The Financial Dashboard – August 2018 – returning to normality

The goals for August were:

  • Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget – success
  • Sell five items from my hoard – fail
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget – fail
  • Use my Starling account to track monthly outgoings – success
  • Repair or purchase a new bike – fail
  • Special goal – rework my net worth and savings graphs to cover results simply

Checking the assets and liabilities:

August 2018 Assets

August 2018 Liabilities

These are taken from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. I’m working on pretty graphs to spice things up. My net worth grew by a paltry £180 (0.9%). My savings rate including my mortgage was 15.09% (not including my DB pension). This is close to my best recorded, and probably my best once all the house purchase/ sale shenanigans are taken into account. I saved £200 in my 5% interest Santander saver and paid off £500 of a credit card. My net worth didn’t grow due to spending around £1.5k from our joint account on building work for our house.

Goals:

Goal achieved: Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget

I set myself a pretty stern budget of £300 for my automotive hobby earlier in the year, which I’ve repeatedly failed to meet. I spend £50/month on tax direct debits, and another £120/month on a storage unit which is currently full of engines, tools and furniture from our house move. I managed to only spend £280 this month, £50 on tracking for my daily driver and £60 on fuel. I’ve started to walk to work, and have only filled up the car once because of this. I need to start putting money aside for predictable expenses such as maintenance, rather than taking it on the chin each time.

This goal is a marker of the change in my own mindset, as previously I viewed my £120 storage as a justified expense. It now feels like a waste of £1440 a year which could be better saved. I’ve also been paying others to do work I could do myself, as I lacked the time. My hobby car has been sat for months barely used, waiting on some fettling. I’ve now changed jobs, have some more freedom, and so one of my goals for next month is to get my home garage set up and do a piece of automotive DIY. Reducing my monthly fixed liabilities, and doing more work myself will hopefully make this a more frugal (dare I say profitable one day?) hobby.

Goal failed: Sell five items from my hoard

Items were listed on a specialist forum, then on eBay, with some interest but no sales. I’ll be re-listing and also putting some furniture on Gumtree. Fingers crossed some buyers next month.

Goal failed: Repair or purchase a new bike

The shop I’ve found still hasn’t got the right one for me. Next month.

Goal failed: Reduce daily living and entertainment expenses to budget. 

A further failure. We spent £607 on ‘daily living’ and £160 on entertainment. Almost all of our groceries and going out expenses are now going through our joint account, and not my account. I spent £14 on food out and £20 on sport. What did it all go on? We spent £81 on tickets for a concert in December, £27 at restaurants and £35 on trips out with friends. We had no takeaways! We made some minor house purchases, but most of our costs were on groceries, as we had lots of friends over and bought nice food rather than going out. I’m therefore going to change this goal a bit to: Establish weekly and monthly joint account grocery expenses. I’ve trimmed expenses from my accounts as much as I can, and need to work out where all the rest is going.

Goal achieved: Use my Starling account to track monthly outgoings

Not to sound like a fanboi, but I’m really enjoying using my Starling account. I’ve used it for everyday expenses and outgoing over the last month, and plan to move all payments which aren’t automated onto it. Each month I’ll transfer enough to cover my budgeted expenses, and the rest can automatically transfer to savings.

Budgets:

  • Daily living and entertainment – Under review as above.
  • Transport – budget £300, spent £279, last month £803.
  • Holiday – £100/ /£35.22/ £0 We’re paying lots out at the moment for our honeymoon which will show up next month and make a big dent in our joint account balance. Need to build holiday funds in future.
  • Personal – £50/ £93.32/ £21.53. Upgrading/ updating work clothes and supporting a Youtuber I follow by buying their merch.
  • Loans/ Credit – £200/ £500/ £575. Overpaying a bit.
  • Misc – £50/ £0/ £97.50. No unexpected expenses, big woop!

Goals for next month:

  • Do a piece of automotive DIY
  • Establish weekly and monthly joint account grocery expenses
  • Sell five items from my hoard
  • Repair or purchase a new bike
  • Finish reading Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing

What’s coming this month:

  • Musing on… Motivating factors for financial investments
  • Frugal Motoring – Should I buy a petrol car?
  • A draft investment policy
  • Some sort of post about property renovation
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy September everyone,

The Shrink

Advertisements

The Financial Dashboard – July 2018

In an effort to streamline the Financial Dashboard, I’m cutting some waffle.

