How to Estimate Living Expenses for Migration Explained

Dear Nix...

Been following your posts for quite some time as I have been planning to move to Australia. I have 2 daughters (4 and 2 yo) and they are the reason for the move. Our worry is the financial part and the housing. Need to survive before we find jobs. As I do not have any contacts in Australia... I would really really appreciate if you can help squeeze some valuable time to help advice me. I really really want the move.

1) which state is easier to find jobs? We are open to any jobs.... I think you mention Darwin? Or Melbourne? 

2) does 1 parent has to come over and secure a roof over our heads first as I read before that it is not even easy to rent a unit in Australia as they need references and I have none!

3) what are the expenses like Australia? Say in Melbourne. .. how much does it costs per month for: 
Rental - 1 room
Electricity and water bills
Internet bill
Milk nan and diapers
Phone plan

Is there other big ticket item I have not thought of?

Apologies as we need to roughly know how much to work out the financial. 

Dear V

"Been following your posts for quite some time."

"Say in Melbourne. .."

Though Melbourne is only 3,412 km away from Perth, you will probably get more accurate answers if you ask me about prices in Singapore, slightly further at 3,912 km away. For someone who has never stepped into Melbourne before, this is my most honest answer. If you are going to go right down to diaper costs, I highly recommend you to contact "A" at who is living happily in Melbourne with her husband "S". Though she isn't a fan of baby things, there is a good chance she will give you an estimate of things, which will help you vastly. For my end, I would like to advice you to consider potty training for your younger daughter (assuming the older one is trained). We got little Albany trained at 2 years old and have been enjoying 100% savings on diapers since. That's 1 item off your list. If diaper costs really bother you, head on to [here] and [here]

I am using TPG [link] as my ISP. Yeah they suck but for a pissed poor peasant like me I am happy with their ADSL2+ bundle that cost me $60 a month for unlimited broadband. That should be a nationwide price so you can work on that. As a rule of thumb, my weekly groceries should cost around the same as my monthly internet bills. That covers all my meals as I rarely eat out, unless friends drag me there. As you can see, you should be worried about meals more than the internet. For more information of grocery prices, follow this [link] and keep clicking "load more posts." Hope the prices do not vary that much in Melbourne.

As I am living in a strata area, my water and electricity bills are fixed every month, regardless of my usage. My data will therefore be irrelevant to you. Remember to ask "A" (link above) in Melbourne nicely and you should get some figures. Avoid asking "S" as he is going to be grumpy about such things.

If you can afford milk in Singapore, you will get 50% more milk for the same cost in Australia. Fret not.

I am using a Woolworths Prepaid Card for my phone plan. It comes with a few GB of data and talk time that I rarely use up. It costs me around $30 the credit is valid for 45 days. I believe you will find something similar in Melbourne. I am paying Skype $60 a year for unlimited calls to both Singapore mobile and landlines. It gives me a maximum call out time of 3 hours a day. Since nobody in Singapore is going to talk to me for 3 hours, it is considered unlimited calls for me. If you do not need to call back to Singapore landlines, you can probably survive on whatsapp mobile to mobile calls for free. The call quality is as shitty as skype.

That leaves us just 2 more things to talk about. Probably the most important ones, if you ask me. The least important of the two have to be the car. If you read this blog long enough, you would have known my opinions about car - that is highly unconventional to most male humans. If money is your immediate concern, just remember the asingaporeanson slogan, "Buy a car, think BATA" You will never be able to enjoy this rare luxury of car ownership in Singapore in a Buy-And-Throw-Away arrangement. So go BATA in Melbourne. My previous BATA attempt yielded me 3 years of decent service from a 1998 Daihatsu Pyzar for $2,250. I believe there are many better deals out there and this probably gets better with experience. For example, I have been driving for new BATA for 6 months w/o a glitch. It is a 2002 Daihatsu Terios and I have reasons to believe this is going to last me way longer than 3 years. I bought this car for $1,250. Follow this [link] if you want to know more. If you are not into BATA, then you are not pissed poor enough and thus your financial worries are probably unnecessary. The prices you will be looking at will be around this range:  (go to, dealer and private sellers respectively)

Now the biggest item of all. Accommodation costs are surely the biggest problem for new migrants. Solve this and there isn't much to worry about. If you have a HDB flat to rent out, you are probably free from worries right from Day 1. The next thing is to find a job and start saving money off the income. If you do not have this option, or any other significant source of passive income, then rental costs eating into your savings can be indeed a stressful situation. (Do consider BATA)

How about this for just $105 a week? It is only 1.5 hours drive to Melbourne City and comes with a really cool street name. Large driveway to park up to 12 BATAs, with 3 primary schools to choose from all in a quiet town of less than 7000 population of Newborough. The place has a higher than average proportion of aged residents and has a large artist and crafts partisans community that forms the vibrancy of the otherwise quiet but picturesque town. Since Singaporeans are naturally kiasi, that's a perfect place to start. If any of us can get robbed or pounded up by old people on walking sticks, we are better off staying in Singapore lah. The best of it all about this place - away from all the Singaporeans and the fucking OSU!

