Budgeting for The Big Move


Immigrating can be expensive. It is quite obvious that it’s costly, but sometimes it can be difficult to imagine how to go about budgeting for the big move. Financially this most likely means you’re going to need to dip into your savings or plan to save up. Apart from the monetary cost, uprooting an established life takes a lot of emotional energy and perseverance. Let’s take a look at the different costs.


Simple means saving

The cheapest way to move to Ireland is to fill one backpack and get on your flight. Maybe also book in a suitcase with all your warmest clothes and shoes! Looking back to when we moved to Ireland, this would have been the best idea.

If you have pets, a family or a home with furniture that you’re attached to, it’s not quite that simple. More people means more stuff. And pets mean vet visits and paperwork. I partly wish that we hadn’t brought over furniture, gardening equipment or kitchen appliances. These were very helpful at first in a practical sense. Emotionally, it’s also comforting to use familiar things.

It is true that the cost of certain things is way more in Ireland but if you’re renting an apartment, you won’t need much at all. Almost all rentals are furnished and gardens are low maintenance (it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need to have your own lawnmower unless you’re living in the countryside). Many apartments are so thoroughly kitted-out that you won’t even need to buy your own cutlery.


The cost of leaving

There are actually two cost aspects to consider when relocating. The first includes the fees you pay in your country e.g. South Africa. This is the cost of preparing, packing, getting all the documents that you need and then leaving. It includes the costs of shipping over furniture or pets, buying plane tickets, forgein exchange fees, printing and paperwork costs and so on. The cost of leaving is surprisingly expensive and can be recouped by selling things, like your car or appliances. We sold our fridge, microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, car, furniture and many other things that were stored in our garage.


The cost of getting set up

The second cost is the price of getting established. It’s pretty much impossible to know what the cost of living will really be. Some costs will be dramatically higher than expected and you have to be prepared for that (for example, garbage and recycling collection is around €30 per month). If you’re walking straight into a job, that will help you to cover expenses but only after you get your first pay-check. Landlords often ask for a 2 month deposit upfront here. Car insurance is another surprisingly expensive cost. It’s a good idea to work this all out and make sure you have enough resources to get you through your first few months.

During the first few months, everything is new and super exciting so it will be especially difficult not to spend your money on sightseeing and eating, traveling and maybe even shopping. For a start, you will need to buy bedding and a very warm waterproof jacket!


Ballpark figures

Here are some items that you will need to consider to manage your finances and to plan more effectively. These figures are for 2 adults with 3 cats.
Cost of Leaving South Africa

  • Pet vaccinations & blood work: R2000 per cat (dogs may cost more)
  • Cattery fees in South Africa: R800 for 10 days (R80 per day)
  • Flying pets over: R3000+ per cat
  • SA police clearance certificate: R400
  • Unabridged marriage certificate: R75
  • Birth certificates: R75
  • Shipping container: R25,000+ (half)
  • One-way flights to Ireland: R9 000+ per person (you may also need a transit visa)

Rough total: R50 000

Cost of Getting Established in Ireland

These costs are based on an exchange rate of  R16.46 for €1.

  • Critical skills work permit (if not sponsored): R30 000 for 2 people (€1000 per person)
  • Immigration card: R8920 for 2 people (€300 per person)
  • Apartment deposit: R20 000+ (€650 per month)
  • Hotel booking until you find an apartment: R900 per day for 2 (€60 per day)
  • Car hire: R1 400 for 2 days (€93 for 2 days)

Rough total: R61 000


So, as you can see from the above for both the leaving and arriving costs comes to about R101 000. If the Rand weakens further, this will obviously push up the Euro costs. It’s important to allow for surprises as well such as delivery costs or needing a new pair of glasses. You might need to fill a gas tank for €300 or buy a cheap car for €500 (you won’t be able to drive until the car is insured and you will also need a road worthiness certificate (NCT certificate)). You’ll need to get your South African drvier’s license swapped for an Irish one and so on. Or you could opt for getting a Leap card and using the bus or Luas (tram). These are all additional costs.
If you’re planning on moving over, I hope these cost estimates will help you to plan ahead. If you would like to find out more about immigrating, I’m writing about working in Ireland, how to go about bringing your pets to Ireland and here’s a little FAQ about immigrating.

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