all change


Just a quick post to update you on my current work situation, which has changed yet again 🙂

First of all a brief reminder of what’s been going through my head over the last year or so:

September 2014 – Alternative plans for FI and a new definition: Frugally Independent – I started to think that “Full FI” i.e. quitting a main job completely after saving hard for 10 or so years might not be the best way of doing this for me. Downshifting my hours or re-engineering my work schedule some other way started to look more attractive.

January 2015 – There’s Some Things You Should Know About theFIREstarter – I announced I’d quit my job. Dramatic or what! Here is what I said:

“I have managed to negotiate a “slow extraction” from my current company, I will be there full time until June time, then go down to 3 days a week, slowly dropping down to 1 day a week around December.”


change, change and change again

It’s funny how things work because after having a bit of a whine about our new agile processes at work, it has actually turned out to be a massive benefit to me because one of my original proposals to my employer was that I could go part time. On our old working schedule this basically meant something like having 1 or 2 extra days off per week, but that was not optimum for either party really due to:

  • Head not in the game – If you are only working 3 days per week it is hard to get fully focused
  • Work scheduling – Hard to start and finish big chunks of work in only 3 days, lot’s of handing over and then handing back, along with pauses in productivity. Not efficient at all!
  • Train ticket – It would have killed me on the commuting costs because I would be paying for a full weekly or monthly ticket and only be using it for 3 days per week!

With the new agile 2 week sprint I had an idea that I thought was crazy, but it might just work 😉

So I put to them that I did 2 sprints on (so 4 weeks working) and then have a full one sprint off to do my own thing. This would nullify all of the above negatives:

  • Head not in the game – I would be fully focused on big chunks of work over 4 week periods
  • Work scheduling – Again it is easy to schedule work in if you know someone is about for a whole 2 or 4 weeks!
  • Train ticket – I can now buy a monthly ticket for the 4 weeks I am working, leaving the other 2 weeks train ticket expense free. I’ve calculated this will cost me a maximum of £2,799 instead of the current £3,276, a saving of £477 (and that isn’t including any shrewdly worked out holiday bookings to make it even less)

They seemed to like the idea and obviously wanted me to stay on in some capacity if possible so this seemed to benefit both parties and…. they went for it! 🙂


doing the maths

Just to compare current monthly figures with what the new ones will be then:

Old New
After Tax Income 3087 2193
Train expenses 273 233
Net earnings 2814 1960

Please note this doesn’t factor in pension contributions or bonus which obviously I will be getting less on both.

So now I’ll be working 66% of the year for roughly 69% of the pay which is fine by me. Screw tax efficient investing 1, this is tax efficient earning as now I’ll be just under the 40% bracket!

I’ll still be looking to build up some extra income in the 2 week sprints I have to myself, I won’t be resting on my laurels, it just means I’ll still have a solid income to keep us going in the meantime so to me this seems to be the best of both worlds.

It is also a massive safety net because if none of my business plans work out I am sure I could go back full time or we could even survive easily on this income anyway if we put our minds to it. Clearly I need to scope out a new monthly budget for when this will come into effect though (which is the end of August now).

I realise that I am simply buying time off of my future self to have now but I think I can deal with that, and also if I think I can make productive use of that time, and let’s face it, have a bit more downtime/funtime as well, then I’d rather take that time now if it works out as well as I think it will.


out of the closet?

One final point of intrigue, I had a comment on the blog from “Greg” the other day that read:

“Good work, Mr. Gxxxxxx. You’ve still got a fair way to go to FI but I have a good feeling you’re going to be able to downscale in the near future to the point that work won’t feel such a chore.”

Now this is weird because I don’t think I’ve ever let on my last name on this blog 2 and also the way this was phrased suggested a nod to the fact that this person definitely knew me and my plans with work, almost suggesting it is someone FROM work. This has really bamboozled me because I don’t think I’ve told anyone at work about the blog, in fact I am sure I have been quiet careful to never go onto the blog even while anyone else has been in the office.

What’s more there is no one called Greg at work, and I don’t know anyone called Greg either. I decided to check the email address that was supplied on facebook and this person did actually exist but it wasn’t anyone I know (I also sent an email and they didn’t reply!).

So is this someone I know and they’ve left a fake name and email address (that turned out to be real person) and I have been not only outed from the FI closet but also as theFIREstarter!?!

Or is it all just massive coincidence and I have accidentally dropped my surname somewhere and this is just a “normal” reader who is simply referencing my previous plans of downshifting/quitting?!?

Who knows… the mystery remains as such unless “Greg” gets back in touch and reveals his true identity I suppose!

That’s it for now! I am off to Madrid for the weekend which should be *awesome* and will post a full April expenses update asap. Have a nice bank holiday weekend everyone!


A few final questions:

What do you think of this current plan, better than the old one or not? Have I wussed out from sticking it to the man and quitting completely? And Greg… please reveal yourself!?



  1. Well actually don’t, I’m sure you get the angle I am coming from here though
  2. The x’s were added by me by the way. It was actually me real name in the original comment! 🙂