Spend Less and Experience More: Australia vs US Dollars

By Josh •  Updated: 04/08/23 •  9 min read

Are you wondering if Australia is cheaper than the USA? Are you looking to travel and want to know which country offers the best deals?

If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll take a look at some of the costs of living in both countries and compare them side by side.

Comparing the Average Cost of Living in Australia and the United States

When it comes to comparing the cost of living between Australia and the United States, the average cost of living in Australia is generally 8% less expensive than in the United States.

Additionally, Australia has a higher ranking than the United States at 10th place compared to 6th. This makes Australia a cheaper option for those considering living in either country.

However, when looking at the currency exchange rate, the Australian dollar is currently much lower than the US dollar.

This means that for Americans looking to make the move, now is the ideal time due to the favorable exchange rate.

The average weekly expenditure in Australia is around $2,200 per household which includes home loans or rent at an average of $600 a week.

Plus, rent in Australia is lower than in the United States on average with prices ranging from $1,589 to $2,068 depending on location.

With all of this considered, it’s clear that Australia is a cheaper option than the United States when it comes to the cost of living.

The Basics of Comparing Prices in Australia Vs. The USA

When comparing prices between Australia and the US, it’s important to consider the exchange rate, as well as the cost of living.


While Australia is generally cheaper than the US, it’s still important to understand the differences in pricing between the two countries.

When comparing the cost of living, Australia ranks 10th in the world, while the US ranks 6th. Additionally, the US dollar is generally stronger than the Australian dollar, meaning that prices in Australia tend to be higher than in the US.

However, this doesn’t mean that everything is more expensive in Australia; certain items can be cheaper. For example, groceries, transportation, and tuition fees are generally lower in Australia than in the US.

Furthermore, ATM fees are lower in Australia than in the US due to the exchange rate. Thus, it’s important to research prices thoroughly before making a purchase and compare them between both countries.

Compare Currency Exchange Rates

Bilateral exchange rates are typically quoted against the US dollar (USD), as it is the most traded currency globally.

Looking at the Australian dollar (AUD), a quick currency converter search will show you that it is currently trading at $0.72 USD to 1 AUD.

This means that it is cheaper to convert currency in Australia than in the States. Governments and monetary authorities will often try to intervene and manipulate their currency’s price since doing so can give them an economic advantage.

Knowing the value of a home currency in relation to foreign currencies is key in understanding pricing power in different countries.

Compare the Cost of Living

The cost of living in Australia is, on average, 15.71 percent higher than in the United States, but this varies depending on the city and region you live in.

Sydney is known to be more expensive than other parts of Australia, for example, and salaries are 28 percent higher in Australia than in the UK.


This means that much of the savings Brits enjoy from cheaper food and housing don’t apply in Australia.

The cost of living isn’t the only factor to consider when comparing prices between countries; currency exchange rates and prices for common items also play a role.

Compare Prices of Common Items

Moving to a foreign country can be a daunting prospect, especially when it comes to understanding the prices of goods.

Comparing the cost of living in Australia and the USA is an essential part of understanding the economic impact of such a move.

But how do we compare the prices of common goods? In this section, we explore how to compare prices of common items like groceries, cigarettes, and restaurants between Australia and the USA.

By understanding how to compare these basic costs, you can better prepare for the financial implications of your move.

Comparing the Prices of Markets, Restaurants, and Transportation in Australia and the USA

When it comes to markets, restaurants, and transportation, Australia is not necessarily cheaper than the United States.

Prices for these services are largely dependent on location and can vary greatly from city to city.

However, it is worth noting that Australia does have a much more developed public transport system than the US, which can help to keep costs down for those traveling within cities.

In addition, many restaurants in Australia offer discounts and loyalty programs that can help reduce costs for frequent diners.

Ultimately, it’s worth doing some research before you visit to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.

An Overview of Tuition Fees in Australia and the USA

When it comes to tuition fees, Australia is generally cheaper than the US. Undergraduate international students in Australia will likely pay between $20,000 AUD and $45,000 AUD ($12,748 USD and $30,769 USD).

