Where has all my money gone?
My life is a bottomless pit of spending and what do I get in return? That’s right, disappointment. What happened to the days when a babysitter would look after your children for $10 for the whole night? Now it is $15 per hour, they want sick pay and holiday allowance, half of them belong to a union and if you don’t have Sky TV, well forget about it. It costs more to pay for the babysitter than the evening out with your friends.
And what about the cost of school lunches? I attempted to give my nine-year-old $5 for her lunch, thinking that would be a generous amount.
“Five dollars?” She asked me incredulously, “what am I meant to get for five dollars?”
“Well I used to get a meat pie and a cream bun (remember them, yum!) for about fifty cents when I was a girl” I responded.
“But mummy, the nachos are six dollars and I like to get a hot chocolate for morning tea and something sweet after the nachos, I need at least ten dollars”, she implored.
“Nachos?” I say. Since when do school tuck shops sell nachos? Have we all become posers? I live in Wellington, not Auckland I think to myself.
Now I know all about the time value of money. I have a degree in finance and economics and I can assure you, even taking into account compounding interest, inflation and so on, fifty cents in 1978 does not equate to ten dollars in today’s terms.
The cost of living has spiralled out of control and New Zealand is at the top of the heap in terms of being expensive. Apparently our cheese and milk are cheaper in London. When my UK-based sister comes here to visit, she reckons apart from meat (which is more expensive in the UK), groceries are much higher-priced here. I remember myself, when I lived in the United States a decade ago, clothing and makeup were a fraction of the price they are here and I am sure things have gotten worse.
Even going out to a café for lunch has become prohibitive, let alone an evening meal. And going to the movies is the same. In the school holidays, if I take the short one and two of her girlfriends and they want popcorn and ice creams, there is no change from $80. I honestly don’t know how some families afford it, particularly if they are on one income. I guess sadly, a lot of Kiwi children miss out on the school holiday family movie ritual.
I just read that the average house price is $650,000 in Auckland. Absolutely ridiculous. How on earth are people meant to be able to afford their first home? Wages have certainly not gone up to the same extent as house prices. Now banks want at least a 20 per cent deposit. Unless you are a couple or go in with a family member or friend, you won’t be able to afford it.
I worry about how things will be for my daughter when she starts working. Unlike my day, she will probably have a student loan (fingers crossed she goes to Uni) and have to go overseas to make her fortune.