• Catching up

    So yeah. I’ve been sick. I barely managed to text ’sick’ to my boss on Thursday, and on Friday I got up and got dressed for work before collapsing back into bed. I managed at least call in that day, though. It sucked, because I’ve been working on a story and making lots of overseas calls, but I’m a strong believer that health is paramount.

    See, I came down with a weird flu-type thing, without the cold. I was pained, sore, exhausted and generally felt shitty. I pride myself on being very in touch with my body (read: HYPOCHONDRIAC) and a combination of factors had me all panicked thinking OH MY GOD I HAVE TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME. But I worked out that I’d been feeling sick before my ‘lady time’, as Ray Romano says, kicked in. And after that passed, more things happened that freaked me the hell out (trust me, you don’t want details), and there I was convinced I was on death’s bed, and all by myself with T five hours away (he deserves his fun, but on this weekend of ALL weekends?!)

    Oh, and how hard is it to get to see a doctor on a weekend, let alone a public holiday? Impossible. But good for my wallet – I managed to get an appointment today with the doctor on campus. Still, like T says, I need to get a real GP, especially now that I’m no longer a student and there’s not much point continuing to use the clinic at uni. He couldn’t believe that we never really had a family doctor growing up, and is all set on enrolling me with his GP for the future. Which seems like a very grown up thing to do.

    Finally, here’s the last photo for January’s challenge. Stay tuned to find out what February’s will be. (Borderline bag lady? Trampy? Yes? I don’t care – nobody important saw me in this.)

  • Around my ‘hood

    I’ve been fighting off what feels kind of like the flu all week. Today I caved. It’s my first sick day in probably six months (I might start keeping a log – I’m not one to cry wolf at the first sign of the sniffles, but if there’s a bug going around, odds are I’ll catch it sooner rather than later. I wonder if I actually use up all the sick days I accrue – do you?)

    Anyway. Here’s yesterday’s outfit – I’ve been lying comatose most of today in my robe, something I have neither the energy nor desire to document.

    And for your viewing pleasure, some photos of the beach down the end of my street. It’s not clear, blue and sandy like the ones out east or north, or wild and surfy like the ones way out west, but it’s my beach 😛

  • I’m still here…

    Busy weekend. Busy start back at work. Doesn’t mean I forgot about my January challenge – all four days worth! (I was kind of tempted not to post my sloppy weekend attire, but seeing as I went to the trouble of actually taking snaps… and yes, that’s also what I wore running on Sunday). Tuesday is coming…once I get around to hooking up my camera to the laptop.

    My main goal this week is to shop around for new contents insurance – AMI is raising our premium, and an online quote at a competitor suggests I could save a decent amount by switching, even without a multi-policy discount. I’ve put in requests for quotes from three or four places, but none have bothered to get back to me. (So much for ‘within two days’; don’t they WANT new business??)

    In other news, I decided I’d had enough of the box of junk that’s been hanging around for…four months now? Basically, T’s mum gave him some old silverware, coins and antique dolls (unfortunately in very poor condition) among other things, with the idea that he’d sell them and keep the profits as a birthday present. He drove around to a few dealers, bought some silver polish, and…never got any further.

    So I’m taking over *sigh*. We got a whopping $19 for all the old coins – mid 20th century British currency – and will probably tackle the silverware next. For the coins, I went to a specialised dealer, but I’m thinking with the silver spoons it might be better to get them appraised and then list them on TradeMe. Maybe. It’s really hard to figure out how much collectibles are worth – any tips?

    Saturday/Sunday/Monday:

  • Easy-peasy yum cha savings with the click of a mouse

    Last year I went out for all-you-can-eat yum cha on my birthday at Ocean City restaurant – not the most impressive of places, but the restaurant was massive (very popular) and most importantly had TONS of food for laughable prices ($12.90, as I recall… I mean, is there anything better than an invitation to stuff yourself silly without worrying about the cost? I imagine it’s how Becky Bloomwood would feel if we let her loose in a mall with a black AmEx.)

    Sadly, I think it’s closed down now. However, Ming Court at Sky City also does a darn good yum cha buffet. There is fried rice, BBQ meat and kuay teow out on the tables, along with fruit and various little goodies like pastries and those supercalifragilistic egg tarts :D.

    The actual yum cha comes around in stacks of metal trays on trolleys, and is just westernised enough for my tastes: ie, no chicken feet or other scary animal parts. The selection did feel a little limited, but the buffet changes over to a dessert buffet which is also included in the price. Again, nothing icky like red bean soup, but cakes and other sweet goodies abound.

    The cost? $22.95 each, or $19.95 with a Sky City action card. A what? Yeah, I know.  It’s a big draw for those who actually go to gamble, but me, I just want the restaurant discounts! And you only need one card per transaction, which is a nice bonus. So take it from me – don’t write off the small print. Just google those mysterious rewards cards or you could be throwing away some easy savings.

    Thursday’s outfit:

  • Some relief, please

    There are two finance stories that I’m following with one eye in the news.

    One, the deal that is allowing retailers to charge customers fees for paying by credit card. As if it’s not bad enough I can’t pay my utility bills by Visa without either giving them access to my card, or paying a nasty convenience fee.

