• All the times that traditional baby advice failed us miserably

    Baby Shoes

    Photo: Meagan  

    AKA: When to ignore traditional parenting advice and go against the grain.

    I’ve learned to take any advice about how to parent my baby with a grain of salt. My child is a happy kid, but he’s not exactly been an ‘easy’ kid until recently.

    It’ll all get better once he’s on solids (NOPE)

    People say solids help with sleep, because they stay fuller. Not in our case.

    Spud has always had a super sensitive stomach, and the more we ramped up solids the more haywire his sleep got. Solids meant more gas, more trouble pooping (getting backed up), and poops at random times (like the middle of the night).

    People say solids help with reflux. Nah.

    His reflux disappeared once we got on Neocate. That prescription formula changed our lives. He immediately started sleeping through consistently, his gastro problems stopped being an issue, and his temperament improved.

    But since starting solids, I think it may have resurfaced a little (certain coughs and grimaces suggest to me that there’s some nasty regurgitation bothering him) when foods irritate his system. If so, it’s mild, and nothing compared to his ongoing eczema issues – which are definitely linked to his diet.

    Feed them right before bed (NOPE)

    As mentioned above, his reflux made this a big fat LIE. We needed to ensure a fair chunk of time before that last feed and going to sleep. It was okay when he was brand new and tiny. But as he got a bit older, feeding him too late meant he’d just wake up shortly after falling asleep needing to spit up or burp. It wasn’t hunger disrupting his sleep; it was digestive problems.

    “I don’t need as much sleep; I’ll do the night wakings” (NOPE)

    Theory: Husband who needs less sleep will handle more night wake-ups

    Reality: Yeah, nah. It started off okay, but went downhill.

    Spud’s gut troubles (which were always at their worst in the wee hours) meant a lot of tough wake-ups at 2/3/4am. There would be no consoling him, really, during those hours.

    T had little patience or sympathy. He really only started taking the food intolerances seriously once Spud’s eczema got really bad (as in covering most of his back, among other body parts). His experience growing up with younger siblings/nieces meant he was convinced he knew all about baby sleep and that it was just Spud fighting sleep for the sake of it.

    I knew in my heart that Spud was in discomfort. It was in the way he arched and thrashed stiffly, cried shrilly while still half asleep sometimes, would calm after taking his gas drops or emitting a burp or fart, the bubbly sounds that sometimes came from his tummy. And therefore I would not leave him to cry it out generally (except on desperate occasions when I just couldn’t stay up with him anymore and would cry myself to sleep in the next room). This led to a lot of arguing at ridiculous times when nobody should be awake, let alone fighting with their partner. Frankly, it was fucking miserable.

    Everything is a phase – they’re always changing

    Babies are designed to keep us guessing. Just as I think we’ve settled into a routine, something changes, particularly around evening routines. It’s so hard to get the balance right.

    They say you can’t overfeed a baby, but I am certain he was overdoing it between solids and milk at dinner in the early days. When given finger food, he stuffs everything he can at once into his mouth and practically chokes himself trying to eat it all right then. He goes SO overboard. (There are also a few times, way back pre-solids, where I am convinced we overfed him and it led to absolutely miserable nights.)

    So he was definitely overeating for awhile; this kid is a champ eater and I wasn’t great at reading cues initially, I don’t think. Once I stopped giving him an evening bottle, that helped and he had much more settled nights.

    Then he went through a growth spurt and that topup bottle before bed became a necessity again.

    Now, he takes forever to drink that last bottle, rolls around and plays with it, and usually doesn’t finish it … so it might be time to phase it out again. Maybe this time for good – though I wouldn’t bet on it.

    I don’t want to jinx it, but things on the food front have been good lately, and aside from recent teething, so have the nights. But who knows – it could all change tomorrow…

  • 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.

  • The struggle is real: When your baby has a major dairy intolerance

    Difficult baby or Dairy intolerance? Symptoms of food issues

    Food intolerances. The culprit behind my poor, cranky, unsettled baby.

