Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:30 am

Well, it looks like it is time for the first monthly summary of 2018!

January 2018


Ledger

Name - Cost - Date

Misc - 0.52 - 4/1/18
Book - 1.83 - 4/1/18
Food - 5.37 - 05/01/2018
Jeans - 6.8 - 15/1/18
Food - 7.14 - 17/1/18
Book - 10.77 - 28/01/18
Food - 4.4 - 29/01/18

Total (£) - 36.83

Overall, a solid month to start the year. I wasn't tempted by any of the January sales, and again bought the jeans through eBay. They do look like something out of a 70s music video parody, but they're only for work anyway :lol: Food costs were low, and I was particularly impressed by some of the meals (still all vegetarian) this month. One of the books was expensive, however I hope to sell this on eBay once I have read it, so it is not an entirely 'sunk' cost.

Investments

Quite a large amount of activity this month.

After taking sometime to think about it, I decided that I was not comfortable with the level of risk in cryptocurrencies, and so I sold the majority of my holdings. Luckily I done this before 'Black Tuesday', when cryptocurrencies across the board lost a lot of value. Roughly, my entire cryptocurrency holdings were worth around £6000 at the time (from an initial investment of £1800) and I sold £3906.7p worth of coins. I kept what was then worth around £2,000 worth of various coins invested.

Using the £3906.7p (plus regular income), I made contributions of £3061.82p into my standard ISA, and £335.21 into my LISA. Using the remaining proceeds from the crypto cash, I made a £1576.50 subscription into a new IFISA (Innovative Finance ISA).

I'll let Google define the IFISA:

"An innovative finance ISA (IFISA) lets you use your tax free ISA allowance while investing in peer to peer (P2P) lending"

The platform I am using offers loans promising a variety of rates of return, but they generally range from 7-11%. My own expected rate of return is 10.75%.

I have decided to make this new investment because: 1) It offers a very good rate of return
2) It offers an element of diversification
3) I find finance and investing very interesting generally, and making this new investment gives
me a chance to experiment with a different area of it

For the purposes of documenting it here, I will calculate the value of the IFISA as: the initial investment + the projected rate of return - the 1% fee taken by the platform.

Overall, the total value of my combined ISAs is therefore (as of writing): £15,780.91p

Speculation

My remaining crypto coins have a current combined worth of: £908.63p. Down from around £2000 before the slide this month :shock:

Alltogether, the total value of my normal and speculative investments, plus my safety fund (£300) is £16,989.54p

Focuses for February

My course is back under way. That and work take up most of my time, however I am finding the course enjoyable, so it's not so bad. I do have some time to read, and I'm just finishing up Edmund Burke's 'Reflections on the Revolution in France' and some of his other writings. Really enjoyed them, in fact some of the greatest writing I have ever read. I highly recommend.

Also been reading 'De Officiis' by Cicero. A great read if you're interested in a virtuous life, stoicism, ancient philosophies, etc.

Well, that's about it. See you all soon!

Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:22 pm

Well, it looks like it's time for another update!

February 2018 Summary


Ledger

Name - Cost - Date

Event - 27.65 - 1/2/18
Dentist - 35.7 - 4/2/18
Food - 9.12 - 12/02/2018
Stationary - 11.37 - 12/02/18
Book - 10.99 - 12/02/18
Shoes - 37.9 - 16/02/18
Food - 18.49 - 21/02/18
Book - 3.74 - 22/02/18
Phone - 107.48 - 25/02/18

Total (£) - 262.44

Hmmm :shock: :lol: . Unfortunately, a number of unexpected costs arose this month. Firstly, after a routine check-up the dentist recommended that I replace two fillings. NHS subsidised, but not completely fee.

Secondly, my beloved Adidas suede sneakers finally gave up the ghost after four years of faithful service. The toes quite literally came off. I sourced a new pair of Dr Martens from their clearance sale for £33.95 (including delivery, which, as compulsory purchases go, is a fairly good one, in my opinion.

