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Hi,
I'm new to the forum - I've looked around on the forum but am having trouble getting an idea of the cost of living in NZ. I'm in Canada and thinking about going to CHCH. A position I'm looking at would pay about NZ$100k/year which based on a few websites I've seen, seems to be quite a good salary.

Based on some posts on this board, some online calculators, etc it seems that I might require about NZ$1500/week to support a wife and child, or about NZ$78k/year after taxes.

However, if taxes are roughly 25% then my $100k will put $75k in my pocket which won't be enough to "live on" in NZ.

The obvious answer is to tighten the belt a notch, but I am wondering if I am missing out on something? $1500/week didn't seem crazy/extravagant and $100k seemed like it could allow one to be a comfortable or "mildly" extravagant.

Why the disconnect? Have I over-estimated expenses? Under-estimated salaries? It seems like it will be quite difficult to get by on a single income there... can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks!
 

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Hi,
I'm new to the forum - I've looked around on the forum but am having trouble getting an idea of the cost of living in NZ. I'm in Canada and thinking about going to CHCH. A position I'm looking at would pay about NZ$100k/year which based on a few websites I've seen, seems to be quite a good salary.

Based on some posts on this board, some online calculators, etc it seems that I might require about NZ$1500/week to support a wife and child, or about NZ$78k/year after taxes.

However, if taxes are roughly 25% then my $100k will put $75k in my pocket which won't be enough to "live on" in NZ.

The obvious answer is to tighten the belt a notch, but I am wondering if I am missing out on something? $1500/week didn't seem crazy/extravagant and $100k seemed like it could allow one to be a comfortable or "mildly" extravagant.

Why the disconnect? Have I over-estimated expenses? Under-estimated salaries? It seems like it will be quite difficult to get by on a single income there... can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks!
Hi there
$100k NZD is a good wage in NZ. You should be able to live comfortably on that.

Your expenses will depend on what you want to do, and how you plan to cook. If you're used to convenience food, then your food bill will be expensive. If you're prepared to cook from basics, and to use seasonal foods then it will be cheaper.

Consider NOT having private medical insurance - that will cut costs down too. It's not absolutely necessary here. You may have to wait for non-emergency treatments, but the NZ health service is excellent (from our experience) when you really need it.

Don't expect a millionaires lifestyle - but then I expect you wouldn't get that in Canada either :)
 

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Hi,
I'm new to the forum - I've looked around on the forum but am having trouble getting an idea of the cost of living in NZ. I'm in Canada and thinking about going to CHCH. A position I'm looking at would pay about NZ$100k/year which based on a few websites I've seen, seems to be quite a good salary.

Based on some posts on this board, some online calculators, etc it seems that I might require about NZ$1500/week to support a wife and child, or about NZ$78k/year after taxes.

However, if taxes are roughly 25% then my $100k will put $75k in my pocket which won't be enough to "live on" in NZ.

The obvious answer is to tighten the belt a notch, but I am wondering if I am missing out on something? $1500/week didn't seem crazy/extravagant and $100k seemed like it could allow one to be a comfortable or "mildly" extravagant.

Why the disconnect? Have I over-estimated expenses? Under-estimated salaries? It seems like it will be quite difficult to get by on a single income there... can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks!
I've got a spreadsheet here that I compiled on various "overseas" options that were open to me, I've got various scenarios as to renting/mortgage/just the two of us/baby and one wage.

I worked it out in conjunction with some friends in NZ, some research on the internet and a few other things.

In the NZ column, I figured out the figure for living costs at between $700 and $1000 a week including rent/mortgage etc etc, now from a salary of $100,000 after paying tax etc that would still leave you with around $2000-$2500 a month.

I'm sure some others may tell you differently but that's my take on it.
 

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Our joint salaries added up to more than $100k and whilst we (family of 5) didn't exactly struggle on that there was very little left over for at the end of every fortnight and we watched the pennies.

We put no money away in savings and paid nothing into pension funds during the time we lived in New Zealand.
 

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Cost of living in New Zealand

Hi, I think 100k a year for N.Z is a very good salary, My husband runs his own I.T business and is on similar money, He works very hard and we only just manage to get by every month.
I think the general cost of living here is much more than in the U.K where we originate from, e.g: power, rates and taxes are higher, grocery bills for our family of 4 are usually around the $300 a week area, and we are not extravagant and really watch what we spend.

