am looking into this in the near future and hopefully will come up with an easy to understand solution for new migrants coming to Australia.

          Stay tuned, when I have something sorted, I will post about it here. Thanks, Bob

  • Soumya August 15, 2016, 9:42 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    My husband and I are moving to Australia, in December.
    Is $110,000 a decent pay to live comfortably in Canberra?

    • BobinOz August 17, 2016, 2:22 pm |

      It’s really impossible for me to answer these kinds of questions, everybody’s budget is so different and we all have a varying interpretation of what is comfortable. A great deal also depends on how much you will need to spend on the big items like accommodation and travel.

      What I can tell you though is that it’s an above average salary, at least 30% above, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to live comfortably. If you want a more accurate answer, do a comprehensive budget on your own anticipated expenses, you can use my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything to get prices here.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Alison July 1, 2016, 1:43 am |

    Hi Bob

    My husband and I are relocating to Australia about October time as he has secured a job and sponsorship with his company for our visa’s.
    Can I ask is $130,000 per year a comfortable wage for us to live on within Melbourne area?


    • BobinOz July 1, 2016, 11:25 pm |

      Yes, that’s a pretty good salary, average income here is just around $80,000, maybe less. You should be comfortable with what you’ve got there.

  • Nisha May 20, 2016, 7:59 pm |


    Our family is moving down to Australia in the month of August. Our family includes me, my husband and my 4 year old daughter. We are planning to move to Mulgrave, Victoria.
    Would an initial salary of $4000 – $5000 per month help us live comfortably in Mulgrave?

    • BobinOz May 20, 2016, 9:29 pm |

      I don’t know the area at all well, but I can see that it is only 20 km or so from Melbourne CBD. Melbourne is our second most expensive city, and your salary is rather low, it is below-average.

      You would certainly need to budget very wisely and keep accommodation and transport costs as low as possible. I think in your case you should really look at doing a full budget estimate using my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything to help you research prices to see if you think you could get by on that income.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Nisha May 21, 2016, 4:36 am |

        Thanks Bob. What is considered an above average salary in Melbourne?

        • BobinOz May 23, 2016, 6:03 pm |

          For a full-time salary, I think the current median is around $80,000 per year, so anything above that would be higher than average.

  • zico May 11, 2016, 6:34 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I got an offer for 7,0000 AUD in Melbourne before Tax. I have my wife and we are expecting our first child in October.Both of us has permanent residency . Is the above amount enough to live a normal average life


    • BobinOz May 11, 2016, 8:28 pm |

      Are you saying $7000 a month or $70,000 per year? Whichever it is, both are quite livable, plenty of people getting by on that kind of money. Just keep your accommodation and travel expenses as low as possible.

      From your point of view, it’s probably a good idea to think about where you are living now and how much you are earning there, then compare to see if you think you’ll be better off here. Good luck, Bob

  • Sarah April 19, 2016, 9:46 am |

    Hello bob,

    I have a family of 5 here at home my partner, myself and 3 children, my partner earns 49,790p.a and myself I am a stay home mother so I receive 9,000 p.a so approximately 58,000 p.a for the 5 of us. Is this enough for a Australian family living in the A.C.T?

    • BobinOz April 19, 2016, 5:53 pm |

      It’s difficult to say, I have had some people comment here that they are surviving just fine on $50,000 a year with a family and I’ve had others say they are earning twice that much with no kids and cannot survive.

      Everybody is different.

      I would suggest that yes, it is possible for you to get by, but you will need to budget very carefully and keep your accommodation costs as low as possible.

  • srinivas March 23, 2016, 4:42 am |

    Does 6000.00 AUD enough for a comman man survive in australia.

    • BobinOz March 24, 2016, 12:18 am |

      At first I thought you had written conman, but you haven’t, so that changes my answer somewhat.

      If you are talking about $6000 per month for one person, then yes, you can certainly survive on that.

  • Andrey February 26, 2016, 10:49 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    We, my wife and I, are proud Australian citizens and planning get back to roots after long 25+ years abroad. Now to question…
    Our combine pension would be fix US $50,000.
    Looks like, at least now, not much we can get as equity from our house here.
    Checked the rent in Melbourne outskirts and it MUCH hire from the days we were there!
    At sweet old days it was something like “fixed 25% of income rent for low income families” – never consider us as “low income” but “never think never”. Does such still exist? Or make it short: could senior couple (62+) hope on any “comfort”?

