How Do You All Afford Rent? (Defeated Uni Student)

Hello. Just wanted to ask how do all of you afford rent? I am a uni student studying in a STEM field and will be graduating in the next 2 years. Recently I've taken a look at realestate.com and boy oh boy is it shocking. Even if I get lucky with a starting salary of 60k - 70k, rent will end up being a huge portion of my after tax salary.

I don't want to rely on my partner to chip in, as I don't know if/when this will happen. I understand you don't have to live in the flashiest suburb or the nicest apartment, but even then a decent one will set you back 400-500 dollarydoos a week!

Obviously the Sydney market is messed up, but still. Couple that will sky high inflation and it makes living seem sooo out of reach. Kinda worried about my generation and the ones that will follow. Especially with all this BNPL and instant gratification destroying people's financial habits.

closed Comments

        • +14

          Yep thats the difference. Prices have skyrocketed since then. Even comparing prices now to then is absolutely stupid

    • +42

      Houses are 1 million dollars even 50 km out, this is not a helpful comment.

      • +2

        You'll have to consider somewhere in the great unknown, sometimes called not Sydney.

        • +1

          except, the OP is in sydney..

          • @lk0811: That's why they would have to consider somewhere other than Sydney.

            • +2

              @Skylex: Then you also have to consider fewer job prospects too.

              • +4

                @dizzle: It depends on the industry, but you're more likely to find entry level positions farther afield than in the most desirable locations, where they also have far more applicants, and so are more likely to require years of experience. Believe it or not, people in not Sydney have jobs too.

              • @dizzle: that is the reality of it all.

  • +12

    Welcome to th real world where many people work multiple jobs… or move out of shitney to anywhere you can afford

    • +6

      How far out of shitbourne do you live then?…

      • over 50klms and if I didnt have kids I'd be up around Alexandria - Mansfield area in a hurry or sea change - Hawker SA..

        You live where you can afford which isnt always where you want to.

        YMMV

      • More than a thousand kilometers. Most of the new and established houses here are less than three times our annual income and we both don't even earn the average full time salary.

  • +10

    Budgeting and being realistic in what you can afford vs what you want.

    Avoid unnecessary debt and big expenses (new car etc) and you’ll be surprised how far 60k goes, even when your spending 26k of it on rent.

    • +14

      you’ll be surprised how far 60k goes, even when your spending 26k of it on rent.

      On a $60K salary, it's about $4000/month after tax. Rent at $2200/month only leaves $1800/month to spend. Then there's bills, etc. And there's really not that much left. It's almost impossible to save anything with what's left after food, travel and a bit of going out.

      The simplest way is to slash that rent bill is to have housemate(s).

      • +6

        On a $1000 a week after tax budget while spending $500 a week on rent would be tough to save, but not impossible.

        Everyone is different in their budgeting and spending habits though.

        Personally, in that particular circumstance, i would still be coming out with around $200+ towards saving as my food/petrol/electricity/gas/internet/phone bills dont cost me more then $300 a week.

        But if i ate out a lot, used my dryer all the time, drove a v8 and had telstra mobile plan, that budget wouldnt work.

        Obviously some weeks will cost more + going out etc but even if you put $100 a week away thats 5k a year saved.

        • +5

          …still be coming out with $200+ towards saving as my food/petrol/electricity/gas/internet/phone bills dont cost me more then $300 a week.

          I agree with what you're saying - it's just that shit is so expensive these days that $200/week is not a big buffer at all. A doctor's appointment can easily cost $60-$90 alone. Plus at that age, is it really realistic to not have a social life at all?

          • +3

            @bobbified: Fully agree with you too mate.

            But that is the reality of becoming a self sufficient adult.

            There are definitely things you can do to reduce your bills, so not all hope is lost. It just might be harder at the beginning.

        • +4

          $5k / year is unfortunately nothing. Even trying to save for a house deposit of 10% with something cheap (sub <$500k), it'll take 10 years. Circumstances will change (partner+, better paying job+, kids-, emergencies-) but it's still pretty unattainable for most people

          • +3

            @Dikaiarchos: Absolutely, but the op just wants to know how to survive on that budget.

            The above advice is how.

            How to save for a house on that budget is not easy but also not impossible. (But then you will be going down multiple jobs/houseshare/live at home scenarios)
            But thats a different subject.

  • +19

    Look at a share house with another person/couple ie. 2 bed two bath with larger living area, yes it has its down sides but that is how you can save money early on and you get to meet new people. Do this first before living on your own as it will be harder to go backward. Share housing is particularly common in places like London and big European capital cities where houses cost a bomb.