If we were in the U.K on this sort of money we'd have no problem, but then i guess this is the price we pay for living in New Zealand.

It seems to be very hard to get by on just a single salary, I really don't understand how people on low incomes or minimum wage survive here.

I would seriously consider all of this if you are coming to New Zealand for a better or stress free lifestyle, as it may not end up how you wish it to be.

I don't want to put you off from a new life here, as it is a lovely country, amazing scenery, but then i guess canada has that too, there is certainly not as much crime, and life here seems to be less complicated, things are easy to do and places are easy to get to, traffic is low, compared to the U.k, and most people are friendly enough, I guess it all depends on what your expecting and what your used to.

Hope this helps.

Hi,
I'm new to the forum - I've looked around on the forum but am having trouble getting an idea of the cost of living in NZ. I'm in Canada and thinking about going to CHCH. A position I'm looking at would pay about NZ$100k/year which based on a few websites I've seen, seems to be quite a good salary.

Based on some posts on this board, some online calculators, etc it seems that I might require about NZ$1500/week to support a wife and child, or about NZ$78k/year after taxes.

However, if taxes are roughly 25% then my $100k will put $75k in my pocket which won't be enough to "live on" in NZ.

The obvious answer is to tighten the belt a notch, but I am wondering if I am missing out on something? $1500/week didn't seem crazy/extravagant and $100k seemed like it could allow one to be a comfortable or "mildly" extravagant.

Why the disconnect? Have I over-estimated expenses? Under-estimated salaries? It seems like it will be quite difficult to get by on a single income there... can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your feedback everyone! As I mentioned, I estimated $1500/wk which may be a bit high, but better to estimate high than low! $700/wk seems a bit optimistic - we have one child, a toddler, so that is not such a huge expense.

We're certainly not looking to "escape" anything or run away from where we are, it's just working out that an opportunity may open up, and we see it as a bit of an adventure - we just don't want it to be a hardship posting! (Been there, done that!) Our goal isn't to immigrate but we are open to it - just looking to see a new part of the world, travel a bit, see the culture and make the best of life.

But with all that in mind, I am, of course, concerned about making sure we are financially "comfortable".

Thanks!
 

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It depends so much on how much your rent or mortgage is going to be. In my experience people tend to underestimate those two costs before they arrive, mostly because although there are plenty of cheap places around you have to spend rather a lot more to get something that's of a good quality.

Where are you headed for and how much are you planning to spend on accommodation costs?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am looking at going to Christchurch and had budgeted somewhere around $350/wk to rent a house. I got this number by looking at some of the online rental sites. But had no way of judging the neighbourhood, etc.

There are a few postings on this board that listed out all expenses and were close to about $1200 - $1800/wk (total), so that's more or less what I was using as a guide. I realize that everyone is different - we may spend more in some areas and less in others... just trying to get a rough idea.

Thanks!
 

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Perhaps someone in Christchurch could say how reasonable that figure is and what the areas are like.

Have you got some examples?
 

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I am looking at going to Christchurch and had budgeted somewhere around $350/wk to rent a house. I got this number by looking at some of the online rental sites. But had no way of judging the neighbourhood, etc.

There are a few postings on this board that listed out all expenses and were close to about $1200 - $1800/wk (total), so that's more or less what I was using as a guide. I realize that everyone is different - we may spend more in some areas and less in others... just trying to get a rough idea.

Thanks!

Hi there, we live in Christchurch and I would say that $350 - $450 per week is a realistic rent. It all depends what your looking for, with there being 3 of you? you could manage with a two bed house to start with so that would be cheaper, but obviously you want to find a decent house to rent. They kind of base rent on a $100 per bedroom. That seems to be the case with some properties but not always. Unfortunately when we arrived we rented a house that was very expensive and on reflection we should have not chosen that particular house, but there you go, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

If your looking for accommodation on the internet or through a real estate in order for you to move in as soon as you arrive, choose carefully and keep all correspondence with your future landlord and ask for more pictures of the property if there aren't many available.

