New Zealand Living Costs - A Guide for International Students

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Here’s some information on nine of the average costs of common expenses and some other things that you might spend money on during day-to-day life in New Zealand. Note: All monetary figures are in NZD, to convert currency we recommend you click here, so that you may convert your currencies as you read through our list.

1. Rent
Monthly rent for a 45 m² house is $1,300 - $1,800 depending on whether the area is normal versus expensive. Rent for an 85 m² house is between $2,000 to $2,700, depending on the area they live in.

2. Food/Drink
A coffee in the city will set you back $4.50 on average. 12 organic eggs are around $8, 1kg of apples are $3.50 and 1kg of tomatoes are $6 at the local supermarket or convenience store. Fruit and vegetable prices will vary depending on what’s in season, so keep an eye out on this site to see what deals you can find. Spring and summer are normally the best seasons to find an abundance of cheap and delicious fruit and veggies to eat!

3. Utilities/Insurance

You will only have to pay for water in Auckland, everywhere else tap water is free (and mostly safe to drink). Other bills include electricity, heating, gas ($300 per month for an 85m2 flat) and Internet (8 megabytes per second for unlimited download, is around $70 per month). For contents insurance up to $10,000 it will be around $300-$500 per year. You can use this handy calculator to estimate how much your contents are worth.

4. Transportation
Car WOF (Warrant of Fitness) and Registration are around $140, petrol is around $2.00 per litre and a ride on the bus or train can be anything from $2 to $10. Most cities have decent public transport options and include ferry services in some areas. Depending on what city you live in, biking and walking are also great options if work, or your place of study, is not too far from your house.

5. Entertainment
Nothing beats a trip to the cinema! As a student you have access to discounted movie tickets (on average $15 per person, for students usually $10 pp). If you wish to go to the local pub you can get a drink for around $10 as well. Dinner out will set you back around $60-$120 for food and drink for two, depending on whether you are having a basic dinner or a couple of courses at a high-class establishment. A night at the theatre/concert will cost around $80-160, depending on the seats and the level of performance. ‘Gigs’ (music shows) by local bands are cheaper (around $20-$60).

6. Clothing
For absolute basic clothing at the cheaper end of pricing in a city-centre store you are probably going to be spending; $60 for a pair of jeans, $40 for a rain jacket, $20 for sports shoes and $40 for a business shirt. More expensive clothes can cost from $150 (jeans), $200 (sports shoes), $400 (rain jacket) and $120 (business shirt).

7. Income (after tax)
For students with part-time jobs, you will most likely be on wages of $16.50-$30 per hour on average (minimum wage is $16.50). Once you have graduated, you can expect to earn $42,000 per year ($800 per week) on average if you are to work full-time in New Zealand. With different incomes depending on what city or town you are living in, with the bigger cities costing more day-to-day, but paying a higher rate of income. Check your income tax here.

8. Personal Care/Health
You can expect toothpaste to cost around $3.50, four rolls of toilet paper to cost $3 and shampoo to be around $5 on average. If you are feeling sick a trip to a private Doctor would usually cost around $50, but a trip to the student health facility should be free.

9. Fitness
For a month of gym membership in a business district the average cost is $52 ($13 per week) – although quite a few will have student deals offering cheaper rates. Joining a local sports club and buying equipment will cost anywhere from $100 to around $500 for the year. This fee can be paid in bulk annually, or in smaller instalments over the year.

Here are some helpful sites with calculators you can use to check the cost of living: Expatisan & Numbeo. These are updated regularly and compare costs of living in NZ’s larger cities with popular overseas destinations.


Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.