Exposed: Our 2022 Family Spending With Two Kids in Sydney

Here is our 2022 spending report for our family of four. I know it’s already the end of March – but better late than never, right?

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I calculated our family’s total expenses for the year. We live in one of the nicest (and most expensive) suburbs of Sydney with two kids in childcare and are definitely not very frugal. We eat out quite a bit, went on three holidays (including one to Europe) during the year, and our spending was …. lower than I expected – despite inflation!

I hope our annual cost of living breakdown helps other families with young kids or people looking to move to Sydney. I don’t usually share our numbers, but I make an exception when it comes to our family spending. I remember looking for info on the cost of living in Sydney when we relocated here from Europe and then again before we had our first baby. I was so grateful to find some first-hand reports online and want to pay it forward.

Notes and Context

We are a family of four living in a beachside suburb of Sydney. We are semi-retired, and our kids go to childcare three days a week. Baby Flamingo #1 was three years old for most of 2022, and Baby Flamingo #2 was one.

We are big advocates of intentional spending. This means we spend big on things that make us happy but try to minimise spending on things that don’t add value to our lives. Quality and sustainability are very important to us, so we won’t cut corners just to save a few bucks. We also shop local where possible (and reasonable).

As always, first, a few notes:

  • Housing: We rent a 3-bedroom apartment in a great location close to the beach. Luckily our rent didn’t increase in 2022. Overall, the cost of the apartment is still pretty high compared to cheaper suburbs, but it is 100% worth it for us because we love where we live and make the most of what the location and lifestyle have to offer.
  • Groceries / Supermarket: This is our catch-all supermarket category – groceries, household products, personal care items, nappies, etc. We mainly shop at Coles and Woolworths. We don’t eat that much meat and try to buy organic or free-range meat/eggs where possible.
  • Eating out: We don’t have many restaurant meals out (fellow parents will understand!) but often buy breakfast or lunch and order pizza with the kids about once a week.
  • Transport, mobile phones, private health insurance: These are subsidised by our employers, which is great, so the cost is probably lower than you’d expect.
  • Taxes, donations, etc.: Investment-related costs, charitable donations, taxes, etc. are not included in this breakdown.
  • The spending data below is in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Our 2022 Cost of Living Breakdown

Category 2022 spending (AUD) Comments
Rent $45,624.96
Groceries / Supermarket $11,321.53
Household goods $1,583.26A new washing machine and things like cookware, dishes, etc.
Utilities (electricity) $1,143.14
Insurance $1,979.37Renters insurance, salary continuance, liability, etc. 
Internet and mobile phones $960.00
Medical expenses $4,638.37
Transport $2,505.50
Kids $4,053.47Equipment, medical expenses, clothes, toys, swimming lessons, zoo passes, etc.
Childcare $24,171.62
Eating out $5,787.02
Misc. discretionary spending $5,711.40All discretionary spending, including clothes, haircuts, alcohol, going out, Netflix, etc.
Holidays $12,322.00One trip to Europe to see family and two domestic trips
Misc. expenses $5,311.13Tax return costs, repairs, gifts, passports, emergency travel, entertaining visitors and guests, etc.
Total $127,112.77
Total excl. rent $81,487.81
Total excl. rent and childcare $57,316.19

Our 2022 Expenses Compared to 2021

So how does our 2022 spending compare to our 2021 spending?

Our expenses went up a fair bit compared to 2021 – by $17,229.81, to be exact.

In 2021 we spent a lot less on childcare because Baby Flamingo #2 only started going in July (and only a day and later two per week at first). In 2022, we spent over $8,000 more on childcare than in 2022.

Also, in 2021 we didn’t go on any trips (except for a short break at a nearby family resort) because of Covid restrictions. In 2022, we went on two domestic trips (one week each in South Australia and Queensland) and spent six weeks in Europe. Luckily, Baby Flamingo #2 was under two when we travelled, so we saved on one full-price airfare. But still, the holiday total for the year was over $11,000 more than in 2021.

