Help with budget for family of three

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Help with budget for family of three

    My family including myself, my husband and my two year old daughter are moving to HK shortly. In preparation, I am trying to get an idea of what I should budget for our expenses. Tentatively, I have budgeted $21K for rent. Initially, my daughter will not be in full-time education but more likely, we will put her in part-time preschool once we have had plenty of time to acclimatize. Based on an overall budget of approximately, $45-50K, I would love to hear from those similarly situated, what I can expect to pay for:

    1. Travel (assume commute from HK Island to Central)
    2. Electricity
    3. TV
    4. Telephone (landline and cell phones for both me and my husband)
    6. Groceries
    7. Furniture (we are bringing only things like books, papers, small furniture and beds as we have been told not to bring our oversized N. American furniture with us)

    Have I forgotten anything?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Hong Kong

    1. Central is on HK Island, so it depends where on HK Island, but by public transport it is unlikely to be more than HK$10-12 for each journey on the island, even if you take two or even three buses/mtr to do it.

    2. Anything from HK$200/month (smallish apartment in winter) to HK$3000+/month (big apartment in summer running lots of aircon all the time).

    3&5 Depends on speed, which subscription channels and so on. Budget on $300/month in total. A little more if you want the English soccer.

    4 Landline $110/month (local calls are free). Mobiles about the same each, including several hundred minutes of airtime. International calls depend very much on destination and how much you shop around. Don't make international calls by pressing "+<country code>..." on your mobile - that can be very expensive.

    6. Varies a lot depending on how often you eat out, whether you use the flashy "international" supermarkets or the local wet markets, and so on.

    7. As much or as little as you want really.

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    I just moved here from NYC and, being somewhat used to high-cost living over there, am still shocked at some of the prices in HK:

    - rent can be cheaper and more spacious if you live farther from central - which is what we opted for...

    - cell service - beware, lots of little tiny added charges and the contract seems much more complicated than the states - especially data-services. in the states almost all packages are unlimited data but here, you can also be charged by kb's - which is a pain. Also, if you're used to 'no roaming charge' or 'free nights and weekends' - they don't really have it here. in a nutshell, check your bill every month to make sure you're paying what you should be paying...

    - i would just forget starbucks, a tall iced coffee is actually MORE expensive than New York!! Although you have other choices like Pacific Coffee etc - they are just as $$$. I suggest make your own coffee at home. :-) Although the coffee beans / grinds (illy / starbucks) are not really that much more than the states... i think HK people think drinking coffee as the 'experience' of sitting and enjoying their coffee in a nice atmosphere, not like the U.S. where we grab our starbucks and run, downing the thing like there's no tomorrow -ie. human gas stations...

    - food can be cheap if you know where to go. We were introduced and kinda addicted to the 'semi-fastfood' joints like Cafe DeCoral and Maxim Mix. Also the foodcourts here are NICE, (again the ambience is important to HKers) compared to the typical mall-fare in the states... so no worries there. cheaper to eat out than cook at home - although still trying to spot a decent pizza joint (help someone??)

    - TV, similar to cell service. Channels are a la carte - you only pay for channels you want - which is good in theory but for someone like me, it seems (psychologically) more when you actually need to choose the channels - since they are $$/month. But all in all i guess it's cheaper. also no such thing as DVR so it means you either watch the show at the scheduled time or you miss it... hard concept to grasp again... adding to the feeling that you're not getting your $$$'s worth (if you don't get to watch everything you wanna watch)

    - Furniture - you'll likely have to buy it here since the apts (and the elevators) are small. We ordered a queen size mattress from ikea and they almost couldn't get it up the elevator - i was shocked. and the apt ain't small... wonder how people actually furnish their place... dreading our furniture currently being shipped here.