More than two million people across New Zealand woke up on Monday to find around $116 more in their bank accounts as the first installment of the government’s cost of living payment was paid.
The next two months promise two more installments of payments, totaling $350, to help with the rising cost of living.
The money, distributed to anyone earning less than $70,000 among other criteria, amounts to $27 a week.
But how much will it really help pay for the essentials?
* All changes that could affect your wallet from April 1st
* ‘Eat noodles while you finish school’: is the student allowance payment too rigid to cope with inflated housing costs?
* End of winter energy payments: “I don’t know what I’m going to do”
According Globalpetrolprices.comNew Zealanders currently spend $2.91 per liter on average when filling their car at the pump.
If you decided to spend your extra $27 a week on your gas bill, you could fill up your car with almost nine extra liters of fuel.
How much extra you might get with nine liters depends on your car’s fuel consumption. A modern Ford Ranger’s engine can use up to 8.9L per 100km, which is about the extra distance you could get with the weekly payment.
For context, 100km would roughly equate to three journeys between Silverdale and Auckland City, or almost four journeys the full length of Christchurch – from Belfast to Lyttelton, disregarding traffic.
The cost of a doctor’s appointment can often be a barrier for low-income households, meaning paying living costs could open the door to a vital appointment if needed.
According to the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, the cost of a basic consultation for an adult patient would generally be between $50 and $75.
If you were handed a $50 bill for a doctor’s visit, $27 would cover more than half of it.
Although we love our furry companions, their food costs can become a drag when the budget is tight.
Companion Animals New Zealand managing director David Lloyd suggests that the average cat owner spends $62 per month on food and the average dog owner spends $95 per month.
With an extra $116 per month in your back pocket, a cat owner could cover their monthly pet food bill and still have over $50 left over.
A dog owner walked away with $21 after buying food for his dog.
A home-cooked meal
One of the country’s biggest cost-of-living issues has been rising grocery prices, with Kiwis spending more than $300 a week on food alone.
While no one can spend $27 to pay a weekly grocery bill, another option might be to purchase a weekly Simply Dinner meal from New World.
The meals, which cost $25 each, come in a variety of recipes — chicken pad thai, butter chicken, alfredo pasta — and can provide four servings.
This option could feed a family of four for one meal a week, or one person could cover over half a week of dinners, if the repetitive taste of butter chicken over rice doesn’t bother you (and who does). doesn’t, right?).
The biggest weekly expense for New Zealanders will usually be their rental or mortgage payment.
For the purposes of this exercise, we assume that the person receiving this payment is a tenant – not that the payment would benefit much.
The $27 per week doesn’t start to make a dent in even the cheapest rental prices. According location.govt.nzthe median weekly rent in Kingsland, Auckland is $640, which equates to $3.80 per hour.
Paying the cost of living would save you seven more hours in your house.
Residents of Karori, Wellington would only last six hours in their rental on $27 a week while residents of Ilam, Christchurch could pay eight hours of rent.
The simple conclusion? Paying the cost of living is probably not the best rent supplement.
Health insurance costs will depend on a number of factors – whether for a family or an individual, age and whether they are smokers.
As an example, the cheapest health insurance offer from Southern Cross for a 30-year-old male non-smoker is $20.43 per fortnight. The cost of living payment could cover that for three months with a balance of $16 per week.
Alternatively, Accuro, AIA, nib and Partners Life all offer health insurance coverage which could be fully covered by the weekly cost of living payment.
There are a plethora of telecom partners and all of them offer packages that could be covered by the weekly payment.
As an example, Spark’s cheapest monthly plan is $60 per month. Dedicating your cost of living payment to cover that would leave you with $12 per week.
Vodafone has a $45 plan that would give you $17 a week to play, while 2Degrees has a $35 plan that could leave $20 a week to invest elsewhere.
Overall, your phone bill could be an effective destination for three-way payments.
As we move into the second half of the year, those new shoes you bought your kids for the start of the year might be showing signs of wear – signs that a new pair might be on the cards. .
The mentality behind how much to spend on children’s shoes depends on the parent.
For a cheaper pair, Number One Shoes sells a pair of children’s sneakers for $15, while a pair of classic sneakers from Cotton On is just $12.50 — both of which can be covered with a week’s payment.
A medium quality pair of shoes at $50 could be purchased twice a month with the payment, while a high quality pair of shoes costing up to $100 could be purchased monthly – if the subsistence payment was there consecrated.