Thirdly, my phone decided that it no longer wanted to barely work at all. It has had minor issues for a while, and I had planned to purchase a new handset when my current contract finished in August. I bought a refurbished model through eBay, and so far (I've only been using it for a couple of days) I'm sufficiently happy with it. Still stuck on my £32 p/m contract until August however! :x

Of course there was the stationary cost also, which is a part and parcel of my diploma, so not much to complain about that.

As for the other purchases, the event cost isn't a necessary one, however, it is to hear a particular speaker in Oxford who I have wished to see for ages, so I'm not so concerned about that. One of the food costs was very high by my past standards, however I wanted to experiment with cooking some Japanese cuisine, and some of the speciality ingredients cost a little more. Also, in the future, I plan to incorporate some sort of fish into at least a third of my cooking (for health reasons), and so therefore my costs could slightly rise. I've set a budget of £30 p/m, which I believe to be reasonable. Book costs were maybe somewhat high, but if you are spending money on anything, I don't think books are a bad bet :) .

More positively, I did work a few extra shifts this month, meaning that will have absorbed the extra expenditure (and left me a little left over, according to my maybe-dodgy calculations :lol: ). I'm guided by my (probably not mine originally, but oh well) concept of 'revenue-neutral' spending. This is inspired by the revenue neutral bills I understand are used fairly frequently in U.S politics, whereby any new bill which proposes additional govt' spending has to make sure that it does not increase the U.S debt level. Therefore, applying this to my own case, any extra expenditures I plan to make I try to cover with either additional revenue (through working extra shifts, selling old goods, etc) or cutting my original spending. Hope that makes sense :lol: .

Investments

A very boring month compared to January. A total contribution of £904.50p into my various ISAs this month. Of this £520.14p into the standard ISA, £326.57p into my LISA and £57.79p into my IFISA. Overall, the combined current value of my ISAs is (as of writing) £16,511.51p.

Speculation

After hitting some real lows last month, the crypto market has recovered a little. Also, for full clarity, I've added a very small holding of Bitcoin to my crypto coin portfolio. I have held these for a while, but I did not include them in the overall portfolio as they were designated to a charitable donation I will be making in the future. However, given the recent falls, I shall be making a cash donation instead, hence the inclusion of the coins now in my portfolio. Also, I've had some issues getting a valuation for one of my coins, so this will be a part guesstimate. Overall, the total value of my remaining coins is (as of writing) £1,300.

Therfore. the total value of my combined normal and speculative investments, plus my safety fund is £18,111.51p Of course, my crypto amount is as of now a guesstimate, and in turn this figure might not be entirely accurate, but it should be close enough.

Focuses for March

I plan to reward myself with a holiday at the end of this diploma, and so have decided to not make any ISA contributions (other than into my LISA) this month, saving cash instead. I'm not entirely sure where I would like to go yet. Maybe Iran, I've always found Persian history quite interesting. Not much else really. I read a few different investment books this month, including 'The Complete Guide to Property Investment' by Rob Dix and 'Forex for Beginners' by Anna Coulling. Both good books, and have definitely given me some new ideas regarding investing. One of these especially being the power of leverage, which I might have to utilise myself if I'm ever to achieve FIRE! :lol:. Also, my current Stoic reading text is 'De finibus bonorum et malorum', again by Cicero. So far in, I prefer it to De Officiis'.

Alas, that's about it. Seeya soon!

JeanPaul
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:15 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by JeanPaul » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:48 pm

Impressive reduction of expenses from the beginning to now!

Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:46 am

JeanPaul wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:48 pm
Thanks man, I just had a flick through your journal, pretty much where I would like to be in 10 years!

Anyway, time for another monthly summary.

March 2018 Summary


Ledger

Name - Cost - Date

Food - 7.09 - 5/3/18
Mother's Day - 12.78 - 11/3/18
Book - 2.4 - 14/03/18
Food - 7.98 - 15/03/18
Food - 9.63 - 25/03/18
Food - 5.83 - 30/03/18

Total (£) - 45.71

Overall, a much better month compared to the previous one. I managed to avoid any unnecessary spending, so that is good. My food costs were a little over the £30 monthly budget I set myself, however I had to cook some extra meals this month due to my parents going on holiday (and therefore not being able to cook dinner for me - I have it hard, I know :lol: ) Also, I quickly decided that incorporating more fish into my diet was not required, and therefore it is back to vegetarian/vegan meals. I'm pretty much a fully fledged vegan/vegetarian now, apart from the odd bit of milk, honey or cheese and when my parents cook meat. I really enjoy it. It's cheap and I am the feeling healthier than ever before.

