Welcome to my February diary! I was a lunch lady, I invested more, took official leave from teaching and brushed up on my first aid!
My Personal Update
Well, this month, I was a lunch lady! I enjoyed the novelty of working from home and maybe stretched the meaning of ‘working’ to “I can take a 3 and a half hour extended lunch break to meet my friend for a quick bite and a chat”, just a few too many times… haha. If I really wanted to get lost in episodes of Judge Judy and Dr Phil (are they even on TV anymore??), I had many an opportunity.. but I didn’t. Seriously though, it was so good to have a break from my usual full on routine! I do miss many aspects of being a Director, most of all the kids. Those smiles in the morning, the cuddles, their funny stories and watching them learn. I also miss the comradery of my work mates, but I don’t miss the stress and the ridiculous expectations. I don’t miss waking up to messages from staff who have called in sick, meaning I need to fix the problem within the hour, or I’ll be in breach of regulations for not maintaining staff:child ratios.
My pace has changed. I was able to cancel before school care for Andy since I’m working from home so this takes the pressure off him too. He was so used to getting up at 6am to be at before school care by 7am.
The work that I’ve been doing at home is some VA work for some websites. This is flexible work, allows me to learn more about SEO and what I need to do to build and optmise my own website. It’s definitely very different work for me but it has given me lifestyle flexibility and reduced my stress levels significantly, so while it is a pay cut from what I’m used to, it suits me for the moment until I decide on a different path.
I’m still waiting for the opportunity to give cuddles to my baby niece Amy – my brother and his partner have been sending lots of photo spam which is beautiful, but they prefer to wait until that 6-week mark where she has received her next lot of vaccinations before she has contact with other family.
Andy started his school year – year 6 this year! We are starting to look at local high schools and he is VERY excited at the idea of starting high school too, which is amazing. I still remember being very anxious about starting high school when I was his age. He is a lot more confident and sure of himself than I was, that’s for sure. I was actually a painfully shy child with some serious self-esteem issues and social anxiety. I was also bullied a lot as a young child and it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I started to gain a little more confidence. It’s still quite hard to recall and relive that time of my life to be honest. So, I give Andy lots of advice and strategies for dealing with bullying. He has put this to use a few times already and made me proud!
There’s still a huge dip in the market so I have used that opportunity to invest some of the long service payout I received. I bought some more Betashares A200, some more Vanguard VTS shares and since Andy received some dividends from his VAS shares, I also added some more and bought some more VAS for him. So yes, this ends up using 3 of my investment credits doing it this way but I was happy with my decision and the investment credits do expire if not used up anyway.
I also continue to add to my microinvesting Raiz portfolio by just $20 per fortnight which I hardly notice, yet I enjoy seeing the Raiz balance increase.
I also wanted to educate myself further on all things crypto, so I listened to the Captain Fi podcast with Stephan Livera and understood a lot of it, until I didn’t! Haha.. it’s a seriously good podcast though and educated me a lot more on the Crypto space. You can listen to it on CaptainFi here.
If you’re a parent in Australia, living in NSW, don’t forget to sign up to redeem your NSW Govt Parent vouchers! I redeemed mine this month and now just planning where to use them. I also just redeemed the $500 voucher for use on Before and After school care! Make sure you check to see if you’re eligible and claim that if you use Before and after school care in NSW! It’s a big help!
Since I started investing, I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend Sharesight to me. Sharesight is an accounting tool which is FREE to use and keeps track of all your investments in one place, which makes tax time SO EASY!! When it’s time to start tracking dividends as well as performance, you can simply print off a report in Sharesight and hand this to your tax accountant. If you do choose to upgrade in the future, you can get 4 months free when signing up to the premium plan, but you can stay on the FREE plan and still make things so much easier for yourself! You can sign up to Sharesight for FREE with my link HERE.
Andy’s father Tom is STILL away overseas so that still leaves me without that Child Support. Though I can’t RELY on Child Support payments, I treat them more like a bonus, it does make things extra tough when you have all of those start of year expenses. Tom assures me he will backpay me when he returns but his return date is still pending as her says there have been canceled flights and family drama. I’ve been thinking about doing an article about Child Support and how the whole system needs an overhaul. There are so many parents out there (fathers AND mothers) taking advantage of the system and not doing the right thing by their kids. I raised this topic in a couple of Facebook groups this past week and I was in shock at how many horrible stories are out there, reflecting the broken CS system.
