January 2010 archive
I’ve been fighting off what feels kind of like the flu all week. Today I caved. It’s my first sick day in probably six months (I might start keeping a log – I’m not one to cry wolf at the first sign of the sniffles, but if there’s a bug going around, odds are I’ll catch it sooner rather than later. I wonder if I actually use up all the sick days I accrue – do you?)
Anyway. Here’s yesterday’s outfit – I’ve been lying comatose most of today in my robe, something I have neither the energy nor desire to document.
And for your viewing pleasure, some photos of the beach down the end of my street. It’s not clear, blue and sandy like the ones out east or north, or wild and surfy like the ones way out west, but it’s my beach
Tags: clothing challenge, photos
Busy weekend. Busy start back at work. Doesn’t mean I forgot about my January challenge – all four days worth! (I was kind of tempted not to post my sloppy weekend attire, but seeing as I went to the trouble of actually taking snaps… and yes, that’s also what I wore running on Sunday). Tuesday is coming…once I get around to hooking up my camera to the laptop.
My main goal this week is to shop around for new contents insurance – AMI is raising our premium, and an online quote at a competitor suggests I could save a decent amount by switching, even without a multi-policy discount. I’ve put in requests for quotes from three or four places, but none have bothered to get back to me. (So much for ‘within two days’; don’t they WANT new business??)
In other news, I decided I’d had enough of the box of junk that’s been hanging around for…four months now? Basically, T’s mum gave him some old silverware, coins and antique dolls (unfortunately in very poor condition) among other things, with the idea that he’d sell them and keep the profits as a birthday present. He drove around to a few dealers, bought some silver polish, and…never got any further.
So I’m taking over *sigh*. We got a whopping $19 for all the old coins – mid 20th century British currency – and will probably tackle the silverware next. For the coins, I went to a specialised dealer, but I’m thinking with the silver spoons it might be better to get them appraised and then list them on TradeMe. Maybe. It’s really hard to figure out how much collectibles are worth – any tips?
Tags: clothing challenge, money
Since I created two new accounts (bills and travel) the dashboard on my internet banking is starting to look a little unwieldy.
Visa (plus a true rewards card, on which I accumulate points – it shows up as its own account)
Savings (high interest)
Every Wednesday I make sure there’s enough in checking to cover rent and other autopayments which go out Thursday (I’m paid alternate Fridays, so this could possibly be streamlined when we move, and if our rent day changes. This used to work well enough when I got paid on Tuesdays). I work one paycheck ahead, so I pull 400 from savings into checking for the week, and sweep my full pay back into savings when it’s deposited – that then comes out later on to cover the next two weeks’ worth. It makes sense to me in my head, though it might not quite come across that way…
I put a set amount into the bills account every week, and my travel account is funded solely by my side job. If that ended, well, I guess that fund would too (or at the very least, go on hold).
I’m happy with how my system’s working, BUT I want to move the majority of my money to Rabo, as the interest rate is slightly higher (3.5% vs 3.15). I need to strike a balance, though – once I figure out how much I’m comfortable having tied up (no instant access) versus on-call in case of emergency, then I can make the transfer. I’m thinking $2000-3000 would be a suitable amount to keep on hand. All up, I currently have enough to cover three months of living expenses. Woohoo!
Thoughts? How much would you want to keep easily accessible just in case? (Bear in mind I don’t keep a cushion in my cheque account).
Tags: banking, money
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was a kid, having penpals was totally the cool thing to do. I had penpals in Warkworth and Gisborne, and then it got electronic – first I started writing to a girl in India, then in Australia, the States and Canada.
I remember one of them in particular – a guy called Josh – who I spent all of my time chatting to on MSN Messenger and writing epic emails (virtually novels) back and forth with. We would include snippets of song lyrics in each exchange, both of us trying to outdo each other at being alternative and obscure (he won every time, seeing as I’d only just discovered the magic of music that, well, predated my birthday).
And yet, every single one of those relationships petered out.
Until I recently got a friend request on Facebook from my Gisborne penpal, after literally years of no contact. I remember nothing about her, save her full name and that she had a fairly large family. And I’m not even sure about that.
So I hit ignore, with barely a second thought. For a moment I felt like I should feel bad about it, but honestly, I believe those relationships had a time and place. We never had anything in common, and we never shared anything of any importance with each other. I’d rather devote my energy to friendships with people I genuinely care about and wish that I saw more of.
Tags: life, relationships
Last year I went out for all-you-can-eat yum cha on my birthday at Ocean City restaurant – not the most impressive of places, but the restaurant was massive (very popular) and most importantly had TONS of food for laughable prices ($12.90, as I recall… I mean, is there anything better than an invitation to stuff yourself silly without worrying about the cost? I imagine it’s how Becky Bloomwood would feel if we let her loose in a mall with a black AmEx.)
Sadly, I think it’s closed down now. However, Ming Court at Sky City also does a darn good yum cha buffet. There is fried rice, BBQ meat and kuay teow out on the tables, along with fruit and various little goodies like pastries and those supercalifragilistic egg tarts .
