vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Where are you and where are you going?
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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:01 am

December Update:

Finally >70% savings rate :D

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I could have done better too if I hadn't broken my bicycle mechanic stand. It was totally FUBAR, so I invested in a BIFL quality stand, I know I'll get a lifetime of use out of it - Park Tools!)

Other notable points in the expenditure, Food spending at an all time low. Pantry/Staple meals are doing wonders for the bottom line. Christmas lunch was courtesy of SOs family so I saved a fair chunk there. I like how steep my net worth slope has been getting recently, despite it being quite a spendy month. I purchased some new kitchen utensils to aid with my new baking habit, I promise not to buy anymore, I'm still going for minimalism! I also had to replace some new trainers and buy some new cycling bib tights and buy a new winter quilt that actually fits my bed.

I received some cash gifts for Christmas, so I decided finally to buy some carpentry equipment, most of it vintage and from ebay to keep costs down. I have been doing a lot of reading and it seems pre-1940s stuff is better quality than the modern stuff. I have sourced a carcass saw, a set of chisels, a no-5 plane and a panel rip saw to add to my already limited collection, the focus will be completing all jobs without power tools. It was quite an outlay, but hopefully it is the start of a new fulfilling hobby, and if I'm lucky, another side gig. My mother has already commissioned me for some work! :lol: My first project will be a workbench, then a bookshelf, a coffee table and eventually a wine rack for mother. SOs birthday is coming up in April and I think she'd appreciate a dressing table. Hopefully I'm not biting off more than I can chew!

Edit: Some more detailed analysis of spending coming soon, I've been collecting receipts all year (well, since march!) and hopefully I can add some interesting graphs on how spending has declined (hopefully) in key areas since subscribing to an ERE lifestyle.

Ydobon
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:13 am

Happy New Year to you and yours :)

That is a very healthy savings rate, you are making me pine for the good old days when I didn't have a mortgage to pay for!

The carpentry tools sound like a great investment, I am sure that you will enjoy many engaging projects over the next few years. Even if it's not for you, decent tools hold their value very well. A decent dressing table can be fairly expensive, so definitely a good one to aim for.

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cmonkey
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:19 am

Great job hitting 70%. Now you know what it takes to get to that level and can make it habit.

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Dragline
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Dragline » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:09 pm

Yes, that's very impressive!

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:35 pm

Oh yeah, happy new year everyone! I'm terrible at that seasonal stuff.

WRT 70% savings rate - it helped when I changed my bank account and forgot to take my new debit card out with me everywhere I went for a whole two weeks, not to mention not having it linked to any e-retailers :lol:

@Ydobon, do you think I could hand carve pine into this? With a bit of practice of course ;)
http://3.imimg.com/data3/BS/NJ/MY-16412 ... 00x500.jpg

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Ydobon » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:21 am

Hahaha - necessary! :D

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by skintstudent » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:56 pm

Congratulations on the 70%. Next target 75%?

Out of interest, do you have student loans? If so, it would be reasonable for someone of your age to be counting the repayments as savings as there is a high chance you will have to pay off the lot.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:31 am

I think I could manage 75% if I wasn't getting married, there are just too many sporadic and unexpected expenses! :shock:

No, I don't count my student loan as savings, I just ignore them entirely as they are handled before my pay gets to me. I wouldn't pay them off early because the opportunity costs are too high. I'm in the pre 2012 cohort, so I'm currently paying 0.9% interest. That money would be better securing a better rate on my mortgage. If interest rates shoot up dramatically I may settle there and then but don't see that happening anytime soon! I think we will see perpetually low interest rates at least until well after the next crash.

Here is a great article on MSE: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/studen ... oans-repay

At my current rate of repayment, I'll have settled the loan in 10 years, but if my income increases (which it will!) that will come down to 6-7 years. I only borrowed £9,000.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by skintstudent » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:51 am

I'm in a similar situation, with a pre 2012 loan (unfortunately for more than you). I understand your stance, although it's one I no longer share. Accounting for it would probably make your savings rate seem even better, although the NW figure would be less appealing. I think you said you were in the public sector, so probably have access to a pension and employer match that I can only dream of these days. You may find that, with these taken into account, your savings rate is already above 75%.

Although you never see the student loan repayments in your bank account, in a decade or so your SR will jump when you no longer have to make them.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by skintstudent » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:54 am

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating paying off the student loan one second earlier than you need. As you already know, you can profit by keeping any overpayments in even an interest bearing current account.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by themodernchap » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:59 am

Any way I could get a copy of your spreadsheet? I like your charts and tables. No data is fine. Your jorurnal is my favorite.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Ydobon » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:43 am

I have purchased what I believe is the same coffee grinder as you (the most popular one on Amazon). How and when do you clean it? Do you use the base for storage in between coffees, or do you decant to another container?

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:03 pm

Nice, one of my better purchases too, being recentish convert to coffee ;)

I wash it after every use with hot soapy water and a dish brush. Residual grounds react with the air and the oils from the coffee beans go rancid, if they get in your next batch, it will make your brew bitter. I suppose you could brush it clean if you were planning on using it again in a short period of time, but I only use it once or twice a day so don't mind washing after use.

