8 hacks to save money when you move to New Zealand

05.12.17
5 minute read
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New Zealand is well known for its friendly people and stunningly beautiful landscapes. Why wouldn’t you consider it for a new home?

If life as a Kiwi appeals to you, a move to New Zealand could be in your future. But the small country has a high cost of living, and it’s going to be important to save every possible penny during your move so you can put more money towards building your life in your new home country. Read on for some tips and tricks that will help you save as much as possible during a move to New Zealand.

Hack 1: Don’t shell out cash for stuff you can do yourself.

do it yourself

Hiring movers may sound like a good idea, until you’re paying hundreds, if not thousands, for people to do something you could have done just as well yourself.Packing your things will take more time when you do it yourself, but you can ask some friends or family members to help you with it.

Hack 2: Sell your stuff and start all over. Your future self will thank you.

sell your stuff and start over

If packing up all your belongings seems like a daunting task, make it easier on yourself by selling the things you don’t really need. Getting rid of much of your stuff before your move will cut your costs and give you a feeling of real freedom. Remember, it’s all replaceable once you get to New Zealand. Keep only things that really can’t be replaced, like sentimental items.

Hack 3: Don’t get stuck with leftover bills from home. Adult your life by doing a little extra planning.

do extra planning

One of the hardest things about moving, especially to a new country, is tying up all the loose ends of your old life. Forgetting to pay a last minute bill and having it sent to collections could really cost you and is completely avoidable with some planning. Take a few steps to make sure you’re wrapping up those loose ends before your move.

Make a to do list

Take the time to sit down and make a list of tasks you need to complete to make your move successful. Cross them off as you finish them so you’ll be less likely to forget things.

Make a budget

Once your list is done, estimate the cost of each item on it. This will give you a rough idea of how much you can expect to spend in the time leading up to your move.

Cancel subscriptions

Every gym membership and magazine subscription that you forget to cancel before leaving your old address is money out of your pocket every month! Make sure to check your bank statement for any recurring expenses you need to cancel before you leave your home country.

Time it right

There are definitely times to move that are better than others. Since so many people tend to move during warmer months and at the end of the month, movers will be more expensive at those times. Available homes may also become more scarce, limiting your options for a good deal. Instead, move in the middle of the month or during winter when there’s less competition for moving-related resources.

Check an online moving calculator

Estimating the cost of an international move can be tricky, but there are online calculators, like this one, that can help.

Hack 4: Make sure you have money. Local bank accounts are hard to come by as they often ask for paperwork you don’t yet have. Figure out an alternative in the meantime.

access your money wherever you are

As an immigrant to New Zealand, you may not have all the documents you need to open a bank account in the country right away. But in the meantime, you’ll still need to access your money. What are your options?

You can always withdraw cash from ATMs, but you may be charged fees. And be careful of ATMs that offer to do the transaction in your home currency instead of New Zealand dollars, this is often a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) charge, which means the bank is converting the withdrawal amount at a conversion rate of its choosing and keeping the difference as a profit. Luckily, this is easy to avoid; just choose NZD as the currency you want to complete your transaction in, and calculate the conversions yourself.

Another option for making sure your money is available once you cross the border into New Zealand is to use a TransferWise multi-currency borderless account, which allows you to hold and manage money in multiple global currencies at once. You can convert the money you hold to different currencies with the mid-market rate, and then transfer it to a bank account when you need it, or use a Borderless consumer debit card, which will be available for Borderless account holders by 2018.

Hack 5: Know the hidden costs of home buying in New Zealand

hack home buying

If you plan to buy a home in New Zealand, know that the country is notorious for hidden costs that come with buying a first-time home. First-time homebuyers in New Zealand are expected to pay for due-diligence checks and valuation. Auction sales for homes are incredibly popular in New Zealand, which means you may end up shelling out cash for due-diligence and valuation on homes you don’t end up winning. One New Zealand Herald article estimated that first-time homebuyers can expect to pay around $30,000 in extra fees before they end up actually purchasing a home.

Hack 6: Find a furnished place or hit the second hand stores for your furniture.

investigate furnished flats

If buying a home seems (understandably) out of reach at first, you can save money by looking for a furnished rental. If you’re not able to find one, furnish your new home by shopping at second-hand stores, where furniture can be found gently used for a fraction of the cost of new pieces.

Hack 7: Don’t take your car with you

shun the car

Just the cost of shipping a car overseas is likely to cost thousands, if not more. And once your car gets to New Zealand, you can expect to pay import taxes that can be thousands more, depending on the type of vehicle and its value. You’re far better off selling your car in your home country, then putting the money from the sale toward a new car in New Zealand.

Hack 8: Don’t forget to think about, and budget for, your four-legged friend if you’re bringing your pet with you.

budget for your pet

Moving to New Zealand with a pet in tow adds more costs and steps. Many animals, including birds and rodents, aren’t allowed to be imported at all. Cats and dogs require health certificates, import permits and quarantine, all of which have costs that you’ll be responsible for. New Zealand is one of the more difficult places in the world to import a pet, so make sure you do your research on what’s required based on your country of origin, and then budget the appropriate amount of time and money to make sure your pet is entering the country legally.

A move to New Zealand is no cheap endeavor, but with these hacks in hand, you’re ready to make your move as cost-effective as possible. Good luck in your new home!

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