Your salary that you've mentioned in previous posts is a good wage in NZ. It can depend on the size of rent and mortgage - whether they're reasonable. But I consider $100k a good salary and good start for you and your family.

If there's anything else I can help you with regarding Christchurch just let me know, I'll try my best! Good luck with everything!
 

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It's no secret how expensive New Zealand is :) but the difference in the price of milk surprised me, probably because Kiwis produce so much of the stuff it you'd think they'd be giving it away by the bucket full.

You know what would be really interesting? to compare the price of junk food in all those countries.
 

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My partner's family is into dairy farming in NZ and I asked him about that once a friend who returned home to NZ after a while away wrote to tell us how much a block of cheese is, which is a fairly good measure of pricing there I guess. Anyhow - what he was saying is that BECAUSE they produce so much milk, they've become large suppliers to China where they get top $$ for each 'milk solid' (a measure of milk when they sell it from the farms) and therefore they can't sell it for any less in NZ or everyone producing it would send all of the milk to China for the better prices. Not scientific or fact checked but I found it interesting and thought it made sense.
 

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The price of dairy products in NZ reflects the true global market, unlike other countries with agri subsidies. As NZ is the worlds largest exporter of dairy products, the price on NZ shelves is governed by the global market, not the local subsidised market.
 

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Having an extra 15% added on for goods and sales tax doesn't help the price much does it? It will be a brave government in New Zealand that takes GST off food, at the very least they should take it off dairy products.
 

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It's an old thread, but given that I found it helpful, then I'll add my 2 cents also - for whoever comes round next =)

I've lived in NZ for 3 years, on a salary of approx 35K a year, minus taxes. My husband's pay is about the same, so 70K together - pretty humble even by NZ standards, but definitely "liveable".

To break it down into weeks, 70K a year makes about 1000 dollars a week to cover

200 rent (1 bedroom apartment)
25 gas (hot water and cooking)
25 power (well-insulated passive solar building)
25 internet and phone
150 food (2 people, lots of dairy, veggies and fruit, but no alcohol or trash food)
75 car (petrol, comprehensive insurance and wof for 2 cars)
100 everything else (video rentals, going out etc)

That leaves about 400 dollars for putting away into savings account, each week. Over a year, that makes for 20K of savings.

Overall, I think we've lived a very comfortable life so far in NZ. We spend lots of time outdoors, not so much time working, no time whatsoever in traffic jams/buses/trains and the neighbors have been great everywhere we've rented.

We're VERY thrifty though. Our rent alone (200 pw) is probably, by some people's standards, outrageous - and I mean outrageously low. We hunted for a "perfect rental" for months because we weren't willing to pay more. Even in winter our power bill never exceeds 25 pw because our hot water is on gas and the house is well insulated and passive solar. Pretty much all our clothes come from Salvation Army because I'm good with a sewing machine. We drive a '95 Subaru Legacy which cost 2000, can go pretty much anywhere, doubles as a campervan if we stick a mattress in the back and can tow a trailer if needed. Our mountain bikes are second-hand (200 each), our kayak is second-hand (300). All our lightbulbs are eco, we keep the apartment at 18C in winter and shut off the living area for when we're sleeping and don't need to heat it. We actually prepare our own meals, sometimes down to baking our own bread. And we haven't been back to Europe in 2 years - specifically because of how much it costs.

So can you comfortably live off 100K a year? I think so.
 

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Great reply, susklik.
I think it all depends what you expect from life - and as you say, you can live remarkably cheaply if necessary.
We spend more than you - but we are aiming to get to the point where we can live frugally without me working (hubby is already retired). So it's a lifestyle block with rainwater and solar electricity.
Sad day tomorrow - the pet sheep finds a home in the freezer :( But it's all part of being self-sustainable. Not sure if I'll ever be able to try alpaca chops though :)
 

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Great reply, susklik.
I think it all depends what you expect from life - and as you say, you can live remarkably cheaply if necessary.
We spend more than you - but we are aiming to get to the point where we can live frugally without me working (hubby is already retired). So it's a lifestyle block with rainwater and solar electricity.
Sad day tomorrow - the pet sheep finds a home in the freezer :( But it's all part of being self-sustainable. Not sure if I'll ever be able to try alpaca chops though :)
Oh dear you may have to become a vegetarian.;)
 

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It's an old thread, but given that I found it helpful, then I'll add my 2 cents also - for whoever comes round next =)

I've lived in NZ for 3 years, on a salary of approx 35K a year, minus taxes. My husband's pay is about the same, so 70K together - pretty humble even by NZ standards, but definitely "liveable".

To break it down into weeks, 70K a year makes about 1000 dollars a week to cover

200 rent (1 bedroom apartment)
25 gas (hot water and cooking)
25 power (well-insulated passive solar building)
25 internet and phone
150 food (2 people, lots of dairy, veggies and fruit, but no alcohol or trash food)
75 car (petrol, comprehensive insurance and wof for 2 cars)
100 everything else (video rentals, going out etc)

That leaves about 400 dollars for putting away into savings account, each week. Over a year, that makes for 20K of savings.

Overall, I think we've lived a very comfortable life so far in NZ. We spend lots of time outdoors, not so much time working, no time whatsoever in traffic jams/buses/trains and the neighbors have been great everywhere we've rented.

We're VERY thrifty though. Our rent alone (200 pw) is probably, by some people's standards, outrageous - and I mean outrageously low. We hunted for a "perfect rental" for months because we weren't willing to pay more. Even in winter our power bill never exceeds 25 pw because our hot water is on gas and the house is well insulated and passive solar. Pretty much all our clothes come from Salvation Army because I'm good with a sewing machine. We drive a '95 Subaru Legacy which cost 2000, can go pretty much anywhere, doubles as a campervan if we stick a mattress in the back and can tow a trailer if needed. Our mountain bikes are second-hand (200 each), our kayak is second-hand (300). All our lightbulbs are eco, we keep the apartment at 18C in winter and shut off the living area for when we're sleeping and don't need to heat it. We actually prepare our own meals, sometimes down to baking our own bread. And we haven't been back to Europe in 2 years - specifically because of how much it costs.

So can you comfortably live off 100K a year? I think so.
We live comfortably on far less than that, but we do not pay rent. However homes still cost; rates, insurance, & maintenance adds another $5,000 a year approx.

We have savings we can dip into if required but without it can still manage overseas trips by exchanging homes & cars with others so only up for the airfare & any extra entertainment. We have booked to see Tower of Power play at a local State Fair tickets $10 each.We also were in town the day they gave a free 4 hour jazz concert with top US musicians.

So far on our present trip (USA) I have to say how much cheaper groceries are. We seldom eat out because I need to watch my husband's health & also to keep costs down.

Yesterday I shopped in the local Safeway supermarket & was advised I could join their savings club to receive savings. So I joined just an easy process no id etc. My grocery bill came to US$186 but by shopping wisely & using my club card I saved $63.50 I was astonished.
We eat healthy & discounts applied to lots of fresh fruit & veggies, artisan bread, etc.

Just to give an example 1 gallon of milk (3.78Litre) costs US$3.79 about NZ$4.60 I usually pay almost NZ$4 for 2 litres in NZ, They also have the biggest range of milk from No Fat, 1%, 2% & up to full cream.
A large cooked chicken normally $9.99 was $4.99, just amazing.

I have a US issued Visa debit card so by transferring a lump sum into the account (when exchange rates were in our favour) to hopefully cover our stay here also helps by shopping in local currency & avoiding extra charges on our NZ cards when paying.
They were selling NZ wine Nobilo, Cloudy Bay & Kim Crawford cheaper here also!

Large Maytag washing machines & matching clothes dryers (available in Electric or Gas) were $1,500 the set.
So when Americans move to NZ & complain it is expensive I can see why.
 

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I've lived in NZ for 3 years, on a salary of approx 35K a year, minus taxes. My husband's pay is about the same, so 70K together - pretty humble even by NZ standards, but definitely "liveable".
Obviously 'liveable' is subjective and your lifestyle suits you and where you are at in your life. However, I would hazard a guess that most expats come to NZ for the lifestyle, they didn't quite anticipate that this would be the lifestyle of a student or old aged pensioner living in a one-bedroom apartment. :confused2:

You must be earning a good bit of interest on that spare sixty grand of savings you have sitting in the bank. ;)
 
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