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Tomawa

We love it here but too expensive to settle!

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Sorry in advance if I sound ungrateful!

We were asked to move to Australia just one year into an overseas posting to Kuala Lumpur, we left the UK originally for an adventure with our young family and had plans to return to the UK after our 3 year posting. We decided to carry on the adventure and move to Perth instead of going home after just one year in Malaysia. We went to such a lot of effort renting out our house in Scotland and selling furniture and cars to just go home. We have been here in Perth for 3 years now and have a mixture of Aussie and British friends. From day one everyone assumed we had emigrated here. The conversations I've had with my friends here have all been about staying, buying a house, what schools I want my kids to go to for high school (seems the norm to send to private, not just well off families either) and I'm finding the pressure to settle down and stay hard to deal with. People constantly saying "oh I could never go back" and putting down the UK mainly because of the "rain".

 

I find myself defending my old life and the things I loved about living there. We have applied for PR and hopefully we will get it before next January otherwise we will have to pay the local state school $6,000 to send our 2 kids there. All 457 visa holders will have to pay for schooling next academic year, I wonder if that will push up the wait lists for private schools further? There are 4 classes in each year group at my kids school up to year 5 when half the school leaves for private religious schools. There are 8 kids in year 7! What is so wrong with the local high schools that people on mass feel they want to shell out thousands for private schools.

 

Anyway, that's another issue, getting side tracked. We absolutely love our life here and we are having such a good time but it's expensive. We plan to stay for another two or three years and then go back to the UK when our kids are ready for high school. House prices are half the price back in Aberdeen (even though they are considered to be through the roof there) with a top performing government school on our doorstep that is as good as expensive private schools here (and it's free), I've been on so many school tours here and I'm an experienced teacher so I have something to compare them to. Grandparents and other family back in the UK will be a 4 hour drive away. So that's the plan.

 

We will swap golden beaches for the gorgeous Scottish countryside, both equally beautiful but very different. We are going to make the most of having this amazing time here in Australia, lap up the gorgeous beaches and beautiful weather but for us it's too far away from our families as our parents get older, property is massively expensive, local government schools not as good and saving $11,000 for flights for the family on a regular basis might be tricky with all the other costs. Salary will be about 20% less in UK but houses half price. My dream was always to travel the world and I feel so lucky to be able to spend several years in this beautiful country, looking forward to taking my kids to some of my favourite places in Europe when they get older. For me change is what makes life exciting, one chapter ends and another begins. Anyone else love it here but feel they can't afford to stay and still afford those flights home, schools, mortgages etc?

 

Cost of living is ridiculous. Also in some suburbs, particularly the Western ones then it is the done thing to send your kids private even though there are 2 excellent government schools there. Not sure where you live but not all areas of Perth are as you describe but sometimes people prefer the UK. Nothing wrong with that.

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It's all relative. When i was in Aus 18 months ago it was ridiculously expensive but then the pound was weaker/dollar stronger so i felt the difference a lot more. In December when I went, it was pretty much the same as here, the food didn't seem as expensive as the year before.

 

It's not cheap living in the UK either though, especially anywhere in the Greater London area. Rents are ridiculous now, I feel sorry for people who haven't been lucky enough to get on the property ladder. Food has probably gone up about 30% in the last couple of years, electric and gas too. It's the same in both places really. Where one gives the other takes and it works itself out.

 

Cars though - i'll agree there, crazy expensive down under but then your jetskis are way cheaper :yes:


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It's all relative. When i was in Aus 18 months ago it was ridiculously expensive but then the pound was weaker/dollar stronger so i felt the difference a lot more. In December when I went, it was pretty much the same as here, the food didn't seem as expensive as the year before.

 

It's not cheap living in the UK either though, especially anywhere in the Greater London area. Rents are ridiculous now, I feel sorry for people who haven't been lucky enough to get on the property ladder. Food has probably gone up about 30% in the last couple of years, electric and gas too. It's the same in both places really. Where one gives the other takes and it works itself out.

