An important part of your financial preparation before going abroad is understanding the currency and the cost of living to help you budget for your studies. You don’t want to be halfway across the world from your family without enough money!

The currency in Perth is the Australian Dollar (AUD) which is measured in dollars ($) and cents (c). There are 100 cents in one dollar.

Plastic bank notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100
Gold coins: $1 and $2
Silver coins: 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c

To convert your own currency to see what it is worth in Australian Dollars click here. It’s a good idea to check this and the exchange rate to see when the best time to change your money might be.

Only Australian currency can be used in Australia, but there are several solutions to getting Australian money.

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at international airports, banks and major hotels. Traveller’s cheques are easier to use if they are in Australian Dollars, however banks will cash travellers cheques in almost any currency.

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are readily available for withdrawals 24 hours a day, using Australian bankcards or international bank cards, though they may charge a fee.

Most stores and supermarkets have Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) terminals and PayPass, where you can pay directly from your bank account as well as make cash withdrawals.

The most commonly accepted credit cards in Australia are MasterCard, Visa, Bankcard, American Express, Diners International and their affiliates. Most businesses accept credit cards as payment. Again, your bank and the point of sale may charge an international transaction fee if you use your international card, it’s important to check this with your current bank if you plan to use your card.

The best way to use money during your stay is opening a bank account as soon as you arrive in Perth. You will need several forms of identification such as your passport, Student ID card and driver’s licence.

For more information about opening a bank account Commonwealth Bank can help.

Planning on working while you are in Australia studying? Then you’ll need a Tax File Number. Your TFN is your personal reference number in our tax system. You can apply for a TFN online once you have your work visa and have arrived in Australia. You should apply for your TFN before you start work or soon after. Getting a Tax File Number will save you paying too much tax if you open a bank account.

Living Expenses

Below is a list of costs for you to consider during your studies:

Groceries and eating out* $80 to $280 per week
Gas, electricity $35 to $140 per week
Phone and Internet $20 to $55 per week
Public transport $15 to $55 per week
Car (after purchase) $150 to $260 per week
Entertainment $80 to $150 per week

NOTE: All costs are in Australian dollars.

This does not include any travel you plan to do whilst in Australia, so it would be a good idea to factor in a budget for that too. We highly recommend you do as much exploring as you can!

The Australian Government provides information and guidance on managing your finances. You can read more at

If you experience financial trouble while in Australia, talk to your institution’s international student support staff for assistance.


*Click here for a list of Cheap Eats in Perth to suit any student budget.

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