As you can see from the above pic, we spent some of February basking on a lovely beach in Antigua! Actually a more accurate description was frantically chasing TFS Jr around, which let’s face it, was far more fun than just cooking ourselves slowly in the Caribbean sun anyway. But how did all of this extravagance hit our bottom line?! Find out below…



As usual you can check out my Awesome FI Tracking Spreadsheet for a full breakdown of Income/Expense tracking and Net Worth tracking, as well as updated some of the summary sheets as well. Remember you can copy this to use/update as you please using Google Sheets “File -> Make a copy” menu command!

The figures below as usual represent: £Current Month (£2018 Monthly Average / £Monthly Average Target)

  • Total £2487 (£3780 / £3205) – Wow, a very nice surprise. February is the shortest month which definitely helped, and we did pay for most of the holiday stuff last month, but nonetheless it’s very nice to see such a frugal month which included a bit of holiday spending! The monthly average has jumped back down so one more frugal month like this should see us back at that average target
  • Mortgage £848 (£848 / £848) 
  • Household £452 (£594 / £602) – Wow. This is lower than any of our months from 2017. Groceries clocked in at £326 which is the same. I’m not celebrating too much yet because February is the shortest month of the year and we were on holiday for a week of it, but still, going in the right direction. Let’s keep this momentum for March!
  • Holiday £448 (£1233 / £333) – Although we were all inclusive, we hired a car out for two days and had a bit of spending money for our holiday, hence this spend.
  • Going out £297 (£300 / £467) – Not much going on this month, just a few meals out etc…
  • Transport £46 (£257 / £192) – Not much driving happened this month, obvs!
  • Personal Care £130 (£109 / £92) – Mrs T had a haircut and bought some stuff that make her look even more beautiful than she already is 1
  • Home/Garden £0 (£24 / £100) – ZERO SPEND ALERT! ZERO SPEND ALERT!
  • Lifestyle £62 (£138 / £141) – I genuinely couldn’t believe my eyes on this one. Clothes spend was an all time low (probably) of just £34. Well done to the trouble ‘n’ strife!
  • Gifts/Charity £103 (£100 / £187) – It was TFS Jr’s 2nd birthday!!! Can you believe it? We certainly found it surprising. She was spoilt rotten but still the total spend wasn’t exactly humongous showing you don’t need to drop a bomb to make your kids happy. And let’s face it spoilt and happy are two totally different things anyway! Anyway, we need to start donating some money to charity as per here otherwise we’re going to have a hefty “bill” soon, so I’ll look at that this month.
  • Hobbies/Sport £55 (£57 / £149) – A bit of squash and I did the Tunbridge Wells half marathon. Funny story… I turned up thinking I was all paid up and they had no record of my entry. I checked my Gmail, thinking I had an argument on my hands to prove that I’d entered, only to find out that I totally hadn’t entered! Luckily I could enter on the day and it was only a few more pounds than the normal entry price. I had a really strong memory of the confirmation email coming through… weird! Has anyone else ever had that before (getting old I guess?!) 🙂
  • Admin £4 (£65 / £20) – Nowt to report.
  • Financial £0 (£3 / £15) – Not really sure how but it seems Santander didn’t charge us the usual £5 for their 123 account. Maybe they’ve stopped this charge and I missed the memo?
  • Children £42 (£62 / £60) – Not much to report here.



Figures in the same format as expenses…

  • Total £3744 +£395 Pension (£3930 / £4422) – Not bad!
  • TFS Income £2543 +£395 Pension (£2579 / £2500) – Not entirely sure why but I got paid more than normal this month. Need to check into this! (Maybe it was the holiday sell split over two months or a further tax rebate due to signing up the marriage allowance thing I mentioned last month… not sure!?)
  • Mrs T Income £590 (£590 / £600)
  • Ratesetter £2 (£6 / £5) – Slightly lower than usual because I took last months figures half way through the month. They are still running a decent signup offer, the terms are now you get a free £100 if you invest £5000 for a year. It’s a lot to stick in for a whole year but still pretty good for the free money, so if you’d like to avail of this offer then click on this link here (<– obviously it’s a referral link!).
  • Child benefit £82 (£82 / £82) – The gift that keeps on giving

Matched Betting / Gambling Hustles £511 (£515 / £750) – Another solid month for the matched betting. According to the tracking software on OddsMonkey I actually made £715 from no lay accas during February! Below is a nice updated graph of my overall no lay acca progress/profit:

The big dip during January is in part bad results and in part straying away from good strategies. I am definitely going to write up a guide of good vs bad strategies very soon. 2

Anyway, the astute in the room will realise that £715 acca profit and only £515 total profit betrays the fact that I lost a bit of money doing other bets or non-risk free offers. This is true, however, I also have “invested” some of the profits into future bets, quite a few on Cheltenham for example, but this money is obviously written off as lost until all of those amazing bets inevitably win (hey… a boy can dream, right?)

If anyone is interested I have been using 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. One of the best things about it is the Forum/Community aspect as you can learn loads of new and interesting ways to profit from gambling that aren’t just your standard “Do offer, lay off, get free bet, lay off, win £3.50” type of, let’s face, quite boring, time consuming and laborious matched betting methods. Some of these methods are what helped me to have a bumper Cheltenham 2017! Now, back to the update!


savings rate, net worth and all of that jabberwocky

The low spend and solid income all adds up to a very lovely savings rate of  39.92%, bringing us back into the positive for the year at 12.6%, what a relief! Hopefully we can smash it again in March to get that average up higher. I still haven’t done my goals review/setting post, which will be the next post up, so you will have to wait to hear what I’m going to set as the savings rate goal (the suspense!)

Net worth did this:

Excluding house equity: £155,994 / £3,594 / 2.36%

Including house equity: £238,491 / £3,594 / 1.53%

Liquid Freedom: £69,903 / £1,636/ 2.40%

The stock market seem to have recovered slightly, and our Liquid freedom pot is now tantalisingly close to breaking back through the £70K mark, which is first did back last September before we went on a spending spree 🙂

Brief note: House equity remained static this month as we got a mortgage statement at the end of the year and my figures were off slightly, so I’m stalling that until they fall back in line (The actual equity would likely be a lot more anyway due to house price rises, but seeing as we’re not selling any time soon it doesn’t really matter, I’m more interested in how much we’ve got left on the mortgage)

Crypto update – This part of the portfolio now stands at £10,727 and just to clarify this is the money I’ve put into it. Some may think this is too much but it represents only around 7% of our total investments and 15% of our liquid assets. I am fairly comfortable with still calling that fun money but it’s certainly on the limit and I won’t be looking to put much more in at all. As usual I’ll promise you an update in a future post of what I’m holding (and what I bought/sold along the way!) and what my strategy has evolved into rather quickly with all of this. Still to actually update what it’s all worth now but that is on the to do list (like everything else, after Cheltenham!) so I should be able to give you a an update either in the March summary or I’ll do a special cryptos update post all of it’s own.


Other updates – Running, Reading, Relaxing

Running – I did the yearly tradition of running the Tunbridge wells half marathon which I completed in 1:32:33. Was very happy with this considering I hadn’t done much training and went on an all inclusive holiday the week before (and no I was not doing a alcohol free month like TEA has been doing while he’s been on holiday)!

Not sure if they renamed this garage just for the race but it made me chuckle



Here are some links to things I’ve found interesting this month:

  • How to give up work for good – For those that missed it, the TFS blogs first ever mention in the mainstream press! I have to take issue with them saying that I am planning to retire by 40 (I don’t think I’ve ever said that on the blog or to anyone else… a totally made up “fact”) but it’s cool that the concept of FIRE is getting more exposure to a mainstream audience. For people that are reading this because of that article… welcome!!! Please give me a shout in the comments below to let me know what you think of the blog/that article/FIRE in general so far…?
  • An interesting article on a German town who took back control of their energy system. This is my favourite quote in the article:

A profit every year, which has not only paid off the bank loans but funds the town’s kindergartens. Generally cheaper electricity than most competitors, including E.ON.

