November 2010 archive
Okay, so New Car brings with it New Insurance Costs.
If you’re just tuning in, this wasn’t a case of lifestyle creep; it was a case of knowing when to let go of the last in a string of beaters, and upgrading in the hopes of getting something more reliable and efficient with a bigger initial outlay. (Also, you may recall that every single one of our other cars died before we got the chance to replace them. I figured we should try and beat that this time around.) I’d never call a car an investment, but the idea is we are investing in terms of, theoretically, coming out ahead by reducing the cost and headache of ongoing maintenance and repairs. Our $1500 hatch was a steal (I’ve got a nostalgic post brewing) but the constant upkeep…ouch.
Nicer cars also mean higher insurance premiums. According to this Liz Pulliam article on MSN Money, 10 per cent is the most you should pay for full coverage.
Problem: That doesn’t work for us. Full cover is about $1200 annually – way more than 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, third party, fire and theft cover is only $500 (it was $300 on our old car).
That’s a difference of $700, or just over double. And yet, is that really all that much extra for total peace of mind? I don’t mind a few dings and scratches, but what I am afraid of is a total wreck. After all, you can’t control the actions of others, and it’s not inconceivable that it could be totalled through no fault of our own. That would mean putting away $23 a week for insurance, as opposed to $6.
In the worst case, I could afford to replace it, even now…but that would put a massive dent in my savings.
So, it’s a gamble. Pay that $700 (our excess payable on claims is $500, by the way), or attempt to self-insure? It wasn’t even an option previously; none of our cars were ever worth the cost of full cover. Not even debatable.
But this is a car we want – need, even – to last years.
What would you do?
Tags: cars, money
The same model, courtesy of a Google search
You know what they say…the best laid plans of mice and men…
But circumstances forced our hand. Our old car had its registration paid up till March, which I was loath to give up, but the $100 or so was a lot less than what it would have cost to get it up to warrantable standard – and we didn’t want to go through the expense and hassle of getting the damn thing fixed, especially since we were planning for a possible replacement so soon. This really was the tipping point – know when to cut your losses. Urgency arrived in the form of a cop who pulled T over on his way to work one morning for not having any rear lights, and warned him that the next time he wouldn’t get away with it.
We’d had a few cars on our watchlist, but in the end we only ended up seeing and test driving one. Result? We basically have the same car – a Familia – but in a five door wagon not a three door hatch, and nearly a decade younger. Guys, we’re talking 1998 – at only 12 years old it is by far the newest car we’ve ever owned! It’s also the most solid – that’s something you can definitely feel about it.
You know what else this means (especially in a wagon)? Yay road trips! (This solves the question of whether we’ll drive or rent a campervan when we do the South Island). And I’ll be able to help ease the driving load. (Ironically, I’d finally come around to the idea of getting a manual – better odds of gearbox not crapping out, and finally learning to drive manual in a decent car – but it wasn’t to be.)
Actually, I’m not so sure about those long trips; BF has already filled up the boot with a sound system (sigh) which means even groceries go in the backseat. Careful shopping plus his work discount meant we got a lot of bang for our buck; still, it was difficult for me to bite my tongue. $600 on car audio???!!! But it’s his money and if that’s what he gets pleasure out of, fine.
And the main thing is, we came in under the $5000 budget, sounds excluded, even after buying and getting an alarm and immobiliser installed.
The one spanner in the works: insurance. Apparently this model/year is a high theft risk. And that sets the stage for the next post: the insurance dilemma…
Tags: cars, money
Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island. Image via Wikipedia
You may have seen it trending on Twitter. #PikeRiver. It’s rare an event from little old New Zealand achieves such a feat. We tried it on the night the final of Outrageous Fortune screened. Unfortunately, we never decided what the official term should be, and tweets fractured into #outrageous, #OF, #outrageousfortune and more.
But this was different. It really is a national tragedy.
You may have heard about it. You may not. Essentially, 29 men – one as young as 17 on his first day, one who’d finished for the day but decided to log some overtime, men with children and wives and families – were trapped underground following an explosion in the coal mine last Friday. Odds are they died right away, but if not, then the second blast on Wednesday would have. It’s a story that’s gripped the country for over a week, everyone holding their breath to see if by some miracle those men might, like the Chilean miners, emerge alive.
