Monthly Archives: June 2009

Irregular expenditures

I finally got my A into G and calculated what we need to be putting away weekly for our main irregular expenses.

  • Insurance (car) – $10 approx
  • Insurance (contents) – $5
  • Water – $15
  • Car reg – $5
  • Car fund (for Warrants, oil, repairs and maintenance) approx $10-15                             = TOTAL $50
  • And I currently put aside $35 weekly for power and phone bills, which needs to go up to $45. I’d also like to consolidate all these in one Irregulars account, instead of lumping them in with my main savings account. I might also have a separate one for the car stuff (which we have been shunting into BF’s BNZ checking account) …and one day I’d like to have a Holiday account as well!

    Whether we can put this into action? Doubtful. But we’ll see how things go next semester with BF starting his course and with any luck picking up some regular part time work. For now, there is literally nothing left after paying rent, bills and buying groceries. Irregulars are coming out of savings and not really being replenished, apart from the odd extra income in months when I do mystery shopping. But now I have a better picture of where we need to be at.

    I feel pretty lucky..

    I’m thankful that I have a job I like, with nice coworkers and an awesome boss. I guess I also get a fair bit of leeway, being a rare part-timer amongst full-timers, and being a student. If I need to change up my hours or take study leave, it’s never a problem. I get to pace my workload, and in return I’m always happy to pick up more hours as needed or stay a little later.

    One of my friends just got a job at Savemart, which is pretty neat. It’ll give her some solid work experience, it’s close to her house and the hours are regular – a damn sight better than at her old telemarketing job. Back in school, I wanted to break into retail SO MUCH. I was sick of working with food and just wanted to work in a shop. But I never got anywhere near, and then I landed an ever better job – in an office – and haven’t looked back. Now I think about it, hospo tends to pay better than retail, and I would have been a useless salesperson anyway.

    Being an entry-level sort of job though, has its downsides. She can’t smoke inside, obviously, but was told to not even bring her packet of cigarettes indoors! There’s the usual no texting, no slacking off talking, and a bit of a grilling about future plans. Like, what do you want to get out of this? How long do you think you’ll stay here? Why? You think you’ll be here for the next two years?

    I guess in times like these employers can push the limits and be as picky as they want, and people will put up with it to ensure they have a job – at least until something better comes along.

    The conundrum of choice

    Not surprisingly, BF’s having a lot of second thoughts about what he wants to do, you know, with the rest of his life.

    He is still keen on teaching. But what? teaching

    He says he would be happy to do early childhood – pretty much a guaranteed job, and free tuition. But it’s not what he really wants to do in the long run. And though he has lots of experience dealing with young ‘uns, I think he’s the kind of person who needs more stimulating, adult interaction. (And realistically, let’s face it, no matter how much they speak of shortages, and say more men are needed in primary and early childhood education, people are WARY of men who want to work among young children.) His original plan was to teach primary and intermediate aged kids, but now he’s quite keen to teach high school.

    That’s going to require a fair bit of study…and money!

    We’re talking a BA – in whatever, media studies, classics, history, or a mix – and then a postgrad diploma in teaching. Three years for the bachelor’s and one year for the post grad. Maybe $15k for undergrad and a similar amount for post?

    I’m not expecting him to have made up his mind at this point – that would be ridiculous. Just sounding off possibilities, because planning is important when it comes to education.

    Either way, I’m sure while doing his course next semester he’ll be introduced to so many new and interesting things, he could yet change his mind still.

    Open letter to Work and Income

    I’ve had it up to here.

    I simply don’t understand WHY it is you continue to make life so damn complicated for us. Yet, you seem perfectly content to keep doling out money to people (including members of BF’s family) who, frankly, do nothing productive with their lives, apart from occasionally pop out another child.

    From the beginning to now, dealing with you has been nothing but a headache. First you refused to even see BF. You fobbed him off with excuses, like how backlogged you were and how long it would be before there were any free appointments.

    There was a whole brouhaha about the fact that I study and work, and should therefore be able to support the both of us singlehandedly.

    Then came the letter stating that we had failed to comply with their request for further information and his claim was denied. Only, you had never even SENT a request for any information. That was just a lie, an attempt to deny him any help he might have been entitled to. And of course, it took another couple of weeks to straighten that one out too, because you can’t just call up to make an appoitment to sort out misunderstandings. It always takes about a week before you can get in to see a case worker.

