Wednesday, 30 December 2015

#13 To Do List For 2016

I've never been one for New Years resolutions but this year I'm going to put a little list of key things I want to achieve to keep me focused....

1) I will pay off all of the remaining credit card loan from the wedding. This totals over £7k at the moment. But with either bonus or redundancy pay plus putting all extra income towards it will clear this.

2) I will put up a fence in our front driveway / garden. We have quite a problem with d*ckhead neighbours and can be a bit of a drain on our happiness at times. Erecting a 6ft fence out the front to prevent them and anyone walking past from looking into our living room will be money well spent on quality of living. Expect to cost me approx £700 and a couple of long tiring weekends - which I'm genuinely looking forward too.

3) I'm going to start investing for the future. Living to a budget, paying off debt is all well and good but I also need a long term view to increasing my wealth. The earlier I start the more money I will make. Currently I plan to invest a little as a 30th birthday present to myself - at the expense of anything else. Once debt is paid off and we have more than a little extra cash in savings I will put more time and money into this. But expect that to be in 2017.

4) rather contrary to 1 and 3, I will take my family on a holiday abroad in 2016. I have wonderful memories both as a child and pre-child romance with Mrs Money Interest and want to ensure that we put time and money towards this again - it has been 5 years since Mrs abroad. Cost will be kept to a minimum due to other priorities but this will still happen. 


Total Debt = £25,202   (Student Loan is £8,475; House loan is £9,527 ; Credit Card loan is £7,200)
Total Savings = £836

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

#12 Quidco Gambling Winnings Update

Total Debt = £25,202 (Student Loan is £8,475; House loan is £9,527 ; Credit Card loan is £7,200)
Total Savings = £836

A quick update on the Quidco Gambling approach. 

I have now deposited £87 into 9 different gambling companies with the intention on earning a profit via Quidco cashback through each company.

I have cashback 'tracked' via Quidco or on each company so am very confident any outstanding payments will be made.

Current received payments are £52.27.

Unexpected winnings are £18.31. I won this from a tenner I deposited into Sun Bingo.

Outstanding payments are £103.75.

So once these outstanding are paid my outgoings will have been £87 and return (including winnings) will be £174.33.

A profit of £87.33. Doubling the deposit.

I have identified 12 other companies offering higher cashback than deposit required, with plenty of profit remaining.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

#11 November '16 Summary

Total Debt = £25,202 (Student Loan is £8,475; House loan is £9,527 ; Credit Card loan is £7,200)
Total Savings = £836

Fixed spending was £80 less than budget, but this was because I only paid the minimum on Credit Card repayment rather than the budgeted usual £150. Due to previously discussed redundancy risk.

Variable spending was £1,167, which is £167 more than budget.

Although I'm disappointed to be over budget it was kept relatively low following a socially far busier than usual month.

Where was the overspend?

  1. £300+ on social. Including;
    • £50 on curry with friends
    • £75 on hotel for friends wedding
    • £80 for dinner with friends
    • £90 for day out go-karting and drinking for friends birthday
    • Food shopping was £34 over.

    Although over budget spend was still under income and so I was able to top up my savings by £336 - also in part due to a refund from my energy supplier.

    Plan for December is to keep to the budget. However, this is a tough month due to the Christmas season.

    Tuesday, 1 December 2015

    #10 Nothing Like Fear Of Redundancy To Focus The Mind

    Debt current stands @ £25,300  (Student Loan £8,000, Credit Card Loan £7,300, House Loan £10,000)

    Prioritising what to do with my money has, over the last couple of years been the thing I’ve struggled with most.

    I really want a house on a nicer street within our village.

    I really want a to be debt free.

    I really want to retire early.

    I really want to have lots of money invested.

    I really want to start enjoying our money by going on holidays again – it has been years.

    However, every now and then something happens which focuses the mind.

    My current situation is I am the bread winner for Mrs Money Interest and our two children. We have a mortgage of £190k - £800 per month. We have credit card debt of £7.3k. And yet we have savings of £500.

    So when I was told yesterday, or at least implied, that in April/May/June in 2016 I may get made redundant… it sharpened my mind and focus. What is really important now. What should I be prioritising right now.

