Month End: January 2021

Shh… don’t tell anyone but we’ve sneaked off to Lichtenstein for some skiing. We call this place Lockdownstein! It turns out that since Lichenstein has no legal system, nothing is against the law here and the skiing is amazing!

Ok, that’s a blatant lie, Lichtenstein has shit skiing but also, we are not skiing this year and instead are holed up at home waiting for better weather. We miss skiing but can wait for it. We miss the summer too and the sun.

January has been an eventful month for the GFF family with the kids being kicked out of nursery (because of the virus) and were with a childminder for 4 weeks. The experience was good for the Little Lady but the Master didn’t enjoy it so much – without getting too personal, he is not enjoying the virus times.

The childminder cost us £35 a day per kid and over the month we spend £1,400. That cost is lessened by the use of Tax Free Childcare giving a net cost of £1,080 – still quite a lot. However, as of Monday the kids were back at nursery!!! Which is great. Monthly cost for 5 days at nursery is £1,700 or £1,360 (with tax free childcare). Thinking only of the cost of childcare but not recognising the value of it is a common trap.

Work

In the last month, I’ve been working pretty much full time and the Lady has started a new job. Without childcare we’d be down a salary or both very stressed! So it’s a small price to pay.

Family Finances

Regarding our family finances, income was weak as I’ve not been paid much recently and the Lady as mentioned changed jobs. Her new job is going great btw.

Spending was about £3,900 which seems to be “normal” for us, although £1,400 is childcare and about £1,000 are household costs which includes mortgage interest and car depreciation.

Where did the other £1,500 go? Well we suffered about £600 of credit card fraud or paid for items that didn’t turn up. We should get all the money back (which is nice) but I must admit that American Express are top notch for customer service (the jury is still out on Visa).

Assets & Net Worth

+0.9% for  the month but since the end of the month probably up 2% based on the fickle markets. My super secret side hustle took in £6500 in profit for the month – a bumper month and the best ever! Dividends were strong from VCTs and I can look ahead and consider investing in new offers this year… not sure yet.

I’ve pumped some money into my FreeTrade account – there’s no link here but if ou want to get a free share, go to www.quietlysaving.co.uk and read Weenie’s reviews – however I guess everyone who wants to join already has. I avoided silver like a vampire and GateStop like a luddite and went for boring investments like VWRP the “Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF USD Accumulation (GBP)”. TER is 0.22% but who cares about that when you can make millions on speculating.

Look Ahead

I have some stoozing money to repay this month and money coming in from work making paying it off easy. I need to consider if I should invest money now outwith an ISA or wait until April to invest in the ISA. I’m also considering (since we are flush at the moment) if investing in Junior ISAs or similar is a good idea. I might post on this because “investing for children” is relevant, interesting and if you are going down the route of FI, then you have options. My previous conclusion that the best way to invest for kids was to give them nothing! (and put it into your pension instead, better tax breaks, you keep control and they have no legal right to the money which allows you to go skiing if you like – spending kids’ inheritance or just skiing.

I also get explicit financial advice from none other than Nigel Farage – although it’s actually a waste of time skimming through the emails. I had hoped to profile what has sent to me but there’s too much and I have seen bits of it elsewhere and I suspect that anyone who has a half-baked theory can pay £200 and get a spot on the bulletin. I’ve not followed the advice and the only upside is that I’ve not received any spam.

Choosing to Spend More

I’m consciously trying to spend more on takeaways now that we are both working and busy all day. Luckily we have some very good and healthy takeaways nearby like Turkish and Lebanese.  We also have less healthy like Indian and unhealthy like Chinese and Thai as well as the extortionate in the form of raw fish slices on bits of rice or fish +rice wrapped in seaweed.

Take away may be more expensive but there are advantage to it and it’s an easy expense to justify.

