Welcome to my monthly savings report for September 2019! This is where I document my progress towards financial independence and early retirement (FIRE). As usual, I progress in tiny baby steps but at least I get one step closer each month. I have an ordinary job with an ordinary salary (not a high earner) and am on my own on this journey. Despite these challenges, I am planning to retire in ten years.
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A friendly reminder from Student Finance
The month started out on a bad note with Student Finance reminding me that I am not as wealthy and successful as I never claimed to be. Every year, my outstanding balance moves in the wrong direction as I fail to pay off even the interest. Well, I am only contributing the bare minimum for my repayments (currently £24 per month) so the result is not that surprising.
If you know me, you know I hate debt. I really do. Every time I receive a letter from Student Finance, my first reaction is to pay my loan off immediately. However, due to my salary being relatively low, trying to pay off this huge sum is not worth it from a financial point of view (other than that it would also leave me totally broke).
Therefore, the only option is to wait 30 years until my student loan debt magically disappears. Until then, I consider it as a graduate tax rather than a debt. That is the sad reality…
Monthly savings report: September 2019
I am going to my new gym’s induction tomorrow so the gym change is complete. It will be a huge cost saving of £41 per month. The only question is whether I will actually be able to drag myself there. Also, given that I am likely to move soonish, I will not be able to stay a member for long. There is no minimum duration so at least I can cancel anytime.
Regarding moving, I actually have not made any progress. As my company is now located in a different city, my commute will effectively double from now on. My car, the Monethalia mobile, is not really in great shape and a huge petrol eater as well. Therefore, I am not looking forward to this at all.
Monthly savings report summary for August 2019
This month, my take-home income was £2,335. All of this came from my full-time job and matched betting plus some interest on my emergency fund. My emergency fund of £5,000 generates £14 of interest every month because I strategically placed it in high-interest current accounts (TSB and Nationwide). I made some money blogging as well but this is still locked behind minimum withdrawal rates so I am not counting it just yet.
This month I spent a grand total of £1,101. My car insurance was due for renewal and my sinking fund, which should have covered the cost, was vastly underfunded. This left me with £260 extra to pay. It is really annoying because without these £260 my expenses would have looked great this September (only £841!).
I am proud of my low grocery costs which are far below my average of £176. One thing I always had difficulty with were Saturday and Sunday lunches. I always want to eat something a little bit more fancy than my usually peanut-butter sandwich which resulted in me buying takeaway lunches. This month, I just made pancakes instead which are super cheap to make and delicious as well. I also bought more food at ALDI so this resulted in additional savings.
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 my car insurance, flights to visit my family and insurances.
My FIRE fund grew by 11% this month. My Vanguard fund, invested in the FTSE Global All Cap Index Fund Accumulation, grew slightly, although its short-term fluctuations are not really that meaningful.
I also opened a Help-to-buy ISA. I know I stated previously that I cannot imagine buying a property. This still has not changed but I figured that in two years or so, it may have. As the Help-to-buy scheme ends this November, I decided it would be best to get on board before it is too late. Should I not want to buy in the future, I will simply withdraw the money and put it into my index tracker. There is no penalty for doing this, other than that I will not get the bonus associated with a house purchase.
I also still have €2,300 in my German bank account at 0% interest and with no purpose. Maybe I will use it as the basis for my deposit fund for the property that I am still not sure I will buy. Either way, I need to look into putting it somewhere more beneficial than a dead current account.
Apart from my Vanguard fund, 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.
Goals for October 2019
As for October 2019, I need to get more serious about moving. I cannot see myself commuting for 80 minutes per day. So much wasted time! Plus, rush-hour traffic is likely to make it even worse. Finding a new place will be my absolute priority even if it means I have to cut back on blogging and matched betting.
On a different note, I would also like to restart baking. I think Vegan Ginger Cake would be a good starting point.
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