If you live in Sydney or Melbourne, it can take forever to get ahead. Living expenses alone can be a struggle to keep on top of, never mind putting anything away into savings. So how can you get out of that cycle if you can’t increase your income and you’re not achieving your savings goals?
Scaling back your day to day expenses is the first step – eating out less, cutting back on coffees, socialising over dinner parties rather than days at the races, concerts or long lunches. Most of your other expenses – rent, phones and internet, utilities, insurances will all be relatively fixed, so they can’t be adjusted much. Average weekly rents for a unit in Sydney hover around the $500 mark, with Melbourne only slightly cheaper at around $400 a week. That’s around $25,000 a year on rent alone, which for many can amount to a considerable chunk of annual income.
Could relocating accelerate your savings?
So where does that leave you? It’s likely that daily spending changes might save you just a few hundred dollars a month at best. Is that going to be enough? There is another possibility that would reduce your overall cost of living and that is relocating to a regional area. It may seem like a drastic step, but for the sake of a year or two enjoying a different lifestyle than the one you’re used to, your life could take a totally new direction.
Moving interstate can improve your budget with Tasmania, parts of South Australia and Queensland all offering unique and inexpensive lifestyle options. In most cases though, you can see a dramatic change in your living costs by moving just 100 or so kilometres out of a major mainland city.
How average rents differ
Living expenses vary between cities and regional towns but for the most part you will find that everything becomes a little more budget friendly once you get away from the bright lights of the big city, except perhaps for fuel. Relocating to a regional area generally offers a better cost of living, with recent studies showing that rental prices are steady across the board and rapid growth is only being seen in specific regional areas. Many towns in regional Victoria and New South Wales - such as Bendigo and Geelong in Victoria and Tamworth and Newcastle in New South Wales - are booming, due to major industrial or infrastructure projects and developments –- so choosing a smaller town close to one of these major regional hubs is often a good strategy. You can pay lower rent but still be close enough to the facilities and services you might need (and work opportunities) - or the train station if you still need the city commute. Rents for a 1 bedroom unit in regional Victoria are averaging around $175 a week, while in New South Wales they sit at around the $300 range, almost doubling your savings capacity when compared to city rents.
There are loads of ways to get tips on how to save for a home deposit, but nothing will deliver results as quickly as reducing your living and lifestyle costs as an entire package. Take a few weekends away and explore the areas that might suit you best. It can take some adjustment to imagine a whole different version of your life but it won’t take long before relocating to a regional area starts to make perfect sense for your budget and your quality of life.
What are your tips for getting a deposit together faster? Have you or are you considering moving to a regional location for the lifestyle or economic benefits?