One Question Quiz
Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

SocietyJanuary 23, 2024

The cost of being: A shopaholic Gwyneth Paltrow disciple

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a recent graduate explains her self-described ‘bougie’ lifestyle.

Gender: Female

Age: 20

Ethnicity: Pākehā

Role: Intern over the summer but I also have some remote volunteer roles and I work retail one day a week.

Income: $1,800 fortnightly

My living location is: Urban

Rent/Mortgage per week: I recently moved out of my subsidised ensuite (nepo-baby friend) and my rent has gone from $290 to $320 a week including bills, I live with two other people in a super central flat that’s giving New York loft. I couldn’t give up the luxury of an ensuite so I still have one, it’s just very small.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: No student loan, my only “debt” is paying back my mum for plane tickets and my contents insurance ($1,150).

Any major upcoming costs: I’m heading to a festival in the near future and that’s going to add up, no one knows the location yet, but it’s cash only and after food, alcohol, festival outfits and road trip snacking, I imagine it’ll be expensive. It’s my graduation gift to myself so I’m letting myself have fun.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: $100 weekly. I’m the perfect consumer, give me an expensive everyday product with some exotic ingredient added to it and I’ll buy it (buffalo milk yoghurt with live cultures, etc). If Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t eat it I won’t, then again I doubt she’s ever been drunk on Cuba Street outside Lord of the Fries.

Eating out: $5 cheeky fries after a night out, if I want to go out to dinner I’ll ask a guy I know to take me out (round of drinks included).

Takeaways: Nothing, I rarely ever get takeaways, I’d rather cook up a frozen pizza for half the price and avoid the delivery fee and on Fridays I usually eat very little because I’m drinking.

Workday lunches: I make my own lunch, it’s cheaper and lunch food options in the city don’t usually appeal to me.

Cafe coffees/snacks: $6 if I’m meeting a friend for coffee, I avoid caffeine so I always get a hot chocolate which is usually a little cheaper. I buy snacks in advance when I go grocery shopping to try and keep it under control.

Other food costs: $20. I always set aside $20 in my weekly food budget to pick up something interesting for the pantry, it keeps my life exciting and my diet varied.

Savings: I have roughly $10k in savings and in KiwiSaver as well as another $10k my mum has kept aside for me after I promised not to get any more tattoos for five years. I save roughly $500 fortnightly towards a down payment for a central apartment.

I worry about money: Sometimes.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Lucky, comfortable, earned. I’m incredibly fortunate that I received a student allowance while studying and have gotten lucky with flats and job opportunities, this luck has put me in a position where I can work hard and enjoy the benefits of working hard. I’d rather have less in my savings and live happily, however, I do worry about my spending habits and how quickly circumstances can change.

My biggest edible indulgence would be: Half Baked’s mushroom-infused chocolate, local fresh fish and whole peking duck.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: $40 for a 12-pack of alcoholic lemonades or RTDs from the local liquor store which usually keep me going for two weekends, I go out almost every week night but usually the drinks I have in town aren’t on me.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $10 to $20, I catch the bus all the way out to a different city, but with my under 25 discount it comes to around $3 a trip, I try to walk most places and now I live central I won’t have to pay for Ubers once I’m done in town.

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing was… Maybe $7,000? Probably more, I mainly shop second-hand but at consignment boutiques (the staff at my favourite store have actually commented on how much I always spend there), I usually drop $200-$300 every time I visit because I’m always expanding one of my wardrobes – work clothes, club clothes, casual clothing etc. This year if an item of clothing is more than $200 and I don’t buy it I’ll put the money into my savings, that way if I lose my income I can eat food instead of shoes.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: $650 leather coat with fur trim collar, I love it, wear it endlessly and receive a lot of compliments when I wear it. Could I pay rent the week I bought it? No. Do I regret it? No.

My last pair of shoes cost: $160, brown leather boots with sheep fleece lining at the top, they are beautiful and the shop owner gave me a discount because no one fit them yet.

My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: Hair, skincare, makeup and body care. I believe the more you spend on your health the less you have to spend on makeup. I spend around $100 every few months on skincare, but I’m pretty budget when it comes to makeup. I’ll invest in base products like concealer and foundation but eyeliner, shadows etc. are usually from The Warehouse. I’ve been exploring maximalist makeup looks when I go out to gigs, events and clubs where it’s usually dark so the quality doesn’t really matter, it’ll get smeared and sweated off regardless.

And the annual cost would be about: $1,000, mainly on high-quality skincare, masks, hair care sets, foundation and fake eyelashes.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: Roughly $1,000. I spend around $20 a week for a premium gym pass for yoga, pilates and spin. Otherwise my only form of exercise would be dancing during nights out.

My last Friday night cost: $35. I pre-drunk with my friends and didn’t pay any club covers, my crush also brought me tickets to the gig we went to and a drink when my ex showed up, which was sweet.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: A $350 bikini for a themed party and future Halloween costume, which I then forgot about and wore something else. Or the gifts I bought my exes.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: $400 towards a festival, $300 tickets and $100 toward a guy’s ticket that I had just met to convince him to go with me because I didn’t want to be alone which worked out really well.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Convenience tax. I hate the idea of spending money to avoid walking the extra 20 minutes or having someone deliver something.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Bougie, trendy, emotional, selective and spontaneous.

I grew up in a house where money… wasn’t what you wanted to be rich with, money was a means to become rich with experience, knowledge and happiness. After my father died money was mentioned a lot more and as a kid I knew we suddenly had a lot less of it, my mother worked really hard to be able to use the money she made to help out family members and set up me and my sister’s education.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was… I check my card before I buy anything, I think it’d might’ve been when I was buying clothes. When it happens I just take money out of my savings.

In five years, in financial terms I see… myself paying off an apartment and starting to put money aside for a ton of travelling.

I would love to have more money for… my savings, I’d like to save lots so I can reach my saving goals faster, but any strict budget would probably make me miserable.

Describe your financial low: When I first moved out of halls, I was stuck in a saving mindset, spent $50 a week on food and was slowly becoming more and more malnourished with tiny meal portions. It taught me that sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

I give money away to… I’m a gift giver, so I buy a lot of things for the people I like, otherwise I give to select charities when I get commission from work.

Keep going!