Someone – a random Tweeter from abroad – jumped into the stream on the day the second “unsurvivable” blast occurred. “Where the fuck is Pike River?” she asked. Oh, the responses she got. She quickly backtracked and voiced her sorrow for the tragedy.
CNN, the BBC, al Jazeera and many more global outlets ran with the story. The blast at the Pike River coal mine in Greymouth didn’t just take Kiwis, there were Aussies, Scots, South Africans.
Now I have a question for you. When a disaster like this strikes, what do you want to read about? Do you want to know about the men who died? What they were like? Who did they leave behind? In short, their life stories, in celebration and remembrance?
If not, what do you want to see the media cover? Do you just want the dry facts? What caused the blast? What inquiries will be held? When the funerals are?
I won’t ask you whether you think media should back off and leave grieving families alone – I already know the answer. I’m just grateful I’m not one of the journalists on the ground tasked with that painful job. (Because that’s what they’re doing – their job, like it or not.) So let’s not veer off onto that topic. I’m only interested in finding out what kind of coverage you are interested in. If the process of obtaining that information requires inappropriate or intrusive action, well…
I’m sure your answers will give plenty of food for thought. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this tweet:
* @fiatracer So many twitter hypocrites attacking media for getting in there, while desperately consuming the news they report. Get over it #pikeriver
* and this blog post from a journalist who covered the disaster.
“Covering a story like Greymouth is all about the faces. Those average, normal people being torn apart by fate.
It could be any of us at any time.
As a journalist you do your best to cover the event with as much compassion as you can and try to do your little bit to help if you can. To bring a smile, a hug, a kind word.
When the worst happens your heart breaks for them. Their anguish, their anger, their tears.
They say you have to remain dispassionate when covering events like Greymouth. You do your best but you’re only human.”
Tags: media, news
This post from Geek in Heels made me laugh. Hey, I’ll be the first one to agree that yes, Asians all look alike, and I’ll only be partially joking.
One of the reasons I dislike watching martial arts movies is when all the actors are Asian, I literally cannot tell them apart. (It might be easier at the cinema on a proper theatre sized-screen, but those aren’t the kinds of films I feel the need to pay $15 to see.)
I already have a terrible memory for faces. This has led to many an awkward moment in the past, let me tell you. This is only exaggerated when all those faces share the same eye colour, hair colour and, often, general bone structure. May I just say how unfair it is that Caucasians enjoy so much variety? Red, blonde, brown hair…blue, green, grey, hazel, brown eyes…But I digress
Straight up. I’m Asian and I am an embarrassment to my race. But in my defence, I can sometimes tell which country someone is from. I have nothing on the pros, though.
But there are plenty of other links that caught my eye this week…
We often assume working a 40-hour week is the only way. But is it? This post from Dinks Finance offers an insight into another way of living.
At Dollars and Deadlines, what freelances can learn from a side job at Trader Joe’s.
Check out Aloysa’s post Stop Being Frugal and Get a Life for a laugh!
Jackie at Money Crush saved some serious coin by simply saying “no” (yet still, in the end, making a purchase).
Little House on the three kinds of savings accounts everyone should have.
Parenting really IS fraught with minefields. What does one do when their child progresses faster or slower than his or her peers? Nicole and Maggie have come up with a diplomatic answer.
Stephany’s doing a Christmas card exchange! (I won’t burden her with international postage, but sign up here if you’re keen.)
How often do you actually put yourself first? DC Princess reminds why it’s important to be selfish from time to time.
It’s a scary thought: the possible dawn of social media castes. Where would you fall on the scale?
Small Budget Big Style lists her favourite books of 2010.
Food blogs were all over Thanksgiving this week. But a) it’s over now and b) I don’t even really like pumpkin. So pickings were slim…
So last week I said no way was I going to attempt a baked cheesecake, but a four-ingredient one? Hells yeah! Minimalist cooking win.
Maybe your S.O. loves pork buns as much as I do. Why not try making them at home?
Cooking when you’re really broke sucks. Here are some tips to ease that pain and stretch the dollar.
