Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moving to Sydney? - Must know money saving tips

Moving to Sydney? - money saving Tips

So, you are moving to Sydney? - here are a few tips on how to save money on the move.

The first thing you need to know is that Sydney is very expensive, you will chew through thousands of dollars easily without thinking. I cannot emphasize this enough.

There is nothing worse than the empty feeling after you have moved to Sydney to see how you have WASTED money on the move. Everything feels cool, you have some cash in hand and you spend, spend and spend on things you would not have done in your home country.

Things I wish I knew before I moved to Sydney

0) Try these guys for international money transfers - you won't get cheaper

1) Firstly, Sydney is expensive!

Sydney is one of the best cities to live in the world. Its a prized destination city for students and migrants. As always, where there is a high demand the prices are high.

2) Get control of your money long before you go

I cannot emphasize this enough - you need a control mindset. Set up a spreadsheet or notebook and work through everything. spend months doing this. Look after the cents and the dollars will look after yourself.

3) On everything you do get multiple quotes.

Do your diligent effort - get multiple quotes and even then, haggle with the people quoting them, plead poverty, budget, "cant do it". You would be surprized how low people will go for business. It's a dog eat dog world. Make sure you get your slice.

For example.
 I got 5 companies in to do a removal quote to Sydney. Everyone single one of them said I had to go into a forty foot container. Something in me thought I could do a smaller container.
After much effort I found out I could get my stuff in a 20 foot container and saved myself almost $5000 !!!. If I had been lax, I would have lost this money in a heartbeat. Dont feel sorry, or guilty, or like a scrooge. This is life. Take or it will be taken from you. Removal agents want to make a great profit, but they won't want to lose your business if you shave them down. Ask them what you need to do to bring the price down.
4) Haggle on everything to do with you move to Sydney.

Even on your flights. If you are moving pets especially, get multiple quotes. Even then, ask for serious discounts, you never know. Import and export agents are exhorbitant. Make sure you do what you can yourself.

5) Ones goes First!

 If you are a family, let the husband come over first and stay with a friend or family or even get a one month room to rent in a house. Let him get the house ready for the family. No use spending money on temporary furnished accommodation for the whole family - THIS IS A BIG RACKET IN SYDNEY!

6) Getting Temporary Furnished accommodation in Sydney

Even on temporary accommodation, haggle on the price. Make an offer for long stay. So if you find a house being rent out for say weekends - offer them some ridiculous low amount to take it for a month - it may well be accepted

For Example I did this

 I got a house that was normaly about 12k for a month for 40% of that, just because I asked!. I ended up with temporary, fully furnished accommodation, 5 bedroom house, on narabeen lakes(literally) with canoes, nature and privacy at a price less than the cheapest three bedroom furnished apartment in a shady area of Blacktown!
I saved both money and got a better place to stay.
7) Price gouging in Australia.

Please remember there is a lot of price gouging in Australia.
You must fight back. I even ask for better prices in all the shops in the malls. If you don't you will be paying a minimum of 10% too much!

8) Buying a Car around Sydney - haggle and play the dealers off against each other.

Do not be desperate. Never show them the car is lighting you up. Once you have a car in mind go home! Phone 5 dealers with the same car, get a price, then phone each one back as they beat each other on price. I did this and got my "on sale - at lowest price" car down by another $5300 dollers with extra accessories and extra warrenty period.

9) Renting a long term house.

This is my biggest peeve. Rentals are high and landlords in Sydney are alway trying to get the biggest rental they can. With so many stupid(me included) and naive immigrants arriving, they profiteer off this lack of insite to the market. Yes, Sydney is expensive, but at the same time landlords often put their rentals on the market at "above marlet prices".

You really need to understand this next sentence!

The rentals you see on the property rental websites are higher than the market rate! Obviously every time the landlord puts his house on the market he is going to start high. Its perfectly acceptable in sydney to make an offer. Find a house that is not too perfect and then offer them a lower rate. Once again dont show them you are in love with the place!

Explain this to your wife and kids before going. When the agent phones you about your interest in the house,(or as you leave the viewing), say something like - "uhh, I like the house, but its a little overpriced for me, maybe of it was a little less we would take it, ok bye". and be serious - leave the place. The rental agent gets commission to rent the house. They may well jump in and ask for an offer and take it to the landlord.

Dont mess around, geting the price down by 150 per week is 600 per month and $7200 per year.

Your chickenlike complacency will lose you 7000 bucks per year. Own the landlords when you move to Sydney dont be a wuss!

Also make sure anything needs fixing is in the contract!

10) Use Flybuys - it does add up - its like a points card.

11) Get your travel "Opel" card asap, the fares are way cheaper.

Max of $60 per week, even if you jump from bus to train on your journey. On trains, travel outside of peak hours as its cheaper.

12) Saving on Grocery shopping in Sydney

In Coles, they mark down many items with a red and yellow sticker. Follow the Sticker. You can get some real bargains on meat especially. Dont be snooty, it works.

13) Eating out in Sydney - a real budget killer!

For a family of 5 getting a meal at MacDonalds or KFC in Sydney is about $60 - $70. 5 of these "outings" a month is $350 - almost a whole grocery trolley!! This is especially hits you when you initially migrate as you are not settled.

As a dad, my answer to this is to make sure I spend much more at the supermarket to ensure there is plenty of food in the fridge. I would rather spend $15 on chicken legs than $70 on KFC. I would rather spend $30 on a leg of lamb, than throw the money at MacDonalds junk food.

Make sure there is all the goodies your family needs in the fridge - frozen meals, whatever, make it easy to NOT got eat out.

Watch out! its easy to go fast food ten times a month, cut it out. Whatever way you can!

