The Full English Accompaniment – Psychometrics, Myers-Briggs and the pseudoscience of personality analysis

What’s piqued my interest this week?

I bloody hate the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the personality analysis ‘tool’ whose results I keep seeing all over the internet (1). The test beloved of HR departments, taken by 2.5 million people a year, used by 89 of the Fortune 100 (2). It seems to be used as shorthand for various perceived positive characteristics in some quarters, others try to find correlations with the FI movement, while paid-for articles use it to try to guide individuals to their ideal investments (3, 4, 5, 6). I’ve come into contact with it through work, when departments have told me my role in teams through it’s interpretation. Problem is, it’s a load of manure.

Test-retest reliability

The probability that if you resit the same test you will get the same result. Myers-Briggs own website gives figures from 75-90% for this (why the wide confidence interval?) (7). Those figures have been supported by independent research (8, 9). I can’t use a blood test, or any other scientific test, that gets the answer wrong 1/4 of the time on retest in clinical practice. Imagine if I’m checking for an infection, and tell you it’s one thing, only to retest next week and tell you it’s another. So why does it persist in public use? I’ve probably taken the MBTI four times in various setting, with three different results.

Construct validity

Myers-Briggs grew out of Jungian types in the ’40s. Jung’s theories about archetypes, types, synchronicity, the collective unconscious etc, continue to be taught today in psychology, but more as part of a history lesson and a way for people to understand themselves. They’ve been superseded and are considered by most psychologists to be unscientific, with no clear grounding of reproducible evidence (1, 10, 11). So while the Myers-Briggs sorts you into categories, there’s no actual evidence that those categories are based on anything other than theory.

Content validity 

A further flaw is the question methodology, often using black and white variables to identify which category a person falls into. Personality is not black and white. The dichotomous variables used to decide which category you fall into would be expected to result from a bimodal distribution of choices, with most people at either end of the scale. Instead we see a more normal distribution, with clustering around the middle (1, 10, 11). This invalidates the test variables; the reasons behind choices are not dichotomous, but informed by an interplay of your previous experiences, your taught and learnt behaviours and your biological wiring. The chicken crosses the road for multiple reasons, not simply to be on the other side. It’s an over-simplification of a complex construct.

