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Whangarei - cost of living

Whangarei - cost of living

Old Apr 26th 2007, 3:20 pm
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Default Whangarei - cost of living

Hi all, OH and I are heading out to Whangarei in Sept for six months. We are trying to plan a budget of sorts and wondered if anyone had any ideas????

We will hopefully buy a small camper van when we arrive and will mostly be parked on our friends land, although we will obviously travel to sight see, so we are guessing that our biggest expense will be fuel?

We really need to know a rough idea of food expenses, cost of booze etc,
Thanks,
Louise x
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Hi Louise

We live in Waipu, so Whangarei is our 'big' town that we go to for big grocery shops, cinema, clothes etc...

We have a mortgage and two kids, so i'd imagine out budget priorities are slightly different than yours but i can give you ours if it helps at all?

Firstly booze - i only ever buy the $6.99 specials on wine and they're all yummy (to my budget-deprived palate anyway). Generally they're the same wines I used to buy in the uk - banrock station or hardy's or whatever... so no worries there.

We pay around $16 for a big box of beer.

Our monthly expenses, most of which you won't have are:

Food/groceries: $480 ($120 per week)
Petrol: $200
Elec: $120
Phone: $70
Broadband (uncapped): $54
Health ins: $80
Rates: $50

You won't need to know about the mortgage!! I'm not very 'good' with cars i'm afraid... but i know it costs around $70 to fill ours up...

Will you be working up here?

SF
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 12:13 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post
Hi Louise

We live in Waipu, so Whangarei is our 'big' town that we go to for big grocery shops, cinema, clothes etc...

We have a mortgage and two kids, so i'd imagine out budget priorities are slightly different than yours but i can give you ours if it helps at all?

Firstly booze - i only ever buy the $6.99 specials on wine and they're all yummy (to my budget-deprived palate anyway). Generally they're the same wines I used to buy in the uk - banrock station or hardy's or whatever... so no worries there.

We pay around $16 for a big box of beer.

Our monthly expenses, most of which you won't have are:

Food/groceries: $480 ($120 per week)
Petrol: $200
Elec: $120
Phone: $70
Broadband (uncapped): $54
Health ins: $80
Rates: $50

You won't need to know about the mortgage!! I'm not very 'good' with cars i'm afraid... but i know it costs around $70 to fill ours up...

Will you be working up here?

SF
no work - 100% vacation, I'm so excited!!!!!! Thanks very much for the info x
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 5:02 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post
Hi Louise

We live in Waipu, so Whangarei is our 'big' town that we go to for big grocery shops, cinema, clothes etc...

We have a mortgage and two kids, so i'd imagine out budget priorities are slightly different than yours but i can give you ours if it helps at all?

Firstly booze - i only ever buy the $6.99 specials on wine and they're all yummy (to my budget-deprived palate anyway). Generally they're the same wines I used to buy in the uk - banrock station or hardy's or whatever... so no worries there.

We pay around $16 for a big box of beer.

Our monthly expenses, most of which you won't have are:

Food/groceries: $480 ($120 per week)
Petrol: $200
Elec: $120
Phone: $70
Broadband (uncapped): $54
Health ins: $80
Rates: $50

You won't need to know about the mortgage!! I'm not very 'good' with cars i'm afraid... but i know it costs around $70 to fill ours up...

Will you be working up here?

SF
Hello Soulflour,
you are just down the road from us, we are in One Tree Point Ruakaka!

Louise033, nothing to add...we spend a bit more on food...but that would be down to my passion for choccy and lammington cake bars probably! Enjoy your stay up here, take the time to go to Mangawhai Heads South of Waipu and Sandy Bay just North of Whangarei...Sandy Bay is fab!
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 5:21 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by phil01 View Post
Hello Soulflour,
you are just down the road from us, we are in One Tree Point Ruakaka!

