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Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Old Feb 23rd 2010, 11:54 am
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Default Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Hi, I have a question for anyone who has experience living in NZ with a young family...

My ex has moved to NZ with her boyfriend and my 2 children, aged 7 and 10 and we're discussing the cost of looking after my children. Of course I want to make sure that they are well provided for, but I am concerned that I might be being 'taken for a ride'.

I have offered to pay $2000 NZD per month in Child Support, but she is telling me that she is struggling to make ends meet on this amount.

Initially she asked me for $3300/month NZD which seems pretty steep (to me at least).

For reference, the max amount that the NZ CSA recommends is something like $1900..

So, I understand that the cost of living has sky-rocketed dramatically, but is $2000 per month enough to cover looking after a 10 and 7 yr old ? I think that schooling, etc is virtually free.

it would be really helpful to get the views from anyone living there with children of a similar age - I'm struggling to get a view on this whilst being based in London at present...

Many thanks in advance for your replies,
Jonathan
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Difficult position and I can understand almost any approach may be fraught with complications and difficulties of presentation/discussion that only you can appreciate but the only approach I can suggest is that you ask NZ CSA for a breakdown of where they get their figures from ie a breakdown) and you ask your ex to itemise/breakdown where the expense is incurred and work from there.

Unless you are experienced/used to these calculations the danger is 10 people asked to itemise the expense of two children will have 10 different ideas as to where the dividing line is between the expense of a couple and that of the children.
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Thanks Simonsi. Actually the NZ CSA figures came off their website calculator and is the maxed allowed. My ex has given me a breakdown but to be honest I'm not sure that I believe the figures so wanted to get the view from someone actually living there if possible. I also gather that the cost of living has increased dramatically of late so wanted to get a recent view...

Cheers,
J
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Cool, if you´ve got some detail to compare I think you´ll get a useful response when they come online down under you could tell her the balance will need to fund your flights to keep in touch

Good luck though, must be hard.

S
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Thanks - Yes, definitely not the best place I could have thought of from a geographic proximity, although the fact the kids are happy and enjoying life there is pretty much the only reason I'm dealing with it..
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

$2000 per month is more than the minimum wage, before tax, in NZ so it seems like a reasonable amount to me. It's more than I spend on groceries, electricity and gas for a family of four
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Personally I think $2,000 is more than adequate. That's $230.77 per child per week.

Unless they go to private school, average school contributions are around $150 per annum (if that's per child then $5.77 per week, if per family $2.88 per week). School uniform is expensive but I have two kids aged 13 and 15 and spend around $800 per year their school uniform (mine go to 'private' school) and that equates to $7.70 per child per week.

We have to buy all school exercise books and pens/pencil etc here for the school year - having just done that for my two I paid $44.00 for the 2 of them for books/equipment for the whole year (0.42c per child per week).

Our weekly shop is around $300 - that includes packed lunches for the kids for school. So if there's 4 in the family that's $75 each per week.

So far that makes $5.77 + $7.70 + $75 + 0.42c = $88.89 per child per week for school contribution (which actually isn't compulsory), school uniform, school books and food.

Bear in mind you are only responsible for half of the costs so your payment would be $44.45.

From what you are already paying that leaves $186.32 per child per week for outside school activities and clubs, clothes, shoes, doctors visits, and towards other household expenses for keeping a roof over their head.

It certainly isn't a cheap place to live compared to the wages but you just have to cut your cloth accordingly and shop smarter.

You are only responsible for paying half towards your childrens' costs. You are already paying over the NZ upper limit. My personal opinion is that you are already paying a generous amount for your children, especially since you don't have the pleasure of seeing them on a regular basis and presumably will have to save for the airfare to do so.

If you want a comparison, my ex pays 60GBP (roughly $140 depending on exchange rate) a month for both our kids which helps towards their school fees. The way I see it, it was my choice to come here and I'd be providing a roof and having to pay electric anyway so any contribution is a help.

