One Question Quiz
Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

SocietyJune 20, 2023

The cost of being: Another young public sector worker in Wellington

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a civil servant responds to last week’s edition with his own spending diary.

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

Gender: Man

Age: 22

Ethnicity: New Zealander

Role: Civil servant

My living location is: Karori, Wellington

Rent/Mortgage per week: $200 (renting with three other flatmates)

Student loan or other debt payments per week: Student loan, $86.82

Any major upcoming costs: Vacation to Vietnam in November

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: $50 average (some weeks are higher, and others are lower)

Eating out: $40 (this includes restaurants, takeaways, cafes, and workday lunches)

Savings: KiwiSaver, $16,000; Emergency Fund, $5,000; Other investments (Sharesies), $3,000; and Holiday Fund, $1,000. I manage to save and/or invest $500 per week (50% of my take-home pay)

I worry about money: Rarely

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Secure, modest and strategic

My biggest edible indulgence would be: Chocolate (which is why I don’t buy it often/keep it in the house)

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: Negligible, as I don’t drink often

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $20 – I travel by bus to work, or walk

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was: $1,060.81 (I keep a financial spreadsheet, hence the preciseness)

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: $243 – Swanndri Jacket

My last pair of shoes cost: $550 – Italian-made dress shoes for the office (very comfortable)

My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: Shaving cream, razor cartridges, body wash (don’t need to pay so much for haircare when you don’t have any hair)

And the annual cost would be about: <$500

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: Negligible; when I want to exercise I go for a run around the local park

My last Friday night cost: $0 – a quiet night in with the BF watching a movie

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: I don’t believe I have one for the past year, but in terms of my life I have definitely been reckless with my finances. During University I spent an estimated $20,000 on clothing. I was very silly.

Most indulgent purchase (that I do not regret) in the last 12 months was: An impromptu purchase of airline tickets back home to surprise my mum on Mother’s Day. Cost me $545 to spend only a day with her, but it was the best time we have ever had together.

One area where I am a bit of a tightwad is: Subscriptions. Why pay a regular fee for something you can get for free online.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Responsible, Purposeful, Enjoyable, Discerning, Balanced, Strategic

I grew up in a house where money was: Never really talked about. Like most families, there was a very unhealthy taboo about discussing money, which I believe is wrong. We should be discussing money and finance more openly so we can learn to be better with it and not create unnecessary stress.

The last time my eftpos card was declined was: I honestly cannot remember. I do not keep a lot of cash in my Debit account, so it could have been last week or a month ago. But there is always money available for transfer, so I am never embarrassed when it does decline.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: Progressing on my wealth-building journey. Student loan paid off. A six-figure investment portfolio, with the flexibility of purchasing property (not something I plan to do until my 30s).

I would love to have more money for: Investment

Describe your financial low: October 2019 – having to borrow money from my parents for rent due to my reckless spending habits.

I give money away to: Nobody. I am not stingy. I just do not give money to people. I will buy food or other small things for friends and family when out with them. But I never give away cash.

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

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