Why Our Higher Spending Is Good News

So why did I say in the intro that I was pleasantly surprised about the amount we spent in 2022? Because I thought it would be a lot higher!

We spent an extra $19,000 on childcare and holidays alone (compared to 2021), but our overall expenses only went up by $17,000. That means that our cost of living actually went down in other categories – despite inflation and the “cost of living crisis”. And I can assure you that we spend quite freely without counting every cent.

Overall, I’m really pleased with our spending total for 2022. I think our personal rate of inflation has definitely been lower than the CPI numbers reported in the news.

2022 was a great year with lots of family adventures. I definitely think we managed to make the most of our beautiful location and the time freedom our fabulous semi-retired lifestyle provides us. So overall, the money we spent to sustain this lifestyle was money very well spent.

What was your family’s spending like in 2022? Did you feel the effects of inflation?

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13 thoughts on “Exposed: Our 2022 Family Spending With Two Kids in Sydney”

  1. I assume that’s AUS dollars. The childcare costs are incredible, especially considering it is just three days a week. In Sweden it’s a max of 2000 AUS dollars per year per kid for full time childcare 5 days a week. Anyway thanks for sharing

    • Yes, all in AUD. Yep, tell me about the childcare. We almost moved back to Europe last year, and this was definitely one of the considerations. It’s insane. But then incomes and the overall quality of life are pretty good here, so Australia still wins overall for us, even with this added expense.

    • Yeah so low groceries! I am in SYD and 2+2 family, and each month ~1650 AUD gong out (no eating out, we do all meals prep). Maybe vegetarian diet is cheaper (but this much?)?

    • Not sure, do you really find the cost low? We also eat out a fair bit, so that’s maybe why the grocery costs are lower. And yes, not buying much meat probably helps. Chickpeas are cheap! 😉

  2. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon your blog! Your semi FI concept was so enlightening and have taken the pressure off me wondering if I have the means to take time off to care for my new born. Thank you for this! A quick question, your semi FI calculator results stated that the number is in 2022 dollars. What does this mean? If we wish to use it for long, do we need to make changes?

  3. Hello, this is extremly useful, thanks for sharing! We are a family of 3 moving to Sydney end of May. I was wondering which suburb are you living in? The price for the size of the appartment and beach side location sounds pretty good 🙂

  4. Out numbers out similar with a family of 5. Except we live in a country town so our mortgage is half your rent and it should be paid off by 2024. Trade off of living in a world city I suppose.

  5. Hi Flamingo,

    I like your concept of semi retirement. Fire is a journey, not only a destination. Our goal of early retirement is to maximize happiness with our family.

    We used to live in France, and now in UAE. We did experience an inflation shock in 2022, but mostly because we moved to Dubai. We even consider Australia but childcare costs and taxes are too high. Maybe in a few years, when all 3 kids are old enough to go to school.

    Our overall expenses are higher than yours, but we are a family with 3 kids. If we can replace our private cost of education with your childcare costs, the share of each category is pretty similar. I have a more detailed cost breakdown of our household expenses if you are interested.


  6. It’s really helpful to see such an honest breakdown here, thank you! I’m a single mum living in Sydney aswell and my groceries cost just keeps increasing! Maybe that’s because I have a teenager now, haha. Thank goodness I’m done with childcare costs though, as I can see that was a big one for you! I wish I could allocate more money for holidays but I’m trying desperately to get my Emergency fund up from $20k to $50k before I can justify that..
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi there!
    Very informative blog. Love the concept of flamingo FI, slowly reducing paid work over time to coast towards fire.

    We are on our journey to FI as well and I have a question re you internet and phone plans. I note, your figure is $80 per month. Which provider are you using? We are having aussie broadband at home which costs us $85 a month alone plus 2 mobile phone plans for $80-$90. All in all, pretty much double your quoted figure. Which providers are you using? I am pretty keen to save a few bucks!


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