    At a month old, he started spewing up like mad. At two months, eczema and cradle cap kicked in. At three months, he started waking up screaming very frequently, struggled to pass gas, had what seemed to be digestive pains, and horrible reflux spells after almost every feed. Why hire the top birth injury firm in the country? have been recorded in the U.S. in the recent past. Such injuries, arising out of complications during labor and delivery, can have effects ranging from mild bruising to brain damage, permanent disability, or even death. While mild birth injuries such as forceps marks are quite common, a doctor must anticipate and monitor more serious complications or face the threat of a lawsuit. Oxygen deprivation during birth can result in severe brain damage, seizures, mental retardation, or other behavioral and emotional disabilities. In some cases, oxygen deprivation can be caused by natural factors such as the size or position of the baby. However, serious birth injuries can also be caused by mistakes made by the medical team. Infants who survive birth injuries often need to be rehabilitated over many years, even if they are not permanently disabled. If your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, you are entitled to compensation, which a birth injury attorney can help you to get. Even if you are unaware of the actual extent of the injury caused, consult an experienced injury attorney by visiting New Haven, CT 06540, USA immediately after the birth of the child. Medical negligence is usually very difficult to prove and a good birth injury attorney will help safeguard any evidence, build a proper case, and figure out the damages likely to arise as a result of the injury.

    The last few months have been such a rollercoaster – I’ve learned that as long as your baby is gaining weight nobody takes your issues seriously.

    This makes it so hard to get to the bottom of what ails our little helpless beans. It’s incredible what babies and their parents are expected to put up with – everything chalked up to a stage they’ll grow out of, or that horrible catchall … colic.

    How we got started down this path

    When the osteopath suggested I cut dairy after noting Spud’s eczema I kinda laughed it off. I hardly consume much dairy anyway and expected to see no difference.

    And at first there wasn’t, especially since I only half heartedly committed and as it turns out… dairy is a bitch. Going dairy free is a long slow painful game.

    Thank the stars for Facebook groups – a total lifeline for anyone dealing with cows milk protein intolerance or allergy. 🐮

    In hindsight, I’m horrified at all the times Spud was screaming at night with gas pains. Knowing now that my milk was causing that. Feeding him is meant to be act of comfort and sustenance, but it was also hurting him.

    Cutting back, I noticed his reflux was better. No longer did we go through multiple bibs, outfits and burp cloths a day.

    Maybe there was something to it after all?

    So I decided to cut hidden dairy as well and do it properly. (Milk is in everything. Chips, hash browns, sauces, you name it… it is tough.)

    Between that and spacing out feeds 3 hourly (too frequent feeding wasn’t helping), his gas pains reduced dramatically.

    What symptoms of dairy intolerance did we have?

    ❎He used to arch his back and fuss after most feeds, as above.

    ❎Had horrendous cradle cap that lasted for months.

    ❎Eczema and rashes on face and body.

    ❎Spit up constantly (the spews he did when we tried cow’s milk formula were beyond).

    ❎Gas pains woke him suddenly and frequently all night, as often as every 30 to 60 mins at their worst. Struggling to pass farts, his insides rumbling and gurgling like a drain and vibrating like giant bubbles were popping in his abdomen.

    ❎He got constipated, screamed and cried to poo (at one point popping a blood vessel in his eye), his farts and poos reeked and were funky colours and sometime mucusy.

    ❎Had a constantly congested nose and daily earwax build up.

    ❎Was so unsettled and would randomly shriek and squeal, go stiff as a board in the torso and thrash his head and limbs around like a wild animal. Couldn’t be left to play or chill for more than a minute or two before losing the plot.

    I became a diaper detective, obsessing over the contents of his nappies – colour, consistency, scent, frequency. Read food labels with an eagle eye. Posted poo pictures to that Facebook group for feedback and opinions. 💩

    Cruelly, it turns out he has issues with nuts as well, so lots of the things I replaced dairy with had to go too. And eventually I identified seafood as yet another trigger. Maybe beef too, although that might have been paranoia. Who knows … by the end of it I felt like all food was the enemy.

    I amazed myself with how much self control I actually had over what I eat. A far cry from my usual MO! But when the alternative is being up at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6am with an inconsolable screaming baby, it’s an easy choice. That tiny bit of coconut cream in the curry, or trace of nuts in that dip? That only leads to regret in the dark cold hours of the early morning.

    I can’t believe how sensitive his digestive system is to my own diet. You will read all about how unlikely that is. And yet if you only look, social media is full of parents struggling with the same thing. I bet the real rates of intolerance and allergy are way way higher than stated. And I hate to think how many are suffering because they just don’t know, and many medical pros don’t know enough either.

