March 2018 Review

It feels very soon to be writing this review, possibly because my February review was so late. I really need to get back on track though so here goes…

So what have I been up to in March? I’ve been back at work for a month now and I’m getting stuck into some new activities there. I’ve been tasked with integrating another team with ours which is quite complex and stressful, not least because the management expect swift progress. But hey ho, that’s what I’m being paid for, and actually it might help me get a good rating (and therefore a good bonus) so I probably shouldn’t complain.

Did I mention already I got a new pet cat? She is still very young and constantly hyper, and my sleep has been interrupted quite a few times now, but she is also adorable and it’s hard to stay annoyed at her for long. She did cause a bit of a dent in my bank balance, perhaps to the tune of about £250 to acquire her and pay for litter trays, a scratching post, toys and so on, and there will be an ongoing cost of I’d guess about £25 a month for food, cat litter, insurance, and vet fees, but overall it’s a small price to pay I think. I’ve been thinking of getting a cat for quite a long time so it’s nice to finally do it.

Other than that March was a fairly quiet month for me. I had the flu from which I’ve now (finally) recovered. I went down to Oxford for my creative writing diploma ceremony. I played host a few times, including Easter weekend in which I ate an obscene amount of chocolate (Jesus died so we could eat chocolate eggs at Easter right?). But really, there’s nothing much to report so… onto the figures!

Spending and Income Breakdown for March 2018:


  • Mobile phone – £43.40. I mentioned in my last post (here) I’ve cancelled my current phone contract. I still had £24 of a phone loan so I’ve paid that off, hence the elevated figure this month (I bought a new phone outright last month). I’ve been looking around for a good sim-only deal and saw Vodafone will do what I want for £8/month (3GB data and unlimited everything else), however that doesn’t include international roaming so I might not go with that one. (Side note, can they do that? I thought it was EU law now that mobile phone companies had to support international roaming for no extra cost. Seems against the spirit of the new rules if phone companies will now start charging extra for this privilege.)
  • 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 – £295.51 – Wow, I’m not sure what happened here. I did host a few times, and I bought some Easter eggs for people, and there were additional cat costs, but even so, this is too high. Something to focus on in April I think.
  • Eating/drinking out, takeaways – £142.31
  • Petrol/travel – £97.08
  • Car expenses (insurance, repairs etc) – £0
  • Gym/Sports – £30
  • Music/gigs/cinema – £0
  • Cash Withdrawals – £54.50
  • Miscellaneous – £314.35 – Mostly this is cat related costs.
  • Bank charge – Negative £9.01 (ie they paid me).

Total: £1518.40

All in all, not a bad month really. I need to bring those food and drink costs down, but otherwise I’m relatively pleased with my March expenditure. It’s not every month you get a new pet cat so I’m not going to beat myself up over that.


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

  • Salary (after pension/sharesave removed) – £5688.40. My salary isn’t usually this high – this amount includes my bonus (minus tax). It also includes a small pay increase.
  • Pension payment – £899.13 – 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) – £1326.48

Total Active Income = £6837.53

Total Passive Income = £1326.48

My Savings Rate

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

Most people looking at my stats above might see an income of £6837.53 and spending of £1518.40 and say, aha, your savings rate is 1-spending/income which equals 0.78, or 78%.

Others might add the active and passive income together for a total income of £8164.01 and use the same calculation above to get a savings rate of 81%.

Other bloggers might consider the mortgage repayments as an expense also (I’ve only considered the mortgage 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 £1518.40 minus £1326.48 which equals £191.92. As my active income is £6837.53 and my spending is £191.92 that makes my savings rate 97.2%.

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).

This year I’ve started doing a graph of my savings rate from month to month and for the year to date. Here you go:


My savings rate for the year is currently sitting at 81.6% though I did just receive my bonus so I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it at that level. Still, not bad so far.

My Net Worth Tracker

I’ve finally crossed the £200k mark! I had hoped to do this a few months ago but what with my extravagant holidays, taking time off work unpaid, and the value of my properties decreasing it has taken longer. Specifically, my net worth increased in March from £193,833.17 to £205,731.21, a £11,898.04 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.

About £7k of this increase is thanks to me saving my income (well, not spending it all is perhaps a better way of putting it) and the other £5k is thanks to the value of my properties increasing in value 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.

Since this time last year I estimate my net worth has increased by £63,060.65. Here’s a lovely graph to show how my net worth has increased since September 2012:


And that’s about it for March. I can see some big expenses on the horizon, both boilers in my houses are playing up, and I’d like to get some decoration done in my rental property. I also thought I might spend some of my bonus money on a new TV… I need someone sensible to come along and convince me not to!

As always thanks for reading,



2 thoughts on “March 2018 Review

  1. Did you consider putting the bonus straight in the pension to save the tax? I did this with half mine this year but it was a large retention bonus so i couldn’t bring myself to pay that much tax on it. Lucky you with your employer contributing that much to your pension! Mine only does 5% so I put in 12%


    1. I did consider it but decided against it, I’ve potentially got some big purchases coming up – the boiler in my rental property is very old and the one in my house keeps leaking. Also I have some big plans this year regards properties so thought it would be good to have the cash to hand. It is difficult though, the amount I could save in taxes makes it painful to pass up. Yes it is a good pension scheme, none of the new starters get anything like it! It does make it difficult though in terms of moving jobs, I’d be worried I wouldn’t be able to get anything as good elsewhere.


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