Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Spring!





Confessions of a Compulsive Spender

Note: This post has been added to over a handful of days since the start of September.

Charlie and I both started new jobs halfway through this year and it's all very exciting and something I should have blogged about extensively and may do some day, but this is not the post for it.

After working in retail for all the 'New Years' [it's just the plural of New Year here, Mum, I'm sorry] of our relationship I was hopeful Charlie's new job would mean seeing in 2015 together somewhere other than Wellington. Unfortunately not this time.

But I'd already been thinking so much about going somewhere exciting during the summer, that I started considering going solo. Visiting one or both of my two good mates in Aussie and have a holiday by myself.

I have been terrible with money ever since I first discovered the concept. I don't know why - my parents aren't rich, but they sure are disciplined and sensible when it comes to spending. My little sister has been saving for years - spending on both necessary and luxury things along the way, but always with a healthy balance left in the bank.

But me? As a kid and tween I would get a few banknotes for my birthday and spend as soon as possible - the same day if I could. I would get a late birthday card with $30 enclosed and head straight to the toy store to blow the lot on a fancy teddy bear.

And then I got older and older and this just continued (although I finally grew out of teddy bears... new ones, that is. I still have several of my old buddies on a shelf in our bedroom...)

I'm 25 years old now, I have been working a part- or full-time job since I was 15, and I still live paycheck-to-paycheck. Sometimes I need help to get to that next paycheck. It is shameful.

I have a relatively-small student loan from a foolish attempt at study when I was not physically nor mentally fit to complete it. Thankfully it's interest-free, and decreasing merrily with every pay. I have an overdraft of $2000 that I gleefully accepted during those student days and this means I float around in the red and now pay monthly interest. But I'm paid fortnightly and my bank account has not been in the black since I accepted that overdraft and went shopping all those years ago at 17. Thankfully I don't have a credit card. It could be much worse. But it still needs to change.

--

It's the 3nd of September and this evening I sat down and made a solid plan to save for an Australia trip at the end of January. I looked on Kayak at different flight options, and worked out how much I can afford to save if I stop wasting money - it's exciting, and achievable. If I can stick to my plan and can confirm dates that work for both friends and my work, I should be able to book flights in early October, and accommodation after that. And then I'll have over three months to get a tattoo appointment locked in with a deposit, and save a healthy amount of spending money.

Young Adventuress Liz posted this old blog post on her Facebook page today and it could not have come at a better time. I clicked through some of the posts she linked to too, and saw a tip for when you're thinking about making a unnecessary purchase - think what could I buy on holiday with that money instead? Seems bloody obvious, but I really haven't ever had that mindset before.

It's ridiculous that I haven't travelled (on my own money). When people ask if I want to travel and I practically shout yes, my response to why I haven't is "money"/"too poor"/"can't afford", and that's not true, I make a decent income. It's my spending problem, and that's not an excuse. I see this Australia trip obviously as a holiday, but also the first step towards being a "saver" and going on holidays further abroad. Those of you who know me and/or have read my blog for a long time will know my desire to go to the States. If I can achieve Australia in a few short months, I'm sure I can achieve my American dream a year or two after that!

--

It's the 8th of September, my first payday since I decided to save for Australia. Managed to make the remainder of my previous pay last until today and put a little excess into my savings account so for me that's off to a good start!

From my pay today I put around 35% into my savings account and put aside money for the dentist this Wednesday. I paid all my bills (wahhh, electricity) and expenses (including Child Fund sponsorship - yup, maybe an "unnecessary" expense but a damn fulfilling one I won't be giving up), and did a grocery shop this evening for some seriously healthy food - 80% fresh fruit fruit/veges/raw foods, and 20% packaged-but-still-healthy food. Nary a chocolate-anything in sight. The leftover money I have budgeted to a small daily allowance for the next fortnight to use on miscellaneous expenses and any extra food I need. Going to try my best to spend next to nothing from that until I have to, so maybe I can treat myself to a meal out or a couple of beers later in the fortnight.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, hence keeping these updates in one post for now. Writing all this publicly and then failing would be terribly embarrassing, and I have a decade of poor money management to overcome (oh, hell). But my mindset is really different this time. I've seen lots of lovely clothing and art items online during the past week, and in the past I would bookmark them for a payday spend-up, but this time I've quickly closed the tabs. Maybe a little way to go before I resist clicking the links at all! I glanced at overpriced fresh flowers on the way into the supermarket this evening (a regular frivolous expense for me) but walked right on by thinking that's another tenner in Aussie! If I can get through to my next pay without borrowing money or touching my savings, I'll hit publish and continue these posts more regularly... and less lengthy!

