As a requirement for Working Holiday Visa eligibility, the Australian government insist at least $5,000 to be in your bank account while travelling to Australia. The Australian dollar is quite strong towards the Euro so (at the time of writing) $5,000 is €3231.97.
The exchange rate is great at the moment between the Euro and AUD, but don’t forget Oz is very expensive.
If you are in a position to save, put away every penny possible. When I started my job I was on an intern salary (minimum wage), but was still saving anything I could, roughly €100-200 a month. Overtime, that little bit of money I was saving up eventually became a nice base in my savings account, and as my salary rose, so did the amount I was saving. Any extra bonuses or holiday pay I received went straight in a savings account.
Speak with your bank and see what type of savings account they can offer that best suits your needs. I chose a monthly direct deposit straight into a savings account. The money went straight from my pay cheque into a savings account so I didn’t have any chance to spend it. It also had a delay of two weeks on withdrawals from the account, which meant I never bothered taking any money out.
An interesting fact about Australian money…it’s made of plastic!
At the time of booking my visa (start of February), I had roughly €1,500 saved. That gave me five months to save as much cash as possible. Here are some of the tips and tricks I used to save on cash:
Social Life – nights out in Dublin can be extremely pricey, so if it wasn’t an occasion I didn’t go out. I substituted big nights out in the city for drinks in my home town where costly taxis and nightclub fees weren’t an issue.
Rent – After Christmas I moved back to my parents house for 6 weeks while I looked for a place that was cheaper in rent. I found a place not as nice but for €110 less a month. That money not spent on rent went straight into my savings account.
I looked after the house I was renting and received my deposit back at the end of my lease, which was a nice bonus.
By saving small amounts regularly, I started to see the figure in my bank account rise.
Food – One thing my boyfriend and I loved to do was eat out. We considerably cut this back. I also monitored what I ate in work for lunch, limiting my budget or bringing in meals to cook myself. Our offices have a Starbucks in the building, which is a godsend and nightmare at the same time. One coffee a day is €3.90, five days a week is €19.50, for one month is €78. I cut this out of my spending and put the money towards clothes and items needed for the big trip.
Entertainment – Usually I would take a weekend break away, but I passed on this to save more cash. My boyfriend and I got inventive with ways to entertain ourselves without spending money. We went hiking, cooked meals at home and took advantage of all the free things to do in Dublin city – once you’re on a budget you’ll get creative with ways to amuse yourself on a budget!
Junk – I decided to have a route through all my clothes and gadgets at home and see what I could part with. I sold my laptop, graduation ball dress, an extra kindle I had as well as a pair for football boots. E-Bay and Done Deal can be your best friend when trying to make some extra dosh!
At the time of posting, $1 to worth €0.65.
Roughly, I was saving €700-1000 a month and my last pay cheque in June went almost entirely towards my savings too. Although I had a lot of nights out and goodbyes to attend before I left, I made sure I didn’t overspend while saying my goodbyes. Also a nice birthday donation from my brothers went into the pot and boosted my bank account!
Here’s an idea of the timeline of my savings habit:
January – €1,500
February – €2,000 (paid for flights and visa here so not much was saved)
March – €2,800
April – €3,700
May – €5,000
End of May – €5,350 (house deposit given back)
June – €7,350 (majority of pay cheque saved here)
July – Already in Sydney, extra €1,000 add if holiday pay
Roughly €8,000 saved is $12,367, which I think should be more than enough.