Hope this helps.
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Hi - That's great, many thanks for the detailed reply, that's really helpful - very much appreciated..

Jonathan
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Hi

$2,000 NZD per month seems way more than fair. Incredibly generous.

Minimum wage for an adult here is $12.50 - so 40 hr weeks - $500 before tax. (there is no tax free allowance here)
So you are sending the equivalent across as the minimum wage for their care.

School is virtually free unless you go to a private (UK public school).
At the most it would be $1,000 per child per year for their uniform books and school fees.
My children are at primary school and their school has a non compulsory uniform and don't ask for a donation, so the costs for us are merely stationary (to date, $5.10 for two children this year).
But to be fair - one of them started at the end of term 3 last year and so hasn't needed any new books and my other got a couple of new books in term 4 and so has needed minimal.

Grocerys for us (we are a family of 5) are about $250 per week (we have hens and a vegie patch - but its produce (or maybe my input) are minimal at times.) We also don't buy a lot of meat every week. Maybe 3 or 4 meals worth. If we need more then the cost does go up towards the $300 mark.


Activities - this is what our children are invovled in at the moment, (each week)
drumming lessons - $10.00 per lesson (outwith school)
dancing lesson - $10.00 per lesson)
private swimming lessons - $18.50 per lesson

Doctors visit (this will vary) but $30 per visit (for 6yrs to 18yrs (?) at my surgery)
bottle of hayfever medicine - $25.00

Clothes
Clarks shoes - around $100.00 (but there are cheaper shoe shops).
Decent winter jacket (needed for SI or skiing) - $100-$200
Jeans for my 7 yr old $35 (not on sale).
Jersey for my 7 yr old $35 (not on sale).
top (7yrs) $24.00 (not on sale)
these where all from Pumpkin Patch - which is across in the UK.



If you went to a up market shop of course those prices would be in teh $50 or $60 mark.

And there are cheaper places (although I find that the quality isn't very good) and there are always sale racks and outlet places.


Kids book (for 7 yrs) between $15 - $20




In fact there are probably some families that are living off little mroe than the amount that you are paying in child support.



I am assuming that you were paying child support when they lived in the UK.
I would just be transfering that pound amount across each month. Therefore you know exactly what your monthly outgoings are, and don't have to worry about the exchange rate varying.
Which would allow you to save towards flights for yourself out here or them back home to the UK to visit.




But I would agree with TeamEmbo.
You cut your cloth according to what you earn.
Life is about the same cost as the Uk, but wages are generally less.


I think that you are being more than generous already and that the higher amount that she asked for - she was having a laugh.

I pay for all the kids, and my expenses (sanity money and clothes etc) from a separate household account and allow $100 per week for myself and my 3 children. And sometimes it is more than that - like if we need a couple of pairs of shoes in one week - and lunch out for the trip to the big smoke.

I would love more - but that is so that we can be living the high life


Let me know if there are any other price comparisons that you need.
Those were just the ones of the top of my head.
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Many thanks ble.. That's really good to know..I do think that I am having the Mickey extracted...

Just FYI, this was the breakdown I was given (see list below).. Seems pretty extravagant/high to me - Internet for example seems very high from what I've seen....

School
Semester dues- 224 x 2 (last year and new semester) 448 or $896 per year
uniforms- $375
school shoes- 65 $150
new trainers- 150
school backpacks- 65
lunch boxes- 76
trips- 20/month 9= $180 (130 to date)
sports clubs (hip hop/softball) 75x4= $300
music (guitar/piano) 110 x 4= $440
school supplies 74 x 2 = 148
Required school books- $40 each x 2= $80 x 4 = $320
)
total per year- $3107 or $259 per month



