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Anyone great with living on a budget?

Anyone great with living on a budget?

Old May 6th 2007, 9:20 pm
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Default Anyone great with living on a budget?

Hi. Anyone out there who has some ideas for how we can make ends meet living in NZ? We have moved recently from the UK and we are struggling big time to afford basic items like food and electricity!! We have two preschoolers and we both work full-time, we rent, we both need cars for work. We have the ute on finance. We earn above the top income bracket set by the government for financial help with childcare costs and working tax credits. Even buying food shopping each week is expensive. Does anyone else agree that NZ is expensive to live? Would it be cheaper in another area of NZ? We are considering leaving cos we are flat broke and have no surplus to save? Would be grateful of some advice.
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Old May 6th 2007, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Originally Posted by manda69 View Post
Hi. Anyone out there who has some ideas for how we can make ends meet living in NZ? We have moved recently from the UK and we are struggling big time to afford basic items like food and electricity!! We have two preschoolers and we both work full-time, we rent, we both need cars for work. We have the ute on finance. We earn above the top income bracket set by the government for financial help with childcare costs and working tax credits. Even buying food shopping each week is expensive. Does anyone else agree that NZ is expensive to live? Would it be cheaper in another area of NZ? We are considering leaving cos we are flat broke and have no surplus to save? Would be grateful of some advice.

Soulflour seems to be the budget genius on here She has posted on several threads on this topic, might be worth PM'ing her and she could direct you to where everything is. Good luck
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Old May 6th 2007, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Hiya
I think shopping at Pak'n'Save saves me alot of money - the few times I've been elsewhere, like Foodtown etc costs about $100 a week more. But I guess you know about this. I try and get vege's and fruit from the local produce sellers - much cheaper than in stores, and eggs etc cheap from farmers. I'm a veggie, but someone told me meat is pretty cheap in Mad Butcher's.
It is hard, especially when tax is pretty high here, and there's no tax free income band, even the kids get taxed on their savings .
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Old May 6th 2007, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Originally Posted by manda69 View Post
Hi. Anyone out there who has some ideas for how we can make ends meet living in NZ? We have moved recently from the UK and we are struggling big time to afford basic items like food and electricity!! We have two preschoolers and we both work full-time, we rent, we both need cars for work. We have the ute on finance. We earn above the top income bracket set by the government for financial help with childcare costs and working tax credits. Even buying food shopping each week is expensive. Does anyone else agree that NZ is expensive to live? Would it be cheaper in another area of NZ? We are considering leaving cos we are flat broke and have no surplus to save? Would be grateful of some advice.
Can I ask, what is the top income bracket for family credit assistance?
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Old May 6th 2007, 10:57 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Originally Posted by TeamEmbo View Post
Can I ask, what is the top income bracket for family credit assistance?

Look at this

www.ird.govt.nz/familyassistance
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Old May 6th 2007, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

It takes a lot of time to change your way of life from the one you were used to in the UK. I am very good at budgeting, always have been and more so now we live in NZ.
Are you sure you can't get any more help with childcare costs, worth rechecking just in case.
If your using electric to heat your home it will be expensive for you, maybe move to a home with a woodburner and a wet back to heat your water.
Shop and buy in bulk and if you see something you use on special stock up on that too.
Not much else I can suggest really
Take pack ups for lunch instead of buying maybe?
Sure folk will post more useful suggestions that I've forgotten.
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Old May 6th 2007, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Originally Posted by manda69 View Post
Hi. Anyone out there who has some ideas for how we can make ends meet living in NZ? We have moved recently from the UK and we are struggling big time to afford basic items like food and electricity!! We have two preschoolers and we both work full-time, we rent, we both need cars for work. We have the ute on finance. We earn above the top income bracket set by the government for financial help with childcare costs and working tax credits. Even buying food shopping each week is expensive. Does anyone else agree that NZ is expensive to live? Would it be cheaper in another area of NZ? We are considering leaving cos we are flat broke and have no surplus to save? Would be grateful of some advice.

