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  • 3 times insurance totally saved me in the last year

    3 TIMES INSURANCE CAME THROUGH FOR ME

     

    I’ve had a lot of reasons to be thankful for insurance over the past year. When insurance companies come through on claims, it’s so worth it.

    Getting a new (used) car through insurance

    Even though it’s a slight downgrade – a slightly older model, where the lights and wipers don’t automatically turn on/off when it gets dark/rains. Still well worth it. The old car had a few major issues after faithfully serving for many years – and then there was an accident that resulted in insurance writing it off entirely.

    Getting a new shed through house insurance

    Last year, the shed down in the back corner of the yard caught fire in the night. (It’s still unclear why. The best working theory is stray sparks from the neighbours, who often BBQ just on the other side of the fence from the shed.) It’s just lucky it’s situated so far away from the main house.

    Home insurance covered the shed replacement. Because the old one was an ancient, falling-down structure full of asbestos, they replaced it with a metal kitset shed. The whole painful process took six months from lodging the claim to completion of the shed – but it’s done! The new shed is infinitely more usable, too.

    Getting Spud minor surgery through health insurance

    Spud has always had a lot of issues with noisy breathing, reflux, his sinuses, nosebleeds, and constant colds/coughs. (Weirdly, no ear infections, as far as I can tell. Either that, or he’s such a trooper he just doesn’t let on.) A couple ENT visits and an X-ray later, we learned he has enlarged adenoids. After taking a wait-and-see approach for a couple more months, we went the surgical route. The operation took less than an hour and went super smoothly. Way better than expected! The difference was instant. Turns out that airway was more than 50% blocked by those supersized adenoids. It was, of course, quite scary to contemplate upfront. Now, I wish we could have done it earlier. Oversized adenoids is another fairly common thing, it turns out. This has been a huge step on my own personal journey, away from putting up with whatever life hands you, not making a fuss, powering through.

    It’s not the first time we’ve gone to a specialist, having given up on the general care system. I’ve talked before about Spud’s food intolerances. He’s sensitive to half of the top 8 allergens. I’m grateful that he does not have severe instant reactions, but intolerances are a real pain. They’re hard to pin down and others don’t take you seriously. Babies and toddlers can’t communicate! Using a mix of scientific observation and tracking, and my intuition, I was finally able to identify the trouble ingredients (dairy, nuts, fish and seafood). I may not have hard proof, but I completely believe in my conclusions and totally stand by them.

    The first specialist was sceptical. Some symptoms Spud presented are not typical by medical gospel. However, shitloads of anecdotal evidence in online communities and private groups say otherwise. And all our experiences count for something in my eyes. Anyway, we finally got prescribed hypoallergenic formula – and that changed everything.

    But we still struggled with some bad eczema flareups. So we went to the most recommended paediatric dermatologist. “It’s quite bad, you know,” she observed. No shit. But not bad enough for a GP to care. So she gave us a routine to follow – with very specific descriptions of how much cream to apply on specific days – and it worked a treat.

    Have you been getting your money’s worth (or at least, peace of mind) from your insurance?

  • The way you imagined it may not be the way it actually happens

    it might not happen the way you imagine it will

     

    I recently had a client – let’s call her Ana – bail on a project. This was a real blow. It was an expansion on something we’d done together previously – I was so excited! I even posted publicly about it once we agreed to proceed (and maybe that was the problem…) I was paid for the work I did do, but it was only a small part of the total scope.

    I couldn’t help but think back to another client – let’s call him Rich – where something somewhat similar happened. I way overestimated his project – it hardly needed anything from me. (Seriously. When does that ever happen?!) I charged him something like 25% or 33% of my original quote because I barely had to touch most of the draft.

    Both times, I was very attached to that sum of money I had quoted. I needed it for something- it was already earmarked in my mind for a purpose. And neither worked out!

    But Rich went on to refer so many more people my way, which has paid off dozens of times over. And hopefully this instance this will make space too for something else to flow in. Already I’ve had another former client come back wanting help with almost the same thing Ana did…

    Looking back, things have actually happened for me when I least expected them. Usually once I’d given up and let go of all expectation. Not when I was pushing for them, obsessing about them. Only when I finally freed up the space for them to flow.

    At work, I’m always trying to figure out if we are tackling the right problem. What are we trying to solve? It starts with the strategy, or you could be focused on answering the wrong question. There can be many different ways to achieve the same outcome. Define the goal but don’t dictate the solution or even the timeline.