Recreation/Entertainment
Wet suits (necessary during non-summer months-
Boogie boards (cheap ones, decent one runs $200)- 70
Sand/beach games/toys (one off) 58
2 Beach towels (one off) 25
Hot Pools ) $20 (one visit) x 6= $120
Wave Pool- 20/month (they love this)= 240
Special trips (whale watching, horse riding on beach)est- $200 per year
Movies $80 per visit (have been 3x's so far)- 80 x 5(times per year)= $400
Birthday Party Gifts (1 party/month/cost for both) 30 x 9 (school months)= $270
Airshow- 2 per year - $80
total per year- $1524 per month $127


Food (more expensive than UK)
(in pounds in the UK I spent over 120 week plus mini shops of 40 )
NZ dollar equivalent average 350/week- $18,200 per year
Snacks after school- 20/week x 42 weeks of school- 840
Eat out/take away once per week- 35/week x 52= 1820
20,860 total = $1738 1521 per month

Household

Rent- 2200/month- Children- 750 per month
Council Tax- 400/month- 70
Internet- 190/month - 40 (please note that internet access here is charged by usage- not a flat fee!
Electricity- (it has skyrocketed here in the past year) 465/month- kids- 110
Water- 50/month- kids- 10
Total/per month- $780 $980

Misc
Hair cuts 30/month (for both) x 12= $360 per year
school fairs/dances (to date)- $95 x 3 per year = $285
Medicine 10/month (already have purchased: eyedrops, insect bite soother, tummy medicine, fever reducer)
Doctor visits (basic fee) 12 per visit- est total 48/year for both
Dentist ? TBD
Total- $68 per month

Clothes
$1200 per year or $100 per month


Petrol for (weekly baseball/school commute/play dates/guitar lessons/weekend outings to parks, swimming pool, trips etc)
150/month- $75 on children per month
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Old Feb 23rd 2010, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Is that $190 a month on internet? That's a bloody high internet charge. It sounds more like that includes phone, satellite/cable tv, unlimited access internet

If she is genuinely paying for usage and not a plan she should probably look at the package she has.

I won't comment on the other things, particularly the activities as I have no idea if you see whalewatching or airshows as appropriate and it wouldn't be fair.
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Old Feb 24th 2010, 12:19 am
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Hi Jonathon

I will try and give you a comparison of what I find things cost and what we have done per month while living here.
Here is some background info on our family just to give you a better idea if it is comparing like for like.

We are - 2 adults and 3 children (7yrs; 5.5 yrs and 3.6 yrs)
We live in a rural area about an hour out of Christchurch.
The kids are at the next door village local rural primary school (I ferry them)
We have been here 3.5yrs.
I am a kiwi, so I do have some support from family (OH and kids are all scottish)


School
Semester dues- 224 x 2 (last year and new semester) 448 or $896 per year
uniforms- $375
school shoes- 65 $150
new trainers- 150
school backpacks- 65
lunch boxes- 76
trips- 20/month 9= $180 (130 to date)
sports clubs (hip hop/softball) 75x4= $300
music (guitar/piano) 110 x 4= $440
school supplies 74 x 2 = 148
Required school books- $40 each x 2= $80 x 4 = $320

As mentioned previously the school the kids are at don't have the fee. But that is highly unusal.
At their previous school it was $100 per year for the family.
Stationary (starting from scratch) was about $50
New lunch box (for 3 yr old gonig to kindy) was expensive - Dora and was $20.00
New School bag for 1 child (ripped her previous one) $8.00 (on sale).

My kids uniform isn't compulsory - but it is $20 for the school polo shirt
$30 for the school jersey.

School trips are at most a couple a year at our school and are normally about $10.00 per trip per child.


