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Elizabeth Davies moves to Tauranga from Auckland and immediately sees her cost of living fall

Elizabeth Davies moves to Tauranga from Auckland and immediately sees her cost of living fall
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By Elizabeth Davies

Our big move to Tauranga started off slowly. Our moving van and the two men that came with it were two hours late. The supervisor then spent a large portion of his time holding his phone to his ear, lifting with the other hand and casually smoking a cigarette gripped in the corner of his mouth. All made sense a little later on when he admitted he thought the job was being done on an hourly rate, not our previously agreed on quote for flat rate.

I followed my partner down in my little pink car, flooring it and still struggling to hit 90km on a slight incline, before getting stuck in major road works. Somehow we still mysteriously beat the truck there.

But the sun was shining, the streets were quiet and miraculously there wasn’t a latte sipping, Nike spandex wearing, Land Rover driving trophy wife to be seen… perhaps we truly had left Auckland far behind?

We made a half-hearted attempt to unpack before dragging ourselves out to grab some Pizza Hut that we could eat on our floor out of the box. The lady behind the counter provided us our first real Tauranga experience – a friendly welcome, enthusiastic enquiries about where we were from, and what we were up to an immediate reassurance that if I ever wanted a job at Pizza Hut I’d be more than welcome.

Our first proper day in the bay was one of somewhat boring administrative duties like changing our addresses and insurance details etc.

While we weren’t exactly looking forward to being put on hold by two different insurance companies, we were at least a little curious to see if our relocation would make much of a difference to our monthly premiums.

First up was Mike’s 2006 Ford Courier. He has full comprehensive insurance with AA. Our relocation makes his insurance $52 cheaper a year. That’s roughly 11.8% cheaper than in Auckland. My 1993 Nissan March, which only has third party insurance with State, went from $21 per month to $11.

According to these differences you are not only less at risk of getting your car stolen in Tauranga, but you’re also at less likely to get into an accident be it your fault or someone else’s.

Our last call was to Westpac to change our details for renters insurance. In Auckland we paid $43 a month for up to $10,000 in contents and a million in liability. By moving to Tauranga (Otumoetai specifically ) our monthly renters insurance bill has been cut to about $23.

Following this logic we are less likely to have our house burgled – or accidentally leave a gas heater too close to our washing and burn everything down while we sleep. I’m not sure is simply by moving to Tauranga I’m inherently a more responsible person but I sure appreciate the savings.

The largest and most obvious monthly saving is on rent. In our new house we save $60 a month on rent and in comparison to our one bedroom very outdated split villa in Auckland we have a generous three bedroom house in Tauranga. For the first time in a long time we have a bath! And for the first time ever we even have a dishwasher – though I doubt it will get used very often as my partner holds something against them.

As with any big change I imagine it takes a while to settle in. It still feels like I’m visiting, and at the moment I still feel very far away from everyone and everything. However it really helps to see the financial savings kick starting from day one.

Monthly savings:

Elizabeth car insurance: $10 month (52% cheaper than Auckland).
Mike car insurance: $4 month ( 12% cheaper than Auckland).
Renters insurance $23 month (53% cheaper than Auckland).
Rent: $60 month (4% cheaper than Auckland).
Total monthly savings from insurance/rent = $97.


Elizabeth Davies is a 24 year-old graduate of the Auckland University of Technology post graduate journalism course. She lives with her partner in Epsom and spends her free time refurbishing vintage furniture and attempting to bake while fighting a daily battle against her bank balance. She writes a weekly article for on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.

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I like the "typical" trophy-wife description. Not that that these are necessarily bad traits. It depends on attitude. eg Does she drive aggressively? Is she catty?  etc

Some are lovely.

Takes all sorts.


$3/day.  Doesn't seem like much.


$4 gross equivalent.  might not seem much, but reinvested in itself...and as the old saying goes "better in my pocket than in theirs'"

Just keep an eye on the travel logistics Elizabeth, that's the usual biggest lurking guzzler.  In small towns a quick trip to the shop (by car), adds up quickly.   this is often because the lower population density doesn't make for so many "7/11" style stores. (dairys/SS)


And with technology , she can live and work from  anywhere .

We have a young Kiwi CA who lives in North London with her Banker husband and baby but does work for us here in Aucklkand .

We download the Xero files and she does the accounts at home in the UK  .

And she does it for less than employing a CA in Auckland.

Go figure