--

It's the 9th of September,  and despite what I said yesterday, I'm going to hit publish today. I just read Kelly and Rochelle's posts about "Brokeass September" and if they can be open about money stuff, I can too. I have all my (mega healthy!) food for the day planned out, so won't be spending a cent and today's allowance can carry over to tomorrow. I got this.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summary of August 2014

This month last year
It was the middle of Breaking Bad's final season, I got my Captain Von Trapp tattoo.

Entertained by
We watched the first two Hunger Games movies, they were alright. I bought a stack of books from the Book Fair, and re-read Black Like Me and Willow Tree and Olive. Listened to Broods' Evergreen and 3ree6ixty's Utopia.

Purchased
Books, a couple of dresses, a necklace, a cactus.

Highlights
Going to Broods with old-work people and 3ree6ixty with Charlie.

Lowlights
Robin Williams' death.



Art progress
Only a couple of drawings at the start of the month.

Looking forward to
No big events coming up. Lorde tickets go on sale tomorrow which I was pretty keen for but have decided not to go. Going to try not to spend money in September.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Summary of July 2014

Oops, one day late.

This month last year
I bought the Urban Decay Naked palette. That seriously looks to be the only thing of note in my Instagram photos.

Entertained by
I watched Crisis which featured some horrific acting and some of the worst green screen I have ever seen, but the plot was kind of exciting so overall I enjoyed it... Started watching Awake yesterday-evening on my sister's recommendation and that is much, much better quality. Loving it!

I finally watched The Other Woman and it was terrible, oh my gosh. I can get down with lowbrow, but that was really bad - except for Leslie Mann, I love her. I finally re-watched one of my all-time-favourites Dick online, but still want to find a DVD copy of it.

I read We Were Liars, which I would recommend but only if you don't know anything at all about the story and just go read it.

Purchased
My first set of Prismacolors, a grey toned sketchbook, some new brushes. Throws and cushions for the couches. Two boxes of De Ruijter sprinkles...

Highlights
Going to Auckland for NetHui - it was really interesting, and fantastic to catch up with a bunch of people I hadn't seen for a long time. I wrote a blog post about it for work here.



There is a new kitten in the neighbourhood!

Lowlights
Working different times to Charlie again kind of sucks a little more than I thought it would. And it has been COLD AND WINDY a lot.

Art progress
I have been drawing in the evenings again this month. I created a new Instagram just for my artwork - @aliceportfolio.



Looking forward to
I have tickets to two concerts in August - Broods with old-work people and 360 with Charlie. I also have an appointment to get my Captain von Trapp tattoo's face touched up a little bit.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summary of June 2014

Edit: I've decided to do Dry July this year. I usually only drink a couple of times a month if that, but mingling in Auckland totally sober will be outside my comfort zone! If you want to donate, click here.

This month last year
Was a lot colder than this year, from memory. I've only worn my big woolly scarf twice so far this winter. Using Instagram to jog my memory, highlights were The Last of Us and getting the big bookshelves for our lounge.

Entertained by
I went to the Ellie Goulding concert in Wellington with a few of my old work colleagues, and loved it. Enjoyed Broods' opening performance too, and have bought tickets to go see them again in August.



My sister Emily and I went to see The Fault in our Stars, and oh my gosh the tears. It was fantastic, I liked it a lot better than the book for once. I wrote a blog post after the movie that's still in my drafts because I was crazy emotional and I'm not sure it should be published. Also Charlie and I saw What We Do in the Shadows which I did enjoy, though not sure I'll watch it again.

I read Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey which is brilliant, and sad, and satisfying.



Charlie and I watched all of Roswell over a couple of weeks. I do not understand why I thought Max and Liz were so fantastic when I watched it on TV back in the day, they are the most annoying characters. And Kyle was clearly the best.

I've been listening to Ellie, Broods, and Jasmine Thompson.

Purchased
An Ellie shirt from the concert and two dresses. Elizabeth is Missing as mentioned above, and Mr Mercedes by Stephen King.

Highlights
Ellie! Getting dressed up for the Gold Awards. Spending a couple of hours wandering around Te Papa with Charlie - I hadn't really been for a proper visit since I worked in the cafe there in 2007, so it was interesting again. Dylan visited us for one night which was fun, always great to see him. And on Saturday just gone the weather was stunning, so we went to Porirua with some friends and played mini putt, then came back into Wellington for fish and chips at the beach.

