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Cost of Living in Johannesburg

2 posts
Cost of Living in Johannesburg


I am an IT professional living in India and I got an Oppurtunity to work in SA (Johannesburg) for one Year.

It will be highly appreciable if you answer the below question to the best of your knowledge.

1) How much would be required for a family of 4 (Me, wife and 2 kids (4 years and 2 years)) to live a Moderate & decent life in Johannesburg.

2) Fees of pre-primary school (Sr. Kindergarten)

3) Any other expenses I should keep in mind?

Company would be providing us the accommodation (in Sandton), medical insurance and a car.

Provide me the detailed list of expenses on food in a week for running a family of 4. like grocery items, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.

I would be getting around 14k Rands in hand. Will that be sufficient including some savings for future?

Thanks in advance.



Hazyview, South...
Level Contributor
3,850 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

For your daily shopping, see:



-Owner Abangane-


Cape Town
Level Contributor
10,350 posts
2. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg


I am sure you will have a great time in South Africa. A good place for young professionals.

It is very difficult to compare costs for individual people as one persons idea of a “moderate and decent life” is not the same as another’s.

Accommodation (including local taxes and insurance?), medical costs and a car are by far the biggest chunk of expense. Sandton is one of the top areas in Joburg so having accommodation there is a big benefit. Are the following included in your package as you haven’t mentioned them. Electricity and other energy costs, telephone (at least one mobile phone and possibly a landline), home internet connection (much more expensive than India), Satellite TV cost and car fuel (at least for commuting) – fuel is currently around R10.75 per litre in Joburg and, like everywhere in the world rising.

If all these are included this whole package would add up to around 65 percent of monthly expenditure (or even more). This puts your salary level at around R40K per month after taxes or equivalent to a gross salary of say R55K before tax. This would certainly be considered a good salary for a young family and would give you a reasonable life style.

If the expenses above are not all included you will need to factor them in.

Klaus' link is good. I too was going to link you to one of the on-line shopping sites so that you can gauge exactly how your personal spending would pan out. Prices are the same in the supermarket as on-line but you can get weekly special offers on certain items in the shop which can save you a bit – and shop around the different supermarkets for the best offers. Shopping in SA is very easy.

Can’t help you on pre-school costs. Does your wife plan to work? You obviously do need to consider the costs of a second car. If your main one is not available she will need one whether she works or doesn’t.. Joburg is not an easy place to get around for a mum and two young kids without a car.

Then to enjoy yourself costs are reasonable. A meal out in a reasonable restaurant with a bottle of wine for two costs around R320 upwards. A Fish and Chip meal at one of the excellent Ocean basket chain with a beer costs no more than R50 per head. A beer in a pub costs around R15. A ticket to cricket at one of the two major grounds accessible from Sandton costs around R50 for a local game up to R100 for a day at a Test match. Cinema tickets cost around R25 per head. A night in one of the nearby National Parks such as Pilansberg, Marakele or the wonderful Kruger National Park would cost around R750 for the family in a comfortable bungalow or safari tent with private bathroom.

A few ideas – sure you would have a great year!

Edited: 06 December 2011, 14:03
2 posts
3. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg


Thanks for the quick replies.

The package does not include electricity and other energy costs, mobile phone bills, internet bill, fuel expenses, Satellite TV cost.

My wife wont be working there and does not drive. So we wont be having 2 cars.

So if I have to bare the cost of above mentioned facilities from my pocket, then will 14k Rands per month be sufficient including day-to-day food expenses?

Thanks in advance.



Pretoria, SA
Level Contributor
432 posts
83 reviews
4. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

R14,000 a month, single salary will be very tight in Sandton. It will be fairly tough on your wife not to drive in South Africa. I would say that this would be the limiting factor rather than the money.

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
Level Contributor
6,534 posts
5. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

Disagree with CHH-pretoria that R14000, if you don't have to pay for accommodation or car, will be tight. I think it should definitely be enough, as long as you are not planning to eat out every night.

Agree with CHH-pretoria that it could be a problem that your wife does not drive. I think your employers should be made aware of this. The house that you get will need to be close to shops. Public transport is very limited, but there is some, so maybe if you are close to a Gautrain bus stop, so that she can get places, it will be okay. Also, the childrens school either needs to be very close by or accessible by the very limited public transport.

Cape Town
Level Contributor
10,350 posts
6. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

Agree with lamlee on both the cost and, particularly, the issue with your wife driving – which CHH emphasises as well. You don’t say when you are planning to come. Is there time for your wife to get working on a driving-school course before then? Or maybe you could start teaching her – although in my experience this is not a good way to do it – lol!

In terms of costs, as you mentioned, the 14K is “in hand”. So this is presumably after tax, on both this part of your salary and the accommodation/car/med insurance contributions? In total this adds up to a reasonable monthly salary.

The additional items that I mentioned are difficult to estimate without knowing more. For example, is the accommodation a small flat or a house with a garden? As lamlee asks where will you be situated. Sandton covers some area – some much more isolated without a car than others.

But a few ideas of more costs :

Electricity – maybe R600 per month for a flat.

Telephone and Internet (package together plus a PAYG phone for your wife) – say R700 pm.

Car Fuel – obviously depends how much you drive but I am sure that you will want to get out of Joburg at weekends to see some of the country – say one tank a week R1,600 pm for a small/medium car.

Satellite TV (full programme including Indian Bouquet) around R600pm.

Household and personal insurance – say R400pm

So this takes a total of R3,900 – rough order of magnitude. Leaving R10K per month for food and enjoying South Africa. Certainly possible.

However you and your wife need to think seriously about her learning to drive. I know people who came to Cape Town (which is maybe easier to get about without a car than Joburg), from Germany. The wife didn’t drive and felt so isolated. Never made any friends and after less than a year had a virtual mental breakdown and they had to return to Germany - although he was doing fantastically well in his job.

Being able to drive opens up wholly different possibilities to make friends - both her and the kids - and have a much fuller life.

Edited: 06 December 2011, 20:10
Berkhamsted, United...
Level Contributor
1,818 posts
196 reviews
7. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

I'd also recommend that your wife learns to drive. She will be terribly isolated at home, with no way of taking the children out and about, to activites. For pre-school fees in Sandton, I suspect you'd be looking at costs of around R2000-R3000pm

New Delhi, India
3 posts
8. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

I am moving to Johannesburg, my salary would be around R27K, I am alone. Would this be a good amount to lead a good life in Joburg?

1 post
9. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

Hi I might be going to SA,Johanesburg soon .I will be paid 50k rand per month in SA ,Johanesburg,Will it be sufficient for me for living as Bachelor.Waiting for your response.

South Africa
Level Contributor
1,439 posts
94 reviews
10. Re: Cost of Living in Johannesburg

If your wife is not driving, then she cannot go anywhere!!

No shopping, bringing the kids from and to school. No outings. and more.

Let her get het drivings licence soon, is my advice, without one you are lost here!