Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

SocietyFebruary 6, 2024

The cost of being: A 20-something who just bought their first property

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a project manager who just got on the property ladder says this is just the beginning.

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Ethnicity: Southeast Asian

Role: Consulting manager (Project/program management)

Location: Central Auckland

Rent/Mortgage per week: Mortgage is $2200 per fortnight

Student loan or other debt payments per week: No student loans or personal loans. Two credit cards with $3000 and $8000 limit for various spending and to take advantage of cash back and rewards.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: $40

Eating out: $120 (varies from week to week depending on number of occasions)

Takeaways: $40

Workday lunches: $10 (discounted work cafe)

Cafe coffee and snacks: $20 (at least one coffee on weekdays when going to office and weekend brunches)

Savings: Practically $0 at the moment as I’ve used all of it on the house deposit, lawyer and builder fees and renovation work. Aiming to save $6000 per month once renovation work is fully paid off by the end of the year along with upcoming travel plans.

I worry about money: Sometimes, knowing there are big expenses shorter term that needs to be paid off soon. This will be more manageable as time goes on.

Three words to describe financial situation: Optimistic, growing, confident.

My biggest edible indulgence: Iced lattes from cafes as a treat when I go to the office and the occasional finer dining when celebrating milestones (mine or those of close friends).

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure is: $30-40 for either a bottle of wine or RTDs if there’s a social event on or going to a bar (more of a fortnightly occurrence).

In a typical week my transport expenditure is: $10 on the bus and $60 on fuel (a full tank lasts me two weeks).

Lifestyle costs

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing was: $1200.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: $150 for a trench coat.

My last pair of shoes cost: $100 for a pair of Nikes that was discounted from $280.

My annual grooming/beauty expenditure would be: $350 ($160 for haircuts quarterly, $150 for skincare and $40 for razors).

My exercise expenditure in a year is: about $1200 for ClassPass to do weekly or fortnightly classes and gym membership for more regular workouts during the week.

My last Friday night cost: $100 for dinner and drinks to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months: $400 for AirPods that I eventually sold as I found my original ones 3 months after (thinking I had lost them for good).

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months: $450 on a watch I’ve been eyeing out for a year and bought it to celebrate a recent promotion.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: flights – I can never justify paying extra for a full fare economy seat if it’s more than 25% more than the cheapest seat. I’d rather spend that on food and drinks at the actual destination for more memorable experiences.

Five words to describe my financial personality: Driven, enthusiastic, diligent, strategic, mindful.

I grew up in a house where money was: available but finite. My parents wanted to ensure I knew the value of money and the effort it takes to earn it.

The last time my eftpos card was declined was: around 6 months ago when I forgot to transfer to my cheque account.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: much happier and better off with additional properties and higher salary along with building other income streams which will enable me to build and support a good family environment.

I would love to have more money for: another house deposit or further renovation work, but will plan things tactfully to spend on things that gets me the most return to build equity faster.

Describe your financial low: when I was in university and was juggling studies with part time job and had sudden medical expenses to pay for. I wanted to pay this myself without the help of my parents but it was a stressful time balancing everything at the time.

I give money away to: two charities close to my heart and occasionally volunteer at various places when I have time as another way of giving back.

Keep going!