    • +1

      This is what more people should be willing to do. When i bought my house I rented it out and rented a room with some friends as it significantly cheaper than having a whole place to myself.

    • +2

      yes, share house can be a good way to expand your social circle (and dating pool). if privacy is important to you you can look for a studio or an apartment that has a layout where the bedrooms are split to either side of the dwelling (eg. one on either side of living room, or split level). when you find a partner to move in you can then share the rent.

      it's much cheaper - you can get a new flash apartment within 5-10kms of Sydney CBD close to station for ~250-300pp in 2bedder or ~200-250pp 3br

    • Yep, I share housed until I met my now husband, then when we moved in together we shared rent, then a mortgage.

      Went from the family home, to sharing housing to a couple, I’ve never lived alone. I guess that’s one way people afford it.

  • +13

    House share

  • -2

    Rent smaller or share your apartment. Being DINK you don't need more than 1 bedroom.

    That's just the reality as long as people continue to vote for the Coalition.

  • +15

    I don't want to rely on my partner to chip in…

    Why? It's not like you're swimming in cash. If your partner doesn't understand this, then ditch him/her and find another one that does.

    • This. If he/she is working/earning then this is the reality of the modern household…

    • +2

      OP is old-fashioned which is a good thing. He wants to be the breadwinner, and have the wife to mend the home and look after the kids.

      It's great and noble, but it's not realistic anymore. It would require OP to withhold dating for a decade or so, until they've Levelled Up in their career and are making enough money for two plus. Only shortcuts there is to inherit money, win lottery (or stocks), or have powerful connections who can nepotism you to those desirable positions.

    • +1

      Did you not read the part after that? "as I don't know if/when this will happen." Which either means they don't have a partner, or their partner has no money or income.

  • +3

    but even then a decent one will set you back 400-500 dollarydoos a week!

    I think you're definitely looking in the wrong areas? I rent out a studio apartment smack bank in the middle of sydney by myself for $400 a week.
    Out west there's townhouses you can get for around $450 to $500 mark. At uni, living on centrelink I was in shared accommodation (own room, but shared bathrooms). They're around $250 a week, this was in the burwood/strathfield area.

  • I pay $460 a week on the coast and I’m on 60k. Effectively rent and bills is more than half my income. I’m finishing my degree and working full time at present, it’s going to be tough next sem as I want to finish my degree so I can apply for grad roles (finally) but financially it’ll be a short term blow

    • Roommate?

      • Partner and kid

        • Wow, how young are you?

  • +6

    You buy where you can afford and live within you means. That hasn't changed in, well, forever.

    Share a place, learn to cook meals that last for days, buy everything second hand or get it free.

    Never understood the appeal of Sydney or Melbourne. Don't limit your post study life to just that sphere.

    • +3

      Totally agree I'm paying a house off on 60 grand a year I have co workers complaining they don't earn enough but they buy coffee everyday may buy breakfast and lunch a bottle of softdrink as well that's 20-30 a day. It all adds up you can treat yourself but not everyday.

  • +2

    Scenario 1
    I'm 24 male, per month I spend:
    Haircut $70
    Petrol $200
    Apple storage $4.50
    MATE sim only $35
    Bupa $67
    Physio $10 (after Bupa)
    YouTube Premium $2.50
    Gym (MMA) $200
    Union (tax deductible) $60
    Optus NBN $77

    .

    reply 1
    In that case I would tell him dont worry about scrimping $4 here and $10 there. Needs to remember quality of life at the end of the day - saving an extra $100 a month so he now saves 71% of his income probably isnt worth the hassle

    Instant gratification vs delayed gratification is the difference between ngmi and wagmi.

    • +2

      I've cut my own hair for years big saving there.

  • +6

    but even then a decent one will set you back 400-500 dollarydoos a week!

    The answer to your question is that most people starting out don't get "a decent one", move into a share house or are willing to live further out and travel to work. It sucks, but that's the world we live in.

    Read/ask around about apartment buildings if you want to live alone, I lived in a crap apartment that had a great management company once, was easily tolerable because everything worked and they fixed things that broke. It was too small, had terrible airflow, was noisy (near a highway) but after a few years my income went up and I could afford somewhere better.

    • +5

      My first place had no ac, no heating, bad landlord and backed onto a major rail line in a not so great area of Adelaide. The neighbours were, umm, interesting.
      It was all we could afford. But it enabled us to have an address for employment and get started. Took a few years to save for a deposit. Even then we couch surfed for about 3-6 months.
      Had to take a 24/7 rotating shift work job for years, begged for every 'gold shift' (Thurs-Mon, grave shift) to get the extra $20-30k pa.

      • +1

        And now you have two investment properties?

        • +4

          No, still paying off the original place.

