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We Did It!: Two Full Months To Fund Australia

in Our Financial Journey

Kangaroo's Ahead!

As most of you know, in early June my wife and I are moving to Australia.  Around a month ago, we made the decision to switch our budget from a monthly budget to a “countdown to Australia budget.”  We took all of our remaining expenses for the three months we had left here at home and combined them into one big budget.

Our goals for our remaining three months were:

  • Maintain a $500 Emergency Fund – This $500 will act as a basic emergency fund for the remaining view months and will stay back when we travel as last layer of protection.  It is important to know that we already have a return flight home bought in case of an emergency.  This fund would be much higher if we didn’t already have a flight home as a back-up.
  • Save Up Minimum Student Loan Payments through April 2010 – For us this meant saving up $5,186.64 in a separate fund.  Yes, that is our minimum payments on student loans for one year.  Every time I read or type that number it makes me want to puke!
  • Save Up Cash To Pay Remaining U.S. Expenses – Because we are literally leaving the country it is easy to calculate exactly how much will we need on fixed expenses, since they all have a finite ending.  For variable expenses we’ve used our budgeting and tracking from previous months to estimate these for the remaining time.

I’m proud to announce that, as of tonight, we’ve accomplished all 3 goals!

We have an emergency fund of $500, a student loan escrow of $5,186.64, and the remaining two months of budgeted expenses in cold hard cash.  This means that every penny we earn over the next two months goes straight to our Australia Fund! Our Australia Fund will serve primarily to enable us to live for up to three months while seeking employment opportunities and settling in.

In addition to our regular income over the next two months we also will have income from:

  • Tax Refund Check – We will be receiving several thousand dollars (yes, we grossly underestimated the tax benefits of our 1 year old child).
  • Selling Both Paid-Off Cars – I’m hoping to be able to get $3,000 for both cars (hey, at least they are paid off)!
  • Selling Final Personal Belongings – We have a couple personal items left that will sell including my palm pilot, our bed, random kitchen items, and one laptop.

It feels awesome to be able to know that we’ve met our prerequisite savings goals and that each full paycheck can be deposited into our Australia Fund!

Potential Slip-Ups Ahead!

There are several budget area that are screaming “fire” right now that could steal some money away from our Australia Fund.  The following item totals are for exactly two months:

  • Food  Grocery:  $385.22 -  As we get closer and closer to the date, we will need to buy less and less.  In other words, we won’t be needed to stock the pantry for the future.  Because of this, I am fairly confident in our ability to stay within this category.
  • Food  Eating Out:  $24.06 – Oh noes!  This is by far going to be our biggest problem.  Twenty-Four dollars over the course of two months will be very difficult for us to achieve.  We will definitely need all the support we can get!
  • Clothing Adults:  $29.89 -  This is another doable category if we can stretch some dollars.  I need some new undershirts and both of us need at least one swimsuit!
  • Clothing Milligan:  $17.51 – This one is completely up to my wife!  That’s right, I’m throwing her under the bus.  Everyone has their weaknesses and hers is not being able to walk past the baby girl’s clothes without at least picking out one clearance outfit to bring home.
  • Entertainment:  $58.84 -  As we get closer to leaving, I’m sure we will want to go out with some of our friends.  We need to save every penny we can this month in anticipation for increased spending over the last view weeks!

Room To Spare!

Luckily, we have at least two categories that will likely finish with a lot of room to spare.  Hopefully, these will go a long way in making up for any of the “potential slip-ups.”

  • Gas/Oil:  $376.73 – This is going to be far more than we will end up spending.  I’m actually thinking we may only need about half of this number.  This would be a great area to help free up some breathing room in some of the other categories.
  • Utilities (Cell Phone):  $376.73 -  This number has a $175 disconnect fee that I’ve recently been able to eliminate from spending.  Even if my wife and I decide to spend that money elsewhere (we’ve talked about splitting it and half and rewarding each other with $86 blow money), we should still have breathing room left here after the two months.

Although it will take a lot of motivation and commitment, I believe that we can still hit our budget numbers. I’ll be sure to give another update or two on our progress as we get closer to our leave date.  Overall, I’m extremely proud that we were able to accomplish our savings goals much faster than anticipated.  This should leave us with a lot of extra money to be able to take with us to Australia if needed.

I hope that within the first month we are able to secure employment.  Once we establish a steady income we will be able to justify allocating a portion of our Australia Fund to help further reduce our student loan obligations!

Have you made any progress towards your own savings and/or debt reduction goals?  Do you have any tips on how we can save some of our budget categories from sucking money out of our Australia Fund?  Let me know by commenting below!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss M April 7, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Wow that’s a big change. What made you decide upon Australia and where are you moving to? I have/had family there and have visited many times. I’ve often thought of living there but it’s too expensive, and that’s coming from a girl in LA. Best of luck with the move.

