Advice and Support for South Africans Immigrating to New Zealand

South Africans Going To New Zealand

Author Topic: Cost of Living in NZ v SA  (Read 8126 times)

Offline MondeZA

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« on: October 20, 2011, 04:10:55 pm »
Hi,

Ok, I have been reading a fair amount online and there are a few things that worry me. Fair point I was on a negative website......so maybe I am off the mark here. Hence the need to ask a few questions.

Currently I am pretty well off at the end of the month. I have a fair amount of disposable income and if I want something i can pretty much get it, within reason. I have been told the salary i get in NZ should be close to what I am earning in SA (if converted using the exchange rate).

  • Am I going to be putting myself into some serious financial issues or is that just the UK talking?
  • Considering my current bills are close on R17k per month would it not be cheaper in NZ?
  • Would the more expensive day to day items not be offset by not having such high monthly bill costs? Hence come out the same
  • While I am not looking to get rich, I would like to be comfortable. Is this possible for a single person?

I am not the kind of person who thinks moving will make everything SUPER. And yes I know I need to get away from the crime, proposed wealth tax and mismanagement in SA. BUT will the move put me in such a bad position? I had heard otherwise and am now confused.

Offline expat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 07:14:27 pm »
 hi we can back because it was too expensive
but the it depends on the answer to some of the questions hereunder.
Let me know and I will give you my view:

 - what do you do for a living in sa?
how old are you and how long have you been doing this job/
Where do you live/
have you a job in nz - what is it - the same and where will you live.
Do you know what you will earn in NZ - strange members talk quiet openly about what they earn in nz but do not display the same openess about sa salaries.

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 07:14:27 pm »

Offline zerohennie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 410
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 07:42:05 pm »
hi we can back because it was too expensive
but the it depends on the answer to some of the questions hereunder.
Let me know and I will give you my view:

 - what do you do for a living in sa?
how old are you and how long have you been doing this job/
Where do you live/
have you a job in nz - what is it - the same and where will you live.
Do you know what you will earn in NZ - strange members talk quiet openly about what they earn in nz but do not display the same openess about sa salaries.

mmm expat...you came back because it was too expensive? how can that be? I am the only salary drawer in our family at the moment, and we can live very comfortably, there is even money for take out, dining out etc....so I really do wonder what exactly you did in NZ? what work which palce etc? NZ is not expensive at all....if you take your salary and what you pay you should have surplus at the end of the month, which I do....

give us some examples before you say it is too expensive

Cheers

Offline ronaldd

  • Certified Addict
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 07:47:32 pm »
oh stuff here is more expensive than sa, IF you are constantly converting your R into $... like me.

DID YOU SEE THE EXCHANGE RATE,  it is 6.51 rands for a dollar now,  1.5 more than it was about 5 months ago.

average house,  might set you back 300-400 nz$
you had a house in SA which you sold for a decent 2 million.  nice house, family happy

5 months ago you would take your 2 million and buy that $400mil house. minute currency exchange rate commissions and ***.
Today you are aiming for a $307mil house.

How does that make you feel,  I can tell you what i think but this is a family forum.


2008-04-06 Landed
2008-06-06 WP.
2008-06-17 EOI
2008-07-16  Selected
2008-12-04 Residence application submitted
2009-03-30 Residence + RRV Granted
2009-04-07 Received passports
2014-07-28 Citizenship

Offline zerohennie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 410
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 07:54:55 pm »
Ronaldd... thats where people make a mistake, to convert from the worthless sa rand... I mean come on people, did you come here to spend your rands or to earn dollars?


Offline Savayla

  • Certified Addict
  • ******
  • Posts: 1822
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 08:57:43 pm »
I never talk about money.  Hate to, just think it is personal.  But, I will butt in here so that perhaps it will help someone out.   We are a family of four, with 3 dogs, 8 chickens and 1 rat.  Oh, and a cat.  We are a one salary family.  We still convert as we have to and it sucks.  Hoping to change that soon.  We have lost  30 % of our income since the beginning of the year.   

