*I have recently updated this post to reflect our 2020 costs of living in Perth.*
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the cost of living in Perth. At the time, we were renting and now we’re homeowners (yay!) I thought I’d better update that post as it gets a lot of eyeballs each month.
As a homeowner there a few more expenses to be taken care of, so these will be new additions to the list. Massive disclaimer on this post though – this is our personal experience of the cost of living. We are a fairly frugal family, but we do like to enjoy life too so I think we live a fairly average life when it comes to spending. We don’t watch every cent, but we also don’t go overboard every week on luxuries.
So let’s break it down into monthly costs and look at the cost of living in Perth.
The Cost Of Living In Perth
Compared to when we arrived a few years ago, rents are really competitive for tenants. You can find some properties for rent in decent areas for around $300 a week – this was not even an option back in 2013 and we were paying $420 a week for a tiny 3 bedroom cottage block in Butler.
Borrowing $500k on an interest rate of 4.55% with Commonwealth Bank over 30 years would cost you around $2500 per month. Check out their online mortgage repayment calculator to find out what your mortgage could cost you if you buy a property.
Gas & Electricity
Utilities are very much dependent on how many people there are in your house, how many devices you’re all using and how savvy you are with your usage. Buying new energy efficient appliances will help cut your monthly gas and electricity bills.
We pay on average per month in summer:
Gas – $40
Electricity – $200
In winter it’s:
Gas – $70
Electricity – $150
Gas jumps in winter as we have a gas heater which is worth every cent! If you have reverse cycle air con you use as heating your electricity will jump up in winter rather than your gas. We tried to switch our gas to Kleenheat to save money but then Alinta offered us 20% off for 2 years not to switch so we stayed – worth it to get a discount!
Now that we have a pool, electricity is more like $150 a month in winter and $200 in summer – no solar – so we may look at investing in some solar panels soon. We also installed a fireplace so gas isn’t as much as before when we would run it almost every evening in winter.
As a renter, we used to just pay for usage, which was around $25 per month (no pool).
As a homeowner you’re also responsible for usage as well as water rates, which worked out around $100 per month for us (still no pool) in 2017.
As of 2020, we have a pool, and water rates are more like $150-200 per month.
Again this will depend on what kind of property you have but most people will pay around $2000 per year on their shire rates (equivalent of SA municipal rates and UK council tax).
We have buildings and contents insurance as homeowners which is currently around $70 a month.
Car Insurance, Registration & Fuel
We have 2 cars, as do many families and after shopping around for a good price and decent cover, we pay around $800 a year for insurance per car.
For registration, we pay annually and that’s also currently over $800 per car. That works out to around $130 per month which we save each month (plus more for car servicing) and then pay out when needed.
Fuel will depend how far you need to drive for work etc. Petrol is currently sitting around $1-1.20 a litre and we spend around $150 a month between us on fuel, with my husband mostly driving to work and me working from home and not using my car as much.
Again this depends on what kind of cars you get. You can buy a cheap second hand car outright and have nothing to pay each month, or if you need a more expensive 2nd hand car or a new one, you’ll need to account for monthly/fortnightly loan repayments.
On around a $30k car, you’re looking at around $600-650 per month depending on your interest rate.
Foxtel & Netflix
If you want to get pay TV there are some good deals to be had.
We have Foxtel and our package should be $100 a month and I called up and asked for a discount and got it for $75 instead for 12 months. Our current Foxtel plan is $59 and that includes most channels and the movie pack. We got rid of sport when Covid hit as there was nothing to watch!
Netflix is $14 a month for HD which is awesome and has so much stuff to watch!
Internet & Home Phone
You can get great deals on home phone and internet these days – so many providers are falling over each other to get your business. This will also be highly dependent on where you live and what services are available in your area.
We are now on NBN and we pay $80 per month for phone and internet (but we don’t even have a home phone!). We get unlimited internet and pretty decent speeds now, compared to ADSL2 which is what we had before.
You can get unlimited internet and home phone with some providers for as little as $60, but it does depend on what you get.
On contract phones you can get decent phones for around $60-90 per month including the phone and your plan.
Currently I am on a $40 plan with Optus as my phone is paid off now. I have the iPhone 8+ and it’s totally fine so I see no reason to upgrade again just yet. When I was paying for the phone as well my plan was $95 a month!
You can go pay as you go and just buy credit as you need it but it’s not that much more to get a phone included.
Most people choose to get private health insurance to help cover any gaps in payments for specialists or get onto private waiting lists quicker than waiting for the public system.
There are so many different levels of cover depending on your family circumstances, ages and needs. We pay $250 per month for health insurance for a family of 3.
Now we don’t eat red meat (shock horror as a South African I know!), and my son is a very fussy eater so he doesn’t eat loads of different things – this probably has a big impact on our grocery shopping. I also bake and cook a lot from scratch and don’t buy many processed foods. People are always shocked when I say what we spend!
