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Anyone living in Melbourne?

(38 Posts)
Pottedplants Mon 20-Feb-17 01:35:51

DH has been offered a role in Melbourne with a salary of 140K (Aus. dollars) including super. We are a family of four, I am a SAHM. I know this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question but can anyone tell me is this salary enough to live comfortably on?

user1471481356 Mon 20-Feb-17 01:43:12

I live in Melbourne, we are a couple, living on around $60,000. This comfortably covers our mortgage, groceries, bills and petrol. Not a lot left for extras though.

$140,000 is seen as a very very good income here. Depending where you live though, housing can be expensive, if you are happy to live 30 minutes outside of the city you will find a lovely house for a good price. West and north of the city are the most affordable areas.

I think based on threads on here the cost of living is more expensive here, food and bills etc. but it is a very good income despite that.

saffronwblue Mon 20-Feb-17 02:03:11

Look at to get an idea of rental and house prices. Look at to get an idea of food shopping.
Would you have a view on sending your DC to state or private schools? Do they do lots of activities? You would need at least one car, possibly a car each for you and DH. Melbourne is a large and spread out city. Much will depend on where you choose to live, where your DH will need to get to work and what schools you choose.
I think you could have a nice life on that salary but you would be surprised how much gets eaten up by costs.

Pottedplants Mon 20-Feb-17 02:08:32

I should have said that we would be going on a 457 visa which means higher tax, health ins and we would have to pay for schools for our two children. Our kids are both doing four activities. Each activity costs on average 10 pounds an hour so 80 pounds a week. I don't want the kids to stop doing what they love doing although am happy to budget myself.

I looked at Mordiallac as it came up on a few forums as a recommended area. It is outside the city but with kids, that is a good thing! Are you familiar with it?

We would be renting and would probably never afford to buy.

Pottedplants Mon 20-Feb-17 02:11:45

ETA He was offered the same money for Sydney but we could not make the budget work. Melbourne seems to be cheaper though? At least, if we move half an hour outside the city?

It appeals to me more than Sydney, mainly because of the weather.

saffronwblue Mon 20-Feb-17 02:24:44

Mordialloc (Mordy) is lovely but a seriously long way from the city, especially in traffic. I had a swim there two weeks ago on a Sunday morning. Where is DH going to work?
Melbourne housing is still a bit cheaper than Sydney

Pottedplants Mon 20-Feb-17 16:07:16

I thought it was around 40minutes on public transport which is what we do here. Is it longer?

Can anyone recommend family friendly areas near a beach?

user1471481356 Mon 20-Feb-17 22:59:54

Anywhere near a beach will be a long distance from the city. I want to tell you that the beaches aren't real beaches, but coming from the U.K. I don't think you'll mind wink

There is williamstown which is 15-20 minutes from the city, though of course it's a bit more expensive. But really nice. Or Port Melbourne and St Kilda, but they are classed as inner city and are expensive. Elwood, Sandringham and Brighton are a few minutes further out, maybe 10-20 minutes to the city, but more expensive again.

Me tone is often mentioned as a really great area, close to the city, close to the bay, and great schools. Might be worth looking at.

Maybe go on and have a browse through some suburbs, $600-800 per week is about what you would be looking at for a Bay Area. But that might not get you a large house. Do you want a house, with a garden? Or would you be happy with a townhouse type thing with a court yard?

Also definitely consider if you would prefer state or private schools. Private schools can be anywhere from $4000-50,000 per year per child. Depending on if it is a religious/independent or a grammar school. State schools do have some fees but under $500ish per year. Your choice of schooling will really affect your income, and also where you may want to live.

Also the activities you want you family and children will do, you may want to check if the areas you like have the activities that you want. I am sure they would, but nice to check. I think activities may in general cost a little more here too.

Would you have a car? Or be relying on public transport? If relying on public transport then you must live along a train or tram line. You can check where the stations and train lines are on the met link website.

Pottedplants Tue 21-Feb-17 00:05:27

That is really really helpful. Thank you so much.

Not real beaches? Are they manmade? I didn't realise that.

It would be state schooling but on a 457 visa, the state schools seem to cost about 5K per year. When looking at real estate website, I've seen Catholic schools being listed due to their proximity to certain suburbs. Are they private schools?

We would ideally like to have public transport links.

I'm finding three bed houses for under 500 per week in the Bayside area. Of course the problem is when just looking at websites, thosehouses could be on the drug alley strip for all we know.

Archduke Tue 21-Feb-17 01:57:48

Melbourne is a brilliant place to live, so congratulations on the opportunity.

Are you envisaging this as a "forever" move or for a year or 2? Also how old are your children? I think this is important as an income of $140k is very good but not massive. Australia is an expensive place to live and with 2 kids and 1 income you could have a comfortable existence but not enough to send them to private high schools for instance, if that's what you are considering.

