A recap of the latest month and a look at my income and expenses.
May has been another pretty good month! Making the most of the bank holiday weekends, seeing family and friends and just generally relaxing. In some ways, May is a glimpse into how nice life would be with an extra day off each week. In the UK, we get two bank holidays during May, on the first and last Monday of the month. That third day is the best. Whether an extra day to visit friends, or to rest and relax before going back to work, or to get a few household chores out of the way, having a slightly shorter working week is always appreciated. It’s made me think about the possibility of reducing my hours to a 4-day week in the future. The way the tax system works in the UK means that, although you’d be reducing your hours by 1/5, you would’t reduce your net wage by a 1/5. Another option is to condense my working hours into fewer days. It’s perhaps not something that I could do in my current role, but something to consider in the future.
As for things of note… We saw Detective Pikachu at the cinema. The plot is fairly predictable, but it’s still very enjoyable, and obviously Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu steals the show. We also saw the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert in the Royal Albert Hall, which was excellent. The Final Fantasy games are among my favourite, and I played them relentlessly as a teenager (as I covered briefly in a related Videogames post), so the music, whilst already being technically very good, also evokes a lot of nostalgia for me. A highlight was “Dancing Mad” which featured a striking organ solo played on the Royal Albert Hall organ, which is apparently the second largest in Europe!
Anyway, onto the numbers!
Nothing abnormal in this month’s income. Interest is lower than the first few months of this year; more and more current accounts have cut the amount of interest that they’re paying, so I’ve started to close those accounts and move the money either to my Marcus Savings Account or to my Vanguard S&S ISA. So even though the interest gained each month may seem lower, I have more than ever invested in my ISA, which, although it will fluctuate, should (in theory) trend upwards. For example, my S&S ISA has currently returned ~6.5% to me since I opened it, which is higher than any savings or current account.
Matched Betting is slightly higher than last month, although most of that came from Bet 365. I finally got round to opening an account with them and making an easy £80 through their sign-up offer. Recommended, even if you never do any other matched betting!
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Bills were higher again this month, with the addition of council tax. The good thing is, I’m not expecting any further increases; three months after moving into our new flat, all of the direct debits are finally set up, which makes it easier to predict how much money we have left over to spend or save.
Fun covers several Kindle books for £0.99 each, a trip to see Detective Pikachu and a new PS4 game. I bought Resident Evil 2: Remake. You can pick it up for around £30 now, and for that price I highly recommend it!
The only other vaguely interesting thing comes under holiday spending; I paid £11.47 for my ESTA, allowing me to travel to the US at the end of the month.
My savings rate this month was 22.4%, saving £499. Unfortunately, that savings gain was essentially wiped out by fluctuations this month in the stock markets! Obviously in the long run that shouldn’t make any difference, but that doesn’t make it any better when your investments drop, even if only slightly. Regardless, I’m investing for the long run, so if anything I should be hoping that the markets stay low for a while so I can buy more for less.
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 finished reading Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie. It’s a standalone book set in the First Law series, following on from the first trilogy. I thought it was good, but not as great as the previous books. Sensing author fatigue, I decided to take a break from Abercrombie and have started to read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Considering the dense and difficult subject matter, it does a pretty good job of maintaining your attention. I’ll probably go back to read the remaining two Abercrombie books fairly soon, as I’ve heard that the next two are much better.
The first half of June will be business as usual, going to work during the week and then going to visit friends on the weekend. Then, I have a business trip in Spain for a few days, followed up by a long overdue trip to the US. We only have three weeks to go, at the time of writing, so it’s coming up fast!