Welcome to my monthly savings report for December 2019. This month was quieter than last month as I managed to settle into a routine at my new place and workplace. Obviously, this only lasted till Christmas though. I spent the last week of the year in Germany with my family, as usual. It was nice to have some quiet time to reflect on the past year. But now I am ready and excited for 2020.
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A look at the past decade
As we are approaching 2020, I cannot help but look back on the past 10 years. So much has happened and my journey to financial independence is only a small part of it. In 2010, I was still living in Germany and had just gone back to school (after finishing my apprenticeship) to gain my a-level equivalent.
Following this, I spent a year volunteering in Italy before moving to the UK in September 2012. Here, I obtained a bachelors in biology and a masters in clinical research for diabetes and obesity. Finally, I trained to be a medical writer which I now am.
Importantly, while being a volunteer or student, I never had much money. At times, I worked three part-time jobs at the same time to make ends meet and save for the tuition fees. When I finally started to enter the workforce as a medical writer, I suddenly had money in abundance because I still lived the same lifestyle I had as a student.
This is the secret why I am able to work towards financial independence. Even though I started to earn more money, my expenses stayed more or less the same.
My average savings rate for 2019 was 63%. Below you can see how I spent my income and allocated money to my savings pots:
As a result of my savings, both my net worth and my FIRE fund increased substantially in 2019:
Monthly savings report: December 2019
As described in my savings report for last month, my goals for December were to do more matched betting and sort out my finance spreadsheets.
Both goals have been accomplished! I did enough matched betting to have enough data for another matched betting income report which I will publish soon. I also updated my spreadsheet and it is now much easier and quicker to keep track of my money.
Monthly savings report summary for December 2019
My total after-tax income this month was £2,585. Of this, the vast majority comes from my full-time job. I made around £60 from matched betting (my all-time low due to being away a lot) and some money from blogging. My emergency fund is also earning £13 interest per month which is a nice addition.
As it was Christmas this month, I was also gifted money. People never seem to know what to buy me, so most gifts are monetary. Oh well, I just threw it all into the financial Independence early retirement (FIRE) fund.
My total expenses this month totaled £618. Of this rent was my biggest expense, but not as big as it used to be. I now live with an elderly gentleman who needed someone to be in the property overnight. I get on well enough with him and the rent is a total steal for London zone 2. As an additional benefit, it is only a 30-minute walk to work, meaning no commuting costs.
Notably, my transportation costs also declined. This is because I sold my car last month and am now walking everywhere. The thirty-minute walk to and from work is the best part of my day. I love watching people stuck in traffic while I can happily walk past.
I am unsure as to why my grocery costs have decreased considerably. Sure, my landlord gives me the occasional free meal but I doubt this has had such a big impact. Perhaps shopping at Morrisons rather than ASDA is the key?
- Rent: My rent (bills included) plus internet/phone bill
- Groceries: Practically everything I buy in a supermarket
- Sinking fund: See below
- Transport: Everything I need to get from one place to another
- Personal: Clothes, hair cuts, make-up, etc.
- Fun: Eating out and social expenses
- Other: Everything that does not fit elsewhere
My sinking fund contribution flows into a separate instant-access saving account. I use this money for expenses that only occur once a year such as flights to visit my family and bigger one-time purchases I would like to make. Because it is constantly empty, I have increased my contribution by £10 per month now.
My index tracker is still going up and down as usual. This month it was mostly up though, I think this is due to the Christmas craze and am wondering whether this will be followed by a fall in January.
Apart from my index tracker, I also have £1,000 invested with Ratesetter for 14.9% interest. If you are interested in opening an account with Ratesetter, you can get a similar rate using my link. Brickowner currently has a similar offer (invest £1,000 get £50) when you sign-up with my link. Brickowner’s return is worked out different from Ratesetter and depends on the property you invest in. Please note that, while these are great offers, it involves peer-to-peer lending and as such comes with the risk of losing money.
Plan for financial independence
I have updated my plan for financial independence to be even clearer. It is now set up so I can retire on my 40th birthday.
Goals for January 2020
December was a bit of a stressful month, so I want to take it easy in January. All I will be aiming for is improving Monethalia’s search engine optimisation (SEO).
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I wish you a Happy New Year,
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