Thursday, May 1, 2008
Living in Christchurch, NZ
The City of Christchurch, NZ is known as the "Garden City", and for good reasons. When I first came to New Zealand, I have no idea what to expect really. I have pre-conceived idea that maybe it'll look like Holland or Switzerland where you can find lots of green plains, wind mills, cows and sheeps. I can't even begin to imagine if their were buildings, how would it look like?
When I finally arrive, I told myself with absolute satisfaction, this I can live with!!!
Anyway, I find that the city of Christchurch is comparable to Lexington City in Kentucky. It's a very progressive and well-developed city but with lots of green gardens around, well adorned with flowers and huge trees. It's pretty calm and relatively quite. There are a lot of businesses around and food abound.
You can find a lot of information from the City Council's website: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/ and the Christchurch website: http://www.christchurch.org.nz/.
As regards to housing rates in terms of buying and renting, a descent house for 4 would normally cost around $250,000. As for apartments, here in NZ they call it flats, the weekly rental for a fully furnished house with 2 bedrooms usually costs around $300. If you're alone, a descent fully furnished room can be around $100 or even less. It's popular here for singles to share a house thus bringing down the weekly rental to just $50-$80 and some of which already include electricity and phone bills -- water is free. You can find more information here: http://www.ratesinfo.ccc.govt.nz/.
You can also check out a very informative site regarding money matters at http://sorted.org.nz/. You can use the calculator tool to calculate the house mortgage payments.
Regarding food or grocery; it's relatively cheap here in Christchurch. Some Kiwis from Auckland and Wellington do find that it's quite cheaper here -- maybe some but not all. At any rate, in relation to your income here, food is really not that expensive. You can get some idea by shopping online at http://www.foodtown.co.nz/HomeShopping/Shop.aspx, of course, you don't actually want to buy something, just browse around for the prices. The prices here might be a bit higher than the actual price and other stores like Pak n Save and Countdown, have even lower prices.
Our weekly budget for grocery, including baby food for our daughter, is $150. We really rarely exceed or even reach this limit. Mostly we just spend around $90 weekly. I can tell you, we're not really living that frugal. We usually buy Chinese take-away (take-out) or Subway or Pizza or Burger King meals every weekend. We also have fruits, veges, meat, milk and ginger beer ;-) all the time.