december present


Happy 2017 folks! Can you guess what exciting present TFS got for Christmas in the picture above? Yes it’s those lovely electric blue shelving units. I love them as they’ve totally cleared up our “junk/man room”. Hopefully you were equally as happy with your xmas haul.

Right back onto less conspicuous consumption related topics… how did we do in December on the ole budget front? Well the stars aligned and we spend almost exactly what we earnt, which is quite funny but a rather damp squib to end the year on especially combined with last months negative savings rate. The income and expense figures ended up within 18 pence of each other… hah!

I also have some pension update news (finally) which was good, read on to find out all the juicy details…


We spent a total of £3648.20 in December which brings our final average to £3136/month and the final total to £37,634. This means that despite a brilliant start to the year, we somehow spent more in 2016 than we did in 2015! I’ll do a full analysis of the figures in another post with graphs and all that, so that’s something for you to look forward to. We had a £520 Charity “bill” this month though so without that, this month doesn’t really seem all that bad for a December.

A non-exhaustive list of December expenses:

  • Mortgage £848 – This will be the figure going forward. Finally a bit of stability on this one!
  • Groceries £521 – Yikes! Christmas entertaining really hits home this month and kind of sums up the year in general which was ridiculously high grocery bills almost throughout. New year and new slate on this one but this is definitely somewhere I’ll be focusing on next year.
  • Clothes £73 – Going in the right direction here.
  • Going out £354 – Not actually that bad for a December I didn’t think, as we were out and about quite a lot.
  • Charity £520 – I stuck £400 into the pot for my Marathon fund plus paid a £100 registration fee (which I think is fair enough to count as “Charity”) so £500 in total for that, plus £20 other donations.
  • DIY £94 – Few bits to finish off the hallway and those lovely blue stacking shelves were only a part present, and I had to pay the rest.
  • Christmas & Other gifts £427 – Finish off the Christmas stuff. We spent a total of £634 this year which does seem quite excessive, but I guess we had one extra to buy for this year! I think we’ll try to stick to £500 next year, there was no budget done at all this year and I guess that was reflected in the the overspend.
  • Golf £0 – No golf in December! 🙁
  • Children £37 – Just a couple of bits and bobs bought but this obviously doesn’t include her Xmas pressies.
  • Car maintenance £160 – A couple of really annoying things here. 1) The battery went flat, so I got a jump start off one of the neighbours. Just to be sure we took it to Halfords who give you a free battery check up, and lo and behold “It’s on it’s arse mate, you need a new battery”. What’s that old phrase again? Never ask a battery salesman if you need a new battery? Something like that 🙂 – I guess there was a 50/50 chance it was actually needed and the car is starting better now so maybe it actually was. Anyway number 2) was my fault, I smashed off the rear view mirror when transporting some MDF home from Homebase. I mean clean right off, it took a chunk of the windscreen out (see pic below). After trying to fix this on the cheap with multiple window repair and rearview mirror adhesive kits and getting nowhere, we stumped up the £75 to get the windscreen replaced which not only fixed 1 the bullet hole in the window but came with a new rear view mount so I could just slide the old mirror back on it. Probably for the best as the windscreen would have been weakened by the bullet hole anyway but still quite annoying.

windscreen bullet hole



Another below average month for income which came in at £3252.96. In case anyone is wondering how we managed a 0% savings rate it is because I don’t count pension contributions in this figure although I do count them towards our savings rate!

A non-exhaustive list of Decembers income:

  • TFS salary £2371 – Slightly more than usual due to train strikes, which although are shit, means I worked from home more and spent less on train tickets. Every cloud etc! (If you’re wondering, I just take the train ticket cost straight off of my salary each month because I know that if/when I ever quit work this is not an expense I need to account for, and therefore should not be tracked in our ongoing expenses and therefore savings rate)
  •  Mrs T maternity pay £136 – Inexplicably another maternity payment. Surely this is the last of it now! 🙂
  • Matched betting / Secret Side Hustle £543 – An average month here, but I am waiting for a few bets to settled which I know have won but not hit my accounts yet. So I know January should already be a really good month and I have hardly done anything for it yet – If anyone is interested I use Odds Monkey matched betting software (<–affiliate link) for this, which having tried a few different ones out there, I found to be a far superior product in pretty much every way to everything else I tried. Check it out if you are new to matched betting, there are loads of great tutorials to get you going and you can try it for free.
  • Ratesetter £55 – This included £5 worth of interest and £50 referral fees from this post I wrote. Cheers to Niall D who let me know he’d signed up through my link, much appreciated! If you want to sign up and take advantage of the £100 sign up bonus which is still ongoing, use this link here (<– obviously it’s a referral link!) or read my post on it for more info.
  • Top Cashback £40 – Another nice payment from Topcashback. If you haven’t signed up yet do so here (<– affiliate link) and start earning cashback on your online purchases you would have made anyway.