          Why does everyone assume that if you're not under 30 you must be rolling in it?

          Most people aim for comfortable with the hope of an emergency buffer and a nice, non pensioned retirement 👍

      • Oh yeah, I did forget about the neighbours. The meth head who would start yelling/singing (not sure which is was most of the time, yelling in key?) at 3am was not my favourite person in the world.

        Saving for a deposit is a whole different ball game these days, I gave up and moved into a nicer place rather than focusing on getting that.

      • do miss interesting neighbors now live next door well-to-do people.

  • use public transport over buying a car, and if you do, it's okay to buy an old mazda or toyota, ego doesn't fuel the car or save you $$
    avoid temptations like uber eats etc, maybe once a week
    move further out into share house with split bills
    byo lunch
    cut out unnecessary subscriptions

  • +3

    You basically find a 4BR house, rent out out the other 3 rooms to cover your own rent and expenses. Basically living for free. It won't be flashy and it won't luxurious living but it will get you ahead (if you don't spend it on stuff you don't need)

  • +1

    Either continue living with parents, live in a van or boat, buy a block of rural land and put a shipping container on it or just keep throwing money away on rent and grinding away at work. Those are your options. There are a lot of younger people exploring alternative lifestyles now. Attitudes to work are changing. Many are waking up and valuing life experiences over wasting away in full time positions. If you are good with money and happy to live a little differently, you can live well on a small income.

  • +1

    No-one starting out has ever been able to afford to live alone. Only way is a cheap place in cheap area or boarding with shared facilities. More normal when younger to share anyway and more interesting too, plus you can get into a pricier lifestyle area and enjoy your youth.

  • Its like anything, shop around, there is still good value to be had. recently I saw a 2 bedroom unit for 240, guess it was because it was on the second floor. The secret is to know where the bargains are listed.

  • -2

    heres an example. includes furniture, internet
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/656647012013218/?r...

  • +4

    The ozbargain way is to cut off as many expenses as possible and live off lentils

    The real world way is to find a better job

    400 a week is 20k a year.

    You said you might get 60k.

    Well 30 percent is fine.

    Just means cutting off othrr things.

  • +1

    I don't want to rely on my partner to chip in, as I don't know if/when this will happen. I understand you don't have to live in the flashiest suburb or the nicest apartment, but even then a decent one will set you back 400-500 dollarydoos a week!

    are you going to be living with your partner? if not maybe you don't need a 400-500 bachelor pad.

    If you guys are living together, are you two planning on renting some place that cost $1000 per week? (assuming the rent is split 50/50)

    if you guys are living together and you are paying all the rent, then maybe you should stay at home for a little longer. The burden will get very heavy real quick.

  • -2

    Just living at home with your parents is your best option in Sydney. Otherwise if you have to, share house but that's probably even worse than living with parents.

    Let's just hope that interest rates go up to 6%-10% as a result of the inevitable inflation that will occur from all the government stimulus and quantitative easing that the RBA has been performing in light of COVID.

    If you have two years till graduation do the following:

    • Study hard and get a HD average at the very least
    • Complete at least two internships/IBL programs during university
    • Work a job now, preferably in the industry you want to land in after uni
    • Start a side hustle
    • Do lots of ECs such as volunteering, get a black belt in a martial art, start a charity foundation etc.

    If you do all the above you should be a strong candidate for a grad program.

    • Let's just hope that interest rates go up to 6%-10%

      Don't worry. This will never happen in our lifetime.

    • +2

      I can't tell if you're joking about your list for being a strong candidate for a grad program. Imagine doing all that, having no social life, studying incessantly for years on end, just to get $60k p/a LOL

      • +1

        I’m not. Competition for grad programs is extremely fierce these days with thousands of students from all over the country competing for a small amount of spots.

        • +1

          I wasn't trying to have a go, it's just an absolute joke. I did a similar path to what you described and started on the very princely sum of $62k incl Super in a very technical field. It boggled my mind that I fell for it and that I used to make more money driving forklifts (and the work was easier!).

          Compare that to the generation above and my parents managed to find jobs with no degrees earning something similar. All while still having a social life and living

          I have regrets about wasting my youth doing stupid shit to make some other (profanity) heaps of money

          • @Dikaiarchos: grad programs are about experience and a foot in the door for opportunities for higher paying jobs and career progression. not everyone will make it but you're not going to get that from driving forklifts. as a comparison doctors start internship at $60k also, you'd get paid twice as much working a woolies night shift as you would as intern on a night shift. but with further training and progression that's when you hit the big bucks. in grad programs the main aim is picking up new skills and networking, the salary just needs to put a roof over your head

            • +1

              @lk0811: True to an extent and depends on how many options you have available to you. Having done it, I just think it's a bit of a scam. People will have different experiences and if it's something they want, then go for it

  • https://www.domain.com.au/118-117-burwood-road-burwood-nsw-2...