Recreation/Entertainment
Wet suits (necessary during non-summer months-
Boogie boards (cheap ones, decent one runs $200)- 70
Sand/beach games/toys (one off) 58
2 Beach towels (one off) 25
Hot Pools ) $20 (one visit) x 6= $120
Wave Pool- 20/month (they love this)= 240
Special trips (whale watching, horse riding on beach)est- $200 per year
Movies $80 per visit (have been 3x's so far)- 80 x 5(times per year)= $400
Birthday Party Gifts (1 party/month/cost for both) 30 x 9 (school months)= $270
Airshow- 2 per year - $80
We don't have wetsuits for the kids.
But togs (swimmers) were $25.00 for my 3yr old the other day. That is the sun protection variety - t-shirt and shorts.
Don't take them on special trips normally - can't afford that on a NZ wage.
But we do take them when we have overseas visitors.
Wild life cruise from Akaroa was about $30 per child over 5 last time we went.
Antarctic Centre was about the same. There is a family rate of course.

Movies (1 adult; 1 Senior citizen and 3 children) was $45 the other weekend. No popcorn or drinks included in that price.

Birthday presents for other peoples children; around my area, most would spend up to about $20.00. In the last 6 months the kids ahve gone to 4 parties in total (maybe mine aren't popular)


Food (more expensive than UK)
(in pounds in the UK I spent over 120 week plus mini shops of 40 )
NZ dollar equivalent average 350/week- $18,200 per year
Snacks after school- 20/week x 42 weeks of school- 840
Eat out/take away once per week- 35/week x 52= 1820
Food - $250 a week (possibly a little more if lots of meat needed) plus maybe $15 for extra milk and bread a week sometimes
I buy the kids their lunches and their snacks for after school from the supermarket so all of that cost is included in the weekly shop. (ie a box of ice lollies in the freezer for hot days - like now).

McD's happy meal is $5.50. Normal burger meal around $7 to $9
(sorry my kids still love the toys).
Ham sandwich at coffee shop about $3 to $4.

But she is correct - food is slightly more expensive here (as are clothes).
(in the UK I was spending about 90 pounds a week).
Having had to learn to budget far better across here in NZ, my comparison shop in Asda (I did this the other day as we are planning on moving back to Scotland - so was budgeting in reverse) was 65 pounds. But that is also me learning to do without a lot of luxery items that we took for granted - liked but didn't need.


Household

Rent- 2200/month- Children- 750 per month
Council Tax- 400/month- 70
Internet- 190/month - 40 (please note that internet access here is charged by usage- not a flat fee!
Electricity- (it has skyrocketed here in the past year) 465/month- kids- 110
Water- 50/month- kids- 10
Total/per month- $780 $980
When we rented in a rural village our rent was $280.
But that will depend largely on where they are. You will know the name of the neighbourhood and town. Have a look on www.trademe.co.nz for a price comparison.
As she is renting her land lord will be paying the Rates (as they are known here). There is no such thing as council tax. That is not a cost to the tenant.

Internet - as others have said seems expensive.
Our sky package (and we have sky plus HD is $110.00 per month).
Our phone and internet package (which is with Telecom - allows for unlimited international calls up to two hours long at a time and unlimited broadband - well if there is a limit we haven't hit it - but we don't download music or the like) I think is $80 to $100 per month

Our electricity (and we run our water system and septic system with this - we are on a lifestyle block so no council serives as such) is summer $150 per month - winter $250 - $300 a month.
And I do confess to using the dryer at times. And the air conditioner/heat pump in extreme conditions.

Again - no water if you are the tenant. the landlord should get those bills. Unless she is being taken for a ride?


Misc
Hair cuts 30/month (for both) x 12= $360 per year
school fairs/dances (to date)- $95 x 3 per year = $285
Medicine 10/month (already have purchased: eyedrops, insect bite soother, tummy medicine, fever reducer)
Doctor visits (basic fee) 12 per visit- est total 48/year for both
Dentist ? TBD
Total- $68 per month
Haircuts - my two eldest (one male one female) it is $15.00 for a cut for them from the local shop. But my daughter - once a year if that (long hair) and my son (every 6 to 8 weeks)

School Dance - $5.00 entry fee.
School Fair - $25.00 for both - (these are once a year fundraisers normally - possibly twice a year). the money was spent by me purchasing the items that the kids had made (fudge/ toffee / etc).
Our Doctor is $30 for the kids now. This differs from each practice.

