… and then I was finished with The Boy Who Lived

… Or, the story of how Slytherin got screwed over every. Damn. Time.

If you have been keeping up with my goodreads account (http://www.goodreads.com/kalliste) you will have noticed I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series, for a really, really, long time. This post may contain spoilers but as I am possibly the only person in the world to only have read it for the first time this year I don’t think that matters.

I’m not sure if the title or sub title gave it away but I wasn’t a huge fan of Harry’s… The supporting characters were more interesting and less worthy of being stabbed in the eye with a fork as far as I’m concerned. One in particular, the wonderfully quirky Snape.  I love a villain and even if Snape wasn’t the real big bad I still enjoyed him being an incredible annoyance to Harry. Given the chance, I’d pat Snape on the shoulder and tell him “don’t worry, the boy who lived got nothing on you half blood prince”.

Speaking of the Half Blood Prince, I think it was my favourite of the books with Prisoner of Azkaban a close second. It was a bit darker than the books before it, it gave us more on why Snape is the way he is,  it was an insight into Voldemort that we hadn’t seen before and then Dumbledore dies and everyone’s mind = blown.

Oh and Prisoner of Azkaban introduced us to Sirius, enough said.

Least favourite? Goblet of Fire of course. If you’re wondering why it took me 10 months to finish the series, this is your answer. If anyone ever asks me to a Quidditch World Cup, I will give them a hearty “hell no!” because apparently they take more than 100 pages and are possibly the most boring event in the history of man. Until the death eaters start causing some havoc, that is.

Overall it was a good read, if a little long… I don’t think I’ve ever read a series with quite so many pages. I wish it had been less predictable though. Harry is introduced as our good guy in white who learns about his mirror, the dark Voldemort who’s this terrible villainous wizard that everyone is incredibly afraid of. From the get go you automatically expect that Harry will triumph over Voldemort, it’s just a case of finding out how… thousands of pages for it to end up just how you expected it too. I hoped for something more.

That isn’t to say it wasn’t written well, in a world where Twilight is considered well written Young Adult fiction it is good to have something else that stands up against it as an example of what happens when Young Adult fiction is written well. I’d be much happier to have kids/teens brought up in a Harry Potter world of wizards and predictability than a world of  sparkling vampires that ruined a genre.

If only Voldemort had ruled supreme though or Harry died and somehow Voldemort was still defeated. Anything would have been better than the obvious.

Plus, if that had happened, we probably would never have had to be subjected to the name Albus Severus Potter.

12.12.12

Yesterday I took part in a fun Instagram tag project: #12on121212. The idea was that you take 12 photos throughout the day with a timestamp to see how many minutes of the day could be captured between everyone.

I’m pretty pleased with the photos I took, even if some of them are a bit of  filler and others I forgot the timestamp. Here is how I spent 12.12.12, the last date like this we’ll see for a really long time:

A bee in my hair! @7:31 Best. Hot. Chocolate. Ever @ 10:46 Picking Mulberries at work @ 12:50

 oh hai cockatoo! @ 12:55 Crazy old tree @13:25 Back in time at 17:10

Segregated dinner @18:29 Perfect sunset @ 20:15 Rickety bridge. hate them. @ 20:36

quack! @ 20:57 22:22 The end! bed, books and music @ 22:41

Let me know your thoughts? Did you participate in this or something similar? If you want to see them in all their instagram glory be sure to check out my Instagram account (username: k_lliste).

Moving toward debt free

At the beginning of this year I didn’t take much responsibility for the money I had or where it was going. I would put the bare minimum on my debts and spend the rest on things that didn’t matter.

I never had a lot of money and just figured that is how life was, struggling to get by, nearly everyone I knew was living pay to pay so that must just be how life just is, right?

Fast forward 8 months and of the $16k in debt I had, I am down to my last $4k and have gone from 2 credit cards and a loan down to 1 credit card. And you know what? It wasn’t really that hard

Here are the things I’ve learnt along the way:

1. Know what you owe.

This is huge! Before I started focusing on getting debt free I never paid much attention to the interest rates or interest going onto my debt each month. I checked the minimum payment and did what I could to pay that. It turned out that I was paying about $250 a month in interest alone and my repayments were barely even covering it. Basically I was one of those people that credit providers love, the ones that pay all interest and nothing else forever.

2. Look for alternatives

Do you have a high interest credit card or loan that is weighing you down? Try looking around for a low or no interest balance transfer credit card. Once I took a look at my cards I realised I was paying around 16% interest for each and on $16k that is quite a lot of money so I researched around and found a card that as 2.99% for 24months! That seemed like a reasonable amount of time to get that all paid off!

I went from paying roughly $100 a month per card in interest to paying $10 a month, in the end I only had the card for 5 months, I paid less interest the entire time than I would have in a month with the old provider.

3. Don’t take the first option

Look around at your options, just because you’ve been with a bank for 10 years doesn’t mean you have to stay with them or, if you do make sure they work for your loyalty. Recently I paid off the card I mentioned above and called to cancel it. I mentioned that I had some more money I was interested in transferring but their interest rate was too high. They provided me some options which were ok but not what I was looking for, once I declined these options they mentioned that “oh, by the way we have the exact thing you’re looking for” yeah, they held out hoping I’d take the 7% option before offering me 0% interest for 9 months.

While banks want your business they also want to make money. Be tough, stand your ground.

4. Prioritise

This may sound pretty straight forward but you would be surprised how hard it can be prioritise paying off debt. I used to budget a certain amount to pay off my debt but I’d leave it until last, just in case I needed some money for something. Needless to say I rarely ever put the amount I’d budgeted onto my debt because I always found something else I absolutely needed to buy.

What I found worked for me was to budget what I would need in that pay period and deposit/transfer the money onto my debt straight away, you might have to sacrifice some other things but in the long run more of your money will stay yours (as you begin to pay less and less interest) and you’ll be debt free faster.

Obviously these suggestions are just that, they are what have worked for me but may not necessarily work for everyone. Hopefully though, it will make you think about what you can do to pay off debt and make life easier for yourself.

Have other solutions that have worked for you? Leave a comment and let me know.