    Currently the credit card debt is on a 0% interest deal, but this runs out in March.

    Up until now I have been happy with the £500 in savings and have prioritised paying off the Credit Card.

    Now I will change my focus. I’m going to;

              1) Look to extend the 0% interest on my credit card loan – in January.
    2) Put aside any extra money we have each month and add to my ‘rainy day’. The immediate aim is to have 1 month worth of costs (£2,600)
          3) At that point I’ll make a decision about whether to continue saving or return to paying as much off the debt as possible.

    The aim is to have a little more re-assurance if this or something else unexpected happened.

    In terms of my job, I have taken the decision to get as much out if in terms of experience as I can. Not get disappointed or angry. And remind myself if the time comes when I will be made redundant it’s an opportunity to take what I have learnt and probably go contracting to earn more money. But the real focus now is head down, keep learning and build up some savings.


    Mr Money Interest

    #9 Retirement

    Debt current stands @ £25,300  (Student Loan £8,000, Credit Card Loan £7,300, House Loan £10,000)  

    Probably the freezing cycle to work this morning in the dark has focused the mind... but my #1 aim is to retire as early as possible.

    This morning I've been running through calculations to see how soon I'll be able to reach that goal.

    Current spend (minus debt re-payment) is £2,200 per month, or £27,000 per year.

    A million pound would return the below annually:

    £10,000 based on 1% interest
    £20,000 with 2% interest
    £30,000 with 3% interest
    £40,000 with 4% interest

    This is the aim. 

    So how long is it roughly going to take?

    Based on current budget I should be saving £12,000 per year or £20,000 including bonus payments.

    With no compound interest or investments this'll take 83 years (exc bonus) or 50 years (inc bonus).

    We'll start wiith no bonus. So £1,000 per month saved

    @ 3% annual interest it would take 42 years to save £1,000,000. Enough to retire on.
    @ 4% annual interest = 37 years 
    @ 5% annual interest = 33 years

    Increase savings to £1,500 per month (including bonus payments) 

    @ 3% annual interest = 33 years
    @ 4% annual interest = 29 years
    @ 5% annual interest = 27 years

    The average savings rate over the last 20 years was 4%.

    So if I aim to save £20,000 a year (including bonus) and gain interest at a point better than average over the next 20 years I can expect to retire in 27 years, at the age of 57.

    Not really that great.

    This should focus the mind on improving the three levers I've used to generate this...

    1) Increase amount saved (although in reality I need to pay off debt and achieve any savings first)
    2) Decrease the amount spent
    3) Increase interest rate (through investments etc)

    I find I enjoy working through calculations such as this so much and the main purpose should be to sharpen the mind, focus and look for areas of improvement.

    #8 Earning a little extra via Quidco

    Debt current stands @ £25,300  (Student Loan £8,000, Credit Card Loan £7,300, House Loan £10,000)  

    I’m always interested in making little bits of money.

    Mrs Money Interest has recently started buying undervalued second hand children and baby items. She’s interested, knows the brands and spending time browsing to purchase for herself over since our little ones were born has given her a good knowledge of what things are worth. So her plan is identify the undervalued, purchase and sell on. It’s very early stages (3 items brought, 2 sold, profit of £30)  but I’m proud of her for her enthusiasm, and for making a little bit of money.

    So I wanted to do the same. What interests me? What knowledge do I have that could help me earn? Ideally what can I add value too?

    Now I haven’t got the answer I was looking for YET but I have stumbled across a relatively low risk way of earning small amounts of money through a relatively small amount of avenues.

    Quidco. A great cashback service through which you can earn money on items/services you purchase if first clicking through via the Quidco website.

    Gambling. The industry I work in.

    I’ve noticed that many gambling operators, so keen to bring in new customers, often offer incentives higher than I expected – often more than the minimum deposit requirement.

    Really this is because, and the data re-enforces this view, once a customer has created an account and deposited their hard earned cash they are likely to continue depositing/betting with them. Although not as sticky as a bank account or insurance company I’m sure the same rationale applies; inertia. It is easy to keep doing what you doing (betting with a company) than starting again (registering and depositing with a new company).