    • BobinOz February 28, 2016, 7:54 pm |

      Hi Andrey

      $50,000 US is probably about $70,000 Australian at the moment, maybe a bit more, so it’s not too bad. The key to your living in comfort will lie in keeping down your accommodation costs. As you’ve seen, housing isn’t cheap in Melbourne or even on the outskirts of it at the moment.

      Also, when you say your pension will be fixed, does that mean it’s not going to be index linked? If that’s the case, it just means the older you get the poorer you will get.

      Now I’m going to ask you to read a comment made by somebody else very recently because I think it’s the best answer for you. Please click on this link to read a comment from Chris.

      Good luck, Bob

  • anonymous January 25, 2016, 12:33 am |

    I am getting married to a australian citizen in hobart city . He says he earns$70,000 to $100,000 p.a. is it a good salary ? Can we both go along a comfortable life ?

    • BobinOz January 26, 2016, 12:43 am |

      I think the most important question is do you love him?

      • anonymous March 23, 2016, 3:17 pm |

        Yes i do .. but i am new to australia i belong from different country so i wanted to get the idea about this country

        • BobinOz March 24, 2016, 12:47 am |

          Ah, welcome back. Took you a while, I didn’t think it was a tricky question 🙂

          Yes, it is a good salary, it’s above-average for Australia. The cost of living in Hobart is a bit cheaper as well, so I would imagine it’s a really good salary for down there. I’m sure you will be very happy together and have a comfortable life.

          • anonymous March 24, 2016, 12:54 am |

            Thank you so much ??

            • anonymous March 24, 2016, 1:03 am |

              I got the mail late so it took me a while ??? we have been in love for 5 yrs and now we are taking a great step so thought should know more about the place ??thank you helped alot ???

              • BobinOz March 24, 2016, 8:03 pm |

                My pleasure, I wish you both much happiness 🙂

  • Sean November 24, 2015, 4:44 am |


    Hope all is well! I am considering relocating my family from the states down to Australia. I work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. I have talked to a couple medical recruiters in Australia and have been told I would make around $70,000 per year in my career.

    Is this enough to raise a family on? I would be bringing my wife and 2 young children. Currently, my wife stays at home with the children as the cost of childcare here in the USA is upwards of $350 per week. My wife has approx 7 years of experience as an administrative assistant for a cardiologist before we decided to have her stay at home and raise our children. My wife would be returning to the workforce in approx 3 years when our youngest reached schooling age.

    We do not need much as we love the outdoors and love the beach. I havent purchased clothes for myself (other than the periodic under armour shirt) in 10 years, haha. I am a pretty low maintenence guy and my wife says she wouldnt need to buy a thing if we were within a short drive of the beach on a daily basis. We do not need to live in the city limits. I currently drive 30 minutes into the city for my employment as housing here is cheaper the further out you get. I am assuming the same would be said about Australia?

    Opinions if this is a doable move? I have been trying to research the actual costs of living, super annuation, healthcare until we would be able to apply for permanent residency, schooling, etc.. and it is a lot to take in. My main concern is my family. If they are provided for, protected, and have access to good schooling and healthcare I am a happy man.

    • BobinOz November 30, 2015, 8:54 pm |

      $70,000 is somewhere close to the average annual salary here in Australia, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ‘get by’, especially as you say you are pretty low maintenance. You may need to run a very tight budget, and much depends on which city you intend to live in and how much you would need to pay for accommodation.

      Better still if you can live somewhere other than one of our major cities, we have plenty of smaller cities that offer much better value for money. As for the cost of education, that again depends which state you move to and the type of visa you’re becoming over on.

      State education is free, but only under certain circumstances, see….

      With the prospect of your wife returning to work in a few years time, life would probably become much more comfortable for you, but I’m sure we have plenty of families here with a couple of kids that are getting by just fine on similar salaries.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Eva September 29, 2015, 1:23 am |

    Hello Bob, I am interested in pursuing a senior degree at an Australian University in about two years time. I have two minor children aged 11 and 9 and want them to join me by the second year. Now my request is to get linkages with people of other nationalities especially South Africans or other African countries. I want to start communicating with them to find out their experiences in Australia. Please advise if there are websites and/or organisations that are credible that I can connect with.

    I must compliment you on the work you do. I think you’re doing a good job with this online platform about migration to Australia.


