Living Expenses in New Zealand for International Students

Last updated: 27 December 2023 Student Experience Student Finance

International students are drawn to New Zealand for various reasons, encompassing its universities, incredible natural environment, and welcoming atmosphere. New Zealand's leading universities and institutions are known for their academic excellence, innovative teaching methods, and strong emphasis on research, and the qualifications obtained in New Zealand are widely recognized and respected worldwide. As with studying anywhere in the world, it is important to consider what you can and cannot afford while studying here.

It's important for international students to plan and budget carefully to manage their finances effectively. Many students find part-time work to help cover living expenses, but it's crucial to ensure that work commitments do not interfere with academic responsibilities, as there may be restrictions on the number of hours international students are allowed to work.

Learn more about the cost of living expenses for students in New Zealand below, and if you would like to begin your application to study in New Zealand, contact SI-New Zealand today.

cost of living nz for students

New Zealand Cost of Living for Students

Here are the approximate expenses of specific factors for students living in New Zealand (NZ). However, the costs might differ depending on the location, New Zealand universities, and lifestyle. 

Living cost in New Zealand for international students

Average expenses


$200 - $400 weekly


$10 - $20 weekly

Food and Groceries

$20-$30 weekly

Personal care

$100 weekly

Entertainment and Recreation

$50-$60 weekly

Living Expenses for Students in New Zealand

1. Accommodation

Accommodation costs will likely be one of the most significant expenses for students; rent for a room in a shared flat or a university hostel can range from NZD 150 to NZD 300 per week, while renting a private apartment may cost more.
Living in larger cities like Auckland and Wellington tends to be more expensive than in smaller towns or rural areas.

Accommodation type

Average cost

Halls of residence

$300 -$600 weekly

Local homestays

$110 - $370 weekly

Rented apartments

$200 weekly

Independent living

$565 (for 3-4 BHK house) and $215 weekly per room

2. Average Cost of Living in Each City

City accommodation and the cost of living are different for each region in New Zealand. Here are some average expenses in other areas of New Zealand:


$1600 - $1900


$750 - $1200


$1550 - $2000


$1140 -$1460

3. Transportation

Apart from the monthly accommodation, commutation plays a significant role in the cost of living. New Zealand's transport services provide you with smart cards to easily travel via buses, trains, bikes, ferries, cars, etc. You can reduce your monthly expenses with these smart cards, which offer discounts.  

You can also alter your commuting costs by purchasing a hop card ($10) in Auckland, a metro card ($5) in Christchurch, or a snapper card ($10) in Wellington. 

Mode of Transport

Average cost


$4- $11.5


$4- $11.5



Ferry (both long and short distance)

$4.7 - 73

Cycle (rental)

$1 hourly

Domestic flights


4. Foods and Groceries

Grocery costs can vary based on personal preferences and dietary habits. Students might spend around NZD 80 to NZD 150 per week on groceries, and eating out at restaurants or cafes will incur additional expenses. To avoid spending extra, it is better to cook. Here are the basic average costs of essential commodities and food prices in New Zealand:

Food and Beverages

Meal from the university campus or food hall


Meal at some inexpensive restaurant


Domestic beer


Imported beer




Bottle of wine






Grocery and Food Items

Milk (1 litre)






Eggs (dozen)






White rice (1 Kg)


5. Entertainment and Recreation

A good and fun life experience is complete with some entertainment. When you are studying abroad, it is essential to socialize and hang out with friends. New Zealand is a vibrant place where you can enjoy nightlife by visiting casinos, bars, restaurants, gaming, theatres, and racing. 

Movie Tickets



$60 monthly

Live concert


Gaming and adventure



$161 monthly

6. Household Bills

Household expenses are the breakdown of the general living expenses. Here are the average household bill expenses in New Zealand:

Internet costs

$29 monthly

Electricity, gas, or water


Mobile plan


Tips to Reduce Cost of Living in New Zealand for International Students

1. Accommodation

Opt for more affordable housing options like shared accommodation or university-managed housing. Living in shared apartments or student hostels can significantly lower rent costs than renting a private apartment.

2. Budgeting and Financial Planning

Create a detailed budget that includes all anticipated expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. Stick to your budget to avoid overspending.

3. Part-Time Employment

Explore part-time job opportunities that fit international students' allowed working hours. Many students find employment in areas such as retail, hospitality, or on-campus positions.

4. Cook at Home

Save money on food by cooking at home rather than eating out. Buying groceries and preparing meals is often more cost-effective than dining at restaurants or ordering takeout.

5. Utilize Student Discounts and Services

Take advantage of student discounts on public transportation, entertainment, and various goods and services. Many businesses offer special rates for students, so it's worth exploring available discounts. 

Study in New Zealand

If you want to know more about studying in New Zealand and the cost of living, why not arrange a free consultation with SI-New Zealand? Our education consultants can take you through your study options in New Zealand and help you apply.

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