Johannesburg is known as an expensive city to live in in South Africa. The salaries are often higher than other parts of South Africa, but cost of living in Johannesburg can be costly. It seems we have swapped one expensive city for another by deciding to move from Johannesburg to Dublin. This is because Dublin is also known to be extremely costly to live in. By UK standards, Dublin is almost as expensive as London for people to live in the city of Dublin.
Since moving to Dublin, Rob and I have often tried to compared the cost of living here in Dublin versus back home in Johannesburg. I sometimes think life here in Dublin is better, simply for the fact that we are currently living on one salary, something we don’t think would be possible back in Johannesburg. It definitely would not be possible to live the life we had back in SA in the same way. Things would have had to have changed, and been cut down, and even still – I don’t think it is possible to live on one salary in South Africa.The cost of living in Dublin compared to Johannesburg, check it out here: Click To Tweet
In some ways you just cannot compare the two cities – they each offer something different. But for the purpose of this post, I have outline a few differences that we have personally experienced (Disclaimer: this is our opinion of the cost of living in Dublin compared to living in Johannesburg).
Things that are without a doubt cheaper in Johannesburg:
- Take out meals are super affordable, most noticeably a McDonald’s combo meal. Also, you can order in and get it delivered in Johannesburg for a small fee – in Dublin getting it delivered is a bit of a luxury. Personally we have found buying frozen pizza from Tesco is cheaper than to order from a takeout chain (Dominoes large pizza costs EUR22 in Dublin; compared to ZAR86 in Johannesburg)
- Eating out in general. Back in SA we would eat out quite regularly. Just a regular dinner, dessert and couple of drinks (or bottle of wine) is something we did at least once every second week. But eating out in Dublin can cost you anywhere from an early bird special (before 6pm) EUR20 and up, per person.
- Chicken Fillets. For some reason, buying chicken filleted breasts in bulk in SA was way cheaper than here in Dublin. It is almost cheaper to eat pork or salmon in Dublin than to eat chicken!
- Beer/wine. *You knew I would go here*. Wine in South Africa is pretty hard to beat (and that is not just me being biased). There are loads of really good bottles of wine for under ZAR60 a bottle in the local shops throughout South Africa. Whereas in Dublin you have to wait for Tesco to have a sale to get a half decent bottle for EUR10. You can get Spier here in Dublin, which honestly I absolutely hate it, but that costs over EUR12! Not only wine, but beer is also expensive here in Dublin. It kind of baffles me that local beer like Guinness is still quite expensive in Dublin, the home of the black stuff. Back in SA, most of the local beers are affordable (obviously not including the craft beer). Also, I am yet to find a good (cheap) cider like Savanna. Although you can get Savanna’s at certain stores and pubs – it is just really expensive in Dublin!
- Monthly rent in Johannesburg compared to Dublin. Not only can you get a place that is a lot bigger, with a garden and a garage, and possibly some off street parking in South Africa, but rent is a bit cheaper there too. The only difference is that most places in South Africa are rented unfurnished. For the rand value price we are paying for rent here in Dublin for a 2 bedroom place with no garage, and a teeny court yard garden – you could rent out 3 places in some parts of Johannesburg (atleast!).
- Buying a house/ getting a loan for a house is a bit easier to do in South Africa. Here in Dublin you need at least a 10% deposit, and you can’t borrow more than 3.5 times your annual salary so getting a loan from the bank is tricky. Cost of houses means that it is almost impossible for families to get onto the property ladder, so you find a lot people rent for a long time here. Whereas in Johannesburg, Rob and I went out and bought a place over a rainy weekend one day with very little issue.
- Cleaning services. In South Africa, cheap domestic labour is rife (which is definitely not something I agree with). Many homes have a cleaner that comes in at least once a week to clean their homes. Here in Dublin, you would be lucky to find someone to come and clean for a few hours – and guaranteed they won’t really do the “deep clean” you are used to back in SA.
- Medicine. This isn’t so much the cost of meds but more the shortage of strong medication over the counter in Ireland. If you are planning on moving to Ireland, stock up on your meds of choice before you get here!
Things that are considerably cheaper in Dublin
- Clothes could be seen as being cheaper in South Africa, but Ireland has proper discounted sales, and a huge selection of fast fashion that are very, very affordable.
- Milk, eggs and cheese. I find these to be quite a bit more affordable than back in South Africa.
- Seasonal food can be very affordable. Over winter we got a bag of brussel sprouts for 12c in Dublin! and right now nectarines and peaches are 49c for a punnet.
- Internet (and its faster!). We have wifi at the house and we honestly have no problems downloading, streaming TV and watching YouTube videos all day every day. This also means that we save on paying for cable TV because we can access everything off the internet. (Read this post on how we save money in a foreign country)
- Public transport might be more expensive in rand value, but it is more reliable here than in South Africa, and more of a network here in Dublin makes it well used by a lot of people. Some companies also offer bike to work schemes where they incentivise you to use a bike instead of driving in to work. Public transport is also capped daily and weekly so that it does make it more affordable to use regularly.
- Phone and gym contracts don’t tie you in – so they feel like they might be cheaper in Dublin because it is so easy to switch and change if the prices increase. It takes as little as 2 hours to port your cell number so changing networks is pretty easy to do here in Dublin. Rob is currently paying EUR5 for unlimited data and calls within Ireland, since we can call home using whatsapp or skype – this makes it super cheap to do!
- Water is free in Ireland. Bit crazy but true. Currently government is trying to change this, but the public are having none of it, so for now, water is free.
Other things that get a bit more complicated to compare:
- Things like electronics, I think costly pretty much the same in both countries.
- Electricity/Gas – In rand value it is more expensive in Dublin, but then we are needing to heat the house here in winter. But I think considering the portion of our salary that we used to pay for this, it works out a bit cheaper in Ireland that back in South Africa. We also pay this every second month, so its not a monthly cost.
- Cars are cheaper in South Africa, but we think that compared to the salary you earn here in Dublin, it is cheaper to buy a second hand car here in Ireland than it is on a salary you can earn in Johannesburg.
DO YOU FIND IT EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN YOUR CITY?
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