Mastering Living Costs in Australia: Your Friend’s Guide to Smart Saving

Mastering Living Costs in Australia: Your Friend’s Guide to Smart Saving

So, you’re thinking about relocating to Australia or maybe you’re already here and looking to tighten up your budget—either way, managing living expenses in Oz can be a bit daunting. But fear not! With some savvy tips and a bit of planning, you can enjoy the Aussie lifestyle without burning through your savings. Here’s your friend’s insider guide to navigating Australian living expenses like a pro:

Understanding Your Budget: Research and Planning

Before you make the big move Down Under, it’s crucial to get a handle on what it’ll cost you to live here. Tools like EXPATISTAN are a lifesaver—they break down everything from rent to groceries across different cities. Whether you’re eyeing the trendy vibe of Melbourne or the sunny beaches of Queensland, knowing the cost of living upfront helps you set a realistic budget that won’t leave you scrambling.

Navigating Housing Costs

Finding a place to live in Australia can be competitive and pricey, especially in the city hubs. REALESTATE.COM.AUis your go-to for keeping tabs on rental prices and market trends. Whether you’re set on a cozy apartment in the CBD or a family home in the suburbs, staying in the know ensures you snag the best deal without blowing your budget.

Smart Shopping Habits

Grocery bills can quickly eat into your budget, but with a strategic approach, you can make significant savings. Apps like WISELIST and FRUGLenable you to compare prices across supermarkets, ensuring you get the best deals on essentials. Opting for online shopping not only saves time but also helps control impulse spending. Moreover, leveraging supermarket loyalty programs like EVERYDAY REWARDSand FLYBUYS lets you accumulate points on everyday purchases, which can later be redeemed for discounts or free items, effectively stretching your grocery budget further.

Fuel Savings Strategy

Fuel costs are a major consideration for anyone living in Australia, where vast distances are commonplace. Utilizing apps such as the 7-ELEVEN FUEL app allows you to track and lock in the best prices, optimizing your refueling expenses. Combine that with supermarket fuel discounts and you’ll be cruising without breaking the bank. Smart refueling means more money for weekend adventures!

Managing Subscriptions

We all love our streaming and online services, but those subscriptions can pile up. Use tools like SUBSTACK to review what you’re signed up for and consider bundling or sharing services with mates to cut costs. And don’t forget those free trial periods—they’re perfect for binge-watching your favorite shows guilt-free.

Embracing Community Resources

Your local library is a gem you might not have thought about. Beyond books, they’ve got wifi, movies, audiobooks, and even workshops—all for free. It’s not just about saving money, it’s about discovering new hobbies and meeting people without spending a dime. Who knew the library could be such a hotspot?.

Second-Hand Shopping

For furnishing your new place or refreshing your wardrobe, second-hand shopping is the way to go. Whether you’re browsing FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE or hitting up op shops, you’ll find quality stuff at a fraction of the price. Plus, it’s a win for the environment—talk about shopping with a conscience!

Utility and Insurance Optimization

Reducing utility and insurance costs is a practical way to free up funds in your budget. Simple changes like switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and unplugging electronics when not in use can lower electricity bills significantly. Platforms like COMPARE THE MARKETprovide comprehensive comparisons for utilities and insurance, helping you find competitive rates and suitable coverage options. Whether you’re looking for the best deal on electricity, broadband, or home insurance, informed decisions can lead to substantial savings over time, ensuring your budget works harder for you.


Living in Australia doesn’t have to break the bank. By arming yourself with these tips and making smart choices, you can enjoy all the perks of Aussie life while keeping your finances in check. So, whether you’re planning your move or already settled, start implementing these strategies today and watch your savings grow. Here’s to living large without spending big—cheers to that!

Relocating to Australia Made Easy: Navigating Visas Pathways and Changes

Relocating to Australia Made Easy: Navigating Visas Pathways and Changes

Are you planning your move to Australia, but feeling lost in the maze of visa paperwork? With so many options, it’s hard to know which one is right for you.

