I have had a large variety of people inboxing me on Instagram asking me how I made the move to the other side of the Country on my own, with questions like: Is it expensive on the Gold Coast? Do you have your own rental? How much did you have saved when you moved? Was it hard finding a job? In this blog I am going to try and address this as well as I can without going too off topic – although my experience could be very much different to others as I have a dog which made life VERY hard on the Gold Coast when it came to finding a home.
Initially, I moved to the East Coast two years earlier than planned so I was not actually ready in terms of financial stability. I had just gotten back from a holiday in Bali and Melbourne before the move, so all I had left was a very limited amount of savings. For a rough figure I’d say $5,000, (after my holidaying and Christmas). I have to say that’s cutting it majorly thin, and I would not recommend a move so big without having a substantial savings to back you.
I was driving from Port Douglas through to Coffs Harbour with a number of stops on the way, as I had not fully decided on the Gold Coast yet and I wanted to keep my options open. Now, in terms of expenses at this point it wasn’t too much, I was just on the road so really I only needed to pay for petrol, the occasional hotel or airbnb, food and drink…my rego, licence and insurance had all been paid up to date so I wasn’t carrying those around as a burden on my shoulders which helped. I camped outside a fair bit. Anyone that know’s me well knows that my version of camping is laying on the ground in a sleeping bag haha! I like to just be out there and amongst it all instead of being inside a tent. This helped save some money instead of paying for accomodation, but most of you wouldn’t be planning on travelling up and down the Queensland and New South Whales to find where you want to live. So I would say have enough money to pay for your travel/commute, food and drink, bond, rent, general bills and direct debits. Make sure it is enough to cover for at the very least a month if you can’t find a job.
The great news is that if you can’t find or get a job as soon as you move, the Gold Coast is big on delivery services such as Ubereats and Deliveroo perfect for those of you with vehicles and/or bikes to help you out a little bit with money. There is a lot of earning potential in these services for those committed and needing to earn money, but with the good also comes a number of downfalls. At least the option is there for any desperate ones out there!
I am very lucky in the sense that I am fully qualified as a Property Manager and Sales Representative in Real Estate, with a fair deal of work experience in the industry having worked most roles. I put A LOT of effort into my cover letters and Resume and it reads well on paper, evidently enough I’ve never not gotten the job before, which I think is a mixture of luck and hard work. Before I moved I didn’t apply for jobs that were available on Seek or Jora because I knew there would be a lot of competition, instead I went on google maps and searched real estate agencies around the suburbs I was willing to live in. I found an agency and sent my cover letter and resume, received a phone call the next day for an interview but I was still in Townsville at the time. I drove down the next week and met the recruiter at a local coffee shop for my interview which went extremely well! Apart from the parking ticket I got on James St, but parking meters over here are a whole other issue…I progressed to an additional two interviews before they hired me and I began work immediately. It didn’t work out I won’t go into detail but the office was a mess! I didn’t get paid for the 3 weeks I was working there and they were only able to produce an employment contract to me after 3 weeks of nagging for one. Once I received it I noticed the agreed salary of $50,000 in the interviews was not depicted on the paperwork: $17,500. Gobsmacked! This is the first time I’ve legit just walked out of a job. Felt great, I made a statement and look where I ended up now!I am in a highly sought after position working as a PA to the number 2 Principal in a Real Estate franchise covering Australia and New Zealand! Don’t let anyone try walk all over you and discriminate against you in the workplace, I didn’t and now I am better off. Anyway, it set me back financially as I made the move based around that job and I just walked out on it. So make sure you find a secure job that you love or knowing well that it offers enough financial support for your lifestyle, because my situation soon got very sticky!
