Ginger1's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

February's cashflow was as follows:

Expenses:
Books £6.38
Clothes: £27.96
Coffee shop £17.20
Eating out £39.68
Evening Classes: £54
Cinema/Netflix: £15.99
Groceries £110.22
Lunches: £3.00
Other £20.88
Phone £22.00
Postage £38.93 (largely as a result of sales earnings)
Presents £2.90
Pub-alcohol £16.05
Rent + Bills: £600.00
Travel £106.54
Total: £1081.73

Overall expenses are down significantly this month compared to last (by almost £500).

Income:
Salary: £1536.26
Sales: £38.33
Dividends: £12.00
Total: £1586.59

Unfortunately, my income was down significantly too. I need to investigate whether the amount of tax I'm paying is correct, as the amount of deductions off my last paycheque were higher that I expected.

Savings Rate: 31.8%

I have room to make additional savings on my groceries expenses, but efforts now need to be made in increasing that income figure.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

March's figures

Expenses:
Books £0.99
Clothes: £16.25
Coffee shop £26.85
Eating out £30.74
Cinema/Netflix: £5.99
Groceries £63.69
Lunches: £7.44
Other £62.32
Phone £22.00
Postage £4.96
Presents £94.06
Pub-alcohol £27.95
Rent + Bills: £600.00
Travel £96.95
Total: £1060.19

Income:
Salary: £1536.26
Sales: £7.84
Total: £1544.10

Savings Rate: 31.3%

This savings rate is near identical to the previous month's, despite the shifting within the different budget categories. I believe that my salary is lower than it should be at present, due to incorrect tax deductions. I estimate the actual savings would be around 40% once that has been corrected. The good news is, I'll be able to reclaim the excess tax deductions so these missing savings will still go into the pot in time.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

I have run the expense report for April, but have yet to calculate the actual savings rate (the numbers are additionally complicated because of having work expenses to remove from the calculations). But I approach April's calculation with that general guilt of someone who knows he hasn't quite done his best. This month has been unusually unusual, because of having significant family commitments to attend to, pushing up my travel expenses very significantly. However, it seems for me that spending begets spending; getting into the cycle of flashing the card to deal with the very necessary issues makes it easier to do the same for essentially fripperies.

Let's see how I have faired:

April's figures

Expenses:
Books £21.66
Charity £1.00
Cinema/Netflix £33.99
Clothes £17.75
Coffee shops: £14.74
Eating out: £44.05
Evening classes: £50.00
Groceries £59.33
Holidays and Leisure: £120.90
Interest charges: £1.72
Other £19.00
Phone £22.00
Postage £1.19
Presents £16.20
Pub-alcohol £21.42
Rent + Bills: £600.00
Travel £301.79
Total: £1346.74


Income:
Salary: £1624.14
Sales: £1.39
Repayments: £520.82
Total: £2146.35

Savings rate: 37% (Includes a one-off repayment of money owed. Without this, we get a true savings rate of closer to 20%).

Things should be closer to normal in May. I need to make a strong effort to maintain the frugality habit - which I felt slipping away during April.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

I'm disappointed in my rate of progress during April. To help me focus in more in May, I have set myself the following goals. I'm used to setting goals for myself, but also used to forgetting them/changing them along the way. I am outlining them here, in the hope that a degree of public scrutiny will motivate me to complete them!

May goals
  • To achieve at least a 45% savings rate during May (I can't get above the magic 50% this month - with a weekend break planned with my SO).
    To complete my online data science course with a >70% mark.
    To complete the first draft of my project commitment.
    To build my network within the company's technical and analytics communities.
My longer term (three months) goals are to:
  • Increase savings rate to >50%
    Build a web database application.
    Declutter my life.
    Complete a C programming course.
    Move toward obtaining a developer role within my company.
    Complete my work on book project - with recognition of a job well done.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

It's been almost 6 month since I last posted. Looking at the longer-term goals I set out in that previous post, I'm struck by how little progress I've made against them. One personal "development area" (i..e massive failing) I've had since early childhood is my tendency to flit between interests - a sudden burst of enthusiasm for a new idea or interest, with all previous interests left to decay. Before starting another thing. And another. This pattern has limited greatly my progress - in my career, in my relationships, and in my learning.

