I started tracking my Income & Expenses in March 2014. By committing to tracking these numbers and sharing them with you all on a monthly basis, I benefited from questioning every single penny I spent. For the rest of 2014, I managed to keep my expenses under £10,000 a year or £833 per month.
I will continue to record my income and expenses for 2015, but I don't intend on setting a goal for a specific saving % or an amount for keeping expenses below. I noticed that in 2014 my goals were effective in keeping my costs down, but they also influenced me not to spend money on certain things. That might sound good, but impacted everything including charitable donations and personal development, which are usually really important to me.
As I've mentioned in previous Posts, my priority for 2015 is making money. I want to challenge myself to earn a lot more money. I'm hoping that by having more disposable income, I'll have more money to invest with. This should then speed up the process to becoming FI. Easy right! I want to call Tom Cruise at the end of the year and shout "Show me the money!"
Here's a quick breakdown as to what goes into numbers below:
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 or low and I will also let you know if I've triggered a performance based bonus.
The first two expenses are fixed amounts. 'Mortgage/House Bills' is an account where Miss FFBF and I pay into each month (£480 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 (£60 per month) for food shopping.
Here's a breakdown of my Income and Expenses for the previous month:
|Income from February 2015
|Interest from Savings
|Expenses from February 2015
|Gift for Work
February's wage is similar to January, and is usually below average for me. This year was no different. My other Income streams were fairly low too, so overall I had a lot less to play with after my expenses had been factored in.
For starters, my dividends for February were in line with my 2014 average. I certainly don't mind getting paid for doing next to nothing, so I'm not complaining!
I completely disregarded Ebay this month. I didn't even think to list anything. There are always things to put on Ebay, and depending on how I get on with Kindle I'll see if I can relist some items for next month.
I have another new category for income this month - 'Coaching'. I mentioned this recently in my Monthly Goal Update post. A chap contacted me directly through this Blog and asked me to help him set up an E-book to sell on Amazon in exchange for a monetary gift. I agreed to an amount that was lower than he suggested, as I wanted to make sure I over-delivered on my end of the agreement. In hindsight, if I agree to help other people out in the future. I will review how much I charge as it has taken a lot longer than I expected to go through the process of producing a book. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed helping him out and like I mentioned in the Monthly Goal Update, he's been a pleasure to work with.
To summarise, February was a low paying month for me. When I look back at what I earned each month in 2014, and if I discount what I received for selling my car (as a large one off), it was £2,033 per month. So, February was £200+ below my 2014 average income. To hit my £50,000 Goal this year I need to increase it to £4,166 per month over 12 months. I still have a lot more money to earn to get back on track. My earnings in Kindle won't count until I get money from them officially. I'm hoping my first payment will come through by April.
February on the whole was another nice, low spending month. I've now officially completed 12 months of recording Income and Expenses. More to come on that later on in the post.
My House Bills, and Food Account were standard.
I detailed last month how I'm starting a new mobile contract, but there's been a U-Turn in that area. After negotiating a great deal with the new company, I forgot about the phone being 'locked', so unfortunately I had to cancel my contract and go back to my old provider. Thankfully they were very understanding and agreed to honour my old deal for another 12 months. I've not had a mobile payment in February due to this, but I'll have more to pay in March to make up for it.
Petrol and birthdays were a little higher than normal.
Groceries were bang on average.
My charitable donations are continuing in line with my target for 2015.
Alcohol and coffee shops were higher than normal - Especially alcohol. I mentioned on my Monthly Goal Update post that I went for a night on the town with some guys from work. Paying for rounds, games of pool and food mounted up in the end, but we had a great night all around.
I spent £6 on clothing, which was for a pair of slippers. The pipe and dressing gown are on route. I've noticed that more of my socks are becoming thread bare, so to prevent my continued sock cull, I decided to 'invest' in a cheap pair of slippers. After wearing them for several weeks now, I don't know how I lived without them!
The final purchase of the month was a diary that covers a day per A4 page. I did have a 2 page per week diary but found I was continually running out of room on it. The diary now follows me everywhere.
I don't have an expense goal for 2015, but I receive a lot of questions about my expenses, perhaps more than most other things I write about. I thought would keep tracking them as people are interested, as am I. Whilst I was tracking the average for that, I thought it would be worth doing the same thing for Income, as it's equally important and for my goal's this year, even more so!
£9,823.95 12 months / £818.66
My average spend at the end of January was £827.17. After two low spending months, I'm pleased to report that my 1 year average of tracking expenses finished on £818.66. My total spending over 12 months was £9,823.95. For March 2014 to February 2015 I officially lived on less than £10,000 per year. I know it isn't the lowest number in the world, but for someone who has a 5 yr old mortgage on a 3 bed, semi-detached house, I'm really happy with that. I achieved my 12 month Goal!
As I'm a little late with this post, and we're well into March, I can see that my monthly average has already shot up as I've spent more money on personal development (as intended). More to come on that next month.
I managed to save/invest £1,126.11 in January which is 62.8% of my income. This lowers my 1 year average to 68.8%. I'm a little disappointed I wasn't able to keep the total above 70%, but I'm confident that I'll be to keep to figure in the 60-70% mark moving forward, and that's not too bad. If I'm able to make my intended amount on Kindle this year (£1,000 per month), I'm sure that percentage will increase further.
Overall, a solid month, a cracking year, and still plenty to achieve! I hope you're all having a great March!
How was February for you? Are you track with your 2015 Goals? Are slippers still cool? I welcome all thoughts!
Labels: Income & Expenses