Food here is REALLY EXPENSIVE. The further into our “normal” Australian life we get, the more intense and difficult we find budgeting for groceries. I say “normal” life because in the beginning we were playing fast and loose with our budget (or lack thereof). I’m embarrassed to say we only slowed our pace when one day I looked at my balance and nearly fainted. Now we’re living that fixed income life, and sticking to a strict schedule of rice + beans, ramen, and if we’re feeling extra fancy - baked potato night. We’re getting by just fine, but we do have to work at keeping our grocery shopping below $400 a month.
All this means…no more eating out. And very limited coffee consumption outside our apartment. We go once or twice a week for our flat white + long black, but otherwise we’re chugging down the pre-ground/slightly burnt Coles brand brew.
An upside to this is that we’ve also picked up drinking more tea, which has given us our new favorite afternoon activity – tea time! It works out that Tyler and I are normally home for a short overlapping period in the afternoon as one us is coming home/leaving again, so we take that chance to sit down for some extra caffeination and a chat (and maybe a few rounds of cards).
Also on the topic of expenses – Tyler and I have flipflopped on our love of the NSW public transportation system. We try to save all our long/pricey trips for Sunday when the cap is $2.70 – but other days we’re swearing under our breath as we push through the turnstiles. The silver lining to this is that we’re walking pretty much everywhere now, and our wallets and waistlines seem to like it.
Winter is most definitely coming – I’m into the few sweaters I brought with me and we’ve turned the heat on in our apartment. When we moved here I had my winter coat on because it was FRIGID back in Connecticut. I assumed it would sit in my closet untouched until we were headed back stateside, but I’ve found myself reaching for it most mornings. I remember days in college when the thermometer would hit 60 and we’d all be down to the beach peeling off layers to soak up the first warm rays of sun - now I’m an official Sydneysider and am contemplating knitting a hat for the days it dips into the high 50’s.
Australia is…huge?! This has come up time and time again in chats with colleagues and friends back home, but I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it on the blog. Americans assumptions of the size of Australia is completely skewed based on our distance from it and the representation we often see on the map. It is roughly the same size as the United States! How this affects us the most is in traveling. Tyler and I had grand plans for seeing as much of Australia as we possibly could, but given how much of our savings it’s taking just to get by, we’re cutting back our big trips pretty drastically (not to mention, our time here is flying by faster than I can schedule it). We’re still daydreaming and hoping to get to Tasmania, Melbourne, and *fingers crossed* into the Outback to Alice Springs. Whether we’ll make it up to Queensland and the Reef is up in the air. Whatever happens, we’re optimistic as ever - if there is one thing we’re sure of, it’s that we will definitely be back to this home away from home again someday.