14) Power points and adaptors in Sydney.

This might seem small but it chews cash. Buying socket adaptors for you appliances is the easy way, but each electricity power socket adaptor you buy will be from 10 to 25 dollars. Buying 10 of these will chew up 100 to 250 dollars. Go to a hardware store like Bunnings in Sydney, get 20 plugs for $2 each and change your sockets on your appliances. Its cheaper and saves the family from doing musical chairs with the adaptors!

Any way that's it for me for now. Hope you like the tips.
Would really appreciate any tips you have found - leave them in the comments section below!

thanks and have a good one!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Moving to Sydney? - Work life balance in Australia - what to expect

Work life balance.

A nice term, something I heard when I moved  to Sydney and started working. nice concept....

I had hopes my new company was different, cared, had some nirvana culture...I mean, a new country, I migrated to Sydney, Australia! surely it could be true...

5 years later...

What does it mean? I have never seen it in practice.

I work in IT, I sit near the business, but they treat us like a call-center. IT aren't spoken to unless needed.

Expected to turn up at 7:30 leave at 6pm or 7pm or later - commute an hour each way.

See family one hour - work life balance. more like work work work - eff your life - balance this! 

Is this your life in Sydney? Let us know, leave your experiences below in the comment section.

Later people - grab some of that life balance, before you know it you're old and have never seen your family.

its a cliché, but take the time to smell the roses.

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The crazy big company work culture in Sydney, Australia

Wow, I work in a crazy place. 5 years and seven managers!

Is this weird culture just endemic to Australian employers?

My company expects me to work 11 hour days and weekends. We never get a thank you.

My team does 100 things right, works under continual stress, makes miracles, but only the one thing that goes wrong in 100 right things gets remembered. And gets remembered for ages.

Why is it that only the outspoken, confident or good looking people get promoted? Its not like they are doing a good job.

Its crazy, these upwardly mobile managers are such good bull-shitters, that they do more harm than good, they last a few years and when their teams crash and burn, they move to another company and do the same thing again.

Every time something goes wrong, all the upper management polish their daggers and stab each other in the back.

New managers come in, who know nothing about our workload, processes and challenges and make suggestions and changes which just makes it worse. Then, when things go wrong they blame the team at the bottom. Not one manager tries to spend 6 months understanding the systems and issues.

A couple of conversations and they are on-board, Experts! my ass.

In some cases workers are reporting to multiple managers, why is this, this causes time contention, stress and task thrashing. Please one manager and the other manager is annoyed. In the end you have to lie to both managers to fake that you are working for both of them. Escalate to both the issue and no-one does anything.

Please escalate issues they say, please innovate. Hah, Escalation is always ignored..Always.

Why don't they promote from within, so that those people that know the issues can fix them?

Anyone that speaks the truth or tries to fix things get cut.

Business are increasing profits by cutting staff (aka not really making more revenue) and then firing and hiring because the left over staff cannot cope with the work.

The cycle continues. I mean really.... 7 managers in 5 years!

I have watched teams be consolidated and a year later being broken apart to the same as they were.

If is wasn't so painful it would be funny. but its not.

I work in the Financial industry, is it the same in yours?

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

What not to do when buying a car in Australia

I had a rather unfortunate incident recently.

I had just arrived back in Sydney in Australia and needed to buy a car quick.

After driving to a few second hand and new car dealerships we settled on the type of car we wanted - compact SUV - and started to shops around.

I had also acquired some approved finance from Macquarie vehicle finance who were quite good and very helpful, especially as I had just arrived in the country.

Anyway, so once I decided on the exact car (Holden Captiva 5 LT), I called a few dealerships to try and get the best price possible. One of the dealers said he would only go to his manager if I gave him my credit card details as his manager would not want to play a bidding game. He assured me it was not a deal but he needed it to show his manager I was serious. He also assured me no deposit would be taken. I also had some queries for him regarding if he could source the right color car(ie did he have the car in stock).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, he did not have the color car I wanted and I went with another dealer.

I informed the original dealer courteously by email that I had found the car elsewhere and that's when the s h i t  hit the fan. I got about 20 phone calls and follow up messages in the space of about an hour! Numerous texts and also very aggressive, condescending voice mail messages.

1) they tried to tell me that giving them a credit card constituted a contract.
2) they then sent me a invoice and contract and informed me that as they had emailed me a contract it meant it was also a deal (I had not even seen it I my email...not to mention signing it)
3) the car dealer, had taken $500.00 off my credit card even though he assured me he would not. This happened directly after he got of the call.
4) I was threatened with 5% contract value of the full value of the new car!
5) I was threatened with legal action

When the guy saw I was not going to roll over and put my legs in the air for him, he started to realize I knew my rights.

He then tried to get me to write him an email explaining that I had agreed to buy the car but now had changed my mind, and in the email it should ask to be let out the agreement.

This really got my back up as I had not entered into any agreement to actually buy a car as we were still at the "do you have stock stage". I believe he was trying to trick me into writing written proof that I had agreed to buy the car. needless to say - I did not write any email.

Watch out, car dealers are super friendly when selling a car! they are not your friends! They want you to believe this. In reality they only want your money. Once you have signed, the super gracious treatment will stop and they will move on to the next possible client.

Treat them hard, shop around, get prices from multiple car dealers and phone back telling them all the lower prices, make them drop their prices.

Do not feel guilty, this is their job, they do this for years every day. Turn the tables on them, they will make you believe you have just robbed them but in reality you probably could have got a better price.

Amazingly, the more dealers I phoned, the lower the price went. Some dealers even told me they were selling me the car at a loss. (yeah I believe that...not)

Anyway good luck with your move to Sydney

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