• Windfall!

    BF called his company yesterday and got them to agree to pay his remaining annual leave out as well as four stat days (seeing as all the stats fell on weekdays in Dec, which are his normal working days). I’m surprised he didn’t have any grief about it; the new boss has been a wanker to him. I reckon two days’ worth of stats will carry us through two weeks until he starts getting paid (should be starting some work on Monday) the rest will go towards debt, and his holiday pay will be saved for, well, a HOLIDAY at some point. We deserve one 😛 I guess you could say the last couple of months have been his longest holiday ever, but to be fair sitting at home isn’t quite the same thing.

    It’s still a little strange having everything so up in the air..I don’t like it! It’s a weird feeling, not knowing for sure if you’ll be working or not. Obviously the last few weeks were different – we KNEW there was no way BF would have work, but it was okay, we budgeted and got through. He did have a week’s work in December so that helped us for a couple of weeks, and I did a ton of mystery shopping which brought in over $100.

    In the meantime, assuming everything goes okay, I’m keen to do something fun before heading back to uni. Originally we planned maybe taking a road trip one weekend – either up north or the Coromandel (haven’t really been to either, and want to!) but think we’ll leave it till the end of the year. And the less wear and tear on the poor car, the better. I’m really hoping the last year has taught BF to choose his next one wisely. It won’t be paid for for another couple years, so fingers crossed it lasts till then, and hopefully longer!

  • Car woes

    dcd8_12_gxuu

    Sometimes it all seems too overwhelming. Like we’ll never be debt free. Not having an EF in place (well there is, but it’s minuscule and only to be tapped in the most dire circumstances) means everytime the car needs something money must be borrowed.

    It’s kind of stupid how we combine our expenses. Both our individual incomings and outgoings during the year are vastly different but we share one account. I try to keep it as fair as I can, his money going to his expenses and mine to mine. I guess it works, sort of…

    I could pay for all of his car repair debt now (loan excepted), but there’s got to be limits. That’s too large a chunk of my savings. I didn’t want to bail him out this time, but everything needed paying so fast there wasn’t too much choice. So it’s on the Visa sitting pretty.

    Blardy cars.

    I don’t think anyone really gets how hard it can be. If you have nothing to fall back on, have a car (presumably a cheap one) and don’t live at home, you’re almost certain to fall into debt for any myriad of reasons.

    But looking to the future 🙂 Given we’re almost surviving on one income now, there’s no reason we can’t once I graduate. There’d be less debt to service and I’d be making a full time wage. I’m positive we could live off close to one paycheck (wouldn’t be that hard) and sock the rest away into savings. Then we’d be able to travel pretty soon!

    But I don’t like to make plans too far in advance. Unhatched eggs and all that.

  • Eating Healthy

    I’ve come to realise that it’s really hard to eat well on a budget. I mentioned this a while ago, that I’ve stopped going to Revive because as healthful and tasty as it is, it just doesn’t do the job in terms of filling me up. I’m small, I hover at around 50kgs. But I eat A LOT. I really need food to function; when I’m hungry I feel faint and sick and take it out on everyone around me. So it’s in my best interests to stay fed and full. I don’t know why I get so hungry…it’s not like I even work out or do much physical labour (apart from all that bloody house cleaning), nor is my job super stressful or mentally taxing. I guess I just have a high metabolism.

    We don’t tend to eat much in the way of fruit / veg. I don’t actually like many fruits, something I need to work on. I like berries and melons, bananas, mandarins and sometimes apples. I don’t like tropical fruits, which I’m hoping to change! I’ll eat fruit salad occasionally. And we don’t eat many vegetables, because like I said, they are expensive and don’t fill you up. Sure a cucumber can be a dollar in summer, and goes nicely in salads but how far does it go? Capsicums are one of our favourites but they can hit $3 a piece. I used to buy bagged salad greens for sandwiches but found they got soggy within a couple of days. (With our new fridge, maybe it’s safe to start getting them again.)

    We need to learn how to cook vegetables again. Now it’s summer we can probably let that slide and just collect a ton of salad recipes, but with vegetables it’s really important to plan meals. I know jack about cooking vegetables, apart from dumping them in a stirfry, or roasting them or making potato salad. Oh and my fave, fried cabbage and onions. But that’s pretty limited, and often we just don’t know what to do with greens so we leave them be. And all too often we buy them meaning well, but find them wilted and rotten in the fridge at the end of the week.

    This week we did a pretty comprehensive plan which, amazingly, contained some vegetable components! Last night we had a yoghurt, tomato, cucumber and red onion salad. We’ve been getting sick of eating the same old food every week, so we tried to mix it up this week. Our plan looked pretty gourmet compared to what we’ve been eating. Unfortunately, although our taste buds benefited, our wallets didn’t. Each meal contained more than two or three ingredients, so it cost a lot more when we went to the supermarket. Our first meal included meat and a salad – so once we included all the different veges, there were six or seven separate things to buy! All those little things added up (even natural yoghurt!). But I’m happy with that, in moderation…dinners are much more fun, and if we can add a few greens in there a few times a week, all the better.