Louise033, nothing to add...we spend a bit more on food...but that would be down to my passion for choccy and lammington cake bars probably! Enjoy your stay up here, take the time to go to Mangawhai Heads South of Waipu and Sandy Bay just North of Whangarei...Sandy Bay is fab!
Thanks for the info, any other places worth visiting, pleas let me know.
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 5:53 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Hello Phil01! We were in OTP for a month or so when we first got here - in a school staff house in Prion Place!

ETA: My dp is playing at a party up there tonight - you're not going to a party are you?!

Sandy bay IS fab, and make sure to go to Ocean Beach too - we LURVE ocean beach

Last edited by soulflour; Apr 28th 2007 at 6:22 am.
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 7:56 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post
Food/groceries: $480 ($120 per week)

Hi Steph

Pray please do tell me HOW??????? That seems very low (but great for you), our friends have said about $2-300/week.

I'm spending about £200 a week at the moment , with NO alcohol! Admittedly, stocks of household items which I buy in bulk have needed replenishing, aka dishwasher tablets, kitchen & loo rolls, cleaners etc. ..... but still!

What do you eat? Meals and snackwise. I am very curious. (Or should I say buy eg offers/meat quality wise) Obviously I've a lot to learn.

Not that long ago, I was spending about £100, so goodness knows what the increase is. Three daily packed lunches? Child's expensive fruit taste - mangoes, raspberries, blackberries etc? Not sure, but I've noticed in the last month a severe increase, I think it's a 'yeah okay we can get that' when in the supermarkets which is not good for the credit card.

Deary deary me. Help!

Last edited by uk+kiwi; Apr 28th 2007 at 7:59 am.
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 8:21 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living



Well, it's taken me a year or so to figure it all out, i'm not naturally very good with money... but we HAD to live on a low budget at home when dp was doing his post grad and I had two babes, no income and a big mortgage, so we got really good then!

When we first got here though I was spending about $800 a month, which i knew was crazy, but it took a wee while to get it all sorted...

Firstly, I don't buy any cleaning products at all except for washing up liquid, white vinegar, bleach (which i use in TINY amounts) and bio washing powder. I use bio washing powder in my dishwasher (a friend of ours has a phd in chemistry and was the first to tell me that it's basically the same stuff, then i found out lots of people do it), i use about a third of the recommended amount in my washing machine.. i use the vinegar, bicarb & tiny bit of bleach for everything else. This all started when babes were tiny and we wanted to get all the chems out of our house.

Secondly, i've learnt (and trust me, it's taken time!) that if I ever throw out a food item, then something's wrong. Stuff can ALWAYS be frozen/made into soup/saved for 'left over's night' etc. That was big learning thing for us. So if we have fruit collecting it's pension in the fruit bowl, for instance, it becomes a crumble or icecream or a cobbler and goes in the freezer.

Um, i batch cook for the freezer so when i'm at work (3 days a week) i have 'ready meals' to use so that i don't buy takeaways.

I make all our lunches (4 packed lunches) each day so we don't buy food - but again in my freezer i have HUGE tubs of mini pizzas, quiches, sandwiches, cakes, tarts, cooked chicken drumsticks, cheese biscuits, humus, tubs of soup, lasagnes frozen in individual portions - lots of stuff (all homemade) so that each night or morning all i have to do is open the lid and pull out a few bits each and then add some fruit or yogurt (home made )

I have a breadmaker, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker and i use them all constantly (we make all our bread). The slow cooker means that you can use cheaper cuts of meat and also get in from work to dinner all waiting for you! I make things like pitta breads too, and once you do you realise how much you're paying over the odds buying them ready done.

Um, we only have meat say twice a week? We eat a lot of fish and pulses - tonight for instance we had falafel with humus and salad in wraps, and the falafel, humus and wraps were all homemade - works out SO much cheaper. Night before that was a huge homemade pizza and garlic dough balls, there were two slices left (it was massive!) so of course they're now in the freezer for lunches next week.

