The Financial Dashboard – February 2020

The goals for February were:

  • Set up standing order for investments
  • Rationalise credit cards
  • Repair or replace daily driver
  • Review pet and car insurance
  • Review progress towards long term goals

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets FebLiabilities Feb

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by a solid 3.61%, thanks to a best ever savings rate of 53.81%. No massive changes to my expenses, just a large payday due to some extra locum work. Surplus was used to top up my emergency funds and open a new investment holding in my ISA of Vanguard’s Emerging Markets Index Fund (Acc) (1). This was chosen due to it’s relatively low OCF (0.23%), wide EM exposure and the inclusion of Korea thanks to the MSCI index.

Goals:

Goal achieved: Set up standing order for investments

A nice easy win here, but one I’ve been meaning to do for ages. When I initially set up my ISA I intended to put in as much each month as I could afford. In practice I would dither deciding how much to invest, and it led to fluctuations and lack of consistency. Setting up the standing order to go out on the day I am paid makes sure I ‘pay myself first’.

Goal achieved: Rationalise credit cards

After clearing down my debt I was left with two credit cards with not inconsiderable credit limits but no promotional bonuses. I have closed both, and opened a new account with a 27 month interest-free purchase promotion. This will allow me to purchase a car or home improvements in the future with Section 75 protection and no interest.

Goal achieved: Repair or replace daily driver

I was fairly set on purchasing a new car, and the new credit card would have enabled me to. Attempts to sell my current daily driver met with minimal success. As the insurance loomed two weeks were spent travelling locally looking at cars. There was nothing worth putting myself back into debt for. Instead I spent a fairly hefty sum (>£500) on repairs and pro-active maintenance. The old daily has 135k on the clock, and the intention is to run it into the ground, saving further into my emergency fund for a (slight) upgrade in the future. Lifestyle inflation – not today!

Goal achieved: Review pet and car insurance

Our pet insurance came due and, frustratingly, our local vets won’t deal with quite a few of the cheaper insurers. Apparently they’re cheap for a reason. The usual price comparison sites turned up a solution for ~£8/month. Meanwhile I’ve also used the benefits of classic car insurance to get the project car insured with restricted mileage (5,000) including commuting at the useful sum of £180 for the year. Classic cars are definitely cheaper in fees, if not in wear and tear.

Goal failed(ish): Review progress towards long term goals

I’ve been mulling over my long term goals recently. When I first wrote some just under 18 months ago, I was deliberately vague in places, and didn’t include my state or NHS pension for various reasons. I’ve been back and updated my progress, but the goals themselves really need a hard look. Rather than posting that here, I’ve decided to do it as a seperate post this month.

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £169.83, last month £143.32
  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £1143.33, last month £157.64
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £283.37, last month £195.80
  • Holiday – £150, spent £60, last month £0
  • Personal – £100/ £15.88/ £341.73
  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £0/ £0
  • Misc – £50/ £94.59/ £27.89
  • Fees – £70 /£648.50/ £457 – further gristle for the GMC mill

In the garden:

Very little sadly. Just too busy.

Goals for next month:

  • Review progress towards long term goals
  • Review emergency fund accounts
  • Plan for 2020s ISA
  • Get the project car back on the road
  • Gardening

Happy March everyone,
The Shrink

References:

  1. https://www.vanguardinvestor.co.uk/investments/vanguard-emerging-markets-stock-index-fund-accumulation-shares

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