Return to NZ after 15 years in UK...how do people manage financially?

(44 Posts)
pixiegumboot Wed 27-Feb-13 19:49:04

Thinking about returning home after 15 years in the UK. Will be returning with DH, DS1&2.
Trouble is, whenever we do the sums, NZ just seems horrifically expensive, particularly for food. Even more so mortgages.

So how do people manage? What do you think you need to earn to have a comfortable family life?....nothing major just not having to budget down to the last cent!
Thoughts welcome, BTW will be living Mt Maunganui/Papamoa.

MoreBeta Wed 27-Feb-13 19:56:08

The NZ Dullar is the strongest it has ever been against the Pound.

We were considering emigrating to NZ two years ago but the currency was so strong (and has got stronger since) that converting Pounds to go there would have been suicidal.

In fact many New Zealanders are leaving NZ and using their very strong NZ Dolalrs to buy into cheaper countries. One of the issues is an influx of flight capital from Asia and Russia which is pushing up the currency.

MoreBeta Wed 27-Feb-13 19:56:23

NZ Dollar

Mmmchampagne Wed 27-Feb-13 20:03:24

Interested to hear people's views, we are in a similar situation and I'm feeling a bit nervous about cost of living too...

pixiegumboot Wed 27-Feb-13 20:12:28

Thanks for comments so far. should add we will be earning in UK pounds....makes situation even worse!

MoreBeta Wed 27-Feb-13 22:19:39

Oh no! Earning in Pounds will be no good at all.

Why will you be earning in Pounds?

WhatSheSaid Wed 27-Feb-13 23:10:18

I agree, it's the worst time ever to be converting pounds to dollars. When I moved here I got 3.44 $ to the £. Now it's about 1.80. I'm not sure I'd advise anyone with a large/reasonable amount of £ to come here at the moment.

How do we manage? I'm pretty good at budgeting for food, know where to go to get the best deals on fruit/veggies/meat etc.

We don't have overseas holidays but just spent a great long weekend up north where i spent precisely $3 the entire weekend - on some milk. My kids are still young enough to enjoy all the free stuff- we went to the beach, explored rockpools, "fished" with a net, went boogie boarding, sledged down sand dunes etc. We do a lot of outdoor stuff, year round - I love going out on sunny winters days when it is still 15 degrees (though of course there are plenty of rainy days too!)

We bought our house nearly 7 years ago before prices in our bit of Auckland started rising fast. My friends and I all pass on children's clothes, toys etc to each other. We do ok - i dont really have any complaints about our life. You get quite practised at finding bargains. As the dcs get older we will hopefully have a second income when i go back to work.

I'd say in Auckland most people would say about 100K plus for a comfortable life though many do it on less. I don't know about the Mt/Papmoa, property will be cheaper there I guess.

And yes, why would you be earning in pounds?

Sibble Thu 28-Feb-13 03:05:53

It's a lifestyle thing, we spend money differently to when we were in the UK. My boys are 8 and 13 but are still (on the whole) happy to do free or relatively cheap things, beach, walks, fishing, having friends over to play. Socialising tends to revolve around bring a plate BBQs or meals not dinners out. Buying seasonal produce, only buying in the sale, knowing where to get bargains, not having the latest fashions/gadgets etc.....

Having said that we also exchanged 10 years ago at over $3 to the pound and we do have a nice house/bach/lifestyle. Coming over and exchanging now would make me think twice. My biggest advice would be to forget converting, as soon as you get off the plane work out your budget in $NZ and stick to it. If you convert you will drive yourself insane.

BTW, dh who is kiwi had lived abroad for 18 years when we came back, it was a huge culture shock.

I agree $100k plus is probably minimum for a family of 4 (but this is always a tricky question as I know people who happily live on alot less and people who struggle on alot more. It depends what your expectations are.)

justaboutchilledout Thu 28-Feb-13 03:14:39

Yes it is very very expensive. You will need to go without a lot that you took for granted in the UK.

We moved a year ago. We found that although we believed we were good at managing money in the uK, we still had to become much better to cope here. You can do it but if you don't REALLY want to move back I think you would be miserable.