Do you know, thinking about it, i very rarely go to supermarkets - i'm sure that makes the difference. I buy flour in bulk and have a big tub for it in my pantry, so i buy that. I keep a supply of things like butter etc in my freezer... but once you start making everything yourself you realise how little 'stuff' you really need.

We use that $120 for anything else that we need too - so last week for instance we drove down and took the kids to auckland zoo ($40 + $17 on icecreams and stuff) and still had tons of food left!

This week i've spent $100 already - it's swings and roundabouts really.. but we never go over our $120 - it's like a challenge - we have a savings account for the first time and watching that go up is a bigger high than spending it all (it's taken me some time to realise this ).

I did have to cut down on booze - but tbh that's no bad thing - we were drinking silly amounts when we first got here (woo-hoo! barbies, sea, sun DRINK! ha ha) so now I try to stick to weekends... (i say try).

I use the boards here
for help and recipe ideas (i've learnt loads from there) and it helps that dp and I are both a bit anti-logo anti-corporation... i'd rather eat sawdust than buy anything connected to nestle, for example...

It also helps that my boys are both really good eaters that eat everything and anything (something i made sure of) - both love curry and olives and 'spikey' food (spicy!). They both start the day with 1. cereal 2. porridge and then 3. toast! I don't know how they do it - but it does seem to set them up well.... the most i can manage in the mornings is a smoothie!! (h/m of course...)

If I think of anything else I'll let you know. But really, it's a question of starting small and gaining confidence and realising how much you can do (and trust me, i don't spend all day in the kitchen). That thing about never throwing anything out is my biggest tip, from an ideological perspective too really (in these anti-consumerism global warming days!). Oh, and yes, try to buy fruit and veg IN SEASON... this is even more important in NZ than in the UK where food travelling thousands of miles and still costing pennies has obsured it somewhat - it's a shock to realise that you can't buy 'salad' all year round here... without exploring 'salad' and learning about winter salads etc. of course.

good luck!

x
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 8:30 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

oooh - why don't you try now while you're in the UK? you'll find living in NZ SO much easier if you can get it down.

We had 30 pounds a week for food for the last few years in the UK! I thought we were going to die but luckily my lovely dp had been brought up by a single mum on benefits and had 5 brothers and sisters, so he took over the shopping and cooking for a while and basically TAUGHT me how to do it - talk about lightbulb going on!

Set yourself a challenge for next week of say 70 pounds and see how you go - and DON'T take the kids shopping with you! ha ha

OOOH, one BIG other thing - is meal planning. It's a bit of a pain in the a but it's worth it. Sit down once a week/month and write down what you'll have for dinner each evening, work out what you need to make those dinners, plus your lunches, and shop to it. Never ever go shopping without a list. You'll be amazed...

We don't have any debt (cept the mortgage) for the first time in 7 years and it feels AMAZING it's SO worth it. Plus we live in this beautiful country, next to the most glorious coast with lovely people, surrounded by fields of cows and hills and we feel sooooooooooooooo RICH I really really hope you find the same!

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Old Apr 28th 2007, 9:15 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

OMG not worthy!!! Is there a bowing down and kissing feet smilie???
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 9:25 am
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pffffffffffffffffffffttttttt! as if! you should see the state of my bathroom!

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Old Apr 28th 2007, 10:12 am
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post


Gosh. Thanks Steph. Such an informative post. Thank you for taking the time to share that.

You are so right on many things. I feel awful for throwing food out and am becoming increasingly aware of the environmental effects of our everyday actions.

So having just bought about 5 months supply of dishwasher tablets since they were half price, do you just use a small amount of the powder in the same place you would put a tablet? I think I should start doing that. Small steps, but quite possibly a life changing one, eh!

As an aside, I too try to limit 'bad' cleaning products. Do you have Ecover in NZ? Better, but twice the price (at least), but the one thing I seem to use lots of is bleach - for the toilets. I like sparklingly clean loos! What do you do - bicarb? Does it work well? I have heard it's great for really dirty toilets (you know the ones in houses that need refurbing for example) but have never actually got round to trying it out myself.