    And I guess it’s the same in life.

  • Money & marriage: Navigating the awkward conversations and more

    money for couples - money and marriage

    True story. When I was in my teens, the most important advice my parents saw fit to pass on to me about relationships was to get tested … to check that my partner and I were genetically compatible.

    Honestly, there are so many more things it’s important to be compatible about in daily life. Like housework, and leisure time … and money.

    When a saver + spender come together, there’s so much to compromise on. The little stuff, like snack runs to the corner shop. The big stuff, like planning and paying for trips, through to saving for the future.

    And navigating through all the stuff is HARD. Talking about it, let alone managing it!

    When financial coaches Saver Street reached out to me about their new offerings, I was stoked to see how deep their program for couples went. They’ve got a free Money & Marriage Conversations Checklist to kick things off, as well as a 5-week Money & Marriage course that dives into all the juicy stuff to help you get on the right track. There’s guidance on some of the most common financial issues facing couples, like:

    • Agreeing on big expenses
    • How to give gifts
    • Putting together a budget
    • Deciding who plays what role in the finances

    Each week there’s a quiz for you to take individually as well as prompts for reflection. Then, you come together to reconvene using the guides for discussion, and you can join the group coaching calls if that’s your kinda jam.

    I LOVE that Week 3 looks at how love languages and money intersect. I’m such a huge nerd for psychology and self-development; and so very very much of personal finance is mental and emotional. Our backgrounds impact everything, whether it’s how we view money or approach parenting.

    There’s essential insights to be had around spending personalities, and they get real and honest about combining finances (including when it may not be the right time/move for you now. Let’s face it, this is not the best idea for everyone!)

    And importantly, it all culminates with practical steps: building a budget and action plan, and agreeing on roles and responsibilities – who does what, with super specific, nitty gritty tasks from managing taxes through to car maintenance.

    If that sounds like something that’d be helpful for you, you can sign up for the Money & Marriage course here for 20% off today. 

  • 5 no-regrets purchases that make life with a toddler WAY easier

    5 NO REGRET PURCHASES - that make life with a toddler way better

    Voila! A list of things that are making life way better. Because toddlers are hard work.

    In comparison, it feels like we needed so many more baby products when he was younger (here were my top must-haves when Spud was little.)

    I got sick of hoisting Spud up to wash his hands. A  bamboo step stool has now taken up permanent residence at the bathroom basin. Most importantly, it has saved my arms and back, and many splashes…

     

    With two dogs and a toddler around, the floors are in a constant state of disarray (emergency, even?). A dustpan and brush sometimes feel inadequate and it’s not always convenient or practical to whip out the vacuum constantly. Enter the BISSELL manual sweeper! It’s like a contained broom and it’s a godsend. The carpet sweeper ‘vacuums’ up carpet nicely, controlling pet hair, and it does a reasonable job of hard floors too. There are a lot fewer crumbs in my life now and I’m much happier for it.

     

    It’s not uncommon to see railway tracks chalked all over our driveway and the footpath outside our house, all in bright colours courtesy of Crayola sidewalk chalk. Great fun on dry days!

    Speaking of tracks, I nabbed Spud some secondhand wooden train tracks for Christmas and they were a hit. These are his fave toys at daycare. I was reluctant to double up at home, but really, he loves them – why deny him?

    The long days, short nights and 2 year sleep regression hit hard. Later, I figured out that granola for breakfast was probably causing a lot of the painful wakings (sleep and eating issues are still closely linked for Spud even at this age … and the traces of nuts in the granola were probably the culprit). As for the prolonged bedtimes, I resorted to trying chewables with magnesium to help support/encourage falling asleep. No idea if they actually helped, but now they’ve become a key part of the routine: vitamin, books, and bed.

    Next up on my wishlist? Bath crayons to keep bathtime engaging. Thankfully, you can buy anything online these days with a good internet connection (remember to shop around on broadband comparison websites). As a working parent, leisurely instore browsing is a thing of the past.

    What are you loving right now for your little ones?

  • Online banking hacked? It happened to me

    There’s a special horror that comes with the territory of the violation of your personal spaces. If you’ve been burgled before, you know exactly what I mean. That crawly feeling; the knowledge that someone’s been inside your living room, kitchen, bedroom … looked around, touched your stuff, helped themselves to things.

