Ydobon's Independence Referendum

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Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:49 pm

Hello and welcome to my journal, my introduction is here.

I've voted yes to financial independence :)

About Me
  • Personality type: INFJ (which makes a nice change)
    Star sign: Aries ;)
    Current job: Let's say it involves governance for an IT company, being deliberately vague here. c. £54,000 a year between wife and I, not a fortune, but we feel very wealthy. Also fluctuating 'passive' income, which has averaged £500/mth this year
    Education: an arts degree with next to no real world value, suffice to say I like books. I have worked hard at assembling some sort of 'career' and my ERE journey has started (in part) because I can't be bothered pretending that I have anything to offer the world of work
Assets

These are for wife and I.
  • Home: £139,000 (mortgage valuation, probably a bit higher than this
    Car: £2,000 (I have lowballed here, it's an old car, but with relatively few miles on the clock)
    Cash: £11,300
    Tax privileged equities/bonds: £5,700.
    Pensions: £15,300 + state-backed £2k/year pension from age 60/65 (I forget)
All equities and bonds are in low cost index tracking products, I've read far more convincing 'pro' arguments than Jacob's 'con' argument in his book. That said, I do believe that the 'herd mentality/nobody leading' argument will become an issue, but not until significantly over 50% of investment is going into index funds. The US is already there, the rest of the world not so much.

Liabilites

Mortgage: £107,323.34
Credit cards: £6840.86 (all debt at 0%, cash held in savings with c. 3.5% net interest)
Student loans: c. £20,000 (we are currently paying 1.5% on these, thanks to the wonders of financial repression. We pay a fixed 9% of all earning over £21,000 or so in repayment)

Net worth

Assuming a £50,000 value for the state-backed pension, our net worth is c. £89,135.80. Mhhh... roughly £500k short for FI at our current levels of spending.

This is just a taster, I suppose we have a fairly ordinary profile, more information to follow without typing out my life story all at once.
Last edited by Ydobon on Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nomini
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Nomini » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:20 pm

Snap on the Scotland living. I look forward to reading your journal.

StartingLate
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by StartingLate » Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:14 pm

Great to see a journal of somebody else who is just starting the journey. I don't get much value of those with assets already > 300K. I am, too, at least 500K short for ERE and I am turning 40 this year...

Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:12 am

Thanks for that. While I love reading the journals of fellow forum members with huge salaries, savings rates and stashes, it can sometimes make you feel a bit inadequate! It does seem relatively common for people to avoid posting until they're already half way there. That's cool, but I'm as interested in the journey. Hopefully my first faltering steps will encourage others to start a journal, or at least to see other people on ordinary wages trying their hand at ERE.

I've not been tracking my savings or expenses as dilligently as I should be, so will start recording these from the end of the month.

In the meantime, here's a sample monthly income/expenditure for people to pick at.

Income: £3,200 guaranteed (net income, 12% of gross wages paid into pensions before this point). I also make some passive income in the form of gambling offers, this probably amounts to £100-500/mth (average is roughly £500). So £3,200-£3,700. I need to get much better at tracking the passive income, it fluctuates massively and while I know I'm making a decent amount of money, damned if I can say how much :oops:

Expenditure:

Mortgage £693.08 (16.5 years left)
Council Tax £144.00 (Property tax, paid 10/12 months)
Utilities £161.00 (Electricity/gas. This is too high, we've had issues with our supplier)
ISA £150.00 (Automatic deductions for tax-priviliged investments)
Factor £95.00
Car Insurance £50.35
Petrol £30.00
Car Repairs £45.00
TV Licence £12.12
Road Tax £11.67
Line Rental £11.49
Broadband £3.49
Contents Insurance £4.25
Life Insurance £10.53
Breakdown Cover £3.25
Food £190.00
Gifts £108.00
Travel £77.00
Spending money £650.00 (random crap, 'fun money')
Mobiles £15.00
Total £2465.23

Income - expenditure = £734.77-£1,234.77

This would explain why I feel so skint. Current fixed savings rate is a pathetic 4.69%. We do save significantly more than this most months, but it's on an ad hoc basis and is done on a lazy 'if there's money left' principle. If I include pension contributions, student loan repayments (deducted from gross salaries) and home equity, our net worth currently rises by c. £1,100/mth.

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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by jacob » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:43 am

"Pay yourself first" will likely be useful for you. Set aside the savings amount (using automatic transfers) BEFORE you spend anything else.

