The 2021 Mercer Cost of Living survey rated Auckland at 70th and Wellington at 94th out of a list of 209 cities. That makes them much cheaper than cities like Shanghai (6), New York (14), London (18) and Sydney (31).
Within New Zealand, the cost of living varies according to where you live. Some cities have higher accommodation and transport costs than others.
You can find more information on our Cost of living page, and check out these tips on how to keep your costs down while you are studying in New Zealand.
1. Save money on food
It’s much cheaper to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at local markets rather than the supermarket. Most towns have at least one weekend market and larger cities have several. You’ll also save money by buying New Zealand-grown produce when it’s in season rather than splashing out on expensive imported produce. That means no strawberries in the middle of winter!
Sharing food costs and cooking meals with your flatmates is another way of cutting costs – and it’s a nice way to get of getting to know each other.
2. Use your student ID card to get discounts
Most New Zealand tertiary education providers offer discounts to students at local stores, restaurants and entertainment outlets. You’ll need to use your student ID card to get the discounts, which range from cheap movie tickets to discounts on books and bank fees. Don’t be shy about asking for a discount – you won’t get it unless you do.
3. Buy secondhand
Buying household goods and clothing secondhand from charity shops – or op shops as they are called in New Zealand – is a great way of saving money. And it’s fun too, especially if you go with a friend. Many New Zealand charities run op shops. They include the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, the Red Cross and local hospice services.
If you prefer to shop online you can find secondhand bargains on Trade Me – New Zealand’s answer to eBay.
4. Save money on power
If you’re living in a flat you’ll have to pay for your power. Usually you will share this cost with your flatmates. Power costs vary according to which energy retailer you use. You can compare the costs of different energy providers using Consumer Powerswitch.
Not many New Zealand homes have central heating – instead we use stand-alone electric or gas heaters. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has lots of useful tips on how to keep your heating costs down.
5. Buy a bike – or start walking
Transport costs can eat up a lot of your money. Some cities, such as Christchurch and Hamilton, are very easy to cycle around so it’s worth buying a secondhand bike to use while you’re here. Check on Trade Me or student Facebook pages like Wellington’s Vic Deals.
Many New Zealand cities are relatively small and very walkable. Even if you’re not used to walking, now is a good time to start!