As usual the January update comes quite late as I had to get through the yearly updates (and here, and here) first, but now that is done, here we go with the first monthly update of 2017!

How did we do in January? Not so bad considering I would say, we managed to kick the year off with a positive savings rate which was a win after some more high expenses and no maternity pay at all this month.

But first I just wanted to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all the generous people who have sponsored me so far on my London Marathon charity page.

As you are so great I will give you all a name check, it’s the least you deserve:

Mikey strictly on the bike

Carl (aka Mr 1500)

Organised Redhead

Jamie S

weenie (Quietly Saving, of course!)

Anonymous – Who are you mysterious and generous stranger!? 🙂

Jim McG

John W

The combined total donated by all of these fine human beings is £240!! Amazing and really helps out with me hitting my target! Thanks to all of you again!

If you’d like to join the ranks of the virtuous then here is the link again (and if you leave a comment, please keep mentions of the blog to #tfs or cheeky nudge nudge wink wink say no more references to “fire” etc… as the others have done… cheers 🙂 )


Back to the update… I’m going to try to shorten the waffle on these reports now and only comment on things if I really feel necessary, also I will put the budget target next to each category in brackets so I don’t have to write “this compares to X which is our target monthly average yada yada yada” about 15 times, which again is a waste of words. See how you like the slight changes and let me know if you can think of any further improvements or optimisations you’d like to see 1 or alternatively if you prefer the old more “freeform” reports then of course just say so!

Here we go then…


OK in fact I’ve decided to just publish the parent category figures and will summarise what it went on in as short amount of words as possible next to that. As usual if you want the full break down just have a look at my awesome spreadsheet here.

Remember if you want to copy my spreadsheet to use/modify yourself you can do this, 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).

  • Total £3636 (£3120) – Over budget for the first month, so not a great start to the year!
  • Mortgage £848 (£848)
  • Household £670 (£599) – Went slightly over on groceries and a water bill
  • Going out/Holiday £850 (£750) – Paid for a few upcoming trips and went out probably a bit too much for a January (although who has a stag do in January FFS!? 🙂 )
  • Transport £55 (£172)
  • Personal Care £159 (£69) – Dentist bill and haircut push us over budget here
  • Home/Garden £15 (£85)
  • Lifestyle £201 (£165) – Clothes push us over budget here (I know, shock right?! I admit that at least £50 of this was me, I needed some new threads for my friends wedding in Feb, got a few bits in charity shops but had to get a few other bits new, annoyingly)
  • Gifts/Charity £202 (£215) – Baby T’s birthday coming up so was quite a big one in this category this month
  • Hobbies/Sport £120 (£150)
  • Admin £0 (£10)
  • Financial £473 (£57) – This was the killer this month as the title of post hinted at. The panic monster finally reared it’s head and so I completed my tax return. It turned out that even with my SIPP tax rebates I still owed them money! £467 to be exact!
  • Children £42 (£70)


With the majority of the miss coming from the tax situation I’m not so worried about this bad start to the year! Just to fill you in properly on this, HMRC gave me a silly tax code at some point in the 2015/16 tax year where my allowance went up to 18K or something like that. Rather than ring them up to sort I just left it, which was admittedly a bit stupid knowing I’d have to pay some back eventually, but anyhoo that’s what happened there and now me and the taxman are all square again.

One thing that is immediately clear with the above comparison to the average budget is that there are going to be a lot of ups and downs so I’m not entirely sure how useful this is really going to be, but I’ll stick with it for a few months to see how we get on.



I’ll do the same here with average budgeted income in brackets to see how we get on, but for the total I won’t include what I might get for my bonus because that will skew the figures and make the whole thing a bit pointless (especially if we don’t get it this year!)

  • Total £3477 (£3663) – Slightly below but not bad considering no income from Mrs T at all this month!
  • Mrs T income £0 (£600) – This should hopefully be the hardest month of the year income wise. Next month (or maybe March) she’ll get a nice big hit with all her holiday pay, and after that should be earning a solid £600 a month for a new job doing part time work.
  • Solar Panels £78 (£45) – Bit silly to compare to an average when it’s only paid every 3 months but there we go.
  • Sold items £15 (£0) – We sold Baby T’s old pushchair (Bought for £18, used for 6 months, sold for £15. Very savvy on at first glance but then we went and bought a brand new one for £120 so maybe not…). I didn’t put a target for this as no idea what stuff we might want to sell over the year.
  • Refunds £12 (£0) – I normally take refunds off the initial source of spend and so they don’t get counted as spend in the first place, but this went over into the next month so I guess I will have to just count it as income (again no target, that would be silly)
  • Top Cashback £38 (£10) Another nice payment from Topcashback. If you haven’t signed up yet do so here (<– affiliate link) and start earning cash back on your online purchases you would have made anyway. I think we’ll easily average £10 a month here so that was our target.
  • Gambling hustles £1116 (£750) – I’ve beaten what you could call a low/easy target here but I know there will be months where I don’t do much of it and it will probably average out at around £750 I reckon. Anyway a great start to the year with my gambling “stuff”. I still promise you a few more matched betting strategy posts where I will divulge a few more tidbits of info on how to make money, but in the meantime check out the forums at OddsMonkey –> 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.
  • Child benefit £82 (£82)