Catholic schools are fee paying, here (Australian city but not Melbourne) Catholic primary schools charge about $4,000/year.

I think what User means is that the beaches aren't ocean beaches rather than that they are manmade. The bay is gentle and protected rather than wild and surfy.

Would there be an opportunity for you to work if you were to stay here? If you are on a higher tax rate, you need to pay for schools and medical fees plus relocation costs (or would your dh's work pay for this?) budget very carefully.

Activities can easily add up, my kids have done horse riding $50/lesson, piano/guitar $30/lesson, netball $200/season, gymnastics $15/lesson obv I don't know what your kids are into but factor it in as an expense.

Archduke Tue 21-Feb-17 01:58:26

Actually I see that you've put $140K INC Super - so what is it more like $120k take home??

user1471481356 Tue 21-Feb-17 03:10:51

Sorry, yes I mean they are not really surf beaches that Australia is famous for. The sand can be more dark/Grey and pebbly. But they are still perfectly lovely! And definitely safer for children. They are not patrolled as they don't have rough surf or rip tides.

Catholic schools are technically private/independent. They could quite possibly be cheaper for you than state schools. Although uniforms, excursions etc all add up too.

If the salary is ibcluding super that definitely make a difference too, as it will be less take home pay.

The bayside areas are not generally know as rough areas. They are quite lovely and quiet. So you would be fairly safe that you aren't looking at druggy areas smile

There are so many different areas of Melbourne offering so many different things. So its inportbsnt to know what you want. There are certain suburbs with a majority culture. There are some areas that are really multicultural and diverse. Others are fairly bland in regards to culture. Some areas are lovely and leafy and green, some are concrete jungles. Different areas will have different things to offer in regards to community, churches, digging out, specialist grocery stores, etc.

saffronwblue Tue 21-Feb-17 03:58:31

Yes, in Melbourne the distinction is between the Bay - flat, no waves and very protected and the Ocean , with surf, waves and a couple of hours drive to get to.
Williamstown is a great suggestion. Bayside is pricey and a bit culturally homogenous - Frankston has a bit of a reputation for roughness if you go down that far.

saffronwblue Tue 21-Feb-17 04:00:01

Catholic schools, not surprisingly, include religious content in the curriculum and are usually associated with a particular local church.

echt Tue 21-Feb-17 06:39:04

The sand just looks like average sand. Not see any pebbles or grey stuff myself.

The beaches are patrolled wherever there is a Surf Life Saving Club, though I don't they think they patrol in winter.

FourToTheFloor Tue 21-Feb-17 06:56:36

140k less super is not a lot imo. Dh and I were on that before we left 8 years ago with no dc and although we lived very close to the city it wasn't a spend what you want salary.

I think if you plan to get a job too it will be OK. Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) is eye wateringly expensive. We live in London with 2 dc and not sure we can afford to move home and keep the lifestyle we have here.

But having said that, I'm willing to give it a shot hopes to move home in the very near future grin

Pottedplants Tue 21-Feb-17 11:07:44

Thanks for all the replies. To answer a few questions - it is a forever move. The salary includes super. The kids do swimming, drama, gymnastics, music and soccer. We favour state schools. From reading, it is unclear if Melbourne state schools have fees on a 457 visa. It seems they didn't before but possibly do now. Does anyone know?

We would be happy renting a small 3 bed but with outdoor space. By this I mean a small garden where the kids could play safely. eat, hang washing.

We are covering all relocation costs. We looked for the move, not the other way around.

Life here is ok. That salary would mean taking a pay cut and we own our house here so obviously renting is a big expense. We don't live in a nice area but there are plenty of subsidised activities due to it being a very built up location. That said, I think the kids would grow up happier in Australia. I am not qualified to earn big money but maybe could pick up work in a call centre or similar at the weekends which would not need childcare costs.I dread that idea though.

The general idea then is that 140K including super is too little to survive without scrimping constantly? I'm confused too by the posts saying to budget 700-800 per week rent. I can find 3 beds for 500 per week but maybe the websites are a guide price and the houses go for much more?

It looks like we will be turning down the move based on the replies so far.

saffronwblue Tue 21-Feb-17 22:26:39

Just had a look procrastinating work and I think $500 will get you 3 beds in a small cottage or townhouse/apartment but you will be at the unrenovated, older end of the market and not in the nicer suburbs. (although the williamstown one looks sweet).
You would not be struggling on that salary but you would not be living it up, either. State schools still have several hundred dollars fees for each child, plus books, often laptops etc. Dental is not covered under our healthcare. Trips back to UK will cost of course.

user1471481356 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:51:56

If you are happy to look at cheaper areas, you will definitely get a nice small house/cottage/townhouse for $500-600 a week. These areas are still so nice and will have everything you want. There is a lot of snobbery on the Aussie boards which I am used to with regards to suburbs. Definitely look around the Bay Area, williamstown, Newport, mentone. Possibly even yarraville or Altona. Altona is further out, but has a beach and is much cheaper. Though as it is 'west' it can at times have a bad reputation.