So now that you've enlightened us all with your shopping tips, do you have any special/natural cleaning tips oh domestic godess?

So what's the spoof on Nestle? (Aren't they all seriously bad?)

Totally brilliant SF. Thanks.
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Old Apr 28th 2007, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Actually i was just thinking this morning as i made the kids breakfast that i lied I DO have a bottle of 'earth friendly' toilet cleaner -sorry!! it's 'ecostore' www.ecostore.co.nz .... I have some old spray bottles from cleaners we bought when we first got here and i mix up some water, couple of tbs white vinegar, touch of wu liquid and some essential oil if i'm feeling girly and use that on pretty much everything really (it's really a glass cleaner). I use bicarb as a scouring powder, and on the sinks and things (have you ever used bar keepers friend? it's just like that really) and then in bathroom i use the above and a tiny touch of bleach (the kindly one) if I have to - but we have a septic tank system so i try not to.

With the dishwasher tablets - try cutting them in half - then you'll have TEN months worth! I just use a teaspoon full of powder (although I do it by eye), it took some experimenting... We're on tank water though so over the summer we've been washing up by hand and not using the dishwasher - i'm starting to think it's easier!! you just wash and dry as you go and everything's away and sorted.... and no dishwasher to clean to think i was SO excited when we got here to finally have one!

I'm always looks for tips too, so if anyone has any....

I learnt tons from our old neighbours in the UK who were from Manchester and really REALLY good with money - they lived on nothing, grew all their own veg etc. and had the most beautiful house and spent 4 months of the year in Goa and had another holiday too (just spent two months in NZ!). All on one pension. She taught me how to use a pressure cooker (bought second hand from a car boot) and how to use up every last scrap of food - she was brilliant! I taught her how to use ebay and she now makes loads selling the stuff she finds at car boots and cleans up.

So my advice is grab anyone you know of the 'use up & wear it out' generation and learn while you can!

Urgh, the Nestle thing. Back in the 80s/90s I think it was it came to light that Nestle, who market baby milk in developing countries, had been doing things like sending their sales reps to villages dressed as nurses so that mothers thought that they were following medical advice by not feeding their babies their own, nutrient rich, safe, FREE milk but instead having to BUY nestle's cow's milk product, which would then be mixed with dirty water and often at levels much lower than needed (to make the product 'last') and as you probably know it's really REALLY important to use formula milk at the right quantities. They were also giving it away free at first and of course that meant that a mother's milk would dry up and then she'd be forced into paying for more of the stuff... babies were dying basically, but Nestle were making a fortune. There was a big outcry and all uni's etc. immediately got rid of Goldblend (which is nestles biggest selling product, or was back then, so was the one to boycott). Nestle eventually brought in Satchi and Satchi to try and turn it's image around, but are even now i think marketing chocolate in Russia as a health product. babymilkaction.org has more stuff. yuk.

Anyway, if I think of any more tips I'll let you know!

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Old Apr 28th 2007, 9:13 pm
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post
Actually
Another great post. Tried to send 'helpful karma' but sorry, wasn't allowed! Carmen x
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Old Apr 29th 2007, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Whangarei - cost of living

Originally Posted by soulflour View Post


Well, it's taken me a year or so to figure it all out, i'm not naturally very good with money... but we HAD to live on a low budget at home when dp was doing his post grad and I had two babes, no income and a big mortgage, so we got really good then!

When we first got here though I was spending about $800 a month, which i knew was crazy, but it took a wee while to get it all sorted...

Firstly, I don't buy any cleaning products at all except for washing up liquid, white vinegar, bleach (which i use in TINY amounts) and bio washing powder. I use bio washing powder in my dishwasher (a friend of ours has a phd in chemistry and was the first to tell me that it's basically the same stuff, then i found out lots of people do it), i use about a third of the recommended amount in my washing machine.. i use the vinegar, bicarb & tiny bit of bleach for everything else. This all started when babes were tiny and we wanted to get all the chems out of our house.