I don't store grounds for the same reason as above unless it's a batch for a day at the office. I have a small stainless steel tin which doesn't react with the coffee. I dare not transport my coffee in the glass receptical in case I break it on my cycle in to work. I did use a mini plastic tupperware container for a while to store my grounds for work, but I read that plastic ruins the taste of the coffee, which I noticed ever so slightly too. Whatever you store your coffee in should be inert.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Ydobon » Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:04 pm

As a massive coffee addict since the age of 16 or so, it's taking a while to get used to grinding beans! Feels like good exercise and there is something a bit special about the smell and the satisfaction from freshly ground beans. I'm doing a couple of days worth at a time for practical reasons (a generous espresso each before I go to work), just using the glass jar that came with the grinder. Cleaned it as best as I could with hot soapy water, don't have a dish brush to hand.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:30 pm

I'm sure a cloth or sponge will work just as well, I just prefer the brush, they are inexpensive, mine was 2 quid from M&S. Yes, do I love the smell of fresh ground coffee in the morning and the satisfaction of doing it by hand, it just fees special, if you know what I mean. It helps me build discipline on weekday mornings too, as I have to get up early enough to allow time to grind 2 cups worth (4 tablespoons!).

Quick wood working update, all my hand tools have finally arrived, I spent a fair bit more in B&Q last weekend getting various extras, including sand paper, a granite tile, and double sided tape (to make DIY super flat tool sharpener), a combination square and metal rule, wood glue, assorted screws and bolts and other stuff I have already forgotten about. I have now spent just shy on £300 in total in equipment and consumables, including enough wood to get me through a few projects. Yikes! No wonder I had been putting off starting this new hobby.

My first project, a heavy duty work bench is now under way, overcoming the initial analysis paralysis/planning took a while, but I recall that woodworking can be very forgiving and most of the fun comes from winging it and dealing with errors as you go along. I have dived right in and cut all my lengths of wood. I am now ready for assembly of the bench base and gluing the bench. Unfortunately I ran out of time this afternoon as I was roped into a meal out with the family for a Sunday dinner so didn't get to assemble, I'm itching to get going again but don't want to be antisocial and SO gets cranky when I spend all day pursuing my own hobbies! Apparently we have to spend time together or something? :D

I am really enjoying working with wood again, I haven't done any carpentry since 16 years of age, so I have been brushing up skills on some scrap wood, attempting dados, tennons and mortise joints, using hand chisels if loads of fun. I also restored the vintage plane I ordered. I haven't quite got the nack of that tool yet, some of my wood looked in worse shape after taking the plane to it... I think I may need to sharpen it a bit more and make some finer adjustments.

I have to say, I am surprised about how versatile hand tools really are! It seems power tools are great time saving tools, but for a home woodworker who will be building varying projects, power tools seem like overkill, I guess they really are just another consumer gadget, that said, I can see why professionals might need them to remain competitive! I like the idea of the off grid tools which is why I chose them. Hoping one day, carpentry can bring me in some cash to justify the initial outlay, however from now the main expenses should just be the timber. If I can get the hand plane working well, reclaimed wood will do the job just as well as 'new' timber, that should keep expenses down.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by themodernchap » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:27 pm

I do a fair bit of rough and fine woodworking, if you need any help let me know. I would suggest japanese waterstones for sharpening chisels, plane blades etc. Cheapest source is that most prominent of internet auction sites.

What sort of plane did you get? I only have an "Acorn #4" which was a brand made by Stanley. How did you check the flatness of the sole of the plane? Are you trying to use the granite tile as a surface plate? If the sole of your plane isn't properly flat that could be part of the reason you are struggling with it. Plane blades need to be pretty much razor sharp to cut endgrain, same with chisels.

I agree that woodwork is very rewarding. I have some nice bits and bobs of tropical hardwood if you are interested. Maybe not big enough bits of your projects though.

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:48 pm

I just happened to be looking at a set of japanese waterstones after realising sand paper wasn't going to cut it for repeated sharpening:
http://www.rutlands.co.uk/sp+woodworkin ... jp1400set3

Do you think they are good value?

I went for a Stanley No5 Bailey plane. Regarding the sole, I haven't sanded it down myself yet but I bought the granite tile and sandpaper for that purpose, the tile makes a perfectly flat surface for sanding. Turns out I was struggling with the plane because I left the mouth open too wide and the angle was way too high. I had another go at setting it up and have it working perfectly now. I spent a good hour planing my stock after having realised my jointing edges were not smooth enough for glueing. Learning as I go... Paul Sellers is helping a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl5Srx-Ru_U - Fascinating stuff!

I am about a third of the way through laminating 15 2x4s to create a solid bench top, the stock was framing grade so quite rough so a lot of work to get it flat.

