Monthly summary: January 2018

As mentioned in the December Monthly summary, I am trying to provide a better separation between an income (and expense) report, and the balance sheet. They are linked but provide a different view on the health of my finances: one shows what comes in and what goes out, and the other shows what is to stay (the net worth).

Before looking at any numbers, I know that January has been a bad month, financially speaking. I’ve had parents over for the winter holidays, I’ve bought a few presents, I’ve had a fairly expensive trip to Paris, and I’ve pre-paid most of my trips for this year. I would not be surprised if my net worth went down after this mishap – but let’s see.

Income

  • Post-tax, stable income: £3997
  • Side hustles: £0 (done work, not invoiced yet)

Expenses

To do this, I am currently using an app called Yolt – a mobile-only account-tracking application. Starting with the next month, I will be using my own automated tracker – it’s currently work in progress (more details to come in a different post).

  • Rent: £1450
  • Household bills: £525 (utilities, cleaner, cell phone, this and that)
  • Travel: £425 (pre-booked about 5 trips for 2018)
  • Transport: £282 (this being for myself & parents)
    Something I am unhappy with is that £79 of it is Uber – 10 different trips.
  • Lunch @ work: £115 (really happy with this)
  • Groceries: £205 (which again, accounts for multiple people)
  • Dinners, restaurants: £107
  • Entertainment: £93 (again, abnormal due to visitors)
  • Shopping: £623

I have not included everything from my statements, as some of them are either business expenses, or donations, etc.

Total: £3815 . It hurts, but 100% will get better in February.

Balance sheet

  • Credit card debt: £-3595 (down from £-3757)
  • Investments (Cash Savings): £5696 (up 200)
  • Investments (Funds): £6295 (up from 5982)
  • Investments (P2P): £1940.35 (down from £1983)
  • Investments: (P2P): £52.41
  • Investments (Property Crowdfunding): £49.7 (up from £49.5. Ha!)
  • Investments (Cryptocurrencies): $402.3
  • Old pension account: £18216 (up from £18067)
  • Work pension: £929

Total net worth: £33461- £3595 = £29866

Conclusion

My net worth has not gone down, but neither has it seen any major improvements. At least I know the culprits, and how to address then. Feeling positive for February!

November 2017 – my 1st monthly summary

I’m aware that I’ve recently posted a mid-month update, but despite the short time span, I’ll try to make this end-of-November post relevant and comprehensive.

Some background info

I’ll start with a bit of background information. I’m building my monthly report and adding the numbers while writing this post, so at the time of writing this paragraph, I don’t know what it will look like. I won’t expect November to be a spectacular month for my finances, and will explain why here.

I used to split my fixed costs (rent, utilities, groceries, etc) until this month, when my ex-girlfriend moved out. We are both on the rental contract, but as the separation was mutually agreed, I’ve decided that I will handle the costs until the contract’s expiration date.

Other than the above, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were not good news for my credit cards either.

What should this post contain?

I’ve had a lot of thinking around the contents of the monthly update. My best guess is that it will take a few iterations until I will find a format that makes sense. The candidates that I found for content sections, so far, are:

  • Expenses, grouped by category
    Living in the UK, I’m quite limited in the ways I can automatically track my spending. I have been a YNAB user until they have changed their business model to place US customers at an advantage. The only app that I could find, which automatically syncs my transaction data, is Yolt.
    I think this information is very useful to me and it can help me eliminate bad spending habits, but not very interesting for the readers of this blog.
  • Debts
    This is fairly similar to track using Yolt, as long as we are talking about rolling/credit card debt. Luckily, I don’t have a student loan, a leased car, or a mortgage.
  • Investments, grouped by account/type
    To date, I could not find a reliable way to track my investments, other than logging in the accounts once a month, and checking the numbers.
  • Investments, with a chart showing evolution over time
    This brings a similar challenge to the previous point. Still working on that…
  • Overall summary (earned X, spent Y, invested Z)
    I think this should be the ending of these posts, showing what percentage of my income I managed to save / invest, and eventually how my “net worth” looks like.

The bad news: Debts

I have recently paid off a long-term loan that I have since 2016, so in the bigger picture, my debt graph is going in the right direction. If I were to depict my debt over the last 18 months, it would look like this:

Debt evolution: Aug 2016 -> Nov 2017

Pink is long term unsecured debt, blue is credit card debt.

Other than that, I’ve got rolling debt on two credit cards:

Debt to whom?Amount owed
Credit card 1755
Credit card 24383

I’m tackling my debt with the Snowball method – getting rid of the smallest one first. Therefore, I’ve set my next statement of 755 to be paid in full, which will happen in a few weeks. This means that the next report should look much cleaner!

The good news: Savings & investments

The table below only shows minimal savings, as I’ve had my P2P investments paused for a few months. One of the P2P monthly contributions will start with the 1st of December, and will be reflected on the December report.

What?This monthCurrent balance
Total57330000
Investment (Cash savings)2005296
Investment (Funds)2502652
Investments (P2P)03342
Investments (P2P)1010
Investments (Property Crowdfunding)049
Old pension account017841
Work pension113810

I will also write another post explaining each of these accounts, how much return do they offer, and how am I planning to optimize them.

The overall picture for November

As predicted at the beginning of the post, this month offered no surprises. I know my expenses are higher-than-usual, and there is little I can change in the short term. My medium-term plan is to drive my debt down to 0 in a steady way.

As a savings ratio, this month I have saved just over 9% of my income. Pretty poor if you ask me; but this may be due to the higher-than-usual monthly income. In a normal month, I’d expect the ratio to be closer to 20%.

Happy December everyone!