The goals for July were:

  • Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget – Epic epic fail
  • Sell five items from my hoard – carried over – Fail
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget – Fail
  • Eat out a maximum of once a week – Success
  • Repair or purchase a new bike – Fail

Checking the assets and liabilities:

July 2018 Assets

July 2018 Liabilities

These are taken from my mega Excel Beast Budget spreadsheet. I need to develop some pretty graphs to show changes over time. In short, my net worth grew by ~£600 (~3%). My savings rate including my mortgage was 14.7%, 2% without. I saved £200 in my 5% interest Santander saver, and paid off some of my mortgage… and that’s about it. My finances are still recovering from moving house and changing jobs, so hopefully will improve. I’m lucky in that my NHS pension is a DB pension rather than a DC, but it’s been watered down by progressive governments, and is pretty complex to calculate.

Goals:

Goal achieved: We only ate out around once a week this month, and a couple of those were lighter lunches rather than dinners out. We’ve had lots of friends over for meals (the grocery spend shows that!). We enjoy eating out, but we’re going to be more sensible from now on.

Goal failed: Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget. Frankly I blew this one out of the water. I spent £450 getting a local garage to go through a list of niggles on my daily car which have been low down the priorities list while we moved house. I didn’t use a main dealer, but a decent local independent. In hindsight some of these jobs I could have done myself to save money, but I simply haven’t had the time. I also spent £90 on train tickets for a work conference later in the year. This month I’ll actually have a crack at this. I’ve set a goal of only spending £300/month. Given that currently £120 goes on fuel, and another £160 on tax and storage, my schedule of preventative maintenance needs to become a lot more DIY! One to keep chipping at.

Goal failed: Sell five items from my hoard. It’s all still in boxes, gradually being unpacked. Another aim for this month.

Goal failed: Repair or purchase a new bike. I’ve decided it’s going to be cheaper to buy a ‘skip bike’ than to repair either my old road bike or downhill MTB. I went to a local charity run place but they didn’t have one to fit me, so I’m going back this month to have another look at new stock (they’re only open Saturday mornings).

Goal failed: Reduce daily living and entertainment expenses to budget. I’m calling this a fail. My daily living expenses included some substantial one-off work costs, but otherwise were under my intended £50 budget. My entertainment expenses were £55, less than my £100 budget. However I’ve never thought to include expenses from my joint account, and really I should, so I’m going to rethink my budget and the way I show my expenses. MrsShrink and I spent £630 on daily living costs last month, £70 on takeaways(!) and £500 on food(!!). We spent £56 on eating out from the joint (entertainment).

Budgets:

  • Daily living and entertainment – budget £50 from my account for daily living and £100 from my own for entertainment. Spent £114 from my own on daily living, £630 from joint on daily living, £56 from my own on entertainment, £56 from the joint on entertainment. Future budget will be £75/week food, plus £75/week entertainment, for £600 combined/month. This will include all eating out, cinema etc. I’ll see how realistic and manageable this aim is.
  • Transport – budget £300, spent £803. Last month £695.
  • Health – budget £10, spent £8.80. Last month £8.80. Going to stop putting this on here as it’s dull.
  • Holiday – budget £100, spent £0. Last month £150. I’ll start using a Starling pot to build a kitty.
  • Subscriptions – budget £100, spent £105. Last month £114. Had to pay a professional subscription this month. I’m going to stop including this, as there’s little more I want to reduce currently.
  • Personal – budget £50, spent £21.50. Last month £44. I really need to start updating my wardrobe.
  • Loans/ Credit – budget £200, spent £575. Last month £250. Paid back a big lump of credit card. Not a bad thing.
  • Misc – budget £50, spent £100. Last month £946. This is anything I can’t list in the rest of my budget system. I spent £100 on an important course this month. Much better than previous months.

Goals for next month:

  • Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget – carried over
  • Sell five items from my hoard – carried over
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget – carried over
  • Use my Starling account to track monthly outgoings
  • Repair or purchase a new bike – carried over
  • Special goal – rework my net worth and savings graphs to cover results simply

What’s coming this month:

  • Frugal Motoring – Bangernomics
  • Musing on… Motivating factors for financial investments
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy August everyone!

The Shrink

The Financial Dashboard – June 2018

Apologies to regular readers (hello? anyone? awake at the back?) for the lack of Full English Accompaniment last week. MrsShrink and I have been moving home, which occupied all our time.

The goals for June were:

  • Set up a Starling/ Revolut/ Atom/ Monzo account – Achieved
  • Sell five items from my hoard – Fail
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget – Achieved (ish)
  • Eat out a maximum of once a week – Fail
  • Repair or purchase a new bike – Fail

That didn’t go so well. Oh dear.

Net worth fell. Moving house is expensive.