    • BobinOz September 29, 2015, 9:28 pm |

      Pomsinoz is your best bet, they have a very big community. At the moment they have a banner here, so if you click on it (it’s the small square one towards the top right hand side of every page) you will go straight to their website.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Carolyn September 26, 2015, 5:44 am |

    I appreciate your response to comments so much. I’m looking towards a move to Sydney with my husband, two preschool-aged children, and one dog. My job will pay, before taxes, $96,000 AUD plus superannuation. My husband will likely work part-time tutoring, but we won’t count on more than $10,000 a year from him. Although I know that looks ok based on what your website says, I’ve done my own calculations and come up with less than a rosey picture. Just taxes will be $29,000, then private “cover” health insurance $5,000 and public school fees when they need them next year $10,000 leaves just over $1,000/week, over half of which will go to housing. It just looks super tight. It seems like the expat part sucks up a ton of money that those Aussie’s making $75,000/year get to keep (plus extra credits they get). I’m a reading this wrong?

    • BobinOz September 27, 2015, 9:20 pm |

      $29,000 in tax seems a bit high, is that because of the visa you are on? Are you paying a higher amount of tax than usual?

      That said, on the figures you have mentioned it will be rather tight for you and your family, but there are many many comments around this website from families who are surviving okay on far less than $96,000 a year, much less.

      I’m sure you could survive as well, you just won’t be eating out in restaurants much. Your figures also do not include the 10k your husband could bring in, and if he could increase that somewhat, that would make things better.

      You have to ask yourself, how much disposable income do you have where you are now?

      • Carolyn September 28, 2015, 12:11 am |

        That’s the tax on $106,000 plus my superannuation ($17,547 on the first $80,000 plus .37 for every dollar over that). My understanding is that citizens get some relief on taxes, but we’d be on a 457, so we’d pay exactly what the tax code says (the above). $29,000 is exceptionally high to me, so I’d love to know if it will be less.

        We certainly aren’t throw dough around at night clubs here. The more my husband works, the more childcare we’d pay for so… I guess there’s no way to really know but to try it.

        • BobinOz September 28, 2015, 6:03 pm |

          Ah, if you’re including the extra 10k then $29,000 for tax sounds about right, and probably includes a 2% Medicare Levy. See…

          Things may well be tight, but as you say, you’ll probably have to try it to find out for sure.

          I would advise that you speak to an Australian accountant to make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. For example, I’m not sure it you need to be paying that Medicare Levy, I think instead you have to take out private medical insurance, as you’ve already mentioned. But as I say, check with an accountant. Good luck, Bob

  • Karen August 23, 2015, 5:11 am |

    Hi, I am trying to navigate my way around all of the information on the web. I have dual nationality as I was born in Oz but moved to UK with my parents when I was 3. 40 years later and I am thinking about moving back with my 12yr old (citizen by descent). So I don’t need to worry about visas etc.
    I am a nurse earning aprox 35k in the UK and will have aprox 150k equity in my house. My question relates to cost of living, re housing and general day to day expenses. Please could you tell me what an average monthly spend would be for two people including and excluding housing? Many thanks

  • Yogi August 4, 2015, 8:30 pm |

    Hey Bob,
    Thanks for all the help you been offering to people visiting Oz. I also had a few questions, if you would be kind to answer. I have been offered a job in Sydney by my existing employer in India, they will give me 457 I suppose. They are offering me 120K-130K before taxes, then there would be around 30K in Annual bonus as well (not sure how much of that I will get, linked to revenue targets). I have got wife and 2 kids, (will need atleast 2 BHK will prefer 3 BHK though), can commute 45 minutes a day to office in the city and 45 minutes back to home, will surely need a car for the wife to be able to take kids around(second hand would do), will need to pay around 2200AUD for the House mortgage in India, can’t rent the india house as parents will still use that. Ofcourse, would like to explore Australia during weekends and vacations, that’s the major motivation to come apart from the greta education for kids, so would be spending lot of money in travel.Would 120K-130K fixed salary before taxes be enough, considering the high rents in Sydney and my India mortgage payments?
    Cheers, Yogi.

    • BobinOz August 5, 2015, 4:23 pm |

      Well, that’s a very complex mathematical equation you are asking me to do for you Yogi, I think you will only answer your own question when you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen (or pencil, it doesn’t matter) and work thoroughly through your budget.

      You need to visit my page called Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia to see how much your rent is likely to be in Sydney, and then you need to work out what your other spending per month is likely to come to.

      You can use my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything to help you find prices for other things you think you might need.

      Only by doing it thoroughly yourself will you get an accurate answer, if I did it it would sort of be guesswork. Good luck, Bob

  • Ricardo Godoy May 19, 2015, 8:37 pm |

    Hi, I’m going to Brisbane with my best friend, we are salvadorians and we are planning to study and work at the same time. The three first months we are going to stay in a homestay, but we need to find soon a place where to stay after, also we expect to get a job at the first week. So, what advice can you give us?

