10 years. A decade. A third of my life. That’s how long this little piece of the internet has been around.
I started my blog on a whim late in 2008. I remember it was a slow day at my part time job. I’d gotten into reading the MSN Money boards and blogs like Fabulously Broke (now Save Spend Splurge) and A Gai Shan Life. Writing was my jam, plus I hadn’t had a website since my S Club 7 fangirl days). And so this was born. Aside from this, when blogging you will encourage a lot of different text formats to work on, I suggest using sodapdf for easy conversion.
In that time, I’ve racked up
- 7 places of residence
- 5 full time jobs
- 1 graduation
- 1 wedding
- 1 epic extended round the world trip and several other smaller trips (21 countries total)
- 1 mortgage
And a couple of dogs, chickens, half a dozen concerts, and so many meaningful connections with other bloggers.
In retrospect … I can’t complain at all!
The career side of things has gone pretty well, balanced out with heaps of fun along the way with travel, gigs, friends etc.
And there’s been a shit ton of stress. Growth is painful. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself and gotten wiser. Maybe I’m a late bloomer (actually, definitely) but I feel like I’m really only starting to come into my own and hit my stride.
Regrets … I’ve only got two really and they are
a) withdrawing into myself too much (it’s great to open up to others)
b) giving too much (it’s imperative to be a little bit selfish in life)
There’s a lot to look back on and be proud of. On reflection, we’ve come a long way since age 20 and I actually feel quite at peace coming up to 30.
One thing I really wanted to do was take the opportunity to look back on the bigger financial picture. With all the income ups and downs, and all the major, typical milestones of this decade, what would that look like?
The answer – not quite as bumpy as I imagined, with having one steady and growing income smoothing out/disguising some of the drops. This graph shows roughly how our household income has ebbed and flowed, with a bit more detail in the year-by-year play-by-play below.
I was studying full time and working part time; T was working full time but in the last quarter of the year, was being constantly sent home because there was no work to do. I was the head tenant in a crappy flat (the best rental that we could get, and still had to fight hard for), getting screwed over as the only responsible one.
On the plus side, I was doing well at uni and enjoying my papers, and managed to get full-time hours over the summer and do work with a different part of the business!
Layoffs were officially announced at T’s company, and they eventually went under. He had to fight crazy to hard to get any unemployment money, because of NZ’s stupid rules (if you have a partner earning basically anything, tough shit). Between my student allowance and part-time job, I had to carry the burden for several months. He also spent part of the year studying – #studentcouplelife.
My last year of uni was super busy and super stressful, but I loved journalism and knew I made the right choice. My amazing friends and T banded together and threw me a surprise 21st – a full day of shopping, pampering and dinner. It meant so much, and I needed it so sorely. It’s quite possibly the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.
The flat continued to be a nightmare, compounded by a burglary. We eventually moved out, to a place where I was NOT the leaseholder and T handled the entire move for the sake of my sanity.
I graduated! At last. I segued into FT work at the PT job, signed up for KiwiSaver, and travelled to the Coromandel, and Whatuwhiwhi up north.
We started off the New Year with a hotel staycation in the city. I went snorkelling for the first time, started running, expanded my veggie palate, and went to my first concerts in the space of just a few weeks (Paramore and Metallica). We took a quick trip to Waiheke Island and I started thinking about international travel.
We moved to a nicer, more central suburb – it was a tiny place but we got to live by ourselves and it was warm and dry.
T finally got a FT job in the second half of the year, and I transitioned into a new role that had me working Wed-Sun (which was a bit sucky but gave me great experience and under the union’s collective pay agreement, basically upped my income about 40% effectively). I also hustled hard and earned just over $5k on the side through writing, tutoring/editing, and mystery shopping, which helped me hit the $10k in savings mark.
I read The Secret (super cringe) but it inspired me to give positivity and gratitude a go. I liked it, and kept doing it!