How about a cottage with 2 bed rooms and 1 bathroom by your own to start off your Melbourne adventure? Don't let the aged look of the house deceive you. From Slavery in Singapore to Slattery in Werribee, that ought to be a great upgrade! Most Singaporeans will advise you to steer clear of the West of Melbourne for 1001 reasons. However, do note that most, if not all of these folks have never lived there. When we were still in Singapore, we believe there is nowhere in the world safer than Singapore. We were educated to believe that Malaysia is a dangerous place. The last time I checked, the blogger who move to Malaysia [link] is still alive, unraped, unrobbed, unkilled. So don't be surprised at all to hear many pointing you to the East of Melbourne. It is the safest, cleanest and bestest place. After all they live there. 

This is making me excited all over again. I feel like the days before I moved to Perth, looking at the map and deciding where I want to live. If I were doing the same to Melbourne 4 years back, the first thing I would do is to avoid the areas marked in the black circle. Urban cities always grow outwards in a circle. Thus Melbourne is awfully lopsided in urban development in that sense. Thus anything in the east (no matter what they say) will be overvalued as compared to the west. A place like Clayton will cost more than a place like Werribee while they are almost the same distance to the City. As a new migrant, rental houses is just a transient stage of your early days here. It makes little sense not to Go West to save costs.

The last time I checked, Datuk Richard is well and kicking, sailing and eating around dangerous Malaysia. My maternal cousins and their families are still intact too, over the last 3 decades. It appears that staying safe is still possible against the overbearing odds in dangerous Malaysia. So you should have a great chance to live really well in Dangerous Werribee. Check out to get a better grasp about housing costs.


  1. Stay away from Perth. It's the most dangerous city in Oz. Full of redback spiders and brown snakes and killer kangaroos and great white sharks. It's a constant battle to stay alive.

  2. Yes, go to Sydney or Melbourne, those are the 2 big cities in Australia and will be easier to find jobs one.

  3. My advice is do not leave Singapore and stay put where you are. Australia has got many funny stuff that you may not like. Job hunting for your profession might be a big question mark. Unless you are willing to take up odd jobs initially. The most important thing is frequently read the their news online before you make the final decision. The most recent news in Perth, 6.4% unemployment rate. Having said that, Perth property price has come down a bit, so getting a house to rent might not be so hard as used to be. Good luck to you!

  4. Poor abused and emotionally scarred Donald.

    Give it up. Precisely your generation of useless weak strawberry people have terrible upbringings, poor education and are steeped in bad cultures, think that because you have a piece of paper, other deserve to present you a piece of their pie.

    Yeah, what so good about Ozzie? ATO is going rob you dry to feed the parasites. The federal, state and council going to make you pay and pay.

    Better stay in Singapore. Your CPF will grow like a cow if you are not lazy or stupid.

  5. If u like some opinions about moving to Sydney, can contact me. Grumpy 'S' mentioned by Nix in his blog knows who I m and he can get through to me. I've been through the exact journey before and I'm now happily settled in Sydney!

  6. Hi V,

    Family and i will be moving to Melbourne next week on 15th aug.
    Nix is right, stay away from eastern suburb, but be ready to take up something completely different in the western suburb as not many jobs available. I will be moving to Point Cook, just across from werribee. U can contact me at just to chat, thanks.


    1. Hey Emitremmuz,

      welcome to Melbourne, we should arrangement for a coffee catchup in IKEA. After all, there is free hot drinks on weekdays.


  7. Donald, I strongly disagree that staying in Singapore is the way to go. What's there to lose if we give overseas a try? No pain, no gain. If we don't like the experience (like in your case), we can always move back to Singapore knowing that living overseas is not for us. Through the experience, we also gain a better appreciation of Singapore. On the other hand, if living overseas is for us, then we know that the right choice has been made and we can potentially be happier overseas than in Singapore.

    1. To survive overseas, you have to trash your bratty Singaporean mentality and be hardened and thick skin.

      Singaporeans really need to have faith in themselves to overcome hardships. It's not that hard. Thousands of Singaporeans and Malaysian have done it. It's just under our nanny state, we tend to have the mentality of stay safe and status quo.

    2. Totally agree.
      Do give it a go and see how you like it. At least, you have tried it, even though at the end of the day, you may decide not to continue living there.

  8. Hey welcome to Melbourne,

    I am also a SG been living in Melbourne for 3 years. It is gotta to be the most adventurous journey you will be embarking on. It can be tough at times but above all things. You will not regret.