    It’s kind of like that when you learn that someone’s gained access to your online banking. It makes you realise how fragile the building blocks that enable your daily life are. Just like in The Handmaid’s Tale, when women were suddenly cut off from their bank accounts and could no longer access their own money.

    As a sleep deprived parent, I barely registered the strange alert that a new device had signed into my internet banking. That notification came at a really odd time in the wee hours – but mornings are chaos at home, and this was over the New Year break, so honestly, the whole day was chaos.

    When I realised what had happened and saw the missing money, I obviously freaked out.

    My online banking got hacked.

    Initially, the person on the other end of the phone at the bank sounded sceptical. Despite me explaining that yes, I used a unique password and no, it wasn’t written down anywhere or saved in any browsers; no, I hadn’t clicked on any links in emails and always type in the URL manually – it took quite a while for her to take me seriously. Frustrating.

    Fast forward a few days, and things got straightened out eventually. My cards and accounts were locked down and my online banking had a freeze put on it while I took my laptop to an IT dude for a checkup. My bank couldn’t recover the money from the receiving bank (presumably it was immediately transferred elsewhere), but I was refunded the lost amount.

    Does this make me super paranoid now? Ummm, yeah. Funnily enough, last year I interviewed for a job in the cybersecurity space. At the time, I talked about how it was a growing field that would be exciting to be part of, yadda yadda. (Here are some pretty terrifying stats on cybercrime – the FBI gets 900 complaints a day, and cybercrime costs the world economy nearly $3 million per minute. The mind boggles.) It didn’t really mean much to me personally, though.

    But an incident like this makes it real and brings it home. This stuff matters.

    Change ALL THE PASSWORDS

    For obvious reasons.

    Turn on two-factor authentication

    I didn’t actually realise my bank now has 2FA enabled for desktop banking.

    Keep some money accessible at another bank

    Luckily I already had this in place, though I’m resisting the kneejerk urge to spread my (limited) money around even more.

  • Here’s how much my maternity leave cost me

    how much my maternity leave cost me

    Can you imagine a guy telling his colleagues that the thing he’s most looking forward to in the new year is starting a family?

    I’ve seen this happen (incidentally, he a) left for another company early not long after, and b) is now expecting a baby too – but that’s by the by) and you know what, that really stunned me.

    I cannot ever, EVER imagine saying the same thing as a woman. It seems too great of a risk.

    I saw a tweet ages ago that went something like ‘in the old days, men could say they needed a raise so they could start a family”.

    I suspect if a woman were to pull that the reaction would be quite different. Even though if she was the breadwinner, she would need that raise WAY more than any dude in the equivalent situation.

    Who earns what matters. Here’s why

    For those who say it doesn’t who matter who makes more…

    • Let’s say he makes $40k.
    • She makes $80k.
    • The time she takes off results in a loss of 2/3 of the household income.

    If we reverse that….

    • He makes $80k.
    • She makes $40k.
    • The time she takes off results in a loss of 1/3 of the household income.

    I’m terrible at maths but even I can immediately see that’s there’s a huge, gaping difference there.

    Because yes, she’s going to need SOME time off to push a mini human out of her body and recover from that process … even if they elect for him to be the primary caregiver.

    I guess ironically, at some income levels this matters less. If you’re making a much higher income, your surplus makes it easier to save large amounts to cover those months you won’t be earning for.

    But for your average middle class couple, this is a pretty major consideration.

    How much my maternity leave cost me

    I was uber fortunate to have a very generous employer – the company I worked for while pregnant offers 3 months of leave at full pay.  (I’d still be there were it not for the mass layoffs that took place shortly before I was due to return to work.) That’s super rare, and they were definitely a market leader in regard to this benefit. Very few companies here offer any paid parental leave at all, much less at full pay and for that long. Most people only get the 22 weeks worth of paid government leave that clocks in at something like $480 a week post-tax, maximum.

    I wound up taking about 7.5 months off, which included the 3 months of paid parental leave, and another month of annual leave that I’d saved up.

    That meant 3.5 months of lost income from my day job, which adds up to over $15k of takehome income.

    Add to that over $3.5k in missed superannuation contributions (between my contributions and employer contributions – again, my old employer was very generous on that front) plus any gains that amount would have made in the market.

    All up, my brief (by NZ standards) parental leave meant I lost out on nearly $20k. And if I’d worked almost anywhere else, that amount would have probably doubled, as I wouldn’t have benefited from any fully-paid leave. Straight up, I wouldn’t have been able to take that much time off to stay home with Spud.