Note: I did begin to make some holiday purchases this month (flight, accommodation, etc), however I have decided to keep this in a separate 'holiday ledger' in order so I can better track the expenses. Once my holiday has come and gone, and all related expenses have been accounted for, I shall include it in the journal (otherwise I'd be cheating! ;))

Investments

As stated in the previous month's entry, I was saving towards my holiday this month. Therefore, the money that would usually have been allocated into investments has instead been transferred to my safety cash fund. Consequently, the only investment this month was into my LISA of £323.98. Overall, the combined current value of my ISAs is: £16227.82p.

Speculation

Well, after regaining a little in the previous month, in this month the crypto market fell to new lows. I am really glad that I was lucky enough to have sold the bulk of my crypto investments when the market was high, meaning that I can view the current downturn with a certain sense of equanimity (although it never feels nice to lose money, even if the losses are unrealised!) I was able to sort out the valuation issues, and so the following figure is correct, to the best of my knowledge. Overall, the total value of my crypto portfolio is (as of writing) £602.

Therefore, the total value of combined normal and speculative investments, plus my (now increased from £300 to 1228.81p) safety cash fund is £18058.63p.

Focuses for April

As mentioned above, I have started purchasing holiday-related items. I have decided to go for two weeks in Greece, travelling throughout the country to visit all of the ancient ruins and museums. I'm already a little excited, but I'm trying not to go into over-planning mode as I still have the diploma to focus on. Not much else really. I have been reading the complete works of John Milton, and I've enjoyed them so far. Poetry has always alluded me slightly, but I've got on better with these works. Anyway, that's about it. Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you all soon.

Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Tue May 01, 2018 10:18 am

Monthly summary time!

April 2018 Summary

Ledger

Note: From this month, I shall be recording a sum in my ledger under the term 'Recurring expenses'. This is a total sum for all of my expenses that occur monthly (eg. Rent, phone bill, etc). I have decided to include this in my monthly journal in the hope that it provides a better reflection of my overall expenses.

Name - Cost (£) - Date

Recurring exp - 183.6 - n/a
Book - 9.49 - 3/4/18
Food - 11.13 - 6/4/18
Book - 5.56 - 14/04/18
Food - 9.36 - 18/04/18

Total (£) 219.14

All in all, a good month. My monthly food costs are trending upwards, however. I had begun to feel very lethargic at work, and so I done some research into how I could rectify this through some dietary changes. In particular, I read an online summary of the book 'How not to die' by Dr Michael Greger (I will read the actual book eventually!). My diet was already very close to this one, but I expect I will be buying some additional foods. Overall, if I can keep within a budget of £40 p/m, I will be happy.

Book buying is again a sin, but a sin I can live with. Food, books, exercise, etc play a huge role in my life, and contribute massively to my happiness. As long as the spending in these categories does not become too substantial (and I don't expect it ever will do - I'm a very slow reader for one!), it is money I am willing to part with. A part of my desire for FI is that it would give me a greater capacity to enjoy the things above. If the pursuit of FI ever meant having to give up on said things in the present, for me, it would not be worth it.

Investments

After a very dry March, we had a lot more activity in April. Firstly, I have decided to close my IFISA. (Yes, the one I opened only a few months ago :roll: ) Although in my defence, I rushed into opening the IFISA, so therefore I shall view closing it as rectifying a past mistake ;) . Anyway, the total amount received on closing my IFISA was £1678.28p. This was from a total contributions into the IFISA of £1710.62. So my mistake cost me £32.34p. Obviously not great, but I believe there was the potential for a far greater loss, so it is a loss I shall bear.

