The Financial Dashboard – October 2019

The goals for October were:

  • Adopt a weekly meal plan
  • Exercise 4x a week
  • Get six blogposts out across the month
  • Repair pushbike
  • De-clutter spare room for the charity shop

Checking the assets and liabilities:

October AssetsOctober Liabilities

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by 4.35%, continuing a good run. My savings rate, not including mortgage repayment, was 45.13%, making my average for the year now 23.82%. I’m taking this with a pinch of salt, as HR continue to make a mess of my pension contributions, tax and student loans. I’m paying all three, but my tax code has been wrong for the last three months. The pension contributions are even more of a mess, as I continue to pay into DB schemes, but HR/ Payroll disagree which. Tiresome.


Goal achieved: Adopt a weekly meal plan

We’ve been planning our weeks meals every Sunday, and it’s already having an impact on some of my time available during the week. By setting out a list of what we’re making I’m not having to think when I get home what I can make, and often MrsShrink has been helping to cook and prepare lunches on busier days. A bit of preparatory planning is having a huge effect.

Goal failed: Exercise at least 4x a week

Too busy to manage this, as I managed to keep to the three from last month, but struggled to consistently get a fourth session in. One to carry over for next month, as I’m noticing the difference consistent exercise is making.

Goal failed: Get six blogposts out across the month

I think I managed five in October, but this goal has really highlighted a problem for me. I enjoy writing content and still have a lot more to say, but I’m currently struggling to find the time to write. Winter pressures on the NHS are here, I’m working 60+ hours a week and I’m squeezing exercise and other activities that keep me sane and relaxed into my spare time. As the amount of hours I’m having to work has ramped up it’s decreased my time to work on posts. If I’m writing content I want it to be of a high standard and well-referenced, and that isn’t quick to knock out. The last few months I have pressured myself to maintain content flow here, but it’s taking the joy out of blogging. I’ve therefore decided to take a sabbatical until the New Year from the majority of my blogging. I will still update monthly and quarterly figures, but the Full English and other content is on hold until I can give it the time it deserves.

Goal failed: Repair Pushbike

Found a shop to do it. Closed all the time I’m not working. Will take some time off to do this.

Goal achieved: De-clutter spare room for charity shop

Looking much tidier, and will be working towards the loft in the New Year.


  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £176.39, last month £144.75
  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £101, last month £101
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £301.82, last month £257.49 – Got an expensive month coming up with an MOT
  • Holiday – £150, spent £336.40, last month £0 – Had a short break away
  • Personal – £100/ £46.56/ £87.75
  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £140/ £152.25
  • Misc – £50/ £215.15/ £75.65 – Lots of birthday gifts
  • Fees – £70 /£177.91/ £110.40 – The GMC have taken some of their pound of flesh

In the garden:

The winter crops are starting to come through, but otherwise it’s been mainly clearing away and making ready for winter.

Goals for next month:

  • Exercise at least 4x a week
  • Automate investments
  • Repair pushbike
  • Look at new emergency fund accounts

Happy November everyone,

The Shrink

13 thoughts on “The Financial Dashboard – October 2019

  1. Hi TFS,
    Nice work on the goals you achieved. Looks like your workload is going to make a few of the others a consistent graft? Good luck!


    1. Hey Rhino,
      Good Q. Short answer: everything.
      It’s an old downhill MTB I used to use a lot that was top of the range new. 15 years later and it’s pretty shagged. The crank bearing is worn out. I tagged the chainset and derailleur pulley on a tree years ago and it needs replacing. One of the quick-releases on the rear hub snapped so it’s fused. The hydraulic brakes need resetting. Plenty more.
      I could theoretically do it, but it’s cheaper for me to work a day’s overtime and get someone else to do it than spend a day doing it myself.


  2. Good to hear that you are already seeing the benefits of organising the meal plan.

    Seems sensible to drop the blogpost goal – the reason why I’ve never set myself blog goals is because I don’t want blogging to become a chore.

    Enjoy your sabbatical and hope you’ll be in a position to start blogging more regularly again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, just reading your blog recently and I’m wondering if u can help, how do you manage to keep your food costs so low? we spend £800 a month on groceries, eating out and alcohol, were trying to cut it back as we know it’s far far too much but just cant seem to get on top of it.

    Any advice ?


    1. Lisa, some suggestions for you:
      Eat less meat
      Meal plan – I do it monthly
      Drink less alcohol
      Take lunch with you instead of buying it
      Eat more beans and lentils – preferably dried ones as they’re very cheap
      Shop at the cheaper supermarkets i.e. Aldi and Lidl, although I shop at Tesco.
      Good luck, Sam

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Sam,

        I deff think the eat less meat one needs to happen, will maybe try one meat free day per week to start with 🙂
        less alcohol and tale aways would also make a difference, I budget £150 a month on take away and alcohol.

        we do meal plan and I never buy food at work, we shop at Asda as the closest lidl or Aldi are miles away sadly, our only other choice is the Co-op.