  • All the baby gear I’ve scored for free on Facebook

    All the baby gear I've scored for free on facebookLike every other human on Facebook, I have mixed feelings about social media. Particularly since managing social media has been part of my job in almost every role I’ve ever held.

    But it has been a godsend since having a baby, and here’s why.

    I’ve been the grateful recipient of so many freebies that have saved me a ton of money.

    Here’s a list of everything I can remember that I’ve received:

    • Reusable cloth nappies
    • Hanging storage racks for nappies/toys
    • Baby books
    • Bags of toys
    • A change table
    • A bouncer
    • Bedside drawers
    • Curtains – that didn’t fit and that I regifted
    • A few tins of Neocate – the biggest game changer of all. Dairy-free, amino acid formula for which there’s a high bar to get a prescription (though some doctors may be more sympathetic than others). I was then able to say to our specialist, we’ve tried a few cans and it worked wonders, please prescribe it for us. More on our feeding journey and transition to formula here.

    How to get free baby gear on Facebook? Easy. Any parent-to-be or new parent should join their local Frugal Mumma and Pay It Forward groups sooner rather than later.

    I’ve learned about free playgroups, free counselling sessions, and discounted classes on Facebook. Going to therapy is a topic for a whole other post, but I’ve been having so many breakthroughs and working through so much childhood baggage.

    On top of that, I’ve found so much value and support in various Facebook groups. The dairy-free breastfeeding group. The fussy baby group. The Sleep Store group. An NZ due date group. And more!

    Yes, I’ve wasted a lot of time scrolling aimlessly through Facebook in search of freebies, as well as more generally. But overall, it has hands-down been a net positive for me during the past year.

  • A semi-frugal guide to nappies, NZ edition

    By: miguelb

     

     

    I hate to think how much time I’ve spent thinking about nappies. How to get the best deal on diapers. Where to buy the cheapest nappies. Learning about all the different kinds of MCNs (modern cloth nappies). And that’s not to mention worrying about the actual contents of Spud’s diapers … but that’s a different story altogether…

    Buying nappies online, NZ edition:

    Early on I obsessed over all the different websites that sell nappies in NZ, trying to figure out where to get the best deals. Here are some of the options I’ve tried in the name of saving money on diapers:

    Nappytime nappies from Babyonline

    At 10 cents per nappy on sale, it’s hard to beat this price! The quality is reasonable; the only downside is there’s no wetness indicator (the coloured line that changes hue).

    Dryups from Babyonline

    At about 12 cents per nappy on sale, another great option! Less stiff than the Nappytime diapers IMO and worth it for the softer feel.

    Nepia Genki nappies from Bestnappies

    At 26 cents per nappy on sale, this was a good deal. These Japanese nappies are a little on the thin side but I liked how they felt. There are also a bunch of other Japanese brands on this site that I was planning to try, until I got lazy about it…  I’ve been quite impressed with Japanese nappies so far, in fact I picked up a clearance pack of diapers at the local Japan mart for a pittance and loved those ones too.

    Huggies from Nappies Direct

    This is the site everyone recommends and sometimes will get as low as about 30 cents a nappy but that seems to be rare, from what I’ve seen.

    But to be honest, now I’ve realised that if I can time my purchases in line with the supermarket sales, it’s just as easy and cheap to get Huggies diapers with my Countdown shop.

    There was a time when Huggies weren’t fitting Spud well at all (and we lived in Japanese brands for a month or so) but now we’re back in business 🙂

    Our current nappy routine:

    With changes every 3 hours or so during the day, and usually 1 more overnight, I think we’re averaging $10-15 on nappies a week.

    Huggies are our go-to nighttime diapers. The absorbency and fit are worth the brand premium to me.

    During the day, it’s a real mix. Basically, I go with whatever’s cheapest that I’ve managed to score. Sometimes we get free packs of Rascal + Friends (a Kiwi brand) from my MIL, which I quite like despite the lack of wetness indicator. Otherwise, lately I’ve been buying Littlies (a budget brand found at Countdown).

    I also have a handful of OSFM (one size fits most) cloth nappies, and try to use 1 or 2 of these a day at home. Full-time cloth diapering is definitely not for me, but if I can save a few disposables from going into landfill I feel a little better about myself. In particular, we usually have quite a short window between the evening poop and bathtime, which is ideal for a stint in cloth 🙂 I also try to time it so that poops don’t happen during cloth time!

