New Zealand Working Holidays 2014 - 2015: Finances, prices, and living costs?
New Zealand is expensive, get ready for that. Just for your information - when I compare Nelson (the capital city of the region where we lived) to Prague on Numbeo, I find out that rent is 45% more expensive in Nelson, prices for meals in the restaurant 151% higher, and basic products are 100% more expensive than in Prague ...
The required 4200 NZD per person on Working Holidays is about to cover your initial costs before you find a job. If you'd like to get a car right in the beginning, put aside at least 1500 NZD per person for a van (Hiace/larger family car Toyota Estima, Previa, Emina) or NZD 750 per person for a small private car. Until you get a car or cheaper long-term accommodation, count on spending between NZD 20-30 for a hostel bed. If you manage to get a backpacker car with all the camping gear included, the better - you'll save about 200 NZD for a gas stove, blankets, cutlery, chairs, pottery and more.
During the first week, expect to spend about 1800-2000 NZD per person, if you are purchasing a car. If you'd like to stay purely on the low-cost side and instead of buying a car you will do hitchhiking, you will be eating the cheapest food from the supermarket and sleeping in a tent/hostel/mountain hut, a budget of NZD 750 per month and person should be just fine.
In the beginning, your bank account will definitely get drained. Over time, however, you will find out ways how to save and how to do certain things more effectively, cheaper.
Let's take a look at our expenses structure.
Speaking of general costs, it is necessary to mention what was our style of living in New Zealand. For the first 14 days, we traveled in our camper van around the North Island, which we drove all the way through from Auckland to Wellington. We took the ferry and crossed to Picton on the South Island and drove over to Motueka where we worked for 2.5 months (thinning). In Motueka, we lived a typical low-cost backpacker life. We lived in a simple farm apartment, cooked at home, enjoyed the party every weekend and went for short trips around the region every now and then. Certainly, you won't have many opportunities to spend your hard made dollars in such a small town as Motueka. Every party takes place in the orchard, where all the pickers gather and have a barbeque, drink bottled beer and thus the living costs are significantly lower than would be the case in a big city. When the thinning season was over, we headed off for 2 weeks to explore the entire South Island. We came back from the trip and the apple picking season started right away (beginning of March - end of May). Once the season was over, we were already sitting on the plane to Bali, escaping the cold winter in New Zealand.
In total, we traveled around New Zealand for 1 month, and another 5.5 months we spent working on a farm.
The chart below shows the structure of our costs and total amounts spent in each subcategory:
orange - car, purple - food, dark blue - accommodation, light blue - traveling, green - booze, light green - miscellaneous
The most expenses went on the car (purchase and operating). The initial costs related to the car purchase we got partly refunded through the sale. As we sold the car offseason (upcoming winter), we managed to get back just half of the purchase price. After discounting 900 NZD per person from the car sale (we sold our car for 1,800 NZD only), the total car expenses reached 2378 NZD per person.
Over six months, we spent about 2000 NZD per person on food — the same amount I would pay in the Czech Republic too. If you prefer to eat out rather than at home, your total food costs may multiply.
For the accommodation, we paid in total 1724 NZD per person, of which we paid 1628 NZD per person on rent on the farm (it took us almost a month working, out of 5.5, to pay for our accommodation)! On the other hand, by purchasing a car with a built-in bed, we have greatly reduced our accommodation costs during our trips and paid less than 100 NZD per person for a month of traveling.
In subcategory traveling, the total of 799 NZD includes a flight ticket Nelson to Bali at a price of 671 NZD and a ferry between North and South Island at 113 NZD per person including the car.
I spent 500 NZD for half a year partying in the orchard, which would be much higher in the Czech Republic.
Subcategory miscellaneous includes other expenses, such as clothing, farming equipment, SIM, internet bundles and more.
Overall in six months, I spent a total of 7900 NZD (flight ticket to Bali excluded, 671 NZD) in New Zeland, with an average daily cost of 42 NZD (28.18USD).
You can see the overall balance here:
orange - salary, purple - car sale
Total revenue from the work in New Zealand and the car sale amounted to 11,914 NZD, and after the costs deduction, I was still 3350 NZD in plus.
