January 2019 Income & Expenses

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


General

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).

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
Interest £50.31
Matched Betting £63.99
Surveys £0.00
Misc £39.71
Expenses £345.77
Total £2451.16

 

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!

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent / £ % of Income
Rent £660.00 26.9%
Groceries £189.62 7.7%
Transport £63.00 2.6%
Misc £64.00 2.6%
Fun £36.00 1.5%
Bills £27.83 1.1%
Eating Out £26.50 1.1%
Alcohol £3.7 0.2%
Holiday £1202.44 49.1%
Total £2273.09 92.7%

 

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!

 

Savings Rate

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.

 

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. 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.

 

Looking forward

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!

13 Responses

  1. Good start to the year Doc! I’m massively impressed that you managed to save anything at all given that you paid for your holiday. That’s one of the biggest expenses of the year.

    I know what you mean about Norse Mythology being a bit subdued. I was drawn into it as my kids are reading a series by Rick Riordan that is all about the Norse Gods but set in 21st century America (via Valhalla). I really wanted to find out more about the actual myths so that hit the spot for me.

    I read the Alanna series YEARS ago. I cant actually remember anything about them beyond the fact that it was a girl who became a knight…If they are as good as you say you are then I’ll have to see if I can dig them out and re-read!

    • Thanks Caveman! Yeah, those flights are probably the single biggest expense we’ll have all year, so at least we got it out of the way early!

      I’ve been enjoying the Alanna series so far! As I said above, the first book is worth a read. I assume I will have finished the series by the end of the month, so I’ll write my thoughts on the books then!

  2. You should check out Robin Hobb books the farseerer trilogy which is really three trilogys – excellent books very thick but worth reading if you like fantasy
    And also brent weeks light bringer series although the last one is out this year so maybe hold off on it as you will really want it like right now

    • Hi Ed, thanks for commenting! Robin Hobb has been recommended to me many times, but I’ve never known where to start. So thank you for the specific recommendations, I’ll add the trilogy to my list and hopefully get round to reading them fairly soon. Brent Weeks is a fantastic suggestion – I’ve read all of his books so far and haven been eagerly awaiting the final book in the Lightbringer series! By the looks of it we still have another six months to wait. I know we shouldn’t wish away our time, but August can’t come soon enough.

      • your girlfriend might like kim harrison rachel morgan series of books if she liked tamora pierce or patricia briggs or ilona andrews kate daniels which recently finished and you should check out jim butcher harry dresden too if you have the time!

        • Hi Ed, thanks for the recommendations! I’ll be sure to pass them on to my girlfriend. I had a quick look at The Dresden Files on Wikipedia, and the series does sound pretty cool, so I might check out the first book in the future.

  3. Woah, that’s a lot of reading! But January is perfect for cuddling up with a good book when it’s cold and dark outside.

    Hope you have a great February!

    • In fairness, most of these books aren’t too long! But yes, I agree, now is the perfect time to try to get into the habit of reading and to make it stick.

      Thanks, and I hope you do too!

  4. A decent start to the year, especially as you’ve paid for your holiday! I’ve got two trips to fork out for before the summer and am wondering how to spread the costs over the year so it doesn’t affect my savings rate too much!

    Also, good list of books read – of those, I’ve only read The Graveyard Book and enjoyed it. The only Robin Hobb series I’ve read is the Liveship Traders which I enjoyed. However, a trilogy I would highly recommend is Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy – one of my favourite British fantasy writers.

    I think I’ll check out Trading 212 to see if I can get the free share (and give you a free share in return!).

    • I’m hoping that the rest of the holiday shouldn’t be too expensive – we should be able to stay with friends and family for the most part. I think you should follow my lead and take the hit all at once. Sure, your savings rate for that one month will suffer, but then every month afterwards will be guaranteed to bring up the average!

      Thanks for the recommendation. I shall add it to my list, and hopefully get round to reading it at some point. I had a brief look at a few reviews and it sounds very good!

      Hopefully the offer works for you. It’s not much, but it’s an easy bit of money for very little effort. Thanks in advance if you do happen to make an account via the link above! And if you have any trouble, I’m happy to help.

  5. Not a bad start to the year at all, all things considering. I wish my eating out was that low – I have such a weak spot for junk food! I also need to look into Matched Betting. I see that many of you are making a tidy bit of side income from it.

    • Indeed, I’ll take it! I’m lucky that my girlfriend is a very good cook, so we don’t eat out very often at all.

      Matched betting isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a look. I don’t commit much time to it each month, so I don’t make anywhere near as much from it as others do. Still, it’s better than nothing!

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