How Can Single Parents Afford to Live in a Place Like Sydney?

With rent being about $500+ per week and someone needs to look after the kids.


  • +12

    Move to Hobart

    • +6

      Not a cheap option any more - the Rental Affordability Index showed that last year, Hobart became the least affordable Australian city to rent in, pushing Sydney out of the top spot. And that’s if you can even GET a rental - the rental vacancy rate here is around 0.4%, much lower than any other capital city in Australia and many people are finding it almost impossible to find somewhere to rent.

      • +1

        That's based on % of income not actual cost?

        • +1

          Household income is taken into account, and wages in Tasmania tend to be lower overall than those on the mainland, so that affects the affordability calculation. Average rent in Hobart isn't exactly cheap, currently $450/week, which is more expensive than average rent in Melbourne ($440/week).

          • -1

            @SimbaGirl: Haha much cheaper than my 2bed/2bathroom unit I share with my gf for $790 per week, 8km from sydney cbd.

            • +7

              @Mikerobertsn: That's your fault for living in Sydney LOL. I grew up there, moved away when I was about 19, and wouldn't ever go back to Sydney again. But horses for courses, I guess :)

            • +8

              @Mikerobertsn: Two people, yet:



              8km from sydney cbd

              Hopefully your comment isn't by way of a complaint.

              • +1

                @HighAndDry: Haha it is a complaint, soo expensive for a very basic sized apartment

                • @Mikerobertsn: The past few years have seen what was previously small for 1-bed apts becoming common sizes for 2-bed apts (not uncommon to see 60m2-ish 2-bedders which to me is crazy).

                  Though if you don't mind me asking, do you rent out a room? Why do you+gf need a 2-bedder?

                  • @HighAndDry: Yeah exactly, if we could find a large one bedder would prob consider that but most are tiny not much bigger then studio. We have seen smallish 1 bedders for maybe 720, not much cheaper.
                    Nah we don’t it would be soo cramped with another person since its small 2 bedroom, like wardrobe is only big enough for one person. So we use other bedroom as study/wardrobe/spare room. I know some people do have two couples in a 2 bedder sure halve the rent but they are soo small ur living on top of each other, kitchen is very small too.

            • @Mikerobertsn: 3160 in rent a month you buy a house for anywhere else.

              • @nikey2k27: Was thinking of buying a unit but with all the issues lately not a good idea. A house would be double that even 15km from sydney cbd around 1.5 million

                • @Mikerobertsn: Move out of Sydney and buy waterfront for less than the cost of an average house in the sticks in Sydney.

  • +62

    Lower your standards/expectations for relationships?

    • -22


      • +39

        Everyone's circumstances are different sure, but I know plenty of people that are single parents because they won't settle for less than model like features, infinite funds and treats them like royalty. Plenty of amazing lonely people out there that would love to share the burden. I'm not saying you should settle, but there comes a time when being practical is exactly that.

      • +6

        Some people's expectations are "disgusting"…!

      • +1

        How so?

        • +3

          I spend all my time on Ozbargain so it's like an enforced abstinence.

          • +1

            @Hardlyworkin: At least your standards won't rule out "being a cheapskate"* if that's the case…

            *used affectionately, since quite obviously I'm here too.

          • +5

            @Hardlyworkin: Ozcel???

    • +1

      This is actually a good point. We look back at the relationships of the past as barbaric in their lack of romance or being forced. I know plenty of older couples who were in an arranged marriage or simply married out of desperation and ended up living long, happy lives together with 5+ kids and plenty of savings by the time they retired.

      Meanwhile the bubbling romance of the modern day couple tends to end as quickly as it starts with one or both ending up financially and socially ruined, with the added bonus of having kids suffer it with them.

      • Mate. Their are many of those arranged marriages / desperation marriages that haven’t ended well too

        • Sure, but generally the divorce rate or single parent rate is much higher today than it was back then.

