June 2019 Report

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


General

First of all I should apologise for the late post. I only got back from my holiday a few days ago, and have been catching up with life since!

June was busy busy. I went to Spain for a few days at the beginning of the month. It was only a fleeting visit for work, but it was still good to have a look around. The city was very quiet and laid-back; I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of retiring there and enjoying the life. I’m not ready to up sticks just yet, but it’s good to fantasise!

 

Look at that stunning architecture.
Apparently this is a popular Spanish beer. I had to take a photo so I don’t forget about it; it was delicious!

 

Then my girlfriend and I went to America for two weeks at the end of June. It was good to meet some of Ms FIRE’s family (naturally, they all loved me). It was my first time in the US, and it was awesome! We went to see a baseball game, which was fun. I’m not really a sports fan, but I can appreciate the act of going to a game with friends and hanging out. I got the impression that everyone treats it like we do cricket in the UK; no one pays attention to the entire match. You can zone out for a bit, go buy a snack, etc, and it’s pretty easy to catch up when you’re back.

It was fascinating to see some of the differences between the US and the UK. One thing that struck me over the two weeks was how far away everything is, and how public transport was practically non-existent. Living in the UK, I haven’t owned a car since I was 19. I either simply walk, or get the bus/train everywhere. In the US though, I definitely get the impression that, unless you live in a city like New York, a car is almost a necessity to get around. Also, I only saw maybe three roundabouts the entire trip. Coming from the UK, this was very odd. We seem to love sticking a roundabout at a junction if we can!

Of course we managed to fit in some board game time.
Go Reds!

 

The final thing of note was that my girlfriend and I got engaged. We’ve been talking about marriage for a while, and already had a date in mind, but I finally went out and bought a ring. It’s still taking me some getting used to to call her my fiancee, rather than my girlfriend!

On the personal finance side, Tesco have finally cut the interest rate of their current account from a decent 3% to a miserable 1%. I was just using the account as a place to store some of my emergency fund, whilst still earning a good return and not losing money to inflation. The account is now worse than simply using a Marcus account (which pays 1.5%), so it’s pointless to keep it. I switched the account to First Direct to take advantage of their free £100 offer. First Direct also offer a Regular Saver that pays 5% after 12 months, so I’ll probably open one of those in the next few weeks.

Anyway, onto the numbers!

 

Income

Income type Amount
Wage £1954.97
Ms FIRE £110.00
Interest £40.97
Matched Betting £11.06
Misc £0.00
Total £2117.00

 

Everything here is pretty much the same as last month, except for that awful matched betting income! Makes me wonder if it’s even worth putting down, but in the interest of transparency, I’ll leave it there. As exciting as it might be to blame it all on a terrible run of bad luck, I just had no time! I only placed 6 bets the entire month. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if July is the same. We’re halfway through the month already, and my remaining weekends are looking like they’ll be filled with meeting a few friends.

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent / £ % of Income
Rent £795.00 37.6%
Bills £316.35 14.9%
Holiday £169.27 8.0%
Groceries £137.19 6.5%
Misc £116.00 5.5%
Presents £68.11 3.2%
Fun £54.72 2.6%
Transport £32.95 1.6%
Eating Out £29.53 1.6%
Alcohol £17.07 1.4%
Total £1736.19 82.0%

 

Rent was the same as ever. Expenses are finally stable; when we first moved into our new flat, something new seemed to be added every month. Now, however, I’m expecting them to remain consistent going forward, which makes it easy to plan and automate everything.

Groceries were pretty low, which isn’t surprising when you consider that we were using everything up before our holiday. I have a feeling that July will be the opposite, as we now have to restock the fridge and freezer!

Spending in things like eating out and alcohol looks lower than it actually was. I decided to take a break from tracking everything religiously whilst I was on holiday. Instead, I made a note of how much was in my Starling account before we left, and how much was there when we got back, and just lumped it all under holiday. Even then, it doesn’t look like I spend that much! Seeing as the holiday was split evenly over the end of June and the beginning of July, I’ve split it accordingly in this report. The other half will be accounted for in July’s report. We were lucky enough to be able to stay with my fiancee’s family the entire time, which meant accommodation was effectively free.

Fun comprises of £50 for a pair of tickets for a concert later this year, and three books on Amazon Kindle, which I’ll talk about further down. I can’t resist if a book shows up on the Kindle store for just £0.99!

 

Savings Rate

My savings rate for June was 18%. All thing considered, a pretty good month as far as savings are concerned. I actually spent pretty much the same as last month; the only reason that the savings rate is lower is due to that abysmal matched betting income! The total amount saved this month was a smidge less than £500, all of which I stuck into my stocks and shares ISA. Speaking of my ISA, the markets right now are crazy! My “loss” of ~£500 last month has been cancelled out and then some by a “gain” of ~£2.5K. Obviously this is all imaginary money until I decide to sell, but I can’t deny that a gain of that magnitude feels better than any sort of loss.

 

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 think I found every book I finished or started this month for sale on the Amazon Kindle store. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and holding a physical copy of a book, but £0.99 for such a range of excellent books is amazing! Highly recommend that you sign up for their daily email if you have a Kindle.

First of all, I finished A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It’s written fairly well; Hawking obviously knew his stuff, and he does well to explain it to an audience that knows very little. It’s still a very dense read though. I then read I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. It’s a good, fairly short and easy read.

I’m now reading the following three books:

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman – I’m one third of the way, and so far I’m enjoying it.