This is a lot cheaper than the sticker price on most American degrees which can range somewhere between $20,000 – $50,000 USD.

In addition to paying for tuition, international students also need to pay for a student visa in Australia. The student visa foreign students need in Australia is the Subclass 500, and it currently costs about US$535.

With this visa, students are allowed to work in Australia. So, if you’re looking for an affordable education with plenty of opportunities for work-study programs, Australia may be the place for you!

The Impact of Exchange Rates on Comparing Prices in Australia and the USA

The exchange rate between the Australian dollar and the US dollar affects how much goods and services cost in one country versus the other.

Analyzing the exchange rate is a key factor when assessing whether Australia is cheaper than the USA.

According to IBISWorld forecasts, the AU$/US$ exchange rate is expected to fall by 7.5% in 2022-23 to US$0.6688.

This would mean that goods and services priced in US dollars would be more expensive for Australians, making them less competitive with those from the US.

The exchange rate also affects the price of commodities, which has a direct impact on the cost of living in Australia.

As such, it is important to consider both direct and indirect costs when comparing prices between Australia and the USA.

Exploring the Cost of Housing in Australia and the US

When it comes to housing, the cost of living in Australia is generally higher than in the US. Rent prices in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne can be significantly higher than in other parts of the country.

However, outside Sydney and Melbourne, life can be relatively affordable, with a good rule of thumb being to budget around $600 per week for a minimal lifestyle.

While house prices in the US have been affected by recent economic turbulence, there are still bargains to be found.F

or example, compared to other capital cities, Perth is the cheapest major city in Australia other than Adelaide according to Numbeo.

Examining the Cost of Utilities in Australia and the US

The cost of utilities in Australia and the US can vary greatly depending on where you live.

Generally speaking, Australians pay more for electricity than US citizens, and prices are set to rise even further this year.

However, other utilities like water, heat, and waste tend to be more affordable in Australia than in the US.

If you live in Canberra, it is the cheapest city for utilities in Australia, excluding rent. It is important to consider the cost of utilities when comparing the cost of living in Australia and the US.

Comparing Healthcare Costs in Australia and the US

When it comes to healthcare, both Australia and the US have different systems. In Australia, healthcare is funded by both the public and private sectors.

The public sector funds the majority of healthcare while the private sector pays for a portion of it. In the US, however, the majority of healthcare costs are covered by private health insurance plans.

This means that healthcare costs can be significantly higher in the US than in Australia, depending on the level of coverage.

Additionally, Australians are able to access universal health care services while this is not an option in the US. Overall, Australia’s healthcare system provides better outcomes at a lower cost than the US system, according to data tracked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Exploring Food Costs in Australia and the US

When it comes to food costs in Australia and the US, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Generally, food prices are lower in the US than they are in Australia. However, if you eat at the same type of place you would eat out in Australia – such as a cafe or restaurant – the US can be surprisingly expensive.

We can see this reflected in metrics such as the cost of groceries – Australia is 10.6% more expensive than the United States.

Additionally, when looking at a basket of items, assuming a consumer purchased one unit of each item, the total cost in Australia was 14% less than in the US.

It’s clear that while food costs may be lower in the US than they are in Australia, it is important to consider where you are eating out when comparing prices.

Understanding Taxation Differences Between Australia and the US

When it comes to taxation, there are some notable differences between Australia and the US.

Ultimately, Australians pay more in taxes than Americans, but, relative to other high- and low-tax countries in the OECD, not by much.

US ex-pats in Australia need to be aware of their tax obligations to both countries and should familiarize themselves with the differences between the two.

US citizens, as well as green card holders, need to file a US tax return every year and are subject to US income tax on their worldwide income.

On the other hand, Australian residents are only taxed on income earned in Australia. There are some tax credits available for US citizens living in Australia, which can help offset the tax owed on their global income.

It is important to understand these differences and make sure you comply with the necessary requirements.


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!