Lisa at Visa Executive talks us through visa pathways and changes ahead.

Key Visa Insights for Smooth Relocation to Australia

🔹 Skilled Candidates: Dive into options like the subclass 482 Temporary Skilled Shortage visa, now simpler with just one year’s relevant experience required from 23rd November!

🔹 Exciting Changes: Stay ahead with three new visa pathways rolling out, which consider job relevance and wage levels. These guidelines are especially beneficial if you’re planning a relocation from overseas. Keep updated with Job Skills Australia, which continually updates occupation lists affecting the subclass 482 visa applications. 

🔹 Points-tested Visas: For those who fit into subclasses 189/190/491, your skills, work experience, and education will be crucial. Prepare for reforms aimed at highly educated candidates with strong English skills, and note the upcoming shifts in visa allocations.

🔹 Working Holiday Adventures: Fancy working while exploring Australia? New policies are coming in 2024, making it simpler for UK, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian nationals to experience Australia on work and holiday visas.

🔹 Innovation and Skills Exchange: Particularly for those from the UK, take advantage of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement offering opportunities for short-term roles in Australia.

🔹 Stay Informed: Simply send us your email address to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter. It’s packed with up-to-date information and tips on relocating to and within Australia. Be in the know!

Remember that understanding your visa pathway is crucial to a successful relocation to Australia!Relocating to Australia

A Comprehensive Guide to Moving to Australia: Tips and Considerations

A Comprehensive Guide to Moving to Australia: Tips and Considerations

The benefits of moving to Australia are plenty: high living standards, good income rates, quality healthcare, world-class education, strong economic development, a straight-forward pathway to obtaining permanent residency, pleasant climate year-round, rich natural beauty, welcoming local culture…

Moving to Australia is a dream come true, but it requires careful planning and consideration. From visas to choosing the right city, here’s a comprehensive guide to make your relocation as smooth as can be!

Visa and timing

Before anything else, do your research on the visa application process. Australia offers various visas for different purposes — work, study, family, or skilled migration. Timing matters, too. Consider seasons, job markets, and personal circumstances when deciding when to start your visa application process.

Each Australian visa has specific criteria, typically involving English proficiency, health checks, and practising an eligible profession. Work visas often include family visa options for eligible relatives. These encompass various categories like skilled workers, specialised professionals, short-term employees, trainees, and the Business Talent visa for seasoned entrepreneurs. While this grants permanent residency, it comes at a higher cost.

Fortunately, Australia offers a relatively straightforward path to permanent residency, achievable after living in the country for four years with certain visas. This status offers numerous benefits, including indefinite stay, loan eligibility, sponsoring family members for residency, and even working in New Zealand.

Deciding on a location

Australia is vast and diverse, with each state offering unique lifestyles. Consider factors like job opportunities, climate preferences, cost of living, and amenities. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth each have their distinct appeal — research thoroughly to find the best fit for your lifestyle. (Take a look at Claymore Thistle’s detailed location guides to learn more about all of Australia’s major regions and cities!)

Finding accommodation

When narrowing down your choice of residence, consider proximity to work, schools, healthcare facilities, public transport, safety, and community vibe. Renting before committing to buying property is often a wise choice to get a feel for the area.

On that note, let’s talk about short-term accommodation versus long-term accommodation.

When relocating, many people (especially companies relocating their employees) view short-term accommodation as a quick and easy housing solution. They don’t want to commit to a long-term lease straight away since they want the flexibility to search for longer-term housing once they are ‘settled in’ and have gotten to know their new city a bit better. While this might sound like the best route to take, it isn’t for everyone.

