Oh what a May…. May ’17 income and expenses

I think the title says it all. This month has been simply epic on many sides. Why am I doing this post slightly earlier than normal? Well my pay has gone in, and I restart my calculations on the 28th, and I am not going anywhere today nor spend any more money so I can be 100% confident in the numbers.

Firstly, I should clarify a little on how this months numbers have been reached. Back in March I paid up for all of the ski holiday costs, and took the hit on my savings rate – declaring the expense as “Holiday”. This month, some of the guys transferred the money back to me to pay for their share. Normally I would just shove this into savings or off the mortgage and not count it (I already took the “hit” back in March) however this month it all got spent. Ok not in the same category, but still spent. On entertainment. Ok, mostly alcohol!

I’ll be honest, it was GREAT fun! Yes folks that’s right – I spent money and I enjoyed it. I won’t be doing it again at that rate for a while that’s for sure. Would it have knocked maybe a month of my retirement date? Quite possibly, but it is the journey as much and I wouldn’t change the experiences I had this month.

I am sure some may say that this makes my numbers wrong as I have not counted this extra income, but for me that would be double counting – so it stays as it is, if you don’t like it, tough – go and pour yourself a drink and mellow out 🙂

So what was it I got up to this month that caused my spending to get out of control? I will make you read through and see before you get to the numbers (unless of course you quickly scroll through the next bit!).


So the month started out as it was clearly going to go on. Down to Twickenham for a rugby match – the 100th Army vs. Navy. I knew this was going to be a heavy one (it usually is!) and this proved to be the case. Trust the British to be in the pub before 10am and drinking. We got there a bit after 10am, and the queue to the bar was already about 3 deep and it felt like 10pm on a Friday night it was so busy. After a few drinks in the pub, we headed off to Twickenham to erm… drink more. We got to see the rugby whilst…. still drinking (I love the fact you can still take beer in!). At half time Prince Harry was there to talk abut the Invictus games (a great thing IMO) which was fun and I really do take my hat off to those guys. After the match… yup you guessed it, back to drinking! Heading back into town after the game and the beer serving stopped… to a pub of course.

Unfortunately we stayed in the pub a little too long which meant we missed the last train home which added to the expense with a taxi back.

Most definitely not an FI day but a great day. You could easily do it cheaper without drinking so much but it was fun, and I don’t regret a penny of it. This was all paid for out of the holiday funds that were transferred in.

Learning a new skill

So one of the additional unexpected costs this month was needing have a tuxedo. Wait – what?! Yup, I needed a tuxedo as we were invited to the World Premier of a film this month – red carpet, celebrities (apparently, I didn’t recognise any, but then I wouldn’t!) and all that gubbins. I actually ended up buying one rather than renting as the cost wasn’t that much more and means I now have one for other events (it’s not the first time I needed one). I bought both a self tie and a pre-tied bow tie, and decided at my age it was time I learnt how to tie my own bow tie – which I can happily say I can now do.

The film itself was great, in fact the whole experience was great. The after party was held in a club which of course meant drinks were expensive once the free bar finished.  Add in a taxi there and back (we were both dressed to the 9’s as it were) made it an expensive evening out but great fun. Again this was all funded out of the holiday money!

New recipes

I also tried out 8 new recipes this month – mexican dishes, chinese dishes, thai dishes a real variety. Some of them I really liked and will make again, some I won’t bother with – but that is part of the fun! The great side of this is that it wasn’t that expensive, and was actually fairly healthy with lots of veg as well.

Majestic had a special offer…

Ooops. I knew it was a bad idea to go to the local Majestic – a very dangerous place! I didn’t *need* to restock as I still have plenty of wine in, but…. well. Yes. 25% off Champagne and 10% off all wine. Now I was at least reasonably restrained on the Champagne but it is always good to have some in for emergency 🙂 The wine I admit I probably got a little carried away with, but the money from the ski trip helps make this look not quite as bad as it really was! Again, a large chunk of this came out of the holiday funds.

Other bits

There were also a few days and evenings out which added to the expense of May, which is why I find myself typing this (helped by a glass of wine) and feeling absolutely shattered – maybe the wine last night at the FI London meetup in the park slowed me down a little?

The extra cash from the holiday money also covered this quarters big shop, as well as a meal and other drinks out.


So as always I had my steady salary drop into my bank account, always nice, and it’s stabalising at a higher amount now that I have finished paying a previous years tax back.  I don’t include any of my personal ISA dividends in my income statement, that is just part of the growth of those portfolios. The income thrown off by my other half is included, however this is an incredibly small amount at present (less than 1% of income) so it is more of a statistical error! Having said that, her ISA threw out it’s highest ever amount, and a huge increase on last year  which is great, it’s starting to get close to being a significant benefit now. Needless to say this is going straight off the mortgage!

So, steady as she goes on income – very slowly creeping up but for the first time it feels like I am really making progress.


Ok, so it was an expensive month. A very expensive month. With the exception of last November, probably the most expensive month I have had since starting this blog. The only reason I was able to keep the Go T’ Pub ISA at the full £1,100 was the fact that I got the holiday cash back, I raided my Cash Flow Fund, and I have even borrowed a little from June’s savings funds. I need to be very careful in June. I know Rory from UK Doctor On Fire (and I am sure others) was keen to know the actual numbers, however I am not willing to share them in public. For now, you will have to continue to put up with just the percentages but hopefully that will still help people!

