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Exploring the Cost of Living in New Zealand

Cost of Living in New Zealand

One of the (usually false) assumptions people make when opting for a new life in another country is that everything is cheaper overseas than it is in the UK. Whether you’re jotting down costs for a planned move for a new life abroad, or simply want to run the figures before considering whether to up sticks and move to New Zealand, here we offer a few comparisons between the cost of living in in New Zealand and the UK, to give you an idea of what you’re getting into.

When it comes to renting property, it depends on where you choose to settle, and it may surprise you to know that although Auckland isn’t the capital, when it comes to house prices, it may as well be. Although the prices for rentals don’t quite reach London standards, there’s too much demand for properties in the area, which pushes the prices higher than the capital itself. For example, whilst the average London price for a 2 bed property just outside the capital is £1600 pcm, in Auckland a similar property would cost you $1600 (roughly £690 per month) whilst in Wellington you’d be looking at $1200 (roughly £515 per month). Cheaper than London for sure, but not by much if you’re moving from further North in the UK!

Food costs
If you’re looking to buy the same brands as you’re used to in the UK, then expect to pay a LOT for your food. If you’re truly going to immerse yourself in the Kiwi lifestyle however, do as the locals do and buy fresh and often. Whilst standard items such as milk and bread (and beer- boo!) are actually a lot more expensive in NZ, you’ll find local cheeses, fruits and wines (yes!) are far less expensive. Meat prices are lower too.

Energy, Transport and Communication
You’ll be pleased to hear that energy bills are somewhat lower than in the UK, but sadly, this is not the case when it comes to communications. The average mobile tariffs and Internet bills are a lot more expensive, and you’ll expect to pay around $85 (around £36) for a 10Mbps Internet connection, compared to around £20 in the UK – bad news if you’re likely to be Skyping home a lot! Shop around for plans that suit your usage however, and you’ll find there are deals to be found- but usually only if you’re tied in for a time. When it comes to transport, gas (that’s petrol to you and I) and local transport – which is imminently more reliable than in the UK – are cheaper, but if you want to take a taxi, it’s worth remembering that they DO charge waiting time, and it IS expensive, at around about £25 per hour.

One of the things no one seems to remember when they’re looking to move abroad is clothing, but it’s likely you will need to budget for this, unless you’re planning on wearing your current wardrobe forever. Whilst clothing is usually cheaper for basic items than in the UK, when it comes to footwear you will be paying more in NZ, and if you’re looking for leather shoes, they’re somewhat surprisingly at least 10 percent higher in price than in the UK.

Salary Vs Cost of living
Of course, what you earn determines how much you can spend, and although the cost of living is somewhat lower in NZ when it comes to the basics, you’ll likely – unless you’re in a top level job – have less disposable income left due to the lower wage brackets. IT pays well though, as do certain healthcare professions.

The main thing is to have a job offer and know your salary before you move, and put in place a solid financial plan so you won’t be stuck with any nasty surprises after your first paycheque clears, and there’s too much month left at the end of the money! There are professional advisors that can help you with this though, so don’t hesitate to seek them out.

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