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Archive for October, 2010

validation... & iPhone apps?

October 27th, 2010 at 01:27 am

I just got back from a meeting with our business accountant, and he said as I was preparing to leave, that I was doing fantastically well. Kind of some much needed validation after a few pretty crappy weeks regarding my book-keeping job.

After he said that, I mentioned I was about to start (my uni course) and he was actually excited for me and said I would do well, and that it would provide a lot of pathways in the future. He also reinforced my choice of uni, saying that he did a couple of units through them externally himself, years ago, and they were *the best*. Big Grin

Getting back to the office, DF called me to tell me my text books had arrived. Yay! And super quick!

My iPhone arrived yesterday too, so I have been playing around with that, probably more than I should.

I bought my little sister a SIM card and gave my old phone to her. She thinks it's because DF and I are being nice, but really it's so I know WHERE SHE IS at all times. She is, unfortunately, one of THOSE teenagers. *sigh* trying to get her to be more responsible and aware of what the world is really like (that it's not actually safe for a 15 year old girl to be walking around the streets at night just because she had a fight with her mother and stepdad). Atleast now she might be 5% more safer with a phone.

Stress has been alleviated slightly at the family business, as work has picked up for the before-Christmas rush, and there's money in the bank to pay bills. So we can breathe easy for a week or two and hopefully everyone will get along.

DF and I need to start making preparations, in all areas of our lives. Will post more about that later.

Question for iPhone users at SA (BA & Frugaltexan... anyone else?)

What cool iPhone apps do you have? There are so many. I am 'allowed' to buy atleast 6, because that's how many DF has already bought. Big Grin

I ask this because DF is not really an app user - he likes the ones that have novelty value, like the Star Wars light saber (which I actually do think is kinda cool...Big Grin) But I was wondering if you could recommend any good, functional, useful ones?

Paid Parental Leave!

October 25th, 2010 at 09:53 am

Today on the radio I heard some very exciting news. From January 1, 2011, working parents will be able to get government funded paid parental leave. It consists of eighteen weeks of $570 weekly payments, which is the minimum wage here.

For couples like DF and I, who both work and don't get holiday, sick or maternity pay, this is wonderful news. It makes starting a family seem like it is actually in reach for once, financially at least (and for us, money is one of the last obstacles to overcome, besides actually falling pregnant.)

what do you feed your teenagers?

October 24th, 2010 at 06:01 am

I have two teenagers (my brother and sister) staying with us for an indefinate amount of time. My mum is giving us $100 a week. $40 of it is for my brothers bus fare, and the rest is for food. My sister can walk to school from my house.

I am lucky enough to get bread for free, so for breakfast they eat toast.

For lunch they take a salad roll, an apple, a frozen 100% juice pack, a muesli bar and a snack packet of vege chips.

They seem happy enough to eat a never ending amount of bread with peanut butter & honey, or anzac biscuits with tea, as a snack.

Dinners are usually spaghetti bolognaise, roast vegetables & salad, minestroni soup, homemade pizza, stirfries or curries with rice.

I know lots of you have growing children in your households, what do you feed them?!

And what do you get them to do?! I am at a loss. They are bored. I know teenagers are meant to be bored, like 90% of the time anyway, because it's some sort of annoying genetic mutation Big Grin but really! I am not the type of person to let them sit on a computer all day, or go out whenever they want. So most of the time they are at home, but apparently there is nothing to do. *sigh*

textbooks

October 23rd, 2010 at 07:03 am

I feel rather bad about spending so much, but I just ordered my first two textbooks to the tune of $260.00. DF and I are used to spending sizeable amounts on books - but only because the ones we normally spend this much money on are guarunteed to INCREASE in value... not be outdated in a year and un-usable to anyone except as a reference. Sheesh!

My reasons for purchasing the books new:

- Even though the first units I do will no doubt be the easiest ones, I am still a bit iffy about buying accounting and financial law books that are older editions than the ones required for the course. Laws change so quickly.

- DF thought I was crazy for buying them secondhand.('Someone else has probably written all over them and highlighted the text, and you'll get confused because you haven't made the marks but they're there' Big Grin he knows me well, my DF).