    Our cloth nappy journey

    I spent so much time in my pregnancy researching cloth diapers – brands, types, etc. It’s a whole new world and it’s very confusing for newbies! Here’s a super simple breakdown of the different types of cloth nappies, explained – and a good primer for reusable nappy newbies on getting started.

    I knew I only wanted to use the most convenient types of reusable diaper that were closest to disposables. So no faffing around with flats (the traditional white cloth nappies), nor anything with covers (where the waterproof outer is totally separate from the absorbent inner). That left pocket nappies, All in Ones and All In Twos.

    Currently I have one Bambooty Basics AI2 (all in two, the insert clips into the nappy with a button) that I really like, and a bunch of pocket nappies (which require you to stuff the inserts in, which I find annoying). These are a mix of Alva and Baby Factory reusable nappies.

    (Previously we also had two newborn size AIO (all in one) cloth diapers, and two AIO slightly bigger cloth diapers, which we’re now sized out of.)

    It definitely pays not to invest too much in any one brand. It’s so personal – you gotta figure out what fits your baby and what you like to use, and this can change over time. The way they fit Spud has definitely evolved over the months. I had a wishlist of certain fancy brands I wanted to try, but honestly so far my favourite has been Bambooty … I bought one off Trademe and got a couple more for free and they have just been a dream!

    We started using cloth diapers at about a month old, since he just didn’t fit reusables until then. I’m already doing way more laundry anyway so the increase in the water bill that can be directly attributed to reusable diapers is negligible 🤔

    I invested less than $100, buying almost all of them secondhand off TradeMe or the NZ MCN (modern cloth nappy) buy and sell Facebook group. I also got a few for free from the Raising Ziggy Facebook group.

    Extra resources for anyone who is interested in cloth diapering: the subreddit is a bit overwhelming but people seem really helpful, and the NZ MCN discussion page and MCN reviews uncensored page are also pretty useful.

  • Breadwinning while pregnant: gripes and grumbles

    via GIPHY

    Q: What do you get when two pregnant, breadwinning coworkers are on the train home together?

    A: Slightly snarky (okay, envious) conversation about another colleague who’s living an Insta-perfect life on maternity leave with her baby, a husband who makes all the money AND does the cooking (score!).

    But look, we all have our own problems (like a fairly horrendous pregnancy in that person’s case and I’m sure there are others) – it was just nice to vent honestly to each other knowing we’re in the same boat and not going to judge each other for our feelings. That it would be nice to have the option to stay home for however long we wanted. To not be the one responsible for incubating our children AND bearing the financial load to boot. Options, I’m all about options.

    And I know we’re not alone. Just check out Google’s suggested related searches for the phrase ‘female breadwinner’:

    Searches related to female breadwinner

    All of that, I think, gets exacerbated in pregnancy. I had a fairly easy one. And I was still SO DONE by 8 months. Even taking it a day at a time was slightly torturous. No, pregnancy is not a disability … but I was definitely nowhere near 100%. And thanks to my extra lame immune system, I just kept getting sick what seemed like every month.

    Don’t get me wrong; I was thankful to have made it that far and that healthy. I mean, nobody wants to experience pregnancy complications, but when your income is what keeps the household afloat, being put on early rest is going to be a huge financial blow (unless perhaps you shorten your maternity leave by the same amount of time, and get less time with the baby post-birth. Yay.)

    I had to book in my leave plans at the 6 month mark, which was a bit tough. On the one hand, I had no idea how I would physically feel in those final weeks.  People kept telling me how hard it was going to get and how I wouldn’t want to work up to 38 or 39 weeks, to which I clenched my teeth and smiled and nodded.

    Because on the other hand, I didn’t want to fritter away my leave days. Simply put, every week I’m off pre-delivery means a week less post-birth to spend with baby. It’s a gamble – baby might come early, robbing you of that precious downtime at the end. But then again, baby might be late and leave you sitting around waiting! There’s just no telling. I’d rather err on the side of not wasting too much precious leave beforehand.

    So in the end, I was planning to work up until 38 weeks and hoping to get a couple of lazy weeks in at home. (I was counting on the fact that first-time mothers are usually late … but then I read that Asian women often give birth early?!) And that seems to be quite late by usual standards around here, it seems more common to finish up a month before you’re due or sometimes even earlier. And I totally get it, pregnancy gets so more uncomfortable in the third trimester! The fatigue, the fogginess, and holy shit the reflux.