    $250 a week, maybe it's not your ideal place but if this is all you can afford right now then you can't be too fussy.

    It looks better than some places I have lived.

    • Great find and that’s an excellent location. Probably don’t need a car if the job is near public transport too.

  • you just find a sharehouse, if theres a will theres def a way. live love learn

  • +4

    Welcome to the life of "you should stop eating avocado on toast"
    But in reality it's cooked.
    Like really cooked.

    I'm in Perth and it's average at best, i can't fathom being in Sydney/Melbourne.

    Once you get out of the grad program onto $90-$100k things get easier, but still the rental trap is real.
    The landlords pay off their house/flat while you struggle to scrape together a 10% depost, i really feel for those living below the median income, they literally have no hope of owning their own home/apartment.

    • A friend told me that 🥑 are now $3 p/kg. The same price as 🍌 and cheaper than other things people normally eat with 🥪.

      • this is true, it doesn't ring as true as it did before the farmers flooded the market.
        Doesn't stop cafes charging the same or more though.

  • +4

    It has always been this way, i also had the attitude that it was easier in my parents day, but the reality is you either live beyond your means or be realistic, share house with others, save for your deposit, or meet someone and share the load. Its life, same for every generation. Except i dont remember even wanting to eat avocadoes on toast and definitely didn't even know to smash them

  • If you can, continue living with the parents if they have a house nearby or in the same city. Otherwise, it will be a very long journey towards home ownership.

  • +1

    Sharehousing

    www.flatmates.com.au

  • +8

    So many home price apologists here rather than questioning why we've made it unaffordable for the younger generations.

    • I questioned it and found that it is because of the number of nimbys fighting for their standalone house with yards who have the same voting rights as me.

  • House share, or you find places to squat. But that just exchanges money for stress

  • +3

    Try to crimefull areas like merrylands 2160, rents start from 300$ per week. Reasonable apartment units for a single person and near to shopping malls, westfield etc.

    • +2

      This is quite reasonable advice. Higher crime suburbs are obviously generally cheaper, yet most of the crime will happen in very specific areas - specific streets, right next to the station, etc. A bit of local knowledge, some time spent with different real estate agencies, a search of state crime statistics and maps, etc will eventually point to the culprit areas to avoid…

  • -1

    Don't live in sydney?

  • +6

    I don't want to rely on my partner to chip in

    How can you call them a partner if they are expecting to just mooch off you? Give them the boot and live in a share house until you are earning more.

  • The constant complaining about housing affordability in Sydney is soo done and over with… if u cant afford it, move interstate, or just rent in an area you can actually afford… there’s nothing an individual can actually do to change the current environment. Besides, sydney is overcrowded with others equally complaining about the high prices.. i5 is wat it is.. get over it, and move to Tasmania if u dont like or can5 afford the prices

  • +1

    Only Fans.

  • Joe Hockey had the answer, just get a better job, duh.

  • Having a HECS debt doesn’t make it easier either.

  • Welcome to the world of the prevaricate… where you find that job really wasn't what you thought it would be yet so indebted to pay back study loans, pay rent, pay food, you then come to the realisation, you are trapped. A slave in a precarious world - one slip, and it is all lost.

    • Something fixes this.

    • +1

      The system is designed to entrap and enslave. I applaud those who find a way out and explore alternative ways of earning money and living. Slaving away full time leaves no time to live and enjoy life, it's a misery.

      • Move to Asia where the economy's are expanding rapidly and many industry's are still new and you will realize there is so much opportunity for making money out there in the world. It's not as scary as most people think.

        It is possible to have quality of life and make a good income but alot harder in Aus.

  • You will have to share an apartment or house. At least it will be nicer than a uni share house.

    My GF was looking at a 1 bed apartment in Mosman for her mother yesterday. $440/w

    Even if I get lucky with a starting salary of 60k - 70k

    I hope you can do better than that - early $70s would be a reasonable expectation. I'm a labourer helping install TVs and get $36/hr + super casual rates and they keep asking me to work 7 days (I only want 2 days).

  • -1

    Millennials 🙄

    What? Somebody had to say it…

  • I am a bit confused why OP links Sydney rental price to BNPL and Instant Gratification as if they are correlated. The segway seems inappropriate.

    • I thinks its more FOMO

  • +1

    Welcome to the adult world.
    Find a compatible partner who also has decent employment and split the costs. Earlier years are the hardest financially. Gets easier if you live within your means and make wise life choices.

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