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Aussie mumsnetters - how expensive is it?

(130 Posts)
feeltheforce Tue 09-Apr-13 20:34:29

We have our visas and are planning to move later this year/early next year but people keep telling us - don't!

Several people we know who have visited family have said it is eye watering and their relations are struggling to make ends meet.

I am now having serious second thoughts as the salaries in my husband's profession seem lower. I'd really like some honest advice from the ground smile

Thank you.

feeltheforce Sun 14-Apr-13 18:28:40

wow mosman - we struggle to raise £500 LOL

SavoyCabbage Mon 15-Apr-13 05:33:57

That's what ours makes too. $60,000 from the fete and $20 something from the school play. Then there's all the smaller stuff. When there's an election they make thousands from a BBQ from the voters using the school as a polling station!

Sunshineandwaves Mon 15-Apr-13 05:56:27

It is expensive. The only thing that is cheaper here is fuel. One of the things that is hitting my family at the moment are medical expenses. We have private health insurance costing $250 per week. This does not cover GP's fees or Consultant fees. Our private health has a $1000 per year gap fee for surgery. My son has ear problems and it is costing us an absolute fortune, one visit to the GP costs $70, the ENT costs $150. We get 50% back on Medicare. We could see a public ENT but the waiting list is a year. Each prescription for my son costs $30, we do not get anything back on Medicare.

My son is now reaching school age, I'm horrified at the inequity in school funding here too.

In all honesty I would hesitate to recommend anyone to move here unless they were very sure they would be earning a very decent income.

Sunshineandwaves Mon 15-Apr-13 06:01:17

Sorry - error in my post, our private health is $250 per month.

Longdistance Mon 15-Apr-13 06:27:13

I've never been so poor in my life since coming to Perth.
My life was better in the Uk.
Unfortunately, its a massive problem between me and my h, as he loves it here.
I'm currently in hospital with a broken leg that needs surgery, its a public hospital, and the service is no different to the NHS.

feeltheforce Mon 15-Apr-13 14:17:39

sunshine could you explain about the GPs? I am always back and forward to our local doctor with my two kids - one thing or another. Do you have to pay every time? Why doesn't private health cover seeing a consultant? Very confused

I still don't understand how ordinary Aussies afford this lifestyle. They must be broke!

Mutley77 Mon 15-Apr-13 15:30:01

I haven't been to the GP yet but I am pretty sure that the one we have identified does "bulk billing" for children, which means that it is fully covered by Medicare (NHS equivalent) and you don't have to pay out of pocket up front.

It sounds like sunshine is using a GP which bills you for the GP and the full cost isn't covered by Medicare so you pay $70 to the GP and then can claim back some of it (not sure how much - am waiting to find out when I go!) from Medicare but you are a) out of pocket before claiming back and b) out of pocket fully in terms of the difference between what Medicare will pay and what the GP charges. This is the system generally used for adults.

To be fair, however, I am pregnant and everything has been fully covered on medicare for that - no out of pocket costs at all. Exactly the same as the NHS but arguably better care in some instances - for eg all rooms in the hospital I'm going to are max of 2 beds and for a C-Section I will pretty much definitely get a single room (all free).

Ambulances you definitely have to have insurance for as they are not free to anyone - it was first on my list of things to do when arriving here and I will sort the other health insurance out later.

I think "ordinary Aussies" live further out of cities than Brits are prepared to and therefore have much cheaper housing costs. They also do not eat out/drink out etc in the way that Brits do - there is far more of a culture of socialising within people's homes in suburban Australia. I think it is also really important to remember that Australians who were born and grew up here are not trying to manage the costs of emigrating and converting from an unfavourable currency - costs which put many people on the back foot to start with. They have also bought their homes at an easier economic time, and before having their families. I think it is quite hard to try and establish yourself financially somewhere with 2 or 3 kids in tow which is the position many families are in when they emigrate to Australia, renting is more expensive than paying a mortgage on a property in which you have equity for example (if you are comparing like for like).

Saltedcaramellavacake Mon 15-Apr-13 16:13:26

Feeltheforce, Mutley has summed it up. Medicare doesn't cover everything (unless you go to a GP who bulk bills). Private health insurance usually has a gap, too, and may have a minimum you have to spend before it kicks in (we used to have to pay the first $250 per person in the family and then got 80% of any bills back, with a maximum out of pocket amount for the year of $2000 (so if we used the doctor often, we would not pay anything more than $2000 per year, plus the cost of the insurance).
Australian people do find it hard (I grew up there and my old friends still live there) but it is much easier if you have grown up there, bought your first flat/starter home there, sell it in a rising market, buy up, have family support for childcare etc etc (obviously not every Australian has this, but some do). Immigration/establishment costs are high when you move - I always felt 10 years behind my English friends when i moved to London as we were starting from scratch at 28-30, having brought over money from Australia when $1 (Australian) bought you 36p (that was in 2001!).

Saltedcaramellavacake Mon 15-Apr-13 16:17:13

Oh, the other thing is that if you earn over a certain amount you pay an extra Medicare levy as part of your tax if you don't have private health cover, so Medicare is not "free" in the way the NHS is.

Mosman Mon 15-Apr-13 16:34:06

You can only imagine what I'm facing as a single mum with 4 kids, I cannot see how it's feasible tbh especially given DH's pathetic salary. I am considering returning to the UK where at least with the dollar to the pound exchange rate I would actually be able to live.

feeltheforce Mon 15-Apr-13 20:11:57

I've gone form really grin about moving to Melbourne to really confused and shock and maybe a little bit sad.

