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Cost of living, why not a sample budget?

I see so many posts here, asking for cost of living. Why not post some sample budgets?

For a family of two:

* Housing in Central area (2 bedrooms+living room/750 sqft) - xx HKD / month

* Insurance - xx HKD / month

* Utilities (electricity, water, heating, internet, 2 cell-phones) - 2,500 HKD / month

* Groceries (meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs etc. for cooking AT home)- 2,000 HKD per month

* Eating out (300 HKD per meal for two x 4 times a week x 4 weeks ): 4,800 HKD per month

* Transit passes for two people (@ 300 per per person) 600 HKD per month

* Movies/entertainment (@ 200/week x 4 weeks): 800 HKD / month

* Clothing/Shopping(for two) - 4,800 HKD/month (for two people)

* Misc - 2,000 HKD / month
-------------------------------------------
Total : 17,500 HKD per month + housing + insurance
--------------------------------------------

That's my estimate from all that I've read. I do NOT live in Hong Kong so it's quite possible that I am wrong. Somebody local can correct?

Hello cchrysl.

Welcome to Expat.com! :)

Thank you for sharing.
Hope you'll get some contribution from other members.

Thank you,
Aurélie

Aurélie :

Hello cchrysl.

Welcome to Expat.com! :)
Thank you for sharing.
Hope you'll get some contribution from other members.
Thank you,
Aurélie

Thanks, Aurélie! Yes, I am hoping some people from Hong Kong will reply and make corrections to my sample budget or post their own :)

The reason you will never see an average cost of living in Hong Kong is because there is no average cost of living in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a small city, but it is enormous.  What one family pays for anything can be absolutely nothing like what another family pays.

Housing – Each neighborhood might as well be a different city as far as prices are concerned.  Even within the same area the prices can change dramatically.  The building across the street from mine costs twice as much.

Insurance – Most jobs should provide health insurance.  What you pay will depend entirely on the job.  It could be anywhere from HK$0 to HK$ a lot.

Utilities – This also depends on where you live.  Some buildings include everything with the rent, some include nothing.  Internet and phones depend on what type of service you want.  A family of 2 could easily pay 4 times what I pay.

Groceries – Most people in Hong Kong rarely make food at home.  Hong Kong apartment kitchens are a joke – unless you have a very expensive apartment.

Eating out – This is highly subjective.  What I pay for food will be nothing like what someone else pays for food.

Transit passes – An adult Octopus costs HK$150 with a HK$50 deposit.  It can hold up to HK$1,000.

Movies/entertainment – Highly subjective.  Movie tickets are usually between HK$60-150.

Clothing/shopping – Probably the most subjective.  You can spend a fortune in one afternoon in Hong Kong or live like a pauper for the rest of your life.

Anyone spending HK$17,500 per month – not including housing – probably never uses a budget anyway.

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I agree there can be various kinds of lifestyles. I was trying to get an idea of median of middle-class lifestyle.

For example, In Toronto (Canada), you can have a middle class lifestyle with $70,000 to $80,000 gross income /year.
- This would get you a 2 bedroom apartment including electrcity, water
- Car like Honda Civic or Accord - including insurance, gas
- Most meals at home on weekdays (like 15 meals for two, at home)
- Eat out on weekends (5-6 meals for two per week) at mid-tier restaurants.
- Watch maybe 4 movies / month
- fitness club etc. memberships
- Few hundred dollars of savings / month

In Dallas (US), you could have similar lifestyle for USD  $50,000 to USD $60,000.

HaileyinHongKong :

Anyone spending HK$17,500 per month – not including housing – probably never uses a budget anyway.

Not sure what you meant by this? Did you mean HK $17,500 (not including) is too low?

Hong Kong is nothing like Toronto or Dallas.  It is a mix of very, very old and just built yesterday.  There is no average price to live here.

HK$17,500 per month on groceries and entertainment is insanely high.

HaileyinHongKong :

Hong Kong is nothing like Toronto or Dallas.  It is a mix of very, very old and just built yesterday.  There is no average price to live here.

HK$17,500 per month on groceries and entertainment is insanely high.

I see. But it's not just groceries and entertainment. It's also utilities and public-transportation and shopping (we usually spend $300 per person/month on shopping here so I don't think it'd be any different there. Which is why I put in HKD 4,800 as shopping budget).

Does it still seem high? Would HK $14,000 be more of median for two people?

Try www.numbeo.com  for cost of living etc.

That website gives sample prices for individual items.  I don't think that's what he's looking for.  Knowing that a bottle of water costs HK$8 isn't going to tell you how much money you need every month.

If he goes online and does a bit of research there are many websites from which he will be able to work out a budget.
It may not be obtainable from a single site.

Hailey is right - budgeting for Hong Kong is not as clearcut nor as simple as what the OP said.

Unless you have lived in Hong Kong I don't think you can assume or apply other city costs of living as Hong Kong has such a wide level of extremes and it really is unique compared to other cities I have ever lived in.

