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 Post subject: Cost of living
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:37 pm
Posts: 12
Hi everyone,

I'm putting together a budget for an imminent move to Lamma Island and would be very grateful for any input from those already living on the island.

I'd like info about monthly costs for:
medical cover-
doctors (we will have limited cover with my work - I have a partner and two children)
dentists / orthodontists (my two children aged 8 and 10 will need dental work while we are in HK)
opticians
telephones/mobiles
average rent for a three bed flat
water
electricity
transport (for four people working and going to school on HK island)
extra-curricular activities for kids (my children between them currently play tennis, aikido, gymnastics, rugby and guitar lessons - not saying they would do the same in HK but I'd like to get an idea of what is available and what people pay - rugby would be great though!)
flat insurance
estate agency fees
school books / uniforms / meals(obviously depends on the school but would like an idea of the average cost - difficult to work it out myself yet as I haven't found a place in a school - still trying very hard!)

anything else I haven't thought of...

Thanks for any help you can give me.


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 Post subject: Re: Cost of living
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:06 pm
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Location: Tai Peng
I'd like info about monthly costs for:
medical cover-
doctors (we will have limited cover with my work - I have a partner and two children)


There aren't any private doctors, or dentists on Lamma. There are a couple of vets though.
There is a public clinic which gives simple care and can refer you to the public hospitals. Very cheap if you have residency, about HK$45/visit and $100/day in hospital.

dentists / orthodontists (my two children aged 8 and 10 will need dental work while we are in HK)

Varies. Expensive in Central, cheaper in Kowloon.
Cost me about $250 for an extraction, $2500 for a crown in Kowloon.

telephones/mobiles
Cheap. Just a mobile phone, $60/month. A few hundred for a data plan.
Landline $110/month.Or just use a mobile, or VOIP.
Broadband: $250 or so/month.

average rent for a three bed flat
$7-8000 about the minimum now. Many asking over 10,000.

electricity
$150-$500 depending on how much you use aircon and hot water.

transport (for four people working and going to school on HK island)
$621 /month for ferry.
$5-8 for bus or MTR on HK each way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:35 pm 
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Posts: 12
Hi Alan,

Thanks for this - it's a great start to help me with the budget. Maybe a silly question - the price you quote for the monthly ferry pass is that per person and are the prices different for children do you know? I've tried looking on the ferry website but that section is 'under construction'.

Thanks again,

Jo


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 Post subject: cost of living
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:45 pm
Posts: 60
I don't know anybody that has an electricity bill of under $500 per month in the summer .... crikey, we run 2 x dehumidifiers (24 hrs) and air-con @ night in one bedroom only, and we heat water ! minimum $1000 per month !

our water charges are approx $250 per quarter which is really cheap compared to the UK.

don't forget also... you will need cable tv as the local channels are .... ???


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:03 pm 
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Posts: 12
Thanks grannyt

How much is it for tv - and didn't think to ask about average cost for internet connection?

Thanks again,
Jo


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:28 pm 
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Posts: 60
PCCW can provide landline/internet/cable tv i.e NOW TV for $300'ish per month ...the guys that do the installations here on Lamma are pretty good too !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:36 pm 
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kittyb wrote:
Hi Alan,

Thanks for this - it's a great start to help me with the budget. Maybe a silly question - the price you quote for the monthly ferry pass is that per person and are the prices different for children do you know? I've tried looking on the ferry website but that section is 'under construction'.


Under 12 is about half adult price.
See http://www.hkkf.com.hk/index.php?op=timetable&style=en
I assume the monthly is similar.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:21 am 
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Think the 'education' and finding a reasonably priced flat is going to be the biggest headache. At the moment finding a 3 bedroom flat for 7-8K seems difficult.

As for schools and school fees... sure many mums will contact you. I'm not sure I could afford to bring up kids here!

Utilitiy bills basically change during the seasons. My bills are around 1K during summer and can go down to 300 during spring or autumn, although my dehumidifier is using lots of energy at the moment.


