This post is sponsored by American Express.
Relocating after long-term travel is tough!
You arrive in a new city, possibly with only a suitcase full of possessions and you have to go through the torture of finding a place to live, getting settled in a new area, and then start filling up your space with stuff!
It’s been a fairly easy transition for us this time around and it’s the first time in a long time I’ve lived in a place that I’m buzzing with excitement over and feel content in.
The tips in this post are also relevant for anyone who is moving to a new town overseas as part of a working holiday or expat adventure.
They key is to understand your intentions and purpose for living in a new area.
Is it just a transient thing? If so, you want to spend as little as you can on material possessions. If not, you’ll be looking more at long-term purchases and so your decisions and spending will be different.
You do want to feel comfortable and happy in your new home so you’ll still have quite a few expenses to help you get settled.
The next six months for me are about getting healthy and having the right equipment for making nutritious meals and having a warm, pretty home for creation and happy zen. The trick is to do this as effortlessly and cheaply as I can. Time to put the deal-finding glasses on.
We’ve created this post as part of our partnership with American Express, who have a great new program of offers for cardholders. They’ll give you money back, in the form of credit, when spending at certain stores.
1. Rent a furnished apartment
First decision we had to make was whether to rent a furnished or unfurnished apartment.
Furnished apartments work out to be about $50 extra a week in rent, but they are difficult to find and usually have daggy furniture. I wasn’t prepared to live with furniture and furnishings that don’t lift my spirit and match my groove. I’ve learned a lot this past year about energy and vibration so I know the serious affect it can have on your positive creation.
But, furnishing our own apartment meant a large upfront investment of money, even if we went via the cheap package deals of Fantastic Furniture or Super Amart. We worked out we’d need at least $8,000 – and that would be with the basics.
Our time in Burleigh could only be six months, so we don’t want to commit to buying our own furniture and then be stuck trying to sell it or store it if we relocate overseas or take another big trip.
It would be more cost effective and easier for us to find a furnished apartment. It was tough, there was a lot of competition, but we eventually found a beautifully furnished apartment across the road from our favourite beach here on the Gold Coast.
2. Stock up at Costco
We LOVE us some Costco. We shopped there many times during our four years of living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
You might have a heart attack when you checkout as you are buying in bulk, BUT if you can withstand that shock, shopping at Costco will save you hundreds of dollars throughout the year. We plan on making the drive up to Brisbane every 2-3 months.
We were so excited about finally having our own apartment and storage space that we drove the 90 minutes to Costco the day after moving in.
Our freezer is packed, and we haven’t even made a dent in the frozen blueberries we stocked up on that we use daily, Craig’s favourite the salmon burgers, and the BIGGEST 950 gram tub of Vegemite you can get which the kids love!
The blueberries were at least a quarter of the price you’d get in the supermarket. All our bulk products like laundry powder, cleaning liquid and garbage bags will last almost a year. And the raw cacao and quinoa is also at least a quarter of the price compared to the supermarket.
I almost did a back flip with glee. I use these products all the time and it costs me a small fortune. Not anymore!
And the bonus was at checkout they accepted American Express, which gave us more membership points.
3. Find out what the community offers
Getting fit is a huge goal of ours now we’re settled.
I dreamt of a personal trainer, but don’t feel I have a space in the budget for it yet. So I was super excited to discover on my beach walk a sign advertising group fitness classes, three mornings a week for only $3. I go every Monday and Friday and love it! I’m improving my fitness and have new friends to laugh with of a morning while I sprint up Heart Attack Hill and run through the national park.
Burleigh also has a farmer’s market every Saturday, which is stocking up my weekly fresh produce supplies on the cheap. And I found my new chiropractor there who was offering a sweet discount for the first two introductory sessions!
4. Use local coupons
If you live in Australia, you must get your hands on a local Entertainment book. Kalyra’s school was selling them for a fundraiser and they cost $55. We’ve already made our money back with the savings.
It’s a coupon book, or app (which we have,) that has hundreds of discounts for goods and services in the local area. These offers range from buy one get one meals, free admissions to local attractions and sporting events.
5. Shop around for furnishings and supplies
There were a few things we did need to purchase for our apartment, especially for our office space and a few kitchen supplies.
We shopped around at Super Amart, Office Works, and Fantastic Furniture to find the best deals, using our Amex card to collect extra points whenever we could.
We also jagged pretty quilt covers for the girls at a bargain price of $10 from BigW.
6. Use Amex Offers (putting credit back on your statement)
At our time of resettlement, American Express approached us about experiencing their Amex Offers and we could see how it would work with saving money and fitting back into a settled life.
Amex is our preferred credit card and has been for years, another one of our Amex cards gives us two Qantas points for every dollar spent and Craig used his points for our flight to Washington DC last December, so we’re more than happy to be ambassadors for the brand – they help us save money and get more travel, what’s not to love?!
What are Amex Offers?
American Express Offers is the new way to enjoy great savings from American Express.
They’ve partnered with some of Australia’s biggest brands including Harvey Norman, David Jones, Liquorland, Target, Country Road, and 7-Eleven to help you save money on your purchases.
There are no vouchers to print or coupons to collect.
