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Just how expensive is Sydney really?

(23 Posts)
hopefulgum Mon 31-Dec-12 04:56:30

It sounds like much more expensive to live in than the UK. But the beaches and gorgeous weather is definitely worth it! Sydney is a lovely city (I don't live there, I am in the West), and the coast north of Sydney is really great. But your OP was about the expense: I think you will find that rent is very high in the nicer parts of the city.

However, I think mosman's shopping bill might be the exception rather than the rule. I have a large family - 2 adults and 4 children, two are teens. My eldest doesn't eat with us everyday. I buy nice,organic cuts of meat, lots of fresh produce etc don't by budget stuff very often and my bill is usually about $300-$350. I then spend around $50 at the farmer's market. Last week I stocked up on toiletries,cleaning products etc and spent close to $500, but that isn't usual.

As for clothing etc - I buy much of it online.

It does get very hot in the summer, but isn't grey,overcast and wet for much of the year.

Thumbwitch Mon 31-Dec-12 04:31:46

It is easy to spend a huge amount on food, I have to say. Even today, a small "nip to the shops" trip has cost me $80 for 2 bags of food. Granted, that did include 2 packs of Boursin (there is no substitute!) at ~$6 each, but most of our shopping trips are quite costly. I've never really worked out how much in a week but it would probably be around 3-4 trips a week, usually costing around ~$100. Fresh fish is viciously expensive if you buy only the local stuff (which we do, having seen docos about where Vietnamese fish/prawns are grown!)

Clothing too - especially for little children - vicious! Although having said that I did manage to get a couple of pairs of shorts for DS2 which were only $3 each; but that's a bit of a rarety IME. (Best and Less, iirc).

Books and DVDs also cost quite a lot more but if you don't buy many then they don't really count; and if you're not bothered about getting the latest releases then you can find discount shops for such things.

One of the things I really miss (but am not in Sydney, am 1.5h North of it) is the range of fresh fruit and veg - usually only 3 types of apple, for e.g. - I fall over in gratitude when I get back to Tesco and see the huge ranges of fresh F&V at the one nearest to my Dad.

Another thing to be aware of, even though it won't affect you just yet, is that you have to buy all school supplies for your DC, textbooks, exercise books, paper, pens etc. - so that's another cost. You also have to pay for all prescriptions for children too.

Remember too that a lot of the summer, many of us can't actually be outside because it's too hot!

MulberryGirl Sat 29-Dec-12 23:08:00

Thank you. Much to consider. DH all gung ho about it all, particularly following a spate of Skype calls with his brothers, uni friends and parents and in light of lousy weather where we have been this Xmas. I am in two minds frankly - have a fear of us there and having to watch every penny even though he is what would be thought of as a high earner. I aim to forget about it all until next year, which gives me a couple of days grace.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 09:59:30

I think $200,000 in Perth = £60,000 in the north west o think DH uses the exchange rate and then double it.
All will be wonderful again for us once we have PR, paying 100% of the massively inflated childcare costs is killing us.
And quite honestly if I can't have a bit of lurpak after a 40 hour week of the bollocks I have to listen to I'd probably throw myself into the mouth of one of the many nearby sharks patrolling the locality.

WillowTrees Fri 28-Dec-12 09:53:48

Just spotted Lurpak spreadable in the fridge, hiding behind my Western Star cooking butter, take it all back ;)
I've got used to rental, daycare and food prices now, no point getting depressed about it every day! The thing that is also a huge drain is extra kids activities, 3 kids (yes, all about choice, even bonus child 3) = swimming x 3 at $165 a term, ballet = $300 a term (have to take 2 classes now aged 7), football is $190 for 10 lessons (on hold for next term as starting school and seeing if we keep doing ballet) = huge amount of money!
Conversely though, how does it compare to cities in the UK? I have been in Sydney for 4 years, we are on about $120k and struggling. Before that we were in Oslo and comfortable, both working full time, expensive city, but wages reflect that. I want to try living in England but Norwegian husband isn't keen due to lower wages, makes me very sad to think I'll never get to live there again. How much would you need to be comfortable in say, Bristol, Cambridge, Guildford?

WillowTrees Fri 28-Dec-12 07:57:19

I'm eastern suburbs, $650/wk for 2 bed unit, a decent house is around $1000, daycare $98/day (but half back with rebate), public (primary) schools are very good in this area.
Shopping! Well some weeks $150, others $300 at Coles, so comes out about $250 including fish, and fruit and veg (from fresh veg shop) and nice ham from deli. That includes packed lunch stuff. Mosman I wasn't criticising, each to their own and all that, but if you are trying to cut the budget, you need to try and not buy the same things you were in UK, as imported items are very expensive, such as Lurpak. Western Star on the other hand is the same quality but half the price (I've had 4 years to adjust!)
We all eat the same things, so cook one dinner per day, and try to buy organic where possible, i.e flour, pasta and tinned goods. I'll buy organic mince once a week, free range eggs and either chicken breasts or a chicken, tend to choose Lilydale as it's a bit happy, would like to buy organic, but $20 for some chicken breasts seems a little silly! I'd like to buy organic milk, but it seems so expensive, used to buy cheap Coles own brand, but have switched to Dairy Farmers as less junk. Apparently Aussie Farmers Direct is good and not necessarily more expensive. So we could cut the food bill, but I do like to buy organic meat and basics where possible, guess it's up to each family to decide what's best, we tend to have less meat, but better quality.