The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley – I’m not far enough through the book yet to comment properly.

4 hour work week, by Tim Ferris – A book with a number of useful tidbits of advice, but Ferris comes across like an egocentric know-it-all. Nonetheless, I intend to push through the rest of the book.

 

Looking forward

Now that I’m back from my holiday, the rest of July will just be relaxing, and maybe going to visit a few friends on each of the remaining weekends. Got to make the most of this great weather; autumn will be here before we know it!

Thanks for reading. Now that I’m back from my holiday, I’ll attempt to post with somewhat greater frequency. I hope July is going well for you all so far!

17 Responses

  1. Yup it is, I can approve this 🙂 Voll Damm, this beer brings such a nice memories to me. It used to be my favourite one when on early days as a young adult, but then as I got older I got wicker and switched to Estrella Damm, as Voll Damm began to knock me over quickly.

    Glad to see you enjoyed your time in June and congrats on the engagement! 🙂

    • Like I said, it was delicious. Surprised not to see it in the UK, I imagine it would become popular very quickly! It definitely has a bit of a kick though.

      Thanks, Tony!

    • I don’t get to play it very often, but man is it such a fun game! I was biding my time as the Starks for most of the game, and then in the final 2-3 rounds I made my play. It almost paid off, but I made a silly mistake in the final round and left a castle undefended. This meant that, instead of winning by one castle, Ms FIRE and I had an equal number, and she won on the tie-break! Nonetheless, an epic game.

  2. Your engaged! Big news.. Congrats!

    Spain and the US, makes my life seem kinda boring. I’ll have to travel some day.

    2.5k equity returns.. you’re now a full time investor, fornow! Yes markets were good bounce back this year

    Yes I’ve given up thinking about current accounts rates so dismal. Weddings are expensive, maybe use up your emergency fund! Wedding planning, fares etc the ladies love that stuff, your funds could be in jeopardy 🙂

    • Thanks, Adam!

      Rest assured, my life is usually as boring as most other people. It’s like most social media; people only post about the interesting things they’re up to, and don’t talk about the boring day to day things! But yes, I would always endorse as much travelling as possible. If nothing else, it helped me realise that most people are pretty friendly and aren’t that different to me.

      Sadly, I don’t think £2.5K returns is remotely sustainable! If only, haha.

      Weddings can be expensive, but we’ve both agreed that we want to keep the costs down. Time will tell how successful we are!

  3. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on The Millionaire Next Door and how relevant it is to the UK. You may want to check out my thoughts on David Bach’s ‘The Latte Factor’ which you said you’d be interested to know.

    • Hi Sam,

      So far, my impression is that, although it is focused on the US, a lot of the info still applies to the UK. I’ll give it a proper review once I’ve finished.

      Thanks for the heads-up. I’m still catching up with my blog reading, but I’ll be sure to check it out!

  4. Southern Europe definitely has its own relaxing vibe 🙂
    About the 4-hour workweek book, I didn’t like it either. Ferris’ style of writing is too cocky and arrogant for me. The book is not very relatable.

    – NF

    • It definitely does! I could easily see myself fitting in with that low-stress, easygoing environment. Maybe something to try to replicate here!

      Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about the book. Like I said, it has some good info within, but it’s such hard work getting through all the fluff!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  5. Congratulations to your engagement, Dr FIRE!

    It is annoying about the Tesco interest rate drop. However, I use them for my matched betting and I don’t want the chore of registering a new card with all those betting accounts so I will keep it but will look at other accounts. I have one of those First Direct regular saver accounts, it’s a little inflexible but the 5% interest is good.

    Good luck with your reading goal, of the ones you mention, I’ve read ‘I am Legend’ and ‘American Gods’ which I enjoyed and I thought ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ was interesting.

    Ooh, didn’t even know there was a GoT Board Game!

    • Thank you, Weenie! Much appreciated 🙂

      Fair enough, in that case it would be far too much effort to switch! I’ve been using Natwest as my MB account, for no reason other than it was lying around empty at the time! As far as current accounts go, it’s slim pickings at the moment. The only ones that offer decent interest are Nationwide and TSB. After that, you’d be best sticking it into a Marcus savings account (pays 1.5% interest) if you wanted to keep any more money in cash.

      I’ve almost finished American Gods now, and it is good! After that, I may try to focus on The Millionaire Next Door. I get the impression that it’s good, but I don’t think I’m getting as much out of it as I could, as my attention has been split between several books!

      If you can get a group of 5-6 people to play it at least twice (once to learn all the fiddly rules, and a second to play it properly), the GoT board game is great fun!

        • That is a good point. I think I still have 4-5 months left before the potential rate drop. I wish loyalty was rewarded! As it is, I’ll have to go searching for another savings account. Having said that, I believe the additional bonus rate is 0.15%. Dropping from 1.5% to 1.35% isn’t so bad!

  6. Hiya. You can (at least for now) extend your Marcus bonus rate for another 12 months. Just login and press “Review your savings” at the bottom right hand corner. There is a button there which allows you to renew it. Not sure if it will go away or not so I just pressed it. It might be that I wasted a few months of bonus at the end.by not waiting another couple of months but I just didn’t know how long it would last.

    • Hi Antonio. I did not know that! I’ve just done the same thing; my bonus rate was due to expire in two months anyway, so I’d rather guarantee another 12 months of the bonus rate now, rather than risk waiting longer. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for sharing that info!

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