Good thing is that everyone is in the same boat, no one I know seems to have any disposable income!

justaboutchilledout Thu 28-Feb-13 03:38:56

(Just to clarify, I am thrilled that we did it, best choice that we ever made: just want to be straight with you about the finances)

pixiegumboot Thu 28-Feb-13 10:16:16

yeah the money side of things is really concerning me. Particularly not being able to get back to the UK regularly....we are earning pounds because we will continue working in our own biz whilst in NZ. So unfortunately we have to convert.

I've done an online food shop and the bill is coming in at about £50 more EACH WEEK!
We don't go out that much over here so that won't be too much of an issue.

Argh, one thing to be back with family, quite another to be broke whilst there.

Any other thoughts on salaries in Tauranga?

kiwidreamer Thu 28-Feb-13 16:24:14

We've been in the UK 11yrs now and I've always said we'll go home eventually and after a trip back Christmas just been we decided it was what we really wanted (mostly for the kids to have time with the grandparents before they get too old) but every time we do the sums it just doesn't add up, we are going to be so much worse of financially but I guess richer in family and environment clutches at straws

kiwidreamer Thu 28-Feb-13 16:26:10

and yes when I asked a large group of friends recently what income would give you a good quality of life they all said $100k as a base, to go to a movie every now and again, treat the kids without worrying etc. A friend is on $80k and they are struggling with two kids and Auckland rentals.

Gulp.

pixiegumboot Thu 28-Feb-13 19:25:25

God it just gets worse doesn't it? I know what you mean about family time outweighing money but.....just do not want to go back and be broke what a strain on everyone. I just can't make the sums work either sad

Sibble Fri 01-Mar-13 01:25:54

Perhaps it's a perception thing because I think I think I couldn't afford to live in the UK (London/London borders admittedly)

pixiegumboot Fri 01-Mar-13 10:16:30

sibble in what way a culture shock?

kiwidreamer Sun 03-Mar-13 12:23:03

Another, bit more positive, thought I had the other day was to say if you shop to the specials and meal plan then the grocery bill is a lot more manageable in NZ I think.

I only do that on a very loose basis here and I know I spend far more than I need to and have an extensive store cupboard, but my friend I mentioned above says the way they can afford to eat well is to meal plan and then only buying meat on special at the Mad Butcher, fruit and veg from the actual fruit and veg shops not supermarket and shopping to the specials in the supermarket.

When was the last time you were home pixigumboot? I've been home each year for the past three years (and twice in 8 yrs before that) but its only the last visit that I felt things felt a little different, you've been away longer than us so probably came to that place a few years back maybe. But as far as culture shock, I really saw so much more that last visit than I'd seen before, suburbs looking very tired and uncared for, casual racism, high cost of living... I think the past five years of economic downturn have taken a toll... maybe that is a little of what Sibble meant by culture shock??

kiwidreamer Sun 03-Mar-13 12:24:53

Or maybe its seeing NZ through the eyes of an adult with adult responsibilities rather than the rosey tint of childhood and adolescent memories.

pixiegumboot Sun 03-Mar-13 19:26:51

Yes I hear you. I reckon we could prob feed ourselves for 3-4months easy with the stuff that's in our freezer and pantry (aside from fresh stuff) , so meal planning in NZ will be essential with the price of things. TBH wld prob be doing this more and more in UK as boys get bigger /eatier! !

know what you mean about the casual racism its everywhere. From NZers and incoming English, who have emigrated to get away from the immigrants!!! wtf?? daft.

My abiding memory of living in NZ is as a beginning teacher. Shit salary, no money, heaps of debt just to do everyday things. just do not want to go there again.

Getting a budget together over next couple weeks to make final decision. confused

justaboutchilledout Sun 03-Mar-13 19:50:30

Your friend does exactly what we do foodwise, and yes, it does make it affordable.

I think something very different is the fact that (at least in Auckland) far fewer people have genuine disposable income, so house improvements etc are much less common. That DOES mean that average suburbs look tired.

