September 2018 Income & Expenses

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


I mentioned in last month that September was going to be a nice quiet month and, apart from the first week, it pretty much was. My girlfriend and I went to Greece for a week at the beginning of the month which was a lot of fun. We were able to do a fair bit of the usual things, seeing the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus, as well as eating some delicious food. I can definitely see why Greece wants it’s Parthenon Marbles back from the UK though; the British Museum seemed to have more Ancient Greek statues than the Acropolis Museum itself!

Unfortunately the holiday ended far too soon (as always!) and pretty much as soon as we got back home I had to set off again for an interview for a new job. My current contract is coming to an end, and I’m certainly not financially independent yet. Luckily I must have done something right as I was offered the job the following week, so it looks like I won’t be eating into my emergency fund after all!!

My good luck with the job has meant that this month has been filled more with flat hunting and racing to wrap up my current project, rather than being able to write more posts for this blog. I did finally get round to posting on Twitter and starting to engage with the huge number of personal finance and FIRE bloggers out there though, which has been pretty fun.

 

Income

Income type Amount
Wage £2,027.90
Ms FIRE £115.00
Interest £48.81
Matched Betting £65.38
Surveys £50.00
Total £2,307.09

 

I got back into Matched Betting in the latter half of September after a hiatus during August and was able to make a not too shabby £65, which ends up as a little under £50 after taking into account the subscription to Profit Accumulator. This was essentially won over 17 different matched bets – considering each one now takes no more than 5 minutes, it works out at around £35 per hour. I’m still working my way through the initial sign-up bonuses that each bookie offers, as well as doing any good reload offers that come along. My favourite this month was with Betway, who offered a “bet £30, get a £30 free bet” to new customers, and then immediately afterwards had a “bet £5, get a free £10 bet” for all customers.  The two combined gave me a little over £29 profit after four bets and a total of maybe 30 minutes (spread over 2-3 days).

Survey income this month was thanks entirely to YouGov* (affiliate link). I joined up about a year ago and have been doing 2-3 surveys a week, usually whenever I’ve had a few minutes to kill – typically whilst at the gym or during my lunch break at work. The surveys don’t offer as good a return for your time as Prolific* (affiliate link)  do, but it’s better than nothing.

Other income this month was pretty much the same as usual. Wage was slightly higher as I had a few unused holiday days. My girlfriend is still contributing £115 towards our monthly expenses, although this may stop for a few months once we move cities for my new job and she looks to find something to replace the teaching she currently does.

 

Expenses

Category  Amount spent / £ % of Income
Rent 415.89 18.0%
Bills 242.52 10.5%
Groceries & Toiletries 160.46 7.0%
Eating Out 11.78 0.5%
Alcohol 3.6 0.2%
Transport 34.52 1.5%
Fun 33.25 1.4%
Holiday 288.59 12.5%
Household 9.04 0.4%
Total 1199.65 52.0%

 

September turned out to be a very cheap month indeed! Rent is less than last month as we’re coming to the end of our tenancy and are therefore not staying here for the full month. Bills are also slightly less that usual as we no longer have to pay house insurance (our tenancy required us to pay for house insurance for the landlord’s stuff. Not sure if this is legal or not, but it’s probably too late to chase it up now!) and we overpaid our gas and electricity last month, which meant we didn’t really have to top up much this month.

The Holiday category basically covers all of my spending whilst we were in Athens, including eating out, transport, etc. It doesn’t include the flights or Airbnb, both of which I booked earlier in the year.

Everything else is pretty much the same as usual. We still don’t eat out or drink alcohol that much, grocery bill is broadly the same, fun category essentially refers to the cost of renaming this site and buying a CD! The biggest difference to previous months is that the transport category is so much lower – no expensive train trips to see friends in various parts of the country this month, which massively reduced our outgoings. I need to move closer to everyone I know; then I can see them more often and not pay the extortionate train prices for the privilege! But then I’ll probably spend more on actually doing stuff with them… I can’t win!