Manda

We haven't been here long either and agree with you that life appears more expensive here, and we're on one wage with 3 kids!!!

My advice would be to keep food simple, buy what's on offer ( and lots of it!!) Freeze bread etc thats on special. I'm cooking a lot more things from scratch and making sure that when we got out we take food and drinks with us rather than buying whilst out. and I go round turning things off at the plug that aren't being used!!!!

I think you should give it some time, I know we have have had a lot of set up costs and am hoping that once we get into a routine it'll get easier. Do you qualify for family credits??
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Old May 7th 2007, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Manda - could you post a run down of ALL your costs, so we can see if we can trim any of them for you? Plus list any family assistance you're getting, and childcare help. I'm sure it can be sorted.

Like Sky says, it takes a while to get yourself sorted with a good budget (for some reason it took me AGES to get used to budgeting fortnightly instead of monthly!!).

We're on a combined income of $70k (which is more than we ever got in the UK!), have a mortgage of $180k, two kids (one in 3 days a week day care) and try to stick $500 a month into a savings account (which according to the amount of wine we've drunk is either to pay off the mortgage early or go off on a world tour! (or by lots and lots of musical instruments... hmmm))

We get $121 a fortnight family assistance and $111 a WEEK towards childcare (leaving us to pay $28.80 towards it). Obviously these benefits make a huge difference to us so DO make sure you're getting all you're entitled to!

So, if you can post your list of outgoings, and we all put our heads together, I'm sure we can come up with some savings (and possibly all learn something too! I'd love to save some more!).

SF

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Old May 7th 2007, 1:28 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

I don't get the family credit thing - my hubby earns 65K (a lot less than he got in UK ), I have no income, and we get $46 per fortnight. Are you supposed to give them income figure after tax, or before?? Just seems to be a big difference to what you (Soulflour ) get, on a comparable salary.
Or maybe it's as we have no childcare costs ...
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Old May 7th 2007, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

that does seem silly - ours is made up of two incomes - could that be it?

I gave them the gross figures...

Why don't you give them a call again? It won't have anything to do with childcare costs - i don't remember telling them anything about that!

x
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Old May 7th 2007, 5:21 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

http://www.ird.govt.nz/calculators/k...mate-2008.html

With 2 children under 11 then $86,000 seems to be the max income for support.
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Old May 7th 2007, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

If you are earning over the threshold, i reckon we can get your budget down. If, for example, one of you stayed home, how much would you save in daycare, the need for 2 cars etc???? thats just one thought, we earn approx $70k but i only work part time with virtually no travelling.
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Old May 7th 2007, 8:01 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Hi,
I agree, we find all our money is pretty well tied up each week and we haven't even got round to medical / life insurance or savings yet - that will have to wait until we're sorted. We did a weekly breakdown of what HAS to go out eg mortgage, food, rates etc and try to keep to it but it is a struggle. We have friends who have been here 2 years and they said they have just got themselves sorted out financially.
We don't qualify for any financial support either and we are on way less than we were in the UK. We're hoping the 20 hours of free pre school childcare comes in soon which would be a big help for us as we pay $180 per week for 27 hours childcare and more if the older kids use after school club.
I will follow this with interest as any tips will certainly help us too.
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Old May 7th 2007, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

Firstly, thank you all very much for replying to my cry for help!

We do shop at pak n save but I find that they don't have everything I need and then I have to shop at Countdown to get the rest. I have started buying shop brand stuff like signature range and freezing bread. I have always cooked from scratch and eat leftovers! I do look out for specials like two for one or two for $5. We don't have any heating in our house. Our combined income is $105,000 per annumn. We don't qualify for help with childcare and the Working for Families Tax Credit set a limit, for two kids, of $86,000. I don't know what other government help there is but I will look at the link kev&Sarah sent me.