In the last lost six months, I've taken a much less active role in managing my finances and have well and truly slipped off the ERE wagon.

In an attempt to reorientate myself, toward ERE and toward a healthier, more productive life, I've set out the following goals for November:

Health:
Drink no more than 2 pints in one sitting on one occassion in a week.
Eat a plant-strong wholefood vegetarian diet.
Cook from scratch.

Finances:
Limit total spending to £1100.

Contributions:
Complete and hand over book project.

Learning:
Read a book/week.

I aim to post here during the month, to keep myself focused on these goals.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

Things have progressed well over the last week. I have achieved the following:
  • 2 x very low cost shops from a budget supermarket, based almost entirely on fruit and veg, beans, and whole grains.
    I have cooked from scratch for every meal where I've been at home (not so easy at work, as I have to travel for my current project).
    Set up a FIRE spreadsheet based on the Akratic sheet. Now have an accurate picture of my savings rate, net worth, years to FI etc.
    Started reading "How to Find Freedom in an Unfree World".
I've also made a significant life decision /not/ to go for a job, which although I would dearly love to do it would have a serious negative financial impact. It's hard because I've applied, have an interview, and it's directly related to my greatest life passion. It would also mean returning to the cultural area of my childhood and, if there were children in the future, them being brought up within this culture. Instead, I'm seeing it as a prize for 10 years time (or less?), where I can do it from a position of financial independence.

I perhaps would have come to a different decision if DH were happy to move for the job. She's very close to her family and friends, and the job would have taken her 7 hours away. This for her is a red line, and we've had some unpleasant conversations as we've tried to work through this (the job would actually be potentially FIRE-friendly, because the living expenses are much less there, if we were both able to move and live in one place). The compromise we've achieved is I have free(r) rein to live frugally and save significantly more, while trying to build my career and salary over 10 years in the IT field. Then we look again at that in the future.

The challenge now is making this work with major expenses like a wedding, children, and an appetite from DH for private schooling....

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

November results

Expenses
Rent/bills 600
Entertainment 34.98
Food 129.35
Other 43.44
Presents 82.94
Social Life 154.64
Transport 106.43
Mobile 22
Total 1173.78

Earnings
Job 2577.38
Dividends 5.02
Repayments 20
Birthday 50
Total 2652.4

Savings rate 55.75%

Feel somewhat depressed about these numbers. I'm staggered at the size of the Social Life number, as I can barely remember doing any socialising this month. Part of that number are theatre tickets for January, as well as a wedding right at the beginning of the month. Even so, I am going to need to reduce this drastically, but December isn't the easiest of months for doing that!

My savings percentage is better than it should be, as my total earning this month included a tax rebate of about £800. Without that, it's closer to 35%. Social and transport are two clear areas where savings can be made. I also need to start identifying ways to increase my earnings - both through progressing in work, and building additional (hobby) income streams.

As it stands, the ERE spreadsheet is giving me a projected retirement age of 70. Not exactly ERE. In fact, horribly depressing.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

Goals for December

I'm going to attempt to frame my December goals according to the Balanced Scorecard lenses (inspired by C40's application of corporate tools to his ERE strategy).

Financial
Save 30% of income [a lower but realistic rate, considering Christmas]
Full emphasis and energy on lifestyle design for reducing or eliminating spending - and hopefully blowing that 30% out of the water.

"Business" Processes
Packed lunches at work
Homemade bread
Cook all meals at home [exception: one birthday meal]
Fix up bike and build confidence by cycling locally
Sell 10 CDs
16/8 fasting window

"Customers"
Reply to all work emails promptly (including evenings and weekends)
Build trust by always doing what I said I would do
Invest time in personal relationships, where I am fully present.
Complete book (writing, handling proof readers, typsetting)

Learning and Growth
Finish current fiction book
Finish Achievement Habit book
Read A Guide to the Good Life book
Become proficient in AWS system administration

Stretch goal: Cycle to work once this month.