    If no one still believes that it’s PRICEY to eat healthy, check out http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/health/nutrition/04well.html and http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com; I followed it for awhile and it’s really eyeopening.

  • Nearly paid off!

    I cannot wait to have my bed paid off! For someone who seems to be financially sussed, more or less, this was my worst decision ever. It’s on an outrageous interest rate, and they keep sending me ‘offers’ in the mail (which funnily enough have increased exponentially in the leadup to Christmas…suspect??!) It’s a total waste. They are colour printed cards, wrapped in plastic….much like the insane packaging on PR products sent in at work, I can’t stand to think much is wasted for the sake of marketing.

    I should probably ring and opt out, but it’s too much trouble…only a couple of months to go, and come to think of it I haven’t had anything from them for a few weeks. No mailers telling me I’m preapproved for a laptop for 4 years at 20 a week.What a privilege! The boy spotted one of them once, a flash phone caught his eye and so did the $20 a month payment. I had to admit it was a pretty good price, too, which I didn’t like to admit. Until we saw it wasn’t actually a monthly payment…it was weekly. Ouch.

  • Hurrah for work benefits!

    I’m ecstatic!

    Got a cheque today for $390 for my glasses from work. They cost me 474, which means they were virtualy free…..relatively! They cost me less than $100 out of pocket, which is basically free.
    Not sure why they cut me a cheque rather than just direct depositing it…it’s not like they don’t have my details.

    I still can’t quite believe I got reimbursed at all….let alone to such a large percentage (I’m sure I read there was a $150 limit somewhere…

    So I’m gonna use $100 to pay our water bill, $30 for my Christmas present (finally decided to splash out and get me that awesome makeupcase….$30 from almost $200. I waited a bit long, there was a pink version for $20 earlier, but whatever). Then the rest goes into savings, as it’s looking pretty low. After the almost $500 I paid for my glasses, plus $350 for the boy’s present, and the $400 I lent him for clutch repairs, and I haven’t been paid yet for my four freelance articles…….

    As if I needed a reason to love my company right now..
    And this is why I want to be in a job with great benefits. As my mum says it’s better to start out in a large business, get contacts, get experience, get benefits, progress up the ladder, then later on move to a smaller more intimate place where you can really shine with your invaluable experience in a smaller team.

    If teh boy ends up officially resigning from his non-job he’ll lose his free health insurance, so I will probably go see the Southern Cross rep at work (she comes in once a month) and see about getting coverage through work. If it’s reasonable then I would probably go with that. (But first, gotta sort contents insurance, which I’ll probably do after the new year now.) If it’s cheap, say a few bucks a week (I have NO IDEA how much basic coverage might cost, so talking out my arse here) I’d jump on it. Not so much for me, but the boy, who’s much more prone to injury at work, has a bad back and may need dental work soon. It’s a great thing to have if possible, as big medical bills aren’t something we can afford right now.

  • Displeasure……warning, rant!

    So Bollard’s called for electricity providers, among other companies, to drop their prices.

    Not likely! We just had our power prices increase last month and I don’t see our company reversing that right now.

    The boy’s car loan rocketed 2% in the course of a few months as interest rates bounced around. Now that the OCR’s fallen to 5%, there’s been absolutely no decrease in his interest rate (I think it was around 7.5 when he first took it out).

    coin

    I’m not impressed with Vodafone. If we had any other options other than Telecom, Id be changing in a jiffy. Not only are they charging to send out paper statements (doesn’t apply; we’re on prepay), they’re charging $1 just to speak to a human CSR. Ha! What a joke. Everyone knows it’s damn near impossible to even get through to a person, let alone charge us for it! You can call their service line on 0800 from a land line phone, but wait – you still need to have that $1 on your cell phone.

    Of course that doesn’t really work when they f* up and don’t roll your Text 2000 over, resulting in you having zero credit because it all went to texting that should have only cost you $10. So when you ring to complain, you’re stuffed, because you can’t afford to speak to them!!!

    And no, topping up is not an option. Don’t even go there. Times are tough, it’s hard enough to top up once a month, let alone any more than that.

    You’ve also just gotta love how they now have $5 IOUs….but charge a 20c fee everytime you use it.
    Now if that doesn’t get your goat what does?

    Now that banks have started charging for basic automated services – how ASB kindly offers to save your bill payee’s info for next time, for a $2 fee – looks like everyone else will be too.

    Come on telecomms competition!

  • Cutting back

    groceries-5_6

    We’ve trimmed so much from our budget that I really don’t think there is anything left. I bring all my own lunches. Trying to make toilet paper and laundry powder last longer, but that’s difficult with three boys (especially as though they don’t do laundry often, but they do heap up the detergent in their loads). I still unfortunately do most of the cleaning and buy all the household type stuff. I don’t foresee that changing until we move or get new flatmates.