Short-term accommodation during relocation can be costly, cramped, and limit your sense of belonging. To avoid these issues, secure a long-term lease with the aid of an experienced relocation agent on the ground in Australia. An agency such as Claymore Thistle offers comprehensive relocation services, handling everything from property search and lease negotiation to utility setup and pet relocation. Your agent can provide further support with a wide range of services, including furniture shipping, storage arrangements, airport pick-ups, and even first-day-of-work transfers, to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

To ship or to shop

Decide which belongings are worth shipping and what you can buy upon arrival. Shipping personal belongings offers comfort and convenience, ensuring immediate familiarity in the new living space. It can also be cost-effective for larger items such as furniture and electrical appliances. On the other hand, opting to sell your belongings and purchase new items upon arrival provides a quick solution and a fresh start. It can however be a costly and time-consuming process.

Ultimately, personal preferences, budget, and moving timelines determine the best approach. If you decide to ship your belongings instead of buying everything new off the shelf, keep in mind that working with a relocation agent could grant you access to major shipping discounts since most agencies have extensive networks of industry professionals they regularly partner with.

Relocating your pets

Pet relocation is much simpler these days, thanks to professional agencies easing the process. For Australia, only cats and dogs are permitted, subject to specific travel requirements based on country groups. These requirements include microchipping, vaccinations, blood tests, and import documentation that needs careful planning, ideally starting six months prior. Working with a pet relocation agency ensures timely compliance and a stress-free journey for your furry friends.

Schools, universities and daycare

Australia boasts renowned educational institutions like the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, Australian National University, and University of New South Wales, attracting a large number of international students.

For families, it is crucial to understand enrollment processes, school zones, and education quality in your chosen area to make informed decisions when relocating. This is another step of the relocation journey where you will greatly benefit from the services of a relocation agent, who can help you set up interviews and submit applications at the schools, universities and daycare facilities that are best suited to your family’s needs.

Healthcare, finance and other administrative considerations

Healthcare in Australia is facilitated through Medicare, a free public healthcare system accessible to citizens, permanent residents, and those seeking permanent residency. This system offers widespread access to public healthcare services at minimal or no cost. Some expatriates from specific countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden, Slovenia, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands, are also eligible for Medicare. For temporary residents not covered by these nations, private health insurance is available.

Setting up a bank account in Australia is a straightforward process. Within six weeks of arrival, individuals can open a local bank account using their passport. Tax residency in Australia is determined by residing in the country for at least six consecutive months per year, subjecting residents to personal income tax calculated progressively based on their earnings.

Specific medical exams and vaccinations may be required during the visa application process, influenced by factors like age and country of origin. While some vaccinations like yellow fever are mandatory for entry, others such as the annual flu shot, polio, measles, and chickenpox vaccines are recommended but not compulsory.


Wondering if you should buy or rent a car in Australia, or stick to public transport options?

Renting a car is a great temporary solution, while purchasing a vehicle may be a smarter decision for those planning to stay in Australia for at least a year or longer. Renting a vehicle in Australia typically requires a valid driver’s permit, passport, and credit card. Upon arrival, European, United Kingdom, and United States driver’s licences are valid for three months. Beyond this period, obtaining an Australian driver’s permit is vital if you prefer driving yourself around.

If you don’t want to buy or rent a car, rest assured. Australia’s public transport system is robust, cost-effective, and convenient, linking major cities with flights, trains, and buses. Within cities, trams are popular for daily commuting. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Uber, Ola, and DiDi offer convenient short-distance travel options.

Investing in Australia

Don’t necessarily want to relocate to Australia, but thinking of investing or expanding your business to this country?

Australia is a major financial hub in the Asia Pacific region with strong links to Europe and America, offering diverse prospects for businesses in sectors like construction, finance, healthcare, and more. The Australian government offers various benefits for business owners, including tax incentives, venture capital opportunities, and government grants to promote economic growth and job creation.

Factors to consider when moving a business to Australia include relocation costs, business structure establishment, and tax obligations. Visa application for business purposes is crucial, and various options exist, such as the Business Innovation visa, Business Talent (Permanent) visa, and overseas business sponsorship visa.

Ready to make that first step?

