New Zealand has been ranked the best country to live in the world from 2013 to 2016. That makes it 4 years in a row. Not only because of its famous rugby team (I like the Warriors and don’t know so much about the All Blacks), and its beautiful landscapes, but also other variables like its economy, prosperity, security and education system.
Auckland is the most populous city in New Zealand with about 30 percent of the country population. The weather is a lot nicer than Wellington, the capital city, which rains a lot and is super windy.
James and I have lived in Auckland for a year now. First, we lived in the city centre (Auckland CBD) in a tiny room in a shared, basement apartment. Then, we moved out to live a bit further from the CBD. Now we are living in a shared house with 6 lovely flatmates in a bigger room with a balcony! YAY!
The purpose of this post is for people who want to come and live or study or work in Auckland and want to know the cost of living. This is from my experience, others can differ though. I hope this can be helpful!
1. Rent: $1,000-$1,300
That’s our biggest expense. Coming from Bangkok, I can’t help thinking that you can get an okay apartment for a month there with a week rent in Auckland.
Before coming here, I didn’t know that sharing is quite common in New Zealand. I never lived in a shared house on a regular basis before. Usually, the rent in CBD is fairly expensive. A studio may cost $300++ per week. Many people especially students that I know live in a shared apartment, some have roommates so the rent is split. James and I were quite lucky that we found a room in a 2-bedroom apartment for $200, but it was a basement room that was dark and got no window.
Now we live in a nicer shared house and our room has a balcony. It’s $300 per week plus monthly bill. It’s 12 mins walk to a train station which is good though a bit far from the city. James can also park his van on a street which he has to pay for parking if living in the CBD.
Here are things we consider
– Location: if you don’t have a car, maybe you want to live somewhere near a train station or a bus stop. I can’t drive his van, so I commute by train a lot. (Auckland is cycling friendly too, you feel free to ride a bike!)
– Kitchen: I cook a lot. Some apartments have a small kitchen that is shared with others, so that’s not really convenient when I.
– Flatmates: I think this is very important too. You may want to live with someone with similar lifestyle (like working full time, clean, no smoking etc).
– Parking space: if you have a car and live in CBD, you’ll have to pay for parking. That’s also another reason we moved from the city centre.
Some decorations in our little room
I made this house tour video. I spoke Thai with English subtitle.
2. Utilities: $70-$90
If you live in a shared apartment, sometimes they include that in your rent. For our flat, we pay separate bills that include electricity, gas and water.
3. Internet: $15
Shared between flatmates.
4. Food: $400-$500
James and I eat out once a week or less. I tend to cook some good and healthy food. We try to budget our groceries by spending $100 per week on food as we live on one paycheck. I always shop at an Asian supermarket because I can find what I want and groceries there such as meat, fruits and vegetables are slightly cheaper than supermarkets like New World and Countdown. James goes to those to buy milk, cheese, bread, pasta and western stuff there.
A dozen of eggs $3.50
2 litres of milk $3.20
1 kg of port scotch $13
1 row of bread $3
Pasta sauce $4
1 cabbage $2-3
1 kg of cheese $13
1 kg of potatoes $2-3
5. Household items: $20-$50
These include toiletries, toilet paper, detergent etc.
6. Transport: $100-$150
In Auckland, we have this AT hop card that can be used on trains and buses. If you’re a student you can get 20% discount. So normally I spend $25 a week on a train to the city. If you live close to your school or work then you may spend less on this.
7. Petrol: $200-$300
James spends about $200 of petrol on his van monthly. If we go on a road trip or camping that is more to pay. His van is old and consumes a lot of petrol.
Another thing is if you want to live in Auckland long term you may want to buy a car. Second-hand cars are affordable and you can sell them when you leave the country. With a car, it’s convenient to go to places and you won’t miss a road trip experience in this country. Plus, buses and trains don’t go to everywhere or you have to wait 20-60 mins to transit.
8. Phone + Data: $20-$40
Vodafone has the best deals with the cheapest been $20 a month for unlimited texts, 100 minutes and 1gb of data.
9. Entertainment: $200-$400
This includes sports and leisure, camping, night outs and more.
This really depends. Usually, James spends money to go watch cricket and rugby. He also just bought tickets for a whole rugby league season that’s only $12 per game. Besides, night outs here are quite expensive with $10-14 dollars for a pint at a nice bar. But there are some cheap drinks for $5 as well.
We used to go out once a week every night when living in the CBD because we could just walk to bars. We ended up spending $50-$100 a night.
Now as we don’t live close to bars anymore, we stop going out very often. I’m trying to save up on this, but James just can’t stop drinking beer every week! I call that social cost then.
Personally, I think buying alcoholic beverages from supermarkets and drinking at home is a good idea, a lot cheaper and still can have fun.
Our flat party
10. Taxes: 10%-30%
This depends on how much you earn per year. I pay 10% and James pays 33%. We’re not sure yet how much we can claim some of that back.
11. Others: $$$
Medicine, hospital, visas etc that come unexpectedly.
Our cost of living in Auckland per month: $2,000-$3,000
So that’s our cost of living in Auckland at the moment. For one per that’s probably $1,000-$2000 depending on your lifestyle. We feel like living in Bangkok was more flexible when talking about spending money. For example, the difference between cooking and eating out is not big. However, we are able to save money from travelling abroad too, because NZ is far from most countries which mean more expensive air fares that we hardly think about travelling to another country.