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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.

Mosman Sat 20-Apr-13 00:45:08

Education is one of my biggest issues with Australia, I've brought it up many times, there's a lot of really poor teachers who don't get interviewed for the job it's a case if mrs x will work in these areas and is available, school x has a requirement they put the two together.
I know I sound like a right misery but I wish we'd never come here having to make the best and look for the positives but you sound perfectly fine where you are, come for a holiday !

echt Sat 20-Apr-13 06:15:03

mosman there is no Australian education system. Your issue is with WA. All states and territories have their own validation systems.

<Although I have heard dire things about WA, TBH>

Do not be put off by this OP. In my state school, the staff are so shit-hot we keep getting poached by the private system. grin angry sad

WhataSook Sat 20-Apr-13 09:10:06

Mosman sorry if i've got it wrong, but I followed your earlier posts about moving to Aus and I thought you had already lived there? You do sound really unhappy, is there a possibility for you to move home?

Mosman Sat 20-Apr-13 10:20:47

I'd lived in Melbourne previously and yes I'd agree from what I've heard it is better in Melbourne particularly.
With regards to moving I'd rather go to Melbourne or Sydney than the UK but keep hearing the job situation isn't great over east

Mosman Sat 20-Apr-13 10:21:25

I've heard the education is better in Melbourne I should say

sleepywombat Sun 21-Apr-13 06:07:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ClaudiaSchiffer Sun 21-Apr-13 06:24:01

Sleepy - $150 really? Aren't there school tours? Even the swankiest schools here in SA let you have a mooch about before you cough up $150 to register your pfbs.

OP how long would you aim to be here? You say you're not emigrating so, what, a year? More? And how much would you say a good salary for your DH is? More than $150K? I reckon you'd need at least that in Melb (prob more like $200K to make it worthwhile - ie have enough left over from day to day expenses to travel around Oz/SE Asia/NZ etc.

HermioneHatesHoovering Sun 21-Apr-13 06:28:51 Use this before you buy any books. It gives you the cheapest price worldwide. I recently bought a LOTR set which was not available here (NZ), it was shipped (free) from Ireland and arrived in about 1 week.

CadleCrap Sun 21-Apr-13 06:34:17

I've been in Oz a year now - we started in the SE suburbs of Melbourne and to be honest it was incredibly similar to where we had left in the UK and wasn't worth the move.

So we moved, we are now a 3 hr dive from Melbourne and LOVE it. We have taken up kayaking and sailing and now have an enviable "lifestyle".

In reality you have to pay for education - DS (prep) cost us $350, plus you have to buy all their books etc.

Public transport is very cheap.

Yes it is expensive but as soon as you start to earn in $ you stop converting things into pounds.

feeltheforce Sun 21-Apr-13 14:55:03

cadle was SE Melbourne really like UK.

I was watching my kids this morning bounce around on the trampoline in the sun with horses in the field behind and thinking 'what are we doing?'

We had three years in mind as a time to stay in Australia. He has been for two job interviews in Oz and was offered both but only if he was available within a month. So he was unable to accept. His notice is much longer and so it looks like he'd have to resign here and maybe fund ourselves over and look for work. It is a big gamble given our comfortable circumstances here.

We wanted to move to Australia to
1) give our LOs a great opportunity to experience an outdoor lifestyle etc 2) see a different part of the world
but if Melbourne is like the UK what is the point? We'll have to exchange the country for the city, a big house for a small one, private schools for state, friends for homesickness....and yet.....I still have this pull to go.

Posters have said DH would probably earn more in Melbourne but I'll be honest - DH is on a six figure salary here with all the add ons Ive mentioned. For the same sort of role (and even the next level up) headhunters tell him he'll get about $210,000 which at current exchange rates is less than he is on here. If the exchange rates change in Britain's favour of course it'll be worse. sad

I keep hoping I'll be reassured although thanks so much for your honest opinions - they are really really valuable.

Mosman Mon 22-Apr-13 01:27:51

Go when the kids have left home, you've paid off your mortgage and the risks are lower. The DCs will want their own Aussie adventure when they are on a gap year.

sleepywombat Mon 22-Apr-13 04:52:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SavoyCabbage Mon 22-Apr-13 05:49:57

I'm dreading (more than usual) going for a smear on Friday. I've got to have a double appointment with a doctor and then you have to pay the lab costs too!

