Mar ’18 Income and Expenses

So March is over, and what a March. Snow, rain sun – everything! So how did this affect the spending and income? Do you really care or are you just enjoying gawking at what is spent? 🙂

Income

So the standard pay cheque went in – still deducting my companies share scheme which is painful but it is a long term bet so I won’t complain too loudly! I still seem to be draining my cash reserves whilst making sure that I keep the same amount going into ISAs. Another few months and the share scheme payments will cease going out and my pay should bounce back up.

To this day I still have no idea how much pay I will have in my pay cheque in April. The plus side is I got (yet another) Tax Code in the post. This is once again a different one to any I have had before so maybe I should take a bet on how long before my next Tax Code arrives….

The income from my other half’s ISA is also continuing to go up so further extra cash. It’s been a long wait to see it get to this level but it is starting become very valuable.

Expenses

So – what do the finances look like?

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. 37%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 2%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 3%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 2%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 2%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 1%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 1%
Holidays Any spending related to holidays, flights etc. 5%
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) 47%

So a little extra on holidays – a friend is getting married so booked some of the bits we will need for that, but something to look forward to.

Overall things I do nothing about is dropping slightly which is good too. Not at all a bad month – my highest ever savings rate. 47%! I really am amazingly pleased with that rate – so close to 50% I want to keep pushing. My 12 month rolling average savings rate is also creeping up to 40% so I am starting to believe I may yet make this happen!

I also did some money moving around – more into my other half’s ISA, and some extra into the Go T’ Pub ISA to make the most of the allowances that I can. This continues to hammer my cash reserves – I really do need to build these up as they are lower than I am comfortable with, especially as I am pushing up the money going into ISAs I no longer have the flex I used to.

Did you manage to keep control of your budget in March?

Update: As Quitting Teaching asked how my bills are so low – I do have a small confession. I am currently using up loads of John Lewis vouchers at Waitrose that I have been stockpiling for a while. I have done 2 huge shops for food this year of which I haven’t had to pay a penny for and so don’t show up…

Feb ’18 Income and Expenses

So February is a nice short month so in theory this should be a good month for me – the question is… was it?!

Income

So the standard pay cheque went in – still deducting my companies share scheme which is painful but it is a long term bet so I won’t complain! I double checked back to what my income was at the start of this tax year. Worryingly what I am pulling in now is about what it was back then. That means come April when (hopefully!)  my tax code sorts itself out again I will be a little better off, but certainly shouldn’t be worse off.

The challenge for me here is that I have upped the amount I put into my rainy day funds, as well as other savings so I am worried it will be tough.

It was confirmed that I have an approximate 3% pay rise this year, which will hit in my next pay (back dated as well!) so that should be nice.

The income from my other half’s ISA was also a slow month so not a great month all round.

Expenses

So – Christmas is now far behind us, so what did the month look like? Lets dig in….

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. 39%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 6%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 2%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 1%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 1%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 3%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 3%
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) 45%

So although I was really worried about just how much I spent on food for home (and still not quite sure on what), my feeling was that it was not the best of months all round. Having said that, it was still a good savings rate overall just not as high as I would like. The reduced income has caused problems and the only reason that I was able to keep the GTP ISA filling up was by digging into my Cash Flow Fund (CFF).

It is worrying me that not only am I not able to build up the CFF, I am starting to drain it – I can probably only afford one or two months more of this, and I have more than that to go. This means it is going to be tough as I want to increase the amount going into ISAs but that will be a big ask.

So the general stand out for me was “groceries”. I really do not know quite how I spent so much on food. Granted there were a couple of non “food” items in there but still. Seems I just spent a lot. Oh well. I know there were some instant M&S meals in there and some fresh market and butchers meat but…

Eating out was a bit expensive as we went out for a few meals but then I do like to have some life, so I am not going to complain at that.

So I am 5% short of hitting the magic 50% – so reduce the groceries a few percentage, remove the other and reduce the alcohol and I think I could hit it. Would I be happy though, I don’t know.

Either way, 45% I don’t think is to be sniffed at!

How was your February?

Jan ’18 Income and Expenses

So it feels like an age since my December pay cheque landed and January has felt very tight indeed – including finishing with 39p in my bank account! There was also some fallout from Christmas and before which hit, but I will go into more detail below.

Income

So my pay to cover January (and for the next 6 months) has taken a hit. My company has started a running of a Share scheme, which of course I have taken out as its pretty much a no brainer (although some currency risk). This means that I have taken a pay cut this month and through to May, reducing my income by approximately 8%. I have purposely not changed any of my direct debits to force my savings higher.