    We’re really watching our food budget – can’t do too much as we don’t buy expensive meat or anything; I won’t resort to living off beans, noodles and toast. Not only is it reeeally unhealthy, it won’t help your body function, and I like to enjoy what I eat. That’s important to both of us. We keep our eating out to $10 or less now, I don’t go out, and we basically never buy alcohol (once every couple months probably – although we were naughty and last week was one of those rare times).

    On that note, I really resent having to buy toiletries! You know what I mean, Razors, shaving cream, shampoo, tampons, etc. Last week I bought vitamins (because I definitely need them) and that boosted our bill by almost $10. And of course there’s detergent, washing powder, carpet cleaner, Jif, sponges, toilet paper, etc, etc….it all adds up.

  • Hmm

    Waiting to hear back about poss work for the boy…

    Really hoping that works out. Getting back to work should keep him out of trouble and being occupied will do wonders for him, not to mention the money! If all this hadn’t happened, he wouldn’t now have $550 to pay off…..Don’t do frickin favours for loser friends who don’t do anything for you! See what happens when you do them a favour and drive a bunch of people somewhere because ALL of them have lost their licences….THEN get slammed because you’re not allowed passengers, AND you’re in their car which has a side light out, AND the losers won’t pay for the ticket, even though it’s their car and their fault the light doesn’t work, because they DON’T HAVE MONEY and presumably never will.

  • sunday wrapup

    I’ve been keeping my price book for three months now. The original idea was to try and track sale cycles so I’d know roughly when items were at rock bottom and when to stock up. Because we split our shopping quite evenly between PnS and CD though this doesn’t really work so well. Plus it’s not like we buy the exact same stuff every week. we mix it up you know? I’m thinking I might just start noting down important specials every week (maybe snap a photo or make a note) if I don’t actually buy them and just enter them into my book.

    Although that aspect hasn’t really worked out, I HAVE steadily noticed the sneaking, creeping price increases. Raro went up eight cents this week! Why?! It’s like sugar and flavour. Honestly. And you consider that most items have increased that much, if not more, and it’s no surprise that grocery bills are still soaring.

    But today we got a new fridge! It has a red cover on the front. An actual vege bin. It’s clean. Has new seals. Small freezer but lots of fridge space. I love it!

    Cleaning out after moving the old POS was a hearty mission. Those roaches? Had a nest below on the floor. Euuugh, I shudder just remembering it. All kinds of dirt stuck to the floor and a piece of paper practically glued down. Took a good 20mins and a LOT of bleach, but we got that fucker of afloor clean. This fridge is, I think, smaller in size and will no doubt be a lot easier to keep tidy. No one wanted to clean the old one. It was leaky, icy and just nasty icky. This one, well dirt will be instantly obvious. It won’t rust onto the floor. And hopefully the insane amount of boric acid I laid down will make sure we never get roaches again.

    Anywho, I’m sunburnt, my hands are bone dry and I keep reapplying handcream, and I have work tomorrow. Hurray!

  • Sim card error

    Sim card error – three words that strike fear into my heart. This usually comes after my phone takes a slide off my lap and into the middle aisle of the bus, landing with a sickening thwack.
    So far it has revived, every time, after being turned off and back on….but one day surely i won’t be so lucky. And I’m not looking forward to that day! i don’t want a new phone! i’m extremely attached to my gx17. it is lacking in many departments such as camera quality, but i hardly ever use that. it has minimal features, compared to the superphones of today. but its sturdy, pretty and easy to use. it’s lasted me three years and im not willing to fork out hundreds for a new one, esp as almost all phones these days are butt ugly. i have to admit i’d love a phone that did everything – and i mean absolutely everything, because i’d use it as an organiser – but imagine how lost i’d be if i ever lost or broke that phone.

    In other things…we have precisely enough this week for groceries. So gas, lunches and any incidentals will send us into the red. Woohooo…..

    OTOH I worked almost 50 hours this week (and may do more tomorrow if I feel up to it) so next paycheck will be nice and fat, comparatively. And man did I work hard for it! I’m hoping IT don’t monitor our usage too closely, beause I must have downloaded over 100mb of stuff today trying to get that java problem fixed. And I did (and it’s cemented why I will never get a mac). I’ve been leaving late this week, 5.30, every day, and it sucks.

    All the staff on level 4 work 8.3 to 5.30; I guess I might be expected to do the same, although it’s never been voiced. I’ve just been coming in 9-5 as I would do on my days downstairs. But this week it just got too much for me…I felt guilty andlazy and slack for taking off at 5 everyday. Hence my staying till 5.30. And yet I’m still the first to leave! God knows how long people actually do stay at work. 9.5 hours? 10? I never want to have to do that, especially on a salary. I see how stressed some of them get too, and I pray I’ll never be like that. I’d rather have a less prestigious, less well paid job and have some balance in my life.