We budget $150 per week and generally stick around this. I do know many people pay more though, especially if you have ravenous kids at home! As of 2020, my budget is still $150 a week and mostly I spend under this.
I’d say most people would budget more around the $200 mark on average. Hop online and do a Coles or Woolworths shop and see what your weekly shop would come out – many products are familiar so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
Personal Insurances – Life Cover, Critical Illness & Income Protection
These things are often overlooked, especially when you first arrive in Australia, but once you have settled into life and especially when you’ve bought a house, they need to be looked at and put in place. I can’t estimate the costs for these – you need to speak to a financial advisor.
So let’s add it all up, using monthly averages over the year for an average family of 4, with a pool and 2 cars, one financed:
Mortgage/rent – $2500
Gas – $75
Electricity – $150
Water – $200
Shire Rates – $180
Building & Contents Insurance – $75
Car Insurance – $140
Car rego x 2 cars -$140
Fuel x 2 cars – $150
Car Payments x 1 car – $650
Foxtel – $59
Netflix – $14
Home Phone & Internet – $80
Mobile Phone x 2 – $150
Health Insurance for family of 4 – $280
Groceries – $850
Total monthly expenses – $5693
As you can see there are a couple of luxuries here (a new car, Foxtel and Netflix), but they aren’t unrealistic. In winter it’s great to have some good TV to watch – free TV is awful and full of ads so you can barely stay awake trying to watch a movie! And yes some of this is very dependent on your lifestyle and expectations, but it’s a great starting point if you want to get a feel for the current cost of living in Perth in 2020.
There are always other expenses, like daycare if you have young kids, before or after school care, vacation care, school fees (if you go private) and a whole host of other expenses that generally come along with kids – activities, sport, uniforms, book lists for school etc. But this post is more about the day to day living expenses so I haven’t included them in this list.
Are there any other expenses you think should be on the list? Found this post helpful? Let me know in the comments below!
Marlize2nd June 2017 at 6:05 pm
You have done a great job on this, Reeva. This is a good reflection of the costs here in Perth. I would add that it really helps to shop around for best deals with regards to insurance and that you should chance the insuance yearly. Don’t keep you short term insurance the same year after year.
And, we had a shocking experience with reverse cycle in winter. We had a 100% increase in our bill! If people do not have to use their reverse aircon, don’t.
Jacques3rd June 2017 at 3:46 am
What does your husband do for a living and your salaries? I’m qualified Millwright Technician so I will have to choose and it would be electrician then. My wife normal PA. I find it do difficult toake a decision to immigrate..we from Somerset West Cape Town.
Lifecis getting really expensive on side!!!
Reeva Cutting10th June 2017 at 4:24 pm
Hi Jacques, my husband works in the construction industry and I run my own digital marketing consultancy business. We don’t earn sky high salaries – I’d say fairly average and we still have money left at the end of each month so we’re doing OK 🙂
Alison buys3rd June 2017 at 9:10 am
Credit cards and public transport
Reeva Cutting13th June 2017 at 8:51 pm
Good points – although if you use public transport you could swap over the fuel cost to train/bus costs (there or thereabouts). With credit cards – if you haven’t got the money, don’t spend it! That’s a luxury to me and so variable for everyone so not really something I could quantify for this post.
Cilla Geldenhuys13th June 2017 at 4:45 pm
Thank you for doing this Reeva. Only last month I was wishing you would update the last post on this subject.
Reeva Cutting13th June 2017 at 8:49 pm
Thanks Cilla – love your blog! Are you in Australia permanently now?
Nicola23rd June 2017 at 5:58 pm
This is a really great article and worded really well so as not to bog it down with too much detail. It will give immigrants a pretty good snapshot of what to expect. I think the electricity costs will vary hugely between households. It is great to have people that want to help others like this and take time out of their busy lives to be proactive in this way. I have been here so long that I didn’t ‘need’ the info but it was so well written I wanted to finish it all!!!
Reeva Cutting4th July 2017 at 8:40 pm
Thank you Nicola! That’s an awesome compliment!
Jeannie23rd June 2017 at 8:02 pm
Thank you so much for this post!
A friend of mine in Perth sent me something like this earlier this week and it ties in perfectly…
We have just started the process of emigrating – really hoping everything works out 🙂
Reeva Cutting4th July 2017 at 8:40 pm
Awesome! Good luck with the move – if you have any questions along the way please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂
Naveen Varghese22nd July 2017 at 6:43 pm
Very nice post. Thank you. Can help with the schooling and daycare costs please? I have 2 kids , 2 and 7 yr old.
Reeva Cutting25th July 2017 at 1:14 pm
Thanks Naveen! I’ve recently written a post about child care options but one on schooling and costs would be good too – I’ll add it to my content plan!
Bev17th August 2017 at 6:29 pm
Really interesting. I am sitting here doing a comparison to our life in the U.K. Is your mom still in the U.K.?
