Living Cost in Sydney: 2010 Version (2)

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Entertainment

The fact that Sydney is quite expensive should not prevent you to enjoy live. Go out to the beautiful beach such Bondi, Manly, Coogee, and many other will be the cheapest option as probably you just need to pay for the parking and your lunch. Going to the cinema to enjoy the latest movie will cost you around $20 per person (not including beverage/snack). Kid go to “playland” (Lollipop, Clown Town, Jitterbug, etc) will set you back about $15 per kid.

I suggest to spare at least $150 a month for your family fun.

[Coloured Pencils]Internet and Mobile

Internet connection is getting cheaper. With $50 you can get unlimited download (it’s actually 130GB full ADSL2+ speed and 1Mbps shapping after that – 1Mbps shapping is practically very fast , hence can be consider unlimited – see TPG). For mobile phone, there are literally hundreds of plan out there, one of the value is to have post paid contract for 24 months with $29 cap per month that will be more than enough for most people. Three have such plan with very good handset free.

Education Expense

For you with kid on school age education expense is something that you need to be considered. While public school is free, Catholic school will charge around $600 per quarter and private school can charge much much more than that. So, beside the school fee, be prepare to spare at lease $500 per kid per year for uniform, stationary, excursion, etc which is extra from school fee.

For you with kid under 5 years old, you need to pay the expensive child care service to look after your kid while you are at work. Or alternatively one of the parent need to be at home (not working) to look after the kid. The rate of child care center is about $75 a day. The government will refund 50% of them (until certain limit) – so, you need to have enough cash flow while waiting for the quarterly refund. For the calculation on table I will put one school age kid and one under 5 kid.

Additionally, you might need to pay about $25 “after school care” per day, if you cannot pick the kid about 3pm (15:00) from school. This service is also 50% quarterly refunded.

School & Child Care Family with 2 kids
Misc Expenditure per year $500
Monthly Cost $167
After School Care per day $25
Monthly Cost $542
Child Care per day $75
Monthly Cost $1,625

Total Monthly Cost $2,333
Will be refunded $1,083
Net $1,250

Catholic School Fee per quarter $600
Monthly Cost (Optional) $1,200

Health and Tax, Health Insurance (Optional but highly recommended) and Other Insurance

Australia is one of the country that has high tax. Average Australian will pay at least 30% of salary to tax office. The maximum is 45%. So, if you are employed with $60,000 p.a salary, expect only take around $40,000 home.

But with the high tax, come the benefit: if you are permanent resident that live more than 2 years in Australia – with some condition, of course – you will be eligible for social security payment (or “dole”) if for some reason you are unable to work. And the best part is: medical facility is generally free.

If you feel sick and need to see a doctor (General Practitioner), just go to a clinic that do “Bulk Billing” and you will pay nothing for your visit. The same thing apply for more serious matter as operation / surgery, etc. Just show your “medicare card” – Medicare also over delivery and other hospital services such blood work, etc. Unfortunately medicare did not pay for your medicine (although some is subsidized). So, prepare to spend around $200 per year to all this cough syrup, panadol, some ointment, etc…

For non resident, say tourist – expect to pay around $150 to visit a doctor and thousands of dollar just to spend a night in a hospital.

So if all medical bill will be generally free, why we need to purchase private health insurance ? Some of the important reasons:

  1. If you don’t have private health insurance, the government will charge 1.5% extra from your income as “medicare levy”. So, with $60k p.a you will pay $900 extra tax. If a health insurance for family is $200 per month, total $2400 – then you don’t have to pay that $900. Yes, you still have to pay additional $2400-$900 = $1500 per year for insurance, but rather than giving $900 for government, it is better spend it for your own benefit.
  2. You are covered for emergency transportation. The medicare will cover your hospital bill, but if you need helicopter to transport you in emergency you need to pay that helicopter bill – as well as normal car ambulance. If you have private health insurance, you don’t have to worry about this.
  3. You have additional “benefit” for day to day health related expenses such as: spectacle or contact lenses, remedial massage, physiotherapy, podiatrist, chiropractor and dentist cost. Although highly depended on the “plan” that you sign up with, these “perks” is quite worth it if you use some of the mention above. For me, since both me and my wife wear glasses, go to remedial massage from now and then, occasional physio due to sport(mostly golf) injury, some chiro treatment for bad sleeping position, regular dentist visit, etc, this “perks” value to more than $1000 per year.

Other insurance that you might want to consider are income protection insurance and trauma/life insurance (especially if you have mortgage) – but as starting point, just use income protection ans life insurance you can pay with your superannuation account. (Your employer will pay 9% – soon will be 12% – compulsory contribution, you just need talk to the superannuation company to start your insurance under the account)

Summary

Bachelor Couple With No Child Family with 2 kids
Monthly Cost
Accommodation & Utility $1,300 $1,757 $1,867
Transportation $166.67 $666.67 $666.67
Health Insurance $100 $200 $200
Food and Groceries $200 $400 $500
2 dine out per month $50 $75 $100
entertainment $50 $100 $150
Internet (usually included) $49 $49
Mobile $29 $29 $29
$29 $29
School & Child Care $0 $0 $1,250

Monthly Cost $1,896 $3,305 $4,840
Yearly Cost $22,748 $39,664 $58,084




Salary Projection $32,497 $56,663 $82,977

Above is the summary of all discussion in this article. Note on the last row is the salary projection that you need to ear to cover the expenses assuming 30% income tax.

If you just arrive in Australia for the first time, expect 2-3 months before getting decent job. For some reasons, if your experience was just from overseas, it will be quite difficult to find similar job in Australia. Usually it takes 2 step behind to go 1 step forward. So, in term of money, prepare at least 3 months full cost plus the capital expenditure on your first arrival.

Minimum Cash on Arrival Bachelor Couple With No Child Family with 2 kids
$5,687 $22,466 $28,071

Once arrive in Sydney, first thing you do after a good night sleep in hotel is: go to bank and open account there. The big 4 banks in Australia are: Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and National. Where you open the account is immaterial as you can withdraw and do any other service on different bank. The 2nd step will be securing your home – find a rental place !

Yes, it’s not that cheap to live in Sydney – considering also Australian Dollar is now almost in parity with US dollar. But it’s better to prepare more than living miserably in a great city.
See you in Sydney, soon !

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Warm Regards,
[denis] [signed]
Denis Kristanda