Both gainfully employed! We went to the Homegrown music festival and got engaged.
I got a new job – taking a slight pay cut for normal hours. And professionally, I got to diversify my experience and develop my writing skills further.
I went to Rarotonga for my birthday, moved house to a bigger place just a 20-minute walk from work, ran a 10k and read 81 books.
An eventful one! We saw in New Year’s in the Coromandel. I embarked on a year of no shopping.
Workwise, this was a pretty epic year – I got to attend cool conferences like TedX and SemiPermanent, free tickets to Coldplay, go for a daytime sail, and write my first cover story.
Also through work, I got to travel to Sydney (spending my birthday in Australia) and Queenstown, and got a taste for solo travel.
We did a South Island campervan trip – the best way to road trip!
There was also wedding planning, and honeymoon planning. I ramped up the side hustling hard toward the end of the year in anticipation of both.
I was getting serious wanderlust and once I learned more about round the world travel, volunteering, slow travel etc online, I was intrigued. Eventually I figured out that we could juuuust about pull off a six-month RTW trip. This was my first real experience with setting intention and letting things flow. And what do you know, financially, it all worked out practically to the dollar.
This was also the year I moved to self hosting and started making regular money off the blog.
Yet more wedding planning, travel planning, and hustling.
What can I say? Travelling was the experience of a lifetime. These were probably my top individual moments, but here are some more highlights:
In Asia, we swam through caves, got scammed, rushed to the ER and got up close with a wild monkey.
In Europe, we got a taste of farm life, watched people river surfing, had an amazing cultural exchange, fell in love with Santorini , and found a spirit home in Iceland.
In North America, we road tripped through the US with a quick detour into Canada, falling in love with the desert landscapes, Mexican food, and met so many wonderful online friends (thank you!)
Then settled back in at home and adjusted to normal life pretty easily.
We travelled to Queensland and snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef! I travelled to the South Island for work and took the TranzAlpine, and took a waka tour up north on another work trip.
T went through two toxic jobs and spent the majority of the year job hunting, picking up a bit of random work here and there.
I landed a new job, outside of journalism, with a pretty significant pay rise (and upped my KiwiSaver contributions to 8%, which wound up helping a lot when I bought my house 2 years later).
After a few pretty scary issues/incidents with the car, we waved goodbye to it and bought a newer, infinitely more reliable one.
I spent a lot of the year in a bit of a depression – it was a bit of a tough one.
We hiked the Tongariro Crossing and the Pinnacles, and visited the Blue Spring. Plus, we visited Japan!
And we had to move out of our flat and find a new one #rentingsucks. We wound up moving into a flat with other people, luckily the house was huge, and nice, and we had the bottom floor to ourselves, largely self contained.
I went to the Webstock conference, got a new job, and negotiated salary for the first time; T landed a long term casual work assignment which he really liked, but which ended suddenly halfway through the year.
We separated at the end of the year and I went to stay with my parents, paid off the car and got mortgage preapproval.
We reconciled and I had a shitload of inner healing to do, and emotional scars to heal.
I bought a house (!!!) and paid an extra $3k to principal #yayforequity. We settled into a rhythm of largely separate finances. This was a full year of dual incomes, the first in quite a while.
I asked for a raise and got it, and dealt with debt collectors for the first time ever (a ridiculous mistake that took way too long to sort out).
We got a dog, and later a second, as well as two chickens – and put in roof insulation.
This was definitely a year of personal development, continuing on from last year – taking mindfulness and visualisation seriously.
I started an email newsletter to share some things a little more privately, and dabbled in drop shipping and email courses.
It was also time to move on to a new job, where I made sure to negotiate for more; I also joined a local nonprofit board.
We attended two weddings, welcomed two babies in our friend circle, visited Mt Maunganui and played on a Frisbee social team.
This year we’ve done our big kitchen renovation, and there’s something else I’m working on in the background, hence the lack of updates!