The Financial Dashboard – August 2019

The goals for August were:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Recheck my budgets as I change jobs and drop my income by 1/4 (gotta love the NHS)

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets AugustLiabilities August

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by 5.47%, the second best this year. My savings rate, not including mortgage repayment, was 34.66%, pushing my average up to 18.69%.


Goal failed: Plan healthy weekly dinners

Getting better at this, but continuing to be away a lot has meant that having the time and space to plan out food for the week has been tricky. I had begun to rely on frozen food, so we’ve gone back to fresh, and I’ve been making big batches using the glut of veg from the garden. We continue to just about manage a split of three meat, one fish, three veggie, but lunches are often whatever I can snatch. With a job change I need to get better at organising and preparing in advance.

Goal failed: Exercise at least 3x a week

Sort of fail. I averaged exercise 3x a week, but had a week where I only managed to go twice. Keeping this on to pressurise myself into making it a strict 3x in a week.

Goal failed: Get two more blogposts out

Miserable. Even worse than July. I’m just not at home or in front of a desk with free time enough to write at the moment. The pressure will remain on.

Goal achieved: Recheck my budgets as I change jobs and drop my income by 1/4 

A necessity, as I change my job in the annual Black Wednesday shuffle, when all hospitals are suddenly staffed by junior doctors asking; “What do I do?”, “Where do I go?”, and “Who am I?”. My new jobs incurs a pay cut of 1/4, as I’m working fewer unsociable hours. Looking at my budgets:


  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £299.90, last month £254.

This probably isn’t an accurate representation, as our finances are now settled enough that all food bills go through out joint account, while this was set up when we were doing food individually. Somehow I seem to have spent £135 of my own money and £250 from the joint this month, and an eye-watering £490 from the joint last month. A few £50 shops, with lots of £10-20 top ups has really bitten a chunk out of our monthly earnings. I’m going to bring the budget down from £300 to £200, notionally as £150 for the joint (£300/2) and £50 from my own. I used to survive on £20/week, so there’s plenty of fat to trim.

  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £81, last month £186.

This suffers the same problem as the groceries section, in that the budget was set pre-usage of our main joint account. This mainly goes on eating out at restaurants or activities with friends. We could do better at getting out into the countryside for free again, and we should only really eat out once a month. Going to trim this down from £150 to £100 and see how we get on.

  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £241.97, last month £618.29.

Looked at this relatively recently, so it’s going to remain unchanged. Will hopefully be driving less in the new job, so can save some petrol money. Really need to get back on the bike too.

  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £103.50.

Planning something for later in the year, and putting the budget towards that in a Starling pot.

  • Personal – £100/ £62.99/ £30.76.

This is clothes, gifts, books, games, DVDs, trips to the barber etc. I always feel like it should be more, but I suspect a lot of stuff ends up under Misc or Groceries (supermarket clothing etc). I’m going to keep this the same.

  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £152.25/ £493.30

Big changes here, as now my credit card debt is cleared I want to make it an exception if I have to use and pay off any credit card. Dropping the budget to £0, as this is what I should be aiming to be paying.

  • Misc – £50/ £30/ £119.35 

This is my catch all for unexpected or difficult to classify things. I have empty fields in my spreadsheet capture the data. No change to this, as you always need a float

  • Fees – £70 /£209.75/ £-

New data. This is all my monthly fees for services; mobile phone, internet, bank account fees, life insurance, plus professional subscriptions. It’s a pretty jagged graph, as many of my professional costs fall yearly as a big sum which I’m now averaging across months as savings in another Starling pot. Nominally I’ll set a budget which incorporates all my routine monthly direct debits without the lumpy stuff. Off the back of this I went and spoke to my mobile phone provider, renegotiating my contract and reducing the monthly figure by half.

In the garden:

Full glut mode activated. Chutneys everywhere. Excess beans, melons and tomatoes. Potatoes finally harvested, sadly a bit grub-munched. Sunflowers drying for their seeds. Cucamelons tiny bursts of joy. Purple carrots adding colour to salads. Just in time for that first chill wind.

Goals for next month:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Look for a skip bike to use for short local journeys
  • De-clutter spare room for charity shop

What’s in the pipeline: (Life continues to get in the way of blogging)

  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Should I buy an electric car?
  • Q2 2019 – Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy September everyone,

The Shrink

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