Secondly, i've learnt (and trust me, it's taken time!) that if I ever throw out a food item, then something's wrong. Stuff can ALWAYS be frozen/made into soup/saved for 'left over's night' etc. That was big learning thing for us. So if we have fruit collecting it's pension in the fruit bowl, for instance, it becomes a crumble or icecream or a cobbler and goes in the freezer.

Um, i batch cook for the freezer so when i'm at work (3 days a week) i have 'ready meals' to use so that i don't buy takeaways.

I make all our lunches (4 packed lunches) each day so we don't buy food - but again in my freezer i have HUGE tubs of mini pizzas, quiches, sandwiches, cakes, tarts, cooked chicken drumsticks, cheese biscuits, humus, tubs of soup, lasagnes frozen in individual portions - lots of stuff (all homemade) so that each night or morning all i have to do is open the lid and pull out a few bits each and then add some fruit or yogurt (home made )

I have a breadmaker, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker and i use them all constantly (we make all our bread). The slow cooker means that you can use cheaper cuts of meat and also get in from work to dinner all waiting for you! I make things like pitta breads too, and once you do you realise how much you're paying over the odds buying them ready done.

Um, we only have meat say twice a week? We eat a lot of fish and pulses - tonight for instance we had falafel with humus and salad in wraps, and the falafel, humus and wraps were all homemade - works out SO much cheaper. Night before that was a huge homemade pizza and garlic dough balls, there were two slices left (it was massive!) so of course they're now in the freezer for lunches next week.

Do you know, thinking about it, i very rarely go to supermarkets - i'm sure that makes the difference. I buy flour in bulk and have a big tub for it in my pantry, so i buy that. I keep a supply of things like butter etc in my freezer... but once you start making everything yourself you realise how little 'stuff' you really need.

We use that $120 for anything else that we need too - so last week for instance we drove down and took the kids to auckland zoo ($40 + $17 on icecreams and stuff) and still had tons of food left!

This week i've spent $100 already - it's swings and roundabouts really.. but we never go over our $120 - it's like a challenge - we have a savings account for the first time and watching that go up is a bigger high than spending it all (it's taken me some time to realise this ).

I did have to cut down on booze - but tbh that's no bad thing - we were drinking silly amounts when we first got here (woo-hoo! barbies, sea, sun DRINK! ha ha) so now I try to stick to weekends... (i say try).

I use the boards here
for help and recipe ideas (i've learnt loads from there) and it helps that dp and I are both a bit anti-logo anti-corporation... i'd rather eat sawdust than buy anything connected to nestle, for example...

It also helps that my boys are both really good eaters that eat everything and anything (something i made sure of) - both love curry and olives and 'spikey' food (spicy!). They both start the day with 1. cereal 2. porridge and then 3. toast! I don't know how they do it - but it does seem to set them up well.... the most i can manage in the mornings is a smoothie!! (h/m of course...)

If I think of anything else I'll let you know. But really, it's a question of starting small and gaining confidence and realising how much you can do (and trust me, i don't spend all day in the kitchen). That thing about never throwing anything out is my biggest tip, from an ideological perspective too really (in these anti-consumerism global warming days!). Oh, and yes, try to buy fruit and veg IN SEASON... this is even more important in NZ than in the UK where food travelling thousands of miles and still costing pennies has obsured it somewhat - it's a shock to realise that you can't buy 'salad' all year round here... without exploring 'salad' and learning about winter salads etc. of course.

good luck!

x
Finally I've found someone like me!!!!! We do the same here in Calgary. People are always complaining in the Canada thread that Calgary is getting expensive, we live on a pittance here and live very well due to being thrifty! We bake and make preserves and jams with seasonal fruit & veg. Saving is definitely a fun challenge and we certainly don't go without - we just buy ski season passes in May, for the following season when they are half price. Most websites here seem to offer discounts online so before we go visiting any local ' attractions' we check first to see if there is a coupon available that we can use.
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