          It's common sense. If you marry for convenience, you're likely gonna stay together because that convenience factor is always going to be there. If you marry for sexual attraction, social status, or emotional bond, you're more likely to break apart down the line as all of those things are temporary and very fragile.

          • @SlavOz: If you marry for convenience you most likely aren't happy in life and stay in the relationship for fear of being alone or having the mindset that it's not OK to be single, or being ridiculed by social stereotypes/family

            Ps. I didn't neg you..

          • @SlavOz: It's higher because it's become socially acceptable to get divorced nowadays. Being a divorcee is no longer a stigma in Australia.

            • +3

              @Adoses: ^^ This.

              I give you me as an example. I wasn't happy in the last few years of my marriage, but I stayed in it for 3 main reasons.

              1. The kids
              2. Not wanting to disappoint family/put them through me going through a divorce
              3. It's hard separating from someone you've been with for almost a decade. (financially, socially, dividing assets, etc.)

              But I can also tell you this,

              Once it finally did happen, after the initial shock of breaking up and getting life matters sorted. I've never been happier in life :)

            • -3

              @Adoses: Wrong way around. Divorce is more socially acceptable because it's more common.

              It's more common because people are marrying for the wrong reasons - and also have more distractions to lure them away from faithful marriages. Men get sick of marriage because you can get sex easier than ever before elsewhere. Women get sick of it because they can get attention and validation from social media without having to give up their bodies.

    • and expenses.

  • +7

    By finding cheap rent, government assistance, and living within their means…

    • +2

      i think you need to keep adding to your points, unless ” …” means having a trust fund.

      • +12

        Not really. $500 is not entry level rental, even in Sydney. If you're a single parent, that's where you'd start looking unless you can afford more.

        It's somewhat of a prevailing attitude these days that "I need this standard of living" whether or not they can afford it, and if they can't, it's everyone else's fault from "society" to "landlords", etc.

    • So who looks after the kids?

  • +4

    Child support

    • +3

      That's a two-bit solution.

      • -3

        Penis and vagina? O.o

    • +9

      Ha! $500 doesn't get you luxury anything in Sydney, not luxury apartments that's for sure.

  • +9

    People honestly pay $26k per year just on rent in Sydney? Why do people live there if that amount of money is a problem? Move.

    • +6

      I was paying $44,200 p/a for a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom furnished apartment 5km from the CBD in 2017. It was unsustainable in the long term but for 6 months it was worth it for all the intangible advantages that it had.

    • Yes, I do personally. Unfortunately I am not allowed to work interstate!
      I live by myself and 500 is a lot of money; however if I factor in peace of mind + my doggo having a (very) large foyer to stay, it's worth it.

    • It's not that different in Brisbane out in the suburbs. Honestly you can't avoid paying close to that without moving away from the cities entirely.

      • +4

        Nah, Brisbane is NOT that bad.

        • +1

          I know right?

          $18k p/a interest on a ~250sqm house (>600sqm block) <20km from the CBD, noting that our traffic is nothing like Sydney's, so 20km is nothing…

        • +1

          What? Even in Brisbane, $500 per week isn't an unrealistic amount to expect to pay for a decent place.

          When we were renting for a year after relocating from the UK, we were paying more than $500/week for a 3 bedroom townhouse in the suburbs.

          • -1

            @keejoonc: You were paying too much then. That’s very high.

            • +1

              @theguyrules: No we didn't. Unless you decide to live in some crappy area or house that was the going rate for rent at the time. After we gave our notice t was rented out for more than what we paid before we even moved out.

              • @keejoonc: For somewhere like Tarrigindi or Greenslopes, it's less than $500 p/w for a 3BDR house or townhouse. And they aren't crappy area, they're just out of the city.

                • @theguyrules: Look mate. It's all relative. Sure you can find something for less than 500 if it's old, unrenovated
                  etc. However, if you want something clean and modern, less than 500 isn't going to get you much in Brisbane.