We also send money back home to one parent, and have medical insurance here, life insurance here and pet insurance here (which is worth its weight in gold as I found out these past 2 weeks where we are going to end up with a bill of about $2000 and only have to pay $100 excess ).  We go out using Grab One vouchers only.  We go to picnics, drink wine, braai, make biltong, get movies , etc etc.  Yes, things are very tight at the end of the month currently, but, we are surviving well and still enjoying life. 

Our bills, insurances, rent, petrol, etc before food a month are also about R17 000 here in NZ.    We are lucky to have a cheap rental though, at $265 a week (lovely house though ).

Have just booked our mid-year birthday holiday for June next year (no deposit neccessary ), am busy booking for a weekend away at Marlborough sounds for another birthday, and we are going camping for 2 weeks in January. 

So, does that all sound bad ? 

Of course, we didn't have a house to sell at all when we came over, only what we earned month to month.   So, it will be a fair while before we can even think about getting our own place. 

My b-i-l has a two income family (the one income not that great as she has a 6 month old baby ), lives in Cape Town, probably have around R25 000 a month and they are really, really battling. 


Offline zerohennie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 410
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 09:15:39 pm »
thanks for that Savayla, I also do not see how a person can struggle in Nz...unless you are used to driving a Bugatti Veyron and living in 5 Star hotels on a R10000000000000 per year salary...we are really not struggeling at all, and I am not earning millions,just a normal salary, anyways we did not come over for the money but the lifestyle, but I would say we are much better off here financially and mentally than in SA...and don't get me wrong I had a highly paid job in SA with lots of bennefits  :nosey:  ...and I am not sad at all about our move to NZ, all I can say is we should have have done this muuuuuch sooner

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 09:15:39 pm »

Offline Ostrich

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 276
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 09:16:38 pm »
You should be able to work out a budget just by browsing around for prices on TradeMe. The answer is going to depend on you and your skill set. I can only speak for my family, but for us:

My husband's salary in ICT as a mid/senior manager is just slightly above what it was in SA (but he was up for a raise, so it's actually on par). He has strong references and lots of experience. You need to be willing to stand your ground and negotiate well (while being amicable, of course). There are companies in NZ which will offer you 10% less because you are foreign. Do your market research, know your worth, and be proactive in your job search. Imo, try to base yourself near the CBD or be flexible so you can schedule as many interviews as possible, since networking REALLY matters here. 

Housing is much more expensive for us in NZ, so we will buy a smaller house than we would have had in SA. We lived 40 minutes from Cape Town, where you could rent a 3-bedroom townhouse for under R4000 a month, and buy one for under R550k. In NZ, we live 40 minutes from Auckland, where rent runs NZD $350+ per week at least, and buying a 3-bedroom house can easily cost NZD $400k+. But the good news -- no burglar bars, and you can leave your windows open! :) School fees are practically nothing, too (ours asks for a donation of just over $100 per term).

Food is slightly more expensive n NZ. In SA, we spent R2000 a week for food and household supplies. Now, we spend around NZD $500 per week. We're a big family and like to eat well. ;)

Electricity is more expensive for us. I'm not sure how much we spent in SA since my husband managed that, but we can spend $275 a month in NZ. We run a washer/drier quite a lot...

Cars -- cheaper in NZ! We bought a great second hand car straight from Japan. :D Cars seem to have longer lives here, too...lots of cars on the road with 200K+ km, or more, and they don't seem to have an issue. 

Furniture can be overpriced, but, you can get around this by buying second hand off Trademe, or buying cheaper imports (everything is imported here anyway). We like a shop called iFurniture in Auckland which has good prices on furniture from China. Wait for sales at other places.

Clothing tends to be more expensive, and not necessarily worth it. It's worth waiting for sales as above (sales are HUGE here), or even importing stuff. The same goes for items like books, DVDs, etc. You can buy from Amazon for around $12 shipping fee, which is sometimes worth it for a higher priced item.

Luxuries like salon trips are more expensive (I pay about double for my hair), and local tourism (B&B costs, restaurants, etc) can be more expensive than in SA. However, you also have lots of free things to do, like visit the museum, or just go nature walking. 

