There is a term that I kept hearing before we left, and keep hearing since we’ve arrived in New Zealand. To be honest, I am sick of this term. It’s used too much and probably inappropriately used, really. It’s also pessimistic and in my opinion, comes from downright laziness, which are 2 of my very least favorite things. Lazy pessimists, get off my island. The phrase?
“New Zealand/food/petrol/cars/accommodation/_fill in the blank is so expensive.”
Yes, some things such as your frozen lean cuisine from the US or your 64GB imported limited iPhone 5 are truly expensive. It’s an island. Stuff has to come here on a boat. From really far away.
But on the whole, if you are creative and tenacious, you will not be broke.
This brings me to the event that was my biggest fear: grocery shopping. Everyone (mostly expats and Americans who have visited NZ) gripes about the prices of food. I’ve read sporadic articles about how if one is able to shop with regard to the season (no bruschetta in winter ya’ll, get over it) then it shouldn’t be so bad. But more commonly, I read and heard about how unreasonable all food is here, to the point that some expats have left New Zealand and returned to America, land of government subsidized poison GMO ridden mass-produced food.
So how’d it go? Well it went pretty damn great. I have a habit of doing “mental math” while I shop to see how close I can get to the actual price when it’s all rung up at the end. Weird, I know. I admit, I was pretty distracted by all the super weird brands and packaging to really focus on my math game, but regardless, we came in $25 under what I expected, with a total of $125. For perspective, we bought a lot of essentials… food for a brand new flat, cleaning supplies, a few kitchenwares, etc.
Tomatos cost $2.99/kg. Thats roughly $1.30/lb, which is unheard of in the states. Oh, and they aren’t from hothouses in Mexico.
There is peanut butter, and everyone that told us that there isn’t is a liar.
There are also tortillas. In varying shapes and flavors. More lies.
Eggs aren’t refrigerated. And the yolks are so yellow they look orange.
Bell peppers are called “capsicum”.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and especially boysenberries are all cheaper (but probably only for this month. Things are very seasonal here.)
Honey is a solid, kind of like a butter color and texture.
Wine is barely more expensive, if at all. Beer is astronomical. (Stella, gross, on sale for $20/12 pack.) Liquor is more expensive, but not like beer.
One of my favorite things was the “confection free” line. There are 2 check-out lines dedicated to having no candy, and therefore no grubby hands grabbing wildly, no toddler meltdowns, and probably even a reduced temptation to those who would otherwise grab that un-needed Snickers. The confection free line does offer raisins, nuts, etc. however. The other mama-friendly tidbit I noticed was “family parking” right next to the handicapped parking places. Pretty cool.
The best deal were the venison hamburgers we got, 6 patties freshly made with seasoning and everything for $7. They are AMAZING. Oh, and the salmon fillet we got. Big enough for 2, caught 12 kilometers out of Christchurch, $8. A very, very tasty win.
Anyways, since I didn’t take any pictures of my groceries, I’ll leave you with a picture of a little trail up at the top of our street.