    • BobinOz May 20, 2015, 8:04 pm |

      Have fun! I can’t think of any better advice 🙂

  • chetan yadav March 8, 2015, 3:47 am |

    i graduated with in 2013 from delhi university. i want to go australia and make money . should i do mba or something else? if i do mba from australia then how much will it cost?

    • BobinOz March 9, 2015, 4:15 pm |

      I can’t give you careers advice, so I don’t know what you should do. The costs of studying here in Australia will vary from college to college, you will need to contact them to find out their fees.

  • Mohsin March 1, 2015, 8:56 pm |

    great website with tons of info! thanks 🙂

    my question: we’re a family of 5, Myself, Wife, 3 kids (well under 10)… i have enough cash to buy a home up to $300,000 AUD – i am a trained chef, so if i land a job somewhere in TAS, with a home of my own – what do u think are my estimates regarding costs ? thanks!

    • BobinOz March 2, 2015, 12:05 am |

      That’s an impossible question, I’d be guessing if I were to try and estimate your costs, only you know what your spending patterns are like and the kind of things you need to buy.

      You should use the links in the above article to research the costs of things that should be included in your monthly budget if you want to get to an accurate figure.

      • Mohsin March 2, 2015, 5:22 am |

        my bad, let me re-phrase: how helpful can owning a home be for someone looking for a chef’s job in TAS ? given the average salary of a chef…

        • BobinOz March 2, 2015, 8:45 pm |

          Well, I can’t see how it will help you get a job, but it will certainly be nice not to have to pay a mortgage off with part of your salary.

          • Mohsin March 3, 2015, 1:56 am |

            there! you nailed it – mortgage – i always suspected that most immigrants take loans or mortgages for houses/cars when they move to oz, so, those are the payments that they have to consider/calculate in their minds when considering jobs or budgets – therefore, if i can afford to buy a home, a used car and/or a small cafe within $400,000/- AUD then i dont have to worry about mortgages or rents – thank u for the reply 🙂

            • BobinOz March 3, 2015, 10:26 pm |

              Not sure you’ll be able to buy all that for $400,000 here, and didn’t you say you had $300,000? And just to be clear, I have not suggested that most immigrants take out loans or mortgages for houses/cars when they move to Oz, I have no idea. But for sure, not having a mortgage to worry about will help you with your budget.

  • frah saeed February 20, 2015, 2:49 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for informative and helpful page you have here.
    I have been considering moving to Australia, preferably Melbourne or Perth and would probably get between $70,000 to $85,000 a year before tax with the kind of work I do.
    I am a single person would I be ok with that kind of income.
    Many Thanks

    • BobinOz February 20, 2015, 9:47 pm |

      Yes, I reckon you would be just fine, unless you have a cocaine or heavy gambling habit 🙂

  • Claire Murphy November 24, 2014, 3:08 am |

    Hi bob ,

    Firstly let me say that your blog is really helpful and informative 🙂

    We are thinking of moving to Adelaide around October 2015. My husband has received a job offer of $50,000 before tax, I will be working part-time and achieve a salary of around $35,000 before tax. We have two children, do not smoke or drink and have two cars. We will be paying $320 per week for rent. On a day to day basis, we don’t spend too much on luxuries and extras. Is this realistic enough to live a comfortable-ish life in Adeliade?

    Thanks, Claire

    • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 7:32 pm |

      Well I’ve heard plenty of people saying in the comments here that they have managed to get by on this kind of income, but if you’re planning to run a couple of cars I think your budget will need to be quite tight. It’s really difficult for me to help any more than that, maybe somebody in Adelaide who knows more about the local prices and what kind of lifestyle you can expect to have on this kind of money can help.

      As you can see from the answer to Marcos above, $50,000 is a below-average salary here, so that’s the reason I’m being a bit guarded in my response.

      Anybody else have a view on this one?

  • Marcos Fernandes November 23, 2014, 11:43 pm |

    Hi Bob

    My wife and I are moving from Portugal to Australia on November 2015. She was offered a position in Melborn with a salary of $96.000 dollars before tax. Do you think it would be an ok salary until I find a job? I am a personal trainer, which I believe is not going to be difficult to find a job in my field. We have a kid 2 years old. Also we are used to do not spend much money. Using public transportation for example and living close by not in the city if it is necessary.

    • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 7:27 pm |

      Yes, sounds as though it will be enough to me, $96,000 is above the average salary for Australia which is at around $70,000 at the moment. So I think you’ll be fine, you’ll be even better off though once you get a job as well.

