30 November 2016

How Much Money Do I Need to Live in Auckland? | Study With New Zealand

Vicky Ou
Chinese Undergraduate Student
Last updated: 25 January 2022

As an international student, I know it is not an easy thing to live abroad. You need to take care of yourself and manage your time and your own money.

Therefore, based on my personal experience, I’ve highlighted some of the key items, including costs, that you’ll need to spend your money on.



When you arrive in a new city, a homestay is a really good choice to help you understand the local culture in the country. The fees for homestays generally include all living costs such as the cost of food, power, water and the internet. Depending on the location, the price of the homestay will vary. The acceptable price range is between approximately $200* and $270 per week in Auckland. You can choose the one that suits you best based on your needs.

Rent an apartment/house

After meeting some new friends, you can rent an apartment with them. If you want more room, like a garden and a free car park, you can choose to rent a house. Whether it’s an apartment or a house, you must pay a bond which is an advance payment that is refundable when the contract ends. Rental fees are dependent on location and the number of rooms. You will still need to pay your power, water and Internet bills every month.

University flats and apartments

You may choose a university flat or apartment. This is a great way to meet new people and make friends from different majors that you can study with – a good way to expand your social network. In Auckland, the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) provide university halls, flats, and apartments. Fees vary depending on the period you stay and the room type and are paid annually and in advance of the start of the academic year. You may need to pay some additional fees. If you are interested in university flats and apartments, you can visit your university website for further information.


Wherever you live, you will need a transport card to save time and money. In Auckland, we call it the ‘Hop Card’. The fees will be more expensive the further away you live from your place of study. At $4 per trip and $6 return you may need at least $120 per month. Don’t forget to top up your Hop Card!


In Auckland, there are numerous restaurants. For breakfast, if you are not dining at home, a cup of coffee and a muffin might be enough. Generally speaking, it costs $4.60 for a regular size coffee and $4.50 for a muffin. If you are dining outside for lunch, $10 - $15 should be enough. For evening dining, if try Asian style restaurants, it is about $15 per person generally. For some popular fast food, like McDonald’s and Burger King, the cost is around $13 for a meal. If you are choosing set menu in restaurants, a set of dinner might be around $70 per person.


Top up your phone plan

In addition to the items above, you will need to buy a new SIM card for your mobile phone. There are plenty of plans for mobile phones which include calls, messages and data. You will need at least $20 per month to top up your plan.

Daily essentials

For daily essentials, you can find them in a supermarket near your home. In general, $50 per month should cover this, depending on your personal needs.

*All costs are in New Zealand dollars

Cost of Living

Explore what it costs to live in New Zealand compared to your home country.
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About the contributors
Vicky Ou
Chinese Undergraduate Student

Vicky is from Shenzhen, China, and is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland. Vicky is majoring in Finance and Marketing and has lived in Auckland for 4 years. She loves cooking, photography and traveling and is especially fascinated by the scenery in New Zealand. “I hope my own experience can help people know more about Auckland and prepare them for their trip to New Zealand!”