 - Dilbert by Scott Adams

And that’s just for starters. There’s a huge list of criticisms and peer-reviewed rebuttals on Wikipedia (1). Much of the pro-MBTI literature is the product of poor methodology and limited scrutiny. It’s been largely sidelined by the professional community but persists in the mainstream consciousness (12). People want an easy way to understand a complex system, which is probably why HR teams around the world continue to use it, but personality is too complex to be reduced to 16 types. By all means use it as a methodology for personal reflection. Just stop trying to class others.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers–Briggs_Type_Indicator
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/give-and-take/201309/goodbye-mbti-the-fad-won-t-die
  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/krysten-merriman/myers-briggs-type_b_9877786.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_cs=-03q25v6JqVhVASPJTimXg
  4. https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/4gky1p/myersbriggs_of_fire/
  5. https://www.millennial-revolution.com/build/right-personality-fire/
  6. https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/intj-folks-has-fire-been-the-answer/
  7. https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/reliability-and-validity.htm
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236111463_The_Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator_Evidence_of_its_validity_reliability_and_normative_characteristics_for_managers_in_an_Australian_context
  9. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013164402062004004
  10. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/cui-bono/201603/are-scores-the-mbti-totally-meaningless
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/mar/19/myers-briggs-test-unscientific
  12. https://bit.ly/2Upya1b
  13. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47414916
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/01/us-seeks-greater-access-to-uk-food-markets-after-brexit-trade-deal
  15. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-6742415/Mortgage-rates-begin-creep-lull-price-rises.html
  16. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-6760015/Bulb-Energy-shames-Big-Six-providers-exploitation-price-cap-cutting-prices.html
  17. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-6756471/Classic-car-experts-reveal-bangers-worth-banking.html
  18. https://moneyweek.com/502897/bond-yields-interest-rates-creeping-higher-why/
  19. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47452571
  20. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/01/msci-to-quadruple-weighting-of-china-a-shares-in-global-benchmarks.html
  21. https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/feb/28/aston-martin-share-crash-shows-valuing-a-dream-takes-adjusting-to
  22. https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/mar/05/brexit-wont-bother-the-city-but-everyone-else-should-worry
  23. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/renewables-infrastructure-new-addition.html
  24. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-uninhabitable-earth-review.html
  25. https://monevator.com/simple-maths-for-investors/
  26. https://monevator.com/the-gordon-equation-how-to-calculate-expected-returns-for-equities/
  27. https://monevator.com/robot-angels-automated-seed-investing-on-the-seedrs-crowdfunding-platform/
  28. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/02/27/how-to-create-reality/
  29. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/03/05/its-easier-without-children/
  30. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/03/09/financial-independence-is-for-everyone-part-2/
  31. https://cashflowcop.com/my-property-investment-journey-part-1-taking-in-lodgers/
  32. https://cashflowcop.com/fi-checkpoint-where-are-you-on-the-journey/
  33. http://www.frugalwoods.com/2019/02/28/this-month-on-the-homestead-when-your-internet-and-your-truck-conspire-against-you/
  34. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/bae-systems-dividend-good-value.html/
  35. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/03/buy-unilever-wake-up-rich.html/
  36. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/03/01/meet-up-friday-29-march/
  37. https://ditchthecave.com/save-the-world/
  38. https://thefemalemoneydoctor.com/ambitious-life-goals/
  39. https://thesavingninja.com/ew-betting-full-guide/
  40. https://thesavingninja.com/macro-enabled-matched-betting-spreadsheet/
  41. https://thesavingninja.com/bring-on-the-summer-savings-report-8/
  42. http://earlyretirementinuk.blogspot.com/2019/02/january-end-of-month-report.html
  43. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/03/01/Early-Retirement-Costs—February-2019
  44. https://littlemissfire.com/february-2019-income-and-expenses-report-2019/
  45. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/month-end-accounts-february-2019/
  46. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/pension-payback-prevention/
  47. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/house-price-inflation-friend-or-foe/
  48. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/a-fire-argument-for-the-lisa/
  49. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/03/09/meeting-up-in-manchester/
  50. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/best-frugal-foods-buy-broke/
  51. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/february-19-net-worth-and-monthly-update-7/
  52. https://drfire.co.uk/february-2019-income-expenses/
  53. https://indeedably.com/taxes-are-optional/
  54. https://indeedably.com/puppetry/
  55. https://indeedably.com/filiality/
  56. https://indeedably.com/financial-junk-food/
  57. https://youngfiguy.com/saving-sucks-or-why-you-need-a-savings-habit/
  58. https://youtu.be/BQovQUga0VE
  59. https://lovelygreens.com/pricking-out-tomato-seedlings/
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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/

 

Frugal Motoring – Should I buy a hybrid?

In Frugal Motoring I discuss how I run cheap cars, the pros and cons for various purchasing methods (straight up cash, loan, PCP, lease), diesel vs petrol vs hybrid vs electric, ongoing political/ government motoring related machinations and how to keep your car running. Here I’ll look at the pros and cons of hybrid cars, some of the history and some worked costings.

Which hybrids am I talking about?

Hybrid vehicles have been around for as long as there has been motorised transport. Petrol-electric hybrid trams were first patented in 1889 (1). The Woods “Dual Power” of 1915 used a combined system of electric motor below 15mph and petrol engine up to it’s max of 35mph, which also charged on-board batteries. Just like a modern Prius (1).

It was a commercial failure, as were most attempts at developing electric vehicles up until the turn of the century. Batteries could not provide the range, speed or flexibility required for most users. The energy density of petrol outstripped conventional batteries. Rural communities lacked an electricity grid, and oil-based fuels were much more portable. The idea was ahead of the technology. Lots of companies toyed with electric vehicles, including AMC (developing regenerative breaking systems for the failed Amitron) and Audi (the Audi Duo, a plug-in parallel hybrid 100 Avant quattro), BMW (CVT hybrid-electric E34) and Volvo (with a gas-turbine hybrid 850/S80) (2, 3). It was Toyota with the Prius and Honda with the Insight that were the first mass-produced hybrids, using the trusty petrol engine as backup. Battery technology and the focus on reducing emissions has pushed the pace of change, and since the turn of the century hybrids have begun to become mainstream (1).