Parenting and Co-parenting
Andy splits his pocket money (and birthday gift money) in 4 ways – Spend, Save, Give and Invest. He also doesn’t receive pocket money for all the chores he does – he has to do some chores just as part of contributing to the household – such as emptying the dishwasher, helping to make dinner, putting his clothes away, making his bed, cleaning the toilet and watering the plants. He will receive pocket money for chores such as dusting, cleaning out cupboards and cleaning the fridge. I would love to hear how other parents allocate pocket money. Are there some chores you pay for and others are just expected to be done?
So Andy used his saved up ‘Save’ money to buy himself a lava lamp! He found it himself for $40 on Ebay and asked me to order it for him, passing me the cash he had saved. I think it’s so important to give kids ownership over what they spend their money on, while still teaching them valuable money lessons such as the importance of investing and also giving. He has enjoyed watching his Spaceship balance fluctuate and is understanding more about this as it goes on. He has also used his give money to donate to certain causes at school (donate a gold coin for the koalas, or for sick kids), or to give gifts to family, and yet he still enjoys splurging on things for himself such as this lava lamp, or even a Robux gift card from time to time. It’s all about balance and ensuring he understands it’s not all about spending.
Andy also started some karate lessons this month and so far he loves them! Karate is great for fitness as well as self-defense. The lessons teach discipline and respect too, I’ve been very impressed. We decided to stop the swimming lessons as he is already a pretty strong swimmer and proved this at the school swimming carnival this month, coming 3rd in 2 different races. I was so happy to be there for the day and cheer him on! Again, the flexibility of working from home allowed me to do this.
Andy misses his father and keeps asking about his return, which of course I can’t answer. It’s definitely bringing back some strong memories from when he was 3..
I have actually applied for a Leave of Absence from teaching. I did this through the NESA portal and applied for 6 months leave, which means I can start my proficient teacher maintenance period from later this year. You can read more about NESA teacher accreditation in the article I wrote but it basically means I need to maintain my status as a proficient teacher by engaging in ongoing professional development to meet the teaching standards. This enables me to be employed as a teacher in NSW schools or early childhood settings. If I decide to change the leave period, I can do that also.
I have also managed to stay in touch with many of the girls I worked with which has been lovely! I met with my team for lunch on one of the days and gave them small thank you gifts for being part of such a wonderful team – chocolates, pens and face masks wrapped in reusable sandwich bags, tied up with ribbon! It was fun to put together and I know it was something they will all use.
I also met with a colleague from one of the long day care centers for which I was an area manager, and she gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers and a card as a thank you gift. I am hoping and planning to stay in touch with many of these wonderful people and I will miss them within the workplace but I also know it’s important to maintain strong friendly, and professional connections.
Teaching Brave Update
In February I published the following articles:
Emergency Fund: Why, Where and How Much? – I never used to have one! Now, I wouldn’t be without it. There are many options of where to keep it, and everyone has different opinions on how much you should keep in there.
Cloth Nappies Vs. Disposable; Cost, Convenience, Comfort And The Environment – I have tried using both and they both have their pros and cons. What do you prefer?
Kids First Aid Online Course – Review – I was really excited to get this one out and I think it’s a fantastic course for any parents out there who may not have basic first aid knowledge but who don’t need a full accredited certificate. It’s all online, only takes 2 hours, you can revisit content again and again, and covers the 10 most common emergencies involving children. Take a look at my review – there’s a discount for using the code TEACHINGBRAVE too. ($59, rather than the full $69). Link in article.
I actually shared my story this month about when I was catfished! The article has not been published yet but I’ll share it here as soon as it comes out so you can read my story on Channel 9 Honey. This scammer never got any money from me – but he was committed to trying! I can’t believe there are so many people out there with catfishing stories!
I also shared some tips for new dads on the Parenting Page website, which you can read here.
I also received a copy of Glen James’s book, “Sort your money out” with a money card game, which he sent to me, after recording on his My Millennial Money podcast, sharing my Financial Abuse story. (Yet to be released – sometime in the next few weeks I believe). Have you read this book? I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it.
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Liz. : )