february 2016 update – and then there were three
Woah! Long time no see people!
Where have I been you might be asking? Well as the title and picture above have probably already given away, baby TFS has made a bit of an unexpected early appearance! So to say the last month has been a little bit mental is probably a gross understatement. To keep things concise here are a few bullet points for you:
- Early Feb I had two weeks off to do up the kitchen
- In the second week Mrs T had to stay in hospital so they could monitor her and the baby
- Baby came on 23rd Feb, weighing 4lb 5oz, Mum and baby are doing fine!
- Our house therefore was/is still a complete mess and I am still trying to get the kitchen done (pics to follow)
while on Paternity leavenow I’m back at work 1 🙂
- Oh yea, I also signed up to do 3 half marathons if you remember!? Mini spoiler: I only got round to doing one of them
Phew! It makes me feel knackered just writing that all down but living it out has been both the best fun and rewarding experience of my life and at the end of the day baby is here and fine and that is clearly all that matters, we both feel very lucky to have a lovely little daughter.
Right, enough of the mushy stuff, let’s have a look at our finances!
There isn’t much to go into this month as we basically haven’t done anything apart from being at the hospital, me doing up the kitchen in any spare time I have, and us receiving visitors once baby was here, all of which are fairly cheap pastimes…!
Having said that the kitchen refit was fairly expensive so we ended up spending £3192.89 this month. The kitchen and DIY stuff came in at £1209 so that leaves £1983 for “other stuff”. Not too shabby but not all that surprising as I spent the whole month either in a semi demolished kitchen or a hospital 🙂
Here are some highlights from this month:
- Groceries £199 – Our lowest for a while (again mainly due to us not really being there for a large portion of the month)
- Council Tax £0 – I always forget about this but it is always a welcome surprise (anyone have any idea why you only pay it over 10 months!?!)
- Clothes £116 – Mrs T still managed to spend a fair chunk of money on clothes despite being in hospital (or maybe she was just bored… haha!)
- “Dining and Drinking” £78 – Well we managed to spend a bit more than our £25 total last month but no we haven’t exactly been clubbing in Ibiza, most of this spend came from the hospital canteen and coffee shops. And you know what, it wasn’t as bad as people make out!
- Alcohol £62 – No I haven’t hit the bottle to cope with being a new Dad! There was a good offer on the Adnam’s brewery website so I bought in bulk as a well trained frugalist should do. In fact I ended up buying 24 bottles of their non alcoholic lager to try. It’s called Bitburger and it’s really quite nice, so give it a go if you like the taste of beer but want to cut down on the alcohol intake.
- Parking £59 – Blooming hospital parking! What’s worse is that the midwives told me even the staff have to pay which is a bit of a joke really considering the hospital is in the middle of nowhere and there is plenty of land around, so it can’t be expensive to run the car parking facilities. It’s only £1 a day but c’mon, give em a break!
We pulled in a total of £4056 this month which is pretty damn fine if you ask me!
It’s worth pointing out at this juncture, seeing as this is a blog primarily about not working, that I was actually off for 5 weeks in a row, so basically the whole of February! And so was Mrs T (as she has started maternity leave). It kind of feels like we’re cheating at life right now but this is the system our society has set up for us (along with the deal I struck with my work) and I feel very grateful to live in such a society where this is possible.
The main income from our jobs (snigger) was supplemented by £777 (what a lovely figure to end up with!) from Matched Betting activities. This is great considering I didn’t have much time to actually do any matched betting, but I got really lucky when trying a few of the risk free casino offers out there and snuck in a monster £500+ win on a casino fruit machine believe it or not. I am sure that is a once in a lifetime win off of a paltry £5 worth of free spins. I’m not turning it down but the phrase “past performance is not indicative of future results” could not be more appropriate here and I will be looking to spend more time on the meat and potatoes offers out there this month (especially as it’s Cheltenham racing this week and there are TONNES of great free bets and refund offers flying about! Here’s an easy one from Stan James if you wanted to get started – simply log in every day and they’ll give you a £5 no strings attached free bet via this link (that’s not an affiliate link btw, and sorry it’s a bit late as we’re already 2 days into the festival).
On a kind of related note, I love this story – A perpetual Arbitrage Machine – highlighted by the Finance Zombie, as it made me think about Matched Betting, when I read the title at least, although the actual story is nothing about that! I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as greedy as the French fella in the story but then you could argue that matched betting is immoral as you are deliberately using the bookies own systems against them. I think that is roughly where I draw the line with stuff like this, i.e. if you have set up an offer to attract (entrap!?) new customers that can be used in my favour, then it’s fair game to me, especially if it’s small fry. The dude in that story is just using a horrendous loophole to try to massively profit and it will impact on many other people if he does (it’s not a zero sum game – we are talking perpetual arbitrage which arises from pricing differences here and not a perpetual motion machine!)