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:23 am

"Pay yourself first" will likely be useful for you. Set aside the savings amount (using automatic transfers) BEFORE you spend anything else.
Thank you Jacob, we do practise pay yourself first when investing, the amounts aren't currently sufficient to meet our goals. I will increase them, but our current priorities are paying off our 0% debts for the sake of simplicity and building a cash buffer for an element of self-insurance.

Scotland voted no, which instantly makes my journal dated. I'm ok with that, I had a hunch that it would go that way ;) The level of acrimony between the opposing camps has been unsurprising, we are a nation of sore winners and sore losers. In the short term, the hoped for boost to my portfolio value never took place. The FTSE had been lagging the DJ for several weeks and a surge was a possibility. In the end it appeared that the vote was already priced in, so no real change.

Over the last month I have been agonising over what assets I should/shouldn't include in net worth calculations/personal projections. On the one hand, I don't want to be unrealistic and kid myself as regards the task ahead of me, on the other hand assets such as home equity and pension funds will definitely play a part in our future financial health. In my mind I'm now mentally dividing liquid assets (tax-priviliged equities/cash), less liquid assets (home equity) and illiquid assets (pensions) into now/then/later.

This exercise told me what I already knew - then/later looks a lot healthier than now. It also illustrated for me the fact that future value is precisely that, and that money held in pensions is both real, but also illusory in a lot of ways for someone seeking FI. I feel that I've had a bit of a eureka! moment, a real insight into the lock-in, if you will.

We have been paid today, so I'll put up some numbers after my run this evening. I'm taking part in a half marathon in a few weeks and will be covering 10 miles today ('running' might not be a suitable description!)

Ydobon
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Location: Scotland

Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:25 am

I have been keeping busy and making tweaks to my budget because Rome wasn't built in a day, no matter how high her savings rate was :)

After my September musings along the lines of 'pensions are great, but I can't touch them for 27 years', I made a conscious decision to focus my efforts on saving and investing in liquid investments.

Positives since my last post have included:
  • We are expecting a baby! As well as the usual excitement of extending our family, I think that this will be a great opportunity to reset our financial priorities, our materialism is dropping fast.
  • My wife owes about £2,500 less than she thought in student loans.
  • My employer finally settled an ongoing dispute where I had been shortchanged on pension contributions. The additional payment added thousands to my pension account.
  • I've written an honest budget written for 2015, including a few categories that I have completely failed to record previously (damn, should have put dental care on that list). This is our 4th annual budget and they get more accurate every year.
  • I calculated that we were investing £705/mth during 2014, mostly into pensions. I have increased this by just over 5% (£742/mth). The extra money is all going into index funds held in a tax privileged account (ISA). I did this because 1) inflation exists and 2) we need to get used to the discipline of investing more and more as time goes by.
  • In addition to this, I saved 10% of our net earnings in cash during December, I will increase this to 15% for January.
  • I re-directed contributions from a corporate bond fund where the risk was out of sync with our investment goals to a more suitable/less volatile fund. We're keeping the corporate bonds, but won't be buying any more for quite some time.
Negatives have included:
  • I'm still not tracking expenditure or passive income fully, although I do deduct spends from a budget spreadsheet as I go.
  • Home improvements that weren't budgeted for (c. £1,000). On the plus side, I can now lay laminate flooring, can re-hang a door and can use a mitre block and a selection of tools that I had never tried before.
  • A vet's bill of c. £50 that wasn't budgeted for.
December

Net worth exc. Pensions: £25,529.89
Net Worth inc. Pensions: £95,183.62 (+£6,047.82 from last update update)
Savings rate: 15.16% net (10.47% higher than September)
Progress towards goal: 17.63% (+1.12% from last update)

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jennypenny
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by jennypenny » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:23 am

Congratulations on the baby! Your first, I take it?

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:44 am

jennypenny wrote:Congratulations on the baby! Your first, I take it?
Yes, I am very much looking forward to being a dad :)

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:20 am

I have changed my ISA so that all future fund payments will be at the increased rates. I also added a couple of £ to allow for the effect of fees. I'm charged a Platform Fee of 0.25% for holding Vanguard funds in my ISA, it's harder to forecast when the provider keeps taking nibbles out of my portfolio :geek:

That said, I'm very happy with the provider, they deliver a stable platform with reasonable features and good customer service. Which is odd, as they are the UK's cheapest provider for regular investors with sub-£30k portfolios.

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GandK
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by GandK » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:15 am

Congrats on the baby from a fellow INFJ parent!