    So if you are prudent there is money to be made by registering and depositing with multiple betting companies and receiving this cashback.

    Let me give you an example – this is actually the only offer I have taken up so far. have an offer via Quidco which is ‘deposit and bet £2 and we will pay you £10 cashback’.

    This is  a return of 500%. It is sadly also a far higher % than any of the others I have identified.

    So what have I done?

    I have created a simple excel sheet to track the progress of this and any further deals I take advantage of, noting the below (brackets are my actuals)

    • The deal (deposit £2, cashback £10)
    • The date I registered (11.11.15)
    • My log in details (J)
    • Date I deposited (11.11.15)
    • Date I placed a qualifying bet (11.11.15)
    • Date that bet settled (13.11.15)
    • Date Quidco tracked my purchase (12.11.15)
    • Date Cashback Paid (tbc)

    • Potentially the cashback might not track or be paid… I have not had this happen before using Quidco but I am sure it is a risk
    • Not meeting the cashback criteria… some will have specific criteria to meet so must read the T+C carefully before spending any cash

    • Via Quidco and I have found 21 offers where cashback is greater than deposit. Total outlay required for all would equal £449 – return could be £687.52
    • There will be other, probably more, deals where you receive the same cashback as you are required to deposit. This scenario gives you the chance for a free bet and potential winnings, but I’m not pursuing this yet.

    These are the deals I have identified (in order of % ROI)…

    Lottoland             (deposit 2 and get 10 cashback)
    Sun Bingo            10/26.25
    Charity Bingo       5/11.02
    Clover Bingo        5/10.50
    Vernons Bingo    5/10.50
    Fabulous Bingo  10/20
    888 Poker            80/150
    Casinocom          50/78.75
    Mansion              50/78.75
    NetBet Sports    20/30
    Bright Bingo       10/15
    BGO Bingo          20/26.50
    Dream Bingo      20/26.50
    Roxy Palace        20/26.50
    Slotster                20/26.50
    Winner Casino   20/26
    Cupcake Bingo  37/45
    Mecca Bingo      10/12
    Super Casino     10/11.50
    Lucky 247           20/21

    I will update as to my progress and hopefully make a little extra to put towards paying off my debt.

    Other ideas I have which I’ll talk about in the future are an app around watching better films and selling cheese on toast.


    Mr Money Interest

    #7 Goals

    Have discussed how much debt I have and how I’m attempting to balance the books. However, we’ve not talked about my priorities and targets. A lot of which move daily but it’ll be good to put them down in a prioritised list to start with and update later when they become in reach.

    1. Create a budget - Complete
    2. Stick to the budget – In Progress, month 1 failed.
    3. Repay Credit Card debt  - target Q3 of 2016
    4. Repay Student Loan – target 2017
    5. Repay House Loan – due to end 2018

    Then the fun begins…

    6. Increase emergency cash fund from £500 to 6 months’ pay. Easy access Cash ISA or similar I expect.
    7. Holiday.  Mrs Money Interest and I have not been abroad for 5 years. Little Money Interests never have. Plan is to save up and reward paying off all that debt by going on holiday.
    8. Start and investment fund for Mrs Money Interest and I.
    9. Start a savings/investment plan for when Little Money Interests grow up – for wedding/uni/car. Money which is earmarked for this purpose but which remains in our control.
    10. Start a savings/investment plan to give to Litte Money Interests on hitting 18/21. Money which is not within our control at that age.
    11. Overpay on the mortgage.

    Big life decision awaits…in a couple of years

    12. Move to a nicer house (ours is decent size, not very nice road but lovely village) vs retire early

    One thing I am going to have to make sure does not happen is that when the debts begin to be repaid that money does not just get swallowed up into increased spending. This money needs to be put to work.


    A motivational tactic.

    I’ve decided to remind me as much as possible how much debt I’m in I will keep the below updated and in the header of each post – keep it at the forefront of my mind.

    Debt current stands @ £25,300  (Student Loan £8,000, Credit Card Loan £7,300k, House Loan £10,000)

    #6 Oct '15 Summary

    • Total spend was £2,956 - £287 over budget
    • Net Income was £3,042

    • Fixed costs as expected – actually £30~ cheaper as Sky charged us too much last month.

