• A little bit of a PF rant

    Not everyone is smart about money. I get that.

    BF comes from a financially illiterate family. Draw from that conclusions what you will. I find it frustrating to hear him say “Oh, ______ got a flash new TV!” But of course, that flash new TV is on hire purchase at an exorbitant rate. Saving up for things is unheard of, even scorned, for the most part.

    I’m trying to teach him differently. I doubt he’ll ever be able to handle credit responsibly, at least not for a long time. He’s a cash-only kind of person. I’ve also managed to scrape together a small EF for him, which I’m willing to bet is more than anyone in his family could say the same of.

    I would never, ever dream of deliberately having a child and going on welfare. If I was going to have a child, I would have a plan in place. And yes, I know accidents happen. If an accident happened when I was more established in life, I suppose that might be work-round-able. But right now? No way. No possible way. I would condemn anyone who brought a baby into the world, barely able to make ends meet themselves, with no established career or fallback, and I certainly wouldn’t do it myself.

    BF says things that I really don’t like sometimes. I know he doesn’t actually mean them, especially when we’re both on the downers, but still. For example, we were discussing the above situation; he said something along the lines of “oh, that would be okay, I’d just get a crap job, you’d get money for the kid, etc”.

    That’s just unfathomable to me. A life of always struggling, always worrying, never having enough, always being at the bottom of the ladder. I hate that he can even say something like that – I know he wants much, much better for us in our lives. So it frustrates me when he comes out with lines like that.

    The middle brother of his family has just moved out on his own, with the one car the family had. Originally he had a scooter, but he ended up taking the car and driving to and from work every day. Now the car is with him, the scooter left behind with the family, who now have to rely on others to help get them around.

    That totally bewilders me. I mean, I don’t have kids. I don’t know what it’s like. But to send off a kid, working full time with a pretty decent income, with the car, putting yourself in a really difficult situation? And the kid, to take it? It’s not like he can’t afford to buy his own.

    I said that to BF. I pointed out that obviously Brother is capable of saving; he went to Aussie for Christmas after a few months of socking money away. BF gently said that he knew him much better than me, and that he would have only saved exactly as much as his mum told him to, and not a cent more (and then blew a whole lot more $ while over there).

    Gah. People frustrate me. I hope I can impart better to my kids. I don’t know how yet, but at least I have plenty of time to figure that out.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • I need to take a chill pill

    Or at least that’s the conclusion I’ve reached.

    What’s that saying: God give me the grace to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to do both?

    Last night BF and I had a major clash. Well, I don’t know what to call it. It wasn’t a fight. I can’t fight. I don’t do fights. Well, I do in the sense that I sometimes get snippy and short, like last night, and snap at him. But that was just the beginning.

    I’ve been under heaps of stress, mainly financial, plus all the house issues – no hot water, getting the windows fixed (THREE TIMES now glaziers have been meant to come and it hasn’t happened! Apparently the guy today came but left because he thought no one was home – he’s returning on Monday. Neither BF or I are home, so we have to rely on our flatmates for this), the car, and now our toilet flush is broken. I swear. When does it end???

    Then it all kind of blew up.

    I know I’ve been neglecting BF, and just trying to keep us fed, clothed, paying our bills and ticking along. I realise that the last few months haven’t been easy on BF either, but I haven’t really tried to get him to talk about it or anything.

    I’ve been unable to really see past myself and all our immediate practical problems. I knew I was being selfish, but I couldn’t seem to help myself.

    I think I’m much more “male” in that sense. I can’t voice my feelings, I get confused about what they are, I don’t like talking about them.

    He really made me realise how absorbed I’ve become with personal finance and money, and not in a good way. Although I’m not quite in agreement with his sentiment (“Even if I knew we’d be living out of a car when we’re 60, I wouldn’t care as long as we’re together”) I think he’s right. I need to back off.

    Maybe if we’re more on track by the end of year, we can still go on a short holiday. If we could manage to pay for say 80% in cash and knew we could pay the rest off quickly, maybe that wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    Every cell in my body is screaming NOOOO! But it’s true, I need more balance. BF pointed out I never spend anything on myself.  No, it would not be the end of the world if I went into a little debt this year because it’s my last year as a student. And it may yet happen whether I like it or not. And, as a student with good credit, I can get interest free overdrafts.It’s not that I am opposed to debt; I’m opposed to bad, stupid debt. But it’s about finding balance, and if debt is necessary, ensuring it is at a serviceable level. That’s what I need to get into his head, especially given the economy.

