It’s been over 6 weeks already since we arrived. In our 12 months time here I didn’t want to waste any more time before we stated living our life down under. Our original plan back in England was to have everything set-up and ready to go before we even arrived so from day one we were in the game. Nothing came out of that plan and as a result we have already lost 6 weeks.
The last 3 weeks were insane. We were applying for properties on the Central Coast, doing viewings and filling out application forms. Finally 3 weeks ago we got approved for a property that we liked. Since then I have been busy organising all the fixtures and furniture that are necessary to make a home livable. As I have already mentioned, the majority of rental properties come unfurnished and don’t include white goods which is a real pain for people who are renting for the first time.
Considering our short stay in Australia, we didn’t want to spend any more money than absolutely necessary because we would have to try and sell items or give them away when we moved back to the UK. But having to buy literally everything was not an easy task.
I looked at shops like Fantastic Furniture and quickly realised that it wouldn’t be financially smart to buy new things just to sell it 10 months down the track. We had to be smart with our expenditure especially that we also had to set aside a budget for a car. I decided to take up the challenge of being a bargain hunter and joined local buy/sell groups on Facebook, Freecycle and Gumtree. Every day almost without a break I was searching high and low for bargains on all the above sites. You could really find great stuff for almost free but you had to be quick and be able to collect the items almost immediately.
On a couple of occasions despite the fact that I was the first on to express my desire to buy an item the seller gave it to somebody else who was not as quick as I but lived closer and was able to collect the items instantly. I also noticed that the true bargain hunters were ‘working’ day and night and good quality items disappeared within minutes from sellers posting them (even super late at night). The best time to find something were weekends as people had more time to list items and were at home to do the clear out.
We got our items either free or very cheap. I frankly was not aware how many people move interstate or abroad hence having to get rid of many items still in excellent condition but not worth their time and effort to ship them abroad or to another state. It almost felt at times that there is this unwritten agreement in a community of travellers that hands down items for the next wave of new comers on their departure. The moving out sales were particularly common on Gumtree. Whereas on local Facebook pages were locals who just wanted to get rid of their clutter ASAP.
On a couple of occasions we came to collect one item and ended up being given other useful freebies from people who were leaving the country and needed to get rid of stuff.
Some of the people we met were particularly nice and helpful. That was the story of Gail and Jamie. For a couple of days I couldn’t find a second hand washing machine so I decided to ask on a Facebook forum if anybody was selling one. Instead, I was offered a free working machine and Gail was happy to deliver it to our place free of charge too.
As it turned out Gail was an Aussie girl who used to live in the UK with her English boyfriend were exactly in our shoes when they arrived in Australia 18 months ago. They were also given free items to get them started and now they were ready to hand them down to us. Of course if the washing machine is still working in 12 months time we will give it away to some ‘new kids on the block’ and perpetuate this virtuous circle of giving.
Another popular place to get good bargains are garage sales. They are quite popular in Australia. They often take place in peoples yards usually on Saturdays. Sometimes they are organised for a good cause. We visited one such last Saturday. It was a charitable garage sale for … and all the money were donated to fund his treatment. If you would like to support the good cause you can do it by…
So after my bargain hunting we are almost in possession of everything that is needed to set up a new nest. And we are very much ready to move to our little hut by the sea.
Some Facebook groups we found useful for buying second hand goods included: