Monday, 31 July 2017

#59 July 2017 Financial Summary

So, did we stick to the budget?

No. We spent £331.66 more than our budget.

If no, why not?

Two big out-lays.

£178 on gymnastics classes for my daughter - taking up to the end of the calendar year. Needs to be included within budget going forward.

£216.10 Mrs went on a spending spree in Next and brought clothes for the next 3 years for the kids. Very much a one-off.

Plus, Grocery shopping was also £100 over budget.

Did we earn more than we spent?

Yes. We earnt £23.26 more than we spent.

Any positives / milestones?

  1. It should always be a positive that we have earnt more than we spent. 3rd month in a row we have earnt more than spent.
  2. Debt including mortgage dropped below £370k. Currently £369,663.56.
  3. Got paid a 77p dividend from Coca Cola. Almost all of my investments are in index funds. However, I had £60 several months ago in my XO account - it cost's £60 to close the account so instead I purchased shares in Coca Cola and a City of London Fund. 

No idea what to do with this long-term... but I do like receiving dividends. Only the second time ever. 

Lessons / thoughts?

Gymnastics is missing from my budget.

Other than the items called out in reasons why we missed the budget everything else seemed on track.

I use Betfair to do my Matched Betting. This normally has a decent 'float' of cash. It seems unfair to exclude this money from the overall savings so from next week will include the Betfair wallet value as Cash Savings. Today this is £346.

Effect on overall debt?

Student loan remains paid off :)
House loan remains paid off :)
Wedding card balance is £1,574.77
0% Carpet loan balance is £1,881.83  
Total Debt  Exc Mortgage = £3,456.60

* Above graph. I have deleted the info for Jan and Mar 2017 as they were messed up due to large re-payment of debt. It made the rest of the months hard to judge by scale. 

Wealth Accumulation


Pension Value
XO Shares Account 
Company Sharesave.
Fidelity Global Index Tracker


*Above graph. Probably my favourite graph. That gap between debt and savings (excluding pensions and mortgages is down to £1,778.41 now.  This is decreasing roughly £300~ per month.

Net Worth


An increase of £1,143.11 since last month.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

#58 Featured Author?

I've been reading this football website for about 5 years. It's brilliant. Insightful. Takes the mick out of the rest of the football media industry which is frankly needed. And now I am a featured author on it.... sort off.

They have a twice-daily feature called the Mailbox. People write in to the editor and the best mails are published. Similar to writing a letter to a newspaper.

I wrote in for the first time in over 5 years yesterday and got top billing :)

It's the little things that make you happy!

I wrote in questioning why elite football clubs invest in youth development, a harsh view but based on economics probably sensible.

Here's my letter...

And here's the headline grabbing page...

Obviously I'm no literary genius, I barely have a handle on English at times :), but I enjoyed this little moment.

Now I will have to wait until Monday when the next Mailbox will be published and see what counter arguments  - if any - are put forward. Hopefully they are kind and don't destroy me too much!

Friday, 21 July 2017

#57 Review of monthly spending over past 12 months

Decided to have a review my variable spending.

Since June 2015 we have only stuck to our budget twice. And one of those times was because we didn't pay a mortgage payment for that month due to moving house and dates of the month aligning. So in 23 months with five different updates to the budget we have only really been on budget once.

With this in mind we're obviously spending more money than I'm planning for and this should be rectified. First to understand where and why and secondly to rectify and improve.

The cause of this is variable spending. Variable spending has been above target for 21 of those 23 months. One of the months we were below budget was June 2016 - the only month we were entirely below budget. The other one was the most recent month June 2017. Interestingly the previous month, May 2017, was only £9.08 over the variable budget also, so perhaps things are improving without even planning.

The data.

