November 2017 Review

Well it was going to happen sooner or later. After three months of solid savings rates and frugal living (well maybe not that frugal) I had a spending splurge. I splurged and I splurged hard.  But before I talk about my splurge-y month what else did I get up to in November?

I improved my Park Run times. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but I’ve started going to the Park Run every few Saturdays. My times have been gradually improving each time, thanks in part to some healthy competition with my workmates. Here are my times so far for the 5k run:

parkrun

That’s right, I got a new personal best each time, though my times are plateauing out a bit. I’m also suffering a bit from ‘runner’s knee’ in my right knee, so I might need to take TFS’s advice and do some squats or something. I think the cold weather doesn’t help, I probably need to invest in something to shield my legs from the cold.

The Park Run really is fantastic, you just turn up and run – it’s all organised for you. You get encouragement all the way round, there are people there of all abilities, kids, veterans, people running with their dogs, or with their pushchairs, and so on. And if you register and print out a barcode they’ll keep track of your times. All for free!

This all sounds like I had a very healthy month. I did not. I had three very heavy nights out. I ate a lot and drank a lot. And it’s only going to get worse over the next three weeks before Christmas.

The Splurge (a bit like The Purge, but much worse)

I spent over £2k more than I usually spend this month. How? How did this happen? I’ll try and break it down.

Skiing holiday – I’ve so far spent £600 on a week skiing in France at the end of January. This is actually pretty good for a skiing holiday. It includes flights, accommodation, car rental, ski pass, ski rental, and travel insurance. I already have all the clothes I need for it. It’s self-catering so I expect I’ll spend another £150 when we get there. (I don’t think we’ll be drinking too much as my baby nephew will be there.)

Flights to Thailand – I spent £577 on flights to Bangkok, departing on the 29th Dec and returning on the 26th Jan. Four weeks of (hopefully) sun and sand while I attempt to write a novel. I had my jabs – tetanus, dyptheria, polio, typhoid – the nurse told me I should get anti-malaria tablets but when I went to the pharmacist they told me I didn’t need anything. A bit worrying really! And there’s also the possibility I could get rabies but hey ho I’m sure it will be fine! More material for my story maybe.

Flights and hotel for Munich, Germany – I spent £420 for flights and hotels for a weekend in Munich in mid February. I’m going to see my best friend and we’re going to see an awesome band called The Menzingers while we’re there. I could have found cheaper flights/hotels if I’m completely honest but then I guess you pay for convenience and comfort – the flight times are good and the hotel my friend chose is really nice.

A new laptop – I bought a small laptop with a 11.6″ screen for £250. I justified this to myself by saying I need a portable laptop to write on while I’m away. I’m terrible I know. I also bought a sleeve and a mouse to go with it for £14. It is very pretty…

yoga
I mean come on, it’s so pretty!

I suppose the other major additional expense in November was dating – I’ve started seeing a girl who lives a fair few miles away and have spent quite a bit on dinners/drinks/petrol/tickets for shows… I don’t like to put a value on it so I’m not going to, but let’s just say it all adds up. She is lovely though. Definitely worth it.

One final thing, I have started spending more towards Christmas, I’ve spent about £45 so far on presents, and also I’ve paid in advance for a couple of events to come in December, probably about £60 so far on food, travel, etc. You would think working for a large financial company that this sort of stuff would get paid for, but no, they’re tight fisted b*stards.

Anyway, here’s the official breakdown:

Spending:

  • Mobile phone – £19.40
  • Rent – £550  – I own my house (with a mortgage) but I pay myself rent. I don’t actually move any money around, but for the purposes of my spreadsheet and my savings rate I treat my house as though it were a rental property and I am a tenant in it.
  • Food, drinks, toiletries – £202.83
  • Eating/drinking out, takeaways – £231.32
  • Petrol/travel – £112.93
  • Car expenses (insurance, repairs etc) – £0
  • Gym/Sports – £30
  • Music/gigs/cinema – £53.49
  • Cash Withdrawals – £160 – Mostly nights out.
  • Miscellaneous – £1942.18 – As explained above.
  • Bank charge – Negative £9.01 (ie they paid me).

Total: £3292.24

Income:

I split out my income into active and passive – passive is basically my rental income, active is everything else.

