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.

thelittlestkiwi Thu 07-Mar-13 08:46:29

Target Furniture I'm afraid. Not Target. Sadly.

pixiegumboot Thu 07-Mar-13 08:21:46

oh there is Target in NZ now that's good!

WhatSheSaid Thu 07-Mar-13 04:57:41

Yes, agree with that. And bloody Briscoes!

thelittlestkiwi Thu 07-Mar-13 02:58:35

Plus you don't have to spend every weekend in target and the Warehouse. This should not be underestimated!

justaboutchilledout Wed 06-Mar-13 20:05:19

That's what we did, mmchampagne. We bought a new sofa and a few other bits - new covers for our faded IKEA chairs, and some flatpack chest of drawers, stuff like that - then transported them. In our case it was a nobrainer because DH's employer paid for the shipping. But I'm very glad we did include EVERYTHING, in those early months you will likely be very tight financially and it does make a difference having brought a linen basket etc from England.

Mmmchampagne Wed 06-Mar-13 19:34:25

Good to have that confirmed, thanks everyone! DH is of the view that shipping costs will outweigh any potential benefit but sounds like that's not the case. We weren't thinking of anything hugely fancy - our furniture at the moment is Ikea and getting quite worn - sounds like our idea of replacing it to send back might be worthwhile.

For those of you who lived in NZ pre-DCs and went back with a family, how did you find the adjustment? Was the change in pace something you'd already experienced once you'd had children so the transition was easier or were there still lifestyle or cultural differences you hadn't expected?

WhatSheSaid Wed 06-Mar-13 17:35:41

kiwidreamer I pay $90 for a clean from hygienist. That's a 30 min appt.

Adult prescriptions have just gone up from $3 to $5. I pay $17 for the drs but most places are more than that.

If you really miss British tea etc there are several "British goods shops" in Auckland which sell loads of food, drinks etc and some of them deliver nationally. Some New Worlds also have a UK section with stuff like that in.

I agree ship most things, not sure you need to bother with buckets, they're $1.40 at the Warehouse!

kiwidreamer Wed 06-Mar-13 13:25:30

I think you are right pixigumboot it would cost more to replace a whole house lot and I've heard if you are going to ship then ship EVERYTHING, things I wouldn't have thought of like buckets, mops, spare linens and well everything I guess wink would be so annoying to have to fork out $100 to get new brooms / buckets / extra duvet for guests or whatever when you had perfectly serviceable ones that you got rid of.

I also have this sad plan to stock up on tea bags, bisto instant gravy, persil and other such items, so shipping it has to be... NZ tea is pretty dire!

How much does a clean from the dental hygienist cost in NZ these days? I paid £35 for mine last month.

Drs visit and scripts were free for my two under fives when we visited in Jan, adults are about $30 - $50 is that right, how much are adult scripts?

pixiegumboot Wed 06-Mar-13 08:37:03

Costed it; £4k to ship whole house. would never replace everything for $8knz

justaboutchilledout Wed 06-Mar-13 06:34:36

I think that what Sibble says is absolutely right re: furniture, we are constantly complimented on our (extremely average and tired) sofa and chairs!

Sibble Wed 06-Mar-13 02:52:16

Absolutely ship, cheaper than replacing. As already said you will pay through the nose for quality goods, affordable is often cheap rubbish. If you decide you don't want it when you get here you will be amazed what sells on trade me and often more than you paid in the UK. I left a front loading washing machine behind, as Dh insisted everybody only had top loaders, bought a house and the laundry was built for a front loader so had to go and buy one!

Also as people a less materialistic (on the whole) the sofa and armchairs we were embarrassed to have in our house in the UK as they looked 'tired' lasted another 5-6 years here as everybody kept telling us there was nothing wrong with them. You might look at your things with fresh eyes once you arrive.

FannyBazaar Wed 06-Mar-13 00:09:48

I'm also a Kiwi, living in London for 21 years now, I have never worked a full year in New Zealand so don't feel I lived there as a grown up. I worry most about culture shock, going back as a Kiwi who has lived more of my life away, very unfamiliar with the politics and working environment.

MrsLion Tue 05-Mar-13 23:56:46

Definitely ship out furniture if you can.

Some more things I thought of that may or may not be relevant to you OP: medical costs (incl opticians checks, dentists etc) and shoes are way more expensive here.

But childcare: daycare and nannies I have found to be comparable if not slightly cheaper than what people I know in the uk are paying.

WhatSheSaid Tue 05-Mar-13 23:11:38

I think the general consensus is that it's worth shipping most things. Anything you end up not wanting you could probably sell for a decent price on Trade Me.

A friend shipped (amongst other things) some IKEA children's drawers and when she sold them a few years later got more for them than she had originally paid for them new!

I shipped some 3 nice old chests of drawers (family stuff) and it cost me £300 - for the equivalent $600 I wouldn't have got such nice stuff here. I actually wish I had shipped more.

Mmmchampagne Tue 05-Mar-13 21:51:46

If you were to consider shipping household items back to NZ, such as items of furniture, do you think it would be worthwhile (bearing in mind there will be shipping costs)? We are trying to work out if we do head back whether it's worth it - have heard furniture is either good quality but very expensive or cheap and nasty.

Any thoughts?

pixiegumboot Tue 05-Mar-13 21:05:59

Cosmetics yes....batiste dry shampoo that I can't live without £2.99 vs $20!!!! 20 dollars!!!!

justaboutchilledout Tue 05-Mar-13 06:21:50

I think that's true MrsLion. We are lucky enough to get nappies free so I had forgotten the extortionate cost of those!

MrsLion Tue 05-Mar-13 06:17:44

Ok I was probably being a bit silly saying everything being way more expensive. Things that definitely are more dear in Nz are:
- food
- books
- clothes
- formula
- nappies & wipes
- bed linen (or Manchester grin)
- stuff for house like furniture/ cushions
- mobile phones and internet
- entertainment i.e concert tickets etc
- cosmetics/ toiletries

Things that are comparable or cheaper in Nz:
- running and buying a car
- cost of public transport
- eating out
- booze either from supermarket or out
- getting to beautiful places quickly smile
- decent accommodation for a weekend away- the motels are great here

Others may have different experiences and or things to add

justaboutchilledout Tue 05-Mar-13 00:48:55

No, car insurance is not more expensive, unless you stay on a UK drivers licence for a full year (that is the mistake we made and it bumped it up)

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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