 

Cars though - i'll agree there, crazy expensive down under but then your jetskis are way cheaper :yes:

 

When I arrived 9 years ago my shopping bill was roughly $175 a week, now it's $350. My kids are older but other than that, we aren't buying anything really very different. Electricity was 8c per unit, now it's 23c. If I had to come now, knowing what I know I wouldn't bother.

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Agree is all relative...I don't see that overall it is a worse picture than in the UK. Higher wages, higher housing prices..you buy where you can afford to..what you an afford to...as for food prices, shop savvy and it's fine...I don't buy into the higher food prices at all...eating out and drinking out...expensive yes...again...depends what you like to do...byo is good.

 

I think if you want to be somewhere you will justify the cost of everything...UK or here, you will find a way to make it work...

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The big thing for me, when I was on holiday in the UK, was the price of restaurants and cafes. You can eat out very cheaply in Australia compared to the UK. A cup of good coffee costs $4 and a pub meal costs $10 to $20. A main course at a nice restaurant costs $20 to $30. In the UK, we could change those dollar signs to pounds - meaning everything cost nearly double! Australians eat out a lot, so if they still have Aussie habits, that would have an impact.

 

The other thing is rents - I've been researching rents in the UK as we're thinking of moving back. Edinburgh is horrendously expensive compared to many other UK cities.

 

Yeah maybe that's what they found expensive. I know one likes the drink but I don't imagine that being more expensive here. I was just really surprised to hear that they both found it expensive here after me constantly hearing that the Uk was cheaper compared to Australia. It's expensive to buy a house in Edinburgh and also rent as well but when I was looking at house shares it's not so bad. Obviously lots of people don't want to do that though

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I would struggle to spend $350 a week on groceries NB

 

I don't shop around so probably spend more than I need to. I used to but found the quality wasn't as good and I was throwing stuff away or the family wouldn't eat it.

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Maybe we are just lucky, but we aren't finding the UK to be as bad as the media make out. To hear/read it, you would think we are all living off food banks, none of us have jobs and we are all being repossessed. I still maintain that if you are happy to keep your head down and graft and avoid the doomsdayers, it's actually a pretty fine place to live. I may also be trying to make the most of things though as our PR ran out in January and we didn't move because the exchange rate was so pants (and are now too old to try again!). I often wonder what it would have been like but with hindsight I know we did the right thing. We just couldn't have the life there we do here and we're also able to spend time with our rapidly ageing parents (not always a good thing). Wages are less here, but so is food stuffs for example and houses comparable/cheaper. We've been "across the channel" a couple of times in the last year too, which was lovely. In short, don't worry about coming back to the UK - it's as fine as you want to make it. x

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Expenses wherever we live are down to us. For example if you buy a big bag of spuds on special and throw half or more of them away its not a cheap special. Personally I use the supermarket as my personal vegetable bin and just buy what I need for a day or two at the most. I avoid those 2 for 1 specials even though I have to pay more I find that its less because unless its a cleaning product I use all the time its no special.

 

We cannot really compare because we are all different, some people live on ready made meals others cook from scratch. Horses for courses.

 

In both countries some will find one or the other expensive and some will find one or the other reasonable or cheap. Depends what we want.

 

The main thing is for the OP to work out what they want as a family, don't give fig about what others think and get on with their lives wherever they want.


Petals

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When I arrived 9 years ago my shopping bill was roughly $175 a week, now it's $350. My kids are older but other than that, we aren't buying anything really very different. Electricity was 8c per unit, now it's 23c. If I had to come now, knowing what I know I wouldn't bother.

 

My mom (who moved to spain 10 years ago) says exactly the same thing. The thing is, she think the prices in England are the same as when she moved 10 years ago. Thats all she has to compare to. She forgets inflation happens everywhere. Rose tinted glasses and all that with my mom.

