August 2020 update

I finally got around to booking a holiday for the family, we found a nice little place near Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire. The same cottage was available on several websites but I opted for dogstrustholidays.co.uk as they get a percentage of the fee to help with the good work they do.

Really looking forward to this break as it’s the first holiday I would have had in four years. As our son is 18, getting on for 19, it might also be the last family holiday we have together before he starts his lads holidays.

Being able to take our dog, Skyla, with us too is great – she will love the change in scenery and there are plenty of places to walk and also dog-friendly cafes and pubs. This will be her longest trip in the car so we didn’t want to book anything too much further from home for that reason, I think it should take around four hours to get there with a few stops so she can stretch her legs.

I reckon it will be nice to get away, going for walks in new and exciting places will be fun for me as well as Skyla (plenty of dog-friendly pubs and cafes apparently)!

Skyla
Skyla in the nearby woods

Work

The month of August, along with September, is one of the busiest times of the year for the product group I am part of. Many colleges and universities are preparing to welcome students back and with that, we see a spike in users of our mobile app. This is great but it also presents some challenges for us…

Ensuring that the platform that the app sits on is reliable and robust enough for the volume of users is one of the main duties of my role. We had a little blip around results day in the UK and we’re doing what we can to try and prevent something like this from reoccurring around admissions time. Consequently, it feels like a lot of my time has been spent around reviewing logs and looking at performance graphs as well as working with developers to resolve anything obvious.

The above, coupled with resource planning and liaising with other teams, can mean that I have little time to progress other requests like implementing new customers. This can get me down and I definitely recall entering a spell of depression as the month ended despite having booked the previously mentioned family holiday.

My thoughts have been heading in the direction of “what can I do to change things”, this did make me feel grateful that I had come across FI/RE and the realisation that there are options available. Exploring other ways to generate income is an ongoing process for me, as you’ll see in a moment.

Here are my numbers for August:

Monthly Figures August 2020
Monthly Figures August 2020

I thought I’d start including my pre-tax and post-tax saving rates, mainly so when I read/hear about other people’s savings rates I have idea of what that looks like comapared to mine.

I’m not using the numbers in a bad way, as a direct comparison, where I can beat myself with a stick over them. It’s more for interest.

Also, the pre and post-tax rates are there as I think they give a better indication rather than just trying to use one set of numbers. It feels more representative in my eyes.


Is calculating your savings rate something that you do, if so, do you work with just one figuring or do you have pre-tax (gross) savings that you make?


I didn’t get to pay too much extra off my credit card this month, mainly due to the increased spending levels. Some of the things that contributed to a high level of spending were:

  • £160 – Overnight stay with my wife at the Wayford Bridge Inn, somewhere we like to go back now and again, and is just a short distance outside of Norwich. We were also able to take advantage of the “Eat Out to Help Out” offer which was handy 🙂
  • £565 :^O – This was for renewing the road tax for my car, I had declared it off-road (SORN) and so paid out for 12 months. This one hurt but in my defence, I hadn’t discovered FI/RE or frugality when I bought this car.
  • £102 – Train ticket for my wife to visit a friend in Shropshire.
  • £31 – Not a huge amount but something I hadn’t budgeted for was a book from Gumroad.

Additional Income Streams

  • Matched betting £168 profit
  • Surveys/studies £19.27

I didn’t get round to listing anything on eBay this month and I’ve sent in all the stock I had for Amazon FBA so there’s nothing new to report on there.

This was my first month of matched betting and it’s something I’m enjoying a fair amount. The profit mentioned above has all stayed within my matched betting “ecosystem”, the money I have deposited in various bookie and betting exchange accounts has moved around as a loss in one place results in a gain in another. The gains can occur on either side of the equation, when I get a reasonable win with a bookie I withdraw some funds and deposit that at the exchanges – being able to carry a high(er) liability allows me to place more bets.

This month I also signed up to Prolific, an online survey provider. I became aware of them from Vicky aka Mortgage Free by the Sea – check out the review on her blog. Essentially, you sign up, complete a load of questions about yourself and then wait for studies to become available. Each one offers a different amount which usually corresponds to the effort required to complete them

Although a fraction under £20 doesn’t sound like much, it’s an okay return on the time I put into it. Most of the studies I have completed have been in the evening when I’ve been in the lounge relaxing so it’s hardly an inconvenience. The proceeds from Prolific will either end up in my Freetrade ISA or my Emergency Fund.

Future Fund

Seond month of monitoring my Future Fund and the value has increased by just over £862 to £90,993. I’ll probably pop in a graph next month when I’ve got another set of numbers to add in.

I am contemplating selling some of my FAANG shares currently held with Hargreaves Lansdown in order to invest the proceeds in trackers & funds with Freetrade, I’m up between £100 and £350 on each of the holdings and I currently think keeping a fair amount of money tied up in tech is not necessarily the safest option.

It is interesting having shares in big tech companies, and Uber, but I know that I’ll feel safer and more confident about my financial future knowing that the money is silently working away for me in trackers/funds rather than all the glam and after parties of Facebook, Netflix etc.

4 thoughts on “August 2020 update

  1. Sounds like your holiday will be good. It’s always nice to get away. Your figures look good. I don’t track my savings rate, other than once in a blue moon on the back of an envelope. I keep meaning to get round to it. In all honesty I’m not too fussed as I know I’m saving the max I can afford to. When I spend less in a month I tend to just move money around in my budgets to go to the house pot to save up for getting my en-suite usable again.

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    1. Thanks Sassenach 😀

      That’s fair enough, the savings rate is just an indicator for me really. I guess over time I’d like to see it increase but it is not essential.

      Do you record your pot values in a spreadsheet or do you use Monzo (or similar) with its pots?

      I have Monzo as one of my accounts and find them useful for organising the budget money. I like how you can set the target amount and see progress against that, also the round-up so the “change” from a transaction gets put into a pot.

      Have you got a lot of work to do for your en suite then? Is it a bit of a back burner project that you’re slowly chipping away at?

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      1. I have a spreadsheet for each category e.g. food, car, kids etc. I update it as I spend and rein things in a bit if I go over budget. It works for me and allows me to be flexible enough to rob Peter to pay Paul budget wise if I have lots of expenses in one area and not many in another.
        I’m a DIY disaster, so the en-suite will be a case of getting the handy man in to sort it. It’s starting to annoy me now, so I think it might be getting done sooner rather than later!

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  2. £565 for road tax? Ouch! Mine costs £30 a year but my car is probably quite mundane compared to yours!

    Great going on the matched betting anyway – the first couple of weeks I didn’t have a lot of time to do any and then I’ve been unlucky with my accas these past weekends so will be lucky to make any profit I think this month!

    Your Future Fund is looking good anyway, keep it going!

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