In terms of my other ISAs, this month I made a total contribution of £2555.82 (mostly funded using the IFISA withdrawal amount). Of this, £1889.16p went into the standard ISA, and £666.66p into the LISA. Also, the govt' paid into my LISA the £1000 bonus due for the 2017/2018 tax year, which has given a nice little boost to my net worth. Overall, the combined current value of my ISAs is (as of writing) £18532.51p.

Detracting the amount that was essentially transferred from my IFISA to my other ISAs, my savings rate for April was 89.68%.

Speculation

The crypto market rebounded a little in April, resulting in a current combined value for my crypto coins of (as of writing) 934.04p

Therefore, the total combined value of my normal and speculative investments, plus my safety fund (which includes cash destined for holiday spending, but which I shall include in my total net worth until it is spent) is £20465.63. Hey, how about that! We're broken the £20k barrier. Maybe my prediction of £30k for the end of 2018 is not so unfeasible. Also, if Bitcoin really does go to £1000000000000 per coin (as so many youtube comments reliably state) I might achieve FI 14 years early! ;)

Focuses for May

Final two months of my diploma :shock: . I just submitted my coursework assignment yesterday, and, fate permitting, I will achieve a good enough grade that I do not have to edit and resubmit it. Now it is time for massive preparation for the exam in early July. My normal reading this month was Berkshire Hathaway's shareholder letters from 1965-2016 (all collated in a kindle eBook) . I have really enjoyed them, and I'd recommend to anyone who is interested in business/investing. Anyways, not much else. Thanks for reading, see y'all soon.

Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:31 am

Monthly summary time!

May 2018 Summary

Ledger

Name - Cost (£) - Date

Recurring exp - 183.6 - n/a
Food - 11.52 - 1/5/18
Food (Flaxseeds) - 10.87 - 1/5/18
Book - 6.64 - 02/05/18
Book - 2.99 - 10/05/18
Food (Vitamins) - 13.95 - 11/05/18
Food - 8.13 - 14/05/18
Food - 14.08 - 22/05/18
Diploma - 6.75 - 24/05/18
Food - 0.75 - 29/05/18

Total (£) - 259.28

A little more of an expensive month, compared to so far in 2018. After reading 'How Not to Die', I've decided to add a couple things to my diet (flaxseeds and vitamins), but as I have bought these two things in quite large quantities I should be good for a few months now. My standard food costs were higher than I would have ideally liked, however speciality ingredients (miso paste this time) once again bumped up costs. However, if my calculations are correct, the total cost of the flaxseeds and vitamins together should work out at around £6.39 p/m. Adding this to my standard food costs this month of £34.48, the total figure (£40.87) still came below my upper limit of £45 p/m. So overall, not too shabby.

Book costs were fairly low. This was helped by re-reading a couple of books this month, those being 'ERE' and 'How I found freedom in an unfree world'. The only other cost was the diploma one, which is actually the train ticket to get to the location of my exam in July (very close now! :shock: ).

Investments:

Another boring month :lol:. In total, I contributed £707.22 into my ISAs this month. Of this, £396.39 went into the standard ISA, and £333.33 into the LISA. Overall, the current combined value of my ISA is (as of writing) £19,991.58.

Speculation:

The crypto market most resembles a bouncy ball, in that depending on how hard it hits a floor, it correspondingly bounces even higher, before inevitably dropping once again. At the moment it is dropping, and the current combined value of my crypto coins is (as of writing) £856.48

Therefore, the total combined value of my normal and speculative investments, plus my safety fund is (as of writing) £21.963.95

Note: I contributed an extra £100 to my safety fund this month. The safety fund itself is made up of money designated for holiday expenses - only a couple of months now! - and a standard fund for emergencies/larger expenses).

My savings rate for May was 83.69%. I'm not sure how relevant the SR statistic is for my situation, due to the fact that I don't have to pay for many essential costs (accommodation, etc) as I live at home. Ah well, it's there.

Focuses for June

The final month before my final exam, so June will be a month of mostly revising, revising and revising :lol: . In all honesty, I've been pretty much devoting all my time to studying since I started the diploma (All the way back in September! :shock: ) so I'm mostly just continuing that trend. I can't wait to finish though, and, fate permitting, I will get the grade required.

