The Logistics Of Moving & That Whole Pesky Money Thing
So here I am, on the cusp of another interstate move….am I crazy? Maybe. Will it be stressful? Probably. Am I excited to do it all of again? Heck yes!
For some backstory to give you some context of the last three years of my life, I moved from the warm coastal metropolis of Newcastle, New South Wales to the cooler climate and picturesque shores of Hobart, Tasmania almost three years ago. And what an adventure it’s been.
There are a lot of things to consider when moving: finding a job, a place to live, making new friends. But what about the other stuff? The stuff we often don’t think about when we embark on a move. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty organised human being. I normally have check lists…and check lists for my check lists…and check lists for my check lists for my check lists (you get the picture right!?). The things that I didn’t consider when I moved were things that snuck up on me unexpectedly inciting an “oh shit, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that” moment (cue disappointment, frustration and a lot of head shaking and swearing). You see the thing is, I really didn’t comprehend just how much moving would cost and the sheer logistics of moving from one state to another.
I would love to tell you that my move was exactly like it is portrayed in the movies, all very romantic and easy….but it’s not…far from it actually. It’s expensive AF!
To an extent, I definitely had my rose coloured glasses on when I decided to pack up and moved to Hobart. I thought I would be able to easily find a rental before I moved down to Hobart, so I had a place to move to immediately, I thought with my managerial and medical administrative skill set I would pick up a job pretty quickly, I thought I would just be able to go about my life in the same way as I did in New South Wales. Actually, let me tell you - it could not be further from the truth. I'm going to break it down section by section for you. Money is never a fun topic to write about - lets face it, it's boring. But please persevere through this (long) article, because you may get some insight into what you're up for if you decide to take the plunge and move interstate.
THE “ROAD TRIP” (i.e getting me and my belongings from Newcastle to Hobart)
I managed to own just a car load of belongings by the time I decided to move to Hobart, which meant I didn’t have the expense of having to hire a removalist truck for the journey down to Hobart. Travelling from Newcastle, Mum, Dad & I got to Melbourne in one day and then stayed the night in Melbourne before heading off to Tassie on the Spirit of Tasmania. So what does a road trip from Newcastle to Tassie cost these days?
Spirit of Tasmania: $385
TOTAL FOR THE ROAD TRIP: $1600
REAL ESTATE RENTALS IN TASMANIA
In Hobart, real estate agents won't even consider you a candidate unless you are able to come down and inspect the rental property yourself, and even if you do come down to inspect the property - there is no guarantee that you will actually be the successful applicant. I totally understood where the real estate agents were coming from, but as someone who had a stellar rental history and was trying to make the move from the mainland, it was completely and utterly frustrating. The financial burden and the logistics of just hopping on a last minute flight from Newcastle to Hobart is extremely expensive. Not to mention I had a job - so its not like I could just jet off whenever I felt like it. By chance, I was lucky enough that my then real estate agent from Hobart understood my position (and quite possibly could hear the absolute desperation in my voice) and she gave me the opportunity to have an apartment (which I lived in up until about 10 months ago) without the need to come down and see it. With all this in mind, I could not be picky about what it looked like and how much the rent was - I had to take what I could get. And of course, all I could get was an expensive one….as in a $370 a week expensive one. Now to my mainland readers, you might think this is very cheap, but consider this: I am a single woman, who did not have a job when I arrived, and as I would later find out, the wages in Tassie are terrible. When I told people down here in Hobart how much I paid per week they were shocked and made the squishy face which is Tasmania talk for “my god that’s expensive”. Most people actually wondered how I managed to do it on the wage I earned, suffice to say, financially the move to Hobart has been a huge learning curve financially. Another added "bonus" is that rental applications in Hobart are a little bit different to that of New South Wales in that aside from the usual paperwork, they also required a credit check. I also had to physically fly down to Hobart to sign the paperwork, and do the usual check of the apartment before moving in. So let's add this up shall we:
Bond and a fortnights rent: $2280.00
Credit check: $90.00
Flights down to Tassie to sign rental agreement: $380.00
Car rental: $115
Accomodation at the hostel: $80
TOTAL FOR RENTING AN APARTMENT BEFORE I EVEN MOVED INTO IT: $2945
Then let's look at the costs of furnishing the apartment when I arrived - and not with fancy expensive furniture. I talking about the stuff from Fantastic Furniture and Kmart, and just enough to get by. A lounge, a dining table, a bed, kitchen utensils etcetera:
Lounge, dining table & chairs: $1800
Utensils, kitchen ware, bathroom necessities: $300
TOTAL FOR BASIC FURNISHINGS: $2900
How about those other pesky things like electricity, internet and water?
