Why the $2 coin you have left after paying rent isn’t going to buy you a Shads toastie anymore
Unless you haven’t seen any news in the last year outside of Craccum—if this is the case, we applaud your commitment to Aotearoa’s greatest student news source—it’s probably not news to you that inflation rates are the highest they have been in over 30 years.
So, just how bad is inflation? Sit back and bear with us while we take a trip back to NCEA Level 1 Economics.
- Student loan living costs in the last quarter of 2012 were set at $172.51. Let’s say that the entirety of your living costs get taken out to go to your rent.
- Auckland rents that cost $172.51 in the last quarter of 2012 would now cost around $253.37 at the end of quarter three of 2022.
- In quarter three of 2022, student loan living costs were set at $281.96. If you used this to pay for your rent you’ll actually be making a small gain of $28.58.
- Wellingtonians haven’t been so lucky; they’re now paying just over $294, which is a loss of $12 or 2 oat milk lattes.
- On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy a house the situation is disastrous. A mortgage that would have cost you $172.51 in 2012 will now run you $389.29. Compared to your living costs, you (or more likely your parents) will be experiencing a loss of $107.27. Ouch!
- Changes to food costs haven’t been as dire.
- A grocery shop that cost $172.51 in quarter four of 2012 would now cost $214.92 in quarter three of 2022.
- Technically, if you were spending all of your student loan living costs of $281.96 on food, you’d actually gain $67.04 ($281.96 – $214.92).
These calculations assume that you’re only taking care of yourself. We’re also sparing a thought for student families, who have young tamariki to house and feed. It would clearly be impossible to provide for a family on the living costs payment alone. To all studying and working parents out there: we applaud you.
Also, are you actually winning out with food? On March 13, StatsNZ released data showing that food prices rose 12.0% in the year ending February 2023. The biggest blows to the budget? Well, you can inform your parents that there is a reason you haven’t eaten a single leafy green in the last 12 months, because the average price of fruit and vegetables increased by 23.1%. The next big contender: meat, poultry, and fish, which increased 9.8%.
Because we’re here to answer the big questions, what are some of the ridiculous price increases we’ve seen to food items over the last year or two? Here’s a few of our least favourite contenders in the inflation game.
- A few years back, TipTop 2L ice cream tubs used to be pretty readily available for $5.00. These days, unless it’s on special, a tub is going to set you back $8.30 at Countdown, a 66% price increase.
- Gone are the days of $8.00 value mince at Countdown, which students everywhere have been diluting since time immemorial with $0.90 cans of diced tomatoes to whip up a very questionable flat dinner. After last winter’s price freeze was unceremoniously removed, Countdown increased the value mince price up to $8.90, an 11.3% price increase.
- Our Visual Arts Editor is passionate about the Shads toastie, and was recently dismayed to discover that it too has fallen victim to a price rise. Your $2.00 coin won’t cut now—the Shads toastie now costs $3.00, a night ruining 50% increase.
- We’re a bit late to this one, but the $1.00 frozen coke has been no more for several months. Small and medium sizes are now $1.50, a 50% price increase. Worst still is that a large frozen coke is now $2.00, a 100% price increase. In our view, this is the inflation that matters.
Unfortunately, no member of the Craccum editorial team was willing to step foot in Bar101 for this article, but we do hope for all the freshers out there that the $3.00 Cruiser has stayed stagnant. If it hasn’t, it seems we really are approaching the end times.