    Don’t start on me with the arguments about how CC users have been subsidised by cash payers, and how the fees are totally warranted. I get it. I can’t even really disagree, except to bitch and moan about how it’s going to be darn near impossible to to rack up rewards points from now on if this carries on.

    I personally haven’t encountered any gas stations who are charging the extra fee, but surely it’s only a matter of time now that they have free rein. (And it’s REIN in this instance, people, not REIGN. Always gets my nerve up when the phrase is misused. Think horses, not monarchy.)

    Two, speculation about the official cash rate – will it go up, or hold steady? Apparently low inflation may convince the Reserve Bank to leave the rate as is. But you know what? I was at Lincoln Rd Pak n Save this week – probably the cheapest supermarket in Auckland – and milk was back up to height-of-the-recession prices. Psssh.

    Anyway, PLEASE hurry up and crank those rates right up. I need to start making some better interest on my savings accounts. Much appreciated.

    Wednesday’s outfit:


  • Carnivalistic fun

    My post on whether mystery shopping is worth the time and effort was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, Haiti edition at milliondollarjourney and reimodels (possibly the most number crunching I’ve ever done here to date!).

    Meanwhile, forgive my slackness on the clothing challenge front. Here’s two days’ worth!

    Monday’s outfit:


    Tuesday’s outfit:


  • That’s one way to retire

    Travel to San Francisco in your 20s.

    Decide to stay.

    Work. Make lots of money.

    Buy big toys – jet skis, water toys, quad bikes, rare cars – and ship them back to New Zealand every other year or so.

    Plan to move back by age 65 to draw superannuation.

    (*This is not my plan. But it is a real plan, currently being lived out be a real person.)

    Sunday’s outfit:


  • The honeymoon is over

    It could only last so long. Once a haven, our house is now a den of what I’ll just call ACK.

    The living room hasn’t been vacuumed in as long as I can remember, the hardwood floors haven’t been swept, and is it so hard to put empty toilet rolls in the plastic bin rather than drop them on the floor?

    Did I mention that everyone barring T and myself has turned into complete and total alkies, drinking virtually every night? I marvel to him about how much we’ve spent on food, and he’ll reply by saying that they outspend us on alcohol alone. There are boxes lying on the ground outside, cans scattered both inside and out, 10 Jagermeister bottles forming a proud display on the dining table, bottles on the kitchen windowsill and worst of all, nasty, icky, sticky plastic twister shot glasses – you know, the prepackaged kinds you buy for $2 a pop – lining the counter. I’d had enough this week and cleaned up the counter side of the kitchen, but not again.

    Did I also mention that our head flatmate (the one who followed us over from our last place) not only failed to get the rent out the other week but racked up overdraft charges in the process, and didn’t pay the water bill on time? And one of the other guys, who’s in charge of the Sky TV account, didn’t pay at all and racked up massive fees? (Thankfully, I don’t give a flying rat’s, seeing as I don’t watch or pay for it).

    As much of a mess as they’re making – literally and figuratively – it’s SO very good to have a break from having all the responsibility. All I gotta worry about is food, keeping the bathroom hygienic, and paying our rent and share of the bills. It’s still nowhere near what our heinous ex-flatmate put me through.

    Friday’s outfit:


    Saturday’s outfit:

  • Checkout remorse

    Do you ever get to the checkout and decide against buying something because you’ve gone overbudget?

    It’s a little bit embarrassing to say “I might not take this” or “I might put that back”, and it’s not something we make a regular habit of. (I bet the checkout operators hate it too: it just creates more work for them when they have to put our unwanted items back on the shelves!)

    But I really couldn’t justify buying a cheesecake for more than $5, when it would have put us over budget and let’s face it, we don’t NEED cheesecake. Especially when I’m trying to expand my baking repertoire…

    Today’s outfit:

  • I may seem rude, but I’d be a lot ruder if I was forced to talk to you

    I get to see some great specimens of humanity at my house. For example, the three girls who came by last night to get drunk and dirty with my flatmates. I honestly couldn’t tell you what they looked like – that’s how much makeup was on their faces. Hair? Dyed and straightened to the point of follicular death. Skintight outfits, teetering stilettos. I don’t know how old they are, but T says some of them are as young as 15.

    One of them actually shares my name and tried to strike up a conversation with me a couple of times; I think she wants to be friends. But as much of a bitch as I am in private, I can’t bring myself to tell someone to their face that I have no respect for schoolage girls who dress and act like complete slappers.

    And the scary Barbie blonde one? Somehow has us caught up in her ex-boyfriend dramas. Not only is he calling and harassing her, he called our landline while she was here. Instead of ignoring him, she kept texting him back, you know, to tell him to leave her alone. I told her to block his number. She liked that idea, but I know for sure she won’t.

    Like me, T doesn’t have much patience for such BS, and tried to tell her that there’s no way she’ll find a “good guy” (not that she believes any exist) by getting dressed up, going around to guys’ houses, getting wasted and screwing them. Words, deaf ears. You know the drill.

    It makes me sad to see this – they’re so young. It also makes me glad to have found T: you never know, I could have turned into one of them by now.

    Today’s outfit:


    I planned to wear a waist belt to cinch the top in, but it only made me look lumpy and bumpy. Instead, I wore my medieval cross necklace and lacy knit shrug. Oh, and this is my new ingenious method of getting the whole outfit in one shot.