February 2019 Income & Expenses

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


General

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):

 

Image found on r/casualUK

 

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.

As an aside, any links marked by an asterisk, *, are affiliate links. See the disclaimer for more info.

Income

Income type Amount
Wage £1951.38
Ms FIRE £115.00
Interest £49.04
Matched Betting £53.06
Surveys £0.00
Trading212 £35.53
Total £2204.01

 

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.

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent / £ % of Income
Rent £795.00 36.1%
Groceries £194.85 8.8%
Bills £170.80 7.7%
Transport £66.20 3.0%
Eating Out £49.28 2.2%
Fun £25.83 1.2%
Misc £2.11 0.1%
Total £1304.07 59.2%

 

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

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

 

Currently reading:

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.

 

Looking forward

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!

9 Responses

  1. It’s good to see figures in a post. I read so much about people not being able to save towards FIRE unless you are on an exorbitant wage and yet your 40.8% rate is amazing, considering that you are supporting two people on your salary. Others could learn a lot from you.

    • Thanks Sam, good to hear that the numbers are useful.

      I should stress that 40% is not typical! It usually hovers around 15-25%. Still, I hear what you’re saying, and I agree to an extent. Proper FIRE (i.e. retiring in your 30’s) is not achievable for most people, unless you earn megabucks. But even those of us on smaller wages can still put aside a small amount each month, and over the years that will grow and grow.
      Even though I’m not a higher rate tax payer (i.e. I don’t earn above ~£45K), I am fortunate to be earning above the median average of the UK (last I checked, around ~£28K before tax) and I don’t have any children, which does make everything easier! Nonetheless, I appreciate the kind words. Thank you! I do hope that people might discover this blog and realise that some level of financial independence is achievable for most people.

  2. We are now on the second winter too, with rain and wind (I am lucky I have no hair so I don’t worry much about the second though haha).

    Congrat on moving into your own flat. Sharing house is annoying, you guys will be much happier now! The rent is not that expensive, we are paying a similar amount for a studio flat in Bognor Regis, which is a “cheap” area, so you found a very good deal I think.

    It sounds odd, but I miss commuting, specially when I was using the bus, for the simple reason of reading or listening to podcasts. Now, it takes me 0-15min to get to work and it has affected my reading time considerably. I remember I was happy to go to work just for the bus reading time!

    If you enjoy audiobooks, it could be usefull for you now, same as podcasts. I’ve learnt lots of stuff listening The invested podcast, https://www.ruleoneinvesting.com/podcast/ . It’s an American one, but it seems you like them so perhaps you enjoy it 😉

    Hope your savings rate won’t get much lower from now on.

    Enjoy the city exploration! 😉

    • I still have my hair, so the wind is my enemy!

      Thanks. Yeah, although I could have persevered with sharing a house, now that we’ve lived in our own flat for a week, I can’t go back! The rent isn’t too bad – it’s more expensive than other places I’ve lived, but it could be a lot higher.

      I half miss getting the bus. When I was actually on the bus, it was great that I could read. The annoying part was waiting for the two buses I had to get each way to show up! On days when everything ran smoothly, I could get into work in 50 minutes, but on bad days it could take 90+ minutes. My reading has already dropped though, so I think I need to make reading before bed a habit.

      Audiobooks are an option, and I’ve also considered podcasts. At the moment, I quite like just having my own thoughts for the 20-30 minute walk. Having said that, I’ll check out that podcast and see how it is. Thanks for the recommendation, and thanks for the kind words!

  3. It must feel great to be in a place of your own. Yes it may cost more but it’s the difference between understanding the value of something rather than just its cost. I think that moving out of a shared house was when I finally stopped feeling like a student.

    Being able to walk to and from work must also feel great. I walk at either end of my train journey to avoid the tube but I still lose a huge chunk of my day to public transport…although it gives me time to write blog posts so it’s not all bad!

    I must be one of the few people that’s a bit meh on Joe Abercrombie. Everyone loves him but he just didn’t do it for me. I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe I should give him another go at some point.

    Hope March is going well.

    • It is glorious! As I said to Tony, above, now that we’ve lived here for a week, I wouldn’t want to go back. Our housemates were great, but having our own space is even better.

      It is great to get some guaranteed exercise everyday. It’s not much, but I suspect that 3 mile walk is actually more than most of the population get each day.

      Not everyone can have the same taste in authors! I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far, but time will tell if I still feel the same way by the end of the sixth book.

      Thank you Caveman! Hope yours is also going well.

  4. Nice work on the savings rate this month! Must be such a relief to have your own place now – bit more peaceful / quieter I imagine!

    Onwards and upwards!

    • Thanks Jase! Yes, it is better all round – quieter, not having to worry about tiptoeing around the house if they’ve gone to sleep, the freedom to do what you want. Worth spending that extra amount each month.

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