Sunchokes. What? Nevermind, this German salad looks interesting and all the other ingredients are pretty basic.
Following on from yesterday’s slightly Grinch-esque ramblings on Christmas, here’s a slightly more cheery thought.
What are you angling for this year? A new barstool for your kitchen? A Rachael Ray cast iron cookset? Perhaps an ergonomic trike for your little tyke, or new luggage for a round-the-world trip?
Just call me your fairy godmother, at least if you’re in the UK, Germany or North America. Cause I’ve got a little something up my sleeve for ya.
The lovely team at CSN Stores have offered me another $60 gift code to give away. It can be converted into Pounds or Euros as needed (see previous paragraph). I don’t care what you do with it. Spend it on yourself. Spend it on someone else. The choice is yours.
Entries got a little crazed last time round, so let’s keep it relatively simple.
There are two ways to enter:
Comment - tell me what you want to see under the tree, if you’re buying into the whole tree thing, that is;
Like me – that’s right, on my brand new Facebook page!
(If I reach 25 fans, I can throw off that unwieldy URL and get a custom username. Just saying.)
Entries close at noon – NZ time – on December 5. I’ll draw a winner randomly and CSN will be in touch with your unique code. Good luck!
Image via Wikipedia
So, it’s Christmas. In a month. How did that creep up on me?
Some people LOVE the festivities. The tree. The trimmings. The presents. The ham. The terrible, terrible seasonal jingles that shops like Bond and Bond have been playing for weeks already, which I can hear from all the way across the road.
My family barely celebrated birthdays, let alone Christmas, so I’m a bit jaded about the whole thing. Excuse me.
(I do, however, have ‘celebrate a white Christmas’ on my life list. It seems ridiculous to me that all the Christmas cards for sale here are of the snow variety – they must come from the Northern Hemisphere. December 25 here is prime barbecue, beach time.)
I’m actually happy to be working Christmas Day; I had it off last year, so that was my family-gathering fix for the decade. The year before I went in to the office for half a day and powered through all my work in doubletime. (Maybe that’s a bit harsh. But certainly, alternating years provides me with more than enough whanau time. If it’s not blindingly obvious, I love my relatives, but we’re not all that close.)
Working Christmas means, well, probably plenty of blog surfing, double (or triple, I can’t remember) pay, and minimal forced conversation. Hey, when you’re young and childless, there’s no better day of the year to milk the benefits. Hopefully I’ll be able to stop by for some of T’s mum’s famous potato salad first, or if not, he’ll bring me home a plate.
Bonus: Technically, I can get away with not buying presents for my side. Or at least, not for the extended family, which consists of my aunt, her husband and two sons.
That leaves us with three “groups” to shop for: my immediate family (parents and brother); T’s mother and co (including the two younger brothers) and his sister’s family (two adults, four kids). At least, that’s how I’ve mocked it up in my mind. When I asked him to kindly compile a list of who we needed to purchase gifts for, he stared at me for a moment before saying: “Me. That’s all I care about.” And no, I don’t know what I’ll get him – possibly an Xbox game, or a GPS. Or a golf club, but I’m not willing to pay for the kind of driver he’s got an eye on.
At worst, we’ll buy three lots of gift vouchers and they can all go shopping on Boxing Day.
Have you started gift shopping yet? Do you save up all year for Christmas, or are your obligations small enough (like ours) that you can work it into the December budget?
Image by mikebaird via Flickr
When I first decided it was time to knock my wheezing body into shape, pounding the pavement seemed the most logical move.
I stopped taking PE, well, as soon as I was allowed to. Year 11, I believe, was the last year I did. Like all the other nerds in the accelerated stream, I took seven classes instead of six, opting to take an early-morning PE class which I hardly ever showed up to – dragging my ass out of bed in time to catch the 7.45 bus? If only. My laziness, by the way, led to me losing out on the easiest credits ever: the attendance credits. Pretty shameful.
Although I still did tons of walking – up to an hour a day – I started to languish, physically. Nobody would ever have made the mistake of calling me sporty, or even coordinated, but I’d been reasonably fit up until then. I was almost always the last girl left standing in the beep test in PE class (12 or 13 I think was my maximum); I was a semi-decent sprinter and usually made the top 10 (females) in the annual cross-country run – although given how seriously some of the girls took it, that isn’t saying very much.