  • Am I too controlling?

    Sometimes I can’t help but wonder. I take care of all our cashflow (I would say I’ve taken over, but since day one it’s been me at the helm. BF started working randomly after a stint of doing nothing back in our early days together, and needed to put down a bank account on his paperwork in order to get paid. He didn’t have one of his own, and since we were about to move in together…it was all very hectic; I don’t remember much about that time). I make our spending decisions generally, and I’m the one who does what little planning we do about meals and food and stuff. His allowance is his own, but not working = no spending money. Occasionally stuff he wants to do is really expensive (ie concert tickets) and doesn’t happen; one day hopefully I can get him to learn to put aside for things like that, once things stabilise.

    Tonight he was hungry and asked if he could have the tuna in the pantry. It was one of those things I chucked in the trolley thinking it would make lunch at some point during the week, but it’s already Wednesday night and we probably won’t need it. So right now he’s eating tuna and crackers, happy as larry.

    But then I felt bad that he felt the need to ask. I mean, if he hadn’t, it wouldn’t have been a huge deal. If it had been something that was really VITAL to my food plan I would have been upset, and I guess that’s why he checks in on things like that. With snack foods? Not so much. He goes right ahead and chows down, usually within 24 hours of having bought them. Sometimes I don’t even get a lookin.

  • Random but nice – got a text from a girl who shares one or two of my classes. I’m assuming she got my number off the journo students database. She apologised for not giving me her number sooner (!!) and was like, let’s keep in touch!

    Fair enough. I sorta get the feeling it’s a solidarity thing, like, we were both born in the same country etc. One that I really don’t have ties to, and haven’t been back to in years, but still it’s the place of my birth, so does that count for something?

    It bugs me a little though – do I always have to befriend people just for reasons like that? Will I be pigeonholed as an ‘ethnic affairs’ reporter one day?

    I guess you tend to flock to others like you, though. And I often tend to gravitate towards older people – not sure why? Am I just too old for my age? And I don’t really have the right to complain (I am TOTALLY glad she reached out to me. I never would have done something like that and am super grateful). After all, it’s not like I really make the effort to go out of my way to befriend others. Sometimes it’s like I just can’t connect with people no matter how hard I try, so I give up and retreat. That’s kind of where I’m at now, and I just talk to the few friends I have made. So honestly, it’s great that someone’s doing the hard work for me – because if someone does that, I’ll respond in kind.

  • Hmmm….

    chocolatesApparently NZ women want flowers and chocolate just as much, if not more than, increased intimacy. WTF? (the guys surveyed overwhelmingly voted for more intimacy – go figure).

    Oh well, I don’t really like flowers. They’re pretty, but I don’t really appreciate them. They die. I’d rather have something lasting. Not jewellery either; I don’t wear any, just can’t be bothered anymore. Hence, I do not want an expensive engagement ring. I just KNOW I would lose it down the toilet/during an exuberant wave of the arm/over a bridge somewhere. I especially don’t want a diamond one. I’m thinking a coloured stone, actually, almost any colour would do.

    Diamonds are forever, my ass. Love is, or it should be – maybe that’s why our divorce rate is so high? And I can’t believe the average wedding pushes $30k. that’s half of a house deposit! Almost a year’s salary! It almost makes me ill to think of blowing that much on a single day (because I don’t think the figure includes the honeymoon! And that’s what I’d consider worth putting more towards). I’m so highly strung and have such a close relationship with Murphy, that I know it’s a bad idea to pin so much down on one day. There’s no way it could live up to expectations, despite the fact that I literally have none of my own. I’m proud to say I’ve never envisaged what my wedding would be like, but eloping sounds like a pretty good idea!

  • The dating scene

    I’m so incredibly glad I don’t have to date. Going through the whole dating process sounds like hell on earth. I just can’t be bothered. Talking about yourself and rehashing the same old stories and facts over and over, pretending to listen to people who really don’t interest you but it’s only the start of the night, getting dressed up and going out on weeknights when you just want to slouch in bed in your robe with a bowl of chili and Outrageous reruns on the telly.