Like anything, it's a trade off. We justify the extra cost by rationalizing that we are paying for a better lifestyle, and higher prices pay for our new countrymen to also earn a living wage, which ultimately benefits all of us.  :gl:

Edit: Some changes to my original calculations. In winter, we ran up to $275  month on electricity. However, in summer, and after fixing a water leak, we are now down to $135 a month. We also found that shopping at the local Fresh Choice (rather than the big supermarket) brought our groceries down to $350 a week...much better, and closer to our SA spending. Lastly, that $100 school fee is per year, not term. So, things are more affordable than we first assessed. :D
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 08:00:04 pm by Ostrich »
SMC, from SA - EOI Submitted: 13 Dec 2010, EOI Selected: 15 Dec 2010, EOI Decision Successful: 04 Jan 2011, ITA Received: 06 Jan 2011, ITA Submitted: 08 March 2011, CO Allocated: 22 March 2011, Telephone Interview: 4 May 2011, Medicals clear: 23 May 2011, Residence Approved: 7 June 2011, NZ 19 July!

Offline kirst1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 50
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 10:54:21 pm »
Yes, some things are more expensive but you def save on others. Insurance is way cheaper here, and unless you have pre-existing medical conditions I wouldn't think you need health insurance as govt. healthcare is pretty good! Electronics are cheaper and as people have said, second hand buying here is pretty good! Even saving on the small things, like no tipping in restaurants, or no car guards or petrol attendants to tip- it all adds up. We are a young couple and I have to say, considering we moved here with nothing, are doing pretty well for ourselves!

If you live in the city you dont even really need a car which saves HEAPS! And as soon as you start earning dollars, there is no need to convert anymore which makes a HUGE difference!

Offline SusanJ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 740
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 05:09:31 am »
We're a couple, no kids.  I'm an IT business analyst on an average salary for my experience and my husband's on a teacher's salary.  We have no debt, own 1 car, rent a stunning 4 bedroom house on a plot outside 30kms South of Auckland. 

We have never been in a more stable financial situation than since we came here.  We are loving being able to do things we enjoy without too much stress.  Just this year, we've done 2 weekends away on the South Island (bargain prices on flights come around often) and we did a 9 day campervan trip when a friend came to visit in April. 

We have health insurance through my work (if I were to pay it myself, its about $73 per month for the 2 of us).  We pay $78 per month on fully comprehensive car insurance (Mazda MPV).  We spend about $100 - $150 on food on average per week (we tend to buy good quality organically grown meat).  Power can be anything from about $120 - $220 (the latter in winter) per month.  We pay about $45 per quarter (i.e. every 3 months) for water.  The first thing we do when we get paid is put away about a quarter of our income into a house savings account and a bit into a holiday savings account.

While I know its will change when we have kids, right now we're really in an excellent position. 

To give you an idea of a single person's living conditions:  I have a single friend (designer) who earns about $85K pa.  She rents a section of a lovely villa in Mt Eden (1.5 bedroom, 1 bathroom, kitchen and huge living area) and she pays about $250 a week.  She doesn't cook much so mostly eats pre-cooked or take out food.  She owns a car and a cat.  She has no debt.  She is a very avid climber so spends a fair bit of money on climbing gear.  She also spends just about every weekend out of town either climbing or surfing.   She goes overseas once a year (was in the UK/France last Christmas and is heading to Thailand end of this year).  She really gets by very easily and certainly doesn't live conservatively. 

So while NZ is definitely not a place that you move to to start raking in millions (unless you have a GREAT idea or a winning lottery ticket!) as a professional person, particularly a single one, you certainly can get by MORE than comfortably.  Unless of course you're the kind of person that lives and incredibly lavish lifestyle that requires the super flash car, the super flash trendy apartment on the Viaduct, only stays in 5 * plus hotels and eats in the swankiest restaurants around, in which case Sydney's probably more up your alley.  But GOOD LUCK trying to save up for any of those luxuries there (Aus is WAY more expensive than NZ especially in things like property etc).

Another to remember is that city living WILL be way more expensive than living in a smaller centre.  Auckland, in particular, is a lot more expensive than living in Wellington, for example.  Everyone flocks to Auckland for jobs which causes a huge demand for housing - that's why we pay so much here.  Personally, I'd rather live in Wellington.  The city is much smaller, its much prettier, its much cheaper and the salaries are higher (in most industries) than they are in Auckland.  But alas, we landed in Auckland, had a place to stay and that's where we found jobs. 