Item Notes Amount
Things I choose not to avoid* Mortgage, Insurance, shared bills etc. – yes, we could move somewhere cheaper, not have insurance, reduce our bills a bit and so on, but we are where we are. 41%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 2%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 9%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 0%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 2%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 4%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 2%
Holidays Any spending related to holidays, flights etc. 0%
Savings Anything left over! This includes money into ISAs, mortgage payments and non relief pension contributions. My company pension comes out before it hits my bank account so isn’t included, nor do I include the “top up” of money when my money goes into my personal pension (i.e. I put in £100, I register it as £100, not the £125 that gets credited in my pension) 40%

The “Stuff I do nothing about” category is down 1% due to my new income and slightly lower travel costs this month with a couple of bank holidays – lets see if it stays that way next month.

My savings rate is actually just under 40% – it is the rounding that makes it 40%, so I would declare me as meeting my goal, but not my stretch. Had I not received the cash for the holiday then this would have made life very interesting given the expenses – I would have had to raid my Rainy Day Fund.

It does give me a real hope that I can potentially get up to 45% savings rate on a quiet month (I think I do have those from time to time!), and fills me with confidence for the year(s) ahead.

How was your May? Have you been enjoying the weather and making the most of life?

* This covers a number of things that I would class as essential for me. Yes, I could move to somewhere cheaper to reduce the mortgage (which in turn would reduce the insurance I have to pay), yes I could reduce my bills by switching energy supplier etc. but it comes down to what I am happy with. There are a few other things in there that are classified as essential that others may object, and so I have just lumped it into there.


Author: fireinlondon

Fighting the high cost of living in London

8 thoughts on “Oh what a May…. May ’17 income and expenses”

  1. Nice one mate, looks like you’re enjoying life whilst containing to make headway with your goals. Something that’s so easily forgotten is enjoying the process and you’re demonstrating how to do it, in London out of all places.

    And good on you for learning how to bow tie! You should teach me sometime.


    1. Hi Rory,

      Thanks for dropping by again – I hope the shifts aren’t being too painful!

      It is a careful balance to tread to financial independence – enjoy life at present and save for the future. I am hoping the Go T’ Pub ISA will really help me there giving me some cash to enjoy life and still save a large chunk of my salary.

      Yes – it took a little while but there are quite a lot of YouTube videos that show you how to do it. I spent a while practicing and found it easier in front of a mirror, but it’s a trick I now know how to do – and meant I could do the James Bond look at the end of the evening!



  2. 40% is an amazing savings rate! It looks like the expenses have gone up for this month, but you’ve been great at saving too! It’s great you got to try out 8 new recipes. I hope they all turned out delicious!


    1. Hi Ms. Frugal Asian Finance,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! I have to say I am very pleased with it, but I know I spent too much but I was saved by the holiday money coming back in.

      I do enjoy the new recipes and I have loads of cook books as I use it as a way to turn off (one reason losing weight is so hard!) – some were very good some were shall I say not, but I always leave a comment in the book after so I know in future!



  3. That’s a fantastic savings rate. I also really like the % focus vs. actual dollars. In the end it doesn’t matter what the numbers are, it’s your savings rate. I think way more people would be willing to do this as well as it feels less revealing.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Buck,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad you like the % rather than actuals – it does keep it a little more annonymous but as you say, it is all about the savings rate!



  4. “Yes folks that’s right – I spent money and I enjoyed it.”

    Haha, love it! 🙂 Striving for FI is all about balance – save/invest some, spend some and enjoy life at the same time.

    The weekend before I started the new job, I had to shop for some new work clothes, having pretty much ‘shunned’ clothes shopping for the past few years.

    I too spent money and enjoyed it, although in the back of my mind, I was reminded of how easy it is to spend, especially when everything is put on a credit card.

    Your rugby outing sounds like it was a great laugh. The last time I attended something similar was an outing to Wembley some years back. As we were travelling down by train, beers were cracked open around 10am but I did make it back home as planned on the last train!

    Am very impressed with your new recipes learned. I need to do something similar but recall that I struggled to do even 1 per month the last time I tried, haha!

    Anyway, despite your spending money and enjoying yourself, you still had an amazing savings rate – well done!


    1. Hi Weenie,

      Glad you liked it 🙂 It occurred to me so much is posted about being frugal and not spending, that sometimes you can forget it can be fun as well! Not something I would do all the time, but…

      Glad you enjoyed the shopping for new work atire, but yes, with credit card it is very easy to just spend money without thinking or realising how fast you are spending

      Haha well done on making it back on the last train, for us the time just flew past, but so be it, at least I am close enough to town that a taxi isn’t too bad to get home.

      Yes – I was pleased with that, and a couple I will do again in the future (the Chicken Katzu Curry was delicious!), but a number just weren’t that great, but at least I know! The problem is it is very easy to just do what you know so doing more than no new recipes is good!

      Thanks – yes really chuffed with the savings rate, but it needs to be higher next month, I want to be properly at 40% not a rounding that got me there 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

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