- The first two books I get come with programs on discs, which can only be used by the first purchaser, otherwise I have to purchase another license to use the disc again - which brings the total up the roughly the same amount it would be to buy the new books with cd - but instead, I would have an old book with scribble in it, and possibly a scratched disc, and the hassle of finding out how to buy another license for the disc. Yay! Hassle I really don't want.

So, next semester I will again look at secondhand books, but will go new for my first ones. I am nervous enough about starting university without having to stress myself out about buying books for the first time.

Over the next few weeks I am going to get myself organised. I need to make up a list of the units I am doing, and which year/semester I am doing it in. It is SO WEIRD to be looking at these and realising that in 2016 I will be doing, for example, Unit LAW3130: Revenue Law & Practice. It seems so far away. *sigh*

Also I am planning on doing up a list of ALL the textbooks I will need for next year, just so I can keep an eye out for them.

Updates

October 20th, 2010 at 05:13 am

I haven't been blogging much lately. Things are rather hectic.
We have been doing some minor house repairs and renovations, as well as trying to clean up in the process for DF's 30th Birthday Party (in two and a half weeks time).
We have had my younger brother and sister (16 yo & 15 yo) staying with us for two weeks, and probably will for another week. My mum is giving me $100 a week for their bus and food money. They sure do eat a lot.
Our hot water system seems to be leaking. DF has the replacement valve to fix it, but just hasn't had the time to do it, so we have had to turn it on and off when we need it. I have realised how much we DON'T use hot water. Other than showers, it has not really impacted our lives to use a kettle for a sink full of dishes, and that's about it. It has only been a week though, and I would much prefer it fixed!

I start uni studies in less than a month now. I am trying to organise one text book from a cousin of DF's, I need edition 6 and she has edition 5, but I was going to see if I could get by with hers instead of shelling out extra. A friend of mine said normally they just bring out a new edition every year but hardly change anything. I have not looked at what I need for the other subject yet though. And I haven't even recieved anything from the uni yet. Not really sure what's going on with that! Hopefully they just wait until a week before. I don't think I need to do anything else...

A few months ago we (and by we, I mean DF) bought $50 worth of organic meat from a share in a slaughtered cow from DF's BIL's parents farm. (Similar to Baselle - except we only were offered the meat as it was being divied up). It worked out to be around $7.50/kg, and included rib eye, sausages, eye fillet and mince. Well, most of that is gone, I think we have about 500g of mince left which I'll use this week. For the past few years we have just bought meat from the supermarket because it was convenient and cheap, but for the first few years of living together, DF and I used to buy meat from an organic butcher. Where we used to live, it was about a 45 minute trip just to get there. Now it is only about a 10 minute drive, if that. DF and I have been talking a lot lately about the food we eat etc, and have agreed that for us, we think it is worth the cost. In the end, I do not eat meat, and DF does not eat a lot (maybe 3 meals a week with meat), so the extra cost would work out to be around $5 a week.

I have been listing a few items here and there on eBay, and they seem to be selling. I am going to try and list atleast 1-2 items a week, just of things we would probably give away. Tidying up for DF's party has definately made us realise how much stuff we have. DF's mostly, though. He is a hoarder! Big Grin

I have internet surveys coming out of my ears! Hopefully soon I can cash some in.

I don't think our paycuts have sunk into DF as he still seems to be spending money a lot, and wanting to spend money on things, and talking about all the things we need to buy. It is starting to stress me out a bit. So I think we will sit down and I will explain what we earn each week, how much comes out, and what is left, so that maybe he has a better picture of what we have. Because at the rate of all these things we 'need' to buy soon, I think DF thinks we are millionaires or something.

well, that's about it for now. Smile How has everyone else been??? Big Grin

i love my mechanic

October 12th, 2010 at 10:20 am

When I finished work today, I called my mechanic. 'I think I've fixed it' he says to me on the phone. Uh-oh, I think. This does not inspire confidence.

When my friend drops me off, he tells me he has taken the master cylinder apart, cleaned it, and put it back together. The brake doesn't feel like it is having trouble depressing now, and it seems to run fine on the test run.

He tells me to see how it goes, he is not sure if it has fixed the problem, but he priced a new master cylinder for me ($220 plus labour) and decided to see if this would work first.

I was in shock when he tells me the cost for the work he has done: $60.00!