For complete information, I will include the balance of my another 6-day stay in Auckland on our trip from Asia and back.
orange - accommodation, purple - food, dark blue - miscellaneous, light blue - traveling
The average daily costs are the same as the average daily cost of the previous half year, i.e., 42 NZD per person. For a whole week in Auckland, I paid about 270 NZD (7th night free in Choice Plaza Backpacker). Here's how to save money in Auckland.
Prices in New Zealand
I give a brief listing of common goods and products prices. Of course, supermarkets have special deals and promotions, like elsewhere. For bigger shopping, I recommend supermarkets Countdown, New World, Pack n Save. Definitely, claim the Tourist Club Card at New World on the South Island for more discounts (http://www.newworld.co.nz/clubcard/clubcard-terms-and-conditions/clubcard-terms/).
Toast bread 1 NZD
French baguette 1pc 2 NZD
Milk 2L 3,9 NZD
Butter 250g 3,5 NZD
Eggs 12pcs 3.2 - 6 NZD
Pasta 1 - 2 NZD
Rice 0,5 kg 3 NZD
Hard cheese 1kg 8 - 10 NZD
Fruit yogurt 1kg 4 - 6 NZD
Potatoes 1kg 2 - 4 NZD (larger pack is cheaper)
Ham 100g 1 - 2 NZD
Chicken breast 1kg 10 - 12 NZD
Frozen chicken size 16 8 - 10 NZD
Beef 1kg 10 - 16 NZD
Minced beef 1kg 12 - 14 NZD
Pork meat 1kg 6 - 8 NZD
Frozen Fish fillets 1kg 10 NZD
Apples 1kg 1 - 4 NZD
Bananas 1kg 2 - 3 NZD
Canned tomatoes 1pc 1 NZD
Ready-made sauces in a glass or tin 1pcs 2 - 4 NZD, Add Mince Watts (4 for 5 NZD)
Flour 1kg 1.5 - 2 NZD
Tea 100pcs 3.5 NZD
Chocolate Cadbury 200g 3 - 4 NZD (2 for 5 NZD)
Sugar 1kg 2.5 NZD
Oil 0,5l 1,89 NZD
Canned tuna 1pcs 1 - 3 NZD
Frankfurters 1kg 10 - 12 NZD
Sweet drinks 1,5l 1 - 1,5 NZD
Beer Ranfurly Draught 18pcs 440ml 27 NZD, Speights 24pcs 330ml 33 NZD, Haagen Lager 15pcs 330ml 22 NZD (http://www.liquorland.co.nz/)
Cigarettes 20pcs 20 - 24 NZD
Tobacco 30g 38 NZD
Wine 0,75l 6 - 12 NZD (Jacob's Creek 8 NZD)
Toilette paper 4pcs 1,5 NZD
Toothpaste 1pcs 2.5 NZD
Shampoo 1l 4 NZD
Washing powder 1kg 4 NZD
The price of fruit and vegetables is rising dramatically over the winter (tomatoes from 3 NZD per kilo to 8 NZD, salad from NZD 1.5 per piece to 3 NZD, etc.). Each supermarket has a hot snack section (Deli) where you can regularly find some good deals - whole grilled chicken for 10 NZD and discounted stuffed delicious Pies for 1.5 NZD.
Beer is expensive only in the pub, where you can get a cold pint for 7-10 NZD. In the shopping mall, you usually pay a little over a dollar for a 330 ml glass.
If you are passionate smokers, get ready for price terror. New Zealand is a strictly anti-smoking country, which is reflected in high tobacco taxes. Who would like to pay 24 NZD for a pack of 20 cigarettes? Many smokers will switch to "cheaper" loose tobacco, which you will get for 40 NZD a 30g pouch.
Petrol prices and administrative charges for the car are at a reasonable level in Zealand. For a liter of gasoline, you pay 2 NZD and diesel 1.2 NZD. Upon purchase, you transfer the car ownership for 9 NZD and REGO for a quarter of a year will cost you 77 NZD or less (NZD 67 for RUC, more here). I can recommend the accident insurance at AA Insurance (https://www.aainsurance.co.nz/) for 12 NZD per month.
Working Holiday Visa extension for another quarter of a year costs NZD 208.