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Help with Cost of Living

Help with Cost of Living

Old Mar 2nd 2010, 8:20 am
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Question Help with Cost of Living

Hello.

My OH and I are wanting to move to New Zealand, but being sensible we have been trying to work out if it is cost effective. So far we are struggling. At first it would be only him with a job, but I also would be looking for a job once we get settled. Anyway, he is a teacher and has been given a Level 8 for his qualifications. At the moment in the UK he is HoD but we have decided to look at teaching jobs also as we are not sure he could go straight into being a HoD with no prior NZ knowledge.

Anyway if he is a normal class teacher with no management points that brings his wage to about $55,000. We used a online NZ tax calculator which bring his monthly wage after tax to this: $3682

We have tried to work out the costs for things, for example I went on the Woolworths site and did a mock shop, we looked at rent and housing and got those prices too, for items we couldn't we looked up the averages spent and used those instead. At home we are a very frugal couple but do like to eat out, have a bottle wine etc, we do alot of stuff on the Internet so that is a must for us, we don't own a TV so won't need sky etc and we enjoy being outside.

Anyway these are the figures we got(MONTHLY):

Household Insurance/Maintenance:200
Energy: 140
Teaching Union: 17.05
Car – Insurance/Petrol:450
Council Tax (includes water): 100
Mortgage/Rent:1600
Food: 600
Internet/Phone: 130
Contact Lenses: 16
Mobile(on contract 18mth uk):55
Bank: 5
Computer Game 40
Child Maintenance(2 Kids UK):736
Extras: 200

This leaves us minus $600 per month!!

Please can anyone help us, have we missed anything out? Have we put to much into one section? I can't believe that we wouldn't be able to afford to make a living.

Thanks!

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Old Mar 2nd 2010, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

HI and welcome.
It all seems daunting doesn't it

But at least you're on the right track and thinking about it

Some good new is that if you rent..you only need pay water...not council tax(there's no such thing...only rates) and some landlords will include water in the rent

Petrol seems a lot but depends where you live and how many cars you run,
We run one car $60 per week in gas and about $600 a year in insurance I think ( hard to know as it's with the house and contents total $102 a month)

I think you'd be fine without the child maintenance (

Although 55k isn't a lot to live on especially in some of the cities

Good luck...you'll get good advice here...some people seem to do pretty well on the smell of an oily rag
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Old Mar 2nd 2010, 8:54 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

I don't think you're far off there. Your car costs seem very high; petrol is $1.72 per litre so if you only have one car and a short commute you should get away with $50 per week or so. Insurance is non-compulsory and quite cheap here.
Depends where you are, but if you rent you shouldn't be payig rates or insurance/maintenance, so that is $200 saved at least (allowing for some contents insurance). $600 is possibly a bit light for groceries if you include some booze in your shopping trolley. Ditch the UK mobile, I use 2 degrees here and a $20 top up lasts about 3 months
I think the bottom line is $55k is not a great salary here, and to be supporting two kids on this as a single income will be tough. If the kids were in NZ you would get significant working for families tax credits, but not in your case.

On the other hand, if you get a second income, even at the minimum full time wage of $25k, you're sorted
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Old Mar 2nd 2010, 9:06 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Sorry to be a pain in the posterior, but what exactly is covered by "Child Maintenance"? I thought it may be childcare, but as one of you will be at home maybe it's something else? (spot the kid-free idiot )

Self and SWMBO did pretty much what you did on the recce trip to NZ and went around pricing up this that and the other. We went with our regular shopping list and then quickly threw it away - depending on where you are, then you can seemingly slash your food budget by tailoring your diet to what is available locally and making lots of soups/stews for the freezer. Or by growing your own cow.

That aside, our figures are not too dissimilar to your own - although your car costs seem high and maybe the internet is a bit pricy as we were budgeting that with TV included, but nothing that screams out to me as where $600 a month goes!

However! There are people on here who make do with that and less each month and seem to get by most happily. Hopefully they will come along soon and enlighten us both on the ways of making your NZ$ go that bit further!!!
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Old Mar 2nd 2010, 9:21 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Thanks for your replies.