    It is tricky, as all of these symptoms are not unusual in of themselves. But I know for us – and for many many others – it adds up to something more.

    Figuring things out on our own

    I’m so glad for Plunket, Space group, and my friends who became parents before I did … thanks to them I felt listened to even when I felt particularly hopeless.

    Our GP was kindly but oh so patronising …

    Burp him more! (In response to the waking at night screaming with gas issues. Spoiler, this did nothing to help with the farts and belly pains.)

    You’re creating a problem for yourself holding and rocking him! (Because he’s constipated and miserable and hasn’t pooped for days.)

    … and declined to refer us for allergy testing.

    Then, one of my best friends who’s a doctor dismissed me saying all babies have gassy phases (and her own kid has severe allergies).

    I’m grateful I added Spud onto my health insurance and for the first time ever have actually used that cover to see a specialist. They were the only ones to not entirely patronise me, and ultimately to prescribe allergenic formula that changed our lives.

    Allergy testing didn’t yield anything, which was a bummer (it would have been validation) but odds are good for him to grow out of a “mere” intolerance.

    As a first time mum you often won’t be taken seriously. Now I’m not someone who makes a fuss ever. But I’m learning I need to be an advocate for my son.

    Nobody knows your baby better than you do. Trust those parental instincts and go with your gut. When you feel something is wrong, keep pushing.

    Next up for us, we’ll tackle introducing dairy closer to the 1 year mark using the dairy ladder. I’m both terrified and hopeful!

  • The one question I hate being asked, as a pregnant woman…

    WIll you go back to work after the baby?

     

    I hate, hate, HATE conversations about last names. I have a LOT of feelings about name changing and anyone who asks me if I did (because it only inevitably leads to me having to justify keeping mine).

    But wow, my hate for that particular question has serious rivalry.

    “Will you go back to work?”

    I don’t get a choice in that, and it’s really irritating to get asked this.

    (See also: “Was it planned/expected?” Something about that also rubs me the wrong way.)

    I get that it’s probably still rare for her to earn the bulk of the household income and to not take a full year off. But that’s changing. Thankfully, one of my fellow preggo coworkers is also a breadwinner and gets what it’s like when your household relies on your income. The other one in our Knocked Up cohort is in a much more traditional setup but I appreciate that she acknowledges she’s fortunate her partner can more than support them all financially.

    It’s hard not to be defensive as my gut reaction, but I’m working on it. And  I’m reframing this for my own sake as an issue of equality.

    I want us to be equal coparents. And part of that involves sharing parental leave. It’s a great opportunity for us to split leave – and responsibilities – from early on.

    Not that this is necessarily uncontroversial either.

    “Why do you want things to be equal?” I was asked. (Yes, in 2018. By someone my age. Oh how I wish I was kidding right now.)

    I have to justify that too?! Even if we earned exactly equal incomes I would still want us to split leave. The only scenario in which this would change is if I was earning a significant amount less. Equality is both a financial and political issue in this case.

    On that note, at some point we’ll have to decide what to do about Spud’s last name. Neither of us care about passing our surnames down (and neither of us particularly like ours anyway. And no, that was not reason enough to change them then or now, though I love love love when couples make up a brand new name together). Definitely not interested in hyphenation or combining. And I suppose it’s insane to make up a random last name for zir. It might just come down to whichever last name sounds better with the first name we choose.

    Incidentally, I was stunned a couple of years ago to find out that my BIL’s kid has her mother’s last name. And funnily enough, T actually seems fairly keen on us possibly doing the same. It’s a far cry from years ago when we initially clashed over my intention to keep my name…

     

  • A couple frustrations with the NZ maternity system so far…

    I should probably preface this by saying: my complaints are fairly minor. They’re pretty First World. But it’s my blog, and I’ll complain if I want to…

    Finding a midwife

    There’s been a lot of news coverage about the shortage of midwives in NZ lately. About how our system functions, how midwives are paid, and what needs to change. (I like The Spinoff’s series on this.)

