How to live in Australia on $220 a week and still have fun Blog #001
How to live in Australia on $220 a week and still have fun
I have seen Youtube videos showing how to live in places like Thailand on around US$800 a month. After taking into account the exchange rate this is about $1050 Australian. It has dawned on me that this is actually more than I survive on, so I though I would start documenting something I do everyday and that is live in Australia on $220AUD per week.
First, I was born in Australia, I am a permanent resident and passport holder, which answers the second point, Why $220? Because as an Unemployed citizen, that's how much money I receive from the government to live. It should also be noted that the 'poverty line' in Australia is $426 a week. This is considered the amount it should cost to live here, so lets find out how to do it on about half that and still have a good time.
There are two ways to deal with have only a small amount of money, either earn more, or spend less so keeping expenses to an absolute minimum is one of my main priorities. The two main expenses I encounter on a day to day basis are fuel and food. The thing about being alive is once you have food water and shelter, everything else is just details.
The Biggest expense for most people is Rent. Average housing prices are way out of my budget, so shelter for me means 3 different things. My main 'base' is 24 acres of land that is actually owned by my parents. Sure not everyone has this luxury, but when you are living cheap, you take what you can get. My Rent here is $0, and for that I get a large shed, with power, rainwater and an outside toilet. I do have to pay for any power used and South Australia has the most expensive power in the world, so power use is limited to laptop and lighting.
This might all sound a little bleak, but living 30km from the nearest town, certainly has its advantages, and brings me to shelter option number 2. My awesome car is a 2005 Subaru Forester. This is where I live about 30% of the time because one of the coolest things about having a $0 rent commitment is you get to travel. I will cover the details of my car in much more detail in the future, but for now this 'house on wheels' costs around $50 per month in registration and allows me to travel as far as my fuel budget allows.
In the previous two weeks, Traveling means I drove around 8000KM doing the trip from Adelaide to Darwin and return just because I can.
The third option for shelter is 'Couch surfing' I have a few friends in the city that let me stay for free. The only downside is 'the city' is 110km away, so the fuel to get there becomes an important consideration.
Providing you have some kind of car, shelter is always covered. This is why there are so many backpackers with vans, a wise choice. The only reason I keep returning to my 'shed' and not travel permanently is the shed also has High Speed Internet
Shelter covered, that just leaves Food and Fuel. Fuel costs cover anywhere from a third to over half my expenditure, depending on how much traveling I want to do. If I need to save money, then I will just drive less. In the upcoming week however I will be driving from Adelaide to Melbourne for a 3 Day music Festival. Total Fuel cost for the 1600km journey will be around $160.
That just leaves Food. Now every video I have ever seen with people attempting to live cheap, always has the goto 'bulk' cheap foods like pasta and rice. One of my principles is that I do not eat low quality food and because of the fact that I am insulin resistant, I eat a Ketogenic Diet. Apart from all the amazing health benefits of a Keto diet, it also happens to be a very efficient way to live. So you will not find any rice, pasta or bread slowing me down. Traveling a lot and eating Keto, especially without access to a refrigerator has a few challenges, but these are the things I will discuss in future blogs. Eating out is not really an option, but learning to appreciate cooking opens your world up to food that far surpasses the flavour and quality of anything you can get if your paying someone else to cook for you.
Minimalism play a large part in my life and I would recommend the book “The life changing magic of tidying up”by Marie Kondo to anyone. It really will change your life. Handy hint though, The audiobook is available on youtube for free.
So what about the having fun part then I hear you ask? Well something I have noticed over the years is that my particular lifestyle while geared towards comfortable survival, allows me to do a lot more than most people with regular jobs, they key point being freedom. When you remove dependence on all the little luxuries that most people 'just cant live without' you gain a lot of freedom. The biggest being that If you have no bills, then traveling costs roughly the same as staying home.
As mentioned before, In a few days I will be driving from Adelaide to Melbourne so I can attend a 3 day music Festival. I purchased my ticket 6 months in advance as a $270 ticket requires some time to save up, but apart from the ticket cost of entry, there are no other expenses at all outside of my normal day to day. When you have spent enough time living out of your vehicle, camping at a festival just becomes like anywhere else.
That's the basic introduction to how I live for cheap, Ill go into much more detail in future posts. As I have just returned from the supermarket, I'll give a detailed look at everything I just purchased.
The total cost of all the food pictured is $55 and I expect this to last at least 6 days. The big ticket Items are the Cashew nuts($9) the 1kg Cheese ($9) and 2.4kg pork leg($12). Food is not an area I like to cut costs too much on. I only purchased the pork leg because it was insanely cheap, but it is honestly way too much meat for me to eat by myself, even over a two week period. It will also be a learning experience as I attempt to De-bone the leg, something I have never done before. I am also weary that 'cheap meat' often means poor quality. Im hoping that this large chunk is cheap because it is on clearance, also meat still containing bones is significantly cheaper than anything that has been prepared.
That's about it for my first blog post. I will go into much more detail in the future to try and give a comprehensive look into my life and how I survive quite well on $220 a week. Any questions or comments very much appreciated.