    • Credit Card spend (minus Sainsburys) £500 (£200 more than budgeted)
    • Debit Card variable spend £170 (£70 more than budgeted)
    • Sainsburys (food shopping) £644 (£44 more than budgeted)

    • £72.50 spent on renewing my passport
    • £57.50 spent on hiring a van to go and purchase a 2nd hand sofa – which we then took back!!!
    • £40 on a betting opportunity which went wrong
    • £77 on wine order to last us for the next month or so
    • £100 on food and beer for a Halloween part

    Reading back the van hire and betting opportunity was ridiculous. Time to start cutting that sort of spend out. Nearly £100 could have been paid off the Credit Card if it wasn’t for these!!


    #5 My Debt

     What debt do I have?

    My main aim and the thing which led me to creating this blog, as I spent so long analysing and thinking about, is my debt and specifically how quickly can I get rid of it.

    I currently owe:

    £8.5k Student Loan
    £10k House Loan
    £7.3k Credit Card Loan (used to pay for recent wedding to Mrs Money Interest)

    These are being paid back at the subsequent rates:

    Student Loan - £346 per month = 25 months remaining
    House Loan - £281.65 per month =  fixed term 5 year loan ending Sept 2018
    Credit Card - £150 per month = 48 months remaining

    I am topping up the credit card re-payments with whatever extra money is left each month. But for the basis of this planning will exclude any expected additional payments until I am happy budget is accurate.

    It’s also possible that I will receive a 20% bonus in June/July 2016 which after tax would be roughly £6k. Assuming this is paid I will pay off the three within the below timeframes:

    Credit Card
    • £150 p/m until July (8 months = £1.2k)
    • balance @ July 2016 would be £6.1k
    • bonus pay of £6k in July
    • so aim is to pay off by August 2016

    Student Loan
    • additional payment of £1k in July 2016 due to bonus = 8months @ 346 pm = £2.7k + £1k = balance @ August 2016 = £4.8k.
    • Up until the end of the calendar year would be an additional 4 months (4 x 346 = £1.4k)
    • Expected balance December 2016 = £3.4k

    In summary, this may be very dangerous to both my planning and morale, but I am going to assume that I receive a 20% bonus next July (have received 2/2 so far @ my employee).

    With this assumption by next December my Credit Card should be paid off – returning £150 per month to my savings / repayment pot, my student loan will be down to £3.4k and my House Loan will have less than 2 years remaining.

    In July can make a decision about whether to start to pay off the Student Loan or the House Loan as priority.

    My main take away from this is – the loans are being re-paid, there is light at the end of tunnel but it is a long tunnel and the priority and concentration has to be on sticking to and reducing budget now.

    #4 Switching Energy

    Changing energy supplier.

    No-one should find this interesting or enjoy doing it but....

    ...given it’s an opportunity to reduce my monthly outgoings I actually enjoy shopping around for the best deal.

    I’ve just come to the end of a 12 month fixed price term with Sainsburys paying £92 per month.

    We’ve used roughly 2,500kWh of Electric over that 12 months and 11,500kWh Gas.

    Cheapest provider is British Gas via a link (+£30 cashback).

    This will reduce my monthly direct debit down to £63 = a saving of £30 per month / £360 per year.

    This is fixed for 12 months.

    To prevent this additional £30 simply being swallowed up I’m going to increase my Credit Card monthly repayment to £180.

    Happy with my 5 minutes this morning I shall now start the day with a leap in my stride….

    #3 My Budget

     So I'm sitting on top of a pile of bad debt towering £28k. I have a savings pot of £500. 

    The most important thing now is to spend less than I bring in each month. So here's the budget I'm working towards each calendar month. Hopefully by putting it down on paper for the world to see will help me scrutinize to find additional ways to save.


    I earn £67k per annum basic or £5,583.33 monthly.