Converting back to Rands is a really silly thing to do once you're earning dollars and living in NZ.  There's absolutely no point to doing that.

Anyway, hope all these answers help you a bit.

Cheers
Susan
07/10/2009: EOI Submitted (TICK)
08/10/2009: EOI selected from pool (TICK!)
19/11/2009: ITA received (TICK!)
25/11/2009: ITA submitted (TICK!)
20/05/2010: PR granted (after waiting 2 months for a police clearance!)
27/05/2010: Passports submitted
02/06/2010: Passports returned - YAY!!!!!

Offline Savayla

  • Certified Addict
  • ******
  • Posts: 1822
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 07:03:47 am »

Clothing tends to be more expensive, and not necessarily worth it. It's worth waiting for sales as above (sales are HUGE here), or even importing stuff. The same goes for items like books, DVDs, etc. You can buy from Amazon for around $12 shipping fee, which is sometimes worth it for a higher priced item.



Ostrich, try Book Depository for books.  It is free shipping.  So, unless you can get a really cheap second hand book from Amazon, it is worth it. 

I dress nicely (unlike so many of these Kiwi chicks !! ) and I frequent the Hospice, Salvation Army, and Recycle shops.  I have found the clothes there of much higher quality, with good brands, for between 50c and $4 an item.  Better than the Warehouse or Farmers .   

Offline zerohennie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 410
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 08:14:36 am »
whoop whoop go SusanJ !!!!

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 08:14:36 am »

Offline SA3001

  • Certified Addict
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 08:28:31 am »
Like your post SusanJ and just to add to it - definitely cheaper here in Wellington than Auckland in terms of housing especially.  If we plonked the house we're renting onto the North Shore, we'd be paying at least $250 per week more.

Here's a guide for Wellington (Kapiti Coast) and based on a family of 4:

Rent $430 p/w average based on a modern 3 bed, 2 bath, double garage house in Kapiti area - up to $500 for 4 bed new
My Sky (like PVR in SA) with multi-room $130 p/m
Power and gas $230 p/m (includes higher avearge in winter)
Phone and internet with 60G $105 p/m
Food with some luxury items (like Flings chips @ $6) :2funny: $230 p/w
Car insurance for a new car $47 p/m
Household contents insurance - premium policy - $41 p/m
Entertainment $200 p/m (take-outs, outings etc)
Biltong $50/kg - so this consumes the entire food bill during rugby season  :2funny:
Miscellaneous (haircuts etc) $120 p/m
And this is the biggie - full-time care for 4yr old (7am to 5.30pm) Mon-Fri - $888 p/m after claiming the 20 ECE hours
Fuel - totally depends on what you drive, how often and how far
Train to Wellington CBD - month pass $230 approx (this is from Kapiti so cheaper the closer you are)

You still need to add things like clothing, cosmetics, savings etc, but you get the picture I'm sure  :) 

Offline MondeZA

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 09:08:21 am »
WOW looks like I asked the right question here :) Thanks for all the answers.

I am far from the lavish lifestyle kind of person. I was not built for it but I do like nice things.

SusanJ I am a lot like your friend as I only need a small place 1.5 to 2 beds, 1 bathroom etc etc.

Thanks all who have posted....positive and negative as it has given me a MUCH better feeling for the cost of living......luckily being a single guy cosmetics is not high on my budget. :P

Offline SusanJ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 740
Re: Cost of Living in NZ v SA
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2011, 02:24:08 am »
If you're a lot like my friend and happen to be
1.  An avid climber and outdoor person
2.  A "cave man" (along the lines of Victor Matfield)

Then I'll need to introduce you to this Irish lass.  >:D
07/10/2009: EOI Submitted (TICK)
08/10/2009: EOI selected from pool (TICK!)
19/11/2009: ITA received (TICK!)
25/11/2009: ITA submitted (TICK!)
20/05/2010: PR granted (after waiting 2 months for a police clearance!)
27/05/2010: Passports submitted
02/06/2010: Passports returned - YAY!!!!!