Sibble Mon 04-Mar-13 02:52:44

I think it was a whole spectrum of things and you are right, possibly he noticed because he left in his very early 20s carefree, unmarried and child free and returned for a pressured job with family in tow (i.e. different outlook on life). Things he has commented on are (alot of these are just observations rather than good or bad things): more traffic, alot of newer cars on the road, high cost of living high, petty crime (if there is such a thing, we have been broken into several times), wider availability of food and drink (good pasta, ciabatta etc...) immigrants (an observation not a criticism although I do have an issue with positive immigration policy with seemingly no planning to sustain it (housing, public transport etc....)), red tape, not being able to leave doors open when out ....more will spring to mind. All very minor but for him it was not the NZ he left as i say not necessarily good or bad reasons but different.

MrsLion Mon 04-Mar-13 06:34:35

Yes it's extremely expensive here. But it's not just everything is so inflated in price, it's that there seems to be so little choice and/ or shit quality which compounds it.
Tbh, I'd say with a family of 4 you need at least $120k household income to feel like you're not struggling.
But it depends hugely what you like doing as a family..
Like Sibble, I have investigated a return to the uk and I thought it looked very expensive there (Also SE admittedly too) in terms of rent/ mortgage, and our earning potential seemed less...but maybe I'm missing something.
Tbh, unless you are really unhappy in the uk and really want to come back to Nz I wouldn't.
I often wish I'd never come here at all. Sorry to be depressing- I do know lots of Brits who are very happy here.

pixiegumboot Mon 04-Mar-13 22:13:47

Gulp we will have about half that! Unfortunately at the mercy of the exchange rate.

Interestingly just done brief budget and things work out reasonably similar-apart from food. so going to experiment with meal planning here to see if it works. plus look in store cupboard to see what we ACTUALLY use.

As an aside, did anyone find their car insurance premiums higher because you had no NZ insurance history?

thelittlestkiwi Mon 04-Mar-13 23:04:45

Some stuff here is eye watering. But other stuff is cheaper. And at least there is no horse in our stupidly expensive food!

I think it is hard to look at salaries as so much depends on where you are living. Rent in an inner Auckland suburb (assuming 3 bed house) would be minimum $700 per week in my estimation. But the BOP is cheaper.

The deal breaker for me would be housing. I hate renting and renting in NZ can be really crap- if you look at the 'where to live in NZ threads' you'll see that a lot of people move into houses to have landlords kick them out after a few months which is horribly expensive and unsettling. So if I had enough deposit and a big enough income to get a mortgage, I'd be keener to move. But beware that the Reserve bank is discussing minimum deposit/LTV ratio's later in the year.

I've been here 5 years and some stuff does niggle- the driving, the racism etc. But on the whole I love the outdoors lifestyle and weather and most importantly the people. There is a much more respectful attitude here IMHO. It's a great place for kids.

We've been out and about in Auckland the last couple of weekends and there has been a lot of development- Silo Park, new food markets in Ponsonby etc so I don't feel like we are in recession.

WhatSheSaid Tue 05-Mar-13 00:05:58

Yeah, I don't find everything very expensive. We spend about $200 a week on food (2adults, 2 dcs, one dog). Looking at "how much do you spend weekly on groceries" threads on MN there seem to be plenty of people spending £100 a week in the UK, which is roughly the same. Ok, I prob have much more own brand stuff in my shopping than they do but I still have a few treat-y things in there too, nice ice cream etc.

We are on a reasonable amount under $120K and while I feel that we budget carefully, I don't feel that we're struggling. We pay a mortgage, pay rates, have Sky, run 2 cars, have days and nights out etc. Maybe a couple of short holidays a year (in NZ)

I've never heard of car insurance being higher because of no insurance history but it may be the case. I have heard car insurance is one of the things that's cheaper here. We used to pay about $40 a month for 2 cars (old cars, third party ins only). Its gone up to about $80 a month now as dh changed cars to one we could only get full insurance for.

60 K would be difficult. You would get WFF top ups to that though.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now