One Question Quiz

SocietyDecember 19, 2023

The cost of being: A Kiwi tech worker in London


As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a New Zealander in London tells us what it’s like to earn more money than he ever dreamed of.

NB: Currency has been converted from British pounds to New Zealand dollars, where appropriate.

Gender: Male

Age: 30

Ethnicity: Māori

Location: London

Job and income: I moved to London two years ago. When I left New Zealand I was working as a GIS analyst on $72,000. When I arrived in London I had two and a half years’ experience and landed a contract as a GIS data engineer on $180,000. After nine months I negotiated a new contract and am currently on $290,000. I didn’t check job salaries before I moved over – I originally came to London to party and see all of Europe – so it was a pleasant surprise when I actually started my job search. I never want to leave the tech industry in London. The thought of going back to NZ wages terrifies me.

Rent per week: $400

Student loan or other debt repayments: I have $45,000 in student debt and I pay $1,000 a month.

Any major upcoming costs: Nothing huge, the occasional trip abroad, which doesn’t cost much as I’m already in Europe and use budget airlines. Return flights from London to Berlin last January cost me just $30.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: Around $120.

Eating out: $75. Eating out in London is exorbitant and the quality of the food is not great

Takeaways: $40.

Cafe coffees/snacks: $0. For the last two years I’ve been fulltime work from home – I’ve been to the office a grand total of five times out of curiosity. I cook fresh lunches every day,

Savings: $50,000. I’m aware that this should be a lot higher but travel was my main focus when I moved over. I’ve recently started aggressively saving – roughly $5,000-$6,000 per month.

I worry about money: I don’t worry about my bank balance, but rather my savings. I’m aware that my work life is very prosperous at the moment, and want to have a big safety net if I lose my job. They only need to give me a week’s notice for termination.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Safe and sound.

My biggest edible indulgence would be: $50 all you can eat sushi. I’m ‘6″2 and weigh 100kg so I manage to get my money’s worth.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: $50. If I go to town and have a big night this can rise to $200-$300 (Drugs once a month would see this hit $300)

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $10 for a Lime pass. Full time WFH doesn’t require daily travel.

Lifestyle costs

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing was: $1000.

My last pair of shoes cost: $140 for some Timberlands I found for half price while travelling in Bologna.

My annual grooming/beauty expenditure would be: $408 (a $34 haircut once a month).

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $720 for an annual gym membership.

My last Friday night cost: $12 for one pint of Guinness (it wasn’t a big night at all).

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: A $1000 e-scooter. I barely use it, and didn’t realise it’s illegal to use these on UK roads lol.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: $2,000 guitar I purchased for my 30th birthday.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Eating out.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Cost doesn’t always equals quality.

I grew up in a house where money was: Lower middle class. My parents didn’t earn a lot but they managed to hide this from us well. Our favourite meal growing up was potato fritters topped with chicken Maggi noodles – we always saw this as an absolute treat.

The last time my eftpos card was declined was: 2018, wen I landed my first professional job. I had no money and Mum needed to transfer money so I could buy groceries.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: Being well off. I’m a contractor so the work can ebb and flow but I haven’t struggled to get a contract over the last two years – I’ve been employed the entire time. I hope to buy a house in the UK and convince my Kiwi girlfriend to stay a bit longer.

I would love to have more money for: Flying all my friends over.

Describe your financial low: As mentioned above. My card declining on $50 worth of groceries. Not having money was nothing new to me, but the embarrassment was something I’ll never forget.

I give money away to: Buying drinks and cocaine for friends on nights out.

Want to contribute? Send us an email briefly describing your situation at

Read the previous Cost of Beings here.

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