I couldn’t believe that I already had lived a year in New Zealand. When I first landed in Auckland, the first shock was the price tags. For any Indian in abroad, the price tags come as a shock initially as we tend to compare every Dollar converted to the Indian Rupees. No surprise, I belong to that very normal category. As days pass by, you will get used to the usual $ tags just as I did. Today, after a year, here I am to write about the Auckland cost of living.
If you are reading this, you might either be in a state to move or in a state to decide whether to move or not. If you have already decided to move to Auckland, I would say that you have made a right choice for some reasons. On the other hand, it is always good to know the place and the cost of living before moving for you won’t be in a shock or struggle to live the life here. With all the seriousness, here I am writing what I know about the living cost in Auckland.
If you are planning to move to Auckland, this post might be a greater source of help for you. Well, I don’t want to portray anything bad or state anything higher than the real. What I write here is all about our personal experience from moving to Auckland. Here I am breaking down the Auckland cost of living.
Auckland Cost of Living Break Down
Renting a house in Auckland (Initial cost + weekly)
Auckland is the most populated city in New Zealand with almost 35% of the country’s population. Just because it has the most population, it has housing shortage, highly priced rents and buying cost. Renting is the major cost. Finding a better house that suits your needs is itself a difficult task. Even if you find one, the affordability is a question because a basic unfurnished 2 bedroom house/unit or apartment will cost you around $500 (min) per week in the city limits. So, the monthly rent costs around NZ$2000+. That’s a lot of money. If only, you wish to live close to the city center otherwise you can also get houses for $350 per week min. High rents make Auckland cost of living expensive than other parts of the country.
The rent here are paid weekly and not monthly. Don’t go for cheaper rentals for they might be a damp (colder) one. Check for dampness and insulation before you rent in.
The initial costs for renting would include 4 weeks rent as deposit and 1 week rent as letting agent Fees plus GST 15% and a year bond (means you cannot change your house within the bond period) usually. Bond period varies.
How to save on housing : Buy a new house with a deposit of 20% and pay your mortgage monthly (which is great always for all) or rent a family home and allow paying guest which will reduce your burden on paying high rents or just share a house with other friend or colleague if you are comfortable with it.
Furnishing house (one time expenses):
As I told, Auckland’s most houses are unfurnished (means the house doesn’t come with the appliances like TV, Refrigerator, Washing machine, heat pumps except the stove and oven). If you are lucky enough, you might get some of these appliances. So, setting up house with basic furniture and appliances is the most time consuming, expensive and essential things to do first.
Here, I wish to add a note. Don’t hurry. If you are here to stay in Auckland permanently, it is advisable to get new things. But if you are here for a short period, the best choice is to look for second hand near new products from Trademe.co.nz. That’s how you save a lot of money.
Electricity Bills (monthly):
We are three and we were paying around $200 during winter months with water heaters, oil heaters and humidifier on full usage and around $80 (in general) during Summer with just water heaters and the appliances like Washing machine, refrigerator. Added appliances like dishwasher, dryer, heat pumps will cost more.
It completely depends on the energy usage and the weather.
How to save on energy bills: Use water heaters and heaters when needed. That will save you a lot energy-wise as well as money-wise. Check for insulation.
Water bills :
Our rent is water bill inclusive and most others do include water bill with the rent. If you are asked to pay your water and wastewater bill, check the current prices here.
If you have kids, don’t forget to count them in while calculating the expenses. NZ is absolutely a place for kids. Healthcare is free of cost for children up to 13 years. Kindergarten for kids(3+ years) are free up to 20 hours per week. Free education for school going kids unless you choose a private school. Preschoolers have Playcentres for free or for a small donation. If your kid is under 3 and you wish to put them day cares or play groups, you might end up paying more every week. There are people who pay $500+(maximum) for a kid weekly. There is also childcare subsidy provided by the govt if your income is within their marked limit. Research more before you decide on the schools.
Internet bills depends on the usage and the data plan you select. We use our full data. We use vodafone for 80GB which comes around $75 per month without landline phone. As for now, we don’t own a TV so 60 GB is more enough for us. Choose your data plan which suits your need and always check the contract terms with the service providers.
