People do not spend much on clothes and even less, or nothing at all, on perfume and after-shaves. The interior of their home often belies their status, and never judge a Kiwi by his car!
Many families grow their own vegetables with a ‘vege patch’ out the back. They bottle fruit and pickles and bake their own biscuits and cakes. Pikelets (scotch pancakes) are whipped up in the matter of minutes and served with cream and jam to provide an instant snack with a cup of tea.
Many people own sewing machines and make their own clothes and drapes. Knitting is also very popular. There is a large market in second hand school uniform and sales and ’specials’ really are genuine.
Loads of ‘junk mail’ arrives every day, letting you know of sales and discounts (often referred to as ’specials’) in the shops and supermarkets. Bread may be reduced by 50c a loaf (with a limit of six loaves) and people will think nothing of driving right across town to pick up the bargains.
Various people supplement their incomes by offering accommodation to Asian students, who come to New Zealand to improve their English.
A lot of people “build their own home”. By purchasing a section (plot) and employing a builder to build the house a considerable amount of money can be saved. Agreements can be reached as to what proportion of the work will be done by the owners, and what will be done by the builder.
Mates and ‘mates rates’ can all considerably reduce the costs of completing and furnishing a home and New Zealanders network very well in that regard.
Many New Zealanders have no superannuation schemes and look upon property as their retirement fund. They work hard to reduce their mortgages and then re-mortgage on a subsequent property, which they rent out. The cost of all repairs and improvements to a rental property can be set off against personal tax, and there is no capital gains tax as such, adding to its attraction.
Many people own holiday homes, (known as baches) which they rent out to cover costs. If you do not own a holiday home, you will doubtless know of a few people who hire theirs out. By sharing costs with another family or two, you can have a weekend away for about $40.00, in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the world.
Kiwis are proud people, and pay their way. They always bring food and drink to a function and do not like to be indebted to anyone.
They will work hard, often for low wages and children start young, delivering papers and selling sweets from door to door. They are encouraged to collect money for charities or fundraise for their school. A good example is a group of twelve year olds taking time off in school hours, to deliver the Yellow Pages telephone directory to every business in the City, with payment going into the school fundraising coffers.
I have spoken to a solicitor who thought nothing of working as a security guard during a spell of unemployment, a teacher who picks apples in the school holidays and a professional who does bar work in her spare time, to pay for overseas trips.
Opportunities, particularly for the young achiever, are widely supported through sponsorship. For those involved in an activity, there is every chance that it will culminate in a trip either overseas or within New Zealand, with the costs often being met, at least partially, by sponsorship.
It is important to get involved in the community and to make friends. From finding a job, to renting a holiday home and from chipping in to spend some time on a horse trek, to your child being sponsored for an overseas trip, you need to participate. There are lots of things to see and do, but you will only be able to afford them if you do them the ‘Kiwi way’.
If you are on the upper end of the salary range, you can find yourself enjoying an excellent lifestyle. You can purchase a home with magnificent views and eat in the best hotels, relatively cheaply.