I'm normally up for anything but this Aussie vs UK financial situation is worrying me especially as we are pretty well off currently. I can see us running out of savings as we try to live a similar life and not sure it is a responsible thing to do with two LOs.

WhataSook Tue 16-Apr-13 08:10:44

Hi Feeltheforce - I actually started another thread about moving home to Aus as we are planning to do this next year and your thread has been really good reading.

If I were in your situation however, I wouldn't do it. If I was set up and had family/support network I'd stay. Even though we are planning on making the move, I think things are going to get worse in Aus before they get better - but we will have family to help us out (somewhere to stay initially, babysitters etc). It makes no sense for us to be here as both sets of GP are missing out (my DH is Irish) and I want DD to know how it feels to have an extended family, at the moment she only really knows DH and myself.

Good luck with your decision

chloeb2002 Wed 17-Apr-13 04:19:40

feeltheforce.. I think ultimately it depends why you want to move. It does make me chuckle that so many mums on here are city people. We were in rural north yorkshire, so for us 45 mins to a major capital city is amazing!
love it! funnily enough, the area on northside Brisbane nicknamed little Brain is also 45 mins from cbd, so surely alot of brits think this is ok?

saffronwblue Wed 17-Apr-13 12:18:22

Just sat through a presentation on corporate pay and mobility today in which we were told that Australia is 22% more expensive to live in than London but salaries for the same role are about 30 % higher in Australia.
Just distiling 40 powerpoint slides there!

chloeb2002 Wed 17-Apr-13 22:30:41

It is swings and round abouts.. you don't live here to be richer or poorer but because of the richness it brings to your life and that of your kids! If its the stuff you want to gain.

Mosman Thu 18-Apr-13 09:51:08

And house prices are 100% higher I bet

feeltheforce Thu 18-Apr-13 13:04:30

I know we are not moving to make money. There is no way my DH will get his v good UK salary in Oz. He gets excellent bonuses, healthcare and great share options etc here. Every job he has discussed with headhunters in Australia has none of these things. So we know we won't be richer but I really don't want to be loads poorer. There's no point in having all those fab places to visit and experience if you can afford any of it because we are spending it on rent and doctors!! We have no family there and know no one. But everyone was so excited about experiencing that part of the world.

feeltheforce Thu 18-Apr-13 13:05:35

cant afford it!

chloeb2002 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:56:06

Rent is more expensive depending where you choose to live. around here rent varies from $250 a week yo $800. private health is optional. Even on 457 you get reciprocal health, so worst case take out dental only .

Mosman Fri 19-Apr-13 00:50:08

I know money isn't everything but my god when your used to filling your basket at sainsburys and throwing some treats in too it's a bloody shock to the system when you just can't do that.
I'm dating somebody with a 10% card for Coles and its one of his most attractive qualities, joking sort of

Arfishy Fri 19-Apr-13 04:55:05

I think if you want to live in the same way as you do in the UK it will be difficult. Things I very quickly learned when I got here were not to buy books with the same abandon, to pay careful attention to which food was in season and to avoid the sort of supermarket shopping you would do at home - eg French wine & ready meals - to change my habits and adapt to my new country.

What sort of lifestyle are you hoping for? You can certainly get a nice big house with a pool for around $300 per week if you're happy to commute for 90 mins to get into the Sydney CBD. Or you can pay $2400 per week for a house with a pool 10 minutes from the CBD.

I have reduced my supermarket spending enormously since coming here - I shop seasonally and buy very little packaged food (I was a sucker for M&S). I save a fortune buy buying stuff in the UK and shipping using a lot of the free shipping the UK companies are offering now - the end of season sales in the UK sell stuff just right for the upcoming season in Australia. I buy my books online (book depository) and have adapted to doing things differently here.

When I wonder about returning to the UK I think about how my DD (now 10, she's been here since 2) would cope with the difference and I think she'd really struggle. Here we live a few minutes from the beach, she goes sailing twice each week, loves watching the cockatoos, lizards, rainbow lorikeets etc and gets to travel to amazing pacific islands or along the ocean road. While things are expensive - I think I have done the right thing by giving her a chance to grow up here and am grateful that I have the opportunity to do so.

chloeb2002 Fri 19-Apr-13 09:35:31

that's just it Arfishy.. if you come to any new country and want expect the same things.. you will be disappointed. Id suspect that in the uk sailing would be more expensive than aus. we have just arrived home from tri squad training that cost me a whole $5. bargain. Rent just depends where you are.

Mosman Fri 19-Apr-13 09:48:46

I don't think food and healthcare are unreasonable luxuries though

feeltheforce Fri 19-Apr-13 19:30:05

I guess I'm with mosman. OZ is so interesting and different.

But we aren't emigrating so will have to come back to the UK at some point. What I'm balancing is the ability to put money in the bank in the UK (and so fund uni etc for LOs later) plus living in a nice big house with land against a great experience which by the sound of it will mean living month to month, in a small house and cutting out extras just to get by.

Also my kids are in a good independent school and getting a good education. That would probably have to go so we are making decisions that may affect their educational futures (especially DS1 who is very bright and could get a scholarship next year).

Plus DH would have to come back to the UK and look for work from a position of a lower salary.

So I'm trying to wrestle with what Australia has to offer against all the negative economic/educational factors. I'm really really really torn.

saffronwblue Fri 19-Apr-13 23:16:13

You probably don't want to give any more detail but salaries are usually higher in Aust. Are you sure your DH would be earning less?

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