 

Not implying that is whats happend in your case of course, everyone is different. I know it always opens my moms eyes when she comes back to visit and I take her up tesco...:laugh:

Edited by M1cha3la

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Can't comment on Australia's prices but I've spoke to two Australians that are living in Edinburgh and they seem to think the Uk is really expensive which I was surprised at. I said to them don't you find it much cheaper than back home , everybody tells me how expensive Australia is. Think it must be to do with the minimum wage maybe

 

I think you've hit the nail on the head. On minimum wage, Britain must be a crazy expensive place to live?!


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I think you've hit the nail on the head. On minimum wage, Britain must be a crazy expensive place to live?!

 

Yeah it's quite hard. Especially depressing when you realise how long it takes to pay for something

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Yeah it's quite hard. Especially depressing when you realise how long it takes to pay for something

 

I couldn't manage on it. It needs to be raised to a living wage, but I can't see that happening :-(


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I couldn't manage on it. It needs to be raised to a living wage, but I can't see that happening :-(

 

It should be minimum £7, preferably a bit more lol. There are some companies who do the living wage but not that many. My friend works for the council as a carer and she definitely gets the living wage

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It should be minimum £7, preferably a bit more lol. There are some companies who do the living wage but not that many. My friend works for the council as a carer and she definitely gets the living wage

 

What's the living wage and what's the minimum wage?? Don't think I've come across 'living' wage before. Minimum wage is, what, £5 something?


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What's the living wage and what's the minimum wage?? Don't think I've come across 'living' wage before. Minimum wage is, what, £5 something?

 

I'm almost sure minimum wage is £6.30 or maybe slightly lower.

 

Living wage is something that companies are encouraged to give but I don't think that many do. http://www.livingwage.org.uk/what-living-wage

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Maybe we are just lucky, but we aren't finding the UK to be as bad as the media make out. To hear/read it, you would think we are all living off food banks, none of us have jobs and we are all being repossessed. I still maintain that if you are happy to keep your head down and graft and avoid the doomsdayers, it's actually a pretty fine place to live. I may also be trying to make the most of things though as our PR ran out in January and we didn't move because the exchange rate was so pants (and are now too old to try again!). I often wonder what it would have been like but with hindsight I know we did the right thing. We just couldn't have the life there we do here and we're also able to spend time with our rapidly ageing parents (not always a good thing). Wages are less here, but so is food stuffs for example and houses comparable/cheaper. We've been "across the channel" a couple of times in the last year too, which was lovely. In short, don't worry about coming back to the UK - it's as fine as you want to make it. x

Agree supa if you want to make it work all will be ok! I've never listened to doomsdayers, waste of energy!!


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I think a lot depends on which suburb you choose, too. You get to know where the cheapest food is. The supermarkets price it according to what they think people will pay. Go to Kew or Camberwell and you'll pay more than, say, Bayswater or Ferntree Gully. You will possibly get better meat etc- but not necessarily. Same with housing- and often just because it is cheaper doesn't mean it is 'rougher' and vice versa. Just have to be a bit canny and keep your eyes open.

 

I agree with this. We don't find it much dearer here at all, and our wages are better. you need to look for bargains they do exist.

Edited by jimmyay1

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Sorry in advance if I sound ungrateful!

We were asked to move to Australia just one year into an overseas posting to Kuala Lumpur, we left the UK originally for an adventure with our young family and had plans to return to the UK after our 3 year posting. We decided to carry on the adventure and move to Perth instead of going home after just one year in Malaysia. We went to such a lot of effort renting out our house in Scotland and selling furniture and cars to just go home. We have been here in Perth for 3 years now and have a mixture of Aussie and British friends. From day one everyone assumed we had emigrated here. The conversations I've had with my friends here have all been about staying, buying a house, what schools I want my kids to go to for high school (seems the norm to send to private, not just well off families either) and I'm finding the pressure to settle down and stay hard to deal with. People constantly saying "oh I could never go back" and putting down the UK mainly because of the "rain".