Remember if you want to look at the full figures or copy my spreadsheet to use/modify yourself just have a look at it here: my awesome spreadsheet. Note: You can use this yourself, just copy it and then edit your own copy by going to File -> Make a copy OR File -> Add to my drive OR File -> Download As (then select a format to download as).

savings rate, net worth, etc

As mentioned earlier our savings rate for the month was 0.00% which brings our average down to 34.87% for the year. A shame to duck under the 40% mark on the last two months of the year, but they are generally always more expensive. I think next year to hit 40% we need to be on 45% going into Nov/Dec.

The good news here is on Net Worth, the pension transfer from my old work pension into my SIPP finally completed. Although I can see the actual transfer figure was almost bang on what I estimated, I then realised I haven’t been including my new work pension in my figures since around the time my company started the new scheme, which was around February. I found the online portal and was pleased to see £3,819 already sitting there, so there was a nice bump to Net Worth this month. I’ll track it all properly from now on (Just need to finally sort Mrs T’s pension! We’ll put hers into a SIPP as well I think as it makes it easier to all store in one place if possible).

The pension money was all in cash when I sampled the figures but I’ve already employed it into a few different Vanguard ETFs and funds, which I should really update you on in January’s update since that is when it happened. No spoilers here… I’m remaining tight lipped! 🙂

Net Worth this month:

Excluding house equity: £132,954 / +£5,116 / +4.00%

Including house equity: £209,931 / +£5,576 / +2.73%

Liquid Freedom: £60,330 / £905 / +1.52%

Liquid Freedom is cash I could get my hands on relatively easily (i.e. not tied up in pensions or house equity) and has pleasingly gone up from £40,673 since the start of the year. Another increase like that next year and I think I’ll finally be ready to take the plunge into full self employment, but I guess we’ll have to see about that when the time comes. Maybe I’ll be susceptible to OMYS 2

Here are the full tables of Net Worth stats over the year, which in case you hadn’t seen it hidden in the menus above 3 I keep here as well:

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 11.23.00

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 11.23.07


A £40K total NW increase is pleasingly surprising! I know a lot of this increase has come because of the £ devaluing and therefore boosting our globally diversified portfolio, but it still looks good on paper doesn’t it? 🙂

I would have bitten your arm off at the start of the year if you’d offered me that.

Quickly going back the whole exchange rate fiasco though here is some further sobering evidence, not that it’s really needed. I just checked in on Rockstar Finances list of blogger Net Worths page and saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 15.50.07

I checked when that was from and it was May 2015. Comparing these figures to our current Net Worth:

Sterling: £148,019 –> £209,931 –> +£61,912 🙂

Dollars: £213,578 –> $256,045 –> +$41,467 🙁



other updates

My alcohol intake in December was: 31.53/week. High but always is going to be at this time of year. I’m looking forward to cutting back barring a few social obligations over the next month or so and getting some serious marathon training in!

Which while we’re on the subject, I asked last month if anyone would mind me posting the sponsor link on here and the reception to this idea was generally positive! So here is the link:

Sponsor me for the London Marathon 2017 – Running for Young Epilepsy

If anyone has found what I’ve written on here over the last 3 years helpful at all and would like to give me a “tip” in some way then I’d very much appreciate you shooting me across a donation, every little helps so it doesn’t have to be a big one of course! Thank you so much in advance.


I’ll work through some end of year updates and post them out next so won’t witter on here too much further, maybe with a short 2017 goals post and looking to the year ahead as well.

I’ve decided already I’m calling 2017 the year of the big chill though, I feel like I’ve burnt the candle at about 18 different ends over the last few years and want to enjoy some of the time off I’ve worked into my schedule to just slow down and enjoy life. This is another way of saying not as many DIY projects 🙂 but obviously I’ve got a marathon to train for (and a now mobile baby to run around after!) so I won’t be parking myself on the sofa that’s for sure.


Hope you all saw in the new year in style and are looking forward to the new year as much as I am 🙂




  1. Simply by being a whole brand new windscreen
  2. One More Year Syndrome
  3. It’s under the “About” section