    Then it finally all seemed to come together. You gave a little, we gave a little, you were impressed with his ethic, and wanted to help him as much as possible because he wasn’t like the other lazy bludgers on your books.

    And then came a letter saying that BF had failed to attend an appointment for LSV (whatever that might be) on Monday the 22nd, and a letter had been sent to inform him about this appointment on Monday the 8th.

    Again, lies. No such letter was ever received. Nothing of the kind was even mentioned to him at his appointment on Thursday the 11th of June, when he went in to discuss his enrolment in the New Start programme at Auckland Uni.

    Now you say a “work test” has been issued for him and his entitlement will be compromised if he does not contact his case manager with a “fair and sufficient” reason for not attending.

    A reason, like…. No such appointment was ever relayed to me?

    And anyone who’s ever dealt with WINZ knows they shunt you around case managers; he’s never seen the same person more than once. Who knows who his supposed case manager is at this point.

    I can only assume they will now take it upon themselves to suspend his payments, and add to my stress.

    Work and Income, it’s time to start playing fair.

    Just to add to my list of niggling worries…

    …BF’s family is having troubles.

    His mother is looking to move sometime soon, to somewhere smaller and cheaper.

    BF, understandably, wants to help her out, as he was telling me.

    Thankfully he had the sense to add “But I know we have our own troubles to worry about.”

    Yeah, you’re telling me! Not that I like to whine (well, I guess this blog bears the brunt of my gripes). But it’s tough enough getting by as a student on a student income, without having to essentially support a second person on said income. And sometimes I feel BF doesn’t appreciate that enough. I mean, we think of all our money as “our money”, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. But he’s the happy-go-lucky kind anyway. I’m a born stressor.

    Anyway. Our helping could come in the form of moving in with her (she’s apparently found a few nice places, with sleepout/separate downstairs flat, etc). She only has her and BF’s youngest brother now, and I guess BF’s oldest brother also will be living there. If we lived with them, it would ease the pressure of rent and bills, and she knows we would always pay on time.

    Qualms? Well, sooo many: the place itself, and housekeeping (previously they’ve lived in rather dumpy, messy places, although I don’t know how much of that to attribute to the fact that there would have been five kids in and out, not to mention their friends); BF’s oldest brother (not someone I’d actually want to reside with); the likely frequency of BF’s sister and kids coming to stay during her and her partner’s domestics; being close to the bus; being close to campus for BF next year; flexibility of moving, because presumably that would leave his mum in quite a fix. Sigh.

    See, my plan was for us to take our time looking for our next place. (Plus, not many people are keen to take in couples, especially if they’re both studying). I wanted to live in Mt Eden/Epsom, or maybe 3 Kings/Greenlane/Royal Oak. Reason: better, more frequent buses, and reduced travel time to the city. Have I mentioned how sick I am of spending 10 hours a week commuting? Doesn’t even count the time spent walking to/from the bus stop, and waiting for the bus. Those specific areas: because if he goes into teaching he will have classes at the Mt Eden Rd campus. It’s best if we live close to it, so if the car craps out he can still get there without too much fuss. BF seemed to understand and agree with that.

    But not today. He’s all gung ho about helping out his mum (which is totally fair enough). I reiterated how important it is for both of us to be able to get to uni/work WITHOUT relying on a car. His answer? “Oh, but you can’t keep living life in fear of something that MIGHT happen”. Well, like I explained, it’s perfectly sensible to live somewhere where I can cut down on travel time, and ensure that our old car breaking down wouldn’t strand us. And frankly, I am sick of West Auckland. Plus, he just doesn’t want to move away from his friends and family. He’s that kind of person. Me, I don’t care. I want to live somewhere decent, closer to town, and in an environment where he can do the best he can to prepare for starting uni next year. I’m not sure living with his mum would achieve that. She has to stay in this area because of BF’s brother’s school. And she currently has no car herself…so, see where I’m going? But I don’t want to come off as the cold hard bitch here.

    It’s just hard to make plans at this stage when we don’t know exactly what will be happening next year. BF could be studying at the Epsom campus on the other side of Auckland, or at the city campus. I could be working in town, or maybe at a small community paper. Ya know? Not to mention our lease goes until August. Oh please, kill me now.

