How Much Does it Cost to Live in New Zealand?
Before we even seriously considered moving to New Zealand, we had to do our research to see what the cost of living was like and if it would be feasible and affordable for our family of six. We talked to people who lived there and scoured online. We did our homework. But it’s really not the same until you set foot in a new country and start living the life. How much does it cost to live in New Zealand? We’ll tell you!
Home Prices and Rent
I’m not going to lie, housing in New Zealand is EXPENSIVE! It’s hard to find a home in our area for under $750,000 and that’s for a small 2-3 bedroom home. Since we didn’t plan to stay in New Zealand permanently, we decided to rent. And renting is expensive too! We looked at a lot of homes; in the city, country, and beach. After a lot of looking and praying, we chose the perfect place by the beach. Rent is paid on a weekly basis here. We pay $630/week or $2,730 for the month. Our home has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, perfect for our family of 6. It’s a great location because it’s close to the kids’ schools and the bus stop so we saved on gas!
Electricity is pretty reasonable in New Zealand. During the warmer months, we just open our windows to let in the breeze to cool the house down.
The cost of food in New Zealand is high too. You would think that since this is the land of sheep and cows and prime fishing, that the lamb, beef, and fish meat would be cheap! Nope. New Zealand exports out a lot of the livestock that they produce. So that makes it expensive for the residence of this beautiful land to consume that food. A lot of produce and grocery items are imported as well. For our large family of 6, with fast growing boys with bottomless stomachs, our grocery bill is about $1000/month.
Eating out at restaurants is also costlier in New Zealand. This country is not bombarded with popular fast food chains like it is in America. Sure, you can find a McDonalds or Wendy’s here and there, but they’re mostly found in the city. But the restaurant quality is top notch. New Zealand is a melting pot of culture so there are lots of fun restaurants to choose from. We can feed our family of 6 at a takeaways place (fast food, non-chain restaurant with fish & chips, burgers, hot dogs) for $20-30. But if we want to go to a nice restaurant, it costs $40 just for Cody and me. It would be $60-80 if we took the whole family. We think the food quality is better, but the price is steeper. The nice thing is that you don’t have to pay tax. The price you see on the menu is the price you will pay. And you don’t tip in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, the gas is measured in liters. There are approximately 4 liters to a gallon. The gas prices haven’t fluctuated much since we’ve lived here. Currently, we pay $1.89 per liter. When we’re busy traveling and exploring, our gas bill is higher. But when we are just living a normal day to day life, we spend about $60 in gas a week or $240/month.
When we were looking for homes when we first moved to New Zealand, we decided to live further out of the city and near a beach. But with this decision came the necessity of Cody having to ride the bus into work each day. He spent an hour commute each way, each day. His monthly bus fare was $210…which was actually cheaper than driving into work and paying for parking. Parking in the city would have been $300/month. The cost in gas would have been about $350/month.
The people that are living here in New Zealand on a work Visa are covered by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). This covers any accidents. All child healthcare and child dental care is also completely covered. Our 12-year-old son broke his arm at school and all the costs were covered for that accident.
If you want to have healthcare on top of ACC for more options and quick care, then you can pay for private insurance. We pay $60/month for a basic plan for that peace of mind for doctor visits.
We pay $51/month for a basic plan.
We pay $85/month for our internet.
We pay $80/month for two phones. That includes 10GB shared data, unlimited nationwide texting, and phone calls.
Since moving to New Zealand, we spend less on frivolous things. We don't waste money on things we don't need. We just prioritize what we spend our money on.
So how much does it cost to live in New Zealand? A lot! Yes, the cost of living in New Zealand is high. Much higher than living in parts of the United States. But the experiences and memoires we’ve made while living here are priceless!
Thorn: It is pretty expensive to live in New Zealand so we can't save as much money as we would like.
Rose: We get to live in a gorgeous country!