Anyway back to the main programme…
savings rate and net worth
This expense and income led to a lowly savings rate of just 28.62%
But to be honest I am quite happy it’s in the positive with the kitchen expenses. Now that is nearly all paid for we should be back up to nearly the 50% mark next month, as long as baby T doesn’t start seriously upping the nappy incidents 🙂
Net worth is thankfully starting to shoot back up again due to the slight recovery in the stock market. I bought a chunk of the Vanguard FTSE100 index when it was near it’s bottom so that was nice, but haven’t bought anything since. I have had to estimate my pension (pretty sure I’ve underestimated it) because they are changing the system at work but here are the tentative NW figures for the month:
Excluding house equity: £100,432 / +£3,486 / +3.60%
Including house equity: £172,210 / +£3,868 / +2.30%
OOOOHhhh would you look at that! I just got a little bit excited as I never even realised until literally just now… but we just hit 6 figures of net worth for the first time ever on the “excluding house equity” section… February was just a month that kept getting better and better as it turns out! 🙂
I’ll save my initial thoughts on becoming a father for another post I think but here are a few “other” updates for the month
Alcohol – It turned out to be another very low month for me on this front. Not really that surprising, when you get up at 7am, do DIY, go to the hospital, come home then paint till 1am you don’t really fancy getting wasted. Anyway I averaged 3.3 units per week (lol!) which is my lowest ever since I started tracking it. So there you have it folks, if you want to cut down on your booze intake just have a baby. Simple! 🙂
how not to train for a half marathon
So as mentioned the week before the first half marathon I was aiming to complete was spend doing back breaking labour and sitting in an ante-natal ward. Not exactly the best training run up I’ve ever had! 🙂
However I still managed a more than respectable time of… drum roll perrrrrlease…
This was the Tunbridge Wells Half in which I targeted a time of 1:26. You can read about the original challenge I set myself here if you missed it. Considering everything else that was going on and not so favourable windy conditions, I was pretty well chuffed with that. It was a half marathon PB again and I smashed my course record from last year by nearly 5 minutes!
Baby T duly came along on the Tuesday after that and so I did the right thing and pulled out of the Brighton Half, I just didn’t want to be leaving Mrs T and Baby so early on, and I think that was definitely the right call. The third half I have to admit I had already written off but forgot to say about it on here, the main reason being it was in Eastbourne which is a bit of a drive and my Bro-in-law who was going to accompany me couldn’t make it this year. I didn’t really fancy driving over an hour, running 13.1 miles then driving back all on my own (luckily I never got round to signing up to that one so no money lost there!)
I’ll leave you with some pictures* of what else I’ve been up to in Feb as they say a picture is a thousand words. So by my rough calculations I can now say that I’ve written a 19,000 word blog post…!
You can see below kitchen progress, and therefore confirm that I am telling the truth and haven’t just been sitting around watching Jezza K for 5 weeks… 🙂 – plus a few other random ones
*Sorry no pics of Baby T – this ain’t facebook 😀
And with that I shall see you all soon now that things are kind of back to normal!
Tara for now! Hope you all had a fantastic February and most of March while we’re at it!
Before and ‘after’ photos first…
After… well progress so far at least! 😉
Before… So the general plan was to replace that weird bit of cupboard and worktop you can see jutting out on the right. The small raised breakfast bar in the foreground never really got used either so we decided to level that off with the sink and put in proper 900mm breakfast bar. Plus redo the flooring and repaint the cupboards!
As you can hopefully see, the room looks a lot bigger without the protruding cupboards and worktop. Not really sure why you’d ever want that in there in the first place!!! Maybe that was the “in” thing in the early 2000’s 🙂
Now for some other random pics of how I did it…
… Plus one of these bad boys (and a saw)…
… Equals some new cupboards to fill in the wall space!!! 🙂
And here are the top cupboards in position
The wall looks a bit worse for wear after I went at it with hammer and heavy duty chisel. Nothing a bit of filler and paint won’t clear up though!
Random animal interlude! This is my nephew’s pet Gecko who I had to look after while Mrs T was in hospital. Yea… feeding a lizard live crickets is exactly what you want to be doing at 11:30pm after a long day 🙂 – to be fair he’s pretty cool though.
Neighbours cat decided I’d built him a sundeck in our front yard by the looks of things! He must have been disappointed when I finally took it down the dump
This is my favourite photo. This is what our kitchen looked like about a week after Baby T came home. Yes… a week AFTER. It’s not dangerous at all, what are you talking about?!
Note to future self: Washing and sterilising baby stuff in the bathroom sink is no fun 🙂
Cutting the worktop with a router and a jig. A bit scary (sounds like an aircraft taking off! Ear and eye protection most definitely needed!) but pretty good honest fun as well. Also spent the whole time worrying that I was going to mess up a £500 work top with a cut that went wrong. Fun times! 🙂
Also makes a helluva lot of saw dust! Where has the floor gone?!
The site of running water again after 3 days without it brought a tear to my eye. It was totes emosh, as they say! If you ever want to be grateful about your life just think how fucking awesome it is to have this facility at the turn of a tap when many millions or billions in the world still do not. We don’t know how lucky we are.
And finally… the obligatory “whoops” DIY moment… there is always one…
Moral of the story here, if you are using your dining room as a cutting bench, be a bit more careful than I was! 😀
- I started writing this post about a week into paternity and it’s taken me 3 weeks to complete… haha! ↩