Also I got a grant to go to NetHui in Auckland next month! The first NetHui was being planned when I left InternetNZ in 2010, and I've always wanted to go since but hadn't been in roles where my attendance was relevant.

Lowlights
Flying back from a meeting in Auckland my ear blocked up SO BAD, and I couldn't hear out of it for the next 24 hours. And a few days ago I pulled my achilles tendon - not very badly, but enough to make slopes and steps pretty painful.

Art progress new category!
I did a quick drawing of my niece, Isobel, who turned 13 this month.



Looking forward to
NetHui! Also I'm semi-looking-forward-to Charlie starting his new work schedule, which will be quite different to mine. It's been wonderful being able to meet him after work every day to go out somewhere or walk home together. But I think it will probably be good for me to be alone a bit more to work on my art, and exercise, and probably eat healthier (not even remotely his fault that I've been so bad at those things, it's my lazy self).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summary of May 2014

Note: I scheduled this post a couple of days ago. The month is ending on a terribly heartbreaking note, as we have lost a beautiful, gentle, caring member of our SYAONZ community and I attended a service for her today. Rest in peace, Moira.

This month last year
Last May I spent a night in Auckland for an Arthritis New Zealand advocate workshop, which was the start of a lot more work and enthusiasm for SYAONZ, including the start of our website. My little sister Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from Massey University. I took the day off work for my 24th birthday for a hospital appointment, and then spent the afternoon with Charlie.

Entertained by
We have been watching a few episodes of The Office pretty much every night after work - currently on season 6. We started just after I saw Lauren mention she was re-watching it, and how emotionally involved in Jim and Pam's relationship she is. Oh gosh, me too, so much.

After teaching myself the New Zealand Sign Language alphabet one evening, I've been thoroughly impressed by the New Zealand Sign Language Dictionary app and trying to pick up a few words each night. Seriously, check it out, fantastic app.

Music-wise has been same old, but I'm in the 'love it' team for the video to Chandelier by Sia.

Besides my usual subscriptions on YouTube I've also been watching a lot of Jimmy Fallon videos (Drew is one of my favourites), UFO sighting videos (yup), and videos of extreme waterparks. Oh, the places you'll go.

Purchased
Two Rimmel lipsticks, a L'Oreal lipstick, six Milani lipsticks, and another lipstick holder. A clear case for my phone (what's the point of getting the fancy gold one if you can't see it?) Chelsea Winter's cookbook for Mother's Day, and a present for Mum's birthday (haven't been able to give it to her yet).

Highlights
I got about 20cm chopped off my hair! Absolutely love it, Jacques did such a great job and I'll definitely go back to him in the future.



Starting my new job has been a massive highlight and obviously the most significant part of this month. Absolutely loving it, and still pinching myself that I get to wake up on weekdays and head off to do something that I love. We had a great development day in Martinborough with the whole team.

Spent a night in the Wairarapa for my friend Alishia's leaving party which was a really good night.

It was my 25th birthday on the 17th which was mostly spent in Martinborough. The weather was gorgeous, and we had a lovely lunch at Medici. Was super spoiled with lovely gifts.





Looking forward to
Going to Auckland for a day of work. Going to Ellie Goulding with some old-work mates. 

Most liked on Instagram
Stunning colour during a Wellington sunrise - no filter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

South African Slang Video


I've been Twitter pals with Clint for a long time, but don't think we'd ever met before. What better way to do so than by filming a "collab"? (Ooh, one of those YT terms that grate me, but I can't help but use. Like "collective haul" urgghhh, I digress).

Once I get a new cord for my camera I want to film a lot more - for work too, which is exciting (phone camera is excellent, but doesn't fit on my tripod very well). So if you're a YouTube-enthusiast head over and subscribe to NicetiesVlog.

Circa 2005



While at my parents' house I found a shoebox of negatives from my school days, and my friend Samantha loaned me her negative scanner! Long weekend coming up, so I might try and scan them all (it takes a while).

But above are a few I scanned tonight - Ash and I took A LOT of pictures over the years! Top left is Ash and me (lip ring!) with a Tiny Teddy cookie and a lot of emotions, age 16ish. Top right is myself and Ash at school, age 16-17ish. Bottom left is me in my after-school-job uniform (Write Price, Lotto counter), age 16. Bottom right is Ash and me in nurse uniforms at our combined 17/16th birthday party.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Summary of April 2014

This has been a busy month to out-do all other busy months, so I should have been blogging as I go, but I have not. So this is a little lengthy.