Dentist - free for school children. Don't think that braces are. But general checkups and care is. Well for primary school kids anyhow. I don't have any high school children yet (13 yrs upwards).

Clothes
$1200 per year or $100 per month


Petrol for (weekly baseball/school commute/play dates/guitar lessons/weekend outings to parks, swimming pool, trips etc)
150/month- $75 on children per month

Clothes - i would spend probably $100 a month on average over the year for the 3 kids.

To fill up my Diesel truck *(including the separate road tax - diesel miles they are called) costs $95.
This gets me 600 km (can't do the conversion to miles sorry - I was raised in NZ and can only cope with metric)


I am not separated or divorced, but I would have thought / assumed as Teamembo stated earlier, that you are actually only responsible for half of the childrens costs.


But having just run through the costs that you were sent. It seems that she is giving you the entire food bill cost for the family of $18,200 plus some for the year - not just the childrens percentage.
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Old Feb 24th 2010, 12:32 am
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

I dont know you or your ex but i,m afraid she is taking the piss, you allowed her to take your kids to the otherside of the world and now she wants paying for it, I know you love your kids and i went thru something very similar just be firm pay her a fair amount (2 grand is over the top)

What i did with mine was pay a monthly amount and any extras holidays,clothes, hobbys ect i paid seperatly it worked for us my son is now 18 and he never starved to death

Neil

Edit, Also noticed she prices for rent and council tax (rates here) that would be included in her rent

Last edited by Jan n Neil; Feb 24th 2010 at 12:36 am.
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Old Feb 24th 2010, 12:33 am
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Originally Posted by jonolondon View Post
Many thanks ble.. That's really good to know..I do think that I am having the Mickey extracted...

Just FYI, this was the breakdown I was given (see list below).. Seems pretty extravagant/high to me - Internet for example seems very high from what I've seen....

School
Semester dues- 224 x 2 (last year and new semester) 448 or $896 per year
Do they go to private school? This certainly isn't the cost of normal schooling. Contributions are voluntary
uniforms- $375 Is this per month/year?
school shoes- 65 $150 I buy decent leather school shoes for no more than $30 for my two
new trainers- 150 Kids are 10 and 7 and there are plenty of cheaper but quality trainers available
school backpacks- 65 Seriously? $20 tops!
lunch boxes- 76 This is a joke, right? Are they gold plated?
trips- 20/month 9= $180 (130 to date) How many trips do they actually have?
sports clubs (hip hop/softball) 75x4= $300 my lad does footie - $90 per annum outside of school. $50 per annum for school sports
music (guitar/piano) 110 x 4= $440
school supplies 74 x 2 = 148 what does she mean by supplies?
Required school books- $40 each x 2= $80 x 4 = $320
) Like I said, I paid $44 for two high school kids books/pens/pencils etc for the whole year
total per year- $3107 or $259 per month



Recreation/Entertainment
Wet suits (necessary during non-summer months-
Boogie boards (cheap ones, decent one runs $200)- 70 Cheap boogie boards are $9.99 or $19.99 Kmart or Warehouse and plenty good enough for 10 and 7 yr olds. As adults we use the $19.99 ones
Sand/beach games/toys (one off) 58 Isn't that her choice?
2 Beach towels (one off) 25
Hot Pools ) $20 (one visit) x 6= $120 Again, her choice
Wave Pool- 20/month (they love this)= 240 And ditto
Special trips (whale watching, horse riding on beach)est- $200 per year And ditto again
Movies $80 per visit (have been 3x's so far)- 80 x 5(times per year)= $400 Are you paying for the whole family to go? Family of 4 $50
Birthday Party Gifts (1 party/month/cost for both) 30 x 9 (school months)= $270 This is silly. Even my teens only give $10 or equivalent in gift
Airshow- 2 per year - $80 Her choice!
total per year- $1524 per month $127

Looks like you are paying for the entire families leisure activities!

