SERIES: The cost of living in… Perth

Welcome to the next instalment of our COST OF LIVING series, where we explore the cost of living in different cities and towns all around Australia. In this post, we will explore the cost of living in Perth for a family of three.

Tell us about your town.

We live in Mount Pleasant, a riverside suburb in Perth, approximately 8 kilometres from the city. We love that the river and parks (plus cafes, shops and doctor’s surgery) are all a short walk from our house. Our house is on a small block but we bought it for the location; the schools, proximity to the freeway, city and to both of our jobs.

We have owned our property for 3½ years. We originally bought intending to knock the house down, but now we are considering renovating and selling. A few streets back from where we live there are larger blocks of land available. It would cost us about $300,000 more to buy a larger house on a larger block, but we would be happy to renovate again if it was somewhere that we could grow as a family. Ideally, we’d like enough land for John to be able to have a shed for his work.


Talk us through your cost of living.

Our biggest expense (besides our mortgage) is insurance – such as house, life, trauma, income protection, car and medical insurances. We spend around $250 a week on groceries, which includes nappies and formula.  We love going out, so lunches, coffees and dinners would be about $150 per week. John & I both drive to work so it costs us about $130 per week in petrol for both cars (which are quite economical).

Category Cost (per year)
 Groceries  $12,000
 Children / child care  $10,400
 Holidays  $6,000
 Health & medical  $4,800
 Utilities  $4,000
 Savings for Zoe  $2,500

We were spending around $110 weekly on daycare for Zoe (she did 2 days per week), however she was constantly sick! Zoe was born prematurely so her immune system didn’t handle daycare well, so we’ve opted for in-home care (about $200-250 per week). We are looking into family daycare, which should be a little cheaper.


How do you manage your finances?

We have a general budget – we know our weekly costs for everything, including food and spending. We also have an offset account and we save quite a bit to offset our mortgage. We are quite conservative with our money; we enjoy life though and have specific savings for holidays, etc.

I have always been a great budgeter; I had $2,000 in the bank when I was 14! I was told by my parents to treat $1,000 as my ‘zero’ balance in my account (I’ve adjusted that to $10,000 now that I’m older). This is a great emergency fund, as appliances can break or unforeseen things happen.  John received a redundancy from a previous job recently. Having healthy savings meant that he could take time to find another job that he liked (rather than rushing into another job for the sake of a paycheck) and it didn’t really affect us.

We also like to divide our annual bills by 11 months instead of 12 months, so we’ve always got a buffer (otherwise we just adjust as we go).

Budgeting trick – build in a buffer!
 Utility bill:  $990 p.a.
 Need to save:  $82.50 p.m.
 (990 ÷ 12)
 Choose to save:  $90 p.m.
 (990 ÷ 11)


Who influences your financial decisions?

We do; we are both good savers and have done well in property. We have two investment properties, although we’d like to sell one so we can pay down our own house as much as possible.

Many thanks to Sara for sharing!

To book a free consultation to improve your budgeting, please call our office on 07 4646 4970 or contact us on If you’d like to share the cost of living in your town, please send us an email.

Information on this site may be regarded as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Where the information relates to a particular financial product, you should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase that financial product.

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