Money Talks

I have been asked a few times about what the cost of living is like here. We are paying for accommodation with power and internet included. So food is our major expense. This is a small chapter on our food costs. I might have to do some clothes and shoe shopping in the future, in the name of research.

Keep in mind that the NZ dollar has been fallen against the euro since we arrived and is currently at 62 cents to the euro. This means we get less for our kiwi dollars.

We shop at the huge hypermarche Auchan a few blocks away. It is impossible to just run in and get a few things, just for the sheer size of the place. (Kiwi readers: Think Farmers and New World fused together in a happy, happy marriage). There is one whole aisle (both sides) devoted to cheese. Two aisles are devoted to yoghurts and dairy mousse-type desserts. The store sells not just food and alcohol but clothes, household items, mobile phones, books and even toys. There are also seasonal displays with bargain items. The Christmas decorations have just been put on display and would be at least on a par with Christchurch's celebrated Christmas room at Ballantynes.

Wine is of course much cheaper at anywhere from 4 euros (6 Nzd) for an average bottle of red or rosé. I would spend $15-20 at home. Beer is also cheaper at 6 euros for an 8 pack of Leffe Blonde. This is specialty beer and in NZ would cost twice the price.

We are spending about the same per week on groceries, although we are spending the money in a different way. We buy bread from the bakery (95 euro cents per baguette). Croissants are 60 cents each. We would spend at least 10 euros a week there. This includes the odd tarte or chocolate patisserie (bien sur). We buy most fruit and vegetables from our local grocers store. This works out pretty cheap if you buy in season. We spend around 20 euros per week there. Tomatoes are 2.49 euros per kilo at the moment - remember this is the off season.

A few items work out more expensive here; peanut butter at 4 euros (6NZD) per jar, ham at 2 euros for 4 slices. We buy the pull-up nappies at 17 euros for a double pack, which works out to $27NZD. I would pay $20 on special in NZ for the same amount. The quicker we can get Miss Two toilet-trained the better.

Going out for meals (two adults, two kids) can cost anywhere from 25 euros at McDonalds to 80 euros at a restaurant / brasserie. For the kids, there is normally a "menu enfant" with plat, (main) plus dessert plus drink for around 9 euros.

See more info on moving to and living in France here.

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