I received the info from my new job. I'm going to be working for a power company, and I get 25% discount on my power bills. Yes! Also I can pay 8% of my salary into Kiwisaver, and get a match of 1%, rising to 4% after 3 years. I'm wearing a big smile today.
Archive for April, 2008
Today was a NSD - good for me. It was a close call tho. In one of the opportunity shops they had some laceweight wool, a beautiful deep red colour, enough for a shawl and only nz$16. It was positively screaming "buy me". But I resisted. I already have a whole boxful of yarn that I couldn't resist buying - I am going to use it all up before I buy any more, plus the material I have and the unfinished crossstitch projects. It's silly to keep buying stuff if I don't get round to completing it.
My artist friend disagrees. He says if you're creative, you need lots of raw material for projects. Maybe. But all those unused skeins represent $$$. If I don't buy now, and put the money aside, I'll be able to afford it when I'm older.
I have been reading James Scurlock's book Maxed Out. I haven't seen the documentary, but he talks in detail about some of the cases in the book. Terrifying how easily some people fell into the debt trap. Having formerly been a volunteer tutor with an adult literacy group, I wouldn't be surprised if some of those folks can barely read. I blame it all on the education system for not teaching financial literacy. I can remember going off to university with my brand new checkbook and not knowing how to write a check for my fees - the woman at the registry desk had to tell me how!
I guess I am very fortunate I was reared by Depression Era family members who really dinned it into me debt is not a good thing. The only acceptable kind was a mortgage, and that was paid off as quickly as poss so you had a secure roof over your head. I only ever had one store card. When I bought my own house I had all sorts of little expenses, needing to buy tools, put up shelves etc, so I applied for a card with Mitre 10, the DIY supplies store. Wow did I ever get a shock when I ran up $500 worth of stuff in a couple months! Then I saw how much the fees and interest rate were on the statement. I sat down with a calculator and figured it would take me 5 years to pay it off and twice the amount charged if I kept making the minimum payment, so I paid it off as fast as I could and cancelled it. I am very fortunate I had an education and knew enough to go to the local library and start checking out books on personal finance when I realised I had a problem.
I wonder if people would be more careful if we legally obliged credit cards to be referred to as "debt cards"? There's a force - at least to me - about the word debt that doesn't seem to exist with available credit or home equity loan. Or maybe, as I did when I first tried my store card, they just think it's only $25 a month and don't focus on anything else. Of course I was a young knowitall new grad back in those days. Nowadays I see students putting beer and pizza on the student loan, never noticing how it adds up.
Today I went to the supermarket early, and bought a couple date scones for lunch from the day old bread bin for .80 cents. I found .40 cents by a parking meter on the way back. That's nz$1.40 saved.
I can choose to spend it on ... nothing very much, but if I save it and invest it at 5% it will bring be in .07 cents a year for the rest of my life. I keep trying to bear this in mind when tempted to spend.
Clearly I live in a very different world from our politicians. New Zealand is having an election this year, and promises loom large. John Key, leader of the National Party, just announced that his party would spend $1.5 billion making highspeed Broadband available. I appreciate the thought, but where is the money coming from, given we're heading into a recession. This is the same party that is promising tax cuts to high income earners. I thought they were supposed to be all about govt non-intervention in business. He says it will be good for people who can telecommute. Hmm, maybe our politicians could set the example and have teleconferences, instead of flying all over the country -and world - at taxpayers' expense. Given a Member of Parliament earns 3 times the average wage, I don't think they're in touch with how ordinary people live.
Yes, I've been MIA for a while, but I've still been lurking. Thanx for kind enquiries while I was gone. I wanted to make sure I was on my feet again before I made any rash plans for the future.
The good news is I am feeling much better, and I am even starting pt work soon. Training begins 5 May, for 8 weeks, then I will be working 20 hours a week. Money coming in! cool!
The bad news is I have gotten myself into some bad habits financially. Because I was struggling to cook for a while, I started eating out more. Not topline reastaurants - my idea of eating out is a cup of tea and a sandwich, but still when you haven't much money it adds up. So I have to knock this behavior on the head. I bought some zuccini on manager's special yesterday and made myself a frittata. It was nice to have a home cooked meal again, so today I'm going through the cookbooks and planning meals for the week. We're heading into winter here, so lentil soup is on the cards for tonite.