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The cost of being: A twentysomething saving for a big

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As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a young professional tells how she’s put her spending ‘on lockdown’ as she saves for a major trip.

Want to contribute? Send us an email briefly describing your situation at costofbeing@thespinoff.co.nz

Gender: Female

Age: 26

Ethnicity: Māori/Pākehā

Role: External communications advisor for a statutory organisation.

My living location is: Suburban

Rent/Mortgage per week: Until recently I was paying $230 for a CBD flat shared with five other flatmates, but after our lease ended I moved home  for a few months to save for travel. I’m so grateful that my parents are letting me live at home rent free until I go.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: $230 a fortnight towards my student loan and $120 a fortnight towards my car loan.

Any major upcoming costs: I am going overseas for three months for a European summer, so I’ve been saving for that – aiming for $13k when I leave in July, having already spent $4000 on flights, festival tickets, travel necessities and some accommodation.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: When I flatted, I tried to spend only $150 a fortnight for one person, now I contribute around $50 a week for my parents’ big shop, for food items only I eat (like oat milk or lunch food for meal preps)

Eating out/takeaways/weekday lunches: As I’m currently saving, $0! If I do buy out, maybe $15 a week

Cafe coffees/snacks: Again, I’m on lockdown with my spending, so I only buy coffee if I’m doing a coffee meeting – $6 a week.

Other food costs: After work drinks – maybe $35 on alcohol and some bar snacks.

Savings: Currently I’m saving nearly all of my paycheck a week (leaving around $100 for disposable spending, $120 for my car loan and $230 for bills/petrol/car insurance etc.) When I was flatting, I would attempt to save 20% of my income, so around $500 a fortnight.

I worry about money: Always – I try to stick to a budget (especially when I was flatting) but I’ve had to learn how to be smart with money and combat my awful habit of impulse buying.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Lucky (and) secure (but) anxious.

My biggest edible indulgence would be: Organic food and unnecessary ingredients, like specialty sauces and out-of-season vegetables. I love to cook, but it’s an expensive hobby at the moment.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: If I’m at a party I’d spend $30 on a box, but if I’m out for a drink I try to buy no more than two.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $70 to fill my car which lasts about two weeks and $30 a fortnight on train fares (I love the half price public transport!)

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was: $1000, if we’re talking financial year. I’m not thrifty, but I wear my clothes to death and try to buy quality pieces that will last.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: I have bought a few quality items – work pants, tops, shoes – that all cost between $120 and $270. My most expensive item was a dress that cost $350 but that was a few years ago.

My last pair of shoes cost: A pair of green suede boots for $120 (on sale!). I am obsessed with them.

My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: I regularly get two different laser appointments, which have cost me $400 up front for one lot of eight sessions and about $40 a session for the other. I haphazardly get my nails done and only buy makeup/skincare when it needs replacing.  And the annual cost would be about: $1500.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: I pay $1336.20 all up for my yearly gym membership, which is 26.20 a week.

My last Friday night cost: $20 in petrol – drinks at my friend’s flat, but I was Sober D!

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: An impulse-buy top that cost more than it needed to be and I have never worn…

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: My flights to Europe and a new travel pack to take over.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Currently, every aspect of my spending, but when I’m not saving so hard, I don’t really like buying heaps of drinks at bars/pubs.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Impulsive, aware, anxious, conscious and trying (hard to be better!)

I grew up in a house where money was: Not scarce, but not plentiful. My parents came from single mum homes and didn’t have much money when they were young and raising three kids. They were brilliant budgeters and very smart, ensuring we never went without. They’re hard workers and their smart choices have enabled them to be well-off later in life, but we definitely didn’t grow up with much.

The last time my eftpos card was declined was: A few weeks ago, because I wasn’t tracking my auto payments. But I’ve definitely had times when I was a student when it would decline and I had nothing until my student loan or part-time wages came in.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: Secure and comfortable, with a decent amount of savings behind me for emergencies or treats and the feeling I’m not living paycheck to paycheck.

I would love to have more money for: Right now, travel! But in general, I would like to have more money to save so that I don’t worry when I have unexpected bills pop up (and to buy a few fun purchases, like tickets or clothes).

Describe your financial low: When I had my first full time job out of university and was living in the city for the first time – I went to a uni in a small town, which was cheaper overall – I was earning a pretty average wage, and after bills/rent/necessities, I didn’t have much left over. I was caught out when big payments came in – car, dentist etc – and had to ask my parents for a loan a couple of times, which I hated doing.

I give money away to: At the moment, nothing, but I used to donate to Women’s Refuge when I could!

Want to contribute? Send us an email briefly describing your situation at costofbeing@thespinoff.co.nz

Read the previous Cost of Beings here.

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