In theory, February should have the lowest spending of the whole year since there is only 28 days (most of the time) but life’s not as simple as that and our frugalness went a bit backwards last month with higher spending but still saving money.
It was a good month for the family and we even got a bit of a working holiday on the cheap out of it!
On the spending front, February was a hangover from Xmas
Total spending was about £3,000 – a jump up from recent months and above the 6 month average of £2,800. Housing and childcare costs were steady in £s but our other spending was a lot higher.
Where did it all go? Well, we had £100 cashback and a rebate of £300 on VCT fees which helped but spending at Christmas and in January was paid out by credit card in February.
I did bring forward some spending to avail of an American Express offer of £105* if you spent £2,000; which I did!!! Spending money to save money can be a waste of time and money but when used responsibly, these offers are useful. Spending £2,000 was helped in part by some work spending (~£1000), the rest was paying for an upcoming break with friends, some spending in IKEA and a lot at Tescos (Christmassy stuff) and ususal spending.
If you like you can get £100 yourself by clicking this link but you might prefer to join either Quidco or TopCashBack (and get paid for it) to do it as well – you can make £30 extra doing it that way. That’s enough shameless plugging of cashback (but I’m the Cashback King!)
*In Nectar points – but you can spend them pretty easily
Finally on the spending front, we’ve decided to let Dear Old Nanny go at the end of March. There’s a lot of reasons why we should / shouldn’t but the Master is old enough to entertain himself and my wife is still off work at present so it doesn’t make sense keeping her.
February is bonus time at work and our bonus was pretty good – about 13% of my salary or 6 weeks pay. Last year it was 9%, the year before 1% and the year before that 30%. Hardly something you’d bet your life on!
We have salary sacrifice in work but I decided to not pay any more into my pension and take it all in cash + the tax hit. I’ll plough it into VCTs to reclaim it – especially now that some original VCTs I invested in in 2014 are maturing.
This was also the last month the Lady was on 100% maternity pay – from now on it’s statutory – which is shamefully low.
Dividends came to about £2,300, roughly made up of £700 from P2P lending, £1,400 VCTs, £200 from Shares. The six month average is £1350.
Net worth was down up £10k or 1.2% but January’s number was revised down after disappointing beer company trading. Our pre-pension/FIRE funds were up £6k or 2% as well.
Our savings rate was at 71% mainly due to increased pay which offset the higher spending. The six month average is 62% meaning we are getting our spending under control.
The 6 month average Dividends were 49% of our total outgoings. Not good enough but without the Nanny to pay soon, that should start shooting up as part of the READY phase.
Safe Withdrawal Rate
SWR spending was 4.2% / 3.9% on the month/6 month average with FIRE SWR at 10% / 9.4% – that makes FIRE look impossible right now. There’s a funding gap between 10 years after FIRE and when we can get our pensions in ~20 years. Bridge building is required it seems.
Finally a little perspective.
I’m now over half the age my Dad was when he died. That’s a sobering thought isn’t it? I’m now firmly middle-aged even if I do look young and I certainly feel young. My Dad made the wise decision to quit working at 60 – he did a job that he loved and he loved the people he worked with. But quit he did and he was able to do so many of the things that he wanted to do in life that we all do but life gets in the way.