Here's the project I took inspiration from:
http://www.familyhandyman.com/workshop/ ... -all#step1

Haven't worked with hardwood yet, still practising with pine. ;)
Last edited by vexed87 on Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by themodernchap » Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:12 pm

@Vexed87

Ben Crowe of Crimson Custom Guitars has the best guides to tool sharpening I have ever seen. I've sent you a big PM with my thoughts, was going to post it here but its too messy and I don't want to mess up / derail your journal.

Ben Crowe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFsCybDYxQU

You'll likely find yourself needing a few cabinet scrapers too, best ones in the UK are made by Proops Brothers, you'll find them on ebay / amazon. Get a 6" flat smooth file for sharpening them too.

I'll keep the woodworking talk to PM if you prefer.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:20 pm

I used the scary sharp method for years. I'm surprised that you go through that much sandpaper?! (I use spray glue to tack mine on so perfectly flat and little risk of digging into it.)

The plane mouth should be as wide as the thickness of the shavings you're going for. This is strongly related to how much the iron sticks down underneath.

Good work on the bench. I've been an analysis-paralysis for that particular project for about 5 years by now :-P

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by skintstudent » Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:51 pm

themodernchap wrote:@Vexed87

I've sent you a big PM with my thoughts, was going to post it here but its too messy and I don't want to mess up / derail your journal.

....

I'll keep the woodworking talk to PM if you prefer.
How about a woodworking thread if there isn't one already?

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:20 am

@jacob, maybe I just got hold of really crappy sanding paper, the coarseness wore away within minutes and I was left with useless smooth sanding paper, maybe I was a tad aggressive with my strokes. :roll:

January update - savings rate 24% it is not shaping up to be great this month but bear with me!

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Entertainment spending appears higher than usual this month, I took my parents out for a meal which cost me £110, considering they are putting SO and me up rent free, I'll give myself a pass on this this month. It felt nice to be taking them out for once, as they always offer to take SO and I out and it was starting to feel a bit one sided.

Also note my seemingly ridiculous spendthrift expense on flights and accommodation for a surprise trip to Paris for SO. Before you judge, SO has been rather unwell these last couple of years and she mentioned a few times to me that she would love to see Paris... I figured I would make her year and just take the plunge.

Since I have all this money piling up unlike never before and I have surplus annual leave to take at work I thought it would be a nice idea. Also, with our goal to get married and buy our own house just around the corner, I can see we may likely soon be settled with a kid (or kids) which will take away a lot of our freedom... I would quite like to see the Eiffel tower and eat baguettes and croissants on the streets of Paris while I still have the chance. In true ERE style, I got the flights super cheap, £55 each return from our local airport and £25 each per night for an inner city house from Airbnb. The rest of the expense is an annual travel insurance policy which I needed for our honeymoon anyway.

Finally,my woodworking expenses, the fruits of which should be ready for sharing soon. I'm having trouble making progress mid week as I'm just too burnt out from work, I have a quiet weekend though and its too wet to get out in the garden so hopefully I can make some good progress on my work bench.

February should be a much better month for my savings rate, I have no plans to spend any more money on hobbies. I might have to buy some seeds/seed potatoes etc, but the cost there is negligible. I'm aiming for 75% savings rate again... fingers crossed.

In other news, I just opened the Help to Buy ISA (tax free savings account), the UK gummit' will put in £50 bonus for every £200 saved, with a maximum initial deposit of £1200 and then £200 every month after, which works out at a 25% rate of return on savings into the account, which also carries an additional 4% interest rate from the bank. Not bad. So, for my first contribution, I just earned £300.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by themodernchap » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:09 am

Congrats on the 75% achievement.
The help to buy ISA does look pretty sweet, depending on the morgage it ends up getting folded into at the end. Make sure your missus uses her allowance too to maximise the bonus. It's clearly an attempt by geordie osborne to get young people to buy houses to get them mortgaged to the hilt...

I'm holding out until the new alternative investments isa is released in april because I want to shelter P2P investments.

I have the same feelings about my SO's mum and dad. We don't live with them but they are very good to us.

Edit: re sandpaper. The best imo is garnet paper. Cheap sandpaper is a false economy.

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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Egg » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:53 am

themodernchap wrote: I'm holding out until the new alternative investments isa is released in april because I want to shelter P2P investments.
How much are you holding in P2P. I mean, the first £1000 interest will be tax free for P2P from next year as it is, so you'd have to have a fair amount sitting in it to be paying much tax...

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vexed87
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by vexed87 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:58 am

What P2P loan companies are best in the UK? Or are these P2P credit union accounts?

Personally I wouldn't risk getting in to P2P in a big way just before a down turn. But I'm interested in it on the up side. :)

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Egg
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Re: vexed's ERE journey from the very beginning!

Post by Egg » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:30 pm

vexed87 wrote:What P2P loan companies are best in the UK? Or are these P2P credit union accounts?

Personally I wouldn't risk getting in to P2P in a big way just before a down turn. But I'm interested in it on the up side. :)
I use Ratesetter. Not particularly high rates (~3%) so could theoretically be matched by a bank account, but at least being on monthly contracts if the shit hits the fan I just won't relend, and the safety buffer fund which covers defaults should pick up the damage for longer than it takes to get my money back out.

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