The cost of living in Australia and some pitfalls to watch out for
by Julie Purdon
How much does it cost to live in Australia? This is one question that everyone asks no matter what their circumstance. While it is important to know if you will be able to replace your home, pay for private schooling and private health, what most people really want to know is the basic costs of day to day living. One thing becomes very clear after living in Australia for a few months; every income bracket is able to achieve a certain acceptable standard of living.
General information can be misleading!
Although the internet provides a large amount of information, facts and figures about the cost of living in Australia, it is important to understand this information is very general and does not provide a realistic idea nor specific facts. As a guideline, on an average wage you will pay for your familys food for the day in your first one or two hours of working. Another general measure is that the bigger the town or city the higher the cost of housing. For example in Toowoomba (Queensland) you will pay around $200 a week to rent a house or large unit but on the Gold
Coast (Queensland) you will pay around $350 a week for the same size home. In addition, a middle range wage in Toowoomba is around $40 000 a year and on the Gold Coast you will earn around $55 000 to $60 000 for the same job.
As well as providing links to sites that offer useful information, I thought I would share some things that the internet does not tell you about the costs of living.
Stick to old budgeting rules when you get here
The cost of living in Australia, while not high by world standards can tend to get out of hand quickly as a result of the extensive advertising and promotional specials, which can sometimes be misleading. There are so many different ways to save money but there are also many traps that people can get caught up in. One of the most important rules to set yourself is that if you did not do it or have it before then you can probably continue to live with out it in your new country.
Simple things can blow out the budget
Just one example of a very costly trap that seems to be a national pastime here, if not an obsession, is to buy a morning coffee from the coffee shop. The average price of a cup of coffee is around $4. Buying lunch everyday instead of taking a packed lunch will set you back on average $30 to $35 per week. Add that to your daily coffee and before you know it you are spending over $50 a week before you even start living and that is just for one family member. If you and your spouse have the same habits that is $100! Now add to that what the children spend in the school canteen, you could double your cost of food in an instant just to feed your family lunch and a daily coffee!
Another quick fact: buying coffee and lunch for one person each day costs around $10 a day. Buying your entire familys meat for dinner costs around $10 a day. If you have to make choices it is not hard to see what to give up! Things like movies, shows and, major sporting events are also very expensive luxuries but they are also easy to live with out.
Dont buy things from the garage or café and be careful of the office snack bar. The office snack bar provides a constant supply of snacks and drinks conveniently available - normally right in the kitchen where you can pick up a chocolate, soft drink or crisps and drop your money into a jar. This is another sure way to stack up your weekly budget if you fall into this habit. Not to mention a sure way to stack on the kilos. Another costly exercise is trying to lose that extra weight (The dieting industry is another article in itself)!
Beware of credit
Some other less obvious ways to get caught are the buy now pay nothing for four years type of
hype, which can look very tempting but remember it is when you dont pay your bill in the interest free period that companies can start to make money off you. Beware of this one as it is so easy to get credit and it can be hard to define your needs as apposed to your wants when it is all made to look so very doable.
Credit cards are no different, but this applies the world over so is nothing new. Having said that, credit cards do have a benefit in that, the rewards that are offered to use them are very attractive.
Some major credit cards are either linked to frequent flyers or can earn rewards that are transferable. If you use your credit card as a tool to collect points and always pay the full balance off you will very quickly add up reward points and be able to pay for tangible things such as air fares.
It is not hard to make ends meet
There are many ways of saving especially in the supermarket, but beware of flashy advertising that intimates some great saving. For example, the classic 2 for $5 when in reality one was only ever $2.50!! There are very real ways to cut costs. The no-name brands are excellent and there is even competition within that market. Most of the staples are available in no name brands which are fairly good quality products.
There is also a wonderful phenomena here that happens on a Tuesday where you can get all sorts of bargains ranging from two for one lessons, videos for just $2, cheap pizzas and two for the price of one restaurant meals. It has various names depending on where you live Cheap Tuesday and Two for Tuesday are two that I know of.
Fuel vouchers, why wouldnt you use them! 4c off per litre is about a 3 to 5 percent discount! Then there are shop-a-dockets you will find these on the backs of most of the leading grocery store receiptsbut you can also download them as and when you want at http:www.hotdockets.com.au.
These are fun and offer very real savings on all sorts of things from meal deals to medical check ups and car servicing.
So how much does it costreally?
There is a lot of information on the internet outlining costs of groceries and even housing and cars. The information in reality, is general and non specific. It is vastly different between states and between towns and cities. Add to that the different standards of acceptable living that we all have, it makes it impossible to give an exact figure. What one person considers a luxury another considers a necessity. Everything is relative to your individual situation.
Expect to compromise
One thing that is almost guaranteed is that you WILL be able to afford to live in Australia. You almost definitely will change your priorities one way or another and sometimes that is hardfor example you will probably not have a maid or a gardener and you may not drive a four wheel drive, but you will provide your family a good meal each day and your kids will go to school and you will be able to afford to go to the doctor. You may not own a house right away or even for a while, but you will find a home and you will settle down.
Helpful links about the costs of living in Australia
Grocery Prices and other things
The following sites are provided for your information only. They are in no way linked to Sabona and there is no affiliation with our organisation. The information in the websites is third party and while Sabona Publishing does not endorse the information in anyway we hope that it will be of use to you.
General Information about the costs of living:
http:www.coles.com.au and http:www.woolworths.com.au
register as an online shopper and you will be able to see everything or just look through the specials catalogue. Also check out http:www.aldi.com.au
View online catalogues for small goods and electrical items:
Clothing and household