My dd goes to see an OT which is $120 a session (45 minutes a week) and we get $18 back from Medibank.

My other dd has a peanut allergy so she has an appointment a year for that and then $78 for two epipens and $36 for the claraytin. None of which is ever used fortunately.

AussieDollar Mon 22-Apr-13 06:28:42

Just based on your last post I would say don't do it. Your cost of living will increase, so if your income is going to decrease you will be comparatively pinching the pennies.

I've namechanged because I'm going to list our actual outgoings, I wish someone had done this for me when we were thinking about moving. This doesn't include meals out or random coffees. We've got 3 kids, one school age, and live in the Eastern Subs of Sydney. Rent is less on the north shore fwiw. We don't own a car so we hire one a few days each month.

Rent: $1,030 per WEEK. 3 bed house with yard.
GoGet car hire: $200 per month
Food: $250 per week
Electric: $500-$1000 per quarter ($1000 was a winter bill)
Water: $80 per quarter
Foxtel: $105 per month (DH watches a lot of sport)
Phone line: $15 per month
Internet: $55 per month
Health Insurance: $240 per month (ambulance and hospital only, no dental!)
Contents Insurance: $75 per month
Daycare: $80 per day
Train: $150 per month
Mobile phone: $30 a month
School fees (state school): $4500 per year per child
Additional school fees: $150 per term
Activities (eg swimming): $200 per term per child
Return flight to UK for 1 adult and 2 children: $6000 (in school holidays)

My pap smear cost me $85 ($35 for the GP after medicare rebate and $50 lab costs). We've been lucky so far that we haven't had many medical expenses.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 22-Apr-13 07:15:10

OP- could your OH arrange a sabbatical from work so you could go for a year and then return to the same salary?

We came to NZ for a year and are still here almost 5 years later. I think you need 3 years to get the most out of living overseas when you move with kids. But, in your situation it might give you some sort of safety net.

feeltheforce Mon 22-Apr-13 19:59:58

Thanks again everyone. aussiedollar that is so, so helpful. Can I ask why you pay $4500 on a state school - is that normal? Rent seems on a par with Melbourne prices I have seen.

kiwi - I wish he could get a sabbatical but at work they are very very reluctant for him to go. He has recently opened discussions (he was hoping for voluntary redundancy) and their response was to put a bigger bonus for him in place that is conditional on him staying for the next 12 months.

Our visa (which is just for Victoria) runs out before then so we have to go in 2013/early 2014 or that's it - no Australia. Work are trying to financially blackmail him as he is needed.

savoy OMG! This is what worries me. My eldest has a number of medical issues and under the NHS is always seeing one professional or another. How would we afford it all?

thelittlestkiwi Mon 22-Apr-13 22:02:36

OP- it's shame. Has he asked about a shorter time? I think it cost us 10k to move so you could spend that on a three month round the world trip instead which would be pretty awesome.

saffronwblue Mon 22-Apr-13 23:44:59


Article in today's Age about the cost of living in Australia

chloeb2002 Tue 23-Apr-13 02:12:27

I pay $4000 a year with no extras for private school. State school here in qld is pretty much free. May be books and trips.. say $500 a year tops?

On a medical front... it really really depends what is wrong with your dc. My ds has cerebral palsy and asd and other complications among that. So far we have paid maybe $500 in his life ( he is 5). Everything he needs is covered by medicare. He can have ot and pt and salt at the hospital while it was deemed essential. Now he is seen privately, some of this comes off his enhanced primary care plan (5 sessions a year). The gets $12000 over 3 years for allied health and supplies as part of the asd funding, he gets a healthcare card for subsidized prescriptions and he gets some stuff under our private health fund.

All essential treatment is free for uk residents under reciprocal health care ( its on medicare look it up ;0) )

We have private health but only as we use it for extras, dh had a hernia op and it gives us choices should we need to use it. The age loading meant we had to take it out within 6 months of pr, which we did.

SydneyExpenses Tue 23-Apr-13 02:56:24

I'll help out too with a list of actual outgoings here in Sydney (Eastern Suburbs - the area is significant in terms of ease of access to the CBD and therefore higher housing costs). I'm here on a 457 visa.