Food (more expensive than UK)
(in pounds in the UK I spent over 120 week plus mini shops of 40 )
NZ dollar equivalent average 350/week- $18,200 per year
Snacks after school- 20/week x 42 weeks of school- 840
Eat out/take away once per week- 35/week x 52= 1820
20,860 total = $1738 1521 per month
We are 2 adults, 2 teens. We spend $300 max per week on food, toiletries, cleaning products, chook food and dog food. Just recently food prices have been dropping and I'm managing to do a good shop on $250 max

Household

Rent- 2200/month- Children- 750 per month Why are the children 750 per month for rent? Surely the house is rented for the family at their choice?
Council Tax- 400/month- 70 since when did we pay council tax for kids? She has to live somewhere, just cos the kids live with her doesn't mean you should be charged for her council tax! And anyway, I always thought if you rented you didn't pay council tax/rates - the landlord does
Internet- 190/month - 40 (please note that internet access here is charged by usage- not a flat fee! My broadband cost $24 per month. I use it to work from home so am on here nearly all day mon-fri plus what kids use. The phone is around $100 per month and that includes regular calls back to UK. Local toll calls are free to landline numbers so if kids call their mates its free
Electricity- (it has skyrocketed here in the past year) 465/month- kids- 110 have meters been fitted to your kids? We pay around $150 per month summer and around $220 winter
Water- 50/month- kids- 10 Our water is in with our rates (council tax). Don't know if that's area specific but again, tenants don't pay water rates - landlord does
Total/per month- $780 $980

Misc
Hair cuts 30/month (for both) x 12= $360 per year Primary school aged children are $10 for haircut in salons. Do they really need their hair cut every month?
school fairs/dances (to date)- $95 x 3 per year = $285 Fairs are free entry. Dances are usualy gold coin donation - that's $1
Medicine 10/month (already have purchased: eyedrops, insect bite soother, tummy medicine, fever reducer) Comes with territory of being mum!
Doctor visits (basic fee) 12 per visit- est total 48/year for both Are they sickly children then? Prescriptions are subsidised - $4 per medication prescribed
Dentist ? TBD Free school dental service for school aged kids
Total- $68 per month

Clothes
$1200 per year or $100 per month seems a lot to me considering already listed are school clothes, sports clothes, shoes, trainers and sports stuff


Petrol for (weekly baseball/school commute/play dates/guitar lessons/weekend outings to parks, swimming pool, trips etc)
150/month- $75 on children per month
I think you are being had. Yes, as dad you've a responsibility to the upkeep of your kids but that extends to a reasonable contribution to the basics of feeding, clothing, education and shelter. If your ex chooses to do all these outings/activities (and personally I don't see there's enough hours in the day for all that's listed) and buy top range stuff, then that's her choice. There are way cheaper options without the kids losing out. I still think $2000 per month is very generous.

Last edited by TeamEmbo; Feb 24th 2010 at 12:40 am.
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Old Feb 24th 2010, 12:56 am
  #15  
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Default Re: Cost of Supporting 2 children in New Zealand ?

Originally Posted by jonolondon View Post
School
total per year- $3107 or $259 per month your half $129.50 per month

Recreation/Entertainment
total per year- $1524 per month $127 your half $63.50 per month

Food (more expensive than UK)
20,860 total = $1738 1521 per month $760.05 per month

Household
Total/per month- $780 $980 presuming the kids is $780 figure, your half $390 per month

Misc
Total- $68 per month your half $34 per month

Clothes
$1200 per year or $100 per month your half $50.00 per month


Petrol
150/month- $75 on children per month
your half 37.5 per month

BTW, even if her figures were correct and you were happy to pay towards the entire families accommodation and leisure activities and non-existent council tax and water etc - assuming her figures are correct and working out your half ONLY COMES TO $1,464.55 per month. I would say you're entitled to a rebate!
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