Types of hybrid

For sake of simplicity there’s five hybrids I’ll talk about:

  • Mild
  • Series
  • Parallel
  • Series/ Parallel
  • Plug-in (4)

Mild hybrids

A bit of a weird halfway house where the petrol (or diesel) engine is the main driving force, and an electric motor replaces the starter and alternator to provide a boost when accelerating and battery regeneration when breaking. The more powerful electric motor also allows the engine to turn off when coasting or when stopped, as part of stop-start emissions technology (5). The electric motor can’t propel the vehicle on it’s own, and systems are generally at a lower voltage. This is a route taken by most US and European marques, including the Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Peugeot, and allows for greater fuel efficiency with little change to drivetrain structure (5).

Series hybrids

In some ways the simplest design, a series hybrid attaches a fuel-burning engine to the batteries or electric motors. Electric motors provide the drivetrain and motion, and the petrol engine is there to top up the batteries or provide the electricity. This system allows the engine to run continuously at peak efficiency, but requires large batteries and motors to provide sufficient power (6). A clever idea and a solution to range anxiety for those with city cars that occasionally need rural jaunts. Because of the larger motors and batteries they tend to be more expensive, and aren’t really mainstream. The only one I can think of is the BMW I3 REX (Range-extender), which was discontinued (7). Make your own by connecting a diesel generator to an electric milk float.

Series-Hybrid

Parallel hybrids

Here the electric motor and/or the petrol engine power the vehicle by being mated to a combined drivetrain, increasing complexity and potential drivetrain losses, but decreasing energy conversion losses. Here the high-torque nature of electric motors are often used for stop-start, with the petrol/ diesel engine providing the higher power required at higher speeds. The combination means smaller motors and batteries can be used, reducing costs while increasing efficiency. Regenerative breaking recoups the battery losses, with further recharging from the petrol engine’s alternator (4, 6).

Parallel-Hybrid

Series/ Parallel hybrids

The logical next step in development was to combine these two systems (6, 8). This is what Toyota did with the Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Prius, and what is now found in most hybrid systems (9). In it’s simplest form the transmission is set up so that two modes of driving are available; an electric motor only for low speeds, and a petrol engine for higher speeds that also recharges the batteries at high RPM cruising. In some applications the electric motor is used to provide a power boost at high speeds, and the electric motor can act as a generator through regenerative breaking. The use of more complex transmission systems allows for different proportions of electric motor power and petrol engine power to be used at different times. A further development is the use of engine designs and valve-timing maps in the petrol engine which alternate to the more fuel-efficient but less powerful Atkinson-Miller cycle (9).

Series-Parallel-Hybrid.jpg

Plug-in hybrids

The final step in development was to add the ability to charge the batteries from the mains, rather than being solely dependent on the engine/ regen. These basically do what they say on the tin. They usually have a larger battery capable of 20-30 miles of range, with a mains connector enabling you to run them entirely on electric for short commutes, saving the petrol engine for fast or long journeys. Due to the larger (heavier) battery they can be less efficient than a pure EV or solely petrol car. Examples here are the hugely popular Mitsubishi Outlander (who basically nailed the market by providing eco-conscious chelsea-tractorists the first PHEV 4×4), plus newer Honda Accords, Chevy Volt and Hyundai Ioniq (10).

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Tax benefits

Hybrids are looked on less favourably by HMRC than in the past. Pre-2001 things were just done on engine size. Then HM Gov made efforts to move away from polluting cars, continually driving emissions ratings lower, pushing tax brackets to follow. It got so good that the government got fed up of everyone having fun, so from April 2017 hybrids tax rules were changed to make it harder for hybrids to be used as a tax-break. They also made it a lot more complicated, because they’re politicians. This actually means buying an older car can work out cheaper. Up to March 2017 this was the state of play (11):

Pre-March 2017

So it was as simple as if your car produced less than 100g/km CO2 it was free tax. From April 2017 (post Dieselgate) the Gov implemented a system where tax was calculated based on the Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) standard (take that VAG), with a discount for the first year and a supplement if the car had a list price over £40k payable for the first five years. This looks like this (12):

First PaymentSubsequentSupplement

Notice that this still subsidises cheap EVs, but not hybrids. The other tax benefits to mention for everyday users are that home electricity incurs only 5% VAT rather than the 20% on fuel (13). Company car users get further benefits when selecting a hybrid or pure electric vehicle, through benefit-in-kind (BIK) and various means. Rather than listing them all out here I’d recommend a read of the useful “Tax Benefits for ultra low emission vehicles” cribsheet from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, and the comprehensive calculator at nextgreencar  (14, 15).