HK$4,800 for groceries per month for a family of 4 would not feed a western family eating in. If you are eating Chinese dishes sourcing most of your produce from the wet markets and street vendors and seriously limiting red meat - perhaps, but the reality is if you are cooking western food your costs will be considerably higher as the cuts of meat and shops you need to go to for groceries are more expensive. I know people here who spend HK$4,000 a week on food to eat in (admittedly organic and not us) and others who only spend HK$1,000 a week (for 2 people).

A shoebox apartment (200 - 300 sq ft) might be HK$15,000 a month, but some people here will pay HK$120,000 or more (or much much more) a month in rent for a "western sized" apartment (2000 sq ft up). As Hailey says - each neighbourhood is different and costs vary so greatly you can't generate an accurate budget unless you know where in Hong Kong you would live and what your lifestyle will be like.

Restaurants can vary widely too. A dai pai dong can serve a meal for a couple for just over HK$100, but a typical expat won't normally eat there (I do - some of the best food you'll ever have hidden at some of these places). A 'western' restaurant would normally be HK$200 to $300 at the cheap end per person including a drink ... but it can also be closer to HK$1000 to HK$2000 per person depending on where you go and how you want to eat/splurge.

Having a car here is a luxury. You have to add in rental for a car parking space (as not all apartments include a parking spot in their complex or rent). Car parking is often hard to find on Hong Kong island, and it can be quite expensive. Not all malls or areas have parking and parking on the street is all but non-existant in most places. We often leave our car at home as it works out cheaper to take a taxi. Most cars here are luxury cars - you won't find very many Honda Accords on the streets - try BMW 3 series or Volkswagen for the 'cheaper' end of the car spectrum. Admittedly we have a divey old Mazda, but we're not you're typical expat family either.

Public transport depends on what you use - MTR, green minibus, double deckers, trams, ferries ...and how far you are going. Some people consider taxi's in Hong Kong public transport because they are so cheap. As Hailey said - an Octopus card is a must if you live here and depending on where you live, work and play will greatly impact the costs associated with how much you use a week.

Utilities vary widely - electricity is charged at a different rate on Hong Kong island compared to Kowloon. Gas will depend on how much you eat at home and how much you use your shower. It is really hard to give a ballpark figure without looking at consumption of a family over a few months. What I spend on utilities probably varies greatly from what Hailey does not only because I have a family of 4 but also because of where we live.

You could also add in live-in helpers ... that's around HK$4000 a month at the moment. Couples often find part-time help, which again varies greatly in costs.

A normal movie session for a 3D movie can be HK$120 a ticket at the time of posting. I don't know many people that go to the movies often. Most expats tend to go to an area like Lan Kwai Fong or Soho and chat over drinks.. which is often much more than HK$120.

I guess what I'm trying to say is no two people's budgets will be the same and you actually need to work the other way around - figure out what YOUR budget is and make Hong Kong fit into it.
The less you have to work with, the harder it is to live in Hong Kong.

kiwiinhk :

Unless you have lived in Hong Kong I don't think you can assume or apply other city costs of living as Hong Kong has such a wide level of extremes and it really is unique compared to other cities I have ever lived in.

This is the part people have a hard time with.  When I tell them this, they think I'm just being obstinate.  It's not me, it's Hong Kong.

You can tell people prices, but then it's like that website above where the high end can be 500% more than the low end.

if you rent a flat by yourself, yes, HKD17500 is enough if you live in a flat lik 400square fts in tuenmun / yuen long or other new territories area.
i can only say the life with this money won't let you feel hunger, but not full. this is what we say in cantonese all the time.

Hi everybody,

This topic is now a sticky one !  :top:

Priscilla
Expat.com team

Magnifique.

Hi I am local HK,

For a family of two:

* Housing in Central area (2 bedrooms+living room/750 sqft) - 15000 HKD / month

* Insurance - xx HKD / month (depend on age...)

* Utilities (electricity, water, heating, internet, 2 cell-phones) - 1000-1500HKD / month

* Groceries (meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs etc. for cooking AT home)- 1000-2000 HKD per month

* Eating out (300 HKD per meal for two x 4 times a week x 4 weeks ): 4,800 HKD per month

* Transit passes for two people (@ 500-800 per per person) 500-800 HKD per month

* Movies/entertainment (@ 200/week x 4 weeks): 800 HKD / month

* Clothing/Shopping(for two) - 4,800 HKD/month (for two people)...quite enough if not buy the big brand

* Misc - 2,000 HKD / month

I am no longer living in Hong Kong but I did live there for seven years a while ago. The thing about Hong Kong is that if you are interested to move there and live in Central, and you feel that your budget can afford this, then remember than living in any other part of Hong Kong is going to be cheaper. Usually people will live in Wanchai or Mid Levels and many live in Stanley or Discovery Bay. Also, it's difficult to give an estimate of how much to expect to spend on shopping. Personally I would just move our to HK and live wherever your budget will allow you to live because it is such a fantastic place.

Very realistic view.

Hi!

Doryu: 15000 HKD/month for a 2-bedroom apartment with 750 sqft in Central? Show me one for less than the double of that (30000 HKD/month) and I will already be impressed.

PedroDias :

Hi!

Doryu: 15000 HKD/month for a 2-bedroom apartment with 750 sqft in Central? Show me one for less than the double of that (30000 HKD/month) and I will already be impressed.

You have posted on a 3+ year old thread !!

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