Tax Time

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Get it right.

Whatever you do, if you’re in a rush for the money, don’t screw it up. The amendment for an incorrectly filled in Tax Return is an 8 week waiting period.

You also do not want to be audited. This is a lot of time and effort.

Don’t lie, but do recall -everything- that you might want to claim on. Washed your clothes twice a week? They were mainly work clothes? That’s a dollar per load. Two dollars a week, one hundred and four dollars per year. You ironed them as well? Add some more on top.

Did you fix your car? Do you need your car to get to work? Claim it.

Those shoes you bought, did you ever wear them to work? Claim it.

Do you wear casual clothes to work? If yes, every single item of casual clothing you buy can be claimed as a work expense.

Did you take the train to work? If yes, you can claim public transport travel as a deduction.

Did you drive? Not only is maintenance claimable, petrol is too.

Did you buy a computer that directly helps you do your work at home? Claim it.

Did you need a phone to keep in contact with your boss or contractors? Claim it.

If you are unsure about all you can claim, talk to an accountant, it’s in their best interest to help you get back the largest possible refund that they can. You will miss things that they’ll catch. They won’t make mistakes like you can.

Also, do not miss a year. It becomes too complicated, the processes difficulty increases exponentially.

Again, do not lie. It’s not worth the fine.

Keep every single receipt you ever purchase for anything. Show them to your accountant, you never know- You might be able to claim on it.

Enjoy the refund!

Employment

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A few simple tips on finding jobs anywhere:

  • Don’t apply for just one-ever.
  • Apply for 2-300 if you live in the city
  • Apply for ones that are above your skill level
  • Search in fields outside the normal. Yes, you’ve done retail most of your life but are you sure you couldn’t get into corporate world via reception?
  • If you’ve been working for a while, try your hand at management.
  • Remember that they’ll only ever call you back if they’re interested. So once they have called you back, remember that. Don’t doubt your skills or what’s on your resume.
  • Make an awesome resume. I can’t emphasize this enough. Your resume sums up your life and you in 3 pages. Make it glow.
  • Don’t lie, but don’t feel bad about extending what you can actually do.
  • Always, always thank jobs that reply with “Thankyou for the opportunity”.
  • Where possible, make phone contact, not email, let your personality shine through.
  • Nail the first interview. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Learn about the company, the job, the responsibilities.  Have an answer ready for everything. I personally wing it, but I’m good at on the spot questions. You can never be too prepared for an interview.
  • Shine in the first 3 months. This is your probationary period. Rock their socks off.
  • If a friend has referred you, do NOT let them down. You look like an asshole and they look like an idiot for referring you.
  • Be polite, don’t swear and don’t use slang in any conversations or interviews unless they do too,  even then. Be wary, it could be a tester to see how readily you drop the F bomb.
  • Enjoy yourself. If you don’t get it, there’s plenty more out there.
  • Look everywhere. Don’t limit yourself to one computer site, one paper etc. Look everywhere.
  • Be you. That’s important. Don’t fake a personality. When you get to the actual job and start being yourself, they’ll wonder what the hell changed.
  • I’ll say it again. Enjoy yourself, have fun. Consider any jobs you don’t get practice for ones you really, really want.

Making the Right Decisions

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Making the right decisions is intrinsic in your ability to enjoy the life style you’re trying to set up for yourself. One wrong choice can leave you in a lot of pain for days, weeks or even years in a worst case scenario.

Think about every decision you make that can have short and long-term consequences. Think that for every action you take, there’s a reaction, be it positive or negative.

Take for example the decision not to pay a bill. Whether you’re on your high horse and have determined you shouldn’t have to pay or you are struggling with keeping afloat. The decision not to pay a bill can have repercussions that spans years. The cost of a default is 5 years of bad credit history- That hurts. I know, I’ve done it. For the past 4 something years I’ve not been able to set up a phone account that requires a credit check, have not been able to apply for a loan- House or personal, can’t get a credit card to be utilised to improve my credit rating (Yes this can be done) and I can’t do anything -anything- at all that requires a credit check or credit history check.

Quite literally, if you have a bad credit rating- You’re buggered in terms of setting yourself up. A personal loan would of solved the majority of my current dilemmas, as well as compile all my financial issues into one manageable sum.

The choice not to pay a bill has had some massive repercussions.

This extends to area (choosing where to live), employment (choosing what job and how much salary to expect and accept), friends (drama and unneccessary stress versus level of support) and social decisions (choosing when to go out and spend, versus when to stay in and harbor the funds).

Making the right choices is everything when you don’t have a viable support network there ready to catch you when you fall.

Be careful, plan your decisions on paper, and make sure you keep all your debtors in the loop on what you intend to do.

Also, sorry on the brief hiatus. Life get’s a little hectic in the rental setting yourself up world!

Friends-Etiquette

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If you’re in share accommodation then it’s most likely that you won’t know the network of the individual/s you’re sharing with and they won’t know yours.

It’s best if you plan ahead and give your house mate/s plenty of notice that someone will be coming over. If you’re going to have a big weekend and you might end up back at yours, let them know so they can either get out of the house for a little, or be prepared for some drunk stumbling and loud voices that night.

You wouldn’t appreciate coming home to ten people inside your living room that you don’t know and aren’t friends with, so try not to put your house mates through the same thing.

Give them at least two days notice of a big night/sleep over/girlfriend visit/friends gathering and see if there’s anything you can do to make it more bearable. You’ll appreciate it a whole heck of a lot more when they do the same thing to you!