Worked examples

One of the reasons for this article is we’re deliberating replacing MrsShrink’s car with a hybrid or electric. We wanted to run the numbers to see if we could actually save money by replacing. We’d be buying second-hand which means we can navigate the tax system to our benefit with plenty of online guides to help, but for the purposes of this calculation I’ll also include some PCP options (16, 17, 18). The benefit of second-hand is that the 20% increase in new purchase price of a hybrid is mostly lost (although still present) due to depreciation (19). We’ve chosen to look at a new Hyundai Ioniq, a three-year old Mitsubishi Outlander, a six-year old Prius and an eight-year old CR-Z. The Ioniq is Whatcar’s 2019 hybrid car of the year, coming with a five-year warranty and looking super sleek and futuristic (20). For the purposes of this calculation I’ve used PCP (it’s the cheapest, but read the reasons I hate PCP here) over two years, with a £3k deposit and 10,000 mile limit on the base model PHEV (cheapest) (21). My table includes Hyundai’s claimed 252mpg but I’ve used the real-world figure obtained when by a couple of different magazines who ran a long-term test Ioniq hybrid for MPG calculations (22, 23). CO2 emissions of 26g/km mean it’s tax free for the first year. A Hyundai yearly service is quoted at ~£130.

The second contender is the Mitsubishi Outlander (24). The best-selling hybrid 4×4. Autotrader found me a 2016 PHEV model with 30k on the clock for a reasonable £260/month, again on PCP. Same £3k deposit. Mitsubishi claims between 139 (RDE2) and 156mpg depending on where you look, but again real road tests find it more like 40mpg average (25, 26). 46g/km of CO2 means free tax. A quick google finds people on car forums quoting £300 from Mitsubishi for a service. At 3 years old I’d hope the tyres would be ok, but we’ll throw in £30/month to cover a couple of replacements over the course of the year.

Next is our old friend the Prius. 2013 models come in a range of prices depending on spec. Straight-up hybrids start about ~£9k, with around 80k on the clock, whilst PHEVs start at £14-15k. This time we’ll take a standard hybrid and purchase it outright with our £3k deposit and a £6k credit card at 0% interest, with the intention of paying back in 24 months. We would intend to own for five years, and so we’ll take a guestimate at residual values by looking at what an eleven-year old Prius currently costs; between £4-6k. If we say £5k then we’ve essentially paid £4k to own a car for five years. For the sums I’ve used the credit card £6k over two years, plus the sum of the final residual value minus the deposit over the five year ownership; i.e. (credit card/24) + ((residual value-deposit)/60). This simulates financing the depreciation (like PCP) and what you would need to save over five years to go from £3k to £5k deposit (without interest). Stated MPG for the Prius is 70.6mpg, but real world appears to be more like 55mpg (still bloody impressive) (27, 28, 29). Yearly servicing stands between £180 for a minor to £350 for a major (so we’ll call it £250). As a six year old car I’d expect higher consumables, so I’ll add £50/month to cover wear and tear repairs/ tyres etc. For a 2013 model the 92g/km of CO2 means free tax.

The final contender is the Honda CR-Z, a quirky little coupe which was billed as the first hybrid sportscar (30). It’s a proper oddball, not as quick as it’s looks suggest, not big enough to be particularly usable for a family (31, 32). Made from 2010 to 2015, a 2011 model with 50-70k miles can be had for as little as £5.5k. We’ll take one of those for the maths, with £2.5 on a 0% credit card over two years. Residual is more difficult, but I’ll lowball an estimate of £2k after five years, losing £3.5k of value. Same formula for this as the Prius when calculating depreciation costs, just changed slightly to account for the drop of residual versus deposit. CO2 of 117g/km means a tax cost of £20/year. MPG is quoted at 56, but real world tests find it to be closer to 45-50 (a bit pants TBH) (33) Servicing is quoted at £200/year, and as an older car again I’d expect a bit more in terms of wear and tear although most places agree the build quality is high.