Our outgoings are:

Rent $275 per week

Childcare $300 per week (sometimes a bit less. Two kids one 20 months the other 3yrs)

Last electricity bill for 1 month was $145.95

Sky $46 per month (I know you could do without sky,but without it we couldn't get a TV picture at all. My husbands rationale for sky is that we never go out socially so we need to be able to watch TV- he has a point)

Telephone/Broadband last month was $182.47 ($93 of that was calls) I haven't used the phone to call UK since so next bill should be lower.

Ute finance $500 per month

Loan $131 per month (Been to the bank who will take over the loan at a lower interest rate)

Petrol $40 per week just for my car. (husbands diesel is about $50 every two weeks) Have thought about selling my car but need to drive to work as there are no buses to get me to work on time or home again. Have also thought about moving closer to work so I could walk but would have to find a nursery within walking distance to home. We live within walking distance to our present nursery. You then have the expense of moving.

Food bill $250 per week but we struggle to keep it at that. I make sarnies for work and so does my husband.

Appletree, I have thought about giving up work or going part-time cos then we might qualify for some government help. I haven't worked out any figures for that though. We would only have one income then if I didn't work and we want to start saving.

We have only been here for four months maybe we should give it more time. It has just been a shock cos in the UK I worked full-time and had all my childcare costs paid for with Working Tax Credit. Do they have Child Benefit here?

We are still trying to gather household things also cos we came with nothing so have had to buy a sofa (2nd hand), whitegoods, TV, beds.....everything basically. We had to buy a lawnmower the other day. We had been borrowing the neighbours but it broke!!

I just pray I don't toothache.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks again.
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Old May 7th 2007, 11:27 am
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Default Re: Anyone great with living on a budget?

oooh, it's horrible isn't it? that worry that a tooth might start to hurt.... I know exactly how you feel, and it really stops you enjoying your new life We were there, but now we're a bit more on top of things and have a wee bit put aside for things like that... it's not been easy, but it's a way of life now and SO SO worth it for this fab life that we have here!

These are my comments, feel free to ignore/disagree with any of them!

Originally Posted by manda69 View Post
Firstly, thank you all very much for replying to my cry for help!

We do shop at pak n save but I find that they don't have everything I need and then I have to shop at Countdown to get the rest. I have started buying shop brand stuff like signature range and freezing bread. I have always cooked from scratch and eat leftovers! I do look out for specials like two for one or two for $5.

I find countdown much cheaper than ANY of the other supermarkets, so that's my recommendation. I make everything from scratch though (including bread, although with a breadmaker) so am only buying 'basics' if you like - no precooked, processed stuff.

We don't have any heating in our house.

will you do anything about this? emergency plug-in heaters will EAT electricity, so although people say they cause too much moisture we used a portable gas heater, but either had a window open slightly or ran the dehumidifier

Our combined income is $105,000 per annumn. We don't qualify for help with childcare and the Working for Families Tax Credit set a limit, for two kids, of $86,000. I don't know what other government help there is but I will look at the link kev&Sarah sent me.

From my limited knowledge, i'd say you're over any limits..... I really think that as Apple Tree says, you need to look at how much both of you working is 'costing' you - not just the obvious costs such as childcare, but the lost benefits and the food spending too - we budget $120 a week for four of us, and we all take lunches. (I work 3 days a week, ds2 has three days of day care)

Our outgoings are:

Rent $275 per week that's good, it's quite low compared to a mortgage (it's slightly less than our $180k mortgage costs us per week, at $320)

Childcare $300 per week (sometimes a bit less. Two kids one 20 months the other 3yrs)

Last electricity bill for 1 month was $145.95 that's quite high - are you running a drier? could you rig up a line? is there anything else that could be draining power? I know i keep banging on about our costs - but they're all I know! sorry! anyway, our power - i budget $130 but just got this month's, for example, which is $96.09. Although we don't watch tv, we do have DVDs and there is constant pc/mac use in this house!