        Was in Costco yesterday and spent £200, which takes our spend for the month back up to the £800, was hoping it would’ve been lower this month, but sadly not, I spose though it deff saves us money in the long run as we didnt buy any treats only stuff we do use and that I had priced before we went so ensured it was cheaper there.

        Thanks again any advice much appreciated


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Lisa,

        Sorry it’s taken so long for me to reply. Thank you Sam for all the helpful suggestions, most of them exactly what I was going to say!

        First of all I’d say part of the reason it’s only £150-200 a month is because it’s my half, and my wife also contributes the same, so we’re closer to £300-400 for the two of us. We eat well, and could definitely spend less, but we eat very healthy, organic, locally grown food, and I don’t mind paying out cash to avoid paying the environmental debt. So a bit closer to your £800, though it depends on how many you’re feeding?

        To expand a bit on some of Sams great points.

        Eat less meat – A massive one. Good for your health, your wallet and the environment. One of the big steps we took was changing our attitude towards food. Meat historically was a treat. It’s only since the 1950s and mass-produced farming that eating meat every day became the norm. So we have meat as the treat it should be. We visit the butcher once a month, spend £60 on a selection of really nice cuts, and that’s all the meat we eat. We aim for 2-3 meat dinners a week. When we do have it it tastes better as it’s really high quality, and we savour it.

        Meal plan – getting much better thanks to this too. Shop once or twice a week to a clear meal plan using an ingredients list.

        Drink less alcohol – Again we changed out attitude. Alcohol is a treat. A bottle of wine at the weekend. A beer with a nice meal. We go to Majestic once every three months and buy two cases of really nice wine that lasts us.

        Take lunch with you instead of buying it – I’m terrible at making sandwiches or packed lunches. What I can do is take soup (make your own or buy the ones on offer for £1) or batch cook. As part of your meal plan make big amounts of certain dinners and take leftovers to work for lunch. When I was a student I used to live well on £15/week by batch cooking 2-3 times a week.

        Eat more beans and lentils – this can be done without being boring. Herbs and spices make a big difference. I’ve got a variety of ‘quick’ cookbooks and often use the veggie sections to make dhals, falafel, stuffed peppers, bean chili etc.

        Shop at cheaper supermarkets – a shame that Asda is your closest. I recently worked out my Lidl shop was half the price it would have been at Asda. I do a big shop for spices, condiments, odd ingredients etc once a month to top-up.

        I guess it’s how you then put it all together. To compare ourselves to what you laid out;
        – We meal plan to eat 2-3 meat dinners a week, 1-2 fish (MSC certified minimum), 3-4 veggie.
        – Where we eat meat it’s locally sourced and high quality from the butchers
        – In some veggie meals we use quorn or similar… e.g. when I can’t be bothered to cook we’ll do frozen veggie burgers, quorn nuggets (seriously good), quorn pieces in a stir fry etc
        – We cook pretty much everything (except the quorn/ veggie burgers) from scratch. It’s cheaper, doesn’t have to take longer and it’s healthier
        – We spend about £30/month on alcohol at home
        – We spend about £30/month on takeaways – a treat to have once a month
        – We spend about £100/month going out for food – we try to go out once a fortnight either as a date or with friends

        It all takes time and effort, but moving away from stopping off on the way home to pick up ready meals has saved us a fair amount.

        Hope that’s helpful,
        The Shrink


  4. Discovered your blog. Interest read and numbers. Yes I’ve had tax code problems, can be a pain. Guess your DB scheme will be devalued annually, and your net worth will jump next month. Lucky to be in a DB scheme, I read your complaints with a wry smile as mine closed many years ago. Your groceries are very low, guess your more an Aldi man rather than waitrose or M&S. I need to automate savings also as spend far too much time thinking about investments. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam,
      Actually as I’m in the NHS pension scheme it’s a right nightmare to work out the benefit. They don’t automatically send you the revaluation, and they don’t provide equivalent annuity figures, just a rough future estimate. As it’s an unfunded scheme (don’t get me started) there’s no ability to buy out and no lump sum value. I only include a very low, soft figure in my sums because it’s pretty unclear to me what state the NHS pension scheme will be in by the time I retire, particularly given the penchant of recent governments for devaluing it. I still count myself lucky.
      Definitely Aldi and Lidl, plus a local vegbox and butcher!
      Thanks for reading,
      The Fire Shrink


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