I use pay as you go $20 top up. Whatsapp calls using home internet makes it super cheap for me. Again, it depends on your usage. check prices here.
Public Transport and car :
Public transport is getting better in the city center but not great in other places. You need a car in NZ for you cannot rely on public transport and it is great to have or hire a car to see places around. To get around places you need a car or at least a second-hand car from Trademe or Turners. If you are working in the city, it is good to take the public transport or do car-pooling or you might end up paying hundreds of dollars for parking your car unless you are given a free parking lot.
It takes $3.10 per bus travel for two stages which is $6.20 per day and for a week it takes $31, if you happen to live in 2nd stage (stage is like zone limits from city center). check the prices here. The annual car expenses also include road tax for diesel motors, WOF, Insurance, Fuel (services, repairing, break downs, parking fees adds to it).
Healthcare is not free in New Zealand neither for citizens, Permanent residents nor visitors and work permit visa holders. It is not expensive either. Let me clarify with the scenario with what I know. In case, if you are sick and you are visiting a GP(General Practitioner), you will need to pay for the visit from $15 to $80 depending on the area you visit. Then the further treatments are free in the public hospitals if you are directed by a GP to the hospital. Some operations are not free. It is quite confusing. If you have medical insurance, they can take care of your healthcare needs covered.
Buying clothes is one of the other most expensive things in NZ with fewer choices and not many big players except few. Even that big players, have very fewer choices with high prices. I never seen any of the big exclusive clothing stores. It is difficult to find a less expensive quality product. Finding a deal is time-consuming with very few small e-commerce players. Big e-commerce players like Amazon, ebay have no presence here.
Check the prices here.
Grocery, Fruits and veggies :
NZ grows lots of fruit varieties like plums, apricots, avacodos, oranges, kiwi, apple, banana, grapes, melons, pear and more. Also, veggies like lettuce, cabbage (Red & white), cauliflower, potatoes, kumara and more grow here but still on and off-season they import USA naval oranges, Australia grapes and more imported fruits which makes the cost expensive. Seasonal produces are always good and less expensive.
How to save on fruits and veggies : Buy from farmer’s market or from Fruits and veggies shop. Buy seasonal fruits and veggies, they are usually less expensive.
List of living expenses
Meal for two in a descent restaurant – From $ 50
Bread – $3.00
Eggs (free range 10pk) – $7.00
Milk 2L – $4.10
Onion 1kg – $1.00 – $3.00
Tomato 1kg – $3- $8.00 (During winter months the price goes up)
Garlic 1kg – $21.00
Pizza – From $5.00 (Pizza hut has the $5 pizzas)
Burger – From $6
Salmon 1kg – From $25
Chicken (size 10) – $13.00 Free range
Formula milk – $20 (per 1kg tin)
Mens haricut from $25
Diapers – 60 for $20
For more info, read here.
Overall – Is it expensive to live in New Zealand ?
New Zealand is actually an expensive country to live in, especially if you are coming from India or any other Asian country where you will get anything to everything for less money. New Zealand being an island country in the very corner of the map made it quite expensive just because almost everything is imported virtually. Very less population, location and the imported goods are the main reasons for this. Auckland is the most expensive city in New Zealand. So, you can expect a little or more reduced cost of living in other parts of New Zealand.
To me, New Zealand seems to be on the expensive side comparing to the country’s median salary and the cost of living. The term “expensive” is measured with the income. If you are a person earning big, it wouldn’t be an expensive country to live in otherwise it is. It all depends on how you live and how much you earn.
There are other compelling reasons to live in this country. Natural beauty, unique landscapes, outdoor activities, scenic drive ways, friendly people makes it a welcoming country for immigrants like me. You will fall in love with this country at your first sight as I did. The beauty will call you and make you visit New Zealand once in your life time. In short, you pay for what you get.
I believe this post did justice in explaining the real scene of Auckland cost of living.
Good luck on your move!!
Suggested Reading : Useful links for New Immigrants in Auckland
Disclaimer: All the information shared here are all our own and the experience shared here are personal too. If you find it incorrect, please comment or write to me.
What do you feel about Auckland’s cost of living? Would love to hear back!
Have questions? Leave yours Comments below!!