The actual yum cha comes around in stacks of metal trays on trolleys, and is just westernised enough for my tastes: ie, no chicken feet or other scary animal parts. The selection did feel a little limited, but the buffet changes over to a dessert buffet which is also included in the price. Again, nothing icky like red bean soup, but cakes and other sweet goodies abound.
The cost? $22.95 each, or $19.95 with a Sky City action card. A what? Yeah, I know. A quick search informed me that all you need to do is go up to the casino and sign up for one. It’s a big draw for those who actually go to gamble, but me, I just want the restaurant discounts! And you only need one card per transaction, which is a nice bonus. So take it from me – don’t write off the small print. Just google those mysterious rewards cards or you could be throwing away some easy savings.
Tags: clothing challenge, money
There are two finance stories that I’m following with one eye in the news.
One, the deal that is allowing retailers to charge customers fees for paying by credit card. As if it’s not bad enough I can’t pay my utility bills by Visa without either giving them access to my card, or paying a nasty convenience fee.
Don’t start on me with the arguments about how CC users have been subsidised by cash payers, and how the fees are totally warranted. I get it. I can’t even really disagree, except to bitch and moan about how it’s going to be darn near impossible to to rack up rewards points from now on if this carries on.
I personally haven’t encountered any gas stations who are charging the extra fee, but surely it’s only a matter of time now that they have free rein. (And it’s REIN in this instance, people, not REIGN. Always gets my nerve up when the phrase is misused. Think horses, not monarchy.)
Two, speculation about the official cash rate – will it go up, or hold steady? Apparently low inflation may convince the Reserve Bank to leave the rate as is. But you know what? I was at Lincoln Rd Pak n Save this week – probably the cheapest supermarket in Auckland – and milk was back up to height-of-the-recession prices. Psssh.
Anyway, PLEASE hurry up and crank those rates right up. I need to start making some better interest on my savings accounts. Much appreciated.
Tags: clothing challenge, money
Don’t assume anything.
I’d been waiting patiently for my Kiwisaver deductions to start so that I could see exactly how much I would be contributing, and so I could start watching my (and my employer, and the government’s) money grow.
After two fortnights and still nothing, I emailed my provider to find out what was going on.
Apparently new signups are still meant to fill out a KS2 form because although providers handle most of the legwork, they don’t deal directly with employers – they only inform the IRD. And I was told that it could be up to 3 MONTHS before the IRD, in turn, informed my employer to start making deductions.
Imagine. I could have gone for three months without my deductions ever starting!
(If you’re merely switching providers, that’s not a problem. They’ll take care of all the details.)
So, I’m not out by much – just a couple of paychecks, or around $100. What I’m going to do is make a manual payment direct to the IRD once that’s all set up (hopefully I’ll get some sort of confirmation). I’ve been putting all my extra pay straight into savings, so that’s not a problem.
Lessons to take away from this?
One: Resist the urge to spend the extra. I transfer out $400 a week to live on and the rest stays in the bank. Period.
Two: Never assume anything – there are no certainties!
My post on whether mystery shopping is worth the time and effort was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, Haiti edition at milliondollarjourney and reimodels (possibly the most number crunching I’ve ever done here to date!).
Meanwhile, forgive my slackness on the clothing challenge front. Here’s two days’ worth!
Tags: blogging, clothing challenge
Travel to San Francisco in your 20s.
Decide to stay.
Work. Make lots of money.
Buy big toys – jet skis, water toys, quad bikes, rare cars – and ship them back to New Zealand every other year or so.
Plan to move back by age 65 to draw superannuation.
(*This is not my plan. But it is a real plan, currently being lived out be a real person.)
Tags: clothing challenge
It could only last so long. Once a haven, our house is now a den of what I’ll just call ACK.
The living room hasn’t been vacuumed in as long as I can remember, the hardwood floors haven’t been swept, and is it so hard to put empty toilet rolls in the plastic bin rather than drop them on the floor?
Did I mention that everyone barring T and myself has turned into complete and total alkies, drinking virtually every night? I marvel to him about how much we’ve spent on food, and he’ll reply by saying that they outspend us on alcohol alone. There are boxes lying on the ground outside, cans scattered both inside and out, 10 Jagermeister bottles forming a proud display on the dining table, bottles on the kitchen windowsill and worst of all, nasty, icky, sticky plastic twister shot glasses – you know, the prepackaged kinds you buy for $2 a pop – lining the counter. I’d had enough this week and cleaned up the counter side of the kitchen, but not again.
Did I also mention that our head flatmate (the one who followed us over from our last place) not only failed to get the rent out the other week but racked up overdraft charges in the process, and didn’t pay the water bill on time? And one of the other guys, who’s in charge of the Sky TV account, didn’t pay at all and racked up massive fees? (Thankfully, I don’t give a flying rat’s, seeing as I don’t watch or pay for it).
As much of a mess as they’re making – literally and figuratively – it’s SO very good to have a break from having all the responsibility. All I gotta worry about is food, keeping the bathroom hygienic, and paying our rent and share of the bills. It’s still nowhere near what our heinous ex-flatmate put me through.
Tags: clothing challenge, flatting, housing