Considering a move to Shenzhen? Great choice! Shenzhen is the definition of an up and coming city. The feeling is palpable when you talk to any of the number of entrepreneurs, businesspeople, entertainers, and teachers who have come to call Shenzhen their home. A city of construction cranes, there is always a new shopping center, restaurant, park, bike path, or gym being built at any given moment. Clean air, beaches, and perfect weather add to its appeal. And of course, Hong Kong, one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world, is a quick jump across the border.
Popular with young Chinese, and an increasing popular expat destination, the cost of living in Shenzhen has risen significantly in the past few years. We’ve rounded up tips on how to save money in Shenzhen for brand new city residents or anyone considering a move to the metropolis:
1) Rent Strategically: Unless you are one shrewd and lucky renter, rent prices will always be a couple of hundreds to a thousand Yuan more for foreigners than Chinese natives. A single studio can cost you anywhere from 2,500-4,000 RMB, and an apartment can cost 3,000-18,000 RMB, depending on the district. If you want to save money on rent, look beyond Shekou to more suburban areas like Yantian, Bao’an or Longhua. Apartments near good middle and elementary schools will cost up to three or four times more than usual, so avoid neighborhoods near popular schools like Shenzhen Middle or the Cuizhu area. If you are willing to take a bus to the metro, prices will go way down as well.
2) Eschew Import Stores: NoGoGo, Shenzhen’s Western grocery delivery service, is amazing, but sometimes I spend 200 Yuan a week (their delivery minimum) only on Cheetos and cheese, and that has become bad for my bank account. Kick that weekly NoGoGo habit and head to your local Walmart or Vanguard to find the key imported ingredients that you need for your weekly menu. Prices will be cheaper than at an import store, and they usually have a pretty hefty import section.
3) 7/11 is Your Friend: Depending on what part of the city you prefer to spend your nights, imported beer and alcohol will run up your bar tab. However, most bars and clubs are free to get into. Drink your Tsingtaos at a restaurant before heading out or pick some up at your local convenience store and hang out in one of Shenzhen’s many parks. For women, a number of bars and clubs in Coco Park and Sea World have ladies nights on Wednesday where drinks are completely free.
4) Get Outdoors: Shenzhen is filled with parks, hiking and biking trails, and ports and land transportations that can easily get you from one city to another for next to nothing. Beaches in Yantian and Longgang are either free or a few RMB, and some even let you camp overnight. Hong Kong has free hiking and nature trails just over the border in the New Territories.
5) Explore Cheaper Restaurants: Western food is very expensive in Shenzhen. Prices can easily range from 80- 200 RMB for a meal. Shenzhen has a number of cheap culinary specialties including Lanzhou Muslim food, BBQ, and southern style dumplings with peanut sauce. There are also foreign restaurants that offer slightly cheaper options such as Frankie’s, Gaga, and Element Fresh, with brunch and daily specials. Shenzhen is filled with many options to satisfy any taste bud.
6) Buses over Cabs: Cabs start at 10 to 13 Yuan in Shenzhen, depending on if you are in the suburbs or in the inner city. Shenzhen is very spread out, and cab fares add up fast. If you haven’t learn how to take the bus in Shenzhen (as the metro only covers about half the city), now is the time to learn! I personally use the PandaBus App to help navigate the Shenzhen system.
7) Earn Extra Income: If cutting back on spending isn’t something you are interested in, there are many ways to make extra money in Shenzhen. Tutor English for a family for 200-300 RMB per hour, write for a local foreign magazine, start your own business, or become a singer, dancer or DJ at a local club (make sure your paperwork is in order first though!).
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Keywords: how to save money in Shenzhen budgeting in Shenzhen
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10 Comments Add your comment
Good article. I would like to put in my two cents: 1. If someone wants to live out in Bao'an or Longhua please keep in mind that there is very little to do in those locations. As well, due to the cheaper rents all the poor and lower middle class will make your commute a nightmare as they pile into the underground lines like so many ants on the march. 2. Generally speaking it is better many times to work for a company or institution that will provide housing or a housing allowance of -at least- over 4,000 yuan. 3. Do not take a salary of less than 18,000 yuan (and really you should be after more like 20 to 30 k...) in Shenzhen unless housing is provided, or you will not enjoy the city. If you work for a university your part time work may be higher and sallary lower (like 10k would be acceptable),then part time you can make around 300 as a starter up to 400 or 500 yuan an hour depending on the nature of the tutoring job.
Nov 05, 2015 14:10 Report Abuse
Who give you a salary of 18,000 yuan ? I mean if you are not a English teacher. There are jobs for foreigners for only 3-4 K/month. I always respond to that ads with the question : how can you live with 3-4 K a month if the rent only , is 4,5K ? ....
Nov 16, 2015 23:32 Report Abuse
Who can resist in that heat ???? Is so hot and humidity is so high.. I spent there 2 weeks last year to try to find an apartment and all what I found was too expensive and too small for that price, also the noise in Shenzhen is terrible , cannot find a quiet place there. I came back to Beijing because I could not resist there, is terrible hot and I was sweating non-stop until I was dehidrated... I felt sick , got a gripal virus then which kept me on 2 weeks... Outside is so hot, when you enter to subway is very cold from the air conditioner. Local peoples only can live there who was born and raised there in that heat... I like to travel there, but for not more than 2-3 days.
Nov 06, 2015 13:46 Report Abuse
I think it is a major case of "to each his own." I would never want to live in Beijing for a variety of reasons. However, I can definitely see why people would want to live there: good salaries, vibrant culture, large expat community, and connections to the political world of China. I suppose it is as the wise philosopher/poet/really big suit enthusiast David Byrne once said in the lyrics of "Cities" , "Good points, bad points, but it all works out..."
Nov 10, 2015 01:28 Report Abuse
No where is good in China , be serious ! We are here for work, not for living forever . In Shenzhen peoples are very racists from what I saw. In Beijing, they are arrogant and cold. I cannot make friends here since I am living here. They no like keep friendship with foreigners. Everything for Chinese is only for the moment and their own interest . Anywhere you go in China, every place has it's own bad things. And one thing is clear, Chinese don't want us here ( I mean about foreigners).
Nov 16, 2015 23:29 Report Abuse
Hong Kong is OK for visit only . If you live in Hong Kong, you will have a very difficult life. I was in holiday in Hong Kong for 2 weeks, enough to see how peoples live there... There is no suopermarket near your home, no fruits on the street to buy, nothing, need to take a bus for so long way to find a supermarket . And other thing is the huge price for everything, crowd city always and very polluted from the cars on the street when you are walking. I could not living there... If you add the very high temperature in summer, then the picture is full...
Nov 16, 2015 23:25 Report Abuse
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