It's great that you're loading up on your savings now. If it were me I'd save every penny I could before the due date, probably putting all that cash into my regular savings account as an emergency fund. The last thing you want right when the baby comes home is an unexpected financial headache.

There are a few different threads on this board about keeping child costs down. Be sure to look through those.

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Sun Dec 14, 2014 12:31 pm

Congrats on the baby from a fellow INFJ parent!
Thank you :)

Have you found any aspects of parenting to be more challenging as an INFJ? I have some worries about my natural introversion getting in the way of the kid socialising as it grows up, but I suspect I'll just 'man up' and make sure that he/she has a chance to go to all the usual parties, activities etc. My parents were very much wrapped up in each other when we were growing up, I often wonder if my development into an INFJ was partly as a result?

I agree on the savings front, we're very much focused on keeping cash at the moment, investing is taking a back seat. At the same time, I hope to ramp this up once we feel comfortable with the new costs of childcare we'll face.

Ydobon
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Getting back into good financial habits!

Post by Ydobon » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:48 am

As I mentioned in a couple of posts, I make some fluctuating passive income from risk free gambling offers. This can be £20 in a bad week, or it can easily be £100+ on a good weekend when a major sporting event is on. I didn't include it in my income figures due to these fluctuations.

I have started paying myself first, but as that doesn't work with irregular income, I have got back into a good financial habit of saving a fixed amount from my passive income every day. This keeps me focused and engaged and allows me to manage this small income stream (it is risk free, but there is some spending to 'unlock' offers). I have been saving £5-10 every day for the last few weeks and added another £135 to my ISA this morning from the proceeds :)

Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I find it very empowering to think that I've just bought myself £5 a year in truly passive income!

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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by frihet » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:17 am

Hi Ydobon,

Interesting to see that you make money gambling, I used to make some that way as well grinding out poker and casino bonuses between 2005 - 2007. These days sportbooks seems to be the deal? Which might be good because it is a lot more passive, place the bets and check later. The poker/casino ones where long hours in front of the computer.

May I ask if you use Skrill or Neteller as online wallet? Have read bad reviews about skrills customer support. But they seem to have lower fees. Any cash back contracts or sign up bonuses you could recommend from any of these two?

Cheers!

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:13 pm

Hi there Frihet.

Yes, bookies/sportsbooks are where I make my money, although it's a mix of sports bets, slots offers and cards (all risk free when following the terms and conditions of the various offers). The money has been quite good of late, £100+ for the last 3-4 weeks running.

I take it you're not in the UK? It's pretty straightforward to use debit cards for these offers here, I keep a current account that is used solely for this purpose. I've never used a wallet service, although Skrill is definitely the more prolific of the two. I've read that they offer a physical secure key for additional login security (like the tokens used to log into employer VPNs etc.), this seems to be recommended.

frihet
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by frihet » Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:38 pm

Happy to hear you are doing good Ydobon.

From what I've read it seems like a fun way to make some extra on the side and it's must give satisfaction to mug the muggers so to speak :)

No not in the UK , spend my time between Norway and Sweden. But it works here as well from what my research tells me.

May you get many good bonus offers this Christmas! I have to wait until afterwards as my Christmas will be spent working on the North Sea. Exited to start the bonus hunt when I'm back onshore.

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:30 pm

Well, keep warm and I hope they give you a break after working through Christmas?

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:54 pm

Well, seasonal spendfest is over for another year :lol:

I'm only half serious, was able to spend some fantastic quality time with family and friends. Lots of relatives are finally taking the hint that I don't want crap that will end up in landfill, resulting in some cracking consumables. Was gifted enough homebrew kits, whisky and snacks to keep me in style for months!

Picked up a few extra gambling offers over the last couple of days, £150 or so in profit.

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:34 pm

A mega month for us, January saw us making the largest contributions into savings and investments that we have *ever* managed. We won't be able to match it in February, but I saw our wealth take a pleasing leap.

