Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hello there!

Well hasn't this been a useless waste of a year (trust me, it has).

I haven't blogged, which was something I used to really enjoy and I haven't made enough of a dint in my thesis to please anyone.

I love doing my yearly report because it gives me a chance to learn and take pleasure from what I have succeeded in doing and look at a few areas where I haven't done so well.


  1. I gave a drama free talk in front of my entire library.
  2. Got a pet work project off the ground and funded
  3. Stayed away from people who are bad for me (Mr N mainly)
  4. I got on top of my finances.
Lousy stuff:
  1. I'm selling my house. This is both good and bad.
  2. I'm unfit.
  3. My job is less than ideal.
Overall, it's been a pretty shit year.

Things for the new year:
  1. Take a makeup course. I've been saying this for years, but I really want to learn how to do my makeup properly.
  2. Learn how to do face-painting. This is sort of the same as task number 1 but more fun.
  3. Learn to play my break-up banjo.
  4. Either fix my job situation or find a new one.
This can all be done right? I mean, next year is a big one for me. I turn 30.  I've already decided on my 30th birthday present to myself, and it's super boring. I'm buying shares with my 'play savings'. Whoooo.

Here's to a better year next year.

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to do a basic budget and have an emergency account

I see so many people who screw up their finances. And I do understand why. When I first met Mr G, I had no clue about money or saving or budgeting. He gave me a lot of help, and now I'm all over it. But I suspect that working full-time would have done that to me regardless of his influence. What I don't understand, is how people can manage without having a budget or an emergency bank account.
Emergency accounts are the most important thing to me. They rescue you when you need them, and they prevent you from having to ask others for cash or from having to dodge bills.

1. Open a bank account that doesn't have a card attached.
2.  Automatically have $10 a week taken out of your regular account and put in your new account. If you get paid fortnightly, have $20 a fortnight taken out.

Now you have an emergency account!

And note, it's for emergencies.  It's not for when you realise you really want a new book/DVD/pair of jeans. It's not to buy someone a gift or to go out for dinner when someone asks. None of those things are emergencies.  It's not even for when you get halfway through the week and realise you blew your food money. If that happens, eat leftovers. You probably have some dried pasta. Stick some cheese on it. Buy a loaf of bread and some honey and suffer for a few days. A lack of delicious meals is not an emergency.

But of course, this is assuming that you even have a food budget. You might want a house or you might want a partner (and yes, that is a valid reason for getting your finances in order - being a financial disaster isn't sexy, and it's worse the older you get).

1. Work out how much you earn per week.
2. Deduct how much you pay in rent. If you don't pay rent then pretend that you do, and divert that money into your savings.
3. Deduct food money. $80-100 per week is what I would say is fair.
4. Deduct bill money. I include my water, electricity and my phone. If I had health insurance, it would include this as well.  I don't have an internet connection because... I have chosen to give myself more spending money per week.
5. Give yourself some weekly spending money. I think $100 is fair. This lets you go out and buy stuff you want within reason. If you want something that costs $100, then it forces you to think about how much you want it. Is it worth doing nothing else all week?
6. Now comes the best part.  After you have deducted all of those things, you may have some money left over from your original weekly wage. If so, that's rad, and that goes to your savings accounts . If not, then you need to readjust everything. You may need to reduce your weekly spending money. Eat cheaper foods, and make sure you always eat home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than getting takeaway.
7. Under no circumstances should you get overly excited and attempt to save heaps by restricting your food and your fun money. Budgeting is just like losing weight. If you restrict yourself too heavily you will eventually snap and spend like crazy - saying to yourself 'I deserve it'. Also, your life will be crap. You'll be eating 2 minute noodles by yourself every night, which isn't exactly ideal.

Now let's get onto the part about savings accounts. Let's assume that you've now got somewhere between $40-400 left over for your savings.

My preference is to break that up even further. If you are just starting to save, I'd put half into an emergency account, a quarter into a holiday account and a quarter into a 'me' account. I know this might not make immediate sense, but budgeting is about making finances easier so that life is nicer.

I love having a holiday account. It means that at some stage, I can take a real stress free holiday without having to worry about how I pay for it. I know a woman who took a $10000 loan to finance a holiday. She hated it, because she thought about money the entire time.  If I want to go to New Zealand rather than country Victoria, then I need to save more and wait longer.

The 'me' account is more indulgent. It's for large, selfish purchases.  I only put $10 a week into mine, so that when Christmas comes around I can buy something for my family, and also buy a treat for myself. Since we are now doing a Kris Kringle thing for my immediate family, it's unlikely that I'd blow the entire $520. So I'd also use it for whatever else I'd like throughout the year that I couldn't afford with my weekly saving.

Once those accounts get to a reasonably healthy amount (say $1000 each), then you can continue kicking a low amount each week into them, and start a new account for something big - if that's what you want.

Now I'm hungry and depressed about how much I hate Christmas so we'll finish here.  Next time I might talk about debt. Because I've become fun like that.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I like my job. I mean, when I think of a safe happy place, I think of work. It's what happens when you pursue a career you love.

Yesterday Mr G and I painted some of our house. I sanded the skirting boards and door frames, the put the primer on. It took the entire day. It's sad that we're doing up the place to sell rather than to live and raise a family in. I've cried a few times over it. Mr G asked if I'd ever have time for a partner. I said yes, I'd have time for the right partner. He agreed that being friends is for the best. We are both so sad, and miss our relationship but that's just something we have to deal with.

He's a great man. Flaws yes, but he has never hurt me on purpose. That's not something I can say about any other partner. He also tries hard to adapt and improve.

So, at the moment, relationships aren't safe places. Home isn't a safe place because mum and dad rock up every few weeks, spend some time yelling and then go away again - leaving me exhausted.

But work is safe. I know what I'm doing there. I can control my output. I can make suggestions. Nobody yells at me (mostly). I have mentors and people to ask for help if I need it. On Friday I wrote a proposal for work that was higher level stuff than I should be doing. It was great to get that experience. I now have three part time staff I manage (not officially, because then I'd have to be paid more) and I have a full timer coming in a few weeks. He's cool too. Nice guy. Seems keen to learn which is brilliant.

As for the thesis, Mr G finally gave me some support. We talked about how I hated him resenting it. It's not fair that he complains about my lack of time when his job gives him take home work and extra activities like camps. It's not going well right now, because I've been crying over the house and I've been missing my best friend who is over in New Zealand on holiday. It's virtually impossible to produce strong work when you are counting the hours until a hug, a chat and a burger.

I compared my friends with Mr G's. explained that my friends try really hard to include people and talk and make everyone comfortable. His work friends are mostly jerks to me. Not overly mean or anything, just not inclusive or kind. He pointed out that his closest friends are really kind, which is true. They are lovely and make a proper effort. His family especially. It's hard going over all this again just because of the stupid house. I can't wait for it to be sold so we can all move on with life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lovely things

One of the nicest feelings in the world is when someone strokes your hair or face when you're sick.