Are you moving to Sydney on a shoestring budget?

If so, then today’s Mailbox Monday post is for you. It’s all about finding cheap accommodations in Sydney on a limited budget.

Today’s Email

I am Pauline from France but currently living in Rockhampton to study. I will be moving to Sydney for maybe a year with my boyfriend, starting from next mid-June.

I have to admit it, I am terrified!

I will be in Sydney mid-June with around $1800 in my pocket. I will need to find a studio to live with my boyfriend and most important: a job!!

I am looking for a waitress job and I really hope I will be able to find one really quickly (around 5 days). Please tell me if you think I will need more time.

I am very organized, I will already have my cv printed!

Our maximum weekly rent is $400 for a furnished studio. I hope we will be able to keep that…

I will be in Sydney alone for a month before he comes from Paris so if you want to meet, that would be awesome! I am completely terrified and I can’t find any sleep!

Thank you for your website, it’s really helpful!

I read about house sitting, I have only one referee for that and not a long experience (only 2 weeks) but do you think I can find one before coming to Sydney?

Lauren’s Reply

First off, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you’re finding SMG helpful. That’s what it’s all about.

That’s not very much saved up. Cutting it pretty close. Will you have a working holiday visa?

Finding a job waiting table shouldn’t be too difficult. Given the number of restaurants here but I don’t know for sure.

There is a large French expat community here in Sydney. Would be good for you to reach out for pointers on finding a job for those moving from France. The two I know of are Internations and a group on Facebook for French expats living in Sydney. Internations is free to sign up and has a forum for French expats in Sydney. There is also a French in Sydney group on Facebook that you might find helpful.

Remember that you will need first month’s rent plus your bond which is usually the same as one full month’s rent. So straight off you’re looking at over $800 just to move in. Yes, over since there are 52 weeks in a year.

Have you read my post on money saved for your move? Take a look at that post as I point out expenses most people overlook when budgeting their move.

You will also need proof of employment to sign the lease. This will be the tricky part.

I personally haven’t tried the house sitting yet. Am looking into it myself for traveling in Europe this summer. Sounds like a pretty good deal. Do have a friend that has done very well with house sitting. It did take her a long time to build up her reviews. One of her tips was to make a short video introducing you to the people looking for a house sitter. My friend has a very nice video where she is sitting with her dog and cat so that the people know that she is an animal lover. Get big points with those looking for someone to not just house site but take care of their pets.

If you have the time, you may want to do a few house sits near you currently just to get more positive reviews.

Trusted Housesitters has a very active Facebook page. Go there and ask what they suggest for someone just starting out. The benefit of that is your question is public, up on their facebook page, and they will probably get back to you sooner rather than later.

You might also want to check out Flatmate Finders and Or even though I’ve heard some pretty bad things about finding flatmates on gumtree.

Since Sydney is so expensive it is common for a couple to share a flat with another person. I work with several post docs that have had to share a flat until they can get their finances in order.

What an adventure! Obviously, the more money you can save the better.

Another thing you need to be aware of is transferring your money from France to Australia. When you transfer funds to Australia remember that you can lock in an exchange rate when using a forex company but not with the bank. Please take advantage of Ozforex’s Free Money Transfers for LIFE promotion for SMG readers. Their great and have excellent rates of exchange.

Do not use a bank to transfer funds especially if you need every penny. They are the worse.

I’ll be interested in seeing how you get on and what advice you will have for others moving to Sydney on a small budget. Please keep in touch.


What Are Mailbox Mondays?

Every Monday I pick a question from an SMG email subscriber along with my reply straight out of my inbox to share with everyone here on Sydney Moving Guide.

I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction or help you with your research as I know there is a lot of noise out there on the interwebs and good resources are hard to find.

The main goal of Mailbox Mondays is to start conversations on topics you want to know about.

So please leave a comment, or ask a question, or share more info from your experience living in Australia in the comment section below.