    On work, internship and money

    It’s been pretty quiet at work these past few months. Looks like that’s about to change though, with some new projects happening and me being assigned a couple of new tasks. They aren’t strictly within my area, so to speak – it’s a bit of a crossover between departments. At first I just thought it was a bit of a pain, but on second thoughts, the more I take on, the more it shows I’m being entrusted with more important things, and I’m going to take them seriously.

    One of my coworkers is going on maternity leave this week and I don’t know if she’s going to be replaced…they may just reshuffle her workload and redistribute it. I’d be glad to take on a few of her responsibilities, but I just wouldn’t have the time to do it all! I’ll be working three half days a week next semester, but they really need at least one of us there the rest of the week too. I was considering putting BF’s name forward, IF they ask any of us if we can recommend anyone who might be interested, but I don’t know how well that would go down. We would most likely be working opposite days, but company policy might still frown upon something like that.

    On the upside, I will be working a full week on the week starting 29 June to ease the shock of losing her! The money (MUCH needed) will go towards our water bill, and getting the CV boots done on the car. Then the two weeks after that, I’ll also be at work full time – but as an intern. Fingers crossed that goes well!

    Dirty cheaters

    What do you do when you know someone is cheating on their significant other? ehowkiss1-main_Full

    Luckily I’ve never had to deal with a situation like that, at least not with anyone close to me.

    I do know a couple who consistently cheated on each other (both parties, I mean) but neither of them wanted to know, and they kept taking each other back. I wanted nothing to do with them, and still don’t – especially now that they have a child together, poor tot.

    But one of our flatmates had a girl stay over last night. In his room. In his bed.

    We all know and like his GF; she’s really nice.

    Do we do or say anything to her?

    Is it our business?

    Is it somehow more forgivable if it’s a one-off as opposed to an ongoing thing?

    Being the unpaid chauffeur

    I was afraid this would happen – CORRECTION – I knew it would happen.

    We have a car again, which puts us at the mercy of the many, many people we know WITHOUT one, who then want BF to take them places and drive them all around.

    Let’s put it this way. BF has two main categories of friends. The ones who work/are doing apprenticeships, have steady jobs and cars. And the losers who have lost their licences for speeding/drink driving etc.

    Unfortunately, the latter kind are the one he sees more often. One of them lives with us, so …. yeah.

    Sigh.

    And with him not having work, it just means they have all the more opportunity to rope him into chauffeuring them around.

    Even if they pay for gas, it’s still unnecessary wear and tear on our car, and until he gets his full, I’m the only other person he can legally drive around. It’s completely unfair to put him at risk of losing HIS licence too just so they can get a ride somewhere.

    He’s just left the house after getting a hysterical call from his sister. She needed a lift from her house WAY out west, to their mum’s. Her and her partner were having a huge fight and she was leaving and going to stay at their mum’s overnight…or possibly longer, in fact.

    FFS! They are both WAYYY too old for this! He’s 30plus, she’s 25, they have a fourth kid on the way. Every few months they do this – have a huge domestic, live apart, then somehow reconciliate. But they NEED to get past this. Not only should they have outgrown that stage, it’s really not on given there are kids involved. Sigh.

    You gotta earn it first…

    From my conversation the other week with the New Start peeps at Auckland Uni, I don’t think its a bad thing for applicants to have to earn their entrance into uni. But I think it sucks that they introduced an open policy like that, and are now retracting it. I can only assume it’s to do with costcutting and a lack of funding for universities. They’re not even going to have enough to pay for the influx of students trying to weather the recession, so why make it easier for anyone to get in? Just like they cut the few scholarships Studylink provide, which were good because they were pretty open to anyone. There are very few scholarships out there with broad criteria. Most are very narrowly tailored and targeted only at specific kinds of people.

    But it seems short sighted to me. As pointed out in this week’s Debate, young people who can’t get jobs and can’t go to uni will just end up on the dole, which is government funded anyway. I don’t claim to know much about this stuff, but if it’s at all feasible to help universities accommodate students, that seems smarter than, well, NOT. I’d rather see investment in a more educated/skilled workforce.

    And on the heels of this – Pita Sharples calling for Maori to have free entry into uni. JUST as they axe special admission for adults. Could the timing be any worse? At least there is zero chance of that happening at this point in time. Race based policies may have their place, but this is not the time!  From now, everyone will have to sit foundation courses to gain university entry, so let’s apply that across the board.