Sky $46 per month (I know you could do without sky,but without it we couldn't get a TV picture at all. My husbands rationale for sky is that we never go out socially so we need to be able to watch TV- he has a point) We used to think like this, but made a concious decision not to have TV when we got here and it's the BEST thing we ever did. We do so much more in the evenings - we're both creating so much more than we were (me art, my dp music). And anyway - you can watch anything you like free online anyway! At the very least, i'd dump it till you're on your feet.

Telephone/Broadband last month was $182.47 ($93 of that was calls) I haven't used the phone to call UK since so next bill should be lower. Sign up to a cheap call provider online, that's a HUGE cost! How much are your line rental and broadband independently?

Ute finance $500 per month Do you need a car this expensive? don't forget the real cost is much higher with WOFs and Reg etc. Could you downsize to an older model?

Loan $131 per month (Been to the bank who will take over the loan at a lower interest rate)

Petrol $40 per week just for my car. (husbands diesel is about $50 every two weeks) Have thought about selling my car but need to drive to work as there are no buses to get me to work on time or home again. Have also thought about moving closer to work so I could walk but would have to find a nursery within walking distance to home. We live within walking distance to our present nursery. You then have the expense of moving. True, moving is never cheap! Your car is really a fixed cost while you're working, you might find you still need it even if you DIDN'T work (or went part-time)

Food bill $250 per week but we struggle to keep it at that. I make sarnies for work and so does my husband.

This is the one you can cut - you can get this down, I promise you. We both take lunch to work, and the kids each have a packed lunch, and we eat really really well for $120 - and I quite often don't spend all that. We need a seperate post for this really, but as an experiment, this week work out a menu plan for the whole seven days, and write a shopping list to that plan. Work the plan until you get it down and after a few months it becomes second nature (trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!). I'm trying to think of examples - I just made my weeks lunches, for example - one bag of 99c pasta + some sundried toms, olives & artichoke, plus a h/m honey-garlic-mustard dressing = enough for 3 days = about $1.50. DP is on some mad wheat free thing so has a variety of tubs in the freezer of carrot soup/tomato soup etc. .etc. cost = about 50c per lunch... Do you have any neighbours with fruit trees? our satsuma is in fruit so guess what fruit everyone is having in their lunchboxes at the moment??!

Appletree, I have thought about giving up work or going part-time cos then we might qualify for some government help. I haven't worked out any figures for that though. We would only have one income then if I didn't work and we want to start saving. Good on you - i'm sure you can do this. Our savings account is only wee, but protecting it has become my aim in life! ha ha (only kidding).

We have only been here for four months maybe we should give it more time. It has just been a shock cos in the UK I worked full-time and had all my childcare costs paid for with Working Tax Credit. Do they have Child Benefit here? no

We are still trying to gather household things also cos we came with nothing so have had to buy a sofa (2nd hand), whitegoods, TV, beds.....everything basically. We had to buy a lawnmower the other day. We had been borrowing the neighbours but it broke!! We did this too. It IS hard, but don't try and get it all at once... try and save up for each piece - hard I know!

I just pray I don't toothache. you need a seperate 'pot' for things like this - i have two savings accounts, one for 'savings' and one for 'dentists/doctors/cars/insurances.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks again.
It's a bit hard to really get a sense of your budget without knowing your actual take home figure - but i'm guessing that all the above costs are using it up? And like you say there are no insurances, health etc. in there... which leads me to think that you really should check out the figures if you were to go part-time. As has already been mentioned, the 20 free hours of day care will help too *fingers crossed smillie*

The only really obvious ones where you can cut down are the TV (do it! be brave! ), the yute cost and the food bill.... also I'm worried about you not having any heating - have you been through winter in that house yet?

Like I say, i'm sure you can do this! Let us know maybe, if you feel comfortable, what your figures would be if you were part-time or not working (although you need to evaluate how you feel about that emotionally too of course!).... how would you feel about not working?

Sorry not to be more help! but know that you're not alone!!

SF xxx

Last edited by soulflour; May 7th 2007 at 11:33 am.
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