Sign up to iiNet with a modem: $160
Putting my name on the electricity and water and paying the first bill before I even actually got to live there full time: $70
TOTAL FOR ORGANISING BASIC UTILITIES: $230
JOB SEEKING & EMPLOYMENT
In Hobart and I suspect Tasmania wide, what I found in terms of employment is that it is not what you know down here - it's who you know. I started applying for jobs in Tassie about two months before I was due to arrive, hoping that I could move down over the weekend and start on Monday (what a dream world I was living in hahahaha what an idiot I was). I managed to get phone interviews, but unfortunately because I was not able to pack up my life within two weeks - employers were not interested in hiring me as I couldn't start as soon as they wanted. So, I decided that once I was down here in Hobart, I would seek employment. Me and my rose coloured glasses thought it would be easy for me to get a job. It didn't have to be a managerial job - it could be anything, and I literally applied for it all. Coles, Woolworths, retail shops, MONA, real estate agencies, the hospitals, medical practices, government employment registers, administration within the education sector - you name it, I applied for it. You know what? I got not a damn thing. For ten weeks it was rejection letter after rejection letter. For ten weeks there was no money coming in. Stress levels were building significantly at this point as there was just money leaving my account and nothing going back in. Nevertheless, my perseverance paid off and I finally got offered a job which of course I took. So lets add up the costs of no wage coming in for ten weeks and still needing to pay bills:
Two and a half months rent: $3800
Car loan: $1150
Health insurance: $175
Mobile phone on a plan: $225
Groceries on a $100 a fortnight budget: $500
TOTAL BILLS OUTGOING WITHOUT ANY INCOME COMING IN: $6025
When I did get offered the job, there was yet another extra little "bonus" cost that I hadn't accounted for. When you work for a hospital (and I suspect anything to do with government), you need to provide a Working with Vulnerable People Check at your own expense. So off I went to get the check and that little nugget cost me $108.
TOTAL COST FOR GETTING A JOB IN THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM: $108
LICENSE, REGISTRATION & NEW CAR WARRANTIES
When you move to another state in Australia, you actually need to change your license plates and license. Sound pretty easy and cost friendly right? WRONG! My car was purchased brand new and was not even two years old when I moved to Tassie. I turned up to Service Tas (the NSW equivalent of the RTA) and they advised me that I would need to get my car checked by a mechanic first to ensure it was roadworthy before they could sort out my new Tasmanian license plates. Another thing to be aware of also is that when you purchase your brand new car, the warranty that you hold very possibly may become null and void if you move interstate. So guess what? The lovely folks at Holden advised me that my capped price servicing is now null and void, which means my next service is going to cost me a shit load more than what it used to – thanks Holden you’re a gem. So lets tally this up:
Car service to check road worthiness: $110.00
Registration for six months: $330.00
License: $50 per year
NATIONAL PARKS PASS
One of the great things about Tassie is the beautiful and diverse landscape. The National Parks are incredible, and I implore you to visit this fine state and drink in all the beauty and wonder that their National Parks have to offer. They are truly spectacular and worth the cost of the National Parks Pass, and if you don’t have a pass and a ranger comes to visit you, you have a lovely fine to pay…so instead, I happily purchased a years national parks pass for $96.
THE OTHER UNEXPECTED COSTS
Other unexpected expenses that came up were the things that you think about in the back of your mind, but never actually hope you ever have to experience - and that is the death of a loved one. I told you all this was a no BS account of packing up your life and moving away, and whilst I won’t go into the who or what, I cannot stress enough to anyone who is thinking about moving that you must, must, must save for an event where you need to get home quickly. It's not something I ever hoped to use, and I have unfortunately had to use this fund twice in the first six months of my moving here for two people who I love very much and miss every day. Last minute flights from Hobart are not cheap FYI.
GRAND TOTAL COST OF MY MOVE TO TASMANIA: $15,394.00
So, that figure is pretty intense right? I'm not trying to scare anyone off from moving to another city, state or country - I highly recommend pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and if you so feel the need to pack up your shit and move your life then I wholeheartedly support it, because it is full of excitement, joy and adventure. I did however mean what I said when I talked about providing a no BS account of this move. No-one I know really feels comfortable talking about money, but I felt compelled to shine an honest spotlight on the cost of moving to another state. I suggest to anyone that decides to move somewhere of significant distance to do your homework. Look into every aspect of what possible extra costs there may be that you might not have thought of, and make a decision as to whether you want to hang back a little longer and save more.
I feel grateful every day that I could actually afford to make the move to Hobart when I did. It has been the single best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve learned more about myself then I could have ever learned had I stayed put in Newcastle. My resilience and courage to take whatever life throws at me and handle it with grace and an unwavering desire to push through it has been perhaps the most surprising thing I’ve learned…I didn’t realise I had it in me! I’ll be honest though, financially this has been the hardest time of my life - particularly because I am single. There’s only one wage coming in, and I don’t have financial back up for me to tap into if shit goes really wrong.
To wrap up this (long) article up, what I would like to reiterate is that I do not regret the move to Hobart. Of course I would love to have that $15,394 in my savings account - who wouldn't. That could have been part of a house deposit, an overseas holiday waiting to be enjoyed, paying off my car loan and being able to live debt free - but I don't believe that you can ever put a price on happiness, and if that money was still in my account, I would still be in Newcastle merely existing, instead of truly living.
So here’s to the next move. The next adventure. The next financial gamble. It’s time to get uncomfortable again and see how the next chapter of my life unfolds…and I can’t wait!