Miss M’s last blog post..Economic Self-Segregation

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Baker April 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM

@ Miss M – My wife has been to Australia before and really loves it. I’ve never been, but am up to do some minimalist traveling before we settle down! We are moving to Cairns, which is far, far less expensive than any of the main cities. In our research the majority of apartments are around 15-20% more. Luckily, right now you can get around 1.4-1.5x on the dollar when converting to AUS. So we are very fortunate right now!

Thanks for dropping in!

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Keith April 7, 2009 at 9:44 PM

Congratulations on achieving your goal!! It is impressive and a reflection on your attitude of persistence you must have had the entire time. I am sure that you’ll be just as successful in dealing with your potential “slip-ups”. Good luck with the move and please keep us posted!! Thanks!

-Keith

Keith’s last blog post..Key to Cashflow

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Baker April 7, 2009 at 9:58 PM

@ Keith – Thanks man! I plan on keeping everyone informed and will need your continued support to motivate me to not “slip-up”!

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ella April 9, 2009 at 9:44 AM

I’m curious about how your visa process went. From what I’ve read, you either need sponsorship of family member or an employer in Australia to get a work visa or be a skilled worker that they need (like a doctor or a nurse). Or do you just plan on using a tourist visa and picking up odd jobs that pay in cash?

Do you think you could make a post about this? I’d love to move out of the country myself.

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MB April 18, 2009 at 10:12 PM

Congrats! I just found your blog and I’m so excited for you after reading this post! I remember when I first moved to Australia and it’s such an exciting time. My husband is Australian and we go every year still, but we now live in the US. If you want any advice or have any questions regarding looking for work once you get there, feel free to email me. Best of luck to you!

MB’s last blog post..Amazing Time Lapse Photography

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MB April 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM

I just reread this and noticed you are selling your laptop…do you have another one to take with you to Australia I hope? Just checking since computers (as is most everything else) are expensive there.

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Baker April 19, 2009 at 7:53 AM

@ Ella – We are going on a traveling visa and are planning on trying to secure sponsorship from an employer. My wife will most have the greatest probability of success as she is a teacher. She’s been approved by the Queensland Board of Teachers, which is the first step. Wish us luck!

@ MB – I just might take you up on those questions sometime soon. Yeah, we are taking one laptop and plan on sharing it at least until we get situated!

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Elsja April 22, 2009 at 4:08 AM

Hey there! Just stumbled across your blog. COngrats on the big move :) I moved from California to Sydney in September 2007 to be with my Aussie boyfriend and I love it here. It’s an interesting transition, but one that is totally worthwhile.

If you ever need any tips on the big move- check out http://www.yanksdownunder.net. Tons of great people with great advice :)

Elsja’s last blog post..Birthdays and Earth Days

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Catie April 22, 2009 at 8:43 PM

Truly impressive results! Congratulations on sticking to your goals. Your conviction and dedication will bring you many rewards (financial and psychological.) I have few tips for you on sticking to the numbers that have you a bit concerned.

Food Grocery: Get creative with the food stuffs you have in the house. Every three months, I do an eat-down. This is when I stop going to the grocery store and instead create dishes out of only the items I have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I do this to cut down on the amount of food I throw out. I think this applies in your case as well. Of course, you might have to buy some staples like milk, toilet paper, and such. For produce, you might be surprised at what you will find in your freezer.

Food Eating Out / Entertainment: I combined these two categories for a reason. I enjoy eating out for three reasons: 1) to try new dishes, 2) to reduce my work load and not have to clean the dishes, and 3) to enjoy time with my friends. I recommend you invite your friends over once a week for a potluck dinner until you leave for Australia. Everyone will bring a dish (you get to try new dishes), you only have to make one dish (and clean up after one dish), and you will spend time with your friends. You could add a theme to each get-together such as “Comfort Food”, “Exotic Menu” or “All-American: Foods That Will Taste Different Down-under”.

I hope you find some nuggets of worth in my tips. Good luck and keep me posted on your progress.

Catie’s last blog post..Why should I get my credit report annually?

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Java Bean Rush April 28, 2009 at 11:49 PM

HP offers a trade-in program for just about any computer or computer-related item. http://www.hp.com/united-states/tradein/howitworks.html#||##

Java Bean Rush’s last blog post..Spotlight You: Where are you from? Tell us a story.

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jen April 29, 2009 at 8:03 AM

Found you on the Problogger 31dbbb project and noticed you’re moving to Australia. My question of where is answered in the comments so I’ll just say that I hope that you love it here (I live in Adelaide, South Australia). At least you’ll be arriving in warm weather while we endure the much cooler weather down south.

jen’s last blog post..Blogging stories

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Dika September 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Hi guys,

You sound so motivated and positive well done! It remanded me my first experience with moving into new coutry!

How are you now, have you settled down and having happy life?
Im moving to AU, Melbourne this December with my fiancee and also trying to save and get prepared for all sorts of problems we will have to face.

Where about in AU you living now? :)

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