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!

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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!

Lead Tenancy

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Lead Tenancy is a program operated by CHL and some government youth housing organisations. If you do a google search on Lead Tenancy+”state”, you should bring back 2-3 top results on the program.

Lead Tenancy is designed for people with excellent morales, organisational skills, cleaning, ethics and responsibility. You need to be prepared to deal with issues that young people face every day, be highly aware of developing problems, and be of an encouraging and respectful nature.

Lead Tenancy runs in a variety of established accommodation (be it units, apartments or houses), who you are allocated to is not your choice, however you can state a preference for male or female co-habitants and you can state a preferred area.

You will be required to look after the individual/s and make sure that they are leading a responsible, good choice life. You will be responsible for their in-house welfare, but are not their parent. This should be remembered when dealing with the youth. You cannot tell them what to do, or how to do it, you can only offer advice.

You will be required to advise on shopping, social choices, cleaning, hygiene, youth issues and troubles. You need to be available to those in your household at all hours, and be able to get back in case something is wrong. You will need to help them in developing meaningful relationships and also in gaining employment.

You have constant contact with the Case Worker who situated the youths. There is a communication book used to log any and all issues and meetings, it is imperative you keep a log. Regular meetings will be arranged to discuss issues within the house.

Lead tenants are not paid. Instead they are offered subsidised or non-existant rent. Do not go into this for the money. Sometimes issues will push you to the edge, the stress of living with a misplaced or irresponsible youth can push you to the edge. However, if you are dedicated to assisting in youth welfare, the money will be of little to no importance and you will be pleased just making sure another youth isn’t left homeless on the streets.

Do it if you feel you are dedicated enough to youth issues. If I didn’t have a partner and wasn’t beginning a family, I’d jump at the opportunity. Anglicare aided me in my youth and I’d do anything I could to repay them for not leaving me homeless.

The experience will leave you with a profound sense of well-being. You are assisting in removing the homeless from our streets and helping and encouraging young people to grow and spread their wings.

I have previously done Lead Tenancy in a small country town. I feel the experience not only helped my co-tenant grow, but also aided me in my responsibility and outlook on life. Be responsible, be encouraging and you will reap the rewards.

Food Etiquette

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It’s best to discuss etiquette before you begin living with someone so you know what is and what is not acceptable in regards to food. Some houses utilise a complete share system (one person shops one week and the food is free reign- one person shops the next and so on and so forth). Other houses utilise the common items and personal items rule (salt, pepper, milk, butter, bread, flour etc. are shared food- dinner items, fruit, vegetables, pizzas, alcohol are personal). Other houses use the all items are personal rule.

To varying degrees- They all work. Some more effectively than others.

All items are shared– With this method it’s a free for all. Any food you want, you had better eat quick because you can’t claim dibs in a free for all environment. You also run into the problem of selfish housemates. If on your week you go out and really stock the entire place, the next the housemate (instead of throwing you some cash for your massive effort) might just buy a small shopping load and claim that the house didn’t really need that much food. This has the foundations of a massive argument.

Some share, some personal- This is probably the best method in my experience. Milk, pepper, bread, salt, flour, butter etc are all shared as it makes no sense to have three pepper shakers, three open cartons of milk, three containers of butter etc. Not only will you be able to fit minimal items into your fridge/pantry, you’ll find you waste double the amount of food. With this method you still get your personal self bought items such as pizzas or doughnuts, but you’re still contributing to the house.

All personal- Probably best to try to avoid this method. You’ll triple up on anything and everything in the house and wars will break out when a personal item is used. It’s just a scary situation- Avoid at all costs. It’s for selfish uncooperative houses.

It’s definitely best to find out what kind of house you’re moving in too.

In any case, always share so that when you need something you won’t feel bad for asking. Always ask before taking, and always ensure that everyone around you is as happy as you can make them without over stepping your limits. A full bellied house hold is a happy house hold!

Wrap it up

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If you live on a budget, wraps are for you!

Me and my partner adore these little buggers. You can make hot ones or cold ones, both are equally delicious. For the colder version use lunch meat like ham or chicken and lose the fried tomato/radish/spinach and simply run with lettuce, tomato, cheese, carrot.

Hot Chicken Wraps (Use beef or pork or lamb if you want)
Serves: 4
Cooking Time:
1/2 an hour
Prep Time:
20 minutes
Note:
You can get all the below ingredients at Aldi for about 20 dollars.

Ingredients

1 Lettuce (I prefer Cos, if not- Iceberg)
10 Tomatoes (Cherry)
Spinach (Handful)
Carrot (1 or 2)
Sundried Tomato Pesto (Leggos is great)
Sundried Tomato Wraps (4)
Radish (1)
Red/Spanish onion (1 or a 1/2)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Mushroom (A handful or two)
Olive Oil (3 shakes)
Salt+Pepper (2 pinches)
Cheese (processed, tasty or parmesan)
Ranch Sauce
Mixed Herbs (Herbs of your choice- We love ones with Garlic)
Chicken Strips or Chicken Tenders

  • First preheat the oven to 180°c (or whatever your chicken states).
  • Slice the mushrooms, garlic, cherry tomatoes and radish and place it in a slightly oiled pan along with a handful of spinach.
  • Slice the lettuce and red onion
  • Peel the carrot skin off, then peel wafer thin strips off the carrot
  • Add the lettuce, red onion and carrot to a bowl and mix it all together
  • Enter the chicken into the oven
  • 10 minutes after beginning the chicken, start frying off the vegetables in the pan while carefully adding touches of herbs
  • While frying (keeping a close eye on it) heat the wraps for 15 seconds in the microwave on high.
  • Spread the pesto (Sundried tomato or basil is fine), over the area where your wrap contents will be.
  • Place the lettuce/onion/carrot mix as a bed on the wrap.
  • When the chicken is ready, take out of the oven and place on the bed of lettuce etc.
  • Place the fried off vegetables on top of the chicken
  • Top with your choice of cheese (Processed melts deliciously, tasty or parmesan is delicious however)
  • Sprinkle with salt and/or pepper
  • Sprinkle with a shake of mm
  • Top with Ranch sauce (any sauce is fine- I prefer ranch)
  • You can heat again in the microwave if you prefer hot wraps as oppossed to warm (the wrap and chicken will cool a little while you are topping).

This recipe is cheap, is extremely fast to cook and tastes amazing when all the flavours come together. The mixed herbs in with the spinach and tomato really add to their flavour. Feel free to add less herbs though if you want to just taste the flavour of the vegetables.


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