Based in Australia, Claymore Thistle is an international relocation agency that was born out of the joy of helping others fulfil their relocation dreams and settle into their new homes with ease.

With expertise in the local property market, Claymore Thistle’s relocation agents can offer invaluable insights into optimal living areas tailored to individual preferences, considering factors like commute, schools, and community amenities. Beyond housing, their support extends to visa applications, introductions to local services, and personalised guidance throughout the relocation journey.

Book a free consultation to chat with one of their relocation experts and head over to the Claymore Thistle blog for all the best insider tips for moving to Australia!

What’s new with Australian visas?

What’s new with Australian visas?

Insights for aspiring expats: Migration plans for 2024 and the impact on Australia’s housing market

If you’ve landed on this article, we’ll assume you’re busy crisscrossing the internet in search of answers to all your Australian visa-related questions.

Because the Australian government continually adapts its visa policies to meet the evolving needs of its economy and society, aspiring expatriates must stay informed about any upcoming changes or reforms in the immigration system. Regularly checking official government sources will ensure you are well-prepared and can plan your relocations accordingly.

In this article, we’ll delve into all the latest visa news in Australia, including the types of visas experiencing shifts in issuance rates, the government’s plans for the future, and how these developments may be impacting housing markets in specific regions.

Let’s look at the numbers

Earlier this year, the Australian government announced that the planning for the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program will be set at 190,000 places. This compares to the total of 195,000 places allocated for the 2022/2023 period.

The Migration Program is focused on addressing skills shortages in the local workforce by attracting workers with specialist skill sets. The program builds resilience, boosts productivity and supports the local economy.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program is composed as follows: around 140,000 places are allocated for the Skill stream, around 50,000 places for the Family stream (this category includes around 40,000 Partner visas and 3,000 Child visas, among others), and 400 places for the Special Eligibility stream.

The Skill stream aims to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market; the Family stream enables Australians to reunite with family members from abroad and support them in their journeys to citizenship; and the Special Eligibility stream is saved for those in special circumstances, such as permanent residents returning to Australia after a period overseas.​​​​

For detailed information about the number of places allocated per category, and how it compares to the previous year, visit this outline written by the Department of Home Affairs.

Overwhelmed by the numbers and statistics? Don’t worry! We’ll read the fine print so you don’t have to. Here are some key information points to know about the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program:

  • The slightly reduced planning level for the Skilled Independent visa category is the result of the closure of the New Zealand stream of subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa from 1 July this year. This change is due to a new direct pathway to citizenship for Special Category visa holders who meet citizenship eligibility requirements.
  • To ensure smooth delivery of the 2023/2024 Migration Program, the Australian government will provide an additional $48.1 million over 12 months to extend funding for 500 visa processing officers.
  • The government is further investing $27.8 million over two years to upgrade existing visa ICT systems, which will enhance the efficiency of Australia’s visa service delivery.
  • The permanent Migration Program forms part of Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM), which also takes into account temporary migrants such as students and holiday workers, along with Australian citizens, New Zealanders and humanitarian migrants.
  • NOM is expected to be 315,000 in the 2023/2024 period, compared to the forecasted 400,000 in 2022/2023. NOM forecasts are said to return to their regular pre-pandemic patterns from 2024/2025.

How does the Migration Program impact Australia’s housing market?

The dynamics of visa issues are not isolated from the broader economic landscape, including the housing market. Despite Australia experiencing significant employment growth across various industries, the rental crisis poses a unique challenge. Job vacancies – and visa applications – have surged, but the pressing question remains: where will workers live, especially those unable or unwilling to purchase property?

We have previously written about Australia’s rental housing shortage, particularly in major cities like Perth and Melbourne. Australia is grappling with its lowest national rental vacancy rate in decades, signalling a rental crisis amidst a surge in employment rates. This scarcity has led to increased rental prices and heightened competition among tenants.