    Of course, that was all a moot point when I went into labour at 36 weeks. September was always meant to be our month to get things properly ready ahead of Spud’s arrival, but that did not happen at all. His arrival in early (instead of late) October meant a mad scramble to take care of stuff – thank goodness for family chipping in to help a little bit, bringing food, helping clean up the house, going out to look for baby clothes in preemie sizes. I had no time off at all to myself and never got to wrap things up at work in the way I’d planned.

    I’m over halfway through my maternity leave now, which is crazy. Financially, it’s been way more stressful than expected (a long story for another post, another time). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t battling a lot of resentment, given I’d done my part with planning and budgeting and carried all that out. It’s definitely put a bit of a damper on things.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed being able to stay home and watch Spud grow. It’s also really fucking hard work sometimes, and I’m looking forward to sending him to daycare – I think he’s going to thrive on the stimulation. While, as I’ve said before, it’d be really nice to have the option to take a year off … personally, I don’t think I’d be cut out for it anyway. Lucky, that!

  • 10 money goals for the new year you can steal

    10 money goals to set for the new year

     

    I don’t know about you but I never feel quite on top of my financial game coming into a new year, after the Christmas holidays followed by summer fun and New Year’s. Doesn’t help that two of our insurance bills come due around this time! Or, this year, that we have a new baby and the (very generous) paid leave from my job is about to end 👶

    If you too need to get back into the swing of it for 2021, here are a few things that might help!

    Track your net worth

    Regularly tracking your net worth helps you see if you’re actually making progress overall. It gets addictive once you’re on a roll! Until the market turns, at which point it’s totally legit to take a break and turn a blind eye. (Tip: Sharesight can help with keeping track of your investments – I find it super handy.)

    Shake up your budget

    Budgets aren’t static. Yours is probably a little out of date. A new year is the best time to review and adjust your plan. Making tweaks isn’t a sign of failure, it’s smart! If you’re all sussed, maybe you need to challenge yourself more…

    Pick one thing to cut back on

    Personally I’m not into no-spend days (mainly because almost all of mine fall into that category anyway) but I am a fan of choosing one area to focus my savings on, whether that’s eating out, electricity, petrol, pet stuff, whatever. You could even tackle a different one every month.

    Review your insurance policies

    As in, make sure you know what you’re covered for! What are you actually paying for? Is it sufficient? You might need to increase or decrease your coverage, or you might want to adjust your excess to lower your premiums. Since redoing our kitchen, I desperately need to revisit and update our contents insurance cover.

    Track your expenses

    I used to do this religiously. Then I lost the inclination – and now, I don’t really have the time, either! But it’s still a really valuable thing to do once in awhile, especially if you need to do a bit of a reset. Tracking what you spend for a month can help you figure out your current baseline and set the foundation for a money cleanse.

    Check your credit – and keep an eye on it

    Monitoring your credit is just good hygiene. It’s part of ongoing maintenance. So pull your credit report today, and make a note in your calendar for the next time! It should be a box-checking exercise really, but every so often there’s a little surprise waiting and you need to be on top of those.

    See: What happened when I got my first collections call

    Start an emergency fund

    If you don’t already have a rainy day buffer, make this the year you get one! Even if you can only put away $20 a week, it’s committing to the regular contribution that counts and adds up. Cash is king.

    Step up your debt repayment

    Pay off one debt. Consolidate your debts. Refinance or apply for a balance transfer. Find a way to accelerate your debt journey – it’ll pay off both mentally and financially!

    Do one thing to enhance your money making mojo

    Love your job? There’s always room to keep learning and growing, whether in technical areas or in soft skills, that’ll make you more marketable.

    If you’re due for a review, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your achievements and request a raise. The worst they can say is no.

    Or maybe it’s time to take the next step. Do you know what you’re worth? Or what kind of employer you’re looking for, what salary, what title? The more focused you can be the better your chances of getting there.

    See: How I doubled my pay

    Side hustles are still hot, so could this be the year you dive into freelancing, launching that Etsy shop or starting some other business?

    See: 6 side jobs I’ve done to make extra money

    Open an investment account

    We all gotta invest. Or our savings will shrink year after year and dwindle to nothing. Inflation’s a bitch. If you haven’t bitten the bullet yet, make this the year you take the leap. There are more options in NZ than ever and they all seem to start with S (Superlife, Sharesies, Simplicity, Smartshares…); here’s a good guide for newbies.