The cost of living in Sydney is expensive! Let’s get that fact out of the way straight up! It consistently ranks in the top 10 of the most expensive cities to live in and is the most expensive Australian city. This year UBS calculated the basic costs of living in Sydney for one month to be $1792. This includes the cost of food, beverage, clothing, personal care and household items. Expat extras including the cost of a two bedroom furnished apartment, a household help, an international school admission fee and a local language course would add $2987 to this cost totaling $4779.

Sydney is, however, a must visit city, in a must visit country.

Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! It has a spectacular harbour, amazing opera house, great entertainment, beautiful beaches, wonderful climate, unique and abundant wildlife, stunning natural surroundings and very friendly people.

It also has an endless array of free outdoor activities you can enjoy and there are ways to minimize the cost to live in Sydney if you are on a budget. So let’s look at all the different costs of living in Sydney for a month.

View of Sydney Harbor

View of Sydney Harbor

Cost of an Apartment in Sydney

The biggest expense in Sydney is accommodation. Accommodation in Sydney is expensive and Sydneysiders can often be heard discussing the high prices of real estate over their morning coffees.

Real estate and accommodation closer to the city and closer to the water is more expensive. Further from the city and further inland the prices become cheaper.

One month’s rent for an average one bedroom city apartment would cost approximately $2800. The cost of a similar one bedroom apartment outside the city centre would cost about $1900.

Basic utilities such electricity, heating, cooling, water and garbage costs for a 85 square metre apartment costs about $175 a month.

Advantages of Living in Sydney, Australia

Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

Cost of Food in Sydney

Sydney is a multicultural city with migrants from all over the world. As a result, the food available in Sydney reflects this too. You can find virtually any country’s cuisine you desire here.

Different Sydney suburbs have built up reputations as foodie locations for different cultural cuisines. For example, Cabramatta has a strong Vietnamese foodie culture, Harris Park is renowned for its Indian restaurants and Auburn in Sydney’s west concentrates on fragrant Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine.

The price of eating out in Sydney varies greatly from expensive 5-star restaurant prices to cheaper MacDonalds and Subway type prices, and everything in between. A three-course meal for 2 people in a mid-priced Sydney restaurant would cost approximately $80 – $100.

To save money money on the cost of living in Sydney I recommend buying your food from a supermarket or local food market and cooking it at home yourself.

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At the time of writing this article one litre of milk cost $1 and a loaf of sliced bread cost on average $3.20.

The price of food does fluctuate in Sydney due to climatic conditions. Despite Sydney itself receiving adequate rain recently, 94.8% of Greater Sydney and a high percentage of NSW is in drought. This impacts on the price of fruit and vegetables, meat and even bread.

Currently, the price of fruit and vegetables in Sydney is rising as it costs farmers more to water their crops once their own water supplies have dried up.

The cost of meat, however, is decreasing as farmers can no longer afford to maintain their stock and are thus selling them in record numbers, keeping only enough to breed with next season when they hope the drought conditions will have eased.

On the radio this morning I heard that the price of sliced bread is also expected to increase by up to 25% due to the current drought conditions.

Cost of Public Transport in Sydney

For a one month visit to Sydney, you wouldn’t usually buy a car, you’d use public transport. Although in the summer months young backpackers do sometimes buy a cheap van which doubles up as their accommodation. They park in beach suburbs with toilet and shower blocks nearby and sleep in their van. They then sell the van to new backpackers as they leave the country. Be aware however that local beach side councils have started banning the parking of such vans overnight in their beach car parks.

Public transport in Sydney includes buses, trains, light rail, and ferries.

If you are using public transport in Sydney buy an Opal card. Opal is the smart card ticketing system used to pay for travel on public transport in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter & the Illawarra. You add value to the card and then tap on and off to pay your fare.

The benefits of using an Opal card include cheaper fares, and daily and weekly fare caps. For adults, you can travel all week on Sydney’s public transport and the weekly fare cap is currently $63.20. The daily travel cap is $15.80.

When visiting Sydney make sure to take a ferry trip on stunning Sydney Harbour for the best views of the harbour, Opera House, and Sydney
Harbour Bridge. I recommend a trip from Circular Quay to Manly for a visit to iconic Manly beach.

Cost of Living in Sydney is Made More Bearable by Things Like Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Cost of Cosmetics in Sydney, Australia

Being a beauty blogger at Fabulous and Fun Life I can’t NOT mention the price of makeup! Makeup is more expensive in Sydney (and Australia generally) than other countries. High-end makeup especially is more expensive in Sydney than other countries. When visiting I recommend you come fully stocked with the makeup you will need so you don’t have to purchase any here. For drugstore makeup, Priceline offers the best prices.

Cost of Going Out in Sydney

The cost of entertainment in Sydney varies greatly. There are expensive concerts and shows you can attend but there are also numerous cheaper and even free entertainment available.

Movies cost approximately $23 an adult but you can buy cheaper tickets in most cinemas on Tuesdays. Often in school holidays there are free outdoor movies at various locations around Sydney.

Zoo Tickets Can be an Expensive Cost of Living in Sydney

Koala Bear at Taronga Zoo

An adult ticket to Taronga Zoo costs $47.

Visits to the beach, wandering through the Botanic Gardens, the historic Rocks area and bush walks are free.

Throughout the year Sydney hosts numerous festivals and events. Check out what’s on during your visit. If you are here in June the amazing Sydney Vivid festival is on which lights up major Sydney attractions around the harbour. Viewing is free.

The free New Year’s Eve fireworks are also spectacular to watch.

You really can spend as little or as much on entertainment as you wish.

So, What Does it Cost to Live in Sydney?

New Years Eve Fireworks at Harbour Bridge in Sydney

New Years Eve Fireworks at Harbour Bridge in Sydney

So in conclusion despite the fact that the costs of living in Sydney is is high, it is definitely worth a visit. There are so many unique things to do and see in Sydney that you won’t see in any other city in the world! And there are ways to minimise your costs.

This guest post was written by longtime Sydney resident Ingrid who loves her city, expensive as it may be, and is also the editor of Fabulous and Fun Life, a Sydney beauty blog.

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