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 Post subject: school fees
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:14 am 
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My friend just got his daughter into school here costing $50k entrance fee and $8k for monthly fees. after school activities another $2k.
Entrance fees can be $50k to $200k.
Another friend spent $600k getting a boy into Harrow hong kong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:09 am 
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Posts: 2
Very difficult to gauge what your needs/expectations are without knowing where you are coming from....

Moving to Hong Kong with children ages 8 and 10 is probably the most difficult. As another poster said school and housing are the two big unknowns.

For housing - a 700 sq ft flat on lamma for $8 to $10k is maybe doable but will be the absolute minimum in terms of cost and attractiveness. is it far from the pier, does it have a rooftop or outside area, does it look out directly onto another flat, etc? is your 8-year old going to be able to handle a 180 sq ft room? guess it depends where you currently live? Even at $14k to $15k, you may not be immediately able to get a nicer flat - depends on what is available.

For school - international school places are difficult at the moment for these age groups. many of the western kids on lamma go to ESF but that has a long waiting list for these age groups - the tuition cost per kid comes out at about $65k per year, with an additional $20k for bus, activities, school trips, etc....

There are other cheaper school options for English language instruction, which are perfectly fine and may be a little easier to get into immediately. There are more expensive options as well - the full international schools - and there are waiting lists for these as well, particularly if you don't have a debenture through work or are able to purchase one yourself.

Kids activities are generally expensive in Hong Kong compared with other places but there are pockets of things that are reasonable. Rugby is well funded in Hong Kong and is very reasonable <$1k per year for children. There is a woman that runs a very nice art class on lamma that is good value at $150 per lesson on Friday afternoon.

But many of the other activities are aimed at the expatriate crowd and priced as such - for example there is a well know drama class/club in Central and even football (soccer) each work out to $3k per term area each.

And as with many things, these can be quite a trip from Lamma on weekends. It may very well take 4 and half hours door to door for you kid to do a 90 minute football practise somewhere in Hong Kong. other than the art class i mentioned, there are no structured kids activities for this age on lamma.

hope this helps


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:24 am 
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looks like we've got some real energy hogs on this island


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:46 pm 
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Location: Tai Peng
There is a government subsidy for electricty (for everyone?). I haven't actually had to pay anything for electricity for the last couple of months


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:37 pm
Posts: 12
Thanks everyone for all of your replies so far. It's all very useful.

I currently live in Paris where I have been paying relatively high rent and very high fees for extra curricular activities. I haven't been paying school fees up until now though so this will have a huge impact on my budget!

At the moment my children cross the road from our 5th floor flat to go to school. Compared to this, the travel time will be a shock but moving to somewhere where there is open space will be such a brilliant change from Paris. My son is very excited about going on a ferry to school and climbing trees at the weekend - so we are focusing on the positives!

Thanks again for all your comments - I appreciate all the info.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:45 pm 
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zep wrote:
There is a government subsidy for electricity (for everyone?). I haven't actually had to pay anything for electricity for the last couple of months


Basically it's $1/kWh and you currently get $150 off per month to encourage you to waste electricity.

After that my bill has been $120-250. But we open windows (with mosquito screens or it'd be death) and use fans, aircon rarely.

Water is paid quarterly, $4.20 per cubic metre, with the first 11 cm free. We paid about $120 last quarter.

In HK most middle class families hire a domestic helper, usually from the Philippines. Salary is very low, HK$3,740. But you also have to provide accommodation and meals.

All this is negligible compared to school fees for international schools, $10,000/month or so, if you can find a place at all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:02 am 
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Just signed a new contract. Salary for Domestic Helpers has gone up again and is now 4,000 give or take, with 850 food more or less. Still good value though if you need to get children to different locations and you are working. The problem is finding space for everyone to sleep in our small homes! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:47 pm
Posts: 18
you'll also need a gynecologist-i wouldn't know if the local doctor does referrals for that-i just go to a fancy expat clinic in central. costs several thousand HKD per visit. i'm sure you can find a less expensive option if necessary.


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