Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs yesterday stating that I owe the UK Government a shitload (GBP779.77 to be exact) in income tax for the year 2007/08. Ouch! A bit on the hefty side methinks considering I was on PAYE.

Anyhoo, after mulling over whether to pay it now or until after the new year, I decided to just do it and transferred the funds from my UK bank account this afternoon. I have yet to pay my final credit card bill (which reflects all the post-breakup retail therapy I did in HK) so the UK account balance is going to look quite dire until I get my 2008/2009 tax refund. Hopefully, I don't need to wait too long for that, as I sent in my form to the HMRC Expat Office in late November. I'm expecting in excess of GBP5,500!

... and continuing the (slightly crass) talk about money (or money that I am not earning at the moment since, as some of you may be aware, I have been - by personal design - a "man of leisure" since the last week of August), it has started to irk me quite a bit that - as a person who is biologically programmed to save or worry about not saving enough - my bank balances are now in perpetual decline with no immediate signs of rectification.

It's fortunate that I've saved a penny or two in the last few years and I've budgeted a bit so I don't have to start hustling at the Wall any time soon (which, on reflection, isn't much different from what I used to do as a finance whore). However, staying within budget has been quite a challenge and I have clearly underestimated how expensive things are in Sydney these days. I guess I'm still thinking in terms of 2002 prices, but I'm astounded whenever I walk into a newsagency, Borders or Kinokuniya and find out the price of books and magazines here. I've only bought one magazine since arriving back (the final issue of Monocle for this year) and have relied on my subscriptions to Belle and Monument to satiate some of my periodical-whoring tendencies... but I guess I will be frequenting Chatswood lpublic ibrary quite a bit more in the future in order to get my book and magazine fix.

I've the luxury of being able to wait a bit before I have to go out and find suitable part-time employment so that I can bulk up my Aus bank balance and keep myself occupied and out of trouble. I'm thinking of doing so in mid-January.

Do people have any suggestions on what I should look for? The poor economic climate would clearly hinder any efforts of finding something that would meet all my criteria, but I am completely prepared to compromise. I was thinking - purely from an economic standpoint and the fact that I know how to go about finding such work - that part-time paralegal or legal secretarial work would be what I should be aiming for. However, I do have fantasies about working retail or at a cafe and the idea of that does sound fun, albeit a bit silly for a 30 year old guy with limited retail/hospitality experience. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Jean said...

My suggestion for p/t options: go retail e.g. the Aesop store in Paddington - something skincare, fashion, design related? So many male sales really excel in these areas. I am all seriousness here. I don't think you need much retail experience to get a p/t retail job.

You really hated (is that too strong?) being a lawyer so I can't imagine there being much fun for you now working for lawyers.