ChantandbeHappy Fri 28-Dec-12 07:01:19

Sydney is an expensive city to live in, but I do think that that once you've been here for a while and have stopped converting everything into pounds that you stop noticing so much.

Also, although cost of living is more expensive, salaries are higher when you convert back to pounds.

Having said that, we've just bought our first house and have had to relocate from the inner west to the western suburbs as housing prices are ludicrous.

There are lots of very good public schools though. DD1 has just finished kindy and I couldn't be happier with the standard of teaching at her school. You can use this website to look at schools in the suburbs you're interested in. The NAPLAN results that the website uses have received a lot of criticism, but there's a lot of other useful information and statistics on there.

Even though after 14 years I can never get over being so far away from family, I still think we have a much better life here than we'd have in the uk.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 06:43:03

We don't have Aldi nearby for a start and I wouldn't shop there anyway, didn't in the UK so not starting now - purely because it's so hit and miss with the brands, for every one that was ok, my friends were throwing out 3 or 4 items. Generally what was found to be ok wasn't any cheaper than Tesco's anyway so why bother.

tryingtoleave Fri 28-Dec-12 06:19:31

I pay $120 a day for childcare - feel pleased to learn it's not the most expensive around...

tryingtoleave Fri 28-Dec-12 06:16:27

I can spend under $200 for a family of four at aldi - up to $250 elsewhere. I can't imagine what mosman is buying.

The north shore is very expensive. You are unlikely to rent anywhere under $750 - and that would be a smallish, run down kind of place. Rent has gone up a lot in the last year. Have a look at

theansweris42 Fri 28-Dec-12 06:15:03

I would live to know more about the $150 and $250 budgets in Sydney. We are 4 - DS1&2 are toddlers. Including nappies (for DS2), fresh fruit & veg, bit of meat & fish, household items (washing powder etc), some toiletries, I reckon average $300. How are you getting it so far under? Please! I go to aldi & woolies & coles for deals....

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 28-Dec-12 05:58:05

Not showing off just pointing out that I don't try to reduce my spending!

sleeplessinsuburbia Fri 28-Dec-12 05:57:23

I would consider $250 a week on groceries a lot and my family is the same size and I only buy meat from an award winning butcher.

Iheartpasties Fri 28-Dec-12 05:27:13

Northern beaches are lovely smile

Rent is high though. Depends where you end up, you'll probably end up with a small place.

bunnygirl80 Fri 28-Dec-12 05:23:33

We struggle to feed two adults and a toddler for $250 a week and DS only eats one meal at home on four days. Factor in dh and I both buying lunch on work days and I reckon we spend about $300 a week on food and groceries shock

Our rent is $1000 a week and daycare is $130 a day, so not dissimilar to private school fees for a year

We could reduce the rent and child care costs by moving out of the inner west but we like it here too much

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 05:21:30

How old are your children ?

Sharksandfishes Fri 28-Dec-12 05:17:25

That is totally crazy!!!!! shock I spend approx $150 per week for 4 of us!

But yes, it is expensive. We are on the Northern Beaches, our rent is $500 per week for a tiny 2bed unit with no parking. We are however 90 seconds walk from the beach and wouldn't swap it for the world!

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 05:16:15

It's not every week, as I said if we have people over or guests staying which is a regular occurrence, free bed and board we've become quite a popular holiday destination I can tell you.
I couldn't do a weekly shop on $250 though, good for you if you manage it although goodness knows what you are buying because I literally buy fresh fruit - in season - milk, bread, butter and meat for meals and sandwiches. Nobody likes the cereals here, I don't allow junk so aside of two liters of fresh juice - $7.00 each and lurpak at $6.20 for 250g we eat very basically and it's $650 minimum.

WillowTrees Fri 28-Dec-12 04:11:40

$1000 a week??! Sydney is expensive, but thats crazy! I feed a family of 5 for $250 a week at Coles

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 02:57:43

There are 6 of us, 3 adult eaters and three small children and my food bill ranges from $1000 if we have friends over, school holidays etc to $650 if it's a frugal week. That's our biggest outlay.
School fees are about $23,000 but the biggest problem we've had is finding a space.
It would be a good time for you to move and then if you don't like it you've lost nothing by trying.

MulberryGirl Thu 27-Dec-12 16:37:48

Thanks Mosman. We have three DC under four! Location wise I should think North Shore through rents are colossal in all the places we would consider. I suppose it would be more doable if we were ok to go down to a tiny house but when you're used to a bit of space it makes it harder. Schools would be private so another cost to factor in. We would have a reasonable amount of money to take with us and it's most likely that DH will get a transfer so thats not too much of a worry, it's more the day to day cost of living that is the concern - for me anyway. Hard to convince my DH though, he's anxious to get back to Aus.

Mosman Thu 27-Dec-12 13:07:05

How many children ?
Where would you live ?
Private or state ?
How much equity would you be transferring from pounds into dollars ? Not asking you to answer these questions but to consider.
All will make a huge difference as to how comfortable or otherwise your lives will be.

MulberryGirl Thu 27-Dec-12 11:07:29

Contemplating a move to Sydney mid-year, DH is a local but hasn't lived there for years. Have found it expensive on trips back but wondering just how crazy it is when you're actually living there. We have a very comfortable life in the UK and I just wonder I'd we're going to set ourselves back by moving back, particularly with the DC and school fees etc Friends there say we are mad to consider it but part of me pines for a beach life! Decisions, decisions!

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