So how do the sums add up when compared to my daily Green Car. I’ve tracked all 40,000 miles with an average MPG around 33, it costs me £25/month in tax, and over the four years of ownership I’ve spent £2000 on purchase and another £2.4k on servicing and wear and tear, for a total of £92.40/month. Here’s the final breakdown:

Comparison

Summary

The sums say it all. On paper, my cheap and cheerful petrol car has cost me less to run for four years than a new hybrid would. The old lump is not pretty, it’s not fancy and it’s more polluting, but it serves it’s purpose. Ignoring the depreciation costs I would still spend more than half what I do now to run a hybrid. The MPG and tax improvement is not significant enough to offset the purchase cost. Hybrids have two powertrains, they’re heavier than a car with one powertrain; they shoot themselves in the MPG foot. There are also concerns about the durability of batteries, although the number of Prius taxis with 250k miles under their belt seems to disprove this. The volume of EVs and hybrids sold continues to rise in the face of falling wider car demand (34). I think I’ll wait for further depreciation to bring hybrids into my price bracket, and we’ll have to see if they’re a technological dead-end to be overtaken by pure electric vehicles, or will remain as a market option in the future.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_electric_vehicle
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Amitron
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_100#C3
  4. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/different-types-of-hybrid-cars.htm
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mild_hybrid
  6. https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/series-vs-parallel-drivetrains#.XG_LuOS7Lcs
  7. https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/car-reviews/long-term-tests/bmw/bmw-i3-range-extender-2017-long-term-test-review/
  8. http://autocaat.org/Technologies/Hybrid_and_Battery_Electric_Vehicles/HEV_Types/
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrain#Power-split_or_series-parallel_hybrid
  10. https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/mitsubishi/outlander-phev/first-drives/mitsubishi-outlander-phev-4h-2018-uk-review
  11. https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables/rates-for-cars-registered-on-or-after-1-march-2001
  12. https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables
  13. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/709655/ultra-low-emission-vehicles-tax-benefits.pdf
  14. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/709655/ultra-low-emission-vehicles-tax-benefits.pdf
  15. https://www.nextgreencar.com/company-car-tax/
  16. https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/155171/how-to-buy-a-secondhand-hybrid
  17. https://www.whatcar.com/news/what-is-a-hybrid-car-and-should-you-buy-one/n1290
  18. https://www.driving.co.uk/car-clinic/buying-guide/time-ditch-diesel-comparing-costs-driving-hybrid-plug-hybrid-electric-car/
  19. https://www.nextgreencar.com/hybrid-cars/buying-guide/
  20. https://www.whatcar.com/hyundai/ioniq/saloon/review/n17205
  21. http://configure.hyundai.co.uk/build/ioniq/summary?trim=hybrid-se-1099
  22. https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/hyundai/ioniq/mpg
  23. https://www.greencarguide.co.uk/car-reviews-and-road-tests/hyundai-ioniq-plug-in-hybrid-review/
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Outlander
  25. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/mitsubishi/mitsubishi-outlander-phev-long-term-test/
  26. https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/mitsubishi/outlander/phev-suv/mpg
  27. https://www.driving.co.uk/car-reviews/toyota-prius-mk3-review-2009-on/
  28. https://www.autotrader.com/car-reviews/2013-toyota-prius-new-car-review-201161
  29. https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/155095/used-toyota-prius-buying-guide-2009-2015-mk3
  30. https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/honda/cr-z
  31. https://www.driving.co.uk/car-reviews/the-clarkson-review-honda-cr-z-2010/
  32. https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/used-car-buying-guides/used-car-buying-guide-honda-cr-z
  33. https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/honda/cr-z-2010-2013/mpg
  34. https://www.nextgreencar.com/news/8592/ev-sales-oppose-declining-uk-car-market/

The Full English Accompaniment – Zero-waste is still too eco-warrior

What’s piqued my interest this week?

Life has been pretty hectic over the last few weeks, preventing much blog reading or writing. At the same time we’ve been trying to make changes to our household usage to decrease the amount of plastic we buy, particularly in our general grocery shop. Our veg and meat already comes either unpackaged or wrapped in waxed paper. We’re switching from plastic packets to jars (for re-use) and tins. What do we do about plastic around our pasta, rice or shampoo?