And now, I need to relentlessly focus on these goals throughout December.

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

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ydobon »

Did you get a new job? Salary seems to have jumped quite a bit! :)

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

I did around a year ago. Unfortunately, last month was an anomaly - from a rather nice tax rebate. Back to normal this month.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

December results

Expenses
Rent/bills 600
Entertainment 12.38
Food 185.61
Other 48.76
Presents 235.18
Social Life 332.60
Transport 184.80
Mobile 17
Clothing 19.50
Total 1618.83

Earnings
Job 1717.34
Sales 4.99
Presents 55
Total 1777.33

Savings rate: 7.96%

Ouch. This has been a tough month where try as I might I've managed to pretty much consistently haemorrhage money. The numbers (and the month) speak for themselves - Christmas has taken its toll. The elevated food, presents, social life and transport figures all reflect increased Christmas-related expenses. I would say 50% of these expenses I do not begrudge at all, but that leaves a lot of room for improvement. Distressingly, comparing this to last year's numbers shows very little change. My aim to hit 30% savings for December now seems to be nothing but bluster.

On to January. I am taking part in the "Dry January" challenge, which should help me to seriously whittle down that "Social Life" figure.

thrifty++
Posts: 1093
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by thrifty++ »

I had a spendy December as well Ginger. Its that time of year I think. I think saving ANY money is a feat in and of itself.
I think last December was the first time I ever came out with savings rather than a deficit for the month. Since focussing on ere.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

January results

Expenses
Rent/bills 600
Entertainment 43.45
Food 127.52
Other 110.38
Presents 51.26
Social Life 93.83
Transport 194.48
Mobile 17
Clothing 0
Total 1,237.92

Earnings
Job 1717.34
Sales 12.21
Dividends 29.97
Total 1759.52

Savings rate: 29.64%

Here are my Jan figures, rather belatedly.

Good points: This is the largest proportion of my income I've ever received from dividends. Admittedly, the proportion is only 1.7% of income, or 3% of a very doable monthly expenditure of £1000, and admittedly, this isn't going to be consistent monthly dividend figure. But it has given me my first real taste of the power of dividends.

Bad points: The transport figure. The majority of this is work commuting, but it also includes petrol costs for a family visit. My work commute currently consists of a train journey from the suburban outer London train station into a more central station. I then either walk (40 minutes) or get the underground to much closer station. I think a quarter-third of the cost is due to these underground costs. Moving closer isn't feasible in the short term, unfortunately. I can either cycle the whole way (24 mile round trip) or replace the underground leg of the journey with cycling (8 mile round trip). Doing the part way cycle will make it much more easy in terms of clothing, as I can potentially gently cycle that in my work suit; the flip side is I would need to leave the bike outside in all weathers. And although the bike is reasonably old, people will steal anything in London.

Perhaps biting the bullet and trying to do the 24-miler is the way to go. Would be interested to hear your thoughts!

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

The need to reduce expenses much further has just been underlined by a request from my local council for a significant sum of money (we are talking tens of thousands) for repairs to the fabric of the building we live in. The house is owned by my partner. The repayment can be staggered over a number of years, but I was so shocked and angered that this is even possible. My already uninspiring savings rate is likely to be depressed to the point where I'm hitting the average person-on-the-street savings rate!

Initial thoughts are (a) selling up and paying off that amount of money with the capital gains from the property or (b) seeing if legal advice can identify any loop holes that mean we can reduce our exposure to this sum. In B -> A order actually.

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

February results

Expenses
Rent/bills 600
Entertainment 7.74
Food 139.36
Other 47.25
Presents 23.20
Social Life 97.64
Transport 151.00
Mobile 19.90
Clothing 20.79
Total 1,106.88

Earnings
Job 1717.34
Refunds 16.60
Sales 3.34
Total 1737.28

Savings rate: 36.29%

Slightly "defeat snatched from the jaws of victory" here, as I was days away from making my 40% savings rate goal for the month. Dentist, haircut and an evening out in the last few days pushed me over the edge.