If it is for a forever move I definitely think that salary is workable. It will have scope to increase I am sure too. Especially if you are happy with state schools (which are mostly excellent!). Many, many families live on a lot less in Australia. You would certainly be comfortable, though not living it up.

Also I don't think I've ever heard a salary that includes super, usually it is plus super, so possibly it may be the $140,000 plus super rather than including, which would be better.

You can get health insurance that covers dental, I would recommend that you do, as it is expensive here. I'm not sure if you would be eligible for Medicare on a 457 visa? If you are then you won't necessarily need health insurance.

The activities your children do you should be able to find easily locally, which the except maybe if drama, you may or may not have that locally. A lot of Australian schools also do a few weeks of swimming lessons as part of the curriculum. But from what I have heard it is not the same as private lessons, they don't learn as quickly as it is the whole class being taught at once. Some schools also have after school soccer programs which may be cheaper too.

personally I think Australia offers an amazing lifestyle for both adults and children, and there are so many opportunities for children.

user1471481356 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:53:39

Maybe head over to and ask in either the Melbourne forum or miscellaneous. They're very helpful and will be able to give in depth detail about suburbs, schools, activities, public transport etc.

Pottedplants Tue 21-Feb-17 23:01:26

The salary definitely includes super. I think they say it that way to make it sound a lot more than DH will actually get paid!

Essentially I should avoid the west area if possible then?

I tend to tell myself that the kids will have more opportunities but when I start to overthink it, I wonder what exactly other than more of an outdoor lifestyle which makes me worry about skin too. What are the opportunities for kids - can anyone who is there tell me?

Thanks too for clarifying the rent. I didn't realise the difference came down to the condition of the houses. That makes perfect sense of course. (It is a long time since we rented).

saffronwblue Tue 21-Feb-17 23:20:38

I would not avoid the west! I live in the northwest which is great. apart from the plane which crashed near my house yesterday Melbourne has quite a class system and the inner east and bayside suburbs are very upmarket, leafy, lots of private schools and very wealthy people.
If the sea is important to you, look at Newport or Altona- former working class industrial suburbs now becoming a bit trendy because they are on the water. If you would like to live near a river, look at Moonee Ponds or Ascot Vale.
Kids here have to be very sunsmart - no hat no play etc. All your kids' activities can be pursued to a high level here - Melbourne has 8 universities, a couple of which are world class, if you are looking to their future education. If your dc are into performing arts, this is where Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and the Minogue sisters grew up!

Pottedplants Tue 21-Feb-17 23:40:00

We really hope to avoid the class divide. We do not want to live in an area surrounded by the rich looking down at us. Neither do we hope to live in the other end of the spectrum. Somewhere in the middle would be great, surrounded by a good mix of people. From the replies on this thread I not so sure we can reach the middle ourselves though.

user1471481356 Tue 21-Feb-17 23:44:37

you don't need to avoid the west smile I actually live even further out west than anywhere suggested here and it's perfectly lovely! The west does have a poor reputation, but it is no more 'rough' or dodgy than anywhere else, it's just a bad reputation with not a lot of truth to it.

I would definitely look at Newport or Altona area. You could find a really lovely house in your price range around there, and you would be close to the beach, great schools, heaps of activities and great public transport links.

You do need to be sensible with the sun, but nothing too extreme, just always making sure you have hats, wear sunscreen and try to stick to the shade when possible. Avoid the beach at the hottest time of the day too.

The lifestyle is great in Melbourne, it is easy to be outside and active a lot of the time. There is so much to see and do. And Melbourne is so rich in culture. You could eat a different cuisine every time you eat out. There are cultural festivals happening all the time. The markets are a lot of fun too.

Australia schools are very encouraging of sports, music, arts etc. There are many opportunities through the schools to compete in all sorts of activities, in house and with other schools, even going up to state level. So if your children aren't interested in something in particular outside of school, they may be able to participate in school too.

The universities are really great, and seem much more affordable compared to what I've read on here.

user1471484795 Thu 23-Feb-17 00:24:58

I live out west too check out point Cook and sanctuary lakes both lovely areas. You will be fine on that salary. Melbourne has so many free things to do that your kids might not do as many classes. Check out the Harpley estate, Werribee - it's near us and lovely. Hubby is on $150k and we are putting two kids through private school and have a 4 bed house with pool and are putting alot away each month in savings. Near us there is the beach, Werribee open range zoo, waterparks (free) and plenty of parks and walking/cycling areas. It's amazing. There are plenty of part time administration jobs if you get bored when the kids start school! No need to work in a call centre at weekends!!!!

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