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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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!

Public Transport- The horror, oh the horror

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Today was my first day on public transport in a year.

One would not be mistaken for thinking the world had come to an end-albeit with some really nicely dressed people ready for the apocalypse.

To my left, a man, who- despite wearing a suit- appeared to be carrying his entire home on his back, all his possessions in a massive back packer casing on his rear- most likely heading further inland to avoid the coming end. To my rear, a rosy smelling lady who gathered all her energy, exhaled heavily, then snorted in and hawked up the biggest, most vile, most disgusting substance I’ve heard in the past 23 years on this planet, then proceeded to swallow it with an audible gulp. This caused the 19-year-old to my left rear make a sound like dry retching.

To my front, a man who looked incredibly well dressed and stylish, but had the audacity to…..pass wind, not three times, not four times, but five times. Please sir, drive to work, don’t force us fellow commuters to inhale that.

Further in front of this was a man who loudly exclaimed “Frog!” every two minutes. I fear he knows something about the coming end that I will never understand. He will be a survivor.

Finally, upon departing the bus at my destination, I encountered a man giggling hysterically at the bus stop. Obviously hysterical from his impending doom, crazy with near death, spittle forming at the corner of his mouth, and evidently accepting the end of the world.

Before choosing public transport over riding in or walking, be sure you are ready for the level of crazy that is the Public Transport system. The worst of society has gathered together and formed a congregation called the “Bus route”. I fear the what those Endbringers on the “train” have formed…..

Also, be ready for broken knee caps. The end of the world is bringing with it what feels like massive holes in the ground to cause the bus to jump heavily and jolt the bus into slamming your knees against the seat in front. Tall people beware, if you’re trying to escape the end, the bus will leave you unable to run!
End note….I miss my car.

Then again, maybe I just caught it on the wrong day.

Financial Hustle

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Sometimes things travel up shit creek. Sometimes, you have no paddles heading up this creek. Sometimes, a massive freak tidal wave will knock you out of your paddle-less boat travelling up shit creek. Sometimes, after being knocked out of a paddle-less boat travelling up shit creek, you remember you know how to swim and that the shore is reachable.

Yesterday, my car broke down. Brake pads wore out and before I could afford to get the pads fixed the brake discs wore down to metal on metal. Fun fun fun in the sun right?

Not only this but I live an hour and a half on public transport away from my job. No member of our four person household drives but me, nor has a car. We don’t have the finances to get a new car. We are expecting a pay out from my partners old work but we’re not sure when this will come. We have no savings because up until a month ago we were financially irresponsible.

So. We hustled. Tried every avenue to borrow a car, then every avenue to car pool, I’m also seeking a new job closer to home (and higher paying), we’re seeking to purchase a new car and furniture with the pay out coming, we researched public transport routes, remembered my phone is also a music player (for the long trip) and called friends and family to see if they could help.

Remember- You always have more than one option. You are never at a dead-end, and there are always avenues for help and/or assistance. Don’t just give up hope when you’re floating in the creek. Start paddling and aim for shore.

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.