Reeva Cutting24th August 2017 at 12:12 pm
Hi Bev! No, she’s living in Ireland now, has been for some time – she much prefers it to England! Would love to hear what you think compared to the UK as I didn’t find too much difference in costs compared to the UK except for property costs.
Nishant6th March 2018 at 12:06 am
Its a great starting point for me coming from India! Would ask you more questions soon.
Reeva Cutting7th March 2018 at 6:50 am
Glad to help Nishant!
Simone10th April 2018 at 10:08 pm
Hi Reeva, thank you very much for this useful and detailed post!
we are an Italian family with 2 kids and I recently got a job offer in Higher Education (140k$ pa). My wife is a bit worried as she will have to leave her job here and completely re-invent herself in Australia.. According to your estimates, it seems that with only my salary I will be able to support my family and this is consistent with my previous calculations (considering 30% income tax), however, I don’t know if we need to consider other taxes/fees or hidden costs (i.e. contributing to my super) to be more accurate. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance, ciao 🙂
Reeva Cutting11th April 2018 at 8:07 am
Hi Simone, thanks for your kind words! Super is paid by your company at 9.5% (set by the government), however you can choose to contribute more if you wish. Other fees you may need to consider could include childcare if you will both be working, and school fees (not very much if your children attend a public school, but can get expensive if you go the private route). $140k is an extremely liveable wage here in Perth so I’m sure you can make it work.
Simone11th April 2018 at 7:43 pm
Dear Reeva, thank you very much for you super quick and detailed feedback. I look forward coming to Perth 🙂 Have a nice week ciao
abd26th April 2018 at 12:09 pm
Thanks you for clarify information
dayne3rd June 2018 at 6:56 pm
Hi awsome articlae.
been reading a few that you post as this is the info we need.
im looking to relocate on 107 a year with a family of 5 .
concerned about schooling and fees getting conflicting info some say free some pay ??????
We very family oriantated so wont be out partying and would not live directly in Perth as i would be working in MALAGA so would like to live closer to work.
Is 107 a comfortable salary ?
Is schooling free?
Reeva Cutting18th June 2018 at 5:54 pm
Thanks for your comment.
Whether you pay school fees depends if you are on the permanent or temporary visa. There is a large fee for temp visa holders but if you are on PR, you do not pay this. Schooling is not entirely free if you choose government (public) schools. Most primary schools are around $60 per year plus a booklist (from $80-200 per child per year) and uniform, plus excursions etc. Private schools range from $2,000 to over $30,000 per year depending on what school you choose.
Whether that salary is comfortable depends on your lifestyle expectations. My cost of living post should help you cover the basics, but things like eating and shopping habits will vary from family to family. Pop onto the Coles online shopping website and do a typical shop for your family to see what you would spend per week on groceries. Consider what activities your kids would do and see what they cost per term and add all these expenses to your basics and see if you would come out OK at the other end. $107k is a very decent salary in Perth and many families live on much less than that.
Hope that helps!
Bethany24th June 2018 at 1:18 am
Hi there. A great read and very helpful. My husband, I and our 4 children hope to emigrate in the next few years. My husband is a refrigeration engineer and I’ve been concerned about the re-training of his skills and the need for licenses etc. I’m more concerned that whilst re-training he’ll be on a lower wage and our only income at first so I can settle the kids in before getting a job of my own. We are looking at the Port Kennedy and surrounding areas so rent doesn’t worry me but just the general cost of living on a single ‘trainee’ kind of wage. Any advice or tips would be much appreciated
Reeva Cutting25th June 2018 at 2:16 pm
Hi Beth, thanks for your comment! I would say the best advice would come from people who have done it before. As refrigerations is not my area, haha, I suggest hopping over onto my group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProudlySouthAfricanInPerthAndWA/ and ask on there. Hopefully someone knows someone who can answer your questions 🙂
Kiron7th August 2018 at 3:04 am
Hi Reeva ,
So based on a net pay of 5300 dollars per month (to cover basic expenses) one would need an annual salary of 106k minimum ?
Reeva Cutting7th August 2018 at 3:08 pm
Hi Kiron, no that would be around $85,000 for one earner to get $5300 per month net. You can input gross salaries here and calculate your net pay – super helpful! https://www.paycalculator.com.au/
Steven Boshoff16th June 2019 at 6:48 pm
Good day Reeva.
I have been reading your blog and info given is brilliant. My only concern is how much do i take from my salary regarding Tax? I have worked on round about 30% on annual income, will this give me better idea of what i will be clearing each month?
Reeva Cutting30th June 2019 at 9:45 am
Hi Steven, thanks for your kind words! Have you looked at the ATO pay calculator – you can check it out here and it’s pretty helpful. https://www.atopayg.com/calculator.html
Levi23rd May 2023 at 4:53 pm
Extremely helpful Reeva,so glad I found your page on FB