March 2010 archive
The other day I updated my About page, and one thing jumped out at me: the words “I’m not one to have a 10 year plan”.
It’s true, I’m not. But I am the kind of person who sets short-term goals. Okay, so I never used to do that before I started blogging (none of my previous New Year resolutions to clean and exercise more ever came to fruition), but setting goals and keeping myself accountable has seriously changed my life. I’m talking small, but not insignificant ways. And there’s no way I’d ever stay on track if I wasn’t making them public and blogging about my progress.
So, inspired by MPP – here are my rough financial goals for my 20s.
1. Save $10k by the end of the year.
2. Up my Kiwisaver contributions to the max 8 per cent
3. Save for major travel – a trip around the South Island, a Pacific holiday, a cruise, the UK and Europe…and so many more places.
4. Save for a house downpayment.
Tags: goals, money
A hodgepodge of work related thoughts:
Just how do you deal with higher-ups who don’t seem to like you or have faith in you? (Okay, I kind of already know the answer. Come up with brilliant ideas and push them, making you’re seen doing the work and get the credit in the end. Right?)
What about writing business-related emails? Nobody ever really teaches you how. I don’t even know if I’m doing it right. I also hate hounding people, especially when they’ve promised to get back to you with something and don’t. Still, I understand that most people I deal with are far busier than I am. Perfecting the art of the virtual ‘nudge’ to remind and prompt things along.
And finally, owning our mistakes. I find it hard to take criticism or even have my mistakes pointed out to me, being somewhat of a perfectionist. My stomach just sinks. But I’ve come a long way from the old days, at least.
Tags: random, work
It has always been one of my goals to travel. First I thought I’d take a gap year right after high school. (How I planned to pay for that, who knows). Then I thought I’d work for a few years after uni, save and then go backpacking in Europe. Then over the years I’d slowly make it through my list of destinations.
Except I don’t really want to backpack. I like my home comforts.
And I’m not really sure if I want to work while I’m abroad, although I think that’s more a fear of going over with a plan to find a job, then failing to do so and ending up broke.
And then, would I want to take just any job that I could, or would I be looking to stay for an extended period and try to get an industry position? Would I pay one of those organised schemes to help get me set up with work?
Maybe I should just stay put and save like a demon, using my four weeks leave every year to do big trips overseas. (And I still haven’t even seen the South Island, which I really should be doing before anything else. Hopefully that will happen at the end of the year.)
But that seems so….safe.
Too many choices. Too many decisions.
For those of you who’ve done some travelling, which way did you go? How long for? And if you worked, how did you arrange all that?
Tags: life, travel
Between setting up a brand new connection, wiring and the technician’s visiting fee, the total came to three months’ worth of regular phone/internet bills.
I knew the phone line had to be connected, but didn’t realise it had NEVER been connected in the past. And I sure was not prepared for the charge. The LL set it up for us before we moved in, so I never dealt directly with Telecom. Still, we would have had to do it nonetheless – it’s a necessary evil.
Action: Pull $70 from bills account.
Use $40 of my Chinese New Year money. (Yep, only got my angpows this week since I missed the family do – got to love the working weekends thing)
Pay the remaining $160 from savings and replenish it ASAP from other income streams.
Not happy, but I don’t think I have much choice in the matter.
Holy crap. Right now, 31 sounds absolutely ancient. 31 to me, means a house and kids. It means having a dining room and dining furniture. No more wiping my nose on my sleeve. Knowing what to do in any given situation. I’m dying to know: are you there yet?
You have no idea how much I want to know where I (you?) are (will be?). I’ve just graduated. I’m working full-time, and am at a bit of a crossroads in regards to a concrete plan. Who are you, and who have you become? Have you gone into PR? Work freelance or from home? Do you even still work in the media industry? Because right now, you might remember, I’m working some slightly odd hours but getting invaluable experience. I’m still in the awkward position of doing some duties beyond my job title, but that’s where I want to be, and I figure if I prove myself, I can earn that position. It’s those days when I have to step up that I love the work, because there really is nothing worse than having too little to do.
Have you done the travelling you wanted to do? Seen Europe, the US, the UK? Maybe even some of Asia? Have you dared to take chances…can you proudly say you have no regrets?
Are you remembering to give to others? To tell the people you love what they mean to you? To make the effort to keep in touch with old friends, with family? Because when it comes down to it, it’s people that matter more than anything else. What is life, without others to share with it? I hope your nieces and nephews have grown up to be strong, kind and intelligent, and comfortable in their own skin. I hope that by now you have no self-doubts.
Oh, and before I forget, are you engaged? married? Did T manage to buy you a ring? Are we on track to buy a house, and towards a six figure net worth? Curious minds want to know! I’m especially dying to find out where he ended up careerwise.
I bet you still find social situations painful, but I hope you’ve learned to fake it. I’ve always believed that we only get given what we can handle in life. Remember that, even as every new challenge pushes you to breaking point.
