One Question Quiz
Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

SocietyNovember 21, 2023

The cost of being: A supermarket manager in Christchurch

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a retail manager explains how they’re getting by with a partner out of work.

Gender: Female

Age: 30

Ethnicity: Pākehā

Role: Supermarket manager

Income: $60k a year

My living location is: Suburban Christchurch

Rent/mortgage per week: $240. I am flatting with my partner who also pays $240, plus another flatmate. My partner and I have three rooms and the flatmate has one room.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: Student loan is $90 per week. I also have a car loan of $60 per week after being in a car accident earlier in the year.

Any major upcoming costs: Nothing coming up that I know of, hopefully.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: $150-180. Due to my partner’s redundancy I pay for both of our food at the moment. I tend to buy most of our food at my work since I’m already there. I buy for a couple of days at a time. If I buy for a whole week it often ends up wasted.

Eating out: We don’t typically eat out.

Takeaways: About $30 a week.

Workday lunches: Buying something easy from the supermarket gets costly fast. So likely around $50-70 a week, but I’m cutting back now I have to cover two people’s food costs.

Cafe coffees/snacks: Less than $10 per week. I don’t drink coffee but have snacks sometimes.

Other food costs: None

Savings: We were saving $250 a week when my partner was working, but this is now down to less than $20 most weeks. We have more than $10k in savings. My KiwiSaver is also above $30k.

I worry about money: Occasionally. Most of the time we are fine, but I occasionally worry that something costly will come up that will cause us to struggle a bit until my partner can get another job. He is unable to get financial support through Work and Income due to my wages.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Budgeted, comfortable, aware.

My biggest edible indulgence would be: KFC. It’s far too costly for what it is, but I still pick it first.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: Less than $20. I don’t drink often anymore.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: Less than $15 per week. I recently got a hybrid.

Lifestyle costs

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing was: Around $400. I don’t buy clothes that often. Although, sometimes I splurge on a few wanted items, but that is less than once a year.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: An alternative Killstar dress. It was $80.

My last pair of shoes cost: $180. They are my Pleaser pole dance shoes.

My grooming/beauty expenditure is: Minimal makeup. It has been over 10 months since I last bought any. I get my hair cut about two times a year. I shave rather than paying for a wax and have never had my nails done. The annual cost would be about $80.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $2,000. The only exercise I do is pole dance. I attend two studios. One is a subscription membership which is quite costly and the other is casual, and I’ve been going to that one less often due to being busy with work. I bought my own pole just over a year ago and it cost about $650.

My last Friday night cost: Nothing. I didn’t go out as I start work at 5:30 am on Saturdays.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: A top that didn’t end up fitting that well so I have never worn it. It cost $55.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: Books. I bought a set of one of my favourite series. They cost $140.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Buying alcohol. I don’t want to spend much for only one night of fun. It doesn’t feel worth it to me. I aim for less than $25 on a night out.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Can I afford this now?

I grew up in a house where money was: Not too common. We didn’t go without, but there wasn’t a lot left for extras. We did go camping for holidays most years. I can’t remember either of my parents working full-time; my dad was only able to work part-time due to a back injury. There were four children in our household.

The last time my eftpos card was declined was: I don’t remember it ever being declined. I have always checked my account before making purchases. I’d be too embarrassed if my card was declined.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: Secure and comfortable. My line of work isn’t going anywhere and it’s a straight trajectory going upwards for a while.

I would love to have more money for: Going on a holiday. It’s been a long time since I was able to have a holiday, with work and university before that. My partner has never left the country and I’d love to take him to Australia.

Describe your financial low: Right before I decided to study. I had lost some hours in my current job which took me from 40-42 hours down to 30 most weeks. I was struggling to pay rent and wasn’t eating very well. I ended up having to couch surf for a little until my partner and I were able to move in together. We ended up in his grandmother’s sleepout which was always cold, wet and growing mould no matter how much we cleaned it. It was cheap, but it caused quite a few other issues.

I give money away to: I don’t tend to give money much unless I have coins. I always prefer to give time. I held four volunteer jobs while I was attending uni.

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

Read the previous Cost of Beings here.

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