What is not so easy to justify is…

Two car family

We are a two car family and have been for almost 10 years. Before that I didn’t own a car and saved a lot of money that way. Our main car “Clanky” passed its MOT this month on her 7th birthday. For the “new” car, it’s good to know that we can rely on her. Our other car, “Dopey” is sadly under utilised, possibly because it’s now a teenager and like typical teenagers it’s mopey, ill-tempered and uncooperative. I tried to take it out for a run every few weeks during the lockdown but the battery eventually ran flat. Back in October I tried jumping the car when there was space in front of it but the bonnet wouldn’t open. So I’m left with a teenage car that won’t start and you can’t even open the bonnet. It cost about £800 to get through the MOT last year and isn’t worth that now – so I think that I’ll scrap it/sell it. I have it valued at £461 in my spreadsheet, so it’s not a great loss and its MOT this year might cost more than that. Also, owning something like a rusty old car is just another thing to worry/think about. I should add that it doesn’t owe us a penny.

Flexibility of a Second Car?

One of the benefits of working from home is that you don’t need a car – but just as people who never make long trips have “range anxiety”, part of me wonders if only having 1 car when I might need to travel 65 miles to work someday is a good idea. The Lady doesn’t want to give up her car (but her new job is in town and a 30 minute walk, bus options are available as well as cycling/electric bikes).

The solution might be something like Co-Wheels* who have cars nearby and rental of an electric car would be £38.50 per day. That might sound a bit steep but considering my insurance plus tax and MOT/cheap servicing on Dopey is about £400 a year, that works out 10 days hire. Add on wear and tear, depreciation and what not and the total cost of owning a car is expensive.

In fact a quick bit of googling shows that: “The average annual cost of owning a car in the UK comes to £3406.80 for those who do not have car finance – for those that do, the figure rises to £5744.40.”

Our average cost for two cars has recently been around £450 a month. Dropping down to 1 car will make that maybe save £100 a month – money that can be diverted towards takeaway instead! And who knows what our next car will be, Clanky is 7 now and not getting any younger. Maybe we’ll evem go electric next!

Thanks, GFF

*Never used them but there’s a few nearby us and I know of people who’ve used them and found them to be good. Sharing economy and removing cars from roads are good things in my book.

8 Comments

  1. By that description. I’m sensing your distaste for sushi 😉

    100% recommend hitting up an Itsu or Kokoro for reasonably priced raw fish slices on bits of rice. Or sticking to the veggie options usually keeps the price down.

    But I get what you mean, my sensible money head does do a backflip whenever I let myself splurge on my favourite uncooked lunch 😛

    Like

  2. Both of continuing to work ( mostly pretend to work in my case ) is making our household a little stressed. Our son is 6 and sadly we have no alternative childcare options. I’ve been booking 3 half days off a week in order to attempt to retain a little bit of sanity. My partner is a contractor and isn’t so keen to take time off from her £500 a day contract so it much of the responsibility falls on my permie shoulders.

    I’m soon to draw some stoozing cash from one or two of my credit cards so I can use my ISA for this financial year. Sadly I can’t locate any fee free deals but I’ll only need to borrow it fr about a month as I have other investments maturing in May. Paying a small fee seems worth it so I don’t miss out on a years worth of ISA allowance.

    Amex are pretty good. They quickly processed a charge back when Selfridges were dragging their heels over an item I had returned 4 weeks ago. It got the 5% cashback card to cover my Christmas spending. We already had the money in the bank but getting an extra 5% cashback just for putting the spending through Amex seemed sensible. We also got an extra £20 by signing up to Amex via Quidco – we all like free money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The amex card has nice rewards but you can’t get it if you’ve had a card within he last 2 years.
      I waited and tried to sign the Lady up in October but was rejected at the credit rating part! I was fuming.
      Free money is nice but I can live without it and i suspect that the pressure to spend £2k means good money is wasted.

      He next post I’m writing is on stress. A part and parcel of life.

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      1. Stress, what’s that ? A day filled with 3 simultaneous conference calls at 09:15 is the norm isn’t it. Oh, then I find the house next to my Father’s has just come on the market and I try and work out if I can juggle funds around to buy it without liquidating my ISA.

        Will my ISA funds potentially present a better return than buying the house ? Does anybody do an ISA offset mortgage, will my “interesting” financial affairs cause issues ? I supect I already know many of the answers.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Ah the Joy’s of being a staffie – pay regardless of either input or output.” – how about the joys of being a contractor – not having to endure quarterly/annual performance assessments?

    Liked by 1 person

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