Living in New Zealand, Moving, New Zealand

Living in New Zealand: Post #1

I’ve decided to start doing a weekly “Living in New Zealand” post.  I’m hoping that it’ll give a bit more structure to my blogging while also providing useful information for potential expats.  This week, I’m going to write about – what else – the cost of living in New Zealand!

One of the things that I think many people struggle with when they move here is how much stuff costs.  Let me point out that you don’t move to New Zealand because you’re looking for a cheap place to live.  You move here because you want the whole “New Zealand” package – the scenery, the culture, and the lifestyle.  All of that comes at a cost, of course, and it’s so important that you keep that in mind.

Last year, we met a wonderful expat couple through my blog.  They’d emailed me with questions a few weeks before moving from the States, and like a broken record I cautioned them to be aware of the high prices here.  These are two smart, hard-working, do-it-yourself kind of people.  They’re the salt of the earth and they’re not afraid of digging their heels in and making sacrifices.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, their wages were curtailed and they realized that what they could earn here wasn’t quite enough to keep them in New Zealand, despite moving out of Auckland.  They’ve been in the country for less than a year, and already are looking for plane tickets to go home.  It’s sad, but understandable.  To be honest, there was a part of me that wished we were moving back to the States, too.

The high costs here are one of the things that I struggle with.  I go back and forth on it – I regret how expensive stuff is and I growl and grumble about the lack of sites like and reasonably priced milk and housing that doesn’t cost an arm, leg, and foot {not to mention reliable internet – curses!}.  Then, I have moments where I appreciate it – I appreciate how it’s taught me to save up for things.  It forces me to take time and consider whether I really want something or if I can make do with what I’ve got.  It’s that weird little sense of satisfaction I get from practicing delayed gratification and from budgeting.  If you’re able to do likewise and can find steady employment, then odds are that you’ll be able to make a success of living in New Zealand, thought it might mean making sacrifices.  You just need to ask yourself if they’re sacrifices you’re willing to make, and unfortunately, you may not be able to completely answer that question till you’re here.  That’s why it’s a good idea, if possible, to come to New Zealand on a “try it before you buy it” visit prior to moving here lock, stock, and barrel.  If you can’t do that, then ask questions!  Email expat bloggers (such as myself) and read up on expat websites.

If you’d like a bit more information about costs in New Zealand, then I’d encourage you to check out my post where I do a random survey of prices in New Zealand.  Hopefully it’ll provide you with some useful background information 🙂  As always, feel free to email me at mrs(dot)practicallyperfect(at)gmail(dot)come with any questions.

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8 thoughts on “Living in New Zealand: Post #1

  1. I trust you know Auckland is by far the most expensive place in NZ to live? My house in Hamilton would cost three times as much at least in Auckland

  2. I moved to NZ in January 2003. I grew up in central Louisiana and moved to Texas in 1992. My husband and I, both Americans, lived in Auckland until 2010 when we moved to Northland. It is expensive to live in NZ. There is a 15% tax on all goods and services built into all those prices you discuss. That price pays a living minimum wage to those who have worked on this product along the way. It is the cost of the easing of anxiety you feel about your health care, the quality of your food and air, the safety of your children, the extension of their childhood.

  3. Hey Jenny 🙂

    You know I never really thought of how expensive it would be to live in NZ until reading your blog but it’s so true how you pay the price for luxury. I mean you have warm friendly people who live there, beautiful landscape, of course it would have to cost. Just like in the states if you chose a beach house or house by the lake and in a nicer neighborhood the people would be nicer and groceries at that particular upscale grocery store more expensive too in sure. I love to live vicariously through you and your blog of what it would be like to live in NZ!


  4. Read and emigratetonz wordpress for a good idea of the problems in New Zealand before movinlg there, people. It’s pretty, and the lifestyle is a frugal outdoorsy one – no luxuries and the scenery has to compensate for many of the downsides, so you’d better be able to rationalize away your need for many life comforts by looking at the sunsets or sheep or whatever and telling yourself that not many other places are quite that pretty. Many of the other expat forums are run by marketing interests with a stake in NZ and will delete “complaining-type” posts that scare the potential clients away. Inform yourselves before making an expensive mistake. Not all migrants are suited for living here. It takes a certain sort. Having a lot of money or being able to squeeze every penny until it screams is pretty important. 🙂

  5. Well said! I wanted to talk more about this topic, because one year in I’m still in sticker shock and I feel bad complaining. The upside? The beautiful country and yes, saving up for what you really want. I appreciate how there isn’t a mentality here to get the next it thing. I sure don’t miss that from California living!

  6. Love this new series already. Could you back up a few though and say why you two decided to move to NZ in the first place? I guess that would give me a bit better of an idea. I know I advise my students to look at Australia all the time (good living wage + 2 year work visa) so I’m curious to the major differences in NZ since you’re the only expat living there that I know!

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