Cost of living calculator

This cost of living calculator will help you understand what it will cost to live as a student. It's intended as a guide to help first-time students who are new to living away from home.

"Reality check my budget" to see what typical costs are – how much you may need each week, and for a study year (40 weeks).

You can print it out and compare other scenarios.

If you already have experience budgeting, or are already living away from home, go straight to the Sorted money planner for more detailed budget planning.

What are your plans?

Where does it all go?

Expense My estimate
($ per week)
($ per week)
Weekly total
Annual total (40 weeks)

These figures are estimates for most of the basic weekly costs. You will also need to plan for annual or one-off costs like:

  • setting up your flat - bond, freight if you're moving to a new town, insurance, connecting the phone and power
  • insurance for your stuff and your car if you have one
  • trips home
  • car servicing and repairs, WOF and registration
  • dentist and doctor appointments
  • gifts
  • pets

For more information about budgeting for students, visit You can also contact your local office of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services.

How we got the real world estimates:
  1. Accommodation
    • Rent: This is the average cost of a room cost in a 3 bedroom place in student area of town - from the Department of Building & Housing market rents.
    • Hostel/Hall of Residence: This is the average cost of single room including main meals in hostels or halls of residence, from provider websites.
    • Board: This is an estimate based on your location. This could be at home or elsewhere.
    • At home, all costs paid: This is if you live at home with all your main costs met - accommodation, power, groceries, phone and internet. You still pay for clothes, takeaways, leisure, toiletries and your cellphone.
  2. Transport
    • Private vehicle: Average household's weekly spending on petrol - Housing Expenditure Survey 2007, adjusted for inflation.
    • Public transport: Estimate based on your location.
    • Note that in Palmerston North public transport is free for students at Massey University and UCoL.
  3. Power, groceries, petrol, clothes, takeaways, leisure, toiletries/beauty/makeup
    these are the average person's weekly spending, taken from the Housing Expenditure Survey 2007 and adjusted for inflation.
  4. Phone/internet
    Based on $120 a month for phone, broadband and toll calls, shared between 3 people.
  5. Cellphone
    Based on $30 a month.

What you can get

Check what help StudyLink can provide

Then apply online for financial assistance

Find out now!