Money Diary: A 25-Year-Old In New Zealand On 31k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
This week: "My financial situation has been a bit anomalous for the past few years as my income has been supplemented by scholarships since 2017. My current role is also the first 'proper' job I’ve had – previously my income has been a patchwork of scholarships, research/teaching jobs, nannying, hospitality, etc.
My partner, J, and I came to New Zealand in 2019 for J’s job. I found it very hard to get a job that reflected my level of qualifications when we moved here and ended up working as a barista and in a call centre, which is what prompted me to look for further study opportunities. I already have one master's degree from Canada and am currently doing a second master's here in Auckland. Ironically, once I started my degree I found a new job and ended up getting two promotions in the space of about eight months, so my income has increased about £8,600 ($17,000) in that period (minimum wage is pretty generous in New Zealand so I was already on £22,300 ($44,000) as a call centre worker). I’m lucky to have some very generous scholarships that cover all my fees and most of my living costs.
My previous master's was also covered by similar scholarships, which has allowed me to save quite aggressively for a few years (although as you’ll see, I do like spending money a bit too much). I currently work between 25 and 30 hours a week, alongside full-time study. I have also recently taken on a marking job and do some ceramic work as well.
My relationship with money is pretty erratic: I had a comfortable childhood and never had to worry about money growing up but I still have a lot of guilt and anxiety around money and spending (although speaking to lots of my millennial/Gen Z friends, I think this is quite a common age/gender feeling). I definitely look at my peers from undergrad and measure my salary/job prestige against theirs (and generally come up short), which I think also contributes to money worries! J is the smarter financially of the two of us – he persuaded me to move my savings into equity last year and also built the budgeting spreadsheet that I use religiously. Overall, I have been trying to balance spending money to enjoy living in such a wonderful country and being free to travel/socialise/live (almost) COVID-free with saving enough for the future."
Industry: Tertiary education
Age: 25
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Salary: £31,400 (60,800 NZD)
Paycheque amount: £775 approximately but I am only working 25 hours/week while studying. This will go back up to £965 (1,870 NZD) full-time.
Number of housemates: I live with my partner (J) and another couple (L and D) in a three-bed, three-bath apartment. Auckland rent is notoriously expensive so this is pretty standard for a central rental.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £510 (1,000 NZD) rent per month (for my half). £60 (120 NZD) on household bills (my half). Our household bills cover Wi-Fi, water, power, a fortnightly cleaner and generic house expenses (toilet roll, tin foil, etc.). One of my scholarships currently covers these costs for me, so my rent has effectively been £0 while enrolled as a student.
Loan payments: £0 right now but my student loan repayments will restart once I go back to working full-time.
Transport: Normally £40 (80 NZD) a month on the bus and £36 (75 NZD) or so a month on petrol but this varies a lot depending on whether we have trips planned.
Savings? ISA, approximately £22,000 invested in various equity funds. £15,000 in shares for a company my mum used to work for. £6,500 (12,500 NZD) in a three-month notice access saver in New Zealand (half of this is earmarked as my 2020 pension contribution, half will go towards travelling around NZ next year). £1,000 (about 2,000 NZD) in a superannuation scheme through my employer, I contribute 5% of my pre-tax paycheque to this and my employer adds another 6%. J and I own a car and a camper van together. We split rent, petrol, insurance, household bills, food and other joint expenses 50:50 (we have a joint account but only really use it for direct debits and bills).
Other: Phone: £15 (29 NZD) a month for 2GB and unlimited texts/calls. Les Mills gym membership: £60 (119 NZD) a month. Car insurance: £11 (22 NZD) a month. We paid our annual camper van insurance and AA membership in a lump sum earlier in the year, approximately £100 each (190 NZD). Charity: £10 (20 NZD) each to a children's charity. We also donate semi-regularly to local charities/the food bank but this tends to be larger one-off sums. Pottery studio membership: £47 (90 NZD) annually. Spotify and Netflix: I'm still on my parents' family plans for both (eek). Cloud storage: £2.09 a month. Health insurance: £309 (600 NZD) annually but my scholarship paid for it this year. I will be eligible for NZ healthcare once I finish so won't renew. I try to contribute between £500-1,000 a month to savings.

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