  • Here is a podcast on the same subject as above, for those who prefer the audio format.
  • A big shout out to the FIREHub which is a great resource for finding new FIRE based blogs from Europe.
  • A couple of new(ish) UK FIRE blogs on the block which I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned yet: I Retired Young and Deliberate Living UK from long time commenter Wephway.
  • Foxy Monkey blog has had some cracking content on it recently. I have enjoyed reading this interview with a full time matched bettor – very illuminating! And he also came up with a guide on how to buy Bitcoin/Ethereum/Cryptos for free, wish I’d read this before paying a sh!t tonne of money in coinbase fees! In fact, I found the strategy on a Reddit thread and was going to write up a post myself, but Michael has already done such a bang up job, I can just post his link for you all instead.
  • FI BLOGGER IN CONTROVERSY SHOCK! – I’m a bit late to the party on this one but in case you haven’t already seen it, it seems TheEscapeArtist has been stirring the pot with some “controversial” posts about women and men. Here is the first one entitled Don’t be a good guy, be a nice guy. A few readers took issue with this and I initially didn’t understand why as I thought most of what he’d written seemed reasonable enough, but later learned from the main objector, MissSaraBee who wrote her own blog post in reply, that the post had been edited and her subsequent replies blocked. I’d urge you to read both posts to get a full picture of what happened here but as I never saw the original article it’s hard to comment, but I found it all rather fascinating nonetheless. An argument on the internet is always great fun to witness, in a weird way 3. Anyway, my stance is that MissSaraBee probably missed the point of the original post even if it did contain a few sentences that were objectionable, but also that TEA has been a bit naughty in editing the post and not marking it as such. By doing this, it looks like her comment was a massive over-reaction when it might have not been to the original content. My personal stance is that if I edit a post due to an error or comment pointed out by a reader, I will mark it up in the comments and/or directly in the post so readers can follow exactly what has happened there, and I will pretty much never delete a genuine comment 4. Also allowing her original comment to stand but blocking any further replies also seemed a bit harsh. TEA has followed up with another post called Don’t be a nice girl, be a confident woman which I think solidifies the original point he was trying to make and that it wasn’t anything about being sexist, and I hope that has satisfied any of the original objectors at least somewhat. Anyway… did you catch any of this drama?! What did you think of it all?
  • Slightly related to the above, I will be seeing TEA next Thursday at the FI London meetup so I hope my viewpoints there don’t cause any awkward silences between us 🙂 . If you are coming along let me know!? Here is a tweet from Foxy Monkey with the details.



As mentioned did a bit of relaxing in Antigua. Below are a few snaps to sign off with. How was your Feb? Good I hope!

Oh and Good Luck to all the Matched Bettors during Cheltenham next week!



Some fish (maybe Barracuda?!) by Jolly Harbour

Chilling on our own private beach. A joke of course, we just drove by and stopped off. There are 365 beaches in Antigua, one for every day of the year!

Friendly roadside donkeys

The Devils Bridge with some rather dashing and crashing waves

Any need to make a phone call?!

I ran up this hill to attempt to burn off some of the food and booze. Great views from the top!

An abandoned boat on the beach complete with random graffiti




  1. I will definitely be telling her to read this post, sure to get some brownie points. Oh sh!t that’s blown it!
  2. If I don’t get it out by the weekend it may be delayed till after Cheltenham which is next week and I feel totally unprepared for, haha.
  3. Schadenfreude, me?! Never!
  4. Although critical/trolly comments do seem to be almost non-existent around here anyway, which is thanks to an awesome readership base and/or not as much mainstream exposure as TEA gets!