 

I find myself defending my old life and the things I loved about living there. We have applied for PR and hopefully we will get it before next January otherwise we will have to pay the local state school $6,000 to send our 2 kids there. All 457 visa holders will have to pay for schooling next academic year, I wonder if that will push up the wait lists for private schools further? There are 4 classes in each year group at my kids school up to year 5 when half the school leaves for private religious schools. There are 8 kids in year 7! What is so wrong with the local high schools that people on mass feel they want to shell out thousands for private schools.

 

Anyway, that's another issue, getting side tracked. We absolutely love our life here and we are having such a good time but it's expensive. We plan to stay for another two or three years and then go back to the UK when our kids are ready for high school. House prices are half the price back in Aberdeen (even though they are considered to be through the roof there) with a top performing government school on our doorstep that is as good as expensive private schools here (and it's free), I've been on so many school tours here and I'm an experienced teacher so I have something to compare them to. Grandparents and other family back in the UK will be a 4 hour drive away. So that's the plan.

 

We will swap golden beaches for the gorgeous Scottish countryside, both equally beautiful but very different. We are going to make the most of having this amazing time here in Australia, lap up the gorgeous beaches and beautiful weather but for us it's too far away from our families as our parents get older, property is massively expensive, local government schools not as good and saving $11,000 for flights for the family on a regular basis might be tricky with all the other costs. Salary will be about 20% less in UK but houses half price. My dream was always to travel the world and I feel so lucky to be able to spend several years in this beautiful country, looking forward to taking my kids to some of my favourite places in Europe when they get older. For me change is what makes life exciting, one chapter ends and another begins. Anyone else love it here but feel they can't afford to stay and still afford those flights home, schools, mortgages etc?

 

At home we are brainwashed to belive that Australia is utopia by things like wanted down under, home and away, aerobics oz style, fosters ads and so on. It's even worse when you get here as the country is so insular. Australians believe there are two types of people in the world; Australians and people that wish they were Australian. I find ex pats to be the worst though. Maybe not everyone had as good a life as you back in the UK as you did, but that's no reason not to believe you.


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At home we are brainwashed to belive that Australia is utopia by things like wanted down under, home and away, aerobics oz style, fosters ads and so on. It's even worse when you get here as the country is so insular. Australians believe there are two types of people in the world; Australians and people that wish they were Australian. I find ex pats to be the worst though. Maybe not everyone had as good a life as you back in the UK as you did, but that's no reason not to believe you.

 

Hey, that's not fair, Graham! I was born here of English parents and I'm looking to go back at some point in the near future! You made a very sweeping generalisation there and I call wrong on it - if for no other reason that I just don't think like that at all. Two types of people would make for a very boring world indeed and I think it's more interesting than that! :biggrin:


I know of only one duty, and that is to love - Albert Camus

 

 

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Hey, that's not fair, Graham! I was born here of English parents and I'm looking to go back at some point in the near future! You made a very sweeping generalisation there and I call wrong on it - if for no other reason that I just don't think like that at all. Two types of people would make for a very boring world indeed and I think it's more interesting than that! :biggrin:

Spot on.

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oh TOOBS! do they still make those, Wakeboard? I haven't seen those for years! We used to put them on our fingers at school and pretend we had lots of gold rings. Ah, childhood. :laugh:


I know of only one duty, and that is to love - Albert Camus

 

 

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When I arrived 9 years ago my shopping bill was roughly $175 a week, now it's $350. My kids are older but other than that, we aren't buying anything really very different. Electricity was 8c per unit, now it's 23c. If I had to come now, knowing what I know I wouldn't bother.

 

23c per unit? I think I pay about 20p per unit in the UK plus a daily charge, plus an Climate Change Levy.


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oh TOOBS! do they still make those, Wakeboard? I haven't seen those for years! We used to put them on our fingers at school and pretend we had lots of gold rings. Ah, childhood. :laugh:

 

Yeh still make them, my mum was going to bring some here to the uk with her on her visit but ran out of room.

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i'm going to have to look for them on the next shop!


I know of only one duty, and that is to love - Albert Camus

 

 

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