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!

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!

Relationships

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Inevitably, unless you intend on being single or becoming a crazy cat lady, you’re going to move in with your partner, you might even develop a relationship with your current house mate.

Relationships should be encouraged in a living environment. There’s no need to be afraid of moving in with a partner (Well…unless you feel your partner may have psychotic tendencies and the next morning you’ll wake up with no skin!). A boyfriend/girfriend/fiancee can provide an extremely supportive and encouraging environment to live in, they provide a sounding board for ideas, gentle pushes when we don’t want to do things that we know we should.

However, certain cautions must be taken around particular issues.

  • Finances
  • Rent
  • Shopping
  • Gender differences
  • Household duties
  • Miscommunication
  • Social Differences

Keep your head. These are things that are always going to come up in a relationship, but due to different genders, different upbringings, different viewpoints, different opinions, conflict is bound to arise. Discuss them calmly and rationally. If things get out of hand, don’t be stupid and think you can keep a calm rational head while you’re seething. Take a minute or two out and have a breather.

I personally am against the leaving the house option. I’m also against going to bed on the tail of an unresolved argument. I prefer to resolve the problem then and there. If we can’t find a resolution for the issue, then we will agree to disagree. I think a lot of people forget this fact, or ignore the ideal altogether. You don’t have to agree on everything. Every conversation does not have to lead to both parties agreeing, arguments are exactly the same. If after three to four minutes of revisiting the topic in the same conversation the other party still doesn’t see your point of view, try agreeing to disagree. Then cuddle.

It is important that a cuddle comes at the end of every argument. It’s closure, it’s comfort, it’s showing that “Yes, we fought- but I still love you.” If you’re too mad for a cuddle, walk away for a minute, breathe deep, remind yourself why you love that person- then head back.

I’ve found money to be the largest cause for concern, unless you’re pulling over 70k a year, and leading an average non-high spending life. Money is a stickler. If you don’t need to buy shopping, you need petrol, if you don’t need petrol, you need to get your car fixed, while your car is broken you’ll need to take public transport. There is so much potential here for arguments it’s not funny.

Discuss. Just try talking about it all as it comes. Explain how you want to deal with it, ask how your partner wants to deal with it. Realise that you’re each there for a support network. Don’t bottle it up until it becomes too much to handle. Get it out, regularly.

Talk. Always always talk. Communication is key.

Transport- Mass or Private?

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Make the choice long before you move out.

Car, Train, Motorbike, Bus or Tram, Bike or Walk?

Of course the answer will change depending on distance from your house to your workplace. It will also change depending on your financial history and your income versus expenditure.

Make the decision in advance as to which method will best suit you. For example, if you hate crowds then Trains, buses and trams are pretty much ruled out for you already. If you’re worried about busy roads then say goodbye to the bike/motorbike idea. Too far to travel to work? There goes walking. No licence- No car.

Once you have narrowed down your available options, factor in the necessary budget items. Petrol and maintenance for the car, a metcard for the train/bus/tram- factor in if you can afford another card if you lose your first, the purchase of a bike etc.

Once you have narrowed it down to what is feasible and what can you afford, work off preference. Do you not mind the daily slog of traffic if it means that you have the freedom to go for a long drive on the weekend? Do you prefer the freedom to avoid traffic while also getting fit? Don’t mind the crowds if it means a saving on money? Then car, bike, Train/Bus/Tram respectively.

Personally I enjoy the freedom of knowing I can hop in my car anytime I’d like and head down the shops, or head off for the weekend. However I have lately contemplated public transport due to the low-cost of a train ticket, as well as the lack of need to pay for maintenance on a vehicle, no registration costs and no inflating petrol prices. So far however the desire not to be on an over congested train where I have to force my way on and beat down old ladies to get a spot. (Totally kidding but you get my drift). I also live too far out to walk, too far out to bike ride and also don’t currently have the funds to purchase a decent road bike.

Take all these factors into consideration before you move out. Account for fluctuating petrol prices, a burst tire, what happens if you move from Zone 1 to Zone 2, if you have the fitness level to ride to work, if you live close enough to sell your car and walk it.

Write down the Pros and Cons and run with the best option added to what your gut tells you. There’s no point buying a car if you later discover that you’re close enough to ride to work with a 15 minute slog. Hello 20,000 dollar debt, goodbye financial freedom.

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