Month-End: December 2021

This comes a little early but here’s our Month-End for December 2021.

Thank goodness we’ve managed to make it through the winter solstice! I don’t like the winter, with the lack of sunlight, worse weather and cold temperatures. It’s only getting lighter and brighter from now on, woo hoo! Scotland can be crap in winter, makes you want to hibernate or emigrate.

Whilst we spend a lot of time outdoors as a family in summer, in winter it’s time indoors together – and that can be a lot of fun. I’ve spent some nice time with the kids this month making Christmas decorations – like paper chains. The Lady thinks that they look terrible but my crafting skills are pathetic, so I take a bit of pride in cutting strips and stapling them into a chain!

My handiwork

Other news this month was the that Lady decided to get Covid and was confined to her quarters for 10 days. It wasn’t too bad for her health, a mild cold but solitary confinement isn’t great for mental health. That was tough on me, but I got through it. It was nice to spend time with the kids and I have a new found respect for single parents – especially if they are working as well!

Christmas

Christmas presents for the kids were bought long ago so no panic buying for us.

I do the Christmas dinner and that’s my main focus right now. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot to do. As I edit this, I’m about to dash out the door to do the “big shop”, wish me luck!

I never used to like Christmas that much growing up – but now I see the importance of it as a festival. There’s something nice about decorating a tree and the house, baking mince pies, giving cards and presents to friends, neighbours and acquaintances.

It isn’t very frugal – but who wants to be a Scrooge?

Stuffing balls already prepared

Childcare

I decided to be generous this year, gifting to the milkman, postman (£5 each), 12 bottles of wine to the nursery staff and others. The nursery staff particularly deserve it because they are great to the Little Lady and don’t get paid anywhere near as much as they are worth.

In other news, the Little Lady will now cost us less than £600 a month in nursery after the free-hours from the Scottish Government kick in.

That brings the total childcare costs to around £750 a month next year – a huge reduction in cost from what we’ve stomached for the last 4 years. Of course, there are extra costs creeping in from what I class as “entertainment” instead of “childcare” – drama, ballet, swimming, tennis and all the apparel that comes with them. But overall, the costs are on a downward trend.

Other Spending

Total spending on the month was around £5,800. Who knows what on? Childcare was £1,400, household costs £900, the blackhole of “other” spending £3,600.

That £3,600 included tickets for shows that were cancelled, a lot of Belgian Beer, skis for the Master and a lot on takeaways – sushi being the worst offender. I also spent £400 on a £480 hotel voucher with Accor Hotels. It’s a good deal in my opinion at a good price – even if it does add costs now.

My predictions for 2022 show much lower spending – but I’m not sure how realistic it is.

Income

I paid myself a dividend for the first time in a long time – the company has enough money. I also paid the corporation tax about 6 months early. I know that there’s an argument to keep it and earn interest, but it was just around £2,000 so I thought that that amount of money is trivial and I’d rather pay it early than hold on to it.

I was also considering buying an electric car through the company but I am not sure that it’s a good idea. It’s complex but I think that it’s a no. I have been on record to say that we’ll not get an electric car but I might change my mind over the next few months.

Investments

As part of an end of year tidy-up, I decided to do a bit of carpet-bagging. Signing up for introductory bonuses has earned us a few pounds for not much work. I’d be tempted to post about them and help you share in the wealth (often the sign-up bonuses benefit both the referrer and the referee) but I’d rather stay quasi-anonymous and I’d hate to think that someone makes a mistake following my advice*, also who signs up anyway?

Earlier this year we invested around £15,000 into a new issue of GreenCoat Wind at a price of 132p per share which is now sitting at about 140p per share – a £900 profit. It also boosts my green money credentials – although I’m nowhere as green as some bloggers.

Assets

Net Worth sits at £1.175m up about 1% month on month and 15% year on year. Or 9% year on year if you believe in inflation.

Our ISAs are comfortably above £200k and added £5k on the month, SIPPSs & LISAs up £5k on the month.

Due to cash flow shortages a bit back, I looked into a stooze card. Borrowing at 0% Apr for 2 years seems like a good idea and I went ahead with it. I got the car and I fully maxed it out – stoozing is great – thanks for the free money Bank named after a Spanish city!

FIRE Ratios

Since our spending is so high right now, our withdrawal rate is about 5.4% and 14.2% of our FIRE assets. That would mean that at our current rate of spending, we’d go broke in 7 years, a good ten or so years before our pension money kicks in. I suspect though that we’d manage to trim some fat from the family budget if that happened.

Wrap-up

I’ll see if I can put out an end of year review post. I don’t really have the time right now but it’s been a good December and a good year.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks, GFF

*Definitely not advice by the way – if you want good advice, sign-up for Nigel the Money Wizard’s newsletter.

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