Money Guide

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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Keelin Riley

Keelin is an Irish travel writer with a degree in journalism and a background in the Irish media. Based in Sydney, Australia she loves to blog about all things travel-related specialising in budget travel, ethical travel and off-the-beaten-track itineraries!

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