December 2018 Income & Expenses

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


General

Happy new year! I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas holiday. I had an extremely busy first half of the month; work sent me to a few different conferences, which are always tiring as they tend to go on long into the evenings. Weekends were then spent visiting friends across the country for Christmas parties, which was very fun, but left no time to recover! It’s therefore been great to relax and unwind over the last week.

One thing in particular I’d like to highlight is the video games exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We went to see it before Christmas, and it’s very interesting. It’s running until the 24th of February, and is well worth a visit if you’re a fan.

 

Income

Income type Amount
Wage £1951.38
Interest £121.84
Matched Betting £48.47
Surveys £0.00
Total £2121.27

 

Most of the interest is due to my Nationwide regular saver maturing, receiving £81.33. The rest comes from a variety of current accounts and savings accounts. I’ve had my Nationwide current account for over 12 months now, so unfortunately the rate has dropped from 5% to a measly 1%. As a result, I’ve moved all of the money that I had in the Nationwide current account and the regular saver to the Marcus savings account, which pays a slightly better 1.5% and has no restrictions on the amount I can save. I decided that, in the short term, I want to keep more cash than is necessary, whilst this turbulent market sorts itself out. I know, I know, timing the market is a fools game, but humans aren’t rational! I’m still paying £500 per month into my Stocks and Shares ISA straight from my salary.

Very little time this month for matched betting, surveys or anything else! Hopefully I’ll be able to pick these up again in the new year.

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent / £ % of Income
Rent £660.00 31.1%
Fun £178.75 8.4%
Transport £166.35 7.8%
Eating Out £140.64 6.6%
Bills £73.23 3.5%
Groceries & Toiletries £68.53 3.2%
Presents £54.00 2.5%
Clothes £22.05 1.0%
Alcohol £15.40 0.7%
One off £12.65 0.6%
Total £1,365.60 65.6%

 

Nothing too crazy to talk about here. As I mentioned previously, most of our bills are currently included in our rent. Groceries are less than usual as I’ve been away so much this month.

The most interesting category, unsurprisingly, is ‘fun!’ As I mentioned above, we went to see the video games exhibition at the V&A museum. I also bought tickets to see a concert in May with my girlfriend. Finally, we saw the new Spiderman film, ‘Into the Spiderverse.’ It is excellent. Very funny, amazing animation, and one of the best films I’ve seen all year.

 

Savings Rate

My savings rate for December was 34.4%, which brings my yearly average up to 29.2%. So close to 30%! This is above my goal of 25%, so I’m happy with that. I intend to try to keep it at 25-30% over the next two years, and then reevaluate in 2021 when my girlfriend has finished her PhD and has a full time job, enabling us to split costs more equally. For now, I just have to keep trucking on!

 

Currently reading:

Nevernight, by Jay Kristoff – I had already almost finished this when I posted my November recap, and it didn’t take me long to finish it! I’ve since read some complaints about the book highlighting how dense some of the descriptions can be, which is certainly a fair comment. I personally didn’t really notice though, and couldn’t put the book down. I described it last month as a mix of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, and I stand by that comment. Highly recommended if you like newer fantasy books.

 

Godsgrave, by Jay Kristoff – Sequel to the above book. As you can see, I enjoyed the first one so much that I dived straight into this one! It’s more of the same, and in my opinion, very well written and a riveting read. The only downside is that the final book in the trilogy is not due out until summer 2019.

 

Senlin Ascends, by Josiah Bancroft – I was recommended this by a friend. Thomas Senlin and his wife go to visit the Tower of Babylon, the greatest marvel in the world. Almost immediately, Senlin loses his wife, and then spends the rest of the book trying to track her down. Without giving anything away, this is only the first in a series that I believe is planned to be five books long, so I think it’s safe to say that finding her will be easier said than done! The first 100 or so pages were fairly dry, and I struggled through. However, around halfway through, I found myself unable to put the book down. Whether the writing picks up, or the character becomes more likeable, I’m not sure. I definitely intend to pick up the sequel at some point, but first I have to read some of the books that I received for Christmas!

 

The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry – I’m only a hundred pages in so far. Very different to what I usually read. I’ll give my verdict next month.

 

Looking forward

Obviously it will be back to work in the next few days. I started a new job at the end of October, and up until now it’s been fairly straight forward. I think everything will kick up a gear once I’m back; several conferences, admin work, and the upcoming holidays meant that there wasn’t much impetus to dive in to the complex stuff, but all those excuses won’t hold anymore.

Away from work, it’s more of the same. I intend to pick matched betting back up, and maybe try some of the other betting methods that others have used to make good sums of money.

As for what I want to achieve in 2019… I need take some time to revisit the goals that I set myself a few months ago, pick a few and begin setting up habits to help me reach them.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has a prosperous start to the year!

 

6 Responses

  1. Happy New Year, Dr FIRE!

    Congrats on smashing your savings rate goal, well done! At least you know you can achieve this comfortably if your spending remains the same over the next couple of years.

    Funny, I don’t intend to keep any more cash than usual – for me, carrying the cash would mean I’d have to make a decision on when to invest and I’d rather not have the choice! Trying to work out when would probably make me too anxious!

    Anyway, all the best for 2019 and good luck with the matched betting. Oh, I’ve added Nevernight to my to-read list as it sounds like something I might enjoy!

    • Thank you Weenie, and happy new year to you!

      I’m not expecting our outgoings to change too massively over the next few years, so yes, hopefully I’ll be able to maintain this savings rate for now. Then we can look to save more once my girlfriend finishes her PhD and starts working full-time!

      You raise a good point! I’ll continue to drip feed my money in though, rather than risk piling it all in at once. I still think that in the short term markets might drop a bit more. Time will tell if I was wise or not!

      Thank you, and same to you! Looking forward to hearing what you think of the Nevernight series 🙂

  2. I’m very impressed by your low expenses Dr FIRE, especially as your girlfriend is still doing her PhD! Maybe that is the secret to living/spending like a student, to live *with* a student? 🙂

    Hope 2019 is a good one for you!

    • Thanks TFS! Haha, you may be on to something there. I think the main thing my girlfriend and I will have to watch out for is lifestyle inflation when she finishes her PhD and gets a full-time job in a couple of years. If we could maintain the same expenses as we do now, our savings rate would shoot up! Obviously we won’t be quite so tight though, and will allow ourselves some quality of life improvements after being pretty frugal for the duration of her course.

      Cheers, and the same to you!

    • To be honest, we kind of cheated this month – we went to my parents for two weeks over Christmas! This meant that I only really had to buy food for the first three weeks of December, rather than the entire month. Combine that with trying to empty the fridge and cupboards of fresh food before we left, and that explains why it’s so low! To give a better idea of how much we spend, our average for 2018 was around £190 per month. We tend to get a weekly delivery from Tesco, costing around £40-50, and then buy anything else from the local shop as and when we need it.

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