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Egg
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:59 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Egg »

Hey Ginger1. Sounds like you're ticking along well. Having now read your journal from the beginning, it sounds like you're often a bit hard on yourself. I think you should be pleased with that level of expenditure in London to be honest. You're more frugal than I am across the board, with the one exception of mobile. I don't know what your set-up is, but I use EE, which is £10/m on PAYG. After a few "boosts" (free increases to your allowances every three months to reward loyalty) that gets me 2GB data, unlimited texts and about 200 minutes. I've had a very positive experience with them.

To be blunt, your income is a bit less inspiring considering location and industry, but I'll be the last to say that salary is everything (as you may remember from my journal, I'm expecting a similar, even slightly lower, salary than yours over the next couple of years). No prospect of getting into more lucrative work to stoke up the FI engines?

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

Thank you Egg. Appreciate the comments. As soon as my current mobile contract comes to an end, I'm going to move to PAYG. Yours certainly sounds like a good deal (especially as I often find myself running out of minutes and data with my current contract).

You're spot on about my salary. I moved out of the public sector and into industry (specifically, IT) with this express purpose (I also decided not to go back to university to do medicine - a decision which I'm still not sure was correct; it would have killed off any nearish-term ERE plans, but the pressures from every angle for a massive mortgage, holidays in the sun and privately educated children are likely to do the same, and at least I would have in time a healthy salary).

It's interesting that you also remarked that I'm somewhat hard on myself. One of the reasons I have felt perennially drawn to medicine is because of the (dubious) reason that it would bring a self-esteem boost. I think there are issues real issues here. Probably not the place to be exploring this, but something I think I need to sort out (I feel I have scraped the surface of some deep-seated pain, and am interested in my physiological response as I type this). I believe this might be a contributing factor to glass ceiling in my workplace success to date (and related compensation issues you mentioned).

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Egg
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:59 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Egg »

Ginger1 wrote:I also decided not to go back to university to do medicine - a decision which I'm still not sure was correct; it would have killed off any nearish-term ERE plans, but the pressures from every angle for a massive mortgage, holidays in the sun and privately educated children are likely to do the same, and at least I would have in time a healthy salary).
I actually considered going back to uni for medicine too, but I've since decided that was just a folly. It's a long course and a lot of training for something you may or may not ultimately enjoy. I'm all for people following their passions, but in my case it was a bit of an idle daydream - only you know whether your interest is something deeper.
Ginger1 wrote:One of the reasons I have felt perennially drawn to medicine is because of the (dubious) reason that it would bring a self-esteem boost.
I can sympathise with this. The status of being a doctor is part of what appealed to me too, but it's not a sufficiently good reason to go into a profession, as you implicitly acknowledge.

You're right that you can't fix self-esteem by discussing it on an internet forum, but you're not alone. Self-esteem is something I struggle with too in some respects. Not professionally - for whatever reason I'm pretty confident of my work abilities. For me, it's mostly played out in my romantic relationships. I am insecure about them, which in itself goes a long way to explaining why I'm rubbish at holding down long term relationships, and when I'm not in one (e.g. now) I feel the need to be promiscuous to appease my own ego. Good luck with it - let me know if you have any revelations!

Ginger1
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:22 am

Re: Ginger1's Journal

Post by Ginger1 »

It's been a long while. I feel like I'm stumbling bleary eyed back into the light and sanity of ERE after a long trip into the land of excess. I have kept a careful track of my finances throughout, and will be publishing the results shortly. They won't be good, as they include a number of large wedding expenses, honeymoon expenses (3 weeks in North America) and an impromptu weekend trip to visit my parents in France. Things are going to be rough for a month or two yet.

I know too that, once this period has settled down, the next wave will be immediately upon me - the pressure to substantially increase the mortgage and then children. Feel very sad about all of this and not sure what the solution is.

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