  • vk July 31, 2014, 3:46 am |

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the super information on your blog. I am in negotiation with an employer with following figures

    OTE$75,000 (90/10 split)
    Base $67,500
    Travel allowance $7,000
    9.5% Superannuation

    Please advice if the above would be good for family of 4 (me, my wife and 2 kids) in Sydney ?

    I am also struggling to understand in hand with above figures.


    • BobinOz July 31, 2014, 11:30 pm |

      I can’t really answer your question, everybody budgets differently, so I prefer people to try and calculate it themselves by using the information on my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

      That said, Sydney is our most expensive city and with four kids and wife, I think you would find it quite tough on that salary. But that’s only my opinion, much depends on the cost of your accommodation and other major expenses.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Sophia Djau March 25, 2014, 12:16 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    This is a very helpful website. Took the time to read everything. Very helpful.

    Just want your opinion on our situation:

    My husband and I are looking into moving to Australia from NZ somewhere between June-August this year. He has a job offer for a $90000 before tax annually, yearly car and fuel allowance and possible 457 sponsorship. At the moment I am still trying find a job – if successful in my current applications (Fingers-crossed) – I would potentially earn $80-$90k annually. We are newly married (two months to be exact). No kids yet.

    We have a house in New Zealand that is currently in the market. We dont have much savings and we should probably be able to bring around $20-30k to australia for our relocation costs. We wanted to move to australia as we aim to live on just one salary when we get there and save the second person’s salary – which is currently not possible with what we are earning for our qualifications here in New Zealand. Our goal is to be able to save much to do a bit of travelling and save enough funds for a baby on the way in case I have to stop working when it comes (probably after 3-4years). Also part of the goal is to buy a house before the baby comes, but we should probably look at buying outside of Sydney.

    His job offer is in Sydney – which we were initially avoiding because of costs. We are looking at 450-550 a week for rental. We are non smokers, non drinkers, laid back stay at home during days off kind of people. Do you think our financial goals are realistic?

    • BobinOz March 25, 2014, 5:04 pm |

      Hi Sophia

      Well, there’s quite a bit of information in here about what you are hoping to achieve and it would require quite some spreadsheet to accurately forecast how well your budget would work. On the face of it though, assuming you get two incomes at around $80k to $90,000 each, I see no reason why you should not achieve your goals.

      It all looks very doable to me, but I do recommend you read my post New Zealanders in Australia: What’s the Problem?

      Good luck, Bob

  • Shona More February 21, 2014, 2:35 am |

    My husband and I are considering moving to Adelaide to join our family. We are pensioners with gross pension and savings income of around $6,500 per month. We will not require a mortgage to buy a house. Do you think this would be sufficient income for two people who like to play golf and lead a good social life? My husband thinks we cannot afford it but I disagree. What do you think?

    • BobinOz February 21, 2014, 1:46 pm |

      Well, I don’t want to cause an argument between you and your husband, but here’s what I think.

      Firstly, be aware that your state pension will not be index linked, see…

      British Expats and Retirement: The Frozen Pensions Scandal

      It doesn’t look as though you are relying too much on the government pension though, but may be worth checking that what you are getting is index linked.

      Secondly, you are saying gross, so I’m not sure how much tax you might pay on that income.

      That said, and bearing in mind that the exchange rate will always vary, I think without a mortgage and with $10,000 AUD per month clear, you would lead a very comfortable lifestyle especially in Adelaide which is one of our most affordable cities.

      So if I were you, I’d go for it, I’m sure they have some great golf courses in Adelaide.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Su February 16, 2014, 5:04 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I would like to know if AUD 84,000 /year before tax deductions is ok to live comfortably in Sydney for a couple with a little baby?

    • BobinOz February 17, 2014, 2:10 pm |

      It’s almost impossible to say, everyone is different in terms of what they believe is comfortable. Much depends on your major outgoings, rent/mortgage, car and work travel expenses. You will be earning about 20% more than the national average though, if that helps.

      Good luck, Bob

  • george January 17, 2014, 7:48 pm |

    I am a thirtyfive year old chef.
    I have a job offer in Sydney,the salary is 1250$ after tax.
    I wonder if it is a good salary and if i will getallong with this amount of money.
    I’m not a smoker and consider that my expences for food will be low due to my job.


    • BobinOz January 17, 2014, 10:53 pm |

      $1250 a week after tax? That’s slightly above the national average which is currently around $68,755 a year before tax deductions. If it’s just you on your own, I think you’ll be okay. Sydney is an expensive city, the cost of your accommodation will be key.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Johanna November 14, 2013, 6:52 am |

    Sorry to bother, I just have one simple question. As a single 20-year-old, will I be able to manage a simple life without worrying about money too much with 60 000 aus dollars a year, living in a not-too-expensive area in Sydney? Thank you very much if you can find the time to answer my question!

