How is it possible that you are saving money while living in one of the worlds most expensive cities? I got that question a lot after I decided to work and live in Australia’s capital for a couple months. Where there is a will there is a way and you don’t have to live extremely sober to pile up some cash, but you will need a little common sense. Let me tell you my story how I saved money living in Sydney.
Working Holiday Visa Australia
Of course the most important part of saving money is to generate a steady cashflow to your bank account. Although there are places where you will get paid cash in hand I would say an Australian Working Holiday Visa is vital! Sydney is a city of opportunities and if you are determined to land a job you will find one, but it is definitely not as easy as some people will make you believe! If you are having problems finding a job elsewhere, it wont be easier here. You will have a lot of competition, so be brave, confident and have a certain set of skills and finding a job is not going to be the hardest thing in the world. Cost of living in Sydney are simply insane so emigrating to Australia is not going to be an easy job. Just be prepared to work hard, and sacrifice some privacy and you will be fine. More on living expenses in Sydney later…
A dip in this famous pool in Bondi Beach is surprisingly cheap: $7 only!
To me this was actually the reason why I decided to apply for a working holiday visa in Australia. I was talking on the phone with a friend telling me he was making $1,000 AUD per week from a simple job. At first I could not believe him, but then he showed me a payslip. With an hourly rate of around $25 and a refund of your taxes when leaving Australia it is not hard to understand that a $1,000 AUD per week is not an utopia. Nowadays the tax laws changed and getting your tax back is not like it was before, but still I enjoyed a great salary working in Sydney. After 7.00pm you get paid extra and working in weekends is totally worth it as you can get paid up to $35 AUD per hour. Imagine working 10 hours on a Sunday! ;) A good employer in hospitality will pay you $21 - $25 per hour for just a waiting job. Tipping in Australia is not common so don’t expect much tip.
Living expenses in Sydney
Cost of living in Sydney are horrible sometimes especially when it comes down to accommodation. If you have read my other blogs about my Australian Dream you know how much I paid for my 10 sqm room in the city center and that is just one example. My contract with Fitness First was $30 per week, where in Holland you can find a gym for $20 a month. The first time I decided to cook I made spaghetti but without a red pepper because that bad boy was $5 only. Going out will cost you the most as a beer can easily cost you $10, cocktails will set you back at least $20. Alcohol in liquor shops is expensive as well and for 6 Coronas you will pay about $22. Still thingk about emigrating to Australia?
Grocery shopping in Sydney is funny. When I go to a supermarket in Europe I just grab whatever I need, hardly looking at the prices. Here in the supermarkets you see people constantly looking at products grabbing it from the shelf, examining the product, looking at the prices, calculate for a second and then put it back in the shelf. In Europe it doesn’t matter if you buy 4 or 6 tomatoes, in Sydney everything has great value, so you are afraid to buy too much. Examples: 100mg yoghurt $0,80, bread $3,50, 10 eggs $3, avocado $3. The first time you will go out for dinner don’t get scared! With such high cost of living in Sydney expect to pay a lot of money when you ask for the bill!
Living cost in Sydney for international students
While a lot of people are living in Sydney on a working holiday visa, there are just as much international students around. Some countries are not able to get a working holiday visa or have only limited spaces available. See how I got my visa in my article: How I Ended Up Working In Australia. What those people do is they are emigrating to Australia on a student visa. Problem is they are only allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. The living cost in Sydney for international students is therefor extremely high as they can not work that much to earn decent money, plus they have to study, go to university and in the mean time try to have fun! Believe me the last thing is not an issue and I have met many students that had the time of their life. But again: be prepared to sacrifice a lot! Living expenses in Sydney are out of this world, so what do these students do? They live in a house with 10 people where there is officially a maximum of 8 and drink goon (cheap Aussie wine in a carton) instead of cocktails! J
Ferry to Manly cost a little more than $3, a room in a cruise ship? No clue... :)
At least the beach is free!
So how did I save money with such high cost of living in Sydney?
In the beginning there were weeks that I worked so much that I hardly had time to enjoy my time living in Sydney and I surely had doubt about emigrating to Sydney. Don’t forget that on top of working at the Sydney Theater Company I also put endless hours in my blog and social media and I like to go to the gym too.
Try to live sober
Of course this is not what you came to Australia for, but the best thing I can advice you is to just try it out for one week. Try to save money on everything you can imagine without cutting out vital things of course. I have a habit of buying coffee on the streets, meeting people, having drinks and taking a bus or Uber everywhere. So what happened when I left all these things? I just worked my hours, taking my bike around the city, went to the gym and slept. I saved up 70% of my salary! So if you really want to safe money while living in Sydney it is possible, it all comes down to how much you are willing to sacrifice. This is exactly one of the reasons how I afford to travel, click on the link to read more about it.
Yes some weeks I was earning a lot of money but that meant I was working really hard too. Living in Sydney is not like the Australian Dream many people hear about, click on the link to read more about my story. There were weeks I was getting paid more than $1,200 AUD, but in those weeks I hardly had time to enjoy. As for everything you have to find the right balance!
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