    • +2

      It's not a simple as just telling someone to move, Sydney has the biggest opportunity for jobs and job growth in industries, you cant just pack up and leave if your profession or skills are not suited anywhere else but the city.

      • -3

        Buy a car, join a gym for a shower, buy dinner. Win.

    • +1

      Because it's either pay that, or pay slightly less but then lose hours of your life everyday in traffic. I'd kill myself if I had the long commutes some people do. It's a waste of your life.
      Imagine 3 hours a day commuting, that's nearly 20% of your waking life commuting. That's (profanity).

  • +55

    After having 1 kid, I have massive respect for single parents. It's hard to raise a kid and work full-time.

    After having 2, I have no idea how single parents don't neck themselves.

    • Lol so true … Im at one. Ill prepare my noose in a couple years.

    • -6

      Not every single parent is single in RL or working.

      • +10

        TIL I can be in a relationship and be a single parent.

        • +1

          Yeah, you can. Kid from previous marriage, serious relationship but not serious enough to be co-parenting yet.

          • +2

            @HighAndDry: Fair point. The comment I was responding to definitely does not read well.

    • +2

      Totally agree. I was a single dad (to a 3 and 5 year old) for 2 weeks while the wife went back to her motherland, it was tough

      • -6

        No. You were a dad.

        Did you have to parent though the death of a spouse or a relationship break down?

        Society demoralises single parents enough. Stealing their title to humble brag is innocent self humiliation.

        (innocent is in bold because I purely want you to stop humiliating yourself and I am not skilled enough to write this reply without my message reading like a personal attack)

        • Stealing their title to humble brag is innocent self humiliation.

          Mate, no one is using "single parent" pejoratively or as an insult here, so there's no "humiliation", self or otherwise in someone else labelling themselves one. You're the only one here that seems to have a chip on your shoulder about it.

          • -11

            @HighAndDry: It is self humiliating in the same way that calling your self indigenous after camping outside for the night would be. Or using a tee shirt as a ninja mask and calling your self a Muslim. Or applying black face then using the N word.

            Except it is innocent as the struggles of a single parent are underestimated by many.

            It is not about single parent being an insult, because it is not. It's just taking a title from a hard up, marginalised group, and using it because you think it would make you sound like a hero. I replied because it doesn't, and I don't like people making a fool out of themselves.

            To put is another way, it is like poor old Barnaby's comparison of his $211,000 P.A. wage to new start. The heart is in the right spot, but it is still plain silly.

            • +1

              @This Guy: I think you missed the point of that comment, which I read as "parenting on your own for 2 weeks is tough, doing it constantly would be insanely difficult." I think most comments here actually support the idea the being a single parent is challenging and anyone that manages it deserves respect.

              • -1

                @zoob: Looking after your own kids for two weeks alone is not difficult. School's and day care don't suddenly close. Baby sisters don't suddenly disappear. Unless you completely dump parenting on your partner, looking after your kids alone for two weeks is a mild headache.

                • +1

                  @This Guy: Didn't read everything, but looking after your kids cos your partner is away, doesn't constitute someone being a single parent. lol

                  • +1

                    @Danstar: Prepare for down votes from absent/lazy parents.

  • +2

    There are cheaper suburbs to rent in.. However I think the killer is childcare, $100 per day on top of childcare.

    • +2

      Ours is $165 (2) and $150 (4)

    • +6

      Pretty sure everyone earning under 300k a year is entitled to some form of childcare subsidy. I know if your household income is under around 63k then CCS will pay 85% of your childcare fees. There's a 5% withholding which gets balanced at end of financial year. But if you're a single parent earning minimum wage then you're looking at $20 a day for childcare for one kid instead of say $100 a day (if full fee is $100 a day - my kids' daycare is but I live in QLD so prob lot cheaper than Syd) . Then you get that 5% withholding back at end of financial year.