    • BobinOz November 15, 2013, 2:28 pm |

      That’s not really a simple question Johanna, so many things will affect your disposable income. Travel expenses to work, rent, whether or not you will run a car, if you smoke, if you drink, blah blah blah.

      To get a truly accurate answer to your question you will need to use the information in the above links to work through your precise monthly budget based on your specific needs.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Chris October 14, 2013, 2:19 am |

    Hi Bob

    Absolutely brilliant and informative website.

    I’m hoping you can assist me. I currently live in the UK. The organisation I work for are in the process of relocating me and my family to the Melbourne area, with a planned move at some point mid next year. Ideally we are looking to the western side of Melbourne in the Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat regions. I have a family and more importantly 3 dogs. After reviewing a couple of council websites I just need a little clarification around whether or not we would be okay bringing over 3 dogs. All of them have valid pet passports and have been mirco-chipped and are currently having all the relevant jabs to get them over there. My wife competes with them and is looking at joining a dog training club that caters for flyball, agility and obedience so they are extremely well trained and very obedient. The breeds are x1 cocker spaniel, x1 working sheep dog and x1 beardie collie, all being below the age of 7 years. As far as I can see it appears you are only allowed 2 dogs per household (only searched a couple of Victoria councils). is this the case? We are only looking at regions around Melbourne which could limit us especially as we have 2 children that will need local schools so moving out into a rural area may not be an option.

    Any help on this would be greatly received as my wife has said we are not going anywhere unless the dogs can come included!


    • Chris October 14, 2013, 2:39 am |

      Just noticed your wife runs a separate site dedicated to animals. I have posted my question there as well.

      • BobinOz October 15, 2013, 3:04 pm |

        Hi Chris

        Yes, my wife mentioned you’d posted this question on her website as well, please accept this answer as coming from both of us.

        We have a similar rule here in Queensland, you can currently own up to 2 dogs without a permit, but if you want to own three or four dogs, with four being the maximum, you need to apply for permission.

        I’m not sure how it works in Victoria, but I think you just need to contact the local council to wherever it is you are thinking of moving to clarify exactly how you can get permission to own three dogs in Victoria. My guess is it won’t be that difficult, you will just need to pay 🙂

        Cheers, Bob

        • Chris October 15, 2013, 5:39 pm |

          Thank you Bob and pass on your thanks to your wife as well.

          We have been in contact with a few people that live in Victoria and it sounds a very similar process to that in Queensland. The main things the councils are concerned about are your property and land can sufficiently support 3 dogs and that they are contained (i.e. appropriate fencing) and that they don’t become a noisy nuisance and you clean up after them! I think the UK should learn from this example as it appears a much more sensible way of making sure people are respectful owners!

          Thanks once again, Chris

          • BobinOz October 16, 2013, 2:02 pm |

            Thanks Chris and glad you seem to have it sorted, seems as though it’s just a simple matter of compliance which shouldn’t be too difficult to do. Hope to see you, your family, plus your three dogs here soon.

            Cheers, Bob

  • Saffa September 9, 2013, 9:53 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    Really like your blog and have been reading it for many months… my first comment as I recently received a 457 offer…. long story, but I just returned from a month trip (Perth, Mel, Can, Syd) to see potential employers.

    I am 33 years old (male) and my partner is 32. Please let me know what you think:

    Location: Perth
    Offer: $80k (including super) + potential comm. every quarter (not much).
    Role: Business Development
    Industry: Media & Advertising
    Net $ (after tax) = R48k
    Partner: She will not work for the first 8-12 months (maybe limited part time) – needs to write several exams before she can work in her profession.

    Opportunity Cost: Other companies were willing to offer me more money: $100 000 +, but they needed someone immediately and could not wait for a 457. I could wait for other offers, but could potentially not receive another 457…

    Do you think we would be able to get by on such a salary for 12 months? We will rent 1 bedroom flat ($350-$400). Use public transport, probably buy one car (Sunk cost). I’ve saved about $100 000.

    • BobinOz September 10, 2013, 1:51 pm |

      Hi Saffa

      What I have discovered since I’ve been running this website is that what some people can get by on, others struggle with big-time. Everybody’s idea of getting by differs wildly as does their ability to budget.