  • Salary (after pension/sharesave removed) – £2176.34
  • Pension payment – £877.50 – I put in 6%, my employer puts in 20%
  • Sharesave – £250
  • Matched betting – £0
  • Rental Income (after bills, expenses, council tax and mortgage interest removed) – £1075.59 – one of my tenants moved out last month so this is a bit lower than usual. I have another tenant moving in at the start of December so this should jump up again next month.

Total Active Income = £3303.84

Total Passive Income = £1075.59

My Savings Rate

Here is my usual spiel, with November’s figures put in:

Most people looking at my stats above might see an income of £3303.84 and spending of £3292.24 and say, aha, your savings rate is 1-spending/income which equals 0.003, or 0.3%. (Wow that’s low.)

Others might add the active and passive income together for a total income of £4379.43 and use the same calculation above to get a savings rate of 25%.

Other bloggers might consider the mortgage repayments as an expense also (I’ve only considered the mortage interest above) but that’s a different topic altogether.

My method is to use passive income as an expense reducer. That is, my spending is £3292.24 minus £1075.59 which equals £2216.65. As my active income is £3303.84 and my spending is £2216.65 then my savings rate is 33%.

See my earlier post here if you want a bit more explanation on this. I do think it is an accurate way of measuring the savings rate (until someone tells me otherwise).

My Net Worth Tracker

My net worth increased in September from £188,238.33 to £199,775.70, a £11,512.37 increase. This is based on the estimated values of my properties minus my debts (mortgage/loans etc), plus my savings, plus my investment accounts (including pension) and the total of my bank balances.

The increase this month seems like quite a lot, but it’s partly because I work out my house values using Zoopla which is quite volatile. One of my houses apparently increased by £9k this month according to Zoopla. I’ve said it before – I realise Zoopla isn’t the most accurate way of measuring a property’s value but based on my rental yield I don’t think it’s too far off – actually I’m probably being quite conservative in my valuations. On a related note there is a house a few doors down from mine, almost identical I reckon, that has just sold for £38k more than I bought mine for back in February. It’s a funny old world.

Since this time last year I estimate my net worth has increased by £58,417.96. Here’s a lovely graph to show how my net worth has increased since September 2012:

networthgraphnov2017

So close to the £200k mark! (If I hadn’t bought that laptop…) I have £2k of income tax I need to pay in December, and there is Christmas and New Year’s to come, and a lot depends on how Zoopla values my houses, but it’s looking distinctly possible I might reach my target this year, despite my spending extravagances.

Future Plans

In January I’m going to do a round up for the year of 2017 which hopefully will be quite illuminating – what with buying a house and then redecorating it, paying tax at the start and end of the year, the cost of holidays, and paying off my student loan it’s been a year of ups and downs, financially speaking.

I’m also thinking of doing a bit of analysis on where the money I’ve saved goes – I would say it largely goes into my pension, my workplace sharesave scheme, and loan repayments (mortgage and parents, not including interest), but I’m interested myself in seeing where it goes because I don’t seem to see much of it!

I suppose there is a distinction between income and cash flow. My income (active and passive) may well have been £4380 this month but when you consider £877.50 goes straight into pension, £250 straight into sharesave,  about £930 goes into loan repayments (the repayment part, not the interest part), and on top of that I spent £3292, then my cash flow this month was actually negative £970. I wouldn’t be able to keep that up indefinitely.

As always thanks for reading,

Wephway

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3 thoughts on “November 2017 Review

  1. Thailand, skiing and Munich, sounds ace!

    The laptop isn’t half bad either and looks ideal to take away and get creative with.

    Any ideas for the novel then or are you just going to see if inspiration strikes when you get there?

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    1. Thanks yeah I’m really looking forward to it, only 7 more working days to go!

      So I’m already about 20k words into a particular story that I think I’m going to run with. The average novel is about 80-100k words so I’m quite far in already but still a long way to go of course. I got parts of it marked for my creative writing course and got good marks so that’s encouraging, though it’s obviously very subjective. It’s sort of an adventure/comedy/romance with a bit of philosophy thrown in, but that’s all I’ll say, it’s a closely guarded secret at the moment!

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  2. My biggest splurges are on holidays so I’m with you there – that’s a nice long break you’re having in Thailand so wish you all the best with your novel writing!

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