savings rate, net worth and all that jazz

We just scraped into the positive with 6.12% savings rate, the only thing we saved was down to my pension contributions this month. Disappointing yes, but as D-Ream sing, things can only get better.

Net worth therefore remained fairly static:

Excluding house equity: £133,078 / +£123 / +0.09%

Including house equity: £210,515 / +£583 / +0.28%

Liquid Freedom: £61,012 / £681 / +1.13%


other updates

Alcohol intake was 19 units/week average. Not bad considering this included a stag do, and a beer tasting session I got as a Christmas present! This will be going down considerably during March and April as I go (practically, for me) tee total for the Marathon training.

We also spent a large part of the month gearing up for a charity race night to help raise money for Young Epilepsy to go toward hitting my target of £3K. I will let you know in Feb’s update how that went (oooh cliff hanger!).

Other than that we enjoyed the brief encounter with snow, went for a few chilly walks, I did a few very chilly training runs, I attended my first 1 year birthday party (well, I guess since I was around that age – an interesting experience indeed!) and spent about a week recovering from a stag do. Definitely too old for all that shit now! 🙂


blog housekeeping

I’ve had a few tweets and emails pointing out that the blog roll is broken (think it has been since December!). I am/was aware of this and have finally had a quick look into it, and discovered it’s because the blog roll plug in I’m using relied on something called Google feeds API to read the blog feeds to see the latest posts, which has now been deprecated 2. It doesn’t look like a fix is forthcoming and I can’t find a replacement plug in that does a similar job, so if anyone out there knows of one please let me know?

Anyway that’s why I’ve left it up there for now in it’s half broken form, at least you can still click through to the sites.

My other option is to break out my javascript skillzz and fix it myself, which I’m sure I can do (I’ve seen a potential google feeds API replacement called SuperFeedr which may work) but I just need a good afternoon of peace and quiet to do this, which I can’t see forthcoming for a while 🙂

Anyway so sorry about that.

I thought it might be fun to look at blog yearly stats but can’t be bothered to put it into a separate post so here are some pics from the wordpress stats page:

Blog stats by year




Not a massive growth between 2015 to 2016 but in all fairness my posting schedule was non existent at best (43 down from 79… rubbish!!!) so any increase is something to be thankful for here (thanks!)

Most popular countries

A nice mix of countries there. Welcome people of the World! 🙂

Going down to the bottom of the list we have some excellent countries that fans of Pointless would probably recognise such as:

Vanautu (1 visitor)

Tajikstan (1 visitor)

Djibouti (2 visitors)

I’m really happy that the visitor from Djibouti can finally talk about his/her favourite blog now with their newfound friend!


Most popular posts

Yes you read that right, the most popular (new) post of the year was from Andy at but it’s OK I’m a big boy and will not take this personally ( 🙁 *sob* 🙁 ). Unfortunately it looks like Andy’s blogging career has been put on hold for a while as he’s scored a big interesting project to work on. Hope it’s all going well Andy and hope to see you back on the blogging scene again soon as you had a lot of sensible stuff to say! The two posts from 2016 that are on this list both got shared by J$ at Rockstar finance so it just goes to show how awesome that website is, if you didn’t already realise that. (Oh and take a look at the current top post there, Don’t be Donkey – this is so true! I could literally read this stuff all day if I didn’t have a real job 🙂 )


Most frequent commenters

(who are registered on WordPress)

Well done weenie but FIREin’ London is catching up fast!


Funny / Interesting Search terms that landed visitors on this website

anything (97 hits from this! Second only to the firestarter… hah!)

is 10000 pounds a lot of money

challenges in using tfs

how to hack tesco website

anyone dislike the frugalwoods (for the record I love the Frugalwoods and have never written anything about disliking them here ever 🙂 )

i’ll do anything for money

desperate to do anything for money

chopping omelet hand machine (not sure what this