SocietyApril 9, 2024

The cost of being: A single parent with dreams of building generational wealth


As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a mum of one looks far into the financial future.

Gender: Female

Age: 49

Ethnicity: Pākeha

Role: Single parent of 1x child, in full-time employment as a producer.

Salary/income/assets: $160,000 salary p/a plus employer KiwiSaver payments , $15K shares, $85K KiwiSaver, $40K savings, $250K other assets including overseas property and art.

My living location is: Urban

Rent/mortgage per week: Weekly mortgage payments for townhouse in centrally located suburb, $550.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: No student, car or credit card debits.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: I do a large monthly kai shop of up to $500 then have weekly vege box delivered, plus small top ups in subsequent weeks. Averages at approximately $195 a week.

Eating out: Probably fortnightly with my child and once a month with friends, weekly average of $60. Am lucky enough to eat out occasionally for mahi at nice restaurants.

Takeaways: I try to avoid buying takeaways but my kid likes a visit to the yellow arches – fortnightly average $12.

Workday lunches: I hardly ever buy lunch for myself out, prefer to bring from home.

Cafe coffees/snacks: Coffee out once a month perhaps, $5.

Savings: Save $550 a week to top up mortgage and go on holidays. Invest $70 a week.

I worry about money: Always.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Lucky but anxious.

My biggest edible indulgence would be… Nice chocolate.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be… Zero, I don’t drink.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be… $50 petrol. $10 bus for child to get to and from kura.

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was… $800.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was… $220 for a pair of jeans that I wear a lot.

My last pair of shoes cost… $780 strappy platforms for a work thing.

My grooming/beauty expenditure in a year is about: $1,200.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $1300 for gym membership, shoes and apparel.

My last Friday night cost… $0; stayed home, ate great leftovers and watched a film.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was… A pair of jeans that didn’t fit properly and I haven’t managed to sell or tailor.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: Flights overseas for a trip later this year.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is… I feel tight with everything at the moment, every dollar feels scrutinised. So boring.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Better late than never.

I grew up in a house where money… was a cause of anxiety for my mother and something to be spent by father.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was… Yikes… maybe in the 90s.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself… mortgage free with a substantially more robust investment portfolio. Hopefully a little more putea for fun things.

I would love to have more money for… giving my child a wider range of experiences and opportunities.

Describe your financial low: Maybe 10 years ago – around $9K of credit card debit, a $20K bank loan, very little saved and I was two years into owning my home so had a much higher mortgage.

I give money away to: An investment portfolio and KiwiSaver for my child. Generation wealth starts now.

Keep going!