Sunday, March 3, 2024

Money, Honey: Inside the Life and Budget of an Auckland Recruitment Consultant on $75,000 a Year

How much are we all earning? How does your profession add up? How are women your age spending their money? Is everyone in debt? And is the cost of living crisis biting everyone?

It’s time for some honest, candid conversations about money and budgets as we steer down a recession – so welcome to our new series ‘Money, Honey’, where we’ll be diving deep into the bank accounts of wahine across the country to truly get a sense of what’s going on in our piggybanks.

Up this week it’s Bek, a 30-year-old recruitment consultant on $75,000 a year – and click here for our previous instalments!

Name: Bek, 30

Location: Auckland, NZ

Living situation: Renting a place with my partner

Job: Recruitment consultant

Salary per year: $75,000

Any other income: none

Take-home pay per week:  I get paid monthly $4,154

Investment returns: N/A

My situation: My partner and I rent a small two-bedroom flat on the Shore. I am a trained primary school teacher who at the end of last year after five years teaching decided I needed a change. Multiple reasons for the move but one was to take control of my own finances – meaning get a job where I can earn more money faster and it’s a bonus if I can make commission. I work in the city so I bus into work. My partner and I split the bills fairly equally – he pays slightly more because he earns more and needs a garage (which added onto our rent).

Monthly budget:

Rent/mortgage: rent $997

Food: $340 – my partner also contributes $340 (sometimes this pays for takeaways on the odd occasion)

Bills: $100

Childcare:  N/A

Investments: N/A

Debt payments: Student loan $522

Savings: $1,200 goes into a “locked” account and $250 goes into a “travel” account

Spending: $200 for the month, which is for socialising, buying gifts etc. I also put $370 into a piggy bank which I have the idea of growing, so when I need to pay to fix my car for example then I have the funds there. This is where I also dip into for items such as face care, shampoo and anything else really. I also have insurance, Spotify, BFT membership and Seed Cycle Blend that goes out monthly.

What’s inside your bank account?

Savings: $15,700

Kiwisaver: $39,615

Anything else: N/A

How do you approach budgeting?

I have always given it a go but seemed to get knocked back by big expenses like my car needing a new clutch, going to the dentist, seeing a naturopath for a skin issue. I didn’t have the greatest mindset for saving money and to be honestly didn’t really know how. A few months ago, I asked my partner for advice – he is very good with money, and I am the complete opposite. We sat down and went through my expenses and set up a budget. Now that he knows my goals and budget, I am finding it easier to stay on track as I’m more aware of my spending and knowing someone else is supporting me helps big time.

Are you a spender or a saver? I am a spender, I don’t even really know what I spend my money on! When I socialise with my friends, I mainly try do it very cheap and don’t buy things like coffee or lunch while I’m out and I rarely buy new clothes but when I do I usually buy something that is quality so is more money.

Do you have any debt, and what is it from? Student loan $7,311

How has the cost-of-living crisis affected you and your spending?

My partner and I are a lot more aware of how much food costs now. We don’t buy many treats, spend little on snacks and plan our meals. Before doing an activity, we consider the cost of the overall thing and usually come to the conclusion that it isn’t worth it. We’re happy doing things outdoors.

What are your financial goals?

My financial goals are to be proud of the money that I have saved. I also want to learn about investing!

What’s the best thing you’ve bought in the last three months?

I recently purchased the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. A few of my colleagues rave about him and I wanted to learn more. It’s all about making small changes to see big results, which I know I can relate to saving money and making any other aspects in my life that I’d like to improve and take control of.

What’s the thing you regret buying the most in the last three months?

Hmm potentially a $65 Glasshouse candle! I love them and it was a real treat for myself but then I went to a comedy show the other night, and one of the comedians joked about candles ‘just burning money’ and yeah, I agree with him.

What (if anything) are you saving towards? An overseas trip for about six months with my partner in the near future.

Aside from the big stuff (rent/mortgage, bills etc) what’s your biggest source of discretionary spending?

Face and hair care products, or presents for others (birthdays and baby showers).

Do you worry about money? Yes, it often keeps me up at night.

How much money (honestly) do you think you’d spend on an average day?

During the week, it’s just $8.80 for the bus to work and maybe a small snack to have in the afternoon.

Where do you think it’s worth spending money, and where do you think you can save it?

It’s worth spending money on good skin and hair care. I could save it by only buying things I absolutely need eg. clothes I don’t actually need to buy.

Do you have any money-saving tips you’d like to share that work for you?

Set yourself an achievable amount of money to save each month. Don’t leave yourself skint, but make sure you save a decent chunk so each month, you can see progress.

What’s the first and last thing you would cut from your spending if you had to make some savings? 

The first thing would be the odd online purchase and the last thing would be my BFT membership. Going to the gym with friends, is so good for mental fitness.

If you’d like to contribute to a Money, Honey story (anonymously!) please email [email protected] – the more we talk about money, the more we demystify it!

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