Rent: $1,150 per week
Car payment: $1350 per month (yes, ridiculous, due to mad visa sponsor issues, will be getting rid and leasing soon, much less $$)
Food: $200 per week (for 2 adults, one child - we buy seasonally and cook from scratch, includes packed lunches for everybody)
Electricity: $130 per month
Gas: $70 per month
Water: $80 per quarter
Foxtel: $150 per month (two boxes platinum)
Combined Phone line & Internet: $69 per month
Health Insurance: $250 per month (Bupa top cover, me and DD, DP is another $240 per month). Health cover is a visa requirement for 457 holders.
Insurance - $400 per month (covers car, cats etc)
Nanny: $270 per week for 10 hours + fuel costs
Petrol: $300
Car tolls: $200
Mobile phone: $120 per month (for me, DP around $80)
School fees: $24,000 per year
Additional school fees: $6,000 per year
Activities (eg music lessons outside school): $100 per week (2 instruments), sport $400 per term
Weeky holiday camp in school hols: $400
Gym membership: $38 fortnightly
Cleaners: $70 weekly
UK Storage: $200 per month

Important stuff - bottle of Oyster Bay is $18. Meals out can be very cheap - $10 per head for a good meal in a pub, churrasco near us is $39 per head for all you can eat plus around $50 average for a bottle of wine. Good Italian around $140 for three, including a starter and wine.

CassieTheCockatoo Tue 23-Apr-13 03:01:47

Why is there a variance in paying for State schools in some places and not others? Does anyone know?

chloeb2002 Tue 23-Apr-13 03:50:39

oh.. i have an au pair not a nanny... $120 a week...
sydney expenses... we were initially on a 457.. after a big discussion with immigration about health care insurance etc.. it is your responsibility to ensure you have healthcare.. so.. as a uk citizen.. we had to ensure we maintained reciprocal status. We had no private cover until we became pr. W now have mid range nib cover for $149 for the family a month.

FanjoPaterson Tue 23-Apr-13 04:45:52

I'm in perth, and have been for seven years now. I'm 21 and DP is 24.

I can't say as I see why you'd want to live close to the city. It's grimy and crowded, and there's no garden. There really are plenty of amenities and such in the suburbs, as well as lovely big parks and yards.

Last September we bought a 3x1 in the south eastern corridor, admittedly not a flash area but it cost $235 000 for the house and shed, which sits on 930sqm. I've lost touch a little (lot, as I came here at 14) with house prices in the UK but in Perth right now that's decent. We pay $230/ week mortgage, we were paying 300/ week rent for a piddly house in the ghetto.

I will admit, the education here is state. Doctors are expensive- I drive nearly 80 minutes and pay $85 for my doctor but DP informs me I'm batshit. He goes down to the walk in clinic.

I suppose I never really had many issues acclimatising to Australia as my mum is a country girl and it was more like visiting a place you'd heard so much about that you could drive yourself to the city from the airport.

Your dcs won't run into issues with sport. Sure, Australia loves its sports, but it doesn't expect everybody to follow them obsessively.

One thing your dcs will probably have trouble with is how far ahead they are in some areas and scarily behind in others. I was streets ahead in English but my maths was so, so far behind I had after school tutoring for a whole year to bring me up to speed.

Sorry this is a little disjointed, there's a toddler swarming my leg and a different toddler in the linen cupboard.

FanjoPaterson Tue 23-Apr-13 04:54:00

I should quickly mention, I think, that I don't work, and DP earns about $60 k.
We spend $150/week on food (1 toddler, 2cats, 2 adults)
60/wk petrol
Electric $150/ quarter (with solar array)
Water $80/ quarter
$39 my phone, $29 DP's phone / month

We don't have health insurance, as at this junction Medicare is doing us fine.

cassie I believe (although I could be wrong) its because in Perth at least, the 'voluntary fees' can be pretty much whatever the school sets and they can be more or less 'voluntary.' They can't exclude or withhold anything from the dc, but they can make life irritating for you if you don't pay them (if your school is a 'less voluntary' school).
That's just what I've gathered talking to mums with older children around here- DD is a bit far off school ATM for me to have thought it out in depth.

Mosman Tue 23-Apr-13 05:14:13

I cannot believe how little some of you are spending on food shock
I went shopping yesterday for food, milk, bread, 3 chicken breasts, grapes, a few satsuma's, a bag of lollies for the little one - $1.99 - on offer, some gravy mix i think that was $1.50, $79.00 and that will last two days tops, in fact I had to go out and get bread this morning, another $10

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