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Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Old Aug 25th 2002, 3:06 pm
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Default Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

I keep an Excel budget spreadsheet. I hadn't updated it in a while. Your "Living Cost" message reminded me to do so. We are a family of four (well, actually five since the dog reckons he’s one of us). In Perth. One car, no mortgage. Here are the fixed/known costs, averaged per month over the past year:

Car Insurance $51 (2001 Nissan Pathfinder, no claims)
Car Registration: $39
House Contents Insurance: $30 ($70k replacement value)
House Building Insurance: $27 ($120k insured value)
Water rates: $63
Water usage: $23
Council rates: $86 (includes recycling, rubbish pickup, pool inspection fee)
Gas: $23 (gas stove, gas instant hot water system, portable gas heater used 4 months of year)
Electricity: $120 (2 reverse cycle aircon units, one used for heating, pool pump, 4bdrm+study house)
Telephone (includes long distance): $73
Internet: $24
Health Insurance: (top cover family of 4, hospital and extras): $155
Mobile phone: $10-15 (use occasionally, not on any Plan)
Lawn mowing: $19 (just front yard)
School fees, uniforms, stationery, excursions: $90 (2 kids in govt high school)
Dog food, vet bills, registration: $53
Transit pass: $85
Newspaper delivery: $30
Foxtel: $50
Petrol: $90 (we often take country drives on most weekends)

Asking about food costs is not all that useful since everyone is different. People eat and shop differently. You can go to the big chain grocery shops and pay 2x the price for fruit & veg, or make the effort to go to weekend markets or small fruit & veg shops to get better quality produce at better prices. You can buy whenever, or watch for specials & look for bulk deals. You can grow some of your own produce even. I have lemon, lime, orange, fig, pomegranate trees, herb garden and grow tomatoes & lettuce. I'm coaxing avocado and mango trees along now. You can even keep a few chooks and have fresh eggs. It's better to ask specific questions, like price of mince, lamb chops, Corn Flakes, lettuce, bananas, bread, toilet paper, etc.

And when you ask about food costs, do you include restaurant/take-away meals? If so, this skews the figures too since not everyone eats out at the same rate as others, and people spend differently.

For us, a typical restaurant meal is Thai or Italian. We don't order desserts since we consider them a rip-off & unhealthy, and we just about always go BYO. Last week, we went Thai. $56 for the four of us, we brought our own bottle of wine ($13 for nice Chenin Blanc). A few weeks ago, we went with another family of four to a lovely pizzeria in Fremantle and spent $130, including a bottle of local Shiraz. We eat out three times or four times a month, and tend to stay away from take-away fast-food as much as possible. It's just not healthy.

Clothing? Well, that also depends on the person, doesn't it? Are they a trendoid fashion victim who "needs" the latest and trendiest, or do they not care? Do they need to wear suits to work, or is casual okay? Private school uniforms are ten times more than govt school uniforms. Do they shop on sale and look for discount outlets, or just shop til they drop? Many variables.

Medical? A typical doctor's visit will be mostly covered for us, with a shortfall of about $10 per visit. It depends on how often you go to the doctor. Most times I can get an appointment within hours of calling. A lot of pharmaceuticals are under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and you are charged a smallish amount, (i.e., $12.50 for 200 50mcg Thyroxine). Others can be partially/mostly reimbursed through your private health insurance. Dental is not free for most people. For a checkup I pay $9 out of pocket. A cleaning: $12 out of pocket. Depends on the dentist and the health plan. You need to check out private health insurance very carefully to see which is best for you and your family's needs. Ours covers our glasses and contacts almost 90%, every year.

We manage to save money, put away for our retirement, and to take a holiday every year. We also manage a long weekend or two or three in some nearby town, i.e., Margaret River, Dunsborough, Bridgetown, Gingin. Lots of lovely little resorts, self-contained apts, and farm-stays. Nothing fancy, but still, relaxing and a nice break. We're not atypical, as many of our friends/acquaintances/workmates do the same. Holidays for Australians will be different from Europeans or North Americans, but still just as enjoyable. The point is to get away, relax, see something different. Sure, Europe is not an option for many of us, but how about Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, or some of the many beautiful areas of Australia? People from around the world spend thousands of dollars to come here. When you live here, that's all on your doorstep so why not take advantage of it? Last summer, we rented a camper trailer and explored the south-west and southern coast of W.A. for 2 weeks. Gorgeous. Unspoiled, beautiful, peaceful. Not many 5-star resorts, world-famous museums & landmarks, but who cares? The previous year, we were in Victoria – the Great Ocean Road is stunning and Melbourne is a fabulous city.

In a month, we're off to the US/Canada, but then we have family/friends there, so our expenses will be minimal. All paid for, with our savings and enough points to get one of us over there free. I went out and worked for about 5 months this year, put all my wages in a separate "holiday" account and that's what we're using for our holidays.

Daughter does horse-riding - about $1200/yr. Son in squash, guitar, soccer - another $1000/yr+. In the last financial year, our combined income was about $87k/yr. We're doing alright. No debts. It's doable. Budget, budget, budget. True in any country. You’ve got to get to know how to save money, look for the deals, bargain. Otherwise, pay through the nose.

Movies? Tuesday nights are cheap nights, as are some matinees and other specials. Some health care funds give you discount cards. Here in Perth, you can still go to a drive-in. $16.50 per car, $11 on Sundays. Talk about a blast from the past. Sure, it’s not surround-sound and all that, but it can be fun. Plus, during the warmer months you can see movies outdoors in parks, bring your own blanket and picnic.

Of course, if you have a mortgage/rent, things will be tighter. Okay, so you might not be able to afford that trip overseas, but you shouldn't suffer like in a 3rd world country, if you're practical. I certainly don't see that around me.