Moving onto living arrangements; hard work. The market on the East Coast came as a shock to me. I decided I wanted to save to buy a house and I became quickly disheartened at the realisation that a home back in Mandurah, Western Australia I looked at online had sold for $350,000 and when I checked for sales evidence here on the Gold Coast I found one that was almost identical that sold here for $795,000. That is a HUGE jump. Think about buying a house and laying down a 10% deposit; $35,000 seems reasonable but $75,000 does not. So I guess there wasn’t too much of a shock when I looked for a rental too, yep just as expensive. It became a physical impossibility for me to get my own rental, even having a job behind me that pays extremely well, I could not cover the rent on my own and not to mention there is less than 5% pet friendly rentals in the entire Queensland State. The way they work out whether or not you would be an ideal tenant in terms of paying rent on time, is by checking that 30% of your weekly income covers the entire rent alone. Let’s use an example: A standard 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house in Burleigh Heads is up for $600 per week and you are on $800 a week after tax. The property manager would calculate that 30% of that $800 = $240 which is the amount you can cover a week on rent. So for a single woman/man that is highly unlikely for you to earn enough to cover the full rent amount with only 30% of your weekly wage. You need to have someone on the lease with you and even if that second tenant were on the exact same earnings as you it would only make it up to $480. If you try with a third tenant on the same earnings it would push it to $720, however it is a lot harder than it seems to find good quality people to rent a house with, that earn a good wage, have the same interests as you etc. The theory behind it sucks but it’s just how things are done in Real Estate unfortunately. What this meant for me was that getting my own rental was not going to happen and I had to seek a room out on Flatmates. I currently rent a bedroom for $230 per week, but I pay for the location as I am in the centre of Burleigh Heads and only a 4 minute walk to the beach which I love – they say you can’t put a price on happiness, but I guess you can lol.
I admit that the Gold Coast is rather expensive, generally the market follows Sydney but still a little more affordable. I’ve noticed at the moment that a lot of Sydney Slickers are buying on the Gold Coast because the lifestyle offered here is very similar but slightly cheaper. Not good for us cheapskates – more competition – fuck! Any who, it is more expensive than Mandurah where I lived most of my life. The fuel prices are ridiculous and there is no such thing as a ‘cheap fuel day’ which really buggered me up when I moved here. A lot of organic farmer markets which ends up being a pretty expensive shop compared to just shopping at Coles and Woolworths, but there’s something nice about meeting and knowing the families behind the local produce that you eat, and supporting their businesses it just feels right. You do save on some things like gyms because you don’t need one here. The weather is good all year round, you get the occasional cold week in July but as of late it’s been colder in the earlier months. The community offers plenty of group fitness sessions and free yoga events at the local park, an incredible surfing history here with some of the most famous breaks in the world and national park walking routes with views of Whales breaching from May – November. You just want to get out and explore which keeps you fit enough that you don’t need to waste your money on a gym. For full time workers who also study full time and never get a chance to be outside during daylight (like me), there is peace in knowing that it’s a pretty active and safe community here in Burleigh with lots of night owls working out as well as the early risers. Or just sign up to different gym trials and use their facilities for free – woops. I didn’t tell you that.
It all depends where you move to and what suits your lifestyle really, yes I pay more in rent than in WA and yes fuel prices are genuinely rooted…parking fines add up too haha! It’s all worth it and I appreciate myself so much more for working this hard to get here. I want to try and help provide an insight for all those of you that have asked me about moving here and expenses, below I have outlined just a few of my standard living bills so you have an idea of what it’s like living alone. Keep in mind it differs with everyone, like I said I have a dog that requires expensive medicated dog food and I use more fuel than some because of the industry I work in.
Rent: $230 per week
Electricity: ~$150 per quarter
Internet: $30 per month
Phone Bill: $45 per month
Fuel: ~$60 per week
Car Insurance: ~$120 per month
Dog Food: $60 per month
Groceries: $50 per week
Studies: $25 per fortnight
There are of course a lot more expenditure than just these which are mainly the direct debits. For instance right now my car needs four new tyres, the window/car door replaced, backlights replaced, a service, change registration to Queensland, change licence to Queensland, transfer my Real Estate qualifications over to both Queensland and New South Whales as I work across the border, prescriptions for my psoriasis I developed on the East Coast, stationary and printing for my studies and work. It all add’s up and it’s really difficult to keep on top of it all whilst still trying to save for holidays, houses and cars, it all seems a little bit pathetic really. We work hard just to live the way we do, I guess the only way to cut down on expenditure is to reduce and live simply. I am living and learning, making mistakes and figuring out ways to improve my day to day life, you just need to give it a crack and see how it pans out. I hope at least some of this is able to help you whether it be moving interstate yourself, or just wanting to know your not in it alone and that there are others out there struggling financially like us, and that there are others out there that have it a lot harder than even us. Finally, plan ahead and be strict with yourself – you will get where you want to be if you work for it. If you have any comments please feel free to leave a reply below or click the contact button in the menu if you have any requests for a blog post. Thank you, I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes that I have only just heard:
~ You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic ~
– Stephen C. Hogan