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Thread: Anyone here from Boston? Thinking about moving to Auckland. Would love to hear your take.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Boston, MA, USA
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    15

    Default Anyone here from Boston? Thinking about moving to Auckland. Would love to hear your take.

    Year ago I spent two weeks with my wife in NZ (we drove from Auckland to Queenstown and then flew back) and we have been a lot about moving to Auckland, especially since now we have a baby (no, not a Kiwi baby :-) )
    My wife is a cancer scientist at Harvard, I am an executive in technology startups. Boston pace, weather, horrid drivers and roads, and really cranky people is starting to get to us. I know we would not make as much as we do in US, but in our eyes it would be worth it. I did not grow up in US, so I kind of want to make the change again.

    I saw a lot of opinions from expats who either came from UK or much cheaper places in US (compared to Boston), so it is not that useful to me.

    I would love to find out your general feedback about how was your move, how do you see difference in the cost of living, what are the things you do and don't miss about Boston?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    Hello and welcome.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2006
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    Wellington, NZ from US
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    Hi and welcome!
    I saw a lot of opinions from expats who either came from UK or much cheaper places in US (compared to Boston), so it is not that useful to me.

    I would love to find out your general feedback about how was your move, how do you see difference in the cost of living, what are the things you do and don't miss about Boston?
    We're from Southern California, but I thought I would share anyway as San Diego is a pricey, heavily populated area.
    We find that the cost of living is higher, but there are ways to reduce our overhead. Our wage is lower, but our rent is a lot less than our mortgage in the States (and all the costs of owning a home). Our monthly bills are actually about the same. Car insurance is dramatically less, as is contents (renter's) insurance. Food and clothing are definitely higher, but I shop the sales and I make more decisions not to buy until it is on sale. I also go to Op Shops (thrift stores) and peruse the clothes. I know not everyone finds this palatable and that's cool by me, but I've found excellent clothing, rather better made than the States, for next to nothing. Farmer's markets and (some) butcher shops have better prices than grocery stores.
    We've changed our lifestyle a lot; we have one car and Steve takes the train to work, we make more food from scratch, we hang our clothes to dry, and we don't watch much TV. Fortunately, these are all changes we wanted to make that also help control the budget. Going out is expensive, but we don't do it too much. It is nice not having to tip though.
    Things I REALLY don't miss include air pollution, gun shots, police helicopters, and overpopulation. Things I miss include friends and family, Mexican food, buttercream frosting on cake, and my old truck.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2012
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    USA
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    My wife and I are from the U.S.; after finishing grad school a few years back, we moved to Taupo for nearly three years before moving back to the States... to Boston, actually, as my wife had received a job offer from Harvard! Funny old world.

    While Taupo is a far cry from Auckland, we'd be happy to chat with you about NZ with you and your wife, either here or over coffee. Short version: we liked it enough that we're headed back next year, but there are definitely things that should be considered before making a move. The main concern for your wife would be finding a job in her field, and I'd certainly suggest she have something lined-up before plane tickets were purchased. Other issues - housing stock, cost of living, distance from family and ease of travel - should be apparent if you've done even a bit of research. And yes, 'ethnic food' is certainly something I did, and will, miss. I'm eating as much Ethiopian, Mexican, Jamaican, Nepali, Salvadoran, Brazilian, Javanese, and Turkish as I can before we leave the U.S. again. And deli food. A giant pastrami-on-rye is unknown in those far territories.

  5. #5
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    Hello and welcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Boston, MA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ana&Steve View Post
    Hi and welcome!

    We're from Southern California, but I thought I would share anyway as San Diego is a pricey, heavily populated area.
    We find that the cost of living is higher, but there are ways to reduce our overhead. Our wage is lower, but our rent is a lot less than our mortgage in the States (and all the costs of owning a home). Our monthly bills are actually about the same. Car insurance is dramatically less, as is contents (renter's) insurance. Food and clothing are definitely higher, but I shop the sales and I make more decisions not to buy until it is on sale. I also go to Op Shops (thrift stores) and peruse the clothes. I know not everyone finds this palatable and that's cool by me, but I've found excellent clothing, rather better made than the States, for next to nothing. Farmer's markets and (some) butcher shops have better prices than grocery stores.
    We've changed our lifestyle a lot; we have one car and Steve takes the train to work, we make more food from scratch, we hang our clothes to dry, and we don't watch much TV. Fortunately, these are all changes we wanted to make that also help control the budget. Going out is expensive, but we don't do it too much. It is nice not having to tip though.
    Things I REALLY don't miss include air pollution, gun shots, police helicopters, and overpopulation. Things I miss include friends and family, Mexican food, buttercream frosting on cake, and my old truck.
    Funny you would mention San Diego. It is one of the cities that we may have to move to, if my wife chooses to take professor position. I am a startup veteran, so San Diego would not be bad career-wise either. But I am dreading the West coast, since even though I am a car guy to the core, I can't stand sitting in traffic. For decade plus my commute has been an hour each way and the same goes for my wife. We could possibly move to downtown Boston, where there would be 15 minute commute, but then our rent would double to about $4-5K easily and levels of noise from drunks piling out of bars would make it more miserable when you try to fall asleep.