Whether you should move here or not, and whether it would be an improvement or downgrade, is up to you. Do the maths. Remember that moving itself is incredibly expensive! Application fees, shipping, airfares, start-up costs, etc. Plus, you could be without income for a while, but the expenses continue to mount. If you have kids, well ... I don't need to tell you what that's like. Not to be taken lightly, but we're not all suffering here, that's for sure.

Good luck,

Helena
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Old Aug 25th 2002, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Hi Helena

I know this post is aimed at someone else, but just wanted to say that it's nice to see some more positive postings about life in Australia than we've had recently.

I always enjoy your posts as they are informative and perhaps more importantly on this forum much more balanced than some of the tirades we've seen lately.

Thanks

love sophia xx
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Old Aug 25th 2002, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

yea i agree with sophie its a nice post, i can tell by the way you have written that anyone coming out should not expect it on a plate but if your prepeard to put in a little effort and take oz for its good and bad points you can lead a well balanced lifstyle, where the whole family can enjoy the things in life that are important to them within reason.
thanks shaun and lor
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Old Aug 26th 2002, 1:51 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Originally posted by Perth Helena:
Whether you should move here or not, and whether it would be an improvement or downgrade, is up to you. Do the maths. Remember that moving itself is incredibly expensive! Application fees, shipping, airfares, start-up costs, etc. Plus, you could be without income for a while, but the expenses continue to mount. If you have kids, well ... I don't need to tell you what that's like. Not to be taken lightly, but we're not all suffering here, that's for sure.

Good luck,

Helena
Hello Helena,

A very big thank you. Knowing that someone in Oz cares enough to write such a long post makes me feel there would be plenty friendly people in Oz (of course I cannot expect everyone would be so but this is enough for me to feel better).

And your post indeed gives us a very good information for us to plan well. So in the event that my skill and current saving/asset would not be enough to support me over there, I know what to do. On the other hand, knowing that my asset/skill would be enough to support me, it will make my determination to go to Oz stronger.

Thank you.

Regards,
Wil
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Old Aug 26th 2002, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Helena,

Your emails are always so informative - its really amazing! Just wanted to thank you
for them. Gonna print this one out and use as a reference. Husband, baby, me and the
family dog will shortly be moving to Sydney. Intended to last year but the baby came
along so deferred plans to later this year.

Cheers

Marise


    > Whether you should move here or not, and whether it would be an improvement or
    > downgrade, is up to you. Do the maths. Remember that moving itself is incredibly
    > expensive! Application fees, shipping, airfares, start-up costs, etc. Plus, you
    > could be without income for a while, but the expenses continue to mount. If you
    > have kids, well ... I don't need to tell you what that's like. Not to be taken
    > lightly, but we're not all suffering here, that's for sure.
    > Good luck,
    > Helena
 
Old Aug 26th 2002, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Originally posted by Marise:
Helena,

Your emails are always so informative - its really amazing! Just wanted to thank you
for them. Gonna print this one out and use as a reference. Husband, baby, me and the
family dog will shortly be moving to Sydney. Intended to last year but the baby came
along so deferred plans to later this year.

Cheers

Marise

Hi Marise
We'll be heading off to Sydney too, which areas are you looking at?
Sue
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Old Aug 27th 2002, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Sue, We are leaving our options open till we are in Sydney... husband finds work etc.
We plan to intially rent out near the CBD for a month or two, to ease the stress/
costs of commuting while jobhunting. We are inclined towards Ryde on a more permanent
basis - thought the area was very peaceful, low crime stats, good mix of different
cultures. Only no direct access to a train station. And you? Marise


    > Hi Marise We'll be heading off to Sydney too, which areas are you looking at? Sue
 
Old Aug 27th 2002, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Dear Helena

Thanks so much for that. Really postive and sounds like you enjoy the sort of things that we do. Just cant wait to get there. I just hope i can laugh about this someday (ie 2 years wait) -over a cask of Stanley Chablis (classy bird me).

Please someone give us some hope.................
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Old Aug 27th 2002, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Originally posted by Marise:
Sue, We are leaving our options open till we are in Sydney... husband finds work etc.
We plan to intially rent out near the CBD for a month or two, to ease the stress/
costs of commuting while jobhunting. We are inclined towards Ryde on a more permanent
basis - thought the area was very peaceful, low crime stats, good mix of different
cultures. Only no direct access to a train station. And you? Marise
Hi Marise
We're heading out West to kings Langley initially then maybe Kellyville.
Sue
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Old Aug 28th 2002, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Hi Helena

Thanks for taking the time to post that. We've been here 2 months and it was interesing to know what we can expect to pay out during a typical month. Like you said, everyone is different but we can pick and choose from your list!

Thanks again

Claire
xx
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Old May 2nd 2003, 12:46 pm
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sorry couldn't think of any other way to get this to you. So thought if I post a reply it will bring it forward on the posts list.
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Old May 2nd 2003, 12:58 pm
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Many thanks for such a positive truthful look at the budgets we have all been getting tangled up in.
Keep us posted.
MaggieLou
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Old May 2nd 2003, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living - to Willywh3r3

Helena

What a fabulous, unbiased, balanced and down-to-earth posting! Keep 'em coming!

Hubby and I also hope to buy outright and be mortgage free - you have inspired me!

Thank you

Wannabe Wallaby
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Old May 2nd 2003, 3:50 pm
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Thanks Helena for the information very useful.

footie chick
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Old May 2nd 2003, 5:16 pm
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Thanks Helena!
what a positive, but honest list! Must have taken you ages! Good luck with everything you sound as though you deseve it
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