This month last year
It was my Dad's 60th birthday so we had a lovely family lunch at Mirabelle in Carterton, and Emily, Charlie, Emily's boyfriend Sam and I gave Dad his helicopter flight voucher. Gay marriage was legalised in New Zealand and I was elated and super proud of NZ - anyone who was less than indifferent can get off mai internetz. There are not many other memory-triggering posts on my blog or Instagram. Looks like April last year was when Charlie showed me Lil Dicky's music, so his success in the 12 months since is pretty inspiring.

Entertained by
The QuizUp app! It's so much fun, you absolutely need to download it now if you haven't already. Similar concept to Words With Friends etc. in that you're playing your friends or strangers, but you battle in timed quizzes - so many categories to choose from, and I haven't noticed a speck of advertising so far, so get in there while it's hot and free.

Our dear buddy Dylan gave us access to his Netflix account which is pretty much the best thing ever and what was life before it? Last week was pretty busy, but this week I've been having a good ol' relax and watching all the things - Luther (brilliant, S01E04 was phenomenal - Nicola Walker is a-ma-zing), The Office (US version, had never tried it before but it really is just as good as the UK version once you get past the too-similar pilot episode), Weeds (good so far, love Haley Hudson), and The Brady Buch Movie and its sequel (such innuendo! Amazing! Went right over my tween head). Dylan, Charlie and I watched Bad Words and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete - highly recommend both. Amazing child actors in both movies, but oh my gosh the little boy who plays Pete in the latter is the most adorable kid ever.

Charlie and I went to see The Lego Movie and it was pretty funny. We went to a late night screening which was good since it's school holidays, but even though there were hardly any other people in the theatre there was one individual with the most ridiculous laugh I have ever heard. Ever.

Was loving My Kitchen Rules (spoilers ahead, NZ, skip to next category) until Thalia and Bianca were eliminated, such a shame the pressure got to them. And the bad-brows girls beating the surfer dads was the end of it for me.

Purchased
I bought a bunch of clothes from ASOS which arrived at the start of the month. Everything fits great and I am loooving the cat scarf and ribbed tights shown below. I bought my sister a bunch of things for her birthday and a gold hanging pot from Typo for myself. My birthday's in a couple of weeks and all I really want is some house plants - we only have one and I want more. Our lounge gets so warm even in winter, so should really be taking better advantage of that.



Highlights
So many!

At the start of April Charlie and I went to his friend's leaving drinks at St John - he's off to live in the States, lucky guy. It was one of the last warm evenings before we had a lot of stormy weather, so it was really nice having beers and cocktails on the lawn in the late afternoon sun.

Cocktails at St John


I finished my job which was a high and low. Everyone was commenting on my non-stop smile during my last week, but I swear I was sad to be leaving! Mainly couldn't stop smiling because I've never had so many compliments, a shame all the praise doesn't come pouring out until you're leaving! Had some leaving drinks at Southern Cross on my last day which was really nice.

Went to Masterton on Easter Sunday with my sister and her boyfriend, stopping for brunch at Go Bang Espresso in Petone on the way which was delicious. That evening I went bowling with my family at Master Bowl - definitely wish it had existed when I was a teenager! I was much better than I anticipated and came second after Dad - a mix of crappy gutter balls and some good'uns, but I am usually the worst-at-sports so it was great fun. Then it was my sister's birthday on the Monday, caught up with my friend Alishia in the morning, then went with the family to Castlepoint beach in the afternoon. Lovely weather, I miss the Wairarapa winters so much - often so icy cold and still, rather than Wellington's hot/cold howling wind and rain.

Bowling scores




Super cold but super sunny

Sam and Emily

Beautiful Castlepoint
Next highlight was also a lowlight - did some more filming which is possibly more than I can say but didn't get any specific confidentiality instructions so whatever. It was in my own house and first thing in the morning, and far more nerve wracking than the last filming I did. But y'know, another good experience. Hopefully they'll be happy with the outcome. Planning to keep up YouTube filming to keep improving my speaking/camera skills, but it's pretty hard to be engaging on camera when you're speaking about really personal stuff, man.

Then Dylan stayed with us for a few nights, we all went to dinner with Charlie's mum on his first night, then lazed around at home the next few days due to rubbish weather and lack of funds.