Zero-waste and packaging-free appears to be 2019’s social trend. Small independent shops are being set-up all over the UK, although the trend towards affluent areas is fairly obvious (1, 2). These shops are targeting the on-trend early-adopters. There’s plenty of blogs with advice, and the mainstream media are cottoning on too (3, 4). There’s a concerted post-Blue Planet 2 movement that societal attitudes towards single-use items has to change. Single-use was the 2018 ‘Word of the Year’ according to Collins (5). The EU has ratified a ban on single-use plastics to come into force (provisionally) in two years time (6). Surfers against Sewage is running a Mass Unwrap event in March where people are encouraged to discard excess packaging at the tills (7).

In our efforts to go further we ventured into a few local packaging-free/ zero-waste type shops to try their wares. We weren’t there long. The organic fruit and veg, the storage jars dispensing dried goods and the shampoo bars were all there. The food was cheap, even if the cosmetics were a bit eye-watering. It was the added extras. The plastic tubs the food had been delivered in, which hadn’t been put away yet. The yak wool fleeces knitted by Mongolian orphans (think of the carbon offset for that mileage). The crocheted face cloths at £5 each. The artisan felting. The slight fug of unwashed vegan. It’s all very lovely but I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into buying an unnecessary item. I just want 500g of plain flour put in my jar. Aldi and Lidl hit my shopping requirements on the head. I can get in, pick up, purchase and get out at maximum speed without spending time trying to choose between brands. They’re convenient. I’ll probably go back to one of the zero-waste shops for dried foods, as I haven’t found a good alternative. Until plastic-free independents focus on the convenience, and not just the eco niche, they’ll never be more than a novelty.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References

  1. https://pebblemag.com/magazine/doing/plastic-free-shopping-13-of-the-uks-best-zero-waste-stores
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46574402
  3. http://trashisfortossers.com/zero-waste-shopping-how-to-guide/
  4. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/news/a26402200/plastic-free-community-berkshire/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/07/single-use-named-word-of-the-year-2018-environment-collins-dictionary
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45965605
  7. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/news/a26439517/mass-unwrap-supermarket-plastic-waste/
  8. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/aliens-vertigo-and-a-glasgow-nightclub-included-in-this-years-expenses-and-excuses
  9. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-6712153/amp/I-fix-broken-banks-started-says-tech-geek-Starling-Bank.html
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47287386
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/23/global-economy-slowing-down-what-can-governments-do
  12. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/23/full-warren-buffett-annual-hareholder-letter-read-it-here.html
  13. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-berkshire-buffett/buffett-appears-to-fault-trump-laments-deals-dearth-in-berkshire-letter-idUSKCN1QC0NH
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/22/just-how-ethical-is-ethical-investment
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/21/uk-and-ireland-retailers-warn-of-40-tariffs-on-food-in-no-deal-brexit
  16. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00026hb
  17. https://moneyweek.com/502080/a-good-time-to-fix-it-and-forget-your-mortgage/
  18. https://moneyweek.com/502089/buying-stocks-is-easy-selling-them-is-the-difficult-bit/
  19. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/foresight-uk-infrastructure-new-addition.html
  20. https://3652daysblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/rental-diy-step-1-find-a-tenant/
  21. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/ready-aim-fire-bye-bye-mary-poppins/
  22. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/02/19/get-rich-without-self-sabotage/
  23. https://littlemissfire.com/january-2019-goals-update-baby-steps/
  24. https://littlemissfire.com/introducing-springmount-gin/
  25. http://www.frugalwoods.com/2019/02/22/port-and-other-january-2019-expenditures/
  26. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/hsbc-investment-financial-crisis.html/
  27. https://youngfiguy.com/international-bonds/
  28. https://youngfiguy.com/mrs-yfg-my-financial-mistakes/
  29. https://ditchthecave.com/ethical-investing/
  30. https://pursuefire.com/when-markets-wobble-dont-look-down/
  31. https://thefemalemoneydoctor.com/how-to-stay-motivated/
  32. https://thesavingninja.com/how-should-you-distribute-your-wealth/
  33. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-see-why-you-should-invest-a-lump-sum-now-and-a-scam-alert/
  34. https://indeedably.com/invert-and-win/
  35. https://www.jackwallington.com/my-allotment-plan-for-2019/

The Full English Accompaniment – New Build Property Warranties

What’s piqued my interest this week?