    Ana,
    Would you say food prices are something at the level of Whole Foods or higher? We bought groceries at New World a lot on our trip and I only found chicken to be something I would skip buying.

    As far as TV goes, we already cut our cable here. Basically I use VPN service (astill.com) to connect to UK and watch BBC, sometimes I connect to Germany or New Zealand to watch streamed shows. I know some people in Canada and EU watch Netflix and Amazon Prime via VPN service by connecting to US.

    Re. ethnic food. That is weird you had that experience. In Auckland and Wellington we basically found everything we like (well maybe not Mexican).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Francisco to Auckland
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    626

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    My husband and I lived in San Francisco and I concur on a lot of things with Ana.
    My husband is an excellent cook, so he makes me Mexican so I feel like I get my fix just fine there. Plus in Auckland we have found a pretty flash restaurant called Mexico in Takapuna and it is really good food. Plus we know of a taco truck that is opening up soon. They traveled all over Mexico learning about the food etc. And so I can't wait for them to open up. We shop at New World, Countdown and Farro's. Farro's is as close to Whole Foods so far. But I heard there is a store called Gnosh that is opening soon that will compete with Farro's so we are excited about that. Our grocery bill has not changed per month, but we were paying SF prices so that could be the reason.

    We use a VPN service too, so we can access sports from US or UK etc. WE do not have Sky. We spend a lot more time outside, BBQing with friends etc.

    The hardest part for us has been job hunting. So, I would definitely try and see if you can come over with a job, that would be idea. My husband and I both have our US jobs and are just looking for jobs at the same time, which has been great. So, we have been able to ease our way into NZ life.

    The only thing I miss about the US in general is dill pickles, Halloween, friends and the fact I wasn't in SF when the Giants won the World Series. But luckily for us we were able to watch every pitch of the post season and have made some amazing friends here already.

    Good luck
    Cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Boston, MA, USA
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    Kiwihusker,
    I have friend who lives in SF... I hate rents in Boston, but SF is a whole new level. From what I saw, Auckland rents are bit lower than Boston. 2 bedroom apartment right downtown Auckland for about $2K NZD.

    Re. Whole Foods, I was mainly thinking about price levels. I found food in NZ in general to be mostly organic (unless of course we are talking about those cereals and cookies, which I choose to skip).

  9. #9
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    Jun 2008
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    Scotland - rural England
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    Hello & welcome!

    P

  10. #10
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    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wellington, NZ from US
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    Ana, Would you say food prices are something at the level of Whole Foods or higher? We bought groceries at New World a lot on our trip and I only found chicken to be something I would skip buying.
    Yes except for fruit and veg that is in season; in season produce is very reasonable. We are carnivores through and through, so that adds up quickly. Beef mince (ground beef) on sale at the grocery store is $10 a kilo, just under $5 a pound. I tend to go to Mad Butcher and get steak mince when it's on special at $6.99/k. in the States I paid $1.49/lb at Trader Joes. This is a good general example of food being more expensive. On the other hand, even the cheap NZ mince tastes better to me than a higher quality ground beef in the States, so there is a payoff
    Steve suffers more from sticker shock than I do; I just take it as a challenge to get what I want at the price I want! The exception is fancy cheese; Ossu Iraty is my favorite and it's about $8/100g. I only get a little, but it's worth it!
    We are long over our Top Ramen days, but it's interesting to note that 1 brick of ramen costs $1.50-$2 here as opposed to 13 cents in the US.
    Please don't get me wrong; we are so happy that we've made the move. We have gone over the pros and cons for years and we are happy to compromise for what we are now enjoying: a better quality of life

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