    And so pretty much the week I peed on a stick and got that positive result, I set about looking for a midwife in a suitable location (ideally close to home, but not too far off my commuting route, etc). At first, the choices seemed overwhelming! So many beaming headshots. And then I started to eliminate the ones who weren’t available in October. The ones who didn’t have birthing arrangements with both hospitals and Birthcare. And then it was about reading their profiles and getting a feel for their style and approach.

    In theory I think they say you should meet with a few, almost like interviewing them, and then make your decision. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

    I narrowed it down to a couple of midwives and fired off emails. No go on the first (she was only available in the first half of the month and I’m due at the end of the month). The second, thankfully, I got a great feeling about. I’d sensed a good vibe from the beginning (I swear) just from seeing her profile online. She responded with enthusiasm and emoji and basically welcoming me with open arms. I wasn’t able to get an appointment with her for a couple of weeks because she was travelling and I was on deadline at work, but she arranged some prescriptions for me and dropped them off in my letterbox, since she lives not far away. And so, I guess I landed myself a midwife before ever meeting her!

    You can change midwives at any time, but luckily I liked her in person as well. I feel good about it and their particular practice seems to have rave reviews from lots of other women.

    That worked out perfectly for me, and let’s face it … I don’t do well when faced with a lot of choices anyway.

    But what if your limited choices of midwives in your area aren’t great? Finding one available for your due date, one whose location works for you, one who you click with…. It’s a real possibility.

    Setting up scans

    Sonographers, man. They’re up there with property managers. Remember all the dramas I used to have trying to get to view rentals during the work day (because rental viewings are only ever held during business hours? Whilst open homes for sale are only ever on weekends?!) It’s like that, all over again.

    T can literally be anywhere in the city (or even beyond it on the outskirts) in any direction at any given time during the work week. He won’t know until the day of where he’ll be going. And so he just can’t commit to any appointments – not even at lunchtime – short of taking a leave day. Obviously, however, we want to save his leave for the birth so he can take time off then.

    I went to the dating scan alone, but we both wanted him to accompany me to subsequent scans. In order for that to happen though, we needed appointments after 4pm. Which I thought would be fine… surely there’d be plenty of slots available  between 4-5pm?

    How wrong I was!

    Clinics may be open to 5, 6, 7 or later – but that only seems to apply to X-rays. If you’re needing an ultrasound, you can only get those done up till around 2-3 at many places, at least the ones in areas that worked for our needs. I respect sonographers’ valuable time but as a patient, this SUCKS. I literally cried at work on the phone trying to book a scan and being unable to get a time that I knew T could make.

    After a lot of frantic emails/calls, I found that Auckland Radiology in Avondale offers evening scans on a Wednesday. That’s now our go-to, and if you need flexibility with your appointments, that’s one place you can definitely try.

     

  • Do the right thing, dammit (even if it’s not the easy thing)

    WHY IT PAYS TO DO THE RIGHT THING

    The right thing and the easy thing are never the same.

    Ain’t that the truth?

     

    Thing is, taking the easy way out will often backfire. Laziness, procrastination, whatever you want to call it … sometimes it comes back to bite you square on the butt.

    And I don’t know about you, but very few things annoy me quite as much as putting things off for later only for it to come back and cost me later.

    How laziness can be expensive, in two case studies:

    Example A: The oil leak

    Our car boot has been home to a spear (as in spearfishing) for awhile – it’s just been kicking around in there since a mate left it there.

    Then we bought some oil for the car, since it’s about due for a service. Left that in the boot too, until a few days later when T went to retrieve it …

    Cue oil leak. The dang spear pierced the bottom of the oil bottle and about 80% of the contents leaked, seeping into the boot carpeting and down into the spare tyre alcove (at least the cap didn’t come off, a gushing flood would have been SO much worse).

    To add insult to injury, we have a protective rubber liner that usually lives on the boot floor but had been putting off putting it back in after taking it out for a cleaning ages ago. If that had been in place, it would have been much tidier and made cleaning up a cinch.

    The damage: about $50 in oil and the subsequent cleanup.

    Example B: The water leak

    We took out part of a wall over the holidays, as part of the kitchen project. We did get an absolute steal on the labour because we know the guys, but they are legit building professionals.

    Afterward, they apparently swept a bunch of the detritus straight through the hole in the floor, under the house. I learned this too late, and was wringing my hands about it (“what about the dogs?! You KNOW they like to wander underneath the house sometimes, and they could get hurt!”)