I learnt this week about another peril of buying a new-build home. One of the reasons people buy a new build is for the ‘peace of mind’ of having a home where everything is new, and if something should go wrong, it’s covered by a warranty. Most warranties are structured to provide ‘defects insurance’ to fix problems which emerge up to three years after the builder leaves site, and ‘structural insurance’, which usually covers from years three to ten (1, 2). The mortgage on your new build notes this, and like all other mortgages expects you to get your own home insurance as well (3, 4).

So what happens when the provider of your new build warranty goes bust? This is exactly what has happened with Alpha Insurance, who were declared in default last May (5). The cover continues to be provided, in some form, by the Danish Guarantee Fund, but that doesn’t help those trying to get a mortgage in the interim like one Reddit user (5, 6). The problem is that most lenders expect a valid new build warranty policy on new properties in order to lend. When the policy provider goes bust this can’t be evidenced. Finding a new provider is apparently a bit of a nightmare. Most policies are provided to large building firms via industrial providers (7, 8). If you’re not a building firm insuring an entire plots worth of houses you have to go to a specialist provider, who are more set up for self-build and one-off builds. These firms are more expensive, often require architects drawings, and may be unwilling to insure or warranty a property that’s already built (9, 10). This leaves the owner either unable to find a mortgage or forced to pay a hefty bill for a warranty that covers thing theirs home insurance already protects.

A niche issue perhaps, but when combined with the number of articles in the news lamenting the shoddy build quality of new homes, I’m sworn off buying a new build. Not a month goes by where articles advise on the merits of snagging surveys, and dubious construction practices (11, 12). Others report on owners issues trying to actually sort snags out, and homebuilding firms putting money aside to repair their own errors (13, 14). As always, do your own research and go in with your eyes open.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (now affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

Enchiridion by Epictetus – Bedside reading for a bad day

References:

  1. https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/new-home-warranties-cover/
  2. https://www.gocompare.com/home-insurance/new-builds/
  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/insurance/home/20-home-insurance-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them/
  4. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/insurance/insurance/types-of-insurance/buildings-insurance/
  5. https://www.fscs.org.uk/what-we-cover/insurance/alpha-insurance-as-declared-bankrupt/
  6. https://www.reddit.com/r/UKPersonalFinance/comments/apglf3/alpha_insurance_default_cannot_remortgage_savings/
  7. https://www.cml.org.uk/consumers/buying-a-home/new-build/
  8. https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/building-control-news/all-you-need-to-know-about-structural-warranty/41840/
  9. https://www.fmbinsurance.co.uk/insurance-products/new-homes-insurance-build-assure/
  10. https://c-r-l.com/what-we-cover/structural-insurance/
  11. https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/new-build-homes/snagging-surveys-apxu15x04s1j
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/02/new-build-homes-why-some-owners-are-left-feeling-the-cold
  13. https://www.ftadviser.com/mortgages/2018/05/10/mortgage-lenders-soothe-fears-over-new-build-issues/
  14. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46302905
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature
  16. https://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/falling-house-prices-means-property-investment-is-less-attractive-new-analysis-suggests/
  17. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/11/study-links-heavily-processed-foods-to-risk-of-earlier-death
  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47200688
  19. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47224913
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/12/electric-cars-already-cheaper-own-run-study
  21. https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2019/february/royal-assent-tenant-fees-bill-signed-into-law/
  22. https://moneyweek.com/501682/pensions-drawdown-disaster/
  23. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/14/renewable-energy-world-power-source-bp
  24. http://www.cityam.com/273176/starling-banks-75m-funding-round-merian-global-investors
  25. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47251465
  26. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/08/risk-of-global-recession-may-be-low-but-we-are-heading-for-slowdown
  27. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/14/how-can-we-tax-the-footloose-multinationals
  28. https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/feb/13/interserve-needs-a-plan-b-given-the-rebellion-over-its-current-plan
  29. https://www.fool.co.uk/investing/2019/02/10/thinking-of-investing-in-these-neil-woodford-ftse-250-stocks-read-this-first/
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/09/william-keegan-nine-british-financial-crises-since-1967
  31. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/ftse-100-dividend-valuation-and-forecast-for-2019.html/
  32. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/how-to-put-out-a-fire-use-liquidity/
  33. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/early-redundancy-lessons-from-lifes-veterans/
  34. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/if-i-lost-everything/
  35. https://thesavingninja.com/if-you-lost-everything/
  36. https://youngfiguy.com/wiped-out/
  37. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/02/15/thought-experiment-2/
  38. https://indeedably.com/restart/
  39. http://ditchthecave.com/fear/
  40. https://firevlondon.com/2019/02/15/ive-lost-everything-through-a-cyber-theft/
  41. https://financeyourfire.com/2019/02/15/thought-experiment-wiped-out/
  42. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/02/calculating-portfolio-returns.html
  43. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/02/11/hanging-out/
  44. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/my-global-index-funds-under-spotlight.html
  45. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/dutch-brexit-humour-from-outside-the-nuthouse/
  46. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-29-quick-rules-about-money/
  47. https://indeedably.com/what-you-keep/
  48. https://lovelygreens.com/growing-tomatoes-from-seed/