Final three columns are

  • Total spent in that period.
  • The average this equates to per month in this period.
  • How this average per month compares to the budget.
Previous 12 months:

Previous 6 months:

My thoughts on this.
  1. I knew we weren't sticking to budget but... it really isn't very good.
  2. On average over £700 per month spent over budget for the last 12 months, trending up to on average over £800 per month for the last 6 months.
  3. For items we're not budgeting anything for on average we are spending £500~ (12 months) or £660~ (6 months view).
  4. We're under-spending on 6 items in the last 6 months view to a value of £50 per month, excluding my travel costs as these are relatively new so dont have 6 months of data.
  5. We're over-spending on our Sainsburys grocery shopping which is disappointing as I didn't realise this. Even though we're trending down (£123 over per month for 12 month view and £90 per month for 6 month view) still improvements needed here
  6. The most significant difference between budget and actual spending is on Misc One Off Big Things Over £50. £174 over budget over 12 months and £283 over budget for previous six. This to me is a failure to plan and budget properly. We're going to need to look at what we expect these to be and factor them into the planning somehow and also look to reduce significantly. 
  7. Some of these figures are made to look worse by positive things. Ie if we overpay on debt repayment we 'spend' more on this than expected.
Next steps.
  1. I'm not going to update our budget to reflect what we have been spending. Instead this should serve as a kick up the arse to get us moving in the right direction again.
  2. I will look to break down our budget/spending tracking into positive spending - ie savings and extra debt repayment and usual spending. Will update charts to reflect this now.
  3. Look into the data behind the 'Misc Big On Off Things Over £50' and see how we can anticipate this better and plan for it more wisely.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

#56 Cross-Fit update July


Max reps of chin-ups without stopping = 5

Max normal press ups = 25


Due to such a low amount of reps when doing chin-ups could move to AMRAC - which is as many reps as possible in a certain time. Perhaps try doing as many chin-ups in a minute?

Goals to have achieved by next month

Set baseline against 2 cross-fit work-outs from here.

Get up to 7 chin-ups without stopping.

Set a baseline for chin-ups in a minute.

Get up to 30 press-ups without stopping.


June 6th 2017 vs July 5th 2017              

#55 Cross-fit

One of my goals for 2017 was to get my weight below 14stone and be able to run 13km.

Really, the underlying goal here was to get fitter and healthier.

I've never been able to maintain going to gym as it doesn't fit into my lifestyle easily (long commuting days and too expensive).

I had some luck with maintaining a running schedule in 2016, but frankly I find it so boring and I've got dodgy shins so can only run on grass without significant pain.

I was at a bit of a loss. I've got the motivation but had not found the right solution for me.

Well last month I stumbled across Cross-Fit.

I watched on Netflix a documentary about Rich Froning -  a Cross-Fit legend it seems - and started to look into this area.

It's high intensity work-outs, for a relatively short amount of time done anywhere.

So I'm giving this a shot.

I've got a chin-up bar installed in my garage and have completed my first month of pull-ups, squats, press-ups etc.

So far, I feel a tiny bit healthier but no real visible improvement. But the main thing is I'm enjoying it so hopefully will continue.

I've just read about motivational tactics and one of the recommendations was to take pictures after each work-out and share them... luckily I had thought pictures was a good idea but hadn't shared them. I won't share on Facebook or anything like that but I think putting them up here might help with motivation.

So my plan is work-out every other day, push myself as hard as I can in each work-out, keep a record of my best achievements to compare progress and upload photos.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

#54 June 2017 Summary

So, did we stick to the budget?

No. We spent £365.72 more than budgeted. Largely this was due to paying for our France holiday. Coming around soon!! However, this was paid for with Matched Betting savings.

Did we earn more than we spent?

Yes. £461.56 more than we spent. Largely due to a mistake by HMRC (again!) which meant I paid £450 less in taxes this month than I should have done.

Any positives?

Income greater than amount spent for the second month in a row.

Total variable spending was below budget for only the second time since June 2015. (Holiday was included within Fixed).

Total wealth including Pension exceeded £20,000 for the first time ever.

Net worth exceeded £150,000 for the first time ever.

Lessons / thoughts?

Don't really have any major goals currently.

The £450 in additional income due to lower tax will have to be re-paid in January 2019. So I will put this to one side.

I also have a tax bill of £1000 due in January 2018 which I will need to save up for now to ensure I can comfortably pay.

I should start saving for next summers family holiday.

Effect on overall debt?

Student loan remains paid off :)
House loan remains paid off :)
Wedding card balance is £1,558.33
0% Carpet loan balance is £1,980.88  
Total Debt  Exc Mortgage = £3,539.21

Wealth Accumulation


Pension Value
XO Shares Account 
Company Sharesave.
Fidelity Global Index Tracker


Net Worth