You simply add an Offer to your American Express Card and spend with your registered Card and receive money back as credits on your statement when you make the purchase!
We added many Offers to our card – because there wasn’t any limit!
Our apartment has a king size bed, but we only own a queen size quilt, with no cover! Harvey Norman’s Amex offer was to spend $300 and get $50 back. So essentially, I could get a quilt set for $250.
I first checked David Jones online, but I couldn’t find a quilt set I liked that wasn’t above my budget. I wanted something vibrant and pretty. They’re not easy to find at a decent price. I found a quilt on special for $99 and a quilt set for $220.
With my $50 credit back from Amex, my spend was $280.
David Jones online
I had quite a few Amex membership points I could use at David Jones + I added the David Jones Online Amex offer onto my Amex Card. The offer was spend $200, get $40 credit back.
Combined with my spare points, I was able to stock up my kitchen with a Jamie Oliver food processor and some baking dishes. I can now brighten up my dining table with a pretty runner, place-mats and coasters, and what girl wouldn’t use that chance to buy a pair of knee high boots and a handbag? Craig got a new pair of Rockport shoes too!
The bonus was they were all on sale as well! (DJ’s has quite a few sales on at the moment!) So we saved quite a bit of money using this strategy!
It’s a very strange feeling for me to be spending money on things for myself and a home. It usually all goes to travel. I’m a very conscious shopper and still believe in minimalism, but I want enough to be comfortable and productive at the same time.
The Amex offer for 7-Eleven was spend $15 and get $5 credit. We don’t usually shop at 7 Eleven (unless we’re in Thailand!) but, I knew this offer could come in handy for fuel.
So next time we had to fill up we pulled into the 7 Eleven to save a bit of money. (We’re also saving a lot of money on fuel now we’ve stopped our road trip!)
Who doesn’t want to get money back for alcohol purchases? I drink too much wine, so I’m trying to cut back and ease off by switching to vodka or gin. It takes more effort to pour these so I tend to say no more, AND I make them really weak. Whereas wine, I have no control over that.
We also have a lot of visitors, so we thought why not add this offer to our Amex to keep a well-stocked cellar to keep our visitors happy?
If you spend $100, you get $15 credit! Plus Liquorland always has great deals on. Double bonus. That covered my bottle of gin and some wine and beer for the cellar.
How the Amex Offers work
American Express has created a series of Offers to help you save money on everyday expenses by putting money back in your pocket. Why not take those savings and put it towards your more important goals, like that family holiday you’ve been dreaming about!
Throughout May and June, there are Offers available from some of Australia’s most popular stores, with more expected in the coming months.
Just follow these steps to take advantage of the Amex Offers:
- Explore Amex Offers from your favourite brands and stores at AmexOffers.com.au or with the American Express app (iPhone and Android)
- Click the correct link to log into your account depending on whether you have an American Express issued Card or a Bank issued American Express Card
- Select as many Offers as you like by saving them to your Card
- Use your registered Card to spend according to the Offer and save! Your savings will appear as credits on your statement.
Final thoughts on the Amex Offers
- I think it’s simple and easy to use with a great variety of Offers for the consumers to save money on everyday purchases, plus those that satisfy a little desires. I’ll be keeping an eye out for future Offers because if any align with my current needs, I’ll be looking for ways to save money and get a great deal.
- Some of the Offers will close, once a certain number of people have registered for them, so be sure to keep an eye on it so you don’t miss out.
- I like how you can add as many Offers as you like.
- The Offers do have end dates, so be sure to check that out and make your purchases before they run out.
- There are travel Offers as well, such as HotelClub, which gives you $40 credit when you spend $200 or more.
- Just like you, I tend to hold my breath whenever I purchase anything online. There’s that moment when you fear your money will disappear into cyber space and promises won’t arrive. I was stunned that seconds after my first purchase with Harvey Norman online, I received an email from American Express thanking me for taking up the Offer and letting me know the $50 would be credited shortly to my account. It was such a relief and I was so grateful that they alleviated my fears immediately. Their email came before the confirmation of purchase email from Harvey Norman. I checked my Amex statement and sure enough the credit was there. I was so impressed with that and felt very confident moving forward with the other purchases.
- The shopping experience on David Jones online was frustrating. There seemed to be a few tech issues with a few things and items that were available were no longer once I got to the checkout. It meant I had to start my order over a few times and took me longer than I’d hope. I sent a complaint email to DJ, and ten minutes later, while telling my Mum in my cynical manner I probably wouldn’t hear anything, the phone rang and it was someone from David Jones! They helped me sort the tech issues and order and I totally forgave them because of their excellent customer service. It only took 36 hours for my order to be delivered as well, which I felt was awesome.
American Express are giving Card Members more than 200,000 chances to save with Amex Offers between May and June. Offers mentioned in this post may be capped out, but you can view (existing or available) offers at AmexOffers.com.au
Now I’m off to enjoy all these wonderful new additions to our home.
Savannah and I made some sweet potato brownies with our new baking tin and food processor this afternoon. It’s time to pour myself a glass of wine, munch on my brownie, and then retire to bed under my comfy, and pretty, new quilt!
Who’d have thought that scenario would one day float my boat!