To put it bluntly: There just aren’t that many sports that I like. I hate netball with a passion; in any given school you can count the number of girls who don’t play Saturday morning netball on one hand, and that was me. (T reckons that’s why I have a good basketball shooting style; I don’t have years of netball training behind me). Cricket, ugh. Hockey, worse. Like a good Asian, I like badminton, but hate the scoring system. Tennis is also good fun, although I am slightly scarred from years of thrashings by far superior players from other schools. Tell you what though, if anyone actually played touch beyond primary school, I’d be the first to sign up.
As for gyms? They appeal to me about as much as tofu or a Brazilian wax. Rooms where everyone goes to, er, sweat? No thanks. Even when I had access to a free gym, I never went. I detest exercising around others – yes, I know they’re busy focusing on their own workouts and aren’t watching me – but it’s a HUGE mental block. And call me picky, but there just aren’t any machines I like using!
Running suits me – it’s perfect for loners, you go at your own speed, you breathe fresh air and feel the sun on your face…and all you need is your shoes. (I used to run barefoot in school, but that was when we had nice soft fields; it’s a lot less comfortable on hot pavement.) Unlike many, I don’t get bored. Where I live, there are tons of fabulous houses to gawp at, for one (or the picturesque, sprawling grounds of Cornwall Park). For another, there’s also lots of slopes in the mix. Getting into a good breathing pattern takes me a while at first, and by the time I settle in, I’ve usually got a hill to throw me off. I hate treadmills with a passion! Outdoors is the only way to go. When I want to give in, I set myself milestones: just past that tree. To the corner. Up to the next traffic light. It’s a constant challenge.
And that’s pretty much my workout – one long run on a day off and a couple shorter ones in the morning before work, with a few crunches and tricep squats (er, I don’t know the proper term for them!) thrown in.
Which camp are you in – gym or anti-gym? Love or loathe running?
Tags: exercise, fitness, reflections, running
I’d like to think that as both a woman and an ethnic minority, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve never experienced sexual harassment and I haven’t experienced any discernible discrimination in my career.
Granted, I graduated less than a year ago; this is really only the beginning for me. I’m 22, working in a sub-editing role in online media; although I’ve only held my title since earlier this year, I’ve worked in the biz in one way or another for 3-plus years. Heck, if you count all the unpaid writing I did for various websites throughout high school, we could take it back to 2002! Oh, and although you probably know this already, entry level starts from $30k (perhaps not so much in Auckland, but certainly in smaller towns).
Unlike, say, engineering or IT, media/publishing is pretty evenly split gender-wise. Going into third year journalism, it was definitely female heavy, but balanced out by a large proportion of post-grad male students (we shared virtually all our classes).
As women, do we have any advantages in the field? Perhaps some people may be more inclined to talk to young, pretty things. I can imagine it might be a plus in a situation like a doorknock (after a death); we’re often perceived as being more sensitive, less threatening, less hard-talking.
I’ve certainly noticed a dearth of females in more senior and management roles. The exception would probably be more on the magazine side (especially in lifestyle/fashion titles, obviously). No surprise there really; it’s a workforce-wide issue. This isn’t a 9-5 job – unless you’re a business writer, maybe – and not super-conducive to work-life balance.
One thing that’s always bugged me is that a friend of mine, whom I got a job here, was hired about six months after me at a higher rate. I got a raise and promotion earlier this year, and again, six months later, the same happened for him – again at a higher rate. Now, I’m not talking huge amounts…more like 50c-$1 per hour. But I’d really like to know if this is a matter of timing, or if this actually was a case of gender discrimination at play.
TV is a bit of a different beast. It doesn’t take much to realise that much like in Hollywood, age is definitely a barrier for women in TV news. (As for ethnicity, we won’t even venture there). Ex-journalist Janet Wilson caused a bit of a furore earlier this year when she blogged on the matter, accusing female telly reporters of being “all tits and teeth” while, looks and age aren’t, perhaps, so much factors for men.
