SocietyFebruary 27, 2024

The cost of being: A physiotherapy student with a hospo side gig


As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, we hear from a physio student juggling clinical placement, part-time work and a student loan.

Gender: Male

Age: 22

Ethnicity: Māori, Pākehā

Role: Student, in my fourth year of studying physiotherapy. My working situation is currently doing 40 hours a week clinical placement which is unpaid “supervised” work throughout the year, 8am-4.30pm Monday to Friday.  On top of that to financially support myself I work Saturday and Sunday in hospo for an extra 20ish hours.

My living location is: I am currently living in the city as I need to be central to all the hospitals I work at throughout the year.

Rent/mortgage per week: I pay $230 a week for rent, in a house I share with five others. I spend around $25 a week on wifi, power and extras like phone plans.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: I have $70k in debt from Studylink, so future plans are to move to a country that pays physiotherapists well and pay off my debt and save for a house before coming back to be closer to my ageing family.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: $80 weekly spent at Pak n Save making three meals out of the three for $25 meat deal.

Eating out and takeaways: I eat out once a week for around $25, usually a burger and beer deal lol.

Workday lunches: I buy lunch once a week on Friday for around $10.

Cafe coffees/snacks: $0.

Savings: I have $600 in savings but most of it gets eaten up by car costs as my car keeps breaking down.

I worry about money: Often, but am not stressed as my parents can give me money if needed. My income is $300 a week from Studylink and around $300 a week from working part time.

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Hopeful for something better soon.

My biggest edible indulgence would be… Whittaker’s chocolate.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be… $30 on alcohol with friends.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be… $20 on public transport, which is how I get around during the week.

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was… $250 on clothes and shoes as I shop online for super cheap.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was… New pants, $60.

My last pair of shoes cost… Free from a Facebook giveaway.

My grooming/beauty expenditure includes: $26 a month on haircuts.

And the annual cost would be about: About $300.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: $0 – I borrow my parents’ or flatmates’ gym passes.

My last Friday night cost: $40ish on beers and some chicken wings.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was… A secondhand mid-range car that has continually broken down.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: Airpod Pros off Trade Me for $200.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Spending money on food while on a night out.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Save it till you make it.

I grew up in a house where money… My parents were divorced young and Dad didn’t have much money, but my mum was a big baller so we were very financially comfortable.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was… Never – I have an overdraft haha.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself… Rich either in Canada or Australia where I can earn a respectable wage.

I would love to have more money for… Spending on myself.

Describe your financial low: A couple of years ago in second year when I was not budgeting properly and my mother wasn’t in a position to help me so I ended up having to get loans out from the bank which I only just managed to pay back. I also couldn’t fit a job into my study schedule at the time as I was so busy. I wasn’t very responsible with my money when I was younger but am way more responsible with it now.

I give money away to… Support my friends’ goals, such as my friends fundraising for the new cystic fibrosis drug, or special needs support.

Keep going!