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Cost of Living

Inexpensive living in New Zealand

New Zealand is an affordable place to live, compared to other English-speaking countries. The annual “Mercer Cost of Living Survey” (which includes accommodation costs) ranks London at 12th most expensive city in the world, New York at 16th, Sydney at 31st, and most other Australian cities more expensive than Auckland, at 61st. (And it is cheaper in cities outside of Auckland!)

Have a look at Mercer's website.

As an international student, you must be able to show that you have available NZ$1,250 per month or NZ$15,000 per year to support yourself without working. Read more here.

That is, about NZ$250 - $350 per week, and is a good guide for how much it actually costs to live. (See examples below.)

To get your Student Visa, you will have already had to pay for Travel and Medical insurance for your stay, and any accidents are covered by our Accident Compensation Commission. (ACC)

Earning an income

Students who are entitled to work while studying, can work for 20 hours/week during study periods (~ 38 weeks) and full-time during vacations (~14 weeks), and a one year Post Study Work Visa (Open) has no limit on the hours worked.

  • The minimum legal wage is NZ$15.25 per hour, but this is for unskilled work, and some students are able to earn more than this.
  • However, earnings will be taxed, but at a fairly low rate.  (10.5% initially, and deducted by your employer, called Pay As You Earn.) Read more
  • For 20 hours therefore, students should expect to earn a minimum of about NZ$250 nett during study periods, and NZ$500 nett, or more, during vacations.

Basic Costs for a single student (estimated average range for Auckland)

Flatting or private shared accommodation (per week)
Furnished room: NZ$130 - $220
plus Internet, power, water:  NZ$30 - $40
Food (supermarket shopping):  NZ$70 - $100 
Transport: NZ$0 - $30
Phone: NZ$0 - $5
TOTAL NZ$230 - $395

By comparison, some students prefer to stay in Homestay, which includes all accommodation costs, and all meals except weekday lunches. The cost ranges from $235-250 per week – transport and phone would be extra.)

Basic Costs for a family (estimated average range for Auckland)

Flatting or private shared accommodation (per week)
Furnished room: NZ$160 - $260
plus Internet, power, water:   NZ$40 - $60
Food (supermarket shopping):  NZ$160 - $200 
Transport: NZ$0 - $60
Phone: NZ$0 - $4
TOTAL NZ$360 - $620

Some other expenses you may wish to consider:

Description Estimated price
Laundry NZ$5 - $20
Burger Combo meal NZ$10 - $15
Restaurant Meal NZ$15 - $40
Takeaway pizza NZ$5 - $15
Potato chip NZ$2 - $5
Chocolate Bar NZ$2 - $5
Espresso Coffee NZ$4 - $5
Milk (per litre) NZ$2.5
Shampoo NZ$5 - $25
Toothpaste NZ$3 - $10
Movie Ticket NZ$10 - $25
Haircut (Male) NZ$10 - $50
Haircut (Female) NZ$25 - $100
Wine NZ$10 - $30


Description Annual Estimate
Entertainment NZ$1,000
Clothing NZ$1,500

For more examples, have a look at https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/auckland and at


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