      I have another post on this subject which also has many many comments, I am going to send you over there and directly to a comment from someone else who is living in Perth and earning much less than you will be. You may find his comment interesting. Feel free to ask more questions over there.

      Then take a look at the other comments above and you’ll see what I mean about everybody’s expectations being different and, for that reason, why it is almost impossible for me to answer.

      But if you do want an answer though, you will survive on that money, I’m sure of that, but it’s always nice to earn a bit more if you can so just make sure you earn as many of those commissions as you can.

      Cheers, Bob

  • DANNY May 25, 2013, 7:47 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I am considering joining the ADF and will be looking at $63000 before tax.

    I have 4 young children and a wife. I am in the UK and earn 36k but your cost of living is huge.

    I would have to keep my UK mortgage going as well as a £714 a month cost.

    Would I struggle?

    • Martin May 25, 2013, 11:40 pm |

      Danny, With an income of 63k and 4 kids you are seriously going to struggle. I would be very careful if I were you. In addition if you have a house in the uk you need to rent it out or something, there’s no way you could pay that mortgage and housing here…you looking at 600 aud per WEEK for 4 bed house(and they are sneaky enough to charge every two weeks…so they get an extra months rent over the year), a nice 4 bed with a pool and stuff…750+ and that’s with a 30min commute to town.
      Check out the cost of second hand cars etc and the cost of living comparisons on here. I know Bob says you need roughly 2* your uk income in aud to live comparably I’d say its nearer three times. Have you been on holiday? If not I strongly recommend that first…so you can see the housing you could afford and get a feel for the cost of living, if you cant afford to come on holiday you can’t afford to live here…sorry to sound harsh but its better to tell you what I think.
      In fact 63k before tax = 4100 per month after tax, -1000 for you uk mortgage=3100, – 2400housing here= 700 So in short no forget it….plan B mate.
      All the above is just my opinion and I’ve only been here 9 months. Hope it all works out for you.

      • BobinOz May 27, 2013, 6:25 pm |

        Hi Danny

        Martin is right, you will struggle on that salary with four kids, but how much you will struggle will depend on which city you are going to live in.

        Where I live, western suburbs of Brisbane, it’s not too difficult to find a rental property for around $400 a week, and I still reckon if you earn roughly twice your UK income in AUD you’ll be okay, but you would definitely need to rent out your UK home to cover the mortgage to have any chance here.

        Even then, you’ll still struggle, 63k is about 10% below the average salary here and 4 kids is above average. You may even get clobbered for school fees depending on the visa you are coming over on and the state you choose to live in and if that happened, you would be under severe pressure.

        Sorry it’s not great news, cheers, Bob.

        • Danny December 30, 2013, 7:18 am |

          Hi Martin and Bob,

          Thanks for the information. It is exactly what I needed.

          I got the salary wrong. I do not know exactly what the offer would be but it is likely to be between 72k and 80k. If I did get the offer I need to know if this bracket is good enough, before I continue down this road. As its the Army and a job until 60 with promotion propects it is very attractive.

          I will have to sell my house which does not bother me.

          I would get citizenship straight away as part of joining the ADF. Also I would be in Army housing called married quarters.

          Any advice welcome

          • BobinOz January 1, 2014, 11:44 pm |

            That changes things a bit. If you don’t have to pay for the army housing, then I reckon you’ll be ok. Even if you do, I suspect it will be subsidised, so you’ll still be good. Sounds like a great opportunity, I’d go for it, but that’s just my opinion.

            Good luck, Bob

  • Mary Seals July 12, 2012, 10:43 pm |

    I am wondering what is the average pay salary from menial jobs to more skilled professions? I am interested in Brisbane, Melborne, and most specifically right now; the Gold Coast.
    I have been interested in Australia for a couple of years now, but I am becoming more committed and actually researching and beginning to make some plans. Possibly 2 to 5 yr. plan.
    Any info financially could help. I live in the United States and have never been out of it, so I am not understanding the difference in cultures alot. I am determined though!

  • Shahin Fattahi February 28, 2012, 9:49 am |

    Hello, i am new to this site and would like to ask about the prospects of living in Perth. I am a Canadian from London Ontario and have recently been offered a job in Perth. I am offered 120 k/year plus an additional 28000 in superannuation which i think is something like our retirement pension plan in Canada. However, i have no clue how this number compare to the cost of living for a family of 4 in Perth. Here in London, Ontario with a Salary of 105000 $ canadian /year we could just make it. Any insight would be appreciated.

    • BobinOz February 28, 2012, 11:47 pm |

      Sorry, I can’t help you with that, I’m not familiar with the cost of living in Canada or the Canadian dollar. Prices in Perth are probably a good deal different than they are here in Brisbane as well.

