Bristol ERE journal.

Where are you and where are you going?
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:22 pm

Long time no see.

I stopped updating as there wasn't really anything to say, but I've still been lurking.

Spent last year plodding along with nothing too spectacular
Here are some quick updates:
May: -2%
June: 42%
July: 77%
August: 30%
September: 58%
November: 38%
December: 55%

Giving a 2015 total saving percentage of 46.85%

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:36 pm

Having plugged these numbers into the standard FIRE calculators and deciding I wasn't up for 17 and a half years more of the current situation I knew something had to change.

Some redundancies were made at my firm, so I wasn't confident at getting a decent raise any time soon so I decided to change it all up. My partner leaving town (US citizen lost job and therefore visa) spurred things on as well.

I left my job at christmas and took some time off to consider next moves, travel with partner.

So January through June were negative. Spent a few months in morocco for really low cost of living, cycle touring and learning to surf. Then a month in Paris which was very expensive.

Picked up a remote PHP contract (not great money for PHP at all, £160 a day, but short term and wanted to break the 6 months off stigma for the future) for July and August and cheap living with partner and parents gave July a savings rate of 83%. I hope august will be the same, so I'm starting to get back to where I was before I stopped working.

My on going plan is to pick up more contracts of a higher day rate (I’m seeing £450 in london and 400 Euros in europe) for 6 months at a time and live cheaply for a couple of months in between at parents, in low cost countries or Woofing, avoiding the pitfall of recent expensive time off.

edited to correct selective memory about travelling expenses

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:28 pm

August was a little more expensive, but still managed to pull off a savings rate of 72% for the second month of my contract job.
Not really that great, I should have been able to get it higher.

This month I plan to get back on with tracking expenses rather than just totalling everything up, so hopefully that in itself will bring the next months expenses down.

With my contract up and no fixed housing arrangements I've gone to visit my family for what I hope will be a one or two week period while I find the next job.

Plenty of interviews lined up, excited to see where I am by the end of the month.

Aside from that, trying to get back into good habits such as working out, eating right etc after being a bit all over the place for a few months.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:14 am

I've got 6 Currently lined up interviews, all sound like good fits for me. the variation is only really in location and pay.

3 in London ranging from £350 - £450 a day
1 in Brighton for £300 a day
2 that are mostly remote (the first couple of weeks onsite to get to know the team) for around £300 a day
(after tax will be about 75% of the above)

After some brief research I think I could easily (not very well optimised housing, this will be short notice when it happens) live in London for £1400 a month, and Brighton for £1100.

Whereas I know I can easily get around £900 in Bristol, and cheaper elsewhere. I've also enjoyed working remotely in the past, no commute and freedom for chores to fit into the day makes a big difference.

I guess we'll see what comes back, and find out if I get to choose!

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:34 am

I put all the data I've got on the last 19 months into a spreadsheet so here's a tasty chart.


I'm disappointed that my monthly expenses are averaging around £1300, I think they should be more like £1000. some work to do there.
Hopefully the yellow line should start moving up in an encouraging fashion shortly.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:04 am

Interesting month on the work front. After several offers I took a 12 month remote contract for a company in Belgium. I started midway through the month with two weeks on site and then came back to the UK for the remainder of the month. Nice to get back to working with a team again, and it's been interesting so far working that dynamic remotely.

I'll need to go out a few more times over the year but there is a rate increase for on site so no problems.

Rough calculations indicate that this contract should get me around £50k after tax in the next 12 months.

This month looks pretty bad from the numbers however (most expensive ever), as I'll receive no income until next week and all of my business expenses were paid out of pocket.

There are some big one off expenses in here, accountancy and insurance for the year as well as travel and accommodation in Belgium. I'll be repaying myself for these from my business account next month as they will be tax deductible.
I also did very badly while abroad with eating out, next time I need to get a handle on that.

£119 - One odd job

Business expenses: £1729
Eating out abroad: £336
Alcohol £62
Groceries £84
Mobile £8.50
Clothing £53
Cycling gear £30

The rest of the expenses are imporroved by no housing cost. The groceries would have been higher without all of the eating out though.
Clothing was probably due a refresh but brought forward a bit to be smarter in my clients office.

Accommodation for a friends birthday / surfing trip next month: £40

Next month should be much better. I'll have real income again and no housing costs (housesitting). I am going to start learning to drive but try to keep the cost down. I don't plan on owning a car but there have been several occasions recently that a rental would have been cheaper than public transport and I feel like I should have this skill by now.

I need to sort out my housing for the next few months, I've been floating around parent's and partner's houses and have now landed this housesitting gig. With this remote Job I have no need to be anywhere in particular until my partner starts a masters program next September. Considering cheap places in southern Europe for a three or four month stretch.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:56 am

Other notable things:
I opened an ISA and deposited £1000 which will soon be my first serious investment.
(I have a few hundred pounds in p2p and some green energy debentures)
I got hold of some freedompop sim cards, so my mobile bill will hopefully be £0 going forward

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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby Noedig » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:23 am

Hi Bristoldude

Sounds like your ass is in gear. Brussels. Awesome. Area near station somewhat alarming I recall. Oh however the moules frites with biere.