    Deductions pre-tax:
    £167 - 5% to my company pension
    £124.00 Childcare Vouchers for children's nursery

    Deductions including and post-tax:
    £1,252.65 Tax
    £378.40 National Insurance
    £272.00 Season Ticket Loan (0% interest loan from work for Commuting train fare)
    £346.00 Student Loan Repayment

    Net Monthly Income = £3042.78


    £797.18 Mortgage
    £600.00 Groceries
    £400.00 Entertainment
    £281.65 House Loan re-payment
    £150.00 Credit Card re-payment
    £140.00 Council Tax
    £136.00 Mrs Money Interest accessible money
    £92.00 Electric and Gas
    £35.00 Digital TV, Internet and Phone-line
    £20.00 Mrs Money Interest Mobile

    Total Outgoing = £2,652.22


    Based on this budget should be able to put an additional £390 towards debt re-payment and then savings.

    1. Need to ensure this is realistic and first objective will have to be to stick to plan.
    2. I do not include pension contributions/balance when considering my assets. Should do as this will quickly become a sizeable balance with employer matching.
    3. Once Student Loan and House Loan are re-paid (target date to be confirmed) will have an additional £627 to add to the expected saving of £390 p/m. Totalling just over £1k per month. THIS EXCITES ME IMMENSELY.
    4. Many variables not included within this budget (water, TV licence, car/home insurance/ MOT etc). Should total these and add figure into the outgoings to reflect this.
    5. Are groceries and entertainment too large? Will see if this can be tightened.

    Next I'll look at where this debt pile of £28k sits and based on this budget how quickly we can turn it into a small heap, then a little basket then clean fresh air.

    Thanks for reading - although I have spent a lot of time analysing this budget someone with a pair of fresh eyes may spot issues/opportunities I have missed. PLEASE COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW so we can fix this together.


    #2 My Salary

    How much I earn; the good and the bad (no ugly).

    As I’ve just started blogging I have a backlog of things  which have been on my mind for months. Some will be more interesting than others! But it will help me relax knowing I’ve written about them and hopefully will lessen the number of nights spent wide awake thinking ‘how can we spend £50 less per month?’ or ‘how will I invest money when I finally have something to invest in about 3 years’ time?’.

    One of the things I’ve thought about a lot has been salary.

    Through a couple of stokes of luck and a little bit of hard work I now earn £67k + 20% per year, which is more than I ever conceived I would earn.

    Here’s a summary of how I got there…

    2008: Graduate
    2009: Customer Operative - £17000
    2010: Co-ordinator - £20000 (increase of 3k)
    2011: Co-ordinator - £22000 (increase of 2k)
    2012: Co-ordinator - £25000 (increase of 3k)
    2012: Manager - £36000 + 10% (new company for increase of 11k)
    2013: Manager - £40000 + 10% (increase of 4k)
    2013: Manager - £46000 + 10% (increase of 6k)
    2014: Manager - £51500 + 20% (increase of 5.5k)
    2014: Senior Manager - £60000 + 20% (increase of 8.5k)
    2015: Senior Manager - £61800 + 20% (increase of 1.8k)
    2015: Senior Manager - £67000 + 20% (increase of 5.2k)

    A lot of luck has gone into this. Mainly my ‘new company’ has been performing very well since I joined (pure co-incidence) opening up opportunities that my lack of experience would otherwise have prevented most likely.

    I’m thankful and excited about the opportunity I have to make money now I earn this much. However, the reality is that up until this point we have just spent everything we bring in. This is one of the big challenges Mrs Money Interest and I have… how do we save more each month and create 1/ a backup fund and 2/ start earning money from money. To this point it hasn’t worked due to circumstances but that’s the plan.

    Quick pat on the back to myself for how much I earn, slap on the wrist for only having £500 saved….now moving on.

    There is a big lifestyle choice being made here. I am currently sacrificing an awful lot of time (which could be spent as a family or otherwise) commuting. I leave the house at 6am and return most days at 730pm, during which I am on the train daily for a total of 2 hours and cycle for just under an hour.

    This is a lot to put up with. However, in our current situation I and Mrs Money Interest deem it worth it to maintain access to the considerably higher wages on offer in London.

    Eventually I would like to make the decision to work locally which would lead to a drop in salary… we just need to get to a point where we are not just surviving on a lower wage but thriving.

    Next it seems like the right moment to talk about monthly income vs outgoings to try and understand why that savings pot sits at only £500.