    Alas, what was done was done.

    And then a few days later I suspected a leak. Sure enough, we have a tiny little rubber water hose running below the house – it connects the main tap to our fridge (our new fridge has a cold water dispenser built in) and in their willy nilly dumping of crap through the floor instead of disposing of it properly, must have punctured the hose.

    The damage: TBC. I’m hoping it won’t have majorly impacted our water bill, given how small the hose is and the size of the hole/leak. And I doubt that amount of water will have done much damage to the house itself. But I’m still majorly annoyed about it .

    (The fix: I faced my claustrophobia and crawled under the house to snip the hose off before the leak and cap it there to stop the flow. It SUCKED but at least now I know I can handle it, dirt and all. I still, however, refuse to try to get up into the roof … that involves putting a chair in our tiny hall closet and then squeezing through an even smaller hole to reach the roof space.)

    Laziness costs money, guys.

    Ever taken the easy route and wound up regretting it?

  • The soul-sucking agony of job interviews

    The soul sucking agony of job interviews

     

    I knew my lucky streak couldn’t last forever, particularly after acknowledging it on the blog.

    My most recent job hunt took longer than I expected. It consumed my life – monitoring listings, reaching out to contacts, crafting cover letters and tweaking my resume, over and over again.

    Then the phone interviews (a nightmare to wrangle when you work in an open plan office with virtually no private spaces, and you don’t drive to work) and of course, the in person interviews!

    Here are a few highlights:

    • The interview that never was. I had phone confirmation (but no email confirmation) and when I turned up the interviewer wasn’t there. I’d left work early and gone all that way (it wasn’t a super handy location) and she was a no show – she was in another city that day!
    • The interview that started super late. I scheduled this one for my lunch break expecting to be back at work within an hour, give or take, even with travel time. Nope! I turned up on time, but they didn’t. The longer I waited the more nervous I got, being painfully aware of time ticking on. We didn’t begin until about 20 minutes after the scheduled start and their lateness really threw me off – I spent half of the interview worrying about making it back to work at a reasonable time, and the other struggling to keep up with their aggressive interviewing style. Did I mention that the interviewers were not the same people HR told me I I would meet with?! Just a disaster from start to finish.
    • The interview on my birthday. I took annual leave so that I could have a day at home to chill out, but you know what? The day before I got a frantic email from a recruiter who had been ‘trying to reach me for days’ (they most certainly had not). Cue a phone call in which they declared that my birthday was the only day on which they were holding interviews. I opted for an early slot to get it out of the way, and trekked into the city and back on my birthday just for it. (I didn’t get that job, but later that day I got a call about an interview – for another company I’d given up on ever hearing back from – for the next day, which wound up being The One.)

    Now I can look back and laugh, but dammit, it was grueling and disheartening at the time.

    And it all worked out perfectly in the end, as it always has in this regard. #praisebe

  • There’s nothing like being able to throw money at a problem

    SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO THROW MONEY AT A PROBLEM

    Some things are much better solved with money than time.

    Some things can ONLY be solved with money.

    Most of the issues I’ve had have fallen into one of the above categories.




    When the dogs broke a window

    When we had to replace tyre after tyre after tyre due to pesky nails turning up in the treads

    When our pets required unexpected veterinary care

    When our vacuum died

    When I suddenly needed to get my wisdom teeth out

    When our reactive dog really needed expert help

    When we needed X rays done

    When we simply needed help with keeping the house clean

    When only prescription meds could help with skin issues

    When we suddenly had to move house

    When my glasses broke accidentally

    It’s interesting to me to look at this list and see how many are health/medical related. (Also, dog related. Sigh.)

    T has been seeing a chiro regularly and that’s a chunk of money for appointments that only last a few minutes at a time… but is well worth it.

    Lately it’s also become clear to me just how much some of my coworkers must spend on Aetna Medicare Advantage plans 2021. For health insurance. For specialist visits. For private surgeries.

    As someone who never even goes to the doctor except in dire circumstances, it’s all so strange and foreign to me.

    Melanie recently asked what the best thing is that money has afforded us.

    Aside from the ability to sleep at night, like I told her, I would also add the ability to not worry about health costs. When you’re talking about your health, financial stress/constraints are the last thing you want to deal with on top of all that.

