A recap of the latest month and a look at my income and expenses.
Brrrr! Seems that the cold weather has finally realised that it’s winter, and made up for being late in full force. There’s been a lot of snow in my area, which, thanks to England’s inability to cope with any weather that isn’t light drizzle, means that today has been a snow day! Which has allowed me plenty of time to write this post and get it out on time (for a change).
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My wage is the same as usual. One advantage of a normal 9-5 job is you know exactly how much you’ll be paid each month!
After a few months of higher than usual interest gains (thanks to a few regular savers maturing at the end of the year), they’ve dropped back to the normal ~£50. I’ve since moved the money that was in those savings accounts into my stocks and shares ISA, so I don’t know if I’ll bother with them again this year. I still have my emergency fund spread across several high-interest current accounts, as well as the Marcus Savings Account, so I should still see a similar amount each month in interest. I also realised that I’m not going to max out my ISA allowance this year, so have been making the most of the Barclays Help to Buy ISA that I opened a year ago, and am essentially using that as a regular saver. It offers an excellent 2.5% interest, but you can only pay in £200 per month.
The expenses are for my costs to relocate to my new job at the end of last year. I moved in October, but only got round to submitting the claim after Christmas! I gave myself a kick to finally get it done and out of the way; I’d been putting it off for months for no good reason.
The misc category is due to a new investor sign-up scheme I saw on Reddit offered by a company called Trading212*. Essentially you sign up, open up an invest account and deposit £1. You will then receive a share worth between £20-100 within 24 hours, which you can sell pretty much immediately and then withdraw the money back to your bank account. Easy money! As you can see, mine was worth a little less than £40. If you click on this link*, then I will also receive a share.
No money from surveys this month; I might get back into them eventually, but I prefer to spend that time matched betting. My girlfriend however did make another £15 from Prolific*, which is certainly better than nothing!
|Category||Amount spent / £||% of Income|
If we ignore that second to last line in the above table, then this month was excellent! As it is, well, better luck next month.
We booked flights to America for the summer, so we can visit my girlfriend’s family (most of whom I haven’t met yet!). The price is slightly higher than usual as we are flying into one state and out of another, so we can see as many people as possible.
As previously mentioned, bills are currently included in our rent, so the remaining bills are just Netflix, mobile phone, a cheeky punt on the lottery, etc.
Misc is simply a visit to the dentist and getting a haircut. I think my hairdresser is missing a trick – let’s hope she doesn’t read TheFireStarter’s blog and think she can start charging ten times the price!
7.3%!! This is far and away the lowest savings rate I’ve had since I started this blog. This is just a blip though, and obviously shows that looking at these things in a vacuum doesn’t always give the full picture. Better to look at the average over a long period of time.
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. I went overboard this month, so I won’t write quite as much about each as I usually do. Instead, I’ll just leave my thoughts that I wrote to myself at the end of each book:
The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
Contemporary Victorian novel. Some parts were interesting, especially commentary on the housing crisis, feminism, science vs religion… All topics that you would associate with modern day life, so it was surprising to read that Victorians also struggled with these issues. But the actual story is not that exciting. I was disappointed to realise that it’s not really a fantasy story; it’s more of a romance, featuring several love triangles. Definitely not my kind of book.
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
Fully deserving of all the praise it’s received. A very inventive book that leaves you wanting more. Favourite book I read this month.
Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
Recommended by Caveman. Very interesting to read myths and stories. Some of them are very funny, and I couldn’t help but see the three main gods (Thor, Loki and Odin) as the Marvel film versions. Gaiman seems more subdued here though – he doesn’t really embellish the story or make it his own, like Stephen Fry did with Mythos.
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
Saw the film years ago when it came out, but couldn’t remember anything about it. Very enjoyable, easy read.
Alanna: The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce
Finally read this after much pestering from my girlfriend. It’s apparently the series that really triggered her interest in reading and fantasy in particular. It’s a fairly easy read (it is aimed at teenagers, after all), but the story is still captivating and well told.
In the Hand of the Goddess, by Tamora Pierce
I liked the first book enough that I decided to read the whole series (four books)! I’m half way through this book, and so far it’s just as good as the first.
We haven’t got much lined up for February, so that will probably be a quiet month before things pick up in March, when we move house again. Where we’re renting now is nice and the people we live with are great, but the commute is too far for me. So we’re moving closer; it’ll be more expensive, but my commute will be halved and I’ll be able to start walking to work again.
In other news, I’ve been feeling inspired by Saving Ninja and TheFireStarter with their Amazon Merchandise side projects. If I can find some time and can think of some interesting ideas, I may well give it a go myself. Likewise, I’ve been impressed by the success of Dan over at PursueFIRE with his Each-Way betting. I need to rearrange my work schedule to give myself more time in the mornings to give this a proper go.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading. I hope everyone has had a good start to 2019!