 

Savings rate

My savings rate in September was 48%! This might pale in comparison to some other FI bloggers out there, but this is far and away my highest savings rate so far since tracking at the beginning of the year. It drags my savings rate for the year up to a respectable 28%. I will try to get it to 30% by the end of the year but I’m not optimistic. October should be fairly quiet, although I’m sure that moving house, restocking and paying a new deposit and admin fees will negate any potential savings I might see. We also have lots planned already for November and December, including a friend’s house warming, Halloween, thanksgiving and several concerts in London, before Christmas itself rears it’s head and I have to buy loads of presents for family. How is it that time of year already!?

10 Responses

  1. Hey man! Your expenses are so low! Is that rent etc just your half or both you and Ms FIRE’s expenses together?

    I’ve always wanted to go to Greece! Sounds fun 🙂

    P.S you’ll blast your savings rate through the roof if you keep up with matched betting!

    • Hey Saving Ninja! I didn’t go into the details this time around, but I broke down the different components of my bills in my August expenses. Essentially the rent and expenses are for both myself and my girlfriend. I currently cover most of our major outgoings (rent, bills, groceries) and she contributes what she can each month to help cover it. She can then use the rest of her income on herself, whether clothes, savings, holidays, travel, etc. It works out pretty fair for the time being, considering our respective incomes. Once she finishes her PhD and can get a full time job, we’ll reevaluate and split the expenses closer to 50:50.

      Greece was a lot of fun! Definitely recommend visiting at some point, but maybe avoid the time that we went. It wasn’t too busy, as I’m guessing the summer holidays had just finished, but it was still surprisingly hot.

      Fingers crossed I have the same luck that you’ve been having with the matched betting! I’m looking forward to your post on each-way betting; hopefully that combined with TFS’ posts will give me the confidence to try it myself.

    • Hi Mindy. Thanks! Hopefully I can maintain the savings rate going forward, or at least keep it above 25-30%, but seeing as the most expensive part of the year is coming up, I’m not so sure!

      Yes, the £50 was definitely earned over much longer than a month! I joined YouGov in August last year. I probably only did 3 surveys leading up to December 2017, then started doing a lot more from January, maybe around 2-3 per week. I hit the payout threshold in August and received the £50 in September. The surveys are usually about 5-15 minutes long which isn’t so bad, but they can get quite repetitive and boring. I tended to only do them when I had time to kill, usually at the gym or on a lunch break at work, which which helped make it more bearable. Not sure I can be bothered to go through it all again for another £50 though!

  2. Awesome work on getting those surveys finished! As you know I just gave up on it myself… But I put the points I had into the prize draw, do the same with my savings into the lottery and I can’t lose right? I joke…. But seriously, good work! I’m impressed your holiday was so cheap 🙂

    • What could possibly go wrong with that approach!? I’m surprised no one has come up with idea already, haha.

      Thanks! The entire holiday probably cost us a total of £1000. I didn’t include my girlfriend’s spending, which was also around £250, and I paid for the flights (~£500) and the Airbnb (~£100) earlier in the year. All in all, definitely worth it to see somewhere new and to take some time off from work!

  3. £35 per hour on matched betting!? – I have always been dubious to matched betting, but seeing yourself and a few others use it. I am tempted to give it a trial month in November and see how i get on!

    Not sure the surveys are worthwhile though looking at your response to Mindy.

    Well done on 48% savings rate – including holiday spend I would say that is a success through anyone’s eyes.

    • I should stress that your first few matched bets will take much longer! I think my first time through the whole process took about an hour. I signed up to the free trials offered by both Profit Accumulator and OddsMonkey, watched the videos and read the guides, and then very cautiously placed my first bet! But once you get into the swing of it you can place several bets in an hour on Saturday morning, or one evening after work, and then check again the next day, place the free bets, etc. There are plenty of people who make much more than me from matched betting, but I don’t really dedicate much time to it each month.

      As for the surveys, I have to confess, since cashing out that £50 from YouGov I haven’t been able to bring myself to do any more. Still, as I said, it’s a decent enough way to pass time if you’re looking to kill 10 minutes.

      Thank you! I don’t think October is going to be as kind to me.

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