SocietyMay 28, 2024

The cost of being: A reformed tightwad who loves at-home cocktails


As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a small town office manager explains how she spends and saves.

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Gender: Female

Age: 33

Ethnicity: Pākehā

Role: Full time office manager for a small business, side hustler.

Income: $117k last financial year.

My living location is: Small town.

Rent/mortgage per week: Mortgage + expenses = $800pw split equally with my partner.

Student loan or other debt payments per week: Paying off a fridge at $27 per week, but no other debts beyond the mortgage.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: If I’m being good, $250 per week for two of us. We grow a lot of our own vegetables over the summer and get given/hunt meats often

Eating out: Around $150 a month, maybe less.

Takeaways: Maybe $80 a fortnight max for the two of us.

Workday lunches: Very rarely would I buy lunch out as I work from home.

Cafe coffees/snacks: Haven’t bought coffee out in ages.

Other food costs: We grew a lot of our food from seed, but the time cost is pretty high.

Savings: Saving for our wedding! I try to save about $500/week just in general, but I don’t know where my money goes sometimes! I’ve checked my card and I’m not being scammed so it’s just me 🙃.

I worry about money: Sometimes.

Three words to describe my financial situation: Secure, lucky, guilty for spending.

My biggest edible indulgence would be: Fresh limes, Casamigos & agave syrup...

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be: We’ve cut back heaps but in the past my partner would spend $400 month on bougie spirits. So, some weeks for many weeks might be $0 but then others like $200.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be: $50 petrol, more if I need to travel out of town.

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on my personal clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was: $2500.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was: Running vest at $250. I have pretty humble wardrobe these days, and lots of basic clothes.

My last pair of shoes cost: White Nike court shoes, think they were like $120.

My grooming/beauty expenditure in a year is about: Probably $2500. I’m fairly low maintenance – I don’t do my hair or wear makeup often – so my biggest outlay would be hair cuts, nails (infrequently), and sunscreen purchases.

My exercise expenditure in a year is about: I dropped a bomb on trying to be a running girly, maybe like $700 on shoes, vest and clothing. I don’t have a gym membership though – we’ve got home gym which is pretty sweet.

My last Friday night cost: $85. I cooked for gluten free friend so needed to buy special ingredients.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months was: A Skims dress. Still in my cupboard, brand new with tags.

Most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months was: Impulse week away to Melbourne for a foodie trip and to see friends with my partner.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is: Everything to an extent. I try and be considered in my purchasing.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Money comes money goes.

I grew up in a house where money was: A constant topic of discussion, clutched on to, a scarcity mentality.

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was: Probably 2009 or something while out clubbing and I had to transfer money out of savings via phone banking. I’ve never been down to truly $0.

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself: In an OK position, with enough to cover my needs and some fun.

I would love to have more money for: To give and to help and to go on holidays.

Describe your financial low: When I was the “stingy” friend, quick to take, uneasy with giving.

I give money away to: My neighbour’s kids always hustle me for fundraisers. But I also like to be able to take my friends or family out when they come to visit.

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