August 2018 Income & Expenses

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A recap of the latest month and a look at my income and expenses.


August was another busy, fun month. After a quiet first half of the year, it seemed like all of my friends were suddenly getting married or celebrating birthdays all at once! This meant that three of our weekends this month were spent travelling within the UK and catching up with friends that I haven’t seen in several months. It’s always great to see everyone again, but the time always seems to fly by far too quickly! This is one of the worst things about working in academia; every couple of years you have to pack your bags and move again to the next job. It makes it very difficult to settle down, but it does mean that I have friends in a wide variety of places.

One highlight in particular this month was attending a camping wedding! Certainly the most unique wedding I’ve been too so far. I was somewhat dubious when I first saw the invite, but I was converted the moment we drove onto the site and I could see everything in person. It was extremely well done and everything looked incredible. Even better, the scorching hot summer was still going strong, which made for a fantastic time.

Anyway, enough rambling, onto the topic at hand:

 

Income

Income type Amount
Wage £1965.48
Ms FIRE £115
Interest £48.46
Surveys £24.07
Total £2153.01

My wage increased ever so slightly this month. I’m not sure why this is the case, so I will probably have to email HR and make sure there was no mistake.

No time for matched betting this month, but I did try out a new survey site called Prolific that I heard about recently. As far as survey sites go, it seems to be one of the better ones. I was able to make ~£24 during a period of two weeks; the actual time probably amounted to a total of 3-4 hours. Not exactly ground breaking, certainly not as lucrative as matched betting, but it acts as a nice way to pass time in between sets at the gym, or whilst I’m waiting for an experiment to finish at work!

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent % of Income
Rent £550 25.5%
Bills £290.24 13.5%
Groceries & Toiletries £153.51 7.1%
Eating Out £127.88 5.9%
Presents £20 0.9%
Alcohol £12 0.6%
Transport £204.82 9.5%
Fun £224.78 10.4%
One off £13 0.6%
Total 1596.23 74.1%

Most of the “fun” category this month is actually taken up by setting up this blog! It cost around £200 for 3 years hosting through Siteground, which works out to be around £5.50 per month. I actually opted for a slightly more expensive hosting package that allows multiple websites to be on the same plan, as I intend to eventually make a personal website / landing page to try to make myself look more professional and link up my various presences on the internet (LinkedIn, ResearchGate, etc).

Transport and eating out costs were higher than average due to the aforementioned busy weekends. Lots of train trips across the UK and dinners/breakfasts with friends. I also lumped some of my alcohol spending into the eating out category, which is why it looks so low.

Rent and bills are pretty much the same as always. I realised, however, that I haven’t actually broken down my bills yet, so I’m going to do that now:

Category Amount
Council Tax £85.00
Water £46.20
Elec £40.00
Internet & TV £33.00
Gas £20.00
Profit Accumulator £17.99
Bank Charges £12.00
Home Insurance £11.49
Mobile Phone £10.00
Vanguard £6.23
Lottery £5.00
Netflix £3.33

Most of these costs are fairly consistent month-to-month. Council tax is by far the largest component of my monthly bills! And that’s with a discount because my girlfriend is still a student. I’d hate to see how much council tax people pay on half-decent houses, rather than this tiny little flat. Water is slightly high as we didn’t pay for about 3-4 months when we first moved here last year, so we’re still catching up. I could pay it all off at once, but doing that would deny me some cashback from Santander! And it’s not like the water company is charging any interest, so I don’t see the point. Electricity and gas vary month to month, but average out to be about £30 each. The Vanguard charge is for my stocks and shares ISA, and occurs every quarter. I think everything else is pretty standard.

 

Savings rate

My savings rate in August was 25.9%. I’m pretty happy with this – it’s slightly above my average for 2018 so far. Hopefully I can keep that up over the coming months, although I’m going to run into a snag in October when my current job contract finishes! I’m quite fortunate that I do have a decent sized emergency fund, so I won’t be desperate for money. Still, I’m not looking forward to seeing my savings rate take a hit during those months.

Looking forward, September should be fairly quiet now after a busy summer. I’m certainly looking forward to taking some time to relax rather than travelling on the train, and to also spend some more time working on this blog.

4 Responses

  1. Just spent some time reading all the posts on your blog, great to see another UK FI blog. Enjoyed reading your Financial Story so far.

    Keep up the savings rate, good luck with the matched betting and I look forward to continuing to follow your progress!

    Oh, and cheers for the Roundup posts, there have been links to interesting articles which I’d missed!

    • Hi Ricardo! Thanks for commenting.

      That is a good observation and great question. At the moment, no, I’m not including pension contributions. Mostly for the reason that I haven’t yet worked out the best way to include it. I currently contribute 8% of my wage before tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. This then goes towards a “defined benefit” type pension, that adds a fixed amount (1/75 of my current salary) to my pension each year.

      So, for example, if I earn £30,000 in a given year, then £400 gets added to this pension. If I were earn £30K for 30 years, then I will have (£400 x 30 = ) £12,000 in my pension. This value will increase with inflation. When I hit the pension age, I will then receive £12,000 per year (again, increased for inflation) until I die. So, as you can see, it’s not like I can think “right, I’m contributing x% and my employer is contributing y%, and the pension is invested in the Vanguard Global All-Cap fund, and it’s increasing by z% a year.” So for now I’m just kind of… ignoring it. However, I am definitely open to any suggestions on how to better handle it.

      I’m also of the opinion that if I start counting my pension contributions it will inflate the value of my savings rate to an artificially higher number, which will put me in a false sense of security!

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