I have written about ‘Moving to South Africa‘ in great detail earlier (you can read the posts here), and have somewhat touched upon the cost of living aspect. However, I feel that this topic needs a little more detail. For anyone planning to move to a new country, this question of ‘how expensive it is’, is a very pertinent one. Not only does it prepare you in terms of what to expect in a foreign land but it also helps while negotiating a salary!
People’s spending habits usually tend to be vastly dis-similar and depends largely on individual preferences. In addition, monthly expenses of a couple will be very different to that of a family of four. Hence, this post will just broadly help you understand the basic prices of everyday things and the general cost of living in Joburg.
All prices are as of August, 2015.
Like any where else in the world, rentals will be the biggest component of your monthly expenses. Depending on where you are moving from, you might find it cheaper or more expensive in Joburg! Below are average rentals in good residential suburbs.
2-bedroom unfurnished apartment: R7000-R10000
3-bedroom unfurnished house: R9000-R14000
Unfurnished houses do not come with anything, except the stove and the light fittings and maybe a built-in braai (bbq). In some cases, there might be a few appliances such as a fridge or dishwasher thrown in.
Fully furnished options are also available. They would generally cost R2000-5000 per month more than the above rents. This would depend on the quality of furnishings, appliances, etc.
For a better idea, look on Property24.
Electricity/Water – some houses come with a pre-paid electricity meter. This means that you put in a certain amount of money each month and when tat gets used up, your electricity s cut off until you pay some more. Kinda like a pre-paid mobile plan. But of course, no one waits until the power is turned off! On an average, a family of two will end up paying around R500-700 for electricity. Water is another R200-300.
Cable TV – the DSTV premium, that includes ALL the channels costs around R799 per month. Other channel bouquets will be cheaper.
Internet – depending on your usage, you can get a capped or an uncapped ADSl line. The monthly charges will vary between R499 to R999. Some of the service providers are Telkom and Mweb.
Mobile phones – There are a number of players in the market – Vodacom, Cell C and MTN to name a few. You can buy a phone on contract and pay for the phone and the monthly charges, or you can use your own phone and just pay the latter. There is also the option of pay-as-you-go. On an average, you will be looking at spending R300 to R600 on your phone.
After the rent, your car will be the second biggest expense. Since it is impossible to live in Joburg and not have a car, you will need to allocate some money for this. This component will vary a great deal from person to person as it would depend on the type of car you buy, whether you buy it outright or get it financed, or whether you decide to lease a car.
Unless you are buying the car in cash, you will need to finance a part of the total price and this would mean that you will be paying the bank a monthly amount. In addition, taking out an insurance on the car is highly advisable. This breaks the expense into two parts:
Monthly loan repayments to the bank: R3000-R6000 (I am only considering regular cars and not premium/luxury models)
Even if you lease a car, you monthly expense will be around R4000-6000.
Petrol: the current price is R13/litre
It is possible to employ a domestic worker at an affordable rate in South Africa. The average daily rate for normal cleaning and washing varies between R150-R200. This rate will be higher for live-in domestic workers and for those who are also supposed to look after children, drive, do the groceries, etc. A monthly salary can be worked out in these cases.
Please employ people from a reputable agency and after a thorough reference check.
Milk 1 litre – R12
Bread loaf – R11
Eggs 12nos – R26
Butter 500gm – R38
Cheese slices 400gms – R41
Chicken 1kg – R80
Beef mince 1kg – R60
Coca Cola 1 litre – R13
Mineral water 500ml – R5
Nescafe instant coffe 100gm – R47
Cooking oil 750ml – R14
There are no dearth of eating places in Johannesburg. They range from cheap cafes to gourmet 10-course meals.
3-course meal for two in an average restaurant: R200-300
3-course meal for two in a fancy fine dining restaurant: R600-1000
Large Big Mac meal: R50
Local beer 500ml: R20-30
Glass of house wine: R30-40
Cup of coffee: R20
Movie tickets: R78
Large popcorn: R35
Theatre tickets: R350
Tipping: 10% of total bill is standard in restaurants
Car guards and garage attendants should also be tipped as per discretion
Women’s haircut with blow dry: R400
Men’s haircut: R150
Mani-pedi: R300/200 (regular)
Full body massage: R600
Gym membership: R500 (monthly)
If I have missed out anything, or if you would like to know about a specific thing, please feel free to email me or comment below, and I will get back to you.
Happy moving to SA – I can guarantee that you will love it here!