What about hobbies; do you still read, blog, play tennis, guitar, take photos, attempt to bake? Still eat as much as you want without worrying about weight? Oh, I hope so. Nonetheless, I hope you’re eating better and getting more fresh food into you. And I hope you’re still trying to keep fit, because right now, I’m actually at the point of ENJOYING exercise – so keep it up.
I’m excited to grow into you. I won’t lie, I’m not in rush to meet you in 10 years – that’s a long way to go. Here’s to ticking off the boxes in the meantime.
(Here’s to the others who participated in this latest meme).
Tags: about me, life
Somehow, I’ve gotten to be 21 and never really learned to cook. Since leaving home, my diet has totally changed – I make easy stuff like pasta, Mexican, stirfry and steak. Mum used to make a lot of Chinese (with the odd hint of Malaysian), the kind I never learned to make and is at odds with my philosophy when it comes to dinners: I want it fast and I want it now. Hence, my veggie intake has also suffered. She also used to make two or three separate dishes a meal (veges being usually separate from meat), where I go for one-pot meals.
And T is absolutely no help in this area! He really isn’t too concerned about getting 5+ a day; but his is a family where it’s okay to feed the little kids chips (and maybe sausages) for dinner. (Not that my parents did much better. My brother literally never ate a single vegetable during his formative years, and still only eats a very very select few today. You know, I can’t even remember what he DID used to eat, except that there always had to be a separate meal made for him.)
But scurvy is not a good look for anyone. Summer meant salad season, and this year I discovered the wonders that yoghurt and sour cream can do to vegetables. I’ve never been a fan of lettuce, but I’ve come to realise there are so many ways to do salads. (Although I love potato salad with a passion, I don’t really count potatoes as veggies. But I’m willling to be convinced otherwise )
I may start buying real veggies for stir fries and curries, because frozen packs invariably contain ingredients I don’t like (Broccoli, I’m looking at ya). I might even look up some spinach recipes, which my iron levels will no doubt thank me for.
Sadly, now it’s getting colder and vegetables are going to get expensive. What are some winter veggies? Share your favourite recipes…I want them all!
Tags: cooking, food, groceries
- I’ve been crazy busy with a freelance project, made that much harder by the fact I didn’t have the internet set up at our new house yet. It’s been wayyyy too stressful; what I love about my day job is it’s down to ME, and I don’t rely on other people in order to get the work done. Hence the patchy posting schedule.
- Not having the net at home hasn’t exactly helped the budget, either. Between socialising more than usual (ie, at all), new home expenses (things like rubbish bins, knife set, teatowels and other stuff, not to mention paying two weeks’ bond) and the car starting to chew up gas (probably due to the tyres, which we replaced this week). Oh, and T and I had a rare day off together, which saw us splurging on (what else?) eating out.
- Also, my new work schedule means it’s imperative to be more organised, in terms of getting grocery shopping done and ensuring I have food to pack in my lunches. And we haven’t been doing too well so far…
- To rebalance things, this week’s extra income is going straight towards the overage:
Mystery shopping (Co. 1) – $32
Tutoring (proofing and editing a resume, and helping with answers to the questions on various graduate programme applications) – $40
- (Dork alert!) Oh, and Stuff now have a personal finance blogger (ex dating blogger Greer of Greer 2.0). Like a true nerd, I can’t wait to read more. Just how detailed it will get remains to be seen…I’m guessing it will include super basic stuff about debt payoff, Kiwisaver etc. And seeing as it’s her real name, probably no spending breakdowns.
(Warning: may contain countless contradictions)
Where did that last post come from? I’ve been pondering that, after all of your insightful comments.
I suppose it came from coming to terms with the fact that I’m not likely to make tons in my field and that T may not be making a stable income for a while. From realising what my priorities are (experiences, I guess, rather than things like having a new car, or a boat, or a bach). I’m not going all Simple Dollar and advocating a life of scrimping. I’m not saying it would be BAD to come into a lot of money, or to make six figures, but I’m a pretty simple person at heart. At least, I think I am. Even if I somehow ended up ridiculously wealthy, I wouldn’t want to live a high rolling lifestyle. That’s just not me.
At the risk of sounding unambitious, I’m not and never have been the kind who’s driven to make a million by 25. I don’t aspire to a high-ranking position; I have zero desire to manage others.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have ambition. I want to advance, I don’t want to stay in the same place forever. I just don’t know exactly where I want to end up at this stage.
I do want to make more money, I do want to see the world, I do want to get married, buy a house, have kids. I have goals; I’ve always had something to work towards, from getting high grades, to getting into my major, to actually graduating. Now that all that’s out of the way, maybe I’m drifting a little, but I certainly don’t plan to go backwards. Hence, I will keep doing what I’m doing and taking whatever opportunities I’m offered.