Positives:
  • Most money saved ever
  • Finished decorating baby's room, door re-hung, cheap blackout curtains put up. Quite pleased with them - £53 from eBay, very difficult to get decent curtains that are 9' long!
  • Real focus on increasing income over saving, this could have been even better if I hadn't made a stupid mistake with gambling offers
  • Homebrew beer making started up again, 42 pints of lager sitting behind me quietly maturing in the bottle
  • Got back into proper meal planning, increasing the variety of meals we make and cutting down some costs. Food shopping not as cheap as I'd like, but wife + baby nutrition is priceless
  • Started making wholemeal sourdough bread. Delicious, very filling, healthy easy to make and costs c. £1/week to make 3 600g/1.5lb loaves
Negatives:
  • Phoning it in at work, it cannot be healthy for someone in their young 30s to sit on retirement forums all day!
  • Have noticed a few jobs that require done around the house before the baby arrives in May, c. £500 needed for those
  • It was January, the long Tuesday of the year :lol:
January

Net worth exc. Pensions: £28,051.60
Net Worth inc. Pensions: £99,095.31 (+£3,911.69 from last update update)
Savings rate: 49.99% net (34.84% higher than September)
Progress towards goal: 19.82% (+2.19% from last update)

Ydobon
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Payday slump?

Post by Ydobon » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:34 am

So, does anyone else have a 'slump' at payday once their automatic transfers have gone out to savings and investments?

25%+ of our money has been held back for February, but instead of 'great! our weatlh just increased', I'm sitting here thinking 'boring, it's now another month 'til payday!'

Any tips for dealing with the positive boredom that is saving and investing? I've gamified small goals (i.e. 'I'll save 25%, but I'll also try and save a further £x/day and try to beat last month), but I try and keep these to a minimum (as it's the big regular contributions that have the greatest effect, not the piddly crap).

sterlingarcher
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by sterlingarcher » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:46 am

I know the feeling. Excitement several days before payday. And when it finally arrives the joy is gone within minutes.

On payday I remain with 5.000 to cover food after all transfers are done. So the rest of the month is spent micromanaging these pennies, trying to remain with an extra 500 or 1000 before next payday. So basically trying to create some surplus from money I mentally consider "spent".
Something that helps me stay positive about these small contributions is annualising them, ie. "if I can save an extra 1000/month on average it will mean 12.000 in a year which means an extra 480 in annual interest, just enough to support my monthly toilet paper consumption" and then proceed to head to the toilet.

I get paid for any extra hours I work above the usual 40, so I have this chart at home where I put green color into squares with dollar signs in them representing the value of each hour. That way the extra time I spend at work easily translates into extra money mentally and I set goals for working X amount of extra hours each week/month.

As much as the fun is over just seconds after the salary ticks in I constantly look for ways to make an extra penny throughout the month. Maybe I find something in the house I don't need that has resale value, find a small job listing online or try to find some way to avoid costs. Example: this month I postponed my dentist appointment so that I can wait another month to pay that bill. I might even end up cancelling it because I don't have any teeth issues right now.

These are "games" I play that seems to keep me focused but motivation does take a drop sometimes.

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:40 am

Thanks for that sterlingarcher, I'm also always on the lookout for ways to make some extra money, albeit in a more modest manner. For me, that's usually taking advantage of risk free gambling offers, although I'm at the mercy of the bookmakers who can offer what they like, when they like.

I like the idea of annualising, that might offer another way to think about it. Also, I've gotten out of the good habit of turning a saving/avoided cost into an investment (i.e. if I save £x, I should be paying it into my savings pot for more funds if it's a one-off, or increasing my automatic payment if it's an ongoing saving). I used to do that, so thanks for reminding me.

No real prospect of overtime here, but I also use spreadsheets and websites to help visualise the value of my time spent at work. Heck, if I get bored enough, I'll sometimes calculate my hourly wage from compound interest/investment growth and watch the pennies creep up.... I'm easily bored :mrgreen:

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GandK
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by GandK » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:48 pm

Ydobon wrote:
Congrats on the baby from a fellow INFJ parent!
Thank you :)

Have you found any aspects of parenting to be more challenging as an INFJ? I have some worries about my natural introversion getting in the way of the kid socialising as it grows up, but I suspect I'll just 'man up' and make sure that he/she has a chance to go to all the usual parties, activities etc. My parents were very much wrapped up in each other when we were growing up, I often wonder if my development into an INFJ was partly as a result?

I agree on the savings front, we're very much focused on keeping cash at the moment, investing is taking a back seat. At the same time, I hope to ramp this up once we feel comfortable with the new costs of childcare we'll face.
Introversion was a constant issue when my youngest was a toddler. Like his dad, he's extremely outgoing, and it was hard for me to be always on. Even your very favorite people you sometimes need a break from, but you usually can't get a break from your kids. Not as often as you need, unless you're imposing on your partner, which causes a different set of problems.

I didn't have a problem with the kids' activities. It's easier to socialize when I'm doing it for them than if I'm doing it for myself. Having a mission (my kid's happiness) seems to take away my social inhibitions. Also, when you don't want to interact with other parents, you can focus on your child. You have a built-in, perfectly polite reason not to socialize.