  • +3

    25k in rent and 50k in childcare (b fore rebates) + medical, utilities, clothing, food. Life is hard

    • +1

      Whats the point in worrying about before rebate costs though? After rebate is going to be ~$20 pd for child care

      • Not even close I pay $550 a fortnight after rebates for full time daycare. I don’t earn a high wage.

        1 4yr old child

        • +1

          $20pd was just a random guess, but I think you will agree even $550 a fortnight is waaaaaaay closer to $20pd than $50k per year haha

          btw I just put this into an online child care subsidy estimator thing; single parent, working full time, on $80k, with 1 kid in childcare, at $120pd

          Estimated out of pocket expenses is $140pw = $28pd

          • @trapper: Fair enough, but yes I don’t calculate it until after my rebate,

            Perhaps they don’t claim the rebate until tax time, no idea why you wouldn’t get them to just pay it direct to the child care centre.

  • +9

    they sell cocaine

    • Not sure they'd have enough left over after what they'd need to sustain themselves… single parents have hectic schedules…

  • +32

    I'm a single parent in Melbourne, 2 kids, 100% custody, no child support, paying mortgage and doing OK.

    Was hard in the beginning, as had no idea what I was going to do with work, house, etc.

    But got great family support, but I try do as much as I can without using help from others. And if I do get help from others, I pay back 2 fold if not more :)

    It gets easier as the kids get older, but in saying that, as they get older they eat a LOT more and want higher priced items for presents.

    • +4

      You must be very good at managing finance and kids….Kudos to you mate..

      • Thank you.

        I should clarify, I'm in a suburb approx. 25kms from Melbourne CBD.

        If it was up to me, I'd be living in Docklands right now, but that will have to wait till the kids finish high school. (in about 10 years lol)

    • +2

      You are awesome.

    • i know woman 5 kids pay mortgage she doing all right.

  • +5

    The majority can't. It would be a small minority of single parents in Sydney renting at $500 a week.

    If they are, they are either:

    a) Very well paid;
    b) Very good at managing their finances;
    c) Getting plenty of child support and government assistance; or
    d) Being subsidised by family members or family money.

    The rest either move to a more affordable suburb.

    • +3

      Or don't pay $500 rent a week. It takes some looking (and longer commutes which take away from child-caring time) but it's possible to find a 2-bed unit a bit further away for closer to $350/wk.

    • +2

      I stayed in Sydney western Suburb for $430 PW rent for almost 3 years. If money is the problem, there are quite few cheaper rental options available. But Luxury and cheap rentals don't go hand in hand.

      • For a single parent on solely government benefits or an award paying job - money is usually a problem.

  • +5

    sugar daddies

  • +1

    With rent being about $500+ per week

    I assume that's average rents. If you're a single parent on an average or below-average income, you shouldn't expect to be able to sustain an average standard of living, and shouldn't be looking at $500/wk places to rent.

    • +2

      $500 a week rent might as well buy a small town house and just pay mortgage repayments

      • +1

        For that you would need:
        A deposit
        A townhouse or apartment for around $400,000

        Good luck with that in Sydney metro

        • +1

          You can find some cheapie in Carramar, a unit tho.

        • +4

          in Sydney metro

          This is the problem. Why does anyone need to live in the "Sydney metro"? That's a trick question, they don't. People not understanding the difference between a necessity and a luxury is why people keep whining about costs of living.

          • +2

            @HighAndDry: Because commuting in sydney makes people want to kill themselves.

            • +2

              @INVOICE: Find a job with flexible hours? Find a job not in the CBD? Public transport?

              Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

            • @INVOICE: I can understand the sentiment, but that's not an excuse. Millions of people commute every day and they're able to manage it.

          • @HighAndDry: The Sydney Metro area extends west to Emu Plains; north to Horsnby and south to Helensburg; north west to Richmond and south west to (at least) Campbelltown. It's an area greater than 12,000km


            I wasn't talking about the CBD.

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