But from my limited experience and observations, I don’t feel there’s any inherent bias against women in publishing. It’s about working your connections. It’s about tenacity. It’s about dedication. This is perhaps where some females (like myself) might struggle a bit; you need to be pushy sometimes, there’s no room for shame or shyness. Ultimately, your success will come down to your personality and how much you’re willing to put into your work.
How about you? Have you been a victim of discrimination; are you forced to work harder to prove yourself or is your industry pretty darn egalitarian? Share your experiences in the comments.
“If I were a Boy” Carnival
This post is part of a series of bloggers sharing their candid experiences or observations about women in the workplace which is not at all meant to be a male-bashing expedition whatsoever.
Please head over to these other wonderful bloggers and read about their experiences.
Tags: career, work
I’m lucky to generally get away with 40 hour weeks. But every so often, all hell breaks loose. Like this week. I really have nothing more to say, except that salmon pizza is a bad idea. (Pizza – the go-to communal food when there’s a hungry office in need of feeding.) And that I’m not actually sure that overtime is going to be worth the money.
Punch Debt calls for suggestions on what to do in San Fran while Amanda shares some highlights from her trip there.
Looks like the horrid Cooks Source saga continues. Being Ruth has the latest…
Remember all those horrible “forward this email to 100 people or you will be cursed and die” chains? Deb Ng reflects on how social media changed all that.
Do you read blogs in other languages? Everyday Minimalist explains how to translate them in Google Reader.
Small Steps for Big Change goes undercover to learn more about the essay-for-sale industry.
Ashley at Sound of Silent posted a video of her flute rendition of the Harry Potter theme song. Seriously rad.
From Yes and Yes, Sarah recounts some culturally awkward moments on the road.
And Backpacking Journalist has the headsup on eight travel scams you need to know.
Jenny at Dinner: A Love Story shares a simple stuffing recipe for beginners.
Mushrooms, cheese and pie – some of my favourite things. Closet Cooking whips up a feta phyllo.
I’m going to stick to my no-bake cheesecake, but if you’re a more accomplished cook than me, then PLEASE make Rina’s cafe au lait cheesecake and tell me about it. (I might try out her tips for making a lattice crust, though)
Do you think of saving as getting in the way of your spending, or vice versa? Hithat’smybike argues that wealth is something you buy on layaway.
Hannah Katy (who’s spending a year volunteering straight out of uni) falls victim to a pickpocket, and reflects on money as a dreamer in a capitalist world.
Meanwhile, Minting Nickels’ Lindy looks back on what she did with money in her 20s.
Leslie at 27 and Frugal on investing in yourself and why she chose to have a certain procedure done years ago (I guessed right!)
Financial Samurai reflects on the early choices he made in his career and wonders what might have been.
From Social Diary, some hilarious anecdotes on how to lose a job in PR.
Anne Wayman answers some questions for Carol Tice on making a go of ghostwriting.
An inspiring interview with Colleen, who hit a bump early on in her career but made the most of the situation.
And finally from Get Rich Slowly: some tips on minimising online distractions.
Image via Wikipedia
Him: “Vietnamese? But…but all the times we’ve gone out to eat recently have been Asian!”
Me: “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”
We can go to a steakhouse. We can go to a pub (but we can easily make that stuff ourselves, or buy takeaway versions for much cheaper). Or we can go to a proper fine-dining restaurant, except that’s way out of our price range. We can do Chinese/Thai/Indian/Vietnamese etc for $20-30 for the two of us; that wouldn’t even get you one meal at a European restaurant. (Or as we, the ever PC interracial couple like to refer to it, “white-people food”.) Also, I’d rather eat ethnic than Euro on any given day, no contest. But I understand not everyone feels the same.
Well Heeled once blogged about the ‘restaurant hierarchy‘ and how ‘ethnic’ cuisines are generally placed at lower price points. The same rings true here; Spanish, Mediterranean, French, or haute cuisine – I’ve never eaten out at such places, and probably won’t be doing so anytime soon. While there are certainly pricier Chinese establishments, for example, they aren’t afforded the same prestige as, say, SPQR.
(Oh, and we ended up going to Hansan Vietnamese anyway. And we both loved the food. The $10 meals were just the seasoning over the soup.)
What’s your favourite/go-to cuisine when eating out? Do you get much choice in the area where you live?