June 2018 Dash

The value of my assets derived from my residence increased (bigger house) but my cash assets fell as we spent our emergency budget/ spare cash moving house. I’ve added data from our joint account now, as although it doesn’t generally feature on these pages, it does explain where some of my cash ends up parked. I also finally tracked down my life insurance figure, but I’m not including that in asset calculations:

June 2018 Assets
Goal achieved: I set up a Starling account, putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve talked in previous blog posts about Starling and it’s relative benefits. Once the dust settles from the house move I intend to move all my spending money into the Starling account, and use it’s ‘pots’ feature to split off money in that account (1).

The liabilities took a big jump this month with my increased mortgage. The credit card debt continues to reduce regularly, and we took a small amount of equity from the house sale to pay back wedding loans to family:

June 2018 Liabilities

Goal failed: Sell five items from my hoard. Everything I own is in boxes. Haven’t even begun to look.
Goal achieved (ish): Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget

I have managed to reduce my outgoings in part. We’ve finally completed on our house sale 150 miles away, and have moved into our new home. This means we’re no longer paying rent and mortgage, so my costs for this have fallen.

I spent much less on eating out, having friends over for dinner rather than going out. I also tried to make more lunches or take things from home, but this remains an area to be worked on. I celebrated by paying nearly a thousand pounds for a professional exam. #thuglife. Daily driver insurance also fell this month, biting a hole into my finances where the absent emergency fund should have been.

I’m going to keep this goal on here, as I think I can keep improving.
Goal failed: Eat out a maximum of once a week – improving, as mentioned above, but I still ate out more than once a week.
Goal failed: Repair or purchase a new bike. Found a repair shop. Haven’t set foot in it. I can hear the tutting of mustachioed frugal community members from here.

Goals for next month:

  • Rein in spending on the automotive hobby by setting a budget
  • Sell five items from my hoard – carried over
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget
  • Eat out a maximum of once a week
  • Repair or purchase a new bike

Happy July everyone!

The Shrink

References:

  1. https://www.starlingbank.com/blog/6-ways-move-spending-saving/

The Financial Dashboard – May 2018

The goals for this month were:

  • Set up a regular savings account to build an emergency fund. This may either be a regular saver or a high interest bank account Achieved
  • Set up a Starling/ Monzo/ Atom/ Revolut account for day to day transactions. Fail
  • Reduce mortgage and rent outgoings Achieved
  • Sell five items from my hoard Fail
  • Set a monthly budget for hobbies Achieved

 

May 2018 Dash

A very big month in our household for various reasons. Crossing the £20k net worth mark went un-noticed, and for the first time in three years I wasn’t in my overdraft at all. My assets increased:

May 2018 Assets

Goal achieved: I set up a regular savings account. Utilising the Santander 1-2-3 offer to open a 5% interest savings account which I’ve filled to their maximum (£200). I’m not actually sure if I’m going to use this as an emergency fund. I was reading The Fire Engine’s post about emergency funds and thinking about liquidity (1). Although Santander’s documentation specifies sums can be withdrawn, I think I’ll use another high interest current account for rainy day cash. A regular savings account carries too much disincentive with withdrawal.

Goal failed: I didn’t set up a Monzo/ Atom/ Revolut/ Starling account. I looked into it but realised as we’re in the process of moving (twice), it’ll be easier to set up once I have a stable address.

Not much change on the liabilities front, though this is set to change with house moves. The credit card went up and down with wedding expenses, but has started reducing regularly now:

Liabilities May 2018

Goal achieved: Plan was to set a monthly budget for hobbies. I set one for everything.

I read a variety of opinions on budgeting while I was setting my own (2,3,4,5). In the end I opted to use a YFG wall-street-banker style approach, setting goals based off my actual expenses for the past six months (6). The poor rip from my Beast Budget spreadsheet looks a little like this:

 

 

I’ve under-estimated my income, using the approx lowest I received during the six months. Nearly £5k entered my account this month, but that included a refund on the bond of a rented property, refunds of expenses, some sold items and some wedding funds.

Goal failed: I didn’t sell five items from my hoard. I listed five, sold three, one for a fairly substantial sum. I use specific forums to sell these rather than eBay/ Gumtree, so may venture into the general public for the next sales. I have a vast amount of tat hoarded ‘just in case’.

Of my expenses, nearly £1300 went on various items for our property and wedding. Unavoidable. I transferred part of the rental property bond into MrsFireShrink and I’s joint account, which I don’t include in my FI story. MrsFireShrink is very frugal, and all our household expenses go through the joint account. This is also where the Home section goes to, including our rent and mortgage…

Goal achieved: Reduce mortgage and rent outgoings. Done this, with significantly more to come. Having moved across the country for work leaving our lovely home behind, we’ve been renting for quite some time. This meant servicing mortgage AND rent, for a combined total of £1950/month. Once household expenses (gas, electricity, council tax, etc) were added in we were both putting £1250/month into our joint account. We’ve moved into a smaller rental temporarily which will cut £200+ off the outgoings, and once property sales/ purchases complete we’ll be back down to just servicing the mortgage. I’ll adjust the budget appropriately at the time, freeing up around another £400/month for investment.