Oops. Child Maintenance is CSA urmmm... trying to describe it, what you pay to the other parent when you divorce and they keep the children. If I was the main person working we could get rid of it cruel I know but it did cross my mind...haven't got the qualifications though unfortunately! Only Joking

Ah the car thing we were struggling on, couldn't find any prices so that is nice to know. If insurance is non-compulsory what happens if you hit someone or they hit you? Do you have to pay out of saving/wages?

Mobile I will have to look into its about 1/3 of a way into an 18mth contract and I don't know what the cost would be to cancel it. I did without a mobile for years so it doesn't bother me not having on at all.

Yes the Internet is another one I will give another look into that was there top phone/broadband package, so I should be able to move it down a bit.

At the moment we cook alot, and I grow a few of my own veggies and herbs so we are not shy of doing that, we also have a veg box so have no problems with eating food that is in season. I always fancied a couple of chickens and that just never had the land before!

The idea is to get a job asap, but that is easier said than done, so we wanted to make sure we werent eating into savings just to get by for a couple of weeks.

Thanks for all your help!



ps. I will repost the figures so we can take another look later.

Last edited by joannii; Mar 2nd 2010 at 9:27 am.
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Old Mar 2nd 2010, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Originally Posted by joannii View Post
Hello.

My OH and I are wanting to move to New Zealand, but being sensible we have been trying to work out if it is cost effective. So far we are struggling. At first it would be only him with a job, but I also would be looking for a job once we get settled. Anyway, he is a teacher and has been given a Level 8 for his qualifications. At the moment in the UK he is HoD but we have decided to look at teaching jobs also as we are not sure he could go straight into being a HoD with no prior NZ knowledge.

Anyway if he is a normal class teacher with no management points that brings his wage to about $55,000. We used a online NZ tax calculator which bring his monthly wage after tax to this: $3682

We have tried to work out the costs for things, for example I went on the Woolworths site and did a mock shop, we looked at rent and housing and got those prices too, for items we couldn't we looked up the averages spent and used those instead. At home we are a very frugal couple but do like to eat out, have a bottle wine etc, we do alot of stuff on the Internet so that is a must for us, we don't own a TV so won't need sky etc and we enjoy being outside.

Anyway these are the figures we got(MONTHLY):

Household Insurance/Maintenance:200
Energy: 140
Teaching Union: 17.05
Car – Insurance/Petrol:450
Council Tax (includes water): 100
Mortgage/Rent:1600
Food: 600
Internet/Phone: 130
Contact Lenses: 16
Mobile(on contract 18mth uk):55
Bank: 5
Computer Game 40
Child Maintenance(2 Kids UK):736
Extras: 200

This leaves us minus $600 per month!!

Please can anyone help us, have we missed anything out? Have we put to much into one section? I can't believe that we wouldn't be able to afford to make a living.

Thanks!

Hi, our energy bills average $100 a month and we also spend around $600 on food but that does not include and beer/wine!!! My OH has a company Van so no insurance or petrol for him but i walk kids to school so only spend around $20-30 a week on petrol, less if I dont go too far! My car insurance is $350 a year so you should try shop around for that. I've been saying for a long time now i'm gonna buy a second freezer and start buying food stuff when its on special and try cut down but it hasnt happened yet!!! If its just the 2 of you, you could get a smaller place and cut your cost there. It will all depend on what part of nz you are going to. Where I am for example (hibiscus coast) 2 punnets of strawberries are $5. Whereas my sister in law is in west auckland and she gets 3 punnets for $5 so prices very alot. Like someone else said, get yourself a job and you should be fine!
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 9:09 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

ok thanks.

With the new figures it is looking like this:

We have decided to do this for renting as that will be what we will be doing first.