The Full English Accompaniment – Are you ignoring the biggest risk?

What’s piqued my interest this week?

I bang on about it a lot, so I’ll make this post short. I’ve spent a lot of my working life treating people who are knocking on death’s door. That’s not just the old and the sick, but also people who have had the worst day of their life. They woke up thinking that day was going to be like any other, and they end up lying in the bed of A&E Resus. A lot of the themes of what they tell me come through that influential book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying (1). TL:DR, the top five are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life expected of me
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  • I wish I had let myself be happier (2)

Hard lines. Many echo in the motivations for early retirement, as we hope to reconnect with friends, find happiness and express our feelings in new hobbies and activities. At it’s core early retirement allows us to live a life true to our hopes, dreams and interests, and not based upon the expectations of the man.

All this post aims to do is to challenge the weightings mentally applied to the above. The trade-off made between working hard for the future, and enjoying the now. There is a temptation to work twice as hard to reach an early retirement future in half the time. That relies upon the certainty of your future. That certainty is a risk that needs to be thought about and managed, by taking care of yourself. Having a million quid in the bank is useless if you’ve given yourself scurvy by eating nothing but porridge and rice. I’ll end this with two short examples pulled from the Reddit vaults (3, 4):

Have a morbid great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (now affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

SowHow: A Modern Guide to Grow-Your-Own-Veg – Paul Matson & Lucy Anna Scott – I’ve been reading this in the evenings ahead of the sowing season. Simple, neat and effective in both design and instruction.

Enchiridion by Epictetus – Bedside reading for a bad day

References:

  1. https://amzn.to/2TOczPu
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying
  3. https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/8vwc8l/consider_that_you_might_never_enjoy_your_nest_egg/
  4. https://www.reddit.com/r/FIREUK/comments/amfmuv/ahso_ive_been_mitigating_the_wrong_risk/
  5. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/02/starling-launches-euro-currency-account-could-it-save-your-cash-from-brexit/
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-47164882/what-would-you-do-if-you-were-financially-independent
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/07/bank-of-england-holds-interest-rates-cuts-growth-forecast
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47155145
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/07/uk-house-prices-fall-in-january-as-brexit-puts-off-buyers
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47133564
  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47068401
  12. https://www.physicianonfire.com/fire-movement/
  13. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-look-at-green-bonds.html
  14. https://youngfiguy.com/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should/
  15. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/n-brown-dividend-cut.html/
  16. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/02/high-yield-portfolio-whats-in-name.html
  17. https://cashflowcop.com/my-stone-of-life/
  18. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/02/05/work-bitch/
  19. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-january-2019/
  20. http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/2019/02/managing-retirement-drawdown.html
  21. https://ditchthecave.com/january2019update/
  22. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-january-2019/
  23. https://firevlondon.com/2019/02/03/january-2019-many-happy-returns/
  24. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/02/02/january-2019-plus-other-updates-2/
  25. https://drfire.co.uk/investment-strategy/
  26. https://indeedably.com/shortcut/
  27. https://monevator.com/low-cost-index-trackers/
  28. https://monevator.com/find-the-best-online-broker/
  29. https://monevator.com/is-capitalism-in-crisis/
  30. https://firethe9to5.com/2019/02/03/its-official-i-fired-the-9-to-5/
  31. https://lovelygreens.com/create-wood-chip-garden-paths/
  32. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/02/04/incredible-crops-im-growing-in-2019-vital-seeds/

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/