    Renting in Melbourne is a tricky business. It depend which area is your preference. Certain area in south eastern is very popular with Chinamen due to school ranking. Since you have 2 toddlers, you need to consider kindergarten for the elder as it is compulsory education from 4 years on. Try area where there are kindergarten and childcare centre. You never know when it will come in handy.

    Job, in Melbourne jobs are sometime hard to come by. If you are in IT, it shouldn't be a problem as the skills set are transferable and in demand. Otherwise drop off the SG mentality, most of us migrate for the sake of our kids then the job prestige.

    Rental for 1 room= $600-$700 in general
    Electricity and water bills - if you are renting a room, these 2 expenses will be included
    Internet bill- TPG $60 per mth will be included, however there are those who prefer split rent and bills arrangement
    Milk nan -$20-25
    Diaper-Woolsworth is about $0.20
    Phone plan-Optus $35
    Car - $5000 should get you a OK car

    My view on Werribee and Point Cook area, may deter from Nix. Frankly, there aren't much facilities in the west. My friends common complaints were traffic jam on the westgate bridge, Asian eatery and grocery shopping and the needs to travel to city for more serious medical consultation.

    Well, feel free to email me: papkenasai@gmail we can keep in touch. If you are keen to rent a room, I may have some lobang. LOL

    Cheers mate!

  9. Dear Donald,

    Notice your comments are generally negative towards migrating to Aussie, no disrespect but why linger on these blogs.
    To those taking this journey , its not easy but its not impossible, a little humility and can do attitude will go a long way. At the end of the day the journey is a personal experience.
    We started this almost two years ago from applying to finally moving over and settling down in melbourne, I am blessed my wife managed to get full time permanent employment , kid in school and happy and i will be joining them in 44 days.
    In the meantime nix blog has been a tremendous help in preparing us both mentally and realigning our expectations.
    Wish you the best on your journey, always take the road less traveled

  10. I live in the north of Melbourne. I like it here as housing is cheaper. If you need any info just email me at colintan at gmail com

  11. Hi, to sum up, will AUD 4K monthly budget be sufficient for a family of 4?
    $2K = house rental
    $2K = groceries, utilities, car expenses, etc....

    Appreciate advice, thanks..

    1. You need to be a bit more specific than that

      I assume 2 children, how old are they?

      Generally the trade off in rental constant is distance from CBD, so does your expect workplace involve the CBD or not? Savings can be possible depending on these answers and you can generally reajdjust you spending budget depending on the need to travel, the area you want to live in plus how much time you want to be spending on the road since work and facilities varies with suburbs.

    2. But if you are "v" as nix calls you, then 4k or 4.5k is a safe bet, though keep in mind preschool cost can be expensive!

    3. Thanks XYZ for the advice...

      2 children will be attending primary school...
      Planning to stay around Willetton / Canning Vale...
      Guess better to plan $4.5K budget...

  12. Hi Donald Duck,
    There is no perfect place on earth - one that you won't get discriminated, where everyone is friendly, jobs aplenty, vibrant economy, good wages, work-life balance, uncrowded wide living spaces, clean air, infrastructure & services top notch, good public transportation, affordable cars, housing & medical, good schools, low violence & crime, clean political leaders, freedom of politics, speech and press, diversity & tolerance, well managed immigration .. etc etc. While Sg scores high on some, Oz scores high on others. Sg talks big about meritocracy. Sure. Best person for the job. Migration is also about meritocracy - best country for the person.

  13. Hi All,
    I just added on what other ppl said. No offence. But some of the matters are true facts that happened to my friends when I was there for 7 years ago. I considered myself lucky and really appreciated what I got myself into by moving my family to Perth. I'd learned a lot and also enjoyed every moment like job and house hunting, buying cheap new cars and so on. Everything is subjective and there's no right and wrong. I must say it's a great experience to see the cultures there. But in the end, I moved back to Sg for better lifestyle and job expectation. But those who are thinking to migrate there, especially Perth, you may write to me. I can share my personal experience and both side stories.

    1. Hi Donald,
      Do you have the reference for what you have commented?
      I have a friend who lives in Perth now enjoys a better life than in Singapore!
      Nice landed house, cheap car, work-life-balance and happy family!
      Singapore is a rat-race society!!!!

    2. "My advice is do not leave Singapore and stay put where you are. "

      "I just added on what other ppl said. No offence. But some of the matters are true facts that happened to my friends when I was there for 7 years ago"

      You did not ask the person their own circumstances and for the last 12 months pretty much discouraged people with the scare stories you and "your friends" claimed to experience. No doubt there are some potential migrants who shouldnt be contemplating migrating to Australia but that doesnt mean you can simply write your kind of response to people discouraging them to do so.

      Every country outside SG have their own "funny"stuff people may not like, doesnt mean this covers every single aspect of the new country people are thinking of moving into.