I think that is the smallest amount I have spent on car repairs in a very long time. My friend choked when I told her, and now has his number too! Smile

Updates, not in any particular order...

October 11th, 2010 at 08:34 am

- I started my first 'new rostered hours' week today. I work Mon, Tues, Thurs, Friday at the bakery and Wed at my book keeping job.

- Our phone rep finally called me (I assume he must have been on holidays) and set up my new phone plan contract for me. It is on a business plan (yey! free voicemail! not that I ever use it...), still the same amount every month as before, but I also get 1gb per month of data, and a free iPhone, which arrives on Thursday. Finally!

-The rep also helped me with some info on mobile broadband. The one he is recomending will cost $38 a month - $30 for 4gb data and $8 per month for rental of a router. SO MUCH CHEAPER than what we are currently paying ($44.95 per month for 5gb and $30 for phone line rental.) I am just a little concerned about it dropping out, because I don't want to get stuck if I do an online exam. But he said if our 3g coverage on our phone is higher than 3 bars, we will be fine, and I checked my phone and in our area it is at the max, which is 7 bars. So, might be worth looking into, and there are no set-up fees either.

- Today I dropped my car off at the mechanic. Last night I googled the brake problem, and a few forums said something about the master cyclinder. And then, when talking to the mechanic, he said he thought it might be that, because it wasn't the pistons. I think I just nodded at him. Big Grin My car stays there overnight, and he will call me tomorrow to tell me what's what. I'm thinking $200-$300 in repairs, which is budgeted into the bills anyway.

- I must buy my friend some flowers, or something, as she picked me up from work today, drove me home, then followed me to the mechanic so I could drop off my car, and then drove me home again. And then, tomorrow she is picking me up from work and driving me to either pick up my car, or drive me home if it's not ready. Isn't she lovely? I would buy her chocolates or something yummy that a normal person would enjoy, but she has OCD and would most likely throw them in the bin. So... any ideas?

grrrrr. cars!

October 9th, 2010 at 06:00 am

My car played up yesterday and today. Yesterday when I was driving home from work it was really hard to drive, brakes were extremely touchy, not accelerating, burning brake smell etc. After waiting an hour for roadside assistance I was told it was the brakes sticking on (which I had figured out already! - though to be fair, the guy was really quite nice), it would be ok to drive but to get it fixed asap. So instead, I drove it to the mechanic. He was not super busy, so hoisted it up, took the tyres off and did all that manly mechanical stuff (Big Grin) Couldn't find anything, took it for a drive, and wouldn't you know it, it drove like normal!

I guess the only good thing about that day was that the roadside assistance didn't cost a thing, seeing as I pay a $60 annual fee for it. And when I asked my mechanic how much I owed him (for an hours work) he said nothing. Smile

So I drive home, all fine. This morning I drive to the markets, again, everything is fine. Then DF and I decide to go into town and it does it again. So now kind of unsure what to do really. I guess I will just drive to work on Monday and then book it in for whatever needs to be done on Tuesday or Wednesday. If I had a normal job with normal hours, I would book it in for Monday. However, I start at 6am. The mechanic starts at 8am. And I would have no way to drive it there and then get back to work, if I so wanted to do that. I hate car trouble.

Coupled with the fact that it rather looks like a piece of crap at the moment (it has been scratched, run into & dented by strangers) and things are going to start costing large chunks of money soon to keep it going and safe, I think DF and I have to have a good talk/think about getting a new-to-us car in the near future. Our ultimate goal is of course to pay in cash - but if you had asked me a month ago when we would be thinking of buying a new car, I would have said in a few years. Now it is more like, in a few months. Frown I don't want to loan money for a car, but I do not want to buy another car that is going to have the same problems as my last two cars have had (the major problem being: they are OLD!), which is probably what we can afford at the moment.

I am thinking, if things begin to go sour for my car soon, that we will get a loan for a new car, sell my car (could still get approx $3000 for it) and then just pay down the loan straight away with the cash we get from the sale of the old car. We would be looking at buying a new-to-us car around the $10k mark. (i think at this stage we have settled on a subaru liberty stationwagon).

Anywho. Thanks for letting me vent my frustration and ramble a bit. Smile