• Money and life updates: Life with a school aged kid edition!

    Enjoy this mish mash of updates!

    School life

    Uniform costs, out of this world! Hundreds of dollars to outfit Spud with shirts, shorts, jumpers, shoes.

    No school fees though at this one!

    School is part of the free lunch programme. Most kids are opted in from what I see. But also, at least in the youngest classes, most don’t seem to eat it. Spud doesn’t. Maybe the older kids are less picky.

    Partway through the first term, I booked him in for a couple of aftercare sessions to see how it would go. He thrived. So, I now don’t have to rush home on office days. It’s almost $100 a week for Mon-Thurs aftercare, which is less than daycare (which was $250 while aged under 2, then down to $150).

    Figuring out the world of holiday programmes has been a ride. Too tired to detail it all, though.

    Spud has now been at school for two full terms and is partway through number 3. He started in term 4 last year in the new entrants class, and moved right up into Year 1 when the 2024 school year began. It’s a big step up and was a shocker of a transition. There’s been a lot of anxiety (ongoing perfectionism, plus so much separation anxiety for weeks, until we got Covid, and then he seemed eager to go back :D), I’m more than ever convinced ADHD is in the mix (and I date this right back to his incessant moving in the womb; I could never count movements because was that one loooong move or like 15 little linked moves?) and tummy troubles.

    Think we’ve figured out the digestive stuff – if you’re interested, the culprit seems to have been Nutella sandwiches, a regular aftercare snack. (Contains both dairy and nuts, problematic for him.) On top of that, he had full body hives recently in response to a ‘sour cheese’ flavoured snack that I thought I’d let him try. Clearly a bad call.


    The last few months in the markets have been interesting! I’m at a point where swings do make a noticeable difference to my balance.

    I put a little play/experimental money into some individually picked US stocks and funds a couple years ago, and not long after came the 2022 crash. Some of those are finally starting to recover. Even the small amount I chucked at a bitcoin based fund is out of the red.

    At some point I need to consider my NZ dividend ETF holding – receiving dividends has been great for my nervous system, seeing those payments come in – but perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the strategy.

    Health and insurance

    I continue to sing the praises of insurance. Health insurance has absolutely been worth it for Spud, and now it’s my turn to make the most of it.

    This meant… getting super uncomfortable and advocating for myself. Admitting that I’ve gotten used to this struggle. Being either constantly blocked up, or constantly runny/drippy/sneezy, and all the associated things.

    My experiences were similar to Spud, but now I’m better at strategising and advocating. We both seem to be in rude health in the bigger picture but suffer greatly from chronic everyday things, and our symptoms are not always typical, and/or certainly not severe enough to be picked up in the public system.

    So … I got tested and am allergic to dust, dogs, and cats.

    I had a deviated septum and inflamed turbinates and sinuses.

    I spent months on a regime of sprays and rinses. It helped. It wasn’t a magic fix.

    Then I had surgery – septoplasty to straighten the septum, and reduction of the enlarged turbinates and a light touch on the sinuses.

    This, my friends, was the cure. Even straightaway, with the splints and packing and whatever needed healing from the operation – I could just sense the difference. A couple days before I got the splints and stuff removed, air started flowing a little more freely. And once they came out? Everything moved easily. Night and day.

    I can now wake up and I’m still breathing through my nose, mouth closed. Life changing.

    And when I wake up, I don’t start sneezing and have to deal with sneezing fits and a drippy nose for like an hour. (Why does this happen? I’m super sensitive to temperature changes and I’m certain it’s due to the shift in going from being under the warm covers to cooler/colder temps outside of them.) I’m not only going to save so much on tissues, but the quality of life is a million times better without that drama first thing in the morning. No more scrambling to always make sure I’m stocked up with tissues in my pockets or in my bag before I leave the house, and avoiding people’s side eye in a post-Covid world on the train.

    It’s cost me about $1000 out of pocket – $775 excess on the surgery, $88 on medications, and a couple hundred for some other test/procedure early on. Unquestionably worth it.

    Early days still, but life’s good so far on the other side.

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