My INFJ personality became an issue more as the kids got older, in the realm of meeting their needs. INFJs are almost psychic when it comes to detecting others' needs and motivations. You will get to the point where you're so aware of your kids that you're doing things for them before they ask, and always saying just what they need to hear. Not in a helicopter parent way, but in an "I know you so well I can finish your sentences" way.

That's great, right? Well, yeah, but the problem is that INFJs are rare. Probably nobody else will ever have that degree of understanding with your child. Not their other parent, not their friends, not their teachers, not their future employers... or their spouse. That means your kid will always run to you when they have a problem. And if you step in every time you see an unmet need, your kid doesn't learn to speak up for themselves and articulate what they want and need, which is what they HAVE to do in order to interact in a healthy way with the other 99% of society. They also become frustrated with others who don't "get them" like you do. While that can create a close bond between you and your child, it can also make them deeply dissatisfied with other people. And obviously, the older they get, the bigger a problem that becomes.

So more than anything else, I've had to learn to back off as my kids get older. If my teenager doesn't specifically ask me to act on his behalf, I won't do it. If he isn't explaining himself clearly, I'll ask questions even if I know what he meant just to force him to articulate. My biggest job is to prepare him for life outside of our door. That means gently teaching him, as he interacts with me, how to interact with others. The good news is that your INFJ empathy - while creating this problem - can also solve it. ;)

Ydobon
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Re: Ydobon's Independence Referendum

Post by Ydobon » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:47 pm

Thank you for that thoughtful and detailed response, everything I'd expect from an INFJ :)

I've read it several times now, and it has provided real food for thought. It's interesting to hear what sounds like changes for you in how you behaved, but also the pitfalls of being a parent who 'gets' people. In fairness, that's been a curse for much of my adult life, not so much reading a book by its cover as speed reading personalities :lol:

I'm looking forward to being a parent, and do seem to strike up rapport with nieces and nephews very quickly. Toddlers seem to think I'm great fun, but I will definitely need to come up with some coping strategies for energy drain.

Your comments on stepping back are particularly noted. It's all to easy to be 'intense' as an INFJ and children do not react well to parents when they get worked up.

Must work on skills in patience...

Ydobon
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
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February Update

Post by Ydobon » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:12 pm

Although we didn't put as much money by in February, this month saw a massive landmark for us, £100,000+ including pensions :D

Positives:
  • Baby is thriving, c. 3 months to go
  • Let go off work stress before getting home on at least one occasion (seriously massive achievement for me)
  • Achieved £100k net worth
  • Recycled, donated, re-purposed and threw out a significant amount of clothing, miscellaneous tat and other things that were cluttering our home
  • A good month for extra income, as well as savings and investments I have significantly more fun money left than I *started* the month with. Have started selling some items online as well, should provide some extra cash for the March total
  • I'll be honest, the current batch of homebrew is tasting a little green, I will probably spend a little more next time. An extra £0.10/pint is not too crazy.
  • Still making sourdough every couple of days, have been experimenting with the technique and am now rivalling FIL (a chef)
  • Have started to read more frequently, currently on a Jack London junket
  • Applied for a job that would only be a 3% pay rise to begin with, but would come with increments and would see me at +23% over 3 years
  • Went on a Lean Six Sigma training course, will be good for my CV and the project I am now working on should bring some quick wins that will make me look a lot smarter than I am :lol:

Negatives:
  • Far too much caffeine, this is affecting my anxiety and I am picking my hands to shreds :oops:
  • A few luxury purchases, including a new smart phone for c. £100 (that said, phone is of a standard that I can do much of my online activities from the couch, which I could never do with my monster old laptop
  • Struggling to extricate myself from some historic work duties that a more confident person would have got rid of long ago. Trying to keep my cool and am making an effort to kick these into touch.
  • Yet to start my half marathon programme for 2015

February
  • Net worth exc. Pensions: £29,889.48 (+£1,837.88 from last update)
  • Net Worth inc. Pensions: £101,640.39 (+£2,545.08 from last update update)
  • Savings rate: 57.43% net (i.e. after tax) (7.44% higher than January). Although we saved less in total, our savings rate went up because the increase in our net worth was more to do with keeping money this month and less to do with reducing liabilities. That, or I ballsed up the January calculations...
  • Progress towards goal: 20.33% (+0.51% from last update). Target has been simplified, is now £500k (for my reference)

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