Cost of Living Calculator: Helping international students make smart monetary choices for their lifestyle

Ever felt like the cost of living here is more than what you bargained for? The guys behind Insider Foundry launched an interactive online calculator to help prospective international students determine a breakdown of their cost of living in Victoria. Nicole Tee has more.

Photo: Images Money via Flickr

Photo: Images Money via Flickr

International students have to budget when it comes to estimating their living costs in Australia.

New and prospective international students arriving in Victoria can now predict their living expenses in the state thanks to Insider Foundry. As the brains behind the Insider Guides for International Students, the team have recently launched the Cost of Living Calculator, making it easier for students to set a clearer expectation of their true living expenses while they stay in Melbourne.

James Martin, Managing Director of Insider Foundry says the personalised calculator is designed to help students make informed decisions about their lifestyle choices and living expenses prior to arrival or upon their arrival in Australia.

“We basically wanted to achieve a little bit of transparency so that students can make an accurate decision on whether Australia is the right country to go to, and which city to choose as well,” Mr Martin said.

Currently, the Immigration Department of Australia requires proof for international students to have the financial ability to pay a total of $18,610 dollars, a figure which many incoming students base their estimated living expenses on.

An example of the Weekly Cost Breakdown Comparison of one’s expenses. Image: Insider Guides’ Official Website.

However, this lump sum figure of $18,610 dollars does not effectively reflect on the true cost of living for students in Victoria.

“Students have told us that they based their living costs off that figure [of $18,610 dollars] and then were stung upon arrival when they realised it didn’t match up to how they wanted to live,” Mr Martin said.

“We felt that [figure] was a little bit misleading because a lot of international students would be spending a lot more when they first get here.”

According to Martin, hidden expenses such as dining out, gym memberships and car ownership contribute to a figure beyond what students would have expected prior to coming to Australia. These are costs that the government, agents, universities and colleges miss out on telling prospective students prior to their arrival.

The calculator helps students factor in these other costs, bringing together a comprehensive document of a student’s lifestyle choices such as their type of accommodation, required services or products and the type of activities students would be engaging in. These all help to determine one’s estimated living expenses in Melbourne, based on a weekly, monthly and yearly breakdown.

With Victoria set to attract more than 150,000 international students yearly, managed cost of living is significant as it contributes to the holistic living experience of all international students.

To ensure an enhanced student experience for international students, the calculator also links students up to services which they need help in, such as finding quality accommodation or arranging student health cover services.

The Cost of Living Calculator is available for prospective international students in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Try out the Cost of Living Calculator yourself and learn more about your total living expenses in your city

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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