One Question Quiz

SocietyMay 7, 2024

The cost of being: A flatting student who’s saving for more tattoos


As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, an 18-year-old who’s studying and working in hospo shares their approach to spending and saving.

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Gender: Transmasc

Age: 18

Ethnicity: Pākehā/Māori

Role: Student, hospo worker

Salary/income/assets: $300 student loan per week, $150ish job income per week, $100 from family per week.

My living location is: Urban

Rent/mortgage per week: I flat with five people total, we each pay $205. We’re on the higher end than most of our friends but it’s worth it in my opinion.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: A slowly building student loan I am not worrying about yet.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: We share all meals between us, so we pay $55 each for groceries (and often spend under $275 at the weekly shop). I probably pay an extra $40 for random extras for myself (including alcohol).

Eating out: I don’t eat out basically ever. Maybe grab a bowl of chips if I go out? Probably averages out to like $5 a week.

Takeaways: Don’t get takeaways.

Workday lunches: I try my best to eat at home, so probably about $20 on grabbing lunch off campus a few times a week.

Cafe coffees/snacks: I work in a cafe that gives me endless coffees during my shift, so I get my flat white fix there. Maybe $5 a week to grab something very occasionally.

Other food costs: Nah nothing really.

Savings: $20 extra goes into my KiwiSaver each week, alongside work contributions. I probably save about $100 a week? Part goes into an emergency/big saving fund which I’m not sure what it’s for yet (maybe travel) and part goes into saving for tattoos.

I worry about money: Sometimes.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Comfortable, mostly sensible.

My biggest edible indulgence would be… Ciders.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be…$30 for a box of ciders.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be… $2 to bus home from work. I walk everywhere.

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was…Hmm $250 maybe? I come from a fairly fashionable crowd and get a lot of hand-me-downs of beautiful clothing.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was… $70 on a band shirt. I was working at a music venue, loved the band and wanted to support them.

My last pair of shoes cost… $120 on a pair of platform canvas shoes. I love them, and saw them on sale. The soles have caved in which is a real pain, I have the magic ability to destroy shoes with very little effort.

My grooming/beauty expenditure in a year is about: Not much more than $200. Occasional haircuts ($30 maybe?) and hair product ($17 from the chemist).

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $0. Maybe should be more – I don’t exercise.

My last Friday night cost… $6. I was studying and drunk two ciders from the fridge.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was… A $50 secondhand keyboard for my tablet that didn’t even work.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: Mildly impulse tattoo I got. It’s of Tom Kitten and I love him. Probably cost around $200?

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is… I’m actually not sure. I don’t tend to be frugal on one particular thing.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Generous, sensible, could save more.

I grew up in a house where money was… Shifting throughout my childhood. My parents had some difficult times when I was younger that eased up as I aged.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was… Last year trying to buy a scone on campus. I thought money had come through when it hadn’t. The man behind me paid for me and told me to pass it on – shout out to him.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself… Gaining even more debt in post-grad, so probably pretty similar.

I would love to have more money for… Tattoos, clothes, donating, gifts for friends.

Describe your financial low: I had a complicated relationship with my family in the last year of high school. Ended up living with a (now ex) partner.

I give money away to: Palestine relief funds, homeless people I pass, rape shelters, trans surgery funds.

Keep going!