Don’t let your friends leave without giving you a hand to tidy up a little either, especially if you’ve trashed the place. There’s nothing worse than waking up to the equivalent of a bomb shelter and no one in sight that even resembles like they might be doing something to remedy the mess.

Pet Mayhem

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If you’ve just moved out of home and are finding it a little bit of a struggle, a bit stressful and a bit hard. Don’t get a pet. Just….Don’t. Get a goldfish, or a rat, or something easily confined to a small space. Don’t get a dog, don’t get a cat. Your stress levels, especially if they were bad before, will be through the roof. Especially with puppies and kittens.

You have to get used to whiny, mewing, messy animals. You have to follow them around what seems like 24/7 simply to make sure they don’t start the dreaded “sniff circle”. That ever dreaded maneuver that means something bad is on its way. Then you try a frenzied run to get the lead, your shoes, poop bags and treats. Chances are, you’ll of missed your opportunity and then you’re not sure if you should scold the dog because of what it did, or leave it alone because it’s probably been too long and they won’t remember what they’ve done.

Then you factor in the finances. You will most likely need to spend well over 150 on the dogs first night. Toys, bedding, blankets, food, cleaners, training pads and leads. Then you’ve got the cost over months. Vet visits, vaccinations, medicine.

Then you add in the time. A puppy and kitten will need your time. Lots and lots of your time. You can’t just seat the animal in your house and expect everything to be hunky dory and that the animal will entertain itself. You need to regularly excercise the animal. Constantly. Every night when you come home from work you need to take the animal out for a walk. Every-single-day.

Reconsider your choices. Get something that has plenty of fun in a glass bowl or a cage.

Not enough incentive? Consider the worst smell known to man, now combine that smell with a hot, sticky and mushy mess. This is what your cat and dog will do, quarterly, during the day. Enjoy.

Then again….How can you refuse a face like this?

When someone goes

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It’ll either be incredibly saddening or a massive celebration, depending on your relationship. There are, unfortunately, a multitude of things you need to do before they go (aside from have a going away party).

  • Make sure no rent is outstanding with your real estate
  • Make sure no damage has occurred in their living space
  • If there is damage caused by the individual make sure to have a discussion with them about taking some of the bond to cover the damages
  • Make sure you have a replacement tenant (if you need/want one)
  • Make sure you’ve separated their stuff and your stuff and are agreed that is exactly what it is
  • Make sure to give the real estate agent two weeks notice
  • Make sure to get into the real estate and sign all appropriate paper work
  • Make sure to party hard prior to them leaving
  • Make sure to get their contact details in case anything should crop up in regards to before they vacated
  • Have any bills in their name signed over to yourself
  • Get prepped for the new house mate
  • Write out an advert to place online/in the paper for the vacancy
  • Make sure you time the new tenant/your increase in rent payments with the departure of the previous one
  • Make sure the previous tenant returns all their keys and any copies
  • If required, do another condition report
  • Get a forwarding number for any callers or visitors to the house
  • Clean!

You should find that this list (while extensive) will not leave you unprepared for a new housemate or life without your old housemate. Also be prepared for a house balance shift and personality adjustment. Different housemates have different tendencies and you might move in with one of the house mate types as discussed in previous posts.

Resourcefulness

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Get used to being resourceful. In fact, work your tiny little butt off at being resourceful all the way through your entire rental future.

This can range from budget shopping, to actually looking around for a better deal instead of taking the first item you see, to haggling when you actually are purchasing something.

Below are a few tips for the utterly resourceful:

  • Budget shop. Check out the Aldi link on the home page, you can find some amazingly cheap items at Aldi that will switch your weekly shopping allocation from 160 dollars down to 90. They’re opening more and more branches in Australia every week. For clothes shopping try DFO (Direct Factory Outlet). You can find some amazingly cheap bargains at these stores.
  • Bulk buy. Try Costco. You pay low, low prices because everything is bought in bulk. Everything. If you have the storage space and/or a large freezer as well as a large initial capital behind you in moving out, head to Costco first.
  • Search around. You think you’ve found an amazing deal at Dick Smith when you find a Dell laptop for 700 dollars, not realising that the computer store around the corner has the same laptop for 550. You don’t help yourself by not calling around searching for the best deal.
  • Wait for EYFS (End year financial sale) This comes around June/July every year with a lot of stores. Be on the look out for any stores.
  • Shop at your local market. We live closest to the Preston and the Camberwell markets and there are some amazing deals on everything from fruits to suits. Don’t be afraid to step out of your shopping comfort zone, often you’ll find a much better deal.
  • Haggle. Haggle like hell. Don’t walk in and pay the price on the sign. Ask how much you can get off, and when you’ve done that, ask for a further 50. Every dollar you save goes back in your pocket.
  • Keep your warranties. There’s nothing worse than taking something home, realising it doesn’t work, trying to take it back and failing because you didn’t keep the warranty.
  • Swap meets. These guys cover anything from computers to lingerie. Normally not in the same market for obvious reasons. You can find some great deals at Swap meets, just remember to take your own things too.
  • Trading Post. It’s online but I rarely see it in shops anymore. Just be aware that unlike a shop, you won’t get a warranty on the item unless it’s explicitly stated.

These are just a few of many. Get used to trying to find the cheapest thing you can. Don’t rely on the “honesty” of shop keepers to get you a good deal. You have to look for it yourself.

Good luck!

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