Saturday, June 18, 2016

And the not so good about the

Considering how much this move has ended up costing me, it seems even more crazy that I've done it for the sake of a not-highly paid 20-hours-a-week job. I still think it was the right decision though and although part of the debt I have now incurred did arise from careless, even reckless spending during the very stressful weeks of the move, a lot of it is just part of the cost of doing anything in Germany. It is a land of three-month notice periods so moving in just over a month meant some additional costs that I have no control over. Of course, there are some things that I still haven't gotten around to actually cancelling yet so a portion of these costs are ones where I've just missed the boat. But there's only so much I can do and I was close enough to breaking point a few times during May that I just had to decide to let them go and focus on getting the more urgent stuff done. Like making sure things like insurances and internet were transferred properly. As it turns out, the move will end up saving me about 25 euro per year for my house insurance, so that's something at least.

What with having to pay double rent for May (1,200), double monthly transport in June as I cancelled my ticket in Dusseldorf too late to avoid having to pay it there (80), pay a three-month deposit upfront for the new place (1,350), pay 2,000 for the movers (that was just the actual invoice and doesn't include other money for lunch, drinks, moving boxes and so on) and multiple train tickets between the two places (at 90 euro for a return trip), not to mention money spent on paint, supplies, and some to people to help with the painting (I'd estimate probably over 1,000 for this but am not going to wreck my head going back to figure it out - a lot stemmed from running out of time and just needing to get things done no matter what), it feels horribly like I learned nothing from previous mistakes. However, although there was a certain amount of "fuck it, if I'm in debt anyway let's just spend more money" spending as well, I did keep what costs I could to a minimum and, more importantly, I didn't let that kind of thing go on for too long. And for the most part, even that money was spent on things that I did need (even if I could have managed without some for a while) and will use for a long time.

And of course there are all the new costs that come up with living in a new place, such as joining the library, security deposit for a canteen card, security deposit for keys to the office and so on. It's always feels like a constant drip, drip, drip. Added to which, I will now be travelling for work on occasion. At least for the first three or four months this will be fairly regularly and being at a university, there's plenty of paperwork involved before I'll get the money repaid to me. I'm hoping that submitting everything promptly will result in prompt repayment. At least all of the travelling I've been doing means I've been building up loads of points on my credit card. And I have this lovely view to look at every day. It makes me happier than I can describe to be back near some mountains (okay, hills) again.

I have no concrete plan in place as yet to pay off what I now owe. A lot will depend on my final salary (not long now until I know how much I'll be getting every month), and how I manage with financing part of my life from translations. I'm keeping my eye out for a second job as well, preferably what is called a mini-job or 450-basis job here if I could find a good one. In terms of tax, health insurance, social insurance etc., I can have one mini-job in addition to my normal job and not have to pay any contributions. It's probably the most effective way of earning an additional 450 a month but it's a bit of a minefield as these jobs can often be the most exploitative, with people being asked to work outrageously long hours and so on. We'll see how that pans out. 

Is that enough rambling for now? I've gotten back to tracking my budget properly again over the last couple of weeks and I think all of the really big expenses for the move are over and done with. As things stand today, my debt (made up of credit card, overdraft and 3,000 which my sister loaned me) comes to 7,140.93. The credit card will be the first to be paid off. The minimum payment is one-fifth every month and comes out by direct debit so there is no chance to put it onto the long finger. Apart from travel for work, I'll be doing my best to not use the credit card at all until it is cleared. It's currently at just over 1,500.

After that it'll be the overdraft (currently 2,600) and then I'll repay my sister, who doesn't seem to even really want the money back (she offered me money and I insisted that it be a loan). I have a lot of annual expenses coming up in the next few months though, so it is going to be a slow journey. At least one advantage of being in a new place is that there are no expected behaviours - I don't really know anyone to be going out for dinner with, assuming we'll go to that nice place, for example. I can just be the frugal/stingy person straightaway and no-one is wondering why I've changed.

I'm considering however, once the credit card is paid off, taking some time to build up a bit of savings. I'd like to have a constant 500 euro float in my current account so that even if I don't have a lot of translation one month, I'm not stressing too much about next month's money. I will have some tax return money coming to me so I might divert that perhaps. And I will hopefully get at least something back from my deposit from the old place. We did the handover on 31 May and she said she was happy that there was nothing I needed to pay for. A portion will be withheld to cover the annual costs (heating, electricity in common areas etc), which won't be calculated until early next year. However, there wasn't anyone ready to move in on 1 June so technically I'm still on the hook for the rent for June and July. They wanted to replace the floor in the bathroom so if the work can start on that, or if someone else moves in, I'd be officially released from my contract and no longer need to pay the rent for the remainder of the notice period. I'm trying not to be too hopeful though, to avoid disappointment. She did offer at least, to deduct whatever rent I will owe for those two months from the deposit so I'm spared having to fork over cash for the rent. Much as I love Germany, these three-month notice periods are a pain in the neck. If I hadn't moved so quickly I wouldn't have been able to take the job I got though, so in the end, it all worked out. Or it will. Watch this space.

No comments: