The Financial Dashboard – May 2019

The goals for May were:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Finish my portfolio spreadsheet
  • Get two extra blog posts out
  • Re-mortgage
  • Set up new bank accounts

Checking the assets and liabilities:

May AssetsMay Liabilities

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth fell by 1.41%. A number of reasons for this: we re-mortgaged which included a fee, I moved the date I pay into our joint account resulting in less actually in my accounts, the markets dipped a bit, and I had a number of work courses which all required payment at once.  We finally paid off our loan to our family member for the wedding, and I’ve started setting up new accounts to squirrel emergency savings into.

Goals:

Goal achieved: Sell £100 worth of stuff

Finally got rid of a big ticket item that’s been taking up garage space, along with some smaller stuff. Actually smashed this goal, making £250 into the joint account. For now this goal will be on hold while I send more stuff to charity shops.

Goal failed: Finish my portfolio spreadsheet

So I tried the Rebo app developed by Andy at Liberate Life, but found it too simplistic for what I wanted (1, 2). I’m working on another hybrid google sheet which I’ll probably start debuting for next months end of Quarter review.

Goal achieved: Get two extra blog posts out

This was to get me back into the swing of posting regularly. There’s some fairly long posts which have been taking me a while to draft, hopefully these will be out soon.

Goal achieved: Re-mortgage

We’re in a slightly difficult situation, in that we have a split pot mortgage as a result of our various house moves. The larger of the two mortgages came to the end of it’s 5-year 4.29% fix last month; a reminder of days when we only had a 10% deposit and where the economy and house prices were looking strong with all the talk of rising interest rates. Hindsight is 20-20. We umm-ed and ahh-ed about what to do. Given our intention is to sync up the two pots within the next five years here’s our thinking:

  1. A tracker rate appealed for similar reasons as set out by 3652days last year (3). Namely:
    • If we assume a no deal brexit there will likely be a recession. BoE unlikely to raise rates. Tracker wins.
    • If we continue to have delays to Article 50 then the knock on economic uncertainty is likely to keep a dampener on inflation/ economy. BoE unlikely to raise rates. Tracker wins.
    • If parliament passes Mrs Mays deal (unlikely) then whilst the pound and economy may rise from their current torpor, it’s unlikely this will be within the two year tracker period. It will take time for things to gear up again. Tracker – not much difference.
    • Depending on the new leader of the conservatives and de facto PM, we can theorise potential outcomes – either they’re a hardline no-deal leader, in which case they’d probably try to push a no-deal brexit by waiting the damn timer out (and therefore see bullet point one)… Or they try to unify the party with the promise of a new deal in compromise with labour. Such a deal will likely struggle to get through parliament, because it’s unlikely to resolve the Irish border or pacify the wings of either party. Both strategies will push towards a general election, which the bookies now reckon is more likely in 2019 than not (4).
    • If we assume no brexit, either through a further referendum or a complete “betrayal” by the conservatives or a new government, then the economy may bounce back.  Routes to this would be either a general election and coalition Lib/Lab/Green Gov, or (due to our first past the post system) a Conservative majority led by a moderate trying to appease the centre. This will again take time. The economy’s not going to be able to come straight out of the blocks flat out whilst still wading through the political fallout of such a decision. Tracker – not much difference to fix.
  2. The tracker rates available to us were ~4-5% within the same bank we currently use. Rates available at other banks were ~1.55%.
  3. Fixed rates available to us were ~1.6% for 2 years, up to around 2% for a five year. Fixed rate pros and cons:
    • If we go for a longer rate fix we might as well change bank for the lowest rate possible. A long fix nullifies the tracker arguments to an extent due to timescale. Pros – financial stability and predictability. Cons – lack of flexibility and difficulty consolidating mortgage pots resulting in logistical and cost  implications.
    • If we fix for a shorter rate we can stay with the current bank. Pros – consolidating mortgage pots next year, cheaper rate vs long fix, flexibility. Cons – risk of interest rate rises in the next two years.
  4. Inflation is currently 2.1%, close to the BoE target of 2.0%. Whilst this remains that way they’re unlikely to change the base rate. The current outlook is mixed and largely Brexit dependent, but the BoE is predicting a base rate of 1.25% by 2022, with the next move late this year or early in 2020 (5, 6).

Our decision was somewhat reactionary and behavioural. We were burnt by our lack of flexibility in the past. Our current home is not our dream home, and we intend to move in the next five years. We favoured the flexibility of a short fix or tracker. The tracker rates at our current bank were not competitive. If we moved banks we could split the pot across banks, but this would likely make consolidating the mortgage next year (when the smaller pot’s fixed rate ends) more challenging. The short fixed rate at our current bank was close enough to tracker rates as to make no odds. We’ve therefore fixed for two years, gambling that rates will only rise by ~1% in the interim, dependent on Brexit outcomes. Both pots average ~1.65%, meaning our mortgage rate is less than RPI inflation.

The kicker here is that the drop in our interest rate actually meant that we could reduce our term whilst keeping repayments the same. It now sits at a nice 20 years, with the continued option of a 10% overpayment. We calculated either of us can pay the mortgage on our own independently, and we could tolerate up to a 15% interest rate (which would be seriously dire days) (7). It’ll be interesting looking back on this in the future, did we make the right gamble?

Goal achieved: Set up new bank accounts

Our 5% Santander regular saver matured this month, and Santander have reduced the interest rate to 3%. Santander have also changed the terms on their 1-2-3 account, which we’ve been using for our joint account. I’m therefore in the process of moving us over to First Direct for their £100 switching bonus and linked 5% regular saver (8). I’ve also opened a Nationwide Flex account to benefit from their 5% interest rate on balances up to £2500 for the first year (9). In the next few months I’ll add a Marcus account to this mix for my emergency fund over £2.5k.

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £264.72, last month £184.25. We hosted a lot this month, so spent more than usual but well within budget. I’ll likely decrease my self-imposed budget limit soon.
  • Entertainment – Budget £150, spent £139.47, last month £99.38
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £119.25, last month £851.53. Back on track.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £0
  • Personal – £100/ £15/ £41.88
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £407.40/ £88.97
  • Misc – £50/ £59/ £121.92. Misc payments this month:
    • £25 on a sewing machine
    • £25 on a carpet cleaner
    • £9 on gardening gear

In the garden:

Things are getting wild, overgrown and many an evening is spent weeding. Our salad crops are providing plenty of dinners, and the first of the spring onions and early potatoes are nearly ready.

Goals for next month:

  • Finish my portfolio spreadsheet
  • Compare current insurance rates
  • Look into further financial planning: wills and income protection
  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week

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 June everyone,

The Shrink

References:

  1. https://reboapp.co.uk/
  2. http://liberate.life/index.php/2019/05/01/track-portfolio-rebo/
  3. https://3652daysblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/its-a-tracker/
  4. https://www.theweek.co.uk/93763/will-there-be-a-general-election-in-2019
  5. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/05/what-will-brexit-mean-for-interest-rates/
  6. https://moneytothemasses.com/owning-a-home/interest-rate-forecasts/latest-interest-rate-predictions-when-will-rates-rise
  7. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/mortgage-rate-calculator/
  8. https://www.bankaccountsavings.co.uk/
  9. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/compare-best-bank-accounts/#bonus
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The Financial Dashboard – April 2019

The goals for April were:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Set up pots for holiday and personal money
  • Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint
  • Set up regular stock investment
  • Finish my portfolio spreadsheet

Checking the assets and liabilities:

April AssetsApril Liabilities

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by £1,108, 3.34%. I put the final £200 in my 5% Santander saver, which matures next month. Santander have dropped the interest to 3% now so I’ll probably open a separate account elsewhere. We continued to pay down our family wedding loan. At the end of last month the clutch began to go on my daily driver, so I stumped up for a replacement. This went partly on my credit card, so swallowed up efforts to reduce that debt, but I was able to clear part using money put aside in a car maintenance savings pot.

Goals:

Goal failed: Sell £100 worth of stuff

Continuing to fight hordes of time-wasters, asking me to part with big ticket items for tuppence. Wearisome.

Goal achieved: Set up pots for holiday and personal money

Quick and easy win this. My accounts now have an organised flow, where my salary comes into my main account, then anything after bills and direct debits gets moved into my Starling. This has spaces set up, which I’ll start to fill with the budgeted holiday and personal money.

Goal achieved: Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint

I’ve already spoken about moving to a sustainable energy supplier (Bulb) and trying to reduce our plastic usage. We eat local and healthy, though I admit with busier work comes decreased time to actually organise healthy food. We’ve reduced our plastic consumption for toiletries, using shampoo and soap bars, switching back to washing powder in cardboard boxes. Toilet roll was an issue. Most supermarket toilet roll isn’t recycled, the production process is surprisingly damaging and toxic, and then it’s all wrapped in plastic and shipped to us. A great case in point of clever branding is the new company Who gives a crap (1). They make a big thing of eco credentials; all their loo roll is either recycled or from sustainable bamboo, it’s wrapped in paper and 50% of the profits are donated to safe water/ waste charities. My major issue; all this loo roll gets containerised from factories in China invalidating some of the headline eco credentials.

In looking for alternatives I found the shopping guides from the excellent website Ethical Consumer (2). They score and rank companies on their ethical and environmental merits to produce a list of bestbuys. We opted for the UK manufactured Ecoleaf, which is the same price as standard supermarket loo-roll, and half the price of Who Gives a Crap. We’ll be using the website again, as it’s got guides for most household products, which can be purchased on the Ethical Superstore (3).

Goal failed: Finish my portfolio spreadsheet

It’s surprisingly hard to find a platform for a portfolio that has all the functionality I want. I’ve amalgamated/ butchered YFG and Firevlondons’ spreadsheets, but I’m still not happy.  I’m going to give the Rebo app developed by Andy at Liberate Life a go (4, 5). May well end up drafting something new.

Goal achieved: Set up regular stock investment

A set amount a month is now going into my S&S ISA. I’m somewhat limited in my portfolio options at the moment, due to using Vanguard as my platform. I’ll cover what I’m going to do about it in my next Quarterly update.

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £184.25, last month £207.01.
  • Entertainment – Budget £150, spent £99.38, last month £76.50.
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £851.53, last month £329.90. Grim.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £0.
  • Personal – £100/ £41.88/ £47.57.
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £88.97/ £748.44.
  • Misc – £50/ £121.92/ £81.77. Misc payments this month:
    • £40-odd at Dunelm for bathroom furnishings
    • £30-odd on chicken feed
    • £50 on bathroom fittings

In the garden:

Everything is starting to come up, my favourite time of year in the garden. We have: two types of tomatoes, two types of potatoes, two types of onions, radishes, salad leaves, lettuces, courgettes, spring onion and various beans. The clematis is in flower and the raspberry is shooting up canes. All good things.

Goals for next month:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Finish my portfolio spreadsheet
  • Get two extra blog posts out
  • Remortgage
  • Set up new bank accounts

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

  • Our wedding pricetag
  • How I calculate my net worth
  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy May everyone,

The Shrink

References:

  1. https://uk.whogivesacrap.org/
  2. https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/home-garden/shopping-guide/toilet-paper
  3. https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/
  4. https://reboapp.co.uk/
  5. http://liberate.life/index.php/2019/05/01/track-portfolio-rebo/

The Financial Dashboard – March 2019

The goals for March were:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Finish the raised beds
  • Calculate and set a budget for Personal spending
  • Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint
  • Purchase first stock investment

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets March 2019

Liabilities March 2019

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by £2,871, 9.46%! This was due to an unexpected but welcome tax rebate due to overpaying at some point earlier in the year- my tax codes bounce about a bit. Another momentous month too, as this was the first time my liquid cash (emergency fund and savings pot) was greater than my unsecured debts (credit cards and family loans). I put another £200 on my 5% Santander saver, paid down our wedding loan to a family member and paid off £1000 of my credit card. The remaining tax boon went in a S&S ISA – more on that below.

Goals:

Goal failed: Sell £100 worth of stuff

Failed this. I managed to sell another £50 worth of car parts, but I’ve been royally dicked about trying to sell some furniture and other spare household stuff. Interest has been strong, but lots of “best price m8?”, “would you take [1/2 list price]?”, topped off by some people coming to view an item desperate for it but refusing to pay and demanding delivery. Choosing beggars.

Goal achieved: Finish the raised beds

Now complete and planting has commenced. I got fed up of trawling gumtree for a few bags of soil here and there, so ended up paying £60 for two tons of topsoil to be delivered. It’s otherwise been a free project made of scavenged pallets, so not complaining too hard.

Goal achieved: Calculate and set a budget for personal spending

My old budget for personal spending was plucked out of thin air. In an effort to continue to properly track my budget I’ve moved some more categories under this heading. It now includes my clothing budget, gifts for people, trips to the barber, books, CDs, DVDs, computer games and any music. Looking over the past 12 months my spending is a bit all over the place, varying from £5.50 to ~£300, which makes sense when you include clothes. My plan from now on is to put aside £100 a month to pay for these items and then see how it looks in a years time.

Goal failed: Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint

Started looking at changing cars, electric bikes… all sorts. Haven’t had time this month to actually summarise the relevant thoughts. Will return.

Goal achieved: Purchase first stock investment

The tax rebate went straight into a S&S ISA with Vanguard to the tune of £1,000. Showing impressive skill, I purchased at a six month high for my chosen fund (Dev World Ex-UK). An immediate lesson in market timing and not checking too frequently. More details in my Q1 review.

Budgets:

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £158.58, last month £207.01. Looking good for my Q1 goals.
  • Entertainment – Budget £150, spent £76.50, last month £92.
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £329.90, last month £405.44. Spending a lot more on petrol with my new commute.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £0.
  • Personal – £100/ £47.57/ £5.50.
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £748.44/ £288.99.
  • Misc – £50/ £81.77/ £186.45. Misc payments this month:
    • £60 cash on soil
    • £21.77 in Wickes on house stuff.

In the garden:

Raised beds are done. Cabbages, three types of raddish, four types of lettuce, two types of potato, two types of onion and various other odd bits are in the ground. Peas, peppers, sweet peas, cucumbers and tomatoes are on the go in the greenhouse.

Goals for next month:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Set up pots for holiday and personal money
  • Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint
  • Set up regular stock investment
  • Finish my portfolio spreadsheet

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

  • Quarterly Returns Q1 2019
  • How I calculate my net worth
  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy April everyone,

The Shrink

The Financial Dashboard – February 2019

The goals for February were:

  • Sell £50 worth of stuff
  • Calculate and set a budget for Entertainment
  • Reduce consumption of single use plastics
  • Finish the raised beds
  • Set up an account with an investment platform

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets Feb 2019Liabilities Feb 19

These are taken from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by £984 (~3%). For the first time I’ve ended the month with a net worth >£30k. I put another £200 on my 5% Santander saver, paid down our wedding loan to a family member and my credit card bill. I also put money aside as budgeted for future professional and car expenses.

Goals:

Goal achieved: Sell £50 worth of stuff

Sold some car parts, got £50 in cash, spent it on soil (rock ‘n’ roll). I’ll increase this for next month to keep the impetus up.

Goal achieved: Calculate and set a budget for Entertainment

Again I went back over the past year’s spending to calculate what my average is. I’ve previously classed entertainment as daily living type costs, and kept gym and hobby fees separate. For this year and to produce a proper budget I’m going to include them all together, so that it encompasses eating out, the cinema/ theatre/ concerts/ events, the gym and my other esoteric hobbies. There’s been a lot of variance in monthly spending, from £~50 to £~250, accounted for by concert tickets and times when we’ve eaten out a lot. In the last couple of months we’ve spent around £100, but we’ve barely left the house. I’m going to budget £150/month for the future, and anything left over at the end of the year can be used to top up ISAs.

Goal achieved: Reduce consumption of single use plastics

Gradual progress here, through small changes. We’ve moved to only buy loose fruit where possible. Our veg is delivered loose. Our meat is delivered wrapped in waxed paper. We’ve switched some of our cosmetic items, so that we only buy paper earbuds, and we’ve made re-usable face-wipes for makeup from old material. We’ve switched to shampoo bars, which are more expensive but seem to last much longer (this sort of thing). We’ve switched back to soap bars from liquid hand soap. Slow but steady, with plenty more to do. Next month I want to look at other ways we can reduce our environmental footprint.

Goal failed: Finish the raised beds

I’m tripling my veg patch size by rebuilding the raised beds using fly-tipped or old pallets and free/ cheap soil. This is taking bloody ages. Trying to scrounge free or cheap soil through gumtree and facebook is slow. I’ve probably put in about five tonnes of soil so far, with the same to go.

Goal achieved: Set up an account with an investment platform

I’ve spent much of the month looking at online brokers using Monevator’s excellent guide and a few other websites (1, 2). As we’re coming to the end of the tax year my first purchase will be pretty simple. I’ve opted to go with Vanguard directly and have set up an account in anticipation for making my first payment in March.

Budgets:

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £207.01, last month £185.03 Continue to underspend.
  • Entertainment – Budget £150, spent £92, last month £97.30.
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £405.44, last month £124.75. MOT and tax costs came in under budget, so a little carries forward for next month.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £133.09. Need to start putting a little away here.
  • Personal – £50/ £5.50/ £61.52. Had a rejig here which I’ll explain next month
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £288.99/ £-445.78. This is now net change for the month.
  • Misc – £50/ £186.45/ £123.34. Had a rejig with the new spreadsheet here too. Misc payments this month:
    • £50 cash on soil (plus £50 from the car parts)
    • £20 cash for a work event
    • £50-odd at B&Q on more house things

In the garden:

See above for a raised bed update. The greenhouse is now full of seedtrays with early crops, and the dining room table covered in potatoes being chitted.

Goals for next month:

  • Sell £100 worth of stuff
  • Finish the raised beds
  • Calculate and set a budget for Personal spending
  • Look at other ways to reduce environmental footprint
  • Purchase first stock investment

What’s in the pipeline:

  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy March everyone,

The Shrink

References:

  1. https://monevator.com/find-the-best-online-broker/
  2. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/stocks-shares-isas/

 

The Financial Dashboard – January 2019

The goals for January were:

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

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets

Liabilities

These are taken from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by £867 (~3%), so that I’m now sitting just under £30k. It was a pretty poor month on the savings front with no overtime or extra shifts, the added expense of a holiday and the GMC and Royal College both deciding to take their pound of flesh. I’ve saved another £200 on my 5% Santander saver, and started paying down our wedding loan to a family member, but the Royal College bill went on the credit card (slap on wrist) nudging my debt up. February will also be lean as I start a new job and wait for a new payday. Luckily my new pay should be a fair bit more thanks to the vagaries of the NHS. Got to love a nationalised monopoly!
Goals:
Goal failed: Sell five more childhood toys. Sell five more car parts

I continue to fail here, and I wonder if that’s because I’m trying to sell lots of unusual oddments and expecting everyone else to want my old shit. I have gradually increased the amount of stuff listed on eBay, and have sold ~£20 quid worth of kit. I’ve also braved Facebook and Gumtree, with some success. I’m going to change this for next month and make it a more achievable sell £50 worth of stuff.
Goal achieved: Develop a single spreadsheet for all my financial data/ graphs etc

I’ve streamlined our various household spreadsheets into a new, improved Beast Budget, adding some new functions and graphs at the same time.

Jan Net Worth

Jan Credit Card
Goal achieved: Finish my Investment Strategy Statement

Now complete and to be found here.
Goal achieved: Check our household green credentials

This was a really interesting exercise, and exposed where I’m lying to myself in my bourgeois way. I ran our household information through the WWF Carbon Footprint calculator (1).

Carbon Footprint

Oh dear. Where’s it all going?

Breakdown

Ah. Breaking it down:

Home – We’re doing pretty well. Our energy is supplied by Bulb (message me for a £50 referral bonus), which is 100% renewable electricity and 10% renewable (bio)gas. All our lightbulbs are LED, our boiler is old but regularly serviced, our white goods are low-energy and the whole house is well insulated with double glazing etc.

Stuff – We don’t buy much in the way of clothes or consumerist claptrap, and I think this is mainly raised by the fact we bought new appliances when moving into our house.

Food – We’re doing reasonably here too. We eat meat three or four times a week, but I want to get this down to two. We eat a varied seasonal diet from local organic sources, and I want to grow and preserve more at home.

Travel – Oh bugger. This’ll be the (count ’em) four short haul, four medium haul and two very-long haul flights we’ve made in the last year. Seriously bad for the environment and won’t be doing that in 2019! I also need to get my bike serviced and start using it for local journeys.

This has been useful enough as an audit exercise that I’m going to check my progress quarterly for 2019 to see how I get on improving matters.
Goal achieved: Check utilities for potential savings

I try to check for potential savings every 3-6 months. Uswitch and MoneySavingExpert reckon we can save £45 over the year if we switch to EDF, Lumo or Octopus (2). I’m really happy with the customer service with Bulb (fanboi), and I’m willing to suck up £45 to know my energy is coming from renewable sources. Our previous Plusnet connection went from £27 to £38 in December, so I called their retention department who couldn’t match Virgins 100mbp for £22/month offer. We’ll wait and see whether the reality matches the quoted service.
Budgets:

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £185.03, last month N/A. We had lots of Christmas food left over, but happy with this!
  • Entertainment – Budget £300, spent £97.30, last month N/A. Going to look into entertainment spending this month.
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £103.12, last month £233.69. Remarkably little this month, but MOTs and tuning costs loom.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £133.09, last month £0. Went skiing, fully catered chalet kept £ costs low and moods high.
  • Personal – £50/ £0/ £0
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £400/ £556.67. Upped payments to credit cards now.
  • Misc – £50/ £30/ £20.

In the garden:

I’m mid-way through building the raised beds and I’ve prepared the greenhouse ready for seedtrays next month. The raised beds are 2 foot high (to ward off carrotfly) and constructed from old pallets I’ve scavenged with tanalised upright supports. I’m collecting a load of free topsoil found on Gumtree next week to fill them up and then they should be ready for planting.

Goals for next month:

  • Sell £50 worth of stuff
  • Calculate and set a budget for Entertainment
  • Reduce consumption of single use plastics
  • Finish the raised beds
  • Set up an account with an investment platform

What’s in the pipeline:

  • Stoicism, Ascetism and the modern world
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Frugal Motoring – Should I buy a Hybrid?
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy February everyone,

The Shrink

References

  1. https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
  2. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity/

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

Goals:.

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:

Car

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).

490

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.

Budgets:

  • 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

The Financial Dashboard – November 2018

With the long holiday I’ve missed out October, so here’s a chance the catch up.

The goals for October and November:

  • Clear out and sell/ dump items from the storage unit – Success
  • Sell five more items – Success
  • Service the red car – Failure
  • Establish weekly and monthly joint grocery account expenses – Success
  • Finish reading Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing – Failure

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Nov AssetsNov Liab

These are taken from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. Over the two months my net worth has grown by £4427 (19%). This is down to my quarterly revaluing of our property, which sees my portion go up by £5k, hiding two months of heavy spending. My actual savings rates have bounced either side of 0, despite putting money into my mortgage, savings accounts, credit cards and pensions. We spent several thousand on our honeymoon. We’re not looking at the figures properly, as it’s a once in a lifetime thing, but it was probably £4-5k all in, travelling around the far east for three weeks.

During that time I saved £400 in my 5% interest Santander saver and for the first time since February this year my credit card debt is under £3000.

Goals:

Goal achieved:  Clear out and sell/ dump items from the storage unit

Goal achieved: Sell five more items

I’ve cleared my storage lock-up garage. In the process we sold several pieces of spare furniture, with a couple more to sell along with a whole host of stored car parts. I’m trying to get better with this, as I have a tendency to snaffle rare or good quality parts when I see them, ‘just in case’. I took a full estate-car load to the dump too. By giving up the storage unit I’ve reduced £120 of monthly motoring outgoings. So we continue – Sell five more childhood toys. Sell five more car parts.

Goal achieved:  Establish weekly and monthly joint grocery account expenses

I’m going to cover this in the next quarterly update, as more data is better. I think I’ll take an average across the whole year and look at how I can restructure our diet and shopping to get a better budget.

Goal failed:  Service the red car

I harpooned myself here. I bought the parts to do the work (£50-odd quid), and then promptly filled my garage up with crap decanted from my storage. Bah.

Problem is this continues a theme. I love working on my cars, but rarely get the time any more, especially with continued house renovations and now the garden. My garage is full of sofas, lawnmowers and boxes of books, so it looks unlikely I’ll be able to wheel either car in there for tinkering any time soon. I’ve not actually been able to work on a car for at least a year, and this not only makes me sad but it also isn’t good for the cars. Nothing knackers a motor like a long period of inactivity.

Last month I spent a long weekend away with old friends for a stag do. Two of them are doing quite well for themselves and run brand new high-end German sports cars. They both spend a lot on these cars, but as they use them daily it’s an expense they’re happy to pay for the ‘smiles per miles’. Another bloody phrase I hate. It made me question my habits. I’m not about to abandon my bangernomics tendencies, but my current cars aren’t exactly costing pennies. I think I’ve spent £1150 on work on the red car this year alone, to only turn 250 miles in that time. I’m tempted to cut my losses and buy something either a bit worse to hack over the winter, or save up and buy an appreciating classic. Watch this space. In the interim I’m going to spend this month looking over my previous motoring spending and setting a realistic monthly budget/ savings target for my cars, to gradually build up their own replacement/ repair/ improve/ invest fund.

Goal failed: Finish reading Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing

Read fiction whilst away. Will finish it this month.

Budgets:

  • Daily living and entertainment – £0 from my account, but technically a lot more from the joint.
  • Transport – budget £300, spent £233.69, last month £217.23. Keep reducing this.
  • Holiday – a lot.
  • Personal – £50/ £20.64/ £90
  • Loans/ Credit – £200/ £571.77/ £425. Paying any new additions plus £250 off my credit card every month now.
  • Misc – £50/ £16.40/ £47.97. Took some cash out for the pub.

In the garden:

The early frost while we were away last month killed off much of our late crop. We managed to save some late potatoes which are now in the greenhouse, along with a host of salad crops. I’ve dug over the ground and I’m making plans for new beds.

Goals for next month:

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

What’s in the pipeline:

  • Property Renovation Lessons Part II
  • Investment Strategy Statement – Part 3 – Asset Allocation
  • Investment Strategy Statement – Part 4 – Funds, Accounts & Rebalancing
  • FIRE for your Mental Health
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy December everyone,

The Shrink