In a recent article published in Contact Magazine, Professor Cameron Parsell, Dr Ella Kuskoff and Professor Tim Reddel deep dive into Australia’s housing crisis, specifically in the Queensland region. They emphasise the urgent need to invest in a range of strategies to get more affordable and social housing on the ground. “The confronting reality is that the market will not provide sufficient supply of affordable and safe housing for all citizens, without a suite of legislative and financial policy mechanisms from government, at all three levels,” they write.

Several factors contribute to the saturated rental market. The exodus of Australians from capital cities to regional areas and the reopening of international borders have intensified demand. The return of expats, international students, and migrant workers is further straining rental conditions, especially in favoured relocation destinations.

Government initiatives and professional relocation support services, like those offered by Claymore Thistle, aim to help you with these issues and provide viable solutions for a smoother transition to life in Australia.

In closing

Navigating the complexities of visa applications is the stuff of nightmares. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all by yourself!

With the help of professional migration & relocation agents, you can simplify the process so that you can focus on the exciting part of the big move. On top of that, the Australian government warmly welcomes expats to join the local workforce. The visa system values families and social networks, therefore offering generous opportunities for the relocation of spouses, children, parents and other family members to Australia.

The adaptive visa policies, as outlined for the 2023/2024 Migration Program, reflect a strategic focus on addressing skills shortages and building resilience in the local workforce.

If you are ready to take the first step in your relocation to the Land Down Under, book a free consultation today to speak to one of our relocation experts. Still doing your research? Head over to our blog for all the best insider tips for moving to Australia.

Whether you are moving for work, study, or family reasons, Claymore Thistle will support you every step of the way!

The 7 Key Benefits of Using an Interior Designer When Relocating Homes 

The 7 Key Benefits of Using an Interior Designer When Relocating Homes 

Here at Claymore Thistle, we are driven to make relocating homes a smooth and enjoyable process for each and every client.  Continually thinking outside the box on how to bring valuable support to our clients unearthed our newest partnership with online Interior Design firm, Designbx. Kerena Berry, Director and Head Designer at Designbx shares the insightful benefits of using an interior designer when relocating, and how their expertise can transform your new home into a personalised and harmonious haven.

From packing and organising to finding a new place to call home, the process involves numerous decisions that can significantly impact your living environment. This is where an interior designer who specialises in relocations and product sourcing can become an invaluable asset. Let’s share how. 


1. Save Time and Reduce Stress:

Relocating is a time-consuming and stressful process. Investing in an interior designer can alleviate much of that burden by taking over the responsibility of designing your new home. Interior designers possess a deep understanding of design principles, space planning, colour schemes, materials, and trends. They hold the knowledge, experience, and resources to efficiently manage the entire design process, from conceptualisation to implementation. By entrusting the design to a professional, you can focus on other crucial aspects of the move, knowing that your new space will be beautifully designed and ready for you to settle into on arrival.

2. Tailored Design Solutions:

Interior designers are experts in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. When relocating, they can assess your new home’s layout, architectural elements, and personal style to develop a tailored design plan. They will consider your functional needs, preferences, and lifestyle, incorporating them into a cohesive design that reflects your unique personality. With an eye for detail and an understanding of design principles, interior designers can optimise your space and create a harmonious ambience throughout.

3. Cost-Effective Choices:

Contrary to popular belief, hiring an interior designer will more than likely save you money. With their industry connections, they can source materials, furniture, and accessories at discounted rates, which won’t be accessible to the general public. Designbx utilises our established connections within the industry to provide clients with cost-effective design options from 100’s of suppliers both locally and internationally. Additionally, interior designers have extensive knowledge about various brands and will guide you towards durable and high-quality products that align with your budget. By preventing costly mistakes and ensuring a well-planned design, they can help you make wise investment choices for your new home.

4. Access to Professional Network:

Interior designers have established relationships with contractors, artisans, and suppliers within the industry. When relocating, you may need reliable professionals to handle renovations, installations, or repairs. Your designer can tap into their network and recommend trustworthy experts, saving you the hassle of searching for reputable service providers on your own. This network also grants access to exclusive resources and unique design elements that can elevate the overall aesthetic of your new home.