      Hopefully somebody who has come here from Canada can help you out, anybody?

    • Carl May 3, 2012, 12:41 am |

      Hello Shahin
      I welcome the oppurtunity to move to another part of the world and experience the culture and country, especially when it is to do with work and for a certain period of time only.
      In Perth on a salary of $120k I guess after tax you will have $80k. With 4 people you would most likley just make it but it would be a pretty average lifestyle.
      I estimate that each week after paying rent, transport, food, and utilities you will be left with $200 per week which you could save or spend on clothing, entertainment etc.
      Please note, if you intend having a car while you are in Perth your cost will be higher.
      Please let me know if you have any questions, happy to help.

      • Shahin May 3, 2012, 12:59 am |

        Thanks Carl for your reply.
        Actually, my job is a permanent job and that’s why i am so worried about this big move which more or less is across continents. The tax issue is a big deal as i am not certain how much i will take home after applicable taxes. After inquiring about it through my employer, i have not received a clear answer.

        Thanks again

        • BobinOz May 3, 2012, 7:52 pm |

          If you search Google for “Australian tax calculator 2012” you will get a number of websites that claim to calculate your take-home pay. I punched $120,000 into one of them and it told me you would take-home $85,400, equivalent to $1642 per week.

          Much will depend on how much you pay for rent, and Carl is not far away in his estimates, but you might find you are left with closer to $400 a week than $200, and that could make a significant difference.

          How much are you left over with each week in Canada?

          • Carl May 3, 2012, 8:12 pm |

            Hello Shahin

            I have the tax calucaltor link which is for the Australian Taxation Department, the only thing is I do not know if this only applies to Australia residents as I believe there is a different tax rate for non residents, from what you have said that you intend living in Australia permanently I beilieve you will be considered an Australia Resident for tax purposes. Paste this this link into your browser.

            I would also recommend that you view home rentals by going to
            Food prices by going to and loging into the online shopping section.

            I agree with Bob, you should take home about $1640 per week and how much your left with all depends on how much you spend on rent.

            Hope this helps with making the right decision.

            All the best

            • Shahin May 3, 2012, 10:46 pm |

              Thank you all. I have used this website before but was not sure how reliable it was. My annual salary is actually 136000 but this includes the superannuation fund as well which i believe is about 9%. Anyways, Perth is a go right now and we are in the process of selling our house and obtaining our 457 visa through my employer.

              Thanks for all your feed back


              • BobinOz May 4, 2012, 9:01 pm |

                Yes, I’m not sure how reliable this website is either 🙂

                I hope your move to Perth goes well.

              • ANDRE November 5, 2012, 5:00 pm |

                This is perfect. I arrived here two years ago on a 457 visa and salary the same. Couple of things, if the company is moving your furniture bring everything since if you realise you do not need it could junk it then but if you ned it then you dont need to buy it here.
                As for me, I moved what I can and the remaining was left behind as I left a fully furnished flat on rent in my home country. So starting of in Aus I did invest 40K to buy white goods and two cars.
                For the first couple of months wife did not get a job but could easily manage on my salary after paying the rent and not scrounging. Lead an extremely decent lifestyle even after paying 2000/month rent. Wife got a job and then all fell into place.Also I put my son through a private school 6000/year. In summary, 120K is enough for a decent lifestyle where you will not have to struggle but at the same time you cannot be lavish( happy middle class) and definitely you could put a little fraction aside for a rainy day. Now if your spouse works save that because the moment you get your PR just put that money as a deposit to buy a house.. much better than paying rent.
                Hope the above helps. I too had all the anxiety pangs when moving wondering if it was worth it.. and in hindsight.. OH!!! yes definitely worth it!!!

                • BobinOz November 5, 2012, 8:53 pm |

                  Good advice Andre, thanks! And yes, it is worth it isn’t it!

  • jim linwood June 28, 2011, 5:56 pm |

    of course adelaide is the best place to live in oz there is no where else like it in the world ..
    been meaning to ask how many brits live in oz nowadays ? and where do they all live —where can you find the tourist visitors figures as well ?

    • BobinOz June 29, 2011, 9:40 pm |

      Have you tried Brisbane? Anyway…..

      I think that kind of information is quite difficult to get hold of, the Australian Government do not differentiate between temporary visas, tourist visas and permanent visas, they just monitor visas coming in and going out.

      I am sure there are accurate figures somewhere, but I have looked and found them very difficult to come across. The last information I found I wrote about on my post called a nation of immigrants.

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