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 in 2017.
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 – $20-30
Electricity – $60-70
In winter it’s:
Gas – $100
Electricity – $90
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!
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 works out around $100 per month for us (still no pool).
Again this will depend on what kind of property you have but most people will pay around $1500-2000 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 around $50 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 $900 a year for insurance on both cars, which is around $75 per month.
For registration, we pay every 6 months (it’s a big chunk to pay annually) so this is just under $400 per car every 6 months. 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 $1.20 a litre and we spend around $300 a month between us on fuel, with my husband driving quite far to get to work and me working from home and not using my car that 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. For a great deal on your car loan in Perth, speak to Ben from Bizi Loans.
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.
Netflix is $12 a month for HD which is awesome and has so much stuff to watch!
Internet & 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’re still on ridiculous ADSL2+ and only get 200 GB per month. But with iiNet Netflix usage doesn’t count towards your usage so that at least is something. We pay $80 per month for phone and internet (but we don’t even have a home phone!) which I think is quite a lot for what we get.
You can get unlimited internet and home phone with some providers for as little as $60 so as soon as we can get a better deal I’m switching!
Virgin Mobile seems to be the cheapest for decent packages for mobile phone plans. On contract phones you can get decent phones for around $60-90 per month including the phone and your plan.
I’d estimate the average person pays around $75 per month for a new-ish phone with calls and data included. 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 $200 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!
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 – I recommend Jacques Hugo from LUDA Financial Solutions based in Joondalup.
So let’s add it all up, using monthly averages over the year for an average family of 4 with 1 car:
Mortgage/rent – $2500
Gas – $60
Electricity – $80
Water – $100
Shire Rates – $160
Building & Contents Insurance – $50
Car Insurance and rego x 1 car -$40
Fuel x 1 car – $200
Car Payments x 1 car – $650
Foxtel – $75
Netflix – $12
Home Phone & Internet – $60
Mobile Phone x 2 – $150
Health Insurance for family of 4 – $250
Groceries – $850
Total monthly expenses – $5237
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 what your monthly costs may look like when you live in Perth.
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!