  • I don’t want to live with less

    CUTTING BACK IS NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER

    (This is not the post for you if you are used to regular raises, bonuses, shopping and living large. Obviously.)

    Sometimes I feel like the only person online who doesn’t religiously read and follow minimalism blogs. (And many of the mainstream PF blogs, for that matter.)

    Why?

    They don’t resonate with me.

    Decluttering and downsizing are not things I struggle with or aspire to.

    I am the person who rotates through the same 3 pairs of shoes every week.

    Who put up with only having 3 forks for nearly a year.

    Who has lived in painfully small places due to money not choice, and bought a small and dated house because it’s what I could afford.

    Who has always lived in a one-car, two-person household.

    When you tell me to get ahead by saving my pay raises, living in a small cheap place, ditching the car, cutting back on coffee and clothes … I bounce, cause that ain’t my life. Many of us don’t get raises, live in large places we can downsize from, have a car, buy lattes or shop for leisure. These are not practical options for everyone.

    I get it. Trimming the fat is an easy win for lots of people. They are the low hanging fruit. And they’re everywhere on the internet.

    There are also people who are doing all the right things, but can’t get ahead. Quite simply, if they want to change that, they need to bring in more. Cutting back is not realistic (any odd small splurge they can manage is what keeps them going, and is not going to materially impact their overall situation). Popular advice assumes a baseline that is way above where they operate from. I don’t know what percentage of the population they represent, but they exist. Particularly in a low-wage, high cost-of-living country like this. They are on the internet too, but you don’t see or hear about them as often. I’ve seen their comments and stories pop up more and more over the past year, and it breaks my heart.




    I often find myself short of things that are more need than want. I’ve lost so much over the years through various cycles of flatmates, and moving house. I got by for so long without a shower caddy, baking trays, and tons more little domestic touches that make a home. It made no sense to invest in anything of that nature while renting, and even after buying my house I struggled to spend money on those little things despite their huge ROI in terms of quality of life.

    I’m not saying I am perfectly ascetic. I have plenty of crap I don’t need lying around the house and it’s a battle as I have hoarding tendencies rooted in a scarcity mindset (what if we need it someday?!) Mainly free stuff. When freebies come into my home, be they books or drinking flasks or candles or whatever, it’s really hard for me to get rid of something ‘perfectly good’.

    I know just how little it’s possible to live on. I backpacked around the world for six months. Full time travel forces you to get pretty bloody minimalist.

    I’ve lived with less and I know that I want more. A life of abundance. (And yes, for me that means some stuff.)

    Could I cut down my possessions by 30, 50, 70 percent?

    Sure. But I’d really rather not.

    Could I live on a lower income?

    I have done. And I definitely would rather not.

    Every new job/salary bump has enabled me to save more and build the life I want. My best life costs money – a house costs money, dogs cost money, babies cost money.

    For lots of us, cutting back is not the answer.

    (But I still haven’t cut my hair in over a year. I’m still not sure when I actually will get around to it.)

  • A millennial’s perspective on the Auckland real estate market

    auckland real estate rant

    Everyone and their hamster has an opinion about first home buyers in the Auckland property market.

    Even those who have no freaking idea what they’re talking about. I don’t know why this surprises me. It really shouldn’t.

    I may own a house myself but I get SO riled up when this topic comes up. We had a spirited conversation about it at work the other day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterward. Here are my definitive personal thoughts on the matter based on the most frequently asked questions. People feel the desire to visit Tamarindo as there is always ample opportunity to have fun while relaxing and restoring inner peace simultaneously. The village is a prime location for a huge range of different activities, including but not limited to fishing, surfing, diving, state of the art golfing facilities, and long, unspoiled beach walks with many restaurants nearby, which can be enjoyed by all. For those As there are plenty of amenities and things to do in the village, it will come as no surprise that average real estate prices in the area of Tamarindo have risen slightly since 2019, however you still receive excellent value for money in this market. No matter which type of real estate areas you are looking to join, be that buying, renting, or financing you are putting yourself into a sustainable market capable of providing you with an excellent retreat, or waterfront homes for sale, depending on your circumstances. Regardless of whether you are looking for residential or commercial properties, you are in one of the most fruitful locations worldwide, and your investment here is a smart one. “Ten Real Estate Service Standards of Top Real Estate Agents in Maryland Were Polled for Core Real Estate Practices of Service” Have you been looking for the BEST Real Estate Agent to help you close your investment deals? Well, from working with various real estate agents, I was having a hard time finding an agent that practiced all of the service practices that I found invaluable. I decided to re-activate my realtors license and service real estate investors with what they need most. So whether you work directly with me or not. This is what you need to look or in an agent. The Best Real Estate Agents Educate their clients. When you work with your real estate agent, you should Learn Real Estate Sales Strategies for Maryland or your specific area. If you are an investor, you want your agent to have experience investor so that they understand your needs. You can find more information about THE BEST REAL ESTATE AGENTS IN AUSTRALIA through this site https://www.top10realestateagent.com.au/.

