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Q3 2020 Report

A recap of the last few months and a look at my income and expenses.


Image by MichaelGaida from Pixabay

 

Did anyone see autumn go by? I feel like we skipped straight from summer to winter. It feels too early to stick the heating on, but I caved earlier today. That, I suppose, is one thing to miss about working in the office. I had no regrets about cranking the heat on when I didn’t have to pay for it!

 

General updates

This marks six months of home working. Whilst I like the independence and freedom from sudden interruptions from my boss, I do miss some of the socialisation that comes with working in the office. There’s no end in sight though so, tired of working on the sofa, I finally went to the office one weekend and brought my desk chair home. It’s, unsurprisingly, much better than the alternative. I should’ve done this months ago!

One thing of note is that I decided to splash out on some new training (fun!). Readers might remember that I was pondering my next career move back in June. Well, I decided that I won’t lose anything by trying, so I bought one of the modules in the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Planning. It’s entirely possible that I’ll hate it or it will be too difficult, but I won’t know until I try. It’s interesting so far, but making time to study after working all day is easier said than done. Nonetheless, I feel like I properly “know” about half of the book now. I’ll continue studying each of the chapters with the aim of attempting the exam before Christmas. I originally planned to have the module done within two months, but with hindsight that was mighty ambitious!

 

Blog updates

After a good run in Q2 of posting regularly, this blog kind of suffered in Q3. Studying for the diploma I mentioned above has taken a fair bit of time, and work in general has been busier. Let’s see if I can beat my total in Q4.

I did write what I thought was a pretty good post, The Long Tail, inspired by Morgan Housel’s book, the Psychology of Money.

Also, I realised that this blog turned two years old in August. Two years! Crazy how time flies.

 

Money updates

Income

Income Jul-Sept Average
Wage £2003
Ms FIRE £100
Interest £63
Misc. £84
Total £2250

 

Everything is mostly the same as usual here.

You might think that the interest gained seems rather high; my First Direct regular saver, paying 5% interest, matured during this quarter, giving a nice boost. Unfortunately, nothing pays that much anymore, so it all just got dumped into my Marcus account, paying a paltry 0.7%.

Misc. is the refund of a few more holiday related payments. Like most of the country, this summer was all about the staycation. Better luck next year!

Eagle-eyed readers might notice that I’m no longer reporting my numbers to the nearest penny. I decided that the overall trends are more interesting than the specifics of where exactly each penny went.

 

Expenses

Category Jul-Sept average
Rent £795
Bills £266
Groceries, Toiletries, & Household £295
Non-essential £333
Total £1689

 

Spending on the essentials was fairly consistent between this quarter and the last.

I’ve decided to lump everything that’s not essential spending together into one category. This includes eating out, buying books/games, clothes, holiday (whenever we’re allowed to travel again!), presents, etc. Again, I decided that the exact details probably aren’t that interesting to a reader, rather than the overall trends.

Spending in general was higher than Q2. One of the biggest contributions to this was purchasing the CII module I mentioned above.

I also bought a load of new books and videogames. If we’re going to be stuck inside for a while yet, I may as well enjoy it! I finally got around to buying the latest Zelda (Breath of the Wild) and Mario (Odyssey) games on the Switch. They are both every bit as good as I have been told.

 

Savings Rate

Savings rate this time around was a respectable 25%. It’s not as high as Q2, but I think after living in “monk mode” for 3 months, I was itching to spend some money and regain a little bit of normalcy, even if only temporarily.

 

Currently reading

One of my ongoing goals is to read at least one book a month. To help keep myself accountable, I’ve decided to track my progress here in these reports.

After taking a break from reading in July, I started off by finishing two different trilogies. First was The Toll, by Neal Shusterman, last in the Arc of Scythe series. Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for a dystopian, young-adult sci-fi.

Second was Dark Dawn, by Jay Kristoff, last in the Nevernight Chronicle trilogy. It was a very cool, action-packed fantasy series. Book one reminded me of Harry Potter with assassins.

Just as I finished Dark Dawn, The Trouble With Peace, by Joe Abercrombie, was released. I’ve become a huge fan of this series over the last 1-2 years, so I couldn’t resist picking it up asap. It continues on from A Little Hatred and was an excellent read. The only bad thing is now I have to wait a year for the conclusion!

Then onto something different – The Psychology of Money, by Morgan Housel. I know, I know, for about a week my twitter feed was full of people talking about the book in one form or another. It’s a good read, but not a lot that’s new if you follow his writings on his blog.

Finally, back to fiction with Dreadnought, by April Daniels. This is a superhero origin story with a twist, as the main character in question happens to be transgender. It was an enjoyable read, and I’ll probably pick up the next book sooner rather than later.

 

Looking forward

As I said in the last report, it’s pretty difficult to plan anything right now. With cases on the rise once again across the UK, I do wonder if we will have some sort of lockdown in the coming months. I can’t see a full lockdown happening again. Boris Johnson seems very keen to try to keep the economy from falling off its last legs. Having said that, the government seems to lurch from one idea to another, springing restrictions on the country without much warning. So whilst I don’t expect a full lockdown like we had earlier in the year, I think it’s clear that restrictions will continue for some time to come.

 

Over to you

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you’ve had a good few months, and onwards to the end of the year!

 

2 replies on “Q3 2020 Report”

Hey Doc. I am always looking forward to reading your updates 😀

I am glad to see that you are giving a go at your next career move. Now it is a good time to try it out and see whether you like or not. I must say that this course looks interesting even to me!

It’s a bit annoying that all banks are lowering rates to almost 0%. It’s hard to find a place to keep your saving safely and still get some return 🙁

I am looking forward to reading The Psychology of Money. I had even a conversation with my GF about the topic you raised in your post. It’s encourages you to keep doing what you love until hard work and consistency makes you lucky.

Looking forward to your next update already! 🙂

Thank you for the kind words, Tony!

Ha, I’m sure an entire course on insurance would send most people to sleep, but I am actually finding it pretty interesting, and learning a lot that I didn’t already know. As you say, no time like the present.

I agree. I wonder how much longer savings accounts will be paying any sort of return? Still, the peace of mind from having that emergency fund, even if it isn’t earning a return, cannot be overstated!

It’s a good read! The chapters are short and punchy, and the book doesn’t outstay its welcome like a lot of books of this sort do. And yes, I liked the message of making your own luck through repeated efforts. I think I’ll be coming back to that chapter a lot whenever I need some inspiration!

Thanks as always for reading and commenting 🙂

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