A question that people ask is about the Fiji economy and namely how much stuff that people would need while in the islands would cost. This article assumes that you want to get out and meet the Fijians and expedience the life of the Fijian. These are not tourism prices. All prices are in US Dollars.
The fact is that most Fijians are living on about $50-$75 USD a week in salary. The minimum wage in the country is about $1.25/hr. Things have to be priced so that the average citizen can buy it or the businesses will not be around for long. It is important to keep that in mind.
One other thing is I have not been in Fiji in 2013. These prices might have changed and if they have, please let me know.
What is cheap in Fiji?
Chinese diners. There are little restaurants ran by Chinese immigrants everywhere that you can get a small meal that include a sausage, egg, etc for about a dollar (USD). They are pretty basic but they are very cheap. Alot of locals eat at these places. Another great place to connect with people in the cafeteria area found in most MH supermarkets.
Rolls and butter. There is a chain called Hot Bread Kitchen Bakery in Fiji that makes these amazing rolls and has some special butter they use. They are just outstanding. They cost about 34 cents a piece and I use to buy them by the dozen.
Fiji BBQ. All across Fiji is little BBQ stands that have a plate for $2.44. They have lamb, chop suey, egg, and sausage in the tray. In Suva, they have a whole row of them behind the McDonalds restaurant downtown. In Nadi, they line up along the main road after dark. This is a great value! Fiji BBQ powers the Fiji economy (or least the people).
Riding the bus. Taking a bus in Fiji is quite cheap here. You can ride from downtown Suva to Nausori for $1.02 which is the farthest you can go locally. Most bus rides are 34 cents. Going from Suva to Nadi which is four hour trip will cost about $8.30. That is 190 kilometers! Going from Nadi to Lautoka is 96 cents.
What is not cheap in Fiji?
The cost of electronic anything is insane. While it probably is not something a tourist will work about, if you are in the country for several months; it could become a factor. The stores like Tappoo and Home Maker make their money by charging insane prices on what they call “hire purchase” (rent to own). I remember looking at memory cards that were triple what they were in the United States.
Potatoes. I am from Missouri where I grew up on meat and potatoes. It is very common for me to have potatoes in every meal. While I was in Fiji, I found that the price of potatoes to be wildly all over the charts. I saw them as cheap as $1 USD per kilo and up to $3.50 per kilo. I understand they are imported from New Zealand but that is quite expensive. $3.50 a kilo would be $14 for a bag like we get in America for $5.99.
Peanut Butter. As a Missourian, I grew up on peanut butter. It is very pricy in Fiji as well. In fact, the only place that I could get a good price was at Cost U Less in Flagstaff in Suva. It was not cheap but it was the best deal I could find. It was Jiffy Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter for $8.
Flights. I understand that Fiji is kinda in the middle of nowhere but flights to and from Fiji are quite expensive. It is about $200-$350 to get anywhere from Fiji. Travel around the South Pacific can be very pricy very quickly. For example, a domestic flight to Rotuma is over $700. Making the trip to Tuvalu is not any cheaper, either. It is something to think about.