I’m re-assessing what a career is and to what extent it defines us, and whether in the future I want an all-consuming kind of job – one that I live and breathe – or one that lets me work 9-5 and find fulfillment in other things outside of work. Yeah, all this three months into my first FT job. Remember that ‘perfect day’ post from a while ago? In the end, what I want is a happy relationship, great friends, a decently-or-well-paying job that I like and am good at, activities outside of work, the freedom to travel, eat out and enjoy the little luxuries in life…and at some point children (Although I’d happily skip the labour part). A stereotypically middle-class existence, perhaps?
As for T, I feel like this year may be a really defining one. I could be wrong (we’re already a quarter of the way through, after all). But he’s starting to slow down, to mature more, to think a little further ahead, to understand the power of money and the freedom that not spending every cent affords. He’s more reflective, more introspective, more self aware. He says he might finally be in the right headspace for going to university; that once he has the right tools he’d like to start making and selling things on the side. We discussed the fact that maybe he has a fear of failure, or a fear of boredom. And even if he doesn’t have a plan for the future, he, at least, is fairly materialistic, and thus motivated by making more so he can at the very least pull his own weight.
Anyway, no doubt everyone is sick of my ongoing quarterlife crisis and self-indulgent posts. (It does end, right?) Promise I’ll lay off for a while.
It wasn’t that long ago that I had an unhealthy addiction to MSN Money. Specifically, the message boards. I never once posted a message, but boy did I stalk those threads. I’m nosey; I love to read about other people’s lives, and how to handle finances.
One thing that keeps cropping up is the theme of women as breadwinners. Women who make more money than their partners, who lack motivation, education, or a highflying job.
Everyone tends to immediately dismiss them as deadbeat husbands and advise GET A DIVORCE – but is there really something wrong with just wanting to work a 9-5 (or whatever) job and live the simple life?
I’m not talking about guys who obviously leech off their partners, I’m talking about relationships where the woman wants more from the man and often tries to push that onto him. She’s frustrated because he doesn’t want, in her eyes, to advance. Frustrated at the income gap, or at his inability to decide on the next move.
And you know what? THAT’S ME!!! I see myself in those posters, and it’s quite frightening.
Do you believe that everyone has a career path they were made for? I think I may have done once, but not anymore. I say this from what I’m observing with T, with myself and my friends who are working, studying or something in between.
I think I can honestly say that I don’t care if he has no true calling, if he just wants to do a bit of everything. As long as there’s some job security, and some stability. Once he pays off his debt and finishes building up an EF, I think I’d be content just chugging along with both of us making steady money (fingers crossed), living within our means, prioritising good food, travel, concerts and other experiences. And of course, saving for a house of our own once we’ve seen a bit more of the world.
And I say steady, because there’s nothing worse than trying to get by on an irregular income. That’s something we did, and are probably going to have to continue to do to an extent. T’s new company doesn’t have work for him this week, and although he’ll try to find a temp gig to fill in, there’s no guarantees.
I think this is the key to surviving as a freelancer: If single, ONE of your gigs has to pay regularly and if in a relationship, one of you must have a steady kind of job. The main source of income can cover bills and expenses, while the other stream/s go toward saving, or however you want to manage it – but there HAS to be a regular paycheck to keep you fed and clothed.
Bummer. Turns out I owe tax, even though I’m always careful to try and make sure my tax rates are correct throughout the year. Hopefully now I’m no longer receiving a student allowance, I’ll start getting refunds again.
Even worse, I never knew anything about it until I got a notice last week informing me my payment was OVERDUE! When I called the IRD, I was told a letter was sent out in July last year. Lord only knows why it never reached me. That’s $353 down the drain.
Then to add insult to injury, our useless head flatmate went from saying that our last week at the old place was all paid for (something he told me six months ago) to saying that everyone was in fact a few days BEHIND due to the dates we moved in.
I’m not even going to go into the ridiculous details. Either way, whether he deliberately lied to us for the entire time we lived there, or he just had an epic communication fail, I refused to go out of my way to accommodate his clusterfuck. I told him to take it out of our deposit. And trust me, he had PLENTY of opportunities to clarify this, had he bothered to.
(Don’t tell me that I should have been on top of all this, please. We moved right in the middle of my last semester, in a week when I was putting in double my hours at work. The deal was that I didn’t have to arrange anything or worry about anything. T and the guys were handling it all. For someone as jaded as I am, I should never have made the mistake of trusting someone else on this. My own fault. Still, at least I come out better off than if we’d stayed put and continued to let the heinous ex-flatmate suck me dry.)
It bugs me that the last few places we’ve moved out of have been on bad terms. And in most of the places I’ve lived with other people, things have started off so well and only deteriorated from there. Part of the problem is living with people our age. Why haven’t we tried to find a place with more mature flatmates, you ask? Well, most DON’T want to live with people in their early 20s, and you’d be amazed how many specify no students or shift workers. Not to mention that they also often price people like us out of the market. Maybe a single 30-something could comfortably afford $300 rent on their own a week to live in a nice townhouse, but we certainly couldn’t.
I’m not quite 22 and have been flatting for over four years. It feels like eternity, and I’m already over it! Living on our own is worth every cent, one-person kitchen or not.