If there’s one thing I enjoy geeking out on it’s watching YouTube apartment tours and reading cost of living blog posts to get a comparative glimpse of what it’s like to live in various cities around the world.
I’ve spent most of my life in Wellington, with briefer stints in Auckland and London. If moving to New Zealand sounds ideal to you, here’s an indication of the cost of living in Wellington, my home city and the Capital. All prices are in $NZ.
TradeMe is the website of choice for finding a place to rent or a room in a shared flat in New Zealand. Rent is listed in a per week figure rather than per month and paying fortnightly in advance is usual.
When moving in you’re normally expected to pay a bond (deposit) and sign a fixed term lease of 6-12 months.
I live in a one bedroom furnished flat at the bottom of a house about 10 minutes walk up a hill from the central city. It’s close to the botanic gardens and I’ve lived here for close to three years paying $375 per week, which includes power, gas and internet.
I love my landlords and the size of my flat – I’ve lived in smaller with flatmates and I love not owning furniture of my own. While friends are becoming nesters and accumulating a whole heap of possessions I like the idea that packing up and leaving with a couple of suitcases is a possibility.
I think generally you’d expect to pay $290 – $400 for rent alone, $170-$250 for a room in a shared flat excluding utilities (power, internet, perhaps gas and in some locations you also have to pay for water).
Internet and Power providers
People see switching as a hassle and so often don’t switch away from the big, traditional power, phone and internet companies which often charge you more as well as requiring a fixed term contract.
Your best bet is to hit up a comparison site such as Glimp, type in your circumstances and work out which provider to go with based on your needs.
If you own a car it requires a registration (at just over $200 per year) as well as a current Warrant of Fitness ($40-$50 on average every 6 or 12 months depending on the age of the vehicle).
Public transport with a Snapper card (the Wellington equivalent of London’s Oyster) costs from $1.66 within the CBD (which is walkable anyway if you have the time). Fares are based on zones rather than a flat rate so you have to remember to tag off or you get charged to the end of the route.
It costs me $7.50 to go as far as the airport on the bus which is significantly cheaper than an Uber (around $25 for a 30 minute trip), which is again much cheaper than a traditional taxi (closer to $40).
I don’t really track what I spend in the supermarket as I shop sporadically but I expect it’s around $70 per week covering most meals for one person. I typically buy unprocessed vegetables and proteins which will work well together however I choose to combine them which no doubt works out cheaper than more processed meal options.
There are markets around the city at the weekends which offer cheaper produce however I quickly realised this was counter-intuitive fore me as buying coffees and other treats as I wander around only increases my weekly spend.
Entertainment and other costs
- A plated meal in a restaurant typically costs $16-$35 depending on the caliber while takeaways are more like $10-$12.
- A fairly standard coffee in a cafe can range from $3.50 to $5 but you shouldn’t be disappointed.
- Going to the movies is getting cheaper in the age of streaming and downloading – $10- $16.50 for a standard adult ticket.
- You’re looking at at least $150 to watch the All Blacks rugby team play and around $100 for major music acts (when they come, there’s currently a real lack of a suitable venue in Wellington)
- We definitely get ripped off when it comes to imported clothes and beauty items in stores so ordering them online from overseas or sale sites is a good way to go.
- I pay around $90 to get my hair cut in the city, but if you do a bit of research and head into the suburbs and/or to an apprentice level hairdresser it’s possible to save about half that.
- It’s about $50 to see a doctor, and $150 for a dental check up including xrays.