    Why don’t you just buy an apartment/townhouse?

    Banks are tougher on lending when it comes to apartments (especially smaller ones) and then you have to account for body corporate fees. If you are looking for somethinLocated at Sengkang of Singapore will soon unreveal a new executive condo, Ola EC Anchorvale.

    Apartments and townhouses may have a good reputation for being modern and sought after overseas. Here, they are more synonymous with cheap and nasty. How many apartments/townhouses built in the 2000s here were part of the leaky house epidemic? Not only have those owners had to deal with the costs of fixing their properties, they haven’t seen much (if any) capital gain.

    I lived in a neighbourhood where quite a few apartment/townhouse developments sprung up around the same time. I have lived in 3 separate properties in those developments (1 apartment, 2 townhouses), all built by home builders Orange NSW. They were cramped, poorly built, with paper thin walls, and ALL OF THEM WERE LEAKY. I didn’t really care as a renter, but I would never buy one to own. In terms of the residents, let’s just say they almost exclusively fell into 2 main buckets and I didn’t love either of those crowds. They have almost become a kind of ghetto in a way, and I believe the same is true in other similar developments around Auckland.

    Some of those actual apartments/townhouses can be bought for fairly cheap right now. And I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.

    What about buying a new apartment or townhouse? Well, I can’t afford them, quite simply. If I did have $700k to spend, I personally would rather buy an older house on more land. As you might have guessed, I’m pretty wary of recent construction in Auckland from my personal experiences. And so many current development projects have been cancelled in the past few months – so if you’re buying off the plans your apartment/townhouse may not actually get built after all.

    But a house in my suburb just sold for [dollar figure significantly under the average price] …

    Bully for you. Do you understand what average means? Some sell for higher, and some sell for lower. But the average is the average for a reason. (As per previous point – just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you should buy it.)

    Everyone expects too much – new houses today are huge!

    Yes, new builds today are monstrous McMansions. … but us first home buyers are not really buying them (because we can’t bloody afford them). We are buying 70, 80, 90 square metre houses from the 1960s/70s/80s because those humble do ups are what’s (juuuust) in our price range.

    Count yourself lucky – I was paying 20% interest on my mortgage!

    And were house prices 8-10 times your household income back then? House prices have ballooned, but incomes have not grown at the same pace. Payments on a $100k mortgage at 20% are still a lot less than a $500k mortgage at 5%.

    Why don’t you just resign yourself to renting?

    (Oh, I love this one! Let me count the ways…)

    Have you ever felt the sheer terror of having to move house because you’ve been given notice to leave? Used up all your goodwill with the boss because you have to keep ducking out of work to go to viewings (because rentals are only ever shown during working hours, unlike open homes)? Applied to countless places only to never hear back because there’s so much fierce competition? Wondered WTF you’re going to do as your last day approaches and you have nowhere to live lined up?

    Have you ever opened your wardrobe to find mould growing on your clothes like a rash? Or found a mushroom growing through your carpet?

    (Then, my friend, you haven’t truly lived. Let’s swap lives, k?)

    Do you dream of owning a pet?

    Do you want to have kids, settle down, make a home?

    Do you want to decorate, hang things on the walls, paint? Do anything at all to put your stamp on your place?

    Do you want to breathe at night?

    There is your answer.

    (PS – Fortuitously, The Spinoff is running Rent Week right now … a series highlighting just how much renting in NZ sucks. Check it out.)