I bought some new tyres for one of my cars which dented the coffers. I could count the cars under investments or something else, but they’re currently under transport. I suspect I’ll end up making a separate Hobbies category.

We also went out for dinner or got take-away a lot this month. Our excuse was social events and moving house (so not being able to cook), but we need to manage this properly.

Goals for next month:

  • Set up a Starling/ Revolut/ Atom/ Monzo account – carried over
  • Sell five items from my hoard – carried over
  • Reduce daily living (groceries and lunch out) and entertainment expenses to budget
  • Eat out a maximum of once a week
  • Repair or purchase a new bike

Happy June everyone!

The Fire Shrink

References:

  1. http://thefireeng.com/wheres-your-emergency-fund/
  2. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/how-i-organise-our-finances/
  3. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/question-time-frugality-end-tight-begin/
  4. https://littlemissfireblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/frugal-challenge-setting-the-challenge/
  5. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/frugal-people-always-do-organise-finances/
  6. https://youngfiguy.com/how-to-budget-like-a-wall-street-banker

The Financial Dashboard – April 2018

So where did that month go?

April 2018 Dash

My first monthly review is not pretty reading, but I expected that. My net worth has actually decreased. This is due to a few expensive payments for professional courses and subscriptions I have coming up. Some of these will be reimbursed by expenses. I’ve also been shelling out for wedding items and legal expenses for property conveyancing. This has swallowed up some money I had in my main bank account put ready after working some extra shifts last month.

Assets April 2018

My assets have decreased. I have been back through old bank accounts and working out a more accurate picture of the lay of the land. I’ve now factored in a bit of overdraft I paid off earlier in the month, and the cash float has been swallowed by legal fees. Next month I should be clear of my (interest free) overdraft for the first time in several years. I’ve managed to raise a bit of cash by starting to sell some spare car parts, but I continue to be a serial hoarder of bits which I picked up cheap and ‘may come in handy one day’. I’ve also managed a mini-goal in drastically reducing my £4/day canteen lunch habit to a £10/week shopping trip… Chipping away.

Liabilities April 2018

My liabilities have decreased a bit. Student loan is being paid off as per amortisation, as is the mortgage. My credit card has increased a bit with wedding expenses. Over the month I’ve set a clearer plan for my credit card, and I now plan to pay off a specific amount (~£250) monthly rather than ad hoc amounts.

I have also set a plan to decrease monthly spending. We currently pay mortgage on a house on the other side of the country, and rent on a house where we work. This is an eye watering £1950/ month, plus bills and council tax. We’re downsizing our rental on a short lease, and waiting on the sale of our property and purchase of a new place.

Plans for next month:

  • Set up a regular savings account to build an emergency fund. This may either be a regular saver or a high interest bank account.
  • Set up a Starling/ Monzo/ Atom/ Revolut account for day to day transactions.
  • Reduce mortgage and rent outgoings
  • Sell five items from my hoard
  • Set a monthly budget for hobbies

I also plan to continue reading about savings and investment strategies, and look into overpaying my mortgage once conveyancing and purchases are complete.

There’s a long way to go.

Yours,

The FIRE Shrink

The Financial Dashboard – The Beginning

Each month I plan to do a financial dashboard check and publish how I’m doing to reach my yearly goals. Currently it should be pretty simple due to my lack of investments.

Here’s the front page from my Beast Budget excel chart.

March 2018 Dash

Ouch.

Breaking it down.

Assets March 2018

£690-odd in my current account as monthly float. £115k in value of my property. A few £k in jewellery and cars. The life insurance? is as this is currently being renewed.

As for pensions… ah pensions. I pay into the NHS Pension scheme, at a rate of 9.3% with the NHS contributing 14.3%. A healthy 23.3% theoretically. The value given in this is my current lump sum redeemable value. The NHS Pension is complex enough to warrant it’s own blog post as I’ll try to make sense of it.

Liabilities March 2018

The majority of this is the mortgage on the property I own. The £2.5k owed to family and £4.3k on credit cards are both 0% interest, borrowed to pay for an upcoming relocation and nuptials. The student loan will gradually be paid down, but I’m in no great rush to clear this as it currently accrues paltry interest.

So that’s the baseline, and the only way is up!

The FIRE Shrink