Managing a homeworking situation is a challenge when you are in a distributed team: hope you find a way to make it work for you without having to cudgel yourself against your tendencies. Seriously, best of luck with managing to feel the flow there.

Re Accountants I hear good things about the cheapo Crunch accountancy. However don't use them myself, still with SJD after many years.

Excellent news re investment. Keep the savings rate going for a year and you will be *amazed* when the money and gains start to steadily roll in. Like most here I have slowly gravitated towards Vanguard, with my current faves being the High Yield and High Div and Global funds. Monevator did a study this year on cheap brokers.

Re Considering cheap places in southern Europe, chap I met on the bike bus down to Orange from UK, had spent winter on beaches in Portugal. Still warm by standards of Barnsley, he said.

Good luck mate. Sounds like you are in gear and all set.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:08 am

Thanks @Noedig

I did go with Crunch accountancy, as I'd used them a few years ago. I paid for the whole year up front for a 10% discount, just caused a bit of a spike in expenses!

Very alarming all around Brussels at the moment, with a large military presence at many of the stations.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

October update

Postby bristoldude » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:39 am just rolled out an update that's messed up my accounting so the expenses are subject to change when that all gets sorted out. They say there's another update due mid november.

Expenses seem to be around £550.
There's no rent in there as I'm house sitting this month, but there is a flight to Spain in January where I plan to relocate for 6 months or so.
I'll get into more details here once moneydashboard sorts itself out.

Some investment income and I sold an old guitar pedal on ebay but most of this is 2 months salary from my web development company.
There's a fair bit still in the company as well, to cover expenses of an expected business trip before the end of this year and starting to cover my salary to the end of the financial year. I'll worry about how / when to take the rest of the money out once that's all covered and I've repaid myself the expenses from last month.

That puts me at approximately 77% savings rate. pretty good but perhaps not great with no rent!

I'll be renting a room from a friend (back in Bristol) for the next two months and then visiting family for Christmas for a few weeks before heading to Spain. Currently looking at Airbnb for the first month then I'll see if I can get a better deal. Airbnb in Spain already feels like a great deal, whole apartments for what I'm renting a room for in Bristol.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:08 pm

so an update for october now the software has sorted itself out..

Expenses were actually £660 putting me at around 70% certainly should be better with no rent!
The big culprits as I see them are:
eating and drinking out £59.65
Take-away £70.90

The takeaway is particularly pointless. Removal of this as an expense is my new aim!
Eating out and drinking out will be bad in november december as I'm visiting my old city, lots of catching up with friends and Christmas parties. I'll try and keep it together.

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

November update

Postby bristoldude » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:28 pm

November was my highest earning month on record!
Also the most expensive month as well, but quite a lot of expenses for the next few months included:

in £4720 - a good lump of this is repaying myself business expenses from a few months back, but a good month anyway.

out: £3160

rent £1,605.00 - so, the good things first, this includes 3 months rent, I've no more accommodation costs until the middle of February.

and the bad things:
Take-away £21.02
Dining and drinking £325.4
Hotel: £500
fairly ridiculous spending here. obviously overexcited about being back in my old city. Not much to say except somehow December needs to be less and then I'll be clear..
The hotel I may get half back at some point. It's an airbnb for me and partner for a week. This was essentially a required relationship expense that comes from not having my own place. Need some private time. I can't see this being repeated at all next year as we will either be living together or with enough privacy anyway.

The rest was a bit spendy but not outrageous. £75 on some shoes I hope will last for several years.

saving 36% - obviously not great, hopefully the rent free months will make this worthwhile.

I'm only working 7 days in December due to clients Christmas slow down, so there's not going to be loads of money coming in at the start of January, but I'm looking forward to having some clear time to sort through my seemingly endless todo list before heading back to visit family for the holidays.

The next few months are looking good. I've booked an AirBNB in Granada in Spain for mid January to February. If I like the place I'll look into moving into cheaper accommodation after that. Pretty excited about the trip!

Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 1:01 pm

Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby bristoldude » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:57 am

Nice embarrassing new year update, without any rent payments I managed to spend £1058 in December.

£200 of that is Christmas presents, £160 groceries and £80 public transport around the country visiting family.

The remainder was holiday related drinking and eating out. Not happy about the amount I spent but had a very good time at least.
Not going to be too down on this, just need to do better in the future.

Income was low at £1232, mostly the minimal salary I'm drawing from my company with some cash gifts.
The company is now in the position to pay this salary until the end of the tax year (April) cover all expected expenses and start paying out to me in profit.

I'm not sure there's any advantage to me removing the profit before April just to inflate my income numbers, so I'll probably leave it in the company to save on paperwork, then take it all out in one lump. (march should look very good!)

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Re: Bristol ERE journal.

Postby JollyScot » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:34 pm

Good to see your contracting route is going well, I’ve had a couple since being “retired” and the risk that people usually associate with it just doesn’t seem to exist.

From what I have seen in the UK the multiple between a permanent role and a contract role is much higher than elsewhere. The UK seems to have come to the point where those with in demand skills seem to get paid a lot less than equivalent roles in other regions.

Still keep up the good work you will be done in no time

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