A recap of the latest month and a look at my income and expenses.
Climate change, eh? Just last month it was snowing outside whilst I was writing my January report. Then along came February, breaking temperature records and getting everyone hyped for the summer. I saw students walking around the campus in shorts! Madness. Of course, Brits will recognise that this is a common occurrence (although, not usually so extreme):
Anywho, that brief heatwave seems to be over now, and we’re back to the usual drizzle. I’m happy though, because February is over, the days are getting longer again, and it’s no longer dark before I’ve even finished work.
Overall, February was pretty quiet. The only major event was moving into our own flat – until last month we were sharing a house with others, which was cheap, but annoying. Now we’re renting our own place. It’s obviously more expensive, but now we have much more space, and it’s all ours! A bonus is that we now live much closer to work, so I no longer have to get the bus into work. Instead, I can walk; it’s a 3 mile round trip, which takes me about 20 minutes each way. So not only have I cut my commute by about 45-60 minutes, I now get a good amount of exercise in everyday. There is of course room for improvement, but it is better than nothing.
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No change to my wage (thankfully!). Seeing as our rent and bills are going to increase by around £300 per month, my girlfriend has suggested that she start contributing what she can once again – I’ve explained before that, as an international student, most of her stipend is taken up by tuition fees, so she isn’t left with much each month. Regardless, every little helps! I also received the usual £50 or so from a variety of current and savings accounts, and around £50 from some matched betting. Finally, last month I mentioned an offer that Trading212* were running, to sign up and get a free share. Thanks to those who signed up via my link! I believe the offer is still running, although they have changed it slightly. The offer is no longer “get a free share worth between £20 and £100.” Instead, it’s “get a free share up to £100.” Whilst it’s not quite as good as before, I was still receiving shares worth ~£10, which I certainly appreciate.
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As I mentioned above, rent is slightly higher this month, and will continue to be so going forward. Bills include a one-off membership fee of around £100 to my professional body. The rest is the usual mobile phone (£7.50 – thank you Giffgaff), Netflix (£3.33), Vanguard fees (~£7) and internet (£25 to install, should be £18 monthly). The rest of the bills for this new place should start either this month or in April.
Now that we’re closer to work, I’ll no longer have to spend around £50 on a monthly bus ticket. Of course, we have plans to visit a few friends now that the weather is starting to improve, so that transport category will still be a big sink!
I also spent around £24 on all six books in the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie. I read the first book, and knew I had to have the rest!
Savings rate this month was 40.8%, which I think makes up for last months measly 7%! I’ll be interested to see what March and April’s rate is; what with our move and the increased bills, those two months will set the new standard for how much I’ll be spending each month
One of my goals for the next five years was to read at least one book a month. To help keep myself accountable to anonymous people on the internet, I’ve decided to track my progress here in these monthly reports:
The Song of the Lioness series, by Tamora Pierce
Consisting of The First Adventure (which I read last month), In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man and Lioness Rampant. I really enjoyed the first book, but by the end of the series I was getting kind of bored. Can’t quite place my finger on why. Still, I can appreciate that these books are pretty important and ahead of their time. I can’t think of many other books that I’ve read that had a strong female main character. Recommended reading if any readers have children around 10-16.
Richest Man in Babylon
Had to pick this up after seeing a recommendation from Saving Ninja on Twitter. It’s a fairly short book, but has some good advice. Whilst a lot of it is fairly obvious to the sort of person who reads blogs like these (spend less than you earn, save at least 10% of your salary, invest your money, compound interest, invest in yourself, etc), I liked the way it was written, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it again. At the time of writing, the Kindle version was less than a pound, so it’s worth a read if you haven’t yet had the chance.
The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie
First in the First Law series, recommended by Weenie in last month’s comments. Turns out I already had the first book, so I decided to give it a go. I finished it just at the end of the month and it was fantastic! So, as I mentioned above, I jumped on the chance to buy the entire series on Kindle for ~£20. That should keep me busy for the next few months!
One of the downsides to moving closer to work is that I can’t read on the bus anymore! So I suspect I won’t be able to read as much as I have been for the last few months. I’ll still aim to read at least a book a month, as I’ve really enjoyed my increased reading since I got back into it, and would hate to get out of the habit.
I think the first half of March will be spent unpacking everything from our move and rearranging it to look more like a home. After that, now that we live closer to the city, we’ll be able to explore a bit more. We’ve been living here since I started my new job in November, but haven’t had a chance to look around that much as we were living much further away.
That’s all for this month. I hope you were able to enjoy the few scorching days we had in February, and that you have a great March!