The Financial Dashboard – December 2018

The goals for December were:

  • Sell five more childhood toys. Sell five more car parts – Failure
  • Set a realistic monthly budget target for motoring – Success
  • Establish weekly and monthly joint grocery account expenses – Success
  • Finish reading Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing – Success

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets Dec

Dec Liabilities

These are taken from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by £1392 (~5%), briefly hitting £30k. I’m happy with this considering it’s Christmas and so a lot of gifts, hosting and celebrating meant I spent more going out and cooking in than most months. I saved another £200 on my 5% Santander saver, £200 into a Starling 1% interest emergency fund pot, plus the usual pensions etc


Goal achieved:  Finish reading Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing

Done and dusted, and guiding me in the formulation of my Investment Strategy Statement.

Goal achieved: Set a realistic monthly budget target for motoring 

To do this I went back through my financial records for the whole year. In total I spent £6480.55 this year on transportation in varying guises. Of this I’m removing £179.36 which is what I’ve paid for public transport, parking and that bloody Severn crossing toll over the year. That leaves the following:


The change in job in August really halved my petrol spend, but this will go back up with a further job change next month. I’m going to allocate £150/month to that, plus a further £50/month for car tax. I gave up my second garage last month, which will see me save £120/month. My insurance costs aren’t terrible as I keep one car garaged, live in a reasonable area and have 10 years of NCB. Rather than taking it on the nose I’m going to put £60 aside a month for 2019 to hold enough on hand to cover it as and when it arises.

The elephant in the room is the parts and labour costs. My reliable daily cost me £1031.16 over the year for it’s ~10,000 miles, which is MOT plus related work, a major service, a large amount of suspension work, two tyres and various other cosmetic bits. It comes out to £86/month, competitive with any PCP or lease deal before considering depreciation. On that, the old girl depreciated about £300 over the year, so call it £110/month to run about in a powerful estate. Or to look at it another way, I spend 12p/mile on parts and labour, 16p/mile on fuel. Reasonable Bangernomics but could do better.

And then there’s the Red Car. This was £1650 spent to complete a restoration which still has some minor niggles to sort. Money that has been spent for a fun hobby, but in no way recoverable on a car worth £2500 on a good day. Bugger. I’m going to continue to tinker the final issues, but plan to sell and recoup some costs before replacing with something less of a financial sinkhole. I also plan to replace the green car next year with something a bit newer to keep in my perceived sweet spot of depreciation vs reliability (for me 10-15 years).


With the plan to sell both cars and buy replacements in 2019 I will assign:

  • £50/month Car tax
  • £150/month Fuel
  • £60/month Insurance
  • £200/month put aside for parts, labour, MOT and replacements

If I can keep to £460/month then by the end of 2019 I’ll have saved £980 over what I’ve spent in 2018 on cars. Not vast, but an achievable goal I think, whilst also retaining a fun little hobby.

Goal achieved:  Establish weekly and monthly joint grocery account expenses

I’m going to cover this in the Q4 Quarterly Returns update, as I’ve run a lot of numbers to complete an accurate budget.

Goal failed:  Sell five more childhood toys. Sell five more car parts

Not without trying. I’ve had a fair amount of interest on eBay, Gumtree and (shudder) Facebook marketplace. Despite lots of assurances people definitely want stuff, no-one has actually turned up to take it off me. I’ll carry this over and attack it next month.


  • Daily living and entertainment – Budget £600(!), spent £131, last month £?
  • Transport – budget £300, spent £233.69, last month £126.12.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £209, last month £lots. Going skiing this month, so paying in advance.
  • Personal – £50/ £42.21/ £20.64
  • Loans/ Credit – £200/ £556.57/ £571.77. Paying any new additions plus £350 off my credit card every month now.
  • Misc – £50/ £20/ £16.40.

In the garden:

We ate the last of our late potatoes with our Christmas dinner, which was a real treat. The last of the winter salad veg is running to seed or bolting now, so I’ve had to cut back the lettuces etc. Still a bit of spinach beet and lambs lettuce surviving. I’ve repaired broken panes in our greenhouse and started staking out the new raised beds.

Goals for next month:

  • Sell five more childhood toys. Sell five more car parts.
  • Develop a single spreadsheet for all my financial data/ graphs etc
  • Finish my Investment Strategy Statement
  • Check our household green credentials
  • Check utilities for potential savings

What’s in the pipeline:

  • Quarterly Returns Q4 2018
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part II
  • Investment Strategy Statement – Part 4 – Funds, Accounts & Rebalancing
  • Frugal Motoring – Should I buy a Hybrid?
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy January everyone,

The Shrink

4 thoughts on “The Financial Dashboard – December 2018

  1. Happy new year! I’m always impressed by your financial dashboard spreadsheet. Do you make it all in Excel?

    Also, I noticed that you included your student loans in your liabilities. I’d be interested to hear your reasons why; I don’t count mine for three reasons – I currently don’t think I’ll pay it off before it gets wiped out in about 20 years, if I happen to be unemployed in the future then I won’t have to pay it back anyway, and I don’t have to pay much back each month. Obviously that may all change in the future, but that’s how it stands at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dr Fire, Happy New Year!

      It’s a bit of an Excel Frankenstein at the moment. It combines a number of other peoples spreadsheets and stock templates, combined with some look-up functions, hyperlinking and amortization sheets. Each line on the dashboard theoretically links to it’s relevant sheet, and the values are automatically looked-up and inserted based on the current date. I’m giving it a tidy this month, and then may share it as a google sheet or similar.

      The student loan question is a fair point. I’ve heard some people talk about treating it as a tax, especially given it’s cancelled after the 20 years/ death as you say. I guess I include it because I like to try to include literally everything that I own or owe, and therefore keep an amortization schedule for it and update each month with the amount paid off given on my payslip. I get a tiny bit of joy watching it erode. Sadly I’m likely to be one of the unlucky people who pays it back in full, so it is going to be a drain on the balance sheet for some time to come. Personal preference on student loans I think!


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