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Living Expenses Calculator

Living Expenses Calculator

Your details

Number of adults
Number of children
Where will you live in?
What is your living arrangement?
What is your lifestyle??

How to use this calculator

This calculator uses your family size, location and lifestyle to estimate your living expenses based on the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM). This is the same method used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and by most Australian banks when assessing your borrowing power for a mortgage application.

The result should be used as a general guide only, as your living expenses can vary significantly depending on how you choose to spend your money.

If you are new to Australia then you can learn more about how to buy a home in our non-residents section.

What items are expensive in Australia?

The cost of living in Australia is significantly higher than most countries, including other developed countries. In particular, you will find that the following items are much more expensive:

  • Housing (rent and house prices)
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Petrol

However Australians also tend to have a much higher income, so the effect is that you may still be able to enjoy a good lifestyle.

Which expenses are included?

The calculator takes all basic living expenses into account such as groceries, utilities, phone, public transport / car and entertainment.

The rental or mortgage expense is calculated separately so that you can replace the figure with your own estimate after you have decided where you would like to live.

The most expensive cities in Australia

The most expensive cities in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne. Perth and Canberra are also relatively expensive whereas people living in the other capital cities such as Brisbane and Adelaide have lower living expenses.

That being said, if you live in a very remote area such as a mining town, then you may find that your average cost of living is high due to the cost of bringing goods and services to your community.

  • Bob M

    I calculated my living expenses and it seems my servicing could end up being a bit tight so is there any way that I can increase my borrowing capacity?

  • Hi Bob,

    Here are some ways you can use to improve your borrowing power:
    – Cancel your credit cards or reduce their limits to what you actually use.
    Switch your current loans to interest only. However, this is acceptable to some lenders only.
    – Fix the rate on your current loans. Again, this is acceptable to some lenders only.
    – If you choose a lender that can include overtime, bonus and other income in their assessment, you automatically can increase your borrowing power if you earn a lot through them.
    – Find a lender that can allow you to borrow more.
    For more information, you can check out the Improve My Borrowing Power page:

  • Howard

    We’re a family of 2 with 2 dependents and your calculator showed a monthly expenditure of $3k and also said that if we can afford another $197 a week, we can qualify for a home loan. However, we actually have a monthly expenditure of around $2k so does this mean we should be able to get a mortgage?

  • Hey Howard,

    The calculator uses input data based on the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM), which is used by most Australian banks when assessing your loan application. This means that the banks may likely assess you based on a higher monthly expenditure and so reduce your borrowing power and chance of approval. Please call us on 1300 889 743 and speak with one of our expert mortgage brokers to discuss your situation and loan needs in detail.

  • Franz

    Hi HLE

    How do banks calculate living expenses? Is it based on expected expenses post-settlement or current living expenses from the past 3 months, for example? For example, I don’t pay council now but will be expected to do so once our house has finished construction (9 months after settlement). Another example is that we pay mother in law for babysitting but expect to pay for child care long after the loan has settled. Do we have to declare that expense when applying for a home loan?

  • Hi Franz,

    What’s normal is to declare what you are paying now and then make comments about what is changing in the future.

    What’s really important for paying your loan is that you consider large expenses that cannot be easily cancelled. For example if someone is paying private school fees then this is a major expenses and must be considered when we calculate someone’s ability to pay a loan.

    It’s ok to make realistic adjustments to your lifestyle expenses. For example you could include gym fees and foxtel as an expense but make a comment that you are cancelling these so that you have sufficient funds to pay your home loan.