      Many readers here are reasonable enough to recognise some of the people who post questions with certain mentality, are not suitable to migrate, and they (we) tell them so as much. Your kind of "help" simply a waste of time and space.

      I put up with your first post so far but when you try to justify your original post with your piss-weak excuse of a defence in your second post, it is more than insulting to the rest of us who are trying to help.

    3. If it's better then stay put where you are. It's very subjective anyway. You can say all the good stuff and hide bad ones or you can turn things around as you wish. A long as you stay in that country you will say good things about it and forget about shitty stuff. I said "Stuff" again as I don't want to be very specific as I don't want to open up a can of worms and we have no ending here. You have said you it we can't cover every aspect. So why so Kan Chiong about it. I can tell them I got a job offer within a month and it's a true fact. I bought a property with a year and it's a true fact. Please come and join me and you will be alright. This is really helping them...YOLO it man.

  14. SINGAPORE - In the anonymous freedom of surveys, away from the glare of the National Conversation, more than half of us apparently do not want to be here.

    A Mindshare survey carried out early this year found that 56 per cent of the 2,000-odd polled agreed or strongly agreed that, "given a choice, I would like to migrate".

    Migration specialist Brenda Yeoh, dean of the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is not surprised and is hardly alarmed.

    "The percentage would be much higher than the reality of emigration (because) then, there is the reality check (of) resources and emotional ties to family. So it shouldn't send the nation into a massive panic about 50 per cent of our population disappearing," she says.

    Even so, there is a world of difference between actively wanting to be in Singapore, and simply being here because you can't be anywhere else.

    If more than half of Singaporeans harbour some suspicion (no matter how idle or misinformed) that life elsewhere might be more relaxed, more enjoyable, more vibrant - just more - it does not bode well.

    It does not help that for some, the vice of paucity continues to tighten in Singapore, heightening the contrast with the perceived abundance in other countries.

    The Mindshare survey, for instance, showcases a large wedge of Singaporeans who increasingly feel themselves painted into a corner.

    In Singapore's Consumer Price Index last year, the cost of housing rose 8.3 per cent year on year, a rate of increase bested only by that of the cost of transport - another national bugbear - at 11.9 per cent.

    For the first time in the history of Singapore, a whole generation of wage earners face the chilling possibility that their lives are going to be worse than their parents'.

    But 49 per cent of the respondents in the Mindshare survey agree or strongly agree that the Government is doing a good job running the country.

    And the "vocal minority" theory is borne out, with only 8 per cent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

    What bears further scrutiny, however, is the figure of 43 per cent who are ambivalent on the matter.

    So, where does one go from here, literally? Will there be an exodus to the 5pm quitting times of Australia?

    In June, there were 200,000 Singaporeans living abroad for at least six cumulative months in the previous 12 months, a 27 per cent increase from nine years ago, says the National Population and Talent Division.

    The World Bank has higher figures, with almost 300,000 Singaporeans considered migrants in 2010. "The way I teach migration now has changed. I don't teach it as uprooting and settling (but) as a fluid to-ing and fro-ing," says Prof Yeoh.

    It is a comforting thought that more people are not necessarily leaving for good, but what happens when the people you govern are no longer exclusively yours?

    Most countries' policies, including Singapore's, have not kept up with this national fluidity. "My view is that we should give more credit to more flexible kinds of identities today. I have evidence to show people are able to cope with multiple identities," she says.

    It is ironic, then, that in a time of malleable nationalities, the attitude towards foreigners has hardened.

    And the perception of job scarcity is bemusing, given that Singapore has a lower unemployment rate than the countries Singaporeans are moving to.

    Why then do people think they would like to be someplace else? Perhaps the National Conversation will clarify matters. It will not be easy - for as we ponder the nation's navel, we have to look past the fluff. Source:

  15. Check for the rental prices. Then factor in utilities, (water, gas, elect, internet). Car, besides purchase price, how about rego, insurance, servicing and fuel. Health insurance (if you want/need), maybe a second car for your wife to bring the kids to school when you work. Kids, besides the usual milk/diaper/toys/clothes (summer/winter), don't forget that you'll probably want to send them to 'enrichment' classes, eg. swimming, music, etc. And then the occasional treats, presents, etc...

    All these will add up, fast... Hard to give you real figures because everyone's lifestyle is different (eg. housebrand bread $2 vrs $3-5 per loaf) but factor a BIG buffer to be safe...

    Work wise... nothing good to say but consider that we are the probably the equivalent of filipinos in S'pore here...

  16. You haven't go and buy grocery yourself for a while. Uncle here buys house brand bread at Coles woolies and Aldi for only one dolla.

    Still smell the same when it comes out the other side.

    Keep in mind some utilities and grocery prices do change between suburbs of course not next to each other but say 20 km apart....