Moving house is expensive even before you take into account crossing oceans or national borders. We tried to plan our international move the best we could and kept our multi-currency budget right up to date. Even then, we still ran into unexpected costs. I’ve made a list of all the costs that snuck up on us so you can be better prepared!
We’d both been in Australia for about six years so we wanted to make sure we weren’t abandoning any accounts we had forgotten to close. Australia Post allows you to set up a mail redirect online and choose the length you want it for. It was such a simple process and for three months only cost us $58.00. (This same service is 34 GBP with Royal Mail in Scotland.) We chose to have everything directed to one of my pals and left an envelope with her to post to us at the end of the three months.
You can choose to have Aus Post send it directly overseas to your new address if you like. For us that would have been $322 for the three months so we opted for the cheaper version! (121 GBP from Scotland to outside EU) I would advise, if you’re going to leave your mail with a pal, make sure they’re someone you can trust. That way if anything looks important they can open it for you just to check. This may not be necessary for everyone but it did help give me peace of mind that I didn’t have any outstanding debts or lost Christmas cards!
Who would have thought that bubble wrap and sticky tape could be so expensive! It took us by surprise how much one roll of bubble wrap cost. And how many we would need to cover all of our dishes. We shopped around for the best prices but we really didn’t save much for all the effort it took. I never kept my receipts for this but I would guess we spent around $200 just for packaging. That doesn’t even include all the boxes we already owned!
Exiting The Rental Property
It’s no secret that Real Estate agents looking after rental properties will work to keep bond money for the owners. We’ve always tried to get our full bond back which means patching any dings or holes in the walls, keeping the garden in tip top shape, and doing a final clean on the last day. The tricky part is when you’re relocating you don’t have easy access to all of your usual cleaning products and tools. We had already sent ours away with the rest of the house! We spent extra money re-buying scrubbers and products to get everything looking just right. This leads me to my next item …
Bond For The New Property
When you arrive wherever you’re going, you’ll need money to put down for a rental bond (deposit) on the new property. If you’re thinking you’ll use the bond from the old property to cover the new one, don’t forget to consider how long it will take until you actually receive that money. It may take a while for the Real Estate agent to process the refund and for the numbers to hit your account. In the meantime, you’ll need enough to cover your new bond. Also, don’t forget to account for the exchange rate when doing your calculations!
Going To The Tip
Most of the items we weren’t taking with us went to the charity shop. Even with that, there was an entire car load of yard waste and just general rubbish from cleaning out the house that needed to go the tip. I had already filled our usual rubbish bins and since we were vacating, the rubbish had to be taken off the property (to make sure we got the bond back). One trip to the tip where we were living cost about $40. Unfortunately this stuff wasn’t recyclable. Depending on how much stuff you have to get rid of, don’t forget to plan for this cost!
We had signed up for a one-year contract with an Internet service provider that we weren’t going to see out. It worked out cheaper for us to pay the cancellation fee than to finish the contract (that we wouldn’t even use). We decided to pay the fee of $120 to make sure it was finalised before we left. On the flip side of this, make sure you have enough funds to cover start-up costs in your new home. This is especially important if you’re going abroad. Your Internet Service Provider and Mobile Phone provider won’t be the same so you can’t just shift a contract to a new district or a new plan. You’re starting all the way over! Isn’t it exciting?
After long days of packing and cleaning the last thing we wanted to do was cook dinner. We blew our usual budget for groceries multiple weeks in a row buying takeaway and pre-prepared dinners you just throw in the oven. If you have the will power to cook dinner every night then you’ll be fine. But if you’re like us, plan to have some extra cash!
One Last Box
After it was all said and done and I was packing my suitcase on the last day, in the last room, I couldn’t fit everything in. I had been gifted gorgeous going-away presents I wasn’t about to abandon. To be honest it wasn’t all going to fit in my suitcase anyway. We had planned to have one last ‘just-in-case’ box and I definitely needed it. To ship this alone with Seven Seas (who did the rest of our house) cost $280. It was worth it but it would have been better if I had planned my packing a bit more strategically.
Filing Taxes Abroad
I had been a ‘resident for tax purposes’ for the five tax years prior to this one. I thought I was being clever by filing an early return as soon as I departed. Turns out I was horribly wrong. Once I left Australia, I was no longer a resident for tax purposes and got hit with a massive fee to pay! Whilst the ATO are lenient with payment plans, it was still an unexpected cost that I am grudging paying now. If you are leaving Australia as a non-citizen, make sure you won’t get hit with a big bill before filing. If you have an accountant, speak to them about your best course of action.
Last Day Luxuries
On my last move I finalised everything in Perth the day before I was due to fly out. This meant I had to hire a car to get myself and my baggage around town. I was able to stay overnight with a friend which was a big help! But all the little costs of not having a home base for an entire day really added up. I ate all of my meals out and spent the day driving around to get one last farewell cuddle in from everyone. By the time I got to the airport that night I was exhausted ready for a drink and a new book. You want to make the most of these last moments so make sure you account for all these little luxuries. From the petrol for the hire car to that airport price cocktail!
All of these extra costs were at least another $1,000 on top of an already expensive move! Not to mention my hefty tax bill on top of that. Is there anything that you forget to include that ends up costing extra? I’d love to add to this list to make the next move even smoother!