Our family budget living in Fiji (cost of living)
Asking someone what their budget entails is often a taboo subject, up there with religion and politics. We are fairly private people (who would have thought! running a blog and all!), but in the interests of sharing about our life in a foreign country, here is a snapshot of the basics of our monthly budget.
I do want to provide a disclaimer though before I reveal all! Obviously everyone's budgeting style is different, and what we consider important (daily coffee out for example) may not rate at all in your budgeting. Food/groceries will be different compared to what you want to consume, and how 'local' you eat. All figures are in Fijian dollars (FJD$).
living in Suva
food - mostly basic and 'local' with occasional 'international' treats
family of 4
no car, using public transport but mostly taxis
does not include 'fun' money for movies, or day trips out of Suva, or holidays etc
Another good place to have a look is the Cost of Living tool at Numbeo.com
If you have your own car, you will need to consider Fuel, Servicing and Insurance. When we did have a car, we allowed $100 per week for fuel (included a weekend trip out of Suva) and $100 per month for insurance. On the occasions a vehicle was included with work employment, obviously we didn't need to worry about these costs. If you want to rely on public transport and taxis you can hire a car for weekend trips for around $150 for 24 hours.
We've lived in a variety of homes in Fiji, so it really does depend on what standard of living you expect, but here is some examples based on the homes we've rented:
Suva - fully furnished, security guard, pool, 2br unit with hot pressurized water - we paid $2,800 per month
Suva - fully furnished stand alone house in Suva, bars on the windows, hot pressurized water (2 bedrooms) - $1800 per month
Suva - fully furnished, security alarm, pool, 3br unit with hot pressurized water - $3,500 per month
Sigatoka - very basic unfurnished 2 bedroom unit $400 per month
Sigatoka - modern unfurnished 2 bedroom unit with washing machine and fridge $750 per month
Sigatoka - 3 bedroom house, partly furnished, no hot water, excellent views and close to beach $1,700 per month (however locals did tell us we were being ripped off which I tend to agree with)
We furnished our entire unit in Suva with brand new furniture in 2015 with $10,000fjd maximum. I would say we went middle of the road in style and cost, and we shopped around a lot. We also got good discounts for buying the majority from one of the major furniture stores there. Expect to pay for delivery and if you are out of the city area, it will cost more.
You can save money by buying fruit and vegetables that are in season and shopping at the local markets. Consider eating as the 'locals' eat and you will save a lot of cash. We bring a lot of the 'treats' which are expensive in Suva back from Australia, or get friends who are visiting to bring them to us. Catch buses only (70c-$1 per trip), and watch local tv only and when the big game is on, go to a local hotel to watch it!