5. Enhanced Functionality and Space Utilisation:

Moving into a new home presents an opportunity to rethink your living space and optimise functionality. An interior designer can assess your daily routines, storage needs, and traffic flow to design spaces that are efficient and practical. They can offer creative solutions to maximise storage, suggest layout modifications, and recommend furniture placement to ensure your new home is both visually appealing and highly functional.

6. Attention to Detail: 

Interior designers pay meticulous attention to details such as lighting, texture, proportions, and spatial relationships. They consider every aspect of the design, ensuring that all elements work harmoniously together. Designbx prides itself on its commitment to detail-oriented design, creating cohesive, personalised and well-executed interiors.

7. Value Addition: 

Well-designed spaces not only enhance the quality of living but also add value to the property. Whether it’s a residential or commercial project, a professionally designed space can increase its appeal, marketability, and potential resale value. Designbx understands the importance of creating spaces that have a lasting impact and maximise the value of the client’s investment.


Relocating homes is an ideal time to reimagine your living environment and create a space that truly feels like home. By enlisting the expertise of an interior designer, you can save time, reduce stress, and benefit from their tailored design solutions. 

Their professional network and cost-effective choices can help you make the most of your budget while ensuring high-quality results. Ultimately, an interior designer can transform your new house into a personalised sanctuary that reflects your style, enhances functionality, and sets the stage for a fulfilling and comfortable living experience.

The Claymore Thistle team believe so strongly in the value of investing in Interior Design that Director and owner Leona, is designing her new home with the Designbx Team – we look forward to sharing the amazing results in a follow-up blog. 


A Guide to Settling into Your New City

A Guide to Settling into Your New City

Moving to a new city can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. It’s a fresh start, a chance to explore new places, meet new people, and immerse yourself in a different culture. To make the most of this exciting chapter in your life, here are some simple tips that will help you settle in and have a blast in your new city.


  • Take Strolls and Bike Rides: Lace up your shoes or hop on a bike and start exploring your new city on foot. Walking or cycling allows you to intimately experience the streets, parks, and neighbourhoods around you. Take note of the charming cafes, local shops, and hidden gems you come across along the way. Not only will it help you familiarize yourself with the area, but you’ll also stumble upon delightful surprises that make your new city feel like home.


  • Join Local Groups: One of the quickest ways to build a social circle in your new city is by joining local groups and clubs. Whether you have a passion for sports, art, volunteering, or book clubs, there’s likely a community waiting for you. These groups provide a fantastic opportunity to meet people who share similar interests and forge meaningful connections. You’ll not only expand your social network but also gain insider knowledge about the city and its vibrant culture.


  • Attend Local Events: Make it a point to keep an eye on the city’s event calendar and mark down all the exciting happenings around town. From food festivals and music concerts to cultural exhibitions and farmers’ markets, these events offer a fantastic window into the city’s unique character. Attending local events will not only expose you to new experiences but also provide an opportunity to mingle with fellow residents and embrace the lively spirit of your new community.


  • Talk to Locals: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with locals you encounter in your daily life. Engage in small talk with your neighbours, chat with the friendly barista at your local coffee shop, or seek recommendations from shopkeepers. Locals are often the best source of insider tips, hidden gems, and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Their insights can help you uncover the city’s best-kept secrets and truly feel like a part of the community.


  • Use Online Resources: In this digital age, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to settling into a new city. Follow local social media pages, join online groups, and explore city-specific websites and forums. These platforms provide a wealth of information about events, activities, and resources available in your new home. They also offer an avenue to connect with fellow newcomers and long-time residents who are eager to share their experiences and insights.


At Claymore Thistle, we understand the challenges of relocating to a new city, which is why we make it our job to show you around and help you discover key areas that will make you feel at home. We’re always here to support you and provide helpful tips to help you get acclimated to your new surroundings!

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