My favourite boys, that fluddy mound of Wallace included


Lowlights
Leaving my job was sad - said a few words in my last morning tea acknowledging the fact most people there saw me as a quiet person, and how much I appreciated them making me feel immediately welcome despite that. I wanted to say a lot more but felt myself getting a wee bit teary, so kept it very brief! That's probably the only real low light of this month, as The Lego Movie dudes would chorus everything is awesome!

While in Masterton I finally got an iron infusion (IV) at the hospital that I've been needing to have for a long time. The nurse that put my line in was an absolute champion - fist try, minimal pain. IVs for steroids when I was 16/17 were a nightmare - once I had nurses and then doctors having multiple attempts to get it in my arm. Mum suggested quitting fizzy drink and being more hydrated might have improved my veins, who knows. The gross-coloured bag bag of iron-y goodness took about 3 hours to drip and thankfully I was on a bed rather than a chair so I pretty much napped the whole time. Felt like absolute crap the next day, but have been fine since. No dramatic increase in my energy levels at all so far, but if it'll keep my GP happy with my blood test results then all good. Pretty much all the people I know who are tested regularly because of their arthritis needs have low iron, so I'm curious to know whether it's an arthritis thing, or whether the average young adult has shit iron levels but most people don't have regular blood tests so no one knows...?

Looking forward to
I'm starting my new job on Monday! So very excited, nerves haven't kicked in yet but sure they will closer to the weekend. Was scrolling through my Facebook yesterday and saw a humblebrag from an old classmate doing their crazy awesome dream job, and had my initial "sigh, jealous" reaction followed by "wait, no, so am I next week!" I know this isn't even humble you guys, I'm truly proud of myself and on such a go me, go me buzz.

Also coming up is my 25th birthday on 17 May. I was one of the younger people in my class year at school, so pretty much all of my friends' birthdays are before mine and I play catch up to each age. So I feel like I've been 25 for ages already which is stupid, but yeah... still always get IDed (drinking age in NZ is 18) so definitely can't be claiming any quarter life crises at this stage, thanks baby-face (I guess).

Most liked on Instagram



Monday, March 31, 2014

Summary of March 2014

This month last year
Struggling to remember - my blog was hit with screeds of spam comments so I took quite a break from posting.

Entertained by
Watched True Detective and loved it - fortunately I didn't start until all eight episodes had aired, so wasn't following along theories/recaps and didn't know what to expect. Matthew McConaughey is too good. I read Who Killed Scott Guy? on the iBooks app. Enjoyed playing with the French Girls app - submit a selfie for a stranger to draw, and receive a stranger's selfie to draw.

Purchased
Bought three work-appropriate dresses, a black cardi and Never Been Kissed on DVD.

Highlights
This month has been intense - these would all normally be posts in themselves, but there's just been too much going on.

I quit all fizzy drinks (soda) at the start of this month, including energy drinks. Only had one single ginger ale while out for dinner, and a couple of beers on Fridays for after-work drinks.

I went out for a lovely dinner at Charley Noble with Charlie and his Mum, then we all went to Power Plant at the Botanical Gardens which was amazing. Far less visual than I expected and so much more sound, which I loved. Do not understand why the posters had children on them - I think if they want to go then great, but it probably shouldn't be marketed as a family event imho.

I applied for an administration job and had a great meeting with some of the nicest people I've ever been interviewed by. They offered me the job and I was really excited about it. AND THEN...

I was contacted by someone I've met through SYAONZ and my medication - we had planned to meet up around Christmas time after I did that filming for AbbVie but it fell through. Long story short, we met up and she offered me a job. A job that ticks every single box on the 'Job Wishlist' I'd had on my Notes app since the new year - something I hoped to achieve in maybe five years, not within a matter of weeks. I'm so excited to say all the blogging and vlogging and Tweeting and SYAONZing and art and pretty much everything I do for fun has amounted to this opportunity.

On the day I got my contract, Charlie also got offered the job he had applied for! So we're doing pretty damn well right now.

My Dad did the helicopter flight we gave him as a gift last year and loved it - check out the photos on his blog.

Lowlights
Resigning is bittersweet - too excited for words about my new job, but I have had so many great times in my current job, and will miss the great people I've been working with a lot. Also having to turn down the other job offer sucked!

Looking forward to
Dad's birthday, Charlie starting a new job, Easter, having friends visit, starting my new job!

Most liked on Instagram
Put some effort into my make up for Ashley and Dave's engagement party.