Whether you are from overseas or from other state or town, moving to Sydney most likely is going to be more expensive experience that you need to consider. In this article I will try to give a snapshot of what to expect if you do live in Sydney, how much your budget roughly and avoid the unpleasant surprise of running out of money. Family of 4 consisting of 2 adult and 2 kids are assumed.
Sydney is one of the most expensive in the world in term of accommodation. A decent 2 bedroom unit for family with child with at least about 15 minutes drive from the city or university will cost you around $350 per week for renting. This translate about around $1500 per month.
The rent usually is unfurnished, and the main items that you need to cover are refrigenerator, TV, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, microwave
If you decide to buy your home the 2 bedroom will cost you around $350,000 mark.
Having car in Sydney or Australia in general is not really cheap. Despite the fact that you can buy a decent used family car for around only $7000, the yearly cost is quite expensive: around $200 for registration, $350 for mandatory insurance, another $800 for all-risk comprehensive insurance and further $750 for service and maintenance. Petrol is around $1.20 per liter but fluctuate daily. Roughly you will need about $150 per month for petrol. So, total about $325 per month
Go about with public transport is not very cheap either. The weekly pass that cover most of Sydney cost about $55. That’s more than $200 for 1 person.
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3. Food & Groceries
If you cook most of your meal by yourself (or your spouse), then family of four (with 2 school kids) will need at least around $400 monthly. Dine out will cost you around $7 – $10 per person. More fancy restaurant can cost you around $25-35 per person. So, budget at least around $500 per month for your food & groceries.
4. Utility Bill
Phone, Internet and Electricity/Gas will be mainly the one you pay monthly. Fixed line line phone will cost you around $40 with average usage. Add that with 2 mobile phones cap plans for around $30 monthly. Then the decent ADSL internet connection could cost you around $50 monthly. (A new decent desktop PC is around $800 if you want to buy new computer)
Add to that quarterly electricity/gas bill around $250 per quarter ‘normal’ use.
Total for utility bill will be around $200 per month.
5. Medical Expenses
If you are not Permanent Resident or Citizen of Australia (who entitled of Medicare – Australian health care system), then you have to have health insurance to cover potential health expenses. The insurance will cost you at least around $150 per month. A visit to a general practitioner will cost you easily $40-$100 if you don’t have insurance.
But Medicare with its bulk billing will provide this free of charge.
6. Education/Child Care
If you have children below 5 years old, baby or want to have baby, you need to prepare that cost of child care is ridiculously high. It will be around $60-$70 a day that’s translate more than $1500 monthly. Government will give 50% discount at the moment with some eligibility test, but you need to pay that amount upfront before return to you every 3 month. So, it’s a trade off that you need to assess whether to work (and cop the child care cost) or take care of the kids yourself (and miss the work opportunity)
For primary school/high school: public school is almost free (just some petty charge involve: uniform etc). If you want to enroll to Catholic School it will cost you around $600 per quarter depends on the school. But private school can be very expensive with at least $1000 per month.
So, if you have 2 school kids, probably you need to budget around $500 per month.
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 (including beverage/snack)
I suggest to spare at least $100 a month for your family fun.
For overseas migrant, one final item to remember is that the tax rate in Australia is relatively high. If you earn $35,000-$80,000 per year, you will pay 30% tax. The highest rate is $45%.
If you are looking for job, the first Australian job (if you’re from overseas) will be the most difficult one. But If you’re not that picky, usually you should be able to find yourself a job within 3-4 months.
So, the summary of living cost can be seen on the table above. Prepare yourself around $3,500 monthly budget with around $9000 for immediate spending as described and you will be at least far from inconvenience.
Hope this helps…