My normal reading for May was, as stated above, re-reading 'ERE' and 'How I found freedom in an unfree world'. I particularly enjoyed the opening in ERE, where Jacob compares the current state of things to Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave'. I've read other things in the past where the this allegory is used as an explanation for the topic being discussed, but none have been as fitting as the one in ERE.

I really enjoyed 'How I found freedom freedom in an unfree world' also. One issue I tend to find with this book is that I find that it somewhat overstates the efficiency of an individual's own hedonic calculus. Also, I find that sometimes the book strays too far into moral relativism territory, although that is largely a personal criticism. Overall, the message of the book, that you should: - think independently; - not expect to be able to control or even influence externals; and - be conscious that you use your time in a way that does not bring you too much dissatisfaction; is a good one.

Anyway, that's about it. See y'all later.

Sabaka
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Freedom through Frugality: Sabaka's Journal

Post by Sabaka » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:14 pm

Hi everyone, update for June!

June 2018 Summary

Name - Cost (£) - Date

Recurring exp - 183.6 - n/a
Food - 10.96 - 6/6/18
Book - 0.99 - 8/6/18
Father's day - 19.46 - 09/06/18
Donation - 50 - 09/06/18
Book - 12.7 - 17/06/18
Food - 11 - 18/06/18
Present - 17.82 - 26/06/18
Book - 6.94 - 26/06/18

Total (£) - 313.47

A much more expensive month as compared to the rest of 2018, which isn't great. However, much of the increase was due to the donation and
fathers day/present cost, so I can at least take some comfort that I'm not spending much more money on myself! :lol: I've made less meals this month due to time constraints, so whilst the overall food cost is low it is likely to be an anomaly when compared to future months.

In other very good news, my expensive (£33 p/m) 2 year phone contract has finally ended! :P I have switched to a new sim which offers similar benefits for the princely sum of £7.50 p/m. Additionally, this sim is a 1 month rolling-contract. One thing I've discovered since I started pursuing FIRE is that I really dislike being tied down with anything long-term, especially when there is money involved!

That's about it. Hopefully next month will be a cheaper spending month.

Investments

A second boring month in a row, which is a record for me :lol: . In total, I contributed £599.05. Of this, £569.04 went into my standard ISA, and £30.01 into my LISA. Additionally, I have £330.00 sitting in my current account waiting to be contributed to my LISA. The reason I have not put this in yet is because I am changing my method of contribution to direct debit and the first of these is set for July.

I have also changed the asset allocation of both my standard ISA and LISA. I have moved the entire ISA into a Vanguard total stock index fund, and the LISA into 80% bond index funds, 20% property index funds. The reason for the standard ISA asset allocation is purely simplicity. The reason for the LISA's new conservative asset allocation is that I intend to withdraw this money within 5-6 years to purchase a property.

Overall, the total current combined value of my ISAs is (as of writing) £20,618.96

Speculation

The crypto market has crashed hard. The current total value of my crypto coins is (as of writing) £537.30.

Therefore, the total value of my normal and speculative investments, plus my safety fund is (as of writing) 22,259.69.

My savings rate for June was 60.4%. Due to my very low income, slight increases in spending decrease my savings rate substantially. This is something I'll have to keep in mind.

Focuses for July

My exam is in 4 days! I'm very nervous, but I feel I've done a great deal of preparation, so I hope I do well. After my exam, I'm going back to full-time hours at work, and so my savings rate should improve (I'm hoping for plus 90%!). Until mid-August I'll be concentrating on doing the necessary things to find a new job. I'll then be on holiday and that's when I'll receive my results! Fate permitting, I'll get the diploma and then I can start applying for new jobs. If not, I'll have to go back to the drawing board and reconsider a lot of things.

I've read a few different books this month. 'Man's search for meaning' by Dr Viktor Frankl, 'Common sense investing' by John Bogle, and I'm currently reading 'Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar'. All of these are great, I'd highly recommend.

Anyway, that's about it, see everyone soon!

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