Income & Expenses - September 2014



One of the main reasons I started a Blog was to publicly record all of my Income and Expenses each month. 

There were two main reasons why I decided to do this:

  1. Accountability - Just knowing that I'm going to be writing down all the pounds and pennies that I spend each day is reason enough not to go crazy with my spending. It also encourages me to invest as much money as I can to boost my monthly saving rate. The act of writing everything down will motivate me to spend less and save more. I have a Goal of saving more than 50% of my monthly wage every month and spending less than £950 per month for the rest of 2014.
  2. Evidence - I want to prove that anyone can become financially independent, including someone like me on an average salary (under £30,000 pa). You'll be able to see what I spend every little penny on, each month. You'll also see what I earn and what percentage of that I'm able to invest with. I want this Blog to represent a real-time document of how someone can go from earning less than £10 in one year (2013) in dividend income, to earning enough passive income to cover all monthly expenses and spending (2022).

Income

I will rarely have the same wage each month as I have a commission based job. I might also be eligible for bonuses at certain times of the year, which will impact on the total of my wage. My wage figure will be the net sum I'm paid after tax, national insurance, company pension, salary sacrifice for pension, and student loan. I will only include one figure for my wage but I will mention if my commission is high/low and I will also let you know if I've triggered a performance based bonus. 


Expenses

The first two expenses are fixed amounts. 'Mortgage/House Bills' is an account where Miss FFBF and I pay into each month (£470 each) to cover mortgage payments, council tax, water, TV licence, telephone, electricity, and broadband. 'Food Account' is another joint account we use to contribute a fixed amount (£50 per month) for food shopping. 

Here's a breakdown of my Income and Expenses for the previous month:

Income from September 2014
Wage £2,012.66
Dividends £124.19
Ebay £4.45
Interest from Savings £6.59
Topcashback £83.25


Total Income £2,231.14




Expenses from September 2014
Mortgage/House Bills £470.00
Food Account £50.00
Mobile £9.22
Petrol £20.00
Birthdays £33.00
Groceries £10.33
Eating Out £15.00
Fast Food £12.90
Dentist £18.50
Powerlifting Meet Fee £20.00
Powerlifting Membership £10.72
Wedding – drinks round £12.00
Car Tax £72.50
Present – Manager £3.00
Work Christmas Party £5.00
Charity £4.00


Total Expenses £766.17




Income

September's wage was much higher than normal. It tends to be one of the higher ones of the year without any bonuses.  

My Dividends were the highest I've received since doing DGI. I had 9 companies/funds paying me this month. As I look at my forward dividends for 2015, September will be one of my best months again. The combination of a high wage and dividends should result in a good investment month in future years.
  
I sold one item on Ebay. A solitary DVD. 

The interest from my savings account went down for this month, after my decision to experiment with Growth Investing. My cash saving was just below £7,000, and it's now just under £2,000. 

Topcashback returned for September, and it was very welcome. Miss FFBF and I received our cashback for changing Broadband/Telephone provider. I wrote the post back in May, and informed everyone that we received £105 cashback for changing. However, it tracked as £136.50 instead. I would normally invest or save my share, but I needed the additional cash to cover some of my expenses this month. 

I received another payment from Topcashback this month, taking my total to £83.25. This was due to the referral banner link I have on my Blog. I received £15 because someone created an account with Topcashback after clicking on the banner. This is a bit of a milestone for me, as it's the first bit of income I've received for writing a Blog. Does that make me a professional writer? :-)
My Google Adsense account is moving very slowly at the moment (£3 - £4 per month), and you need £60 in your account before you can withdraw it. I didn't start this Blog to make money, nor do I intend to continue doing it for that purpose. I enjoy the writing process, interacting with some great people, and being accountable for my actions. If I'm able to make a small stream of income from what I do it would be a real bonus!

If you haven't joined Topcashback yet, I couldn't recommend it more! You can receive substantial payments like I did this month for saving money on bills, shopping, or getting paid to do free trials. 


Expenses

The first three lines on expenses were standard, nothing new to report there. Petrol and birthdays were slightly higher than normal as I required the use of the car a bit more than normal and it was my mums birthday.

My groceries were a lot lower than previous months. This section has been a little slack over the last couple of months, so it's nice to know that I can keep it low if needed and still get by.

I went out for a meal with my office, we were celebrating our recent performance. It was a very enjoyable evening, and I managed to keep the spending fairly low too. I had one course, I drank water, and with my tip it came to £15.

My fast food was a little higher this month (maybe it was due to having a lower grocery bill). This section usually covers 'Chips and Fried Chicken', which is relatively cheap. This month I had an Indian Takeaway which is a higher price, but it went down a treat.

The Dentist was just a check up. I have this twice a year. I got the 'all clear' and booked myself in for next March.

I paid for the upcoming Powerlifting meet and in order to compete, I had to pay for an 'end of year' membership. The last expense will be a Powerlifting Singlet, which I'll pay for soon. I can then look forward to the meet next Sunday. 

Miss FFBF was a bridesmaid for a wedding this month. We both had a fantastic time. I bought a round of drinks, which set me back a little bit more than I would have paid myself, but it was a rare occasion and I really don't mind. It was nice to catch up with old friends.

Prior to agreeing to sell a share of my car to Miss FFBF, I wasn't sure if I was going to sell my car. I only paid for 6 months tax, as I didn't think I would need a full year. I've agreed to pay for half of the major car bills as I still use it now and again. We paid for the full 12 months this time around to get better value. 

The month was wrapped up by a couple of small payments at work. A fellow manager and I decided to buy a bottle of wine for our manager, as she's had a pretty tough time recently. She's a fantastic boss, and she's helped us progress in various ways in the last 12 months. 
Believe it or not, our Christmas party was booked and paid for in September! We don't mess around! It's a masquerade ball, so I'll have to buy a mask at some stage too. It should be fun.
Finally, a few colleagues set up a charity coffee morning, with Bacon sandwiches, coffee, cake and a raffle draw. I skipped the bacon sandwiches, but helped myself to a few cakes and a lovely cup of coffee. 

September was a pleasing month overall. My Income was high, my dividends were fantastic, and my expenses were below average. I would happily take many more months like that.


Expense Goal

I have a goal for 2014 which is to keep my expenses below £950 per month, averaged out over the year. Here are my total expenses to date:




MonthExpenses
March£856.36
April£922.86
May£966.20
June£585.54
July£833.15
August£859.99
September£766.17
October-
November-
December-
Total£5,790.27
Average£827.18


My average spend at the end of August was £837.35. It's now dropped by £10.17 to £827.18. I'm still well below my goal of keeping expenses under £950 per month. I've previously mentioned that I would like to keep my expenses below £800 per month for 2014. I think this is just out of reach now. In order to achieve this, I would need to keep October, November and December's spending below £736 each month. It's not impossible, but I've only achieved that once this year, and doing it for the next three months is unlikely, especially with Christmas approaching. £800 might be more achievable for 2015. 


Savings Rate

I have a goal to save/invest at least 50% of my income every month for the remainder of 2014. 

I saved and invested 66.2% (£1,476.09) of my income this month. My average for the year has now decreased to 70.9%. I would like to keep my saving rate around the 75% mark for 2014. This is also looking less likely now, as I would need to save 85% of my income for the next three months, which is a feat I'm yet to accomplish. 

Thank you all again for supporting me and for taking the time to read about my month. 


How was September for you? Are you still on track to meet your goals this year? What have you learned or improved on?

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