Whilst in theory this is great, it does make life very difficult in terms of cash to survive the month – my cash flow fund is getting hit and not going up which isn’t good.

Expenses

So this is going to be painful. The fallout from Christmas has now finished through the wash, and I have had to take a hit this month but it is now out in the balance.

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. 39%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 4%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 0%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 1%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 1%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 1%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 10%
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) 44%

So there we have it. Looking back and at just how low I managed to keep my standard spending which explains why I managed to keep the savings rate so high. I also doubled the funds going into my rainy day fund to help force the savings.

The reality is my Cash Flow Fund took a hit to keep my GTP ISA going up.

So, apart from keeping my alcohol and food bills to an absolute minimum (including making my own lunches, reducing my transport costs, the only thing that was a big hit was the Other category).

The Other category basically caught everything, and allowed me to balance out the residue from November / December. I’ve been back through all my receipts, visa bills and everything and I am still struggling to find out where this all came from. The whole 10% is basically stuff I am struggling to work out how I spent it as it seems that I have counted everything already. Visa bills match receipts, there are no errors or fraud on my account so there we go.

Oh well, a very tight start to the year and no savings benefit from it. The flip side is I made it, so hopefully February will mean that I can actually drive my savings up and have a little more of a life than I did in January, with only 1 day out!

How was your January?

Dec ’17 Income and Expenses

So December finished early for me as I got paid before the Christmas break – great for Christmas, painful for January! The remnants from November hit as expected, however because of when I collected some of the food, some of the Christmas food will hit me in January rather than this month which makes it a little less painful in that sense. Ultimately I still have to pay for it though!

Income

So all steady on the western front here. Same old salary dropped in and a reasonable income from my other half’s ISA. Steady as she goes. Really isn’t anything more to say about this given my lack of other income streams.

Expenses

So, lets take a look at this, should be good for a giggle if nothing else!

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. 37%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 6%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 0%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 1%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 0%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 2%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 6%
Holidays Any spending related to holidays, flights etc. 6%
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) 42%

So there we have it. My general “don’t do anything about” stuff is steady helped by a reduced transport budget.

Alcohol, both at home and out was minuscule this month as it’s the festive season so a number of the evenings out were covered on expenses – what a nice result and some cheer! The rest was stuff I bought in previous sales etc.

Groceries were higher than normal, but it is the run up to Christmas.

Other was the catch from November so not unexpected.

Holidays – I booked a couple of nights in a hotel for a break and some rest, and did me the world of good. Unplanned but never mind.

Savings rate was an incredible 42% – I ran down some of my cash flow fund but my investments remain ongoing, and in fact I put a little extra into the GTP ISA (more on that in the update to come).

So overall I am really happy with the strong finish to the year!

How was your Christmas break, did you manage to keep control of things in December?!

Nov ’17 Income and Expenses

So November shot past, and I am sure this will not be the most accurate report (in fact I know there were some more expenses that I have not included here, but they will hit December when my Visa bill arrives…), but as always it is important to keep an eye on where the money comes and goes as much as possible!

Income

So another good income month, higher than usual as my tax code remained the same (I am dreading April next year when my tax code will change again!). Very handy drop into my account.

My other half’s ISA paid out again this month, even though this is a “slow” month for it (due to the nature of the portfolio, once a quarter there is a much smaller payment, but this is part of the diversification) it was still enough to make a small difference. I continue to use it to build some cash reserves (aka pay off the building work) and pay a little more down on the mortgage – it is all helping that end goal get a little closer.

Expenses

Right… let’s take a look underneath here! There will no doubt be things missing after what happened in November, but I expect this to come out of the wash in December with my credit card statement…. highlighting the risk that credit cards can cause if you are not careful…

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. 37%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 3%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 5%
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…. 4%
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) 45%

So, a somewhat unusual month all round. My “do nothing about” was much lower, this is a reflection of the increased income from my tax code change, but also that other areas were lower as I wasn’t in the physical office that much in November, so really drove down the cost. Not enough to make me think about cycling or similar, but there you go!

Food and drink this month was expensive – no real surprise there to be honest. I drank more than I should really, ate out a few times and bought expensive pre-made meals rather than anything else so all told not at all cheap, but under the circumstances, I think allowed!

The Other catch all bucket also took a bit of  hit with some taxis, parking fees and other random bits (I include my poppy donation in there as well rather than charity) but again, with the circumstances, not a surprise.

I am however staggered at my savings rate. I am really happy with a 45% although I know this is a false economy as I will take a few percentage point hits in December for things I missed. Regardless of this it means that money is still flowing into my pensions and ISAs helping to steadily build up that pot!

How was your November?