Household Insurance/Car Insurance:100
Energy: 100
Teaching Union: 17.05
Car – Petrol:200
Mortgage/Rent:1600
Food: 600
Internet/Phone: 130
Contact Lenses: 16
Bank: 5
Computer Game 40
Child Maintenance(2 Kids UK):736
Extras: 200

That leaves us -$62.45 which is alot better then before!! We have also decided it would be best to try and save up the payment for CSA for the year so that we can still afford to pay it. It will mean having less money for a mortgage but at least it means we can rent until I find a job.

Thanks everyone, you should be hearing a lot more from me over the coming year
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 9:45 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Hi joanii.

I haven't gathered where abouts you are looking at settling as that will effect you rental costs significantly? Have a look on trademe or www.realestate.co.nz for rental averages in the area of choice.
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

If you're frugal and cook everything from scratch and are used to padding out meals with extra veggies, batch cooking and baking etc you can bring your food bill down significantly. We're just two, plus one cat and I can now do my weekly groceries (including all other cleaning and toiletries) for about $120 to $130 per week. Very occasional bottle of cheap plonk or a few beers.

Despite that, I think you're expectation on power costs are too low. My latest bill (hot summer month) is $142 and this will start to ramp up considerably over the next few months as darker nights are upon us and heating required during the winter. I expect at least one winter bill to be $300 plus.
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:15 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Originally Posted by joannii View Post
ok thanks.

With the new figures it is looking like this:

We have decided to do this for renting as that will be what we will be doing first.

Household Insurance/Car Insurance:100
Energy: 100
Teaching Union: 17.05
Car – Petrol:200
Mortgage/Rent:1600
Food: 600
Internet/Phone: 130
Contact Lenses: 16
Bank: 5
Computer Game 40
Child Maintenance(2 Kids UK):736
Extras: 200

That leaves us -$62.45 which is alot better then before!! We have also decided it would be best to try and save up the payment for CSA for the year so that we can still afford to pay it. It will mean having less money for a mortgage but at least it means we can rent until I find a job.

Thanks everyone, you should be hearing a lot more from me over the coming year
Is 200 dollars enough for extras on : - GP and dental visits, opticians, haircuts, clothes, savings, holiday savings/trips to UK savings/rainy day savings/ pension provision or would that come with the job? Ditto life assurance, eating out which you say you enjoy, hobby/leisure costs etc, car breakdown cover,

You've put 1600 for rent - it is paid weekly not monthly here - so look on Trademe to see if there are any rentals you would be happy with for that figure of less than 400 dollars a week - can you happily live without double glazing central heating and insulation because it is hard to find in NZ and I doubt available on 400 dollars a week very often.

If you were to buy, take into account the deposit you'd have and then what the monthly repayments would be - house prices are surprisingly high considering the generally low level of salaries.

Part of the reason you get so little take home pay is that there is no tax free allowance here - you pay tax on every dollar earned. No 6k sterling tax free.

Would you also be subject to exchange rate fluctuation risk on your CSA payments as you would be paid in dollars - at the mo it's in your favour NZ to UK but not for converting savings UK to NZ.

Ask yourself seriously whether it's worth it - especially as one of you has kids in UK - the isolation and distance are real issues not fully appreciated until arrival.
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Forgot I agree power costs way too low - unless you are happy to freeze all year round.
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

My power bill was $105 a month every month. I used ezy pay or something then they would review each year and adjust accordingly.

I think 55k is perfectly liveable depending on where.

We used to work in Wellington and live in Paraparaumu (about an hour away by train) and survived on about that for a good 6 months or so and my partner never missed out on his tuis over the weekend either.

That included 1 adult male, 1 adult female, 1 child, 2 dogs and 2 cats.

It was a little tight but doable.

In saying that - we were only paying $265 a week rent (until we left a year ago to move to Sydders)
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:33 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Does the CSA have powers in NZ? Would be better negotiating that side of things directly with your ex as you could be screwed if the exchange rate gets worse.
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

This CSA thing is like american alimony?

What a ridiculous idea
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Old Mar 3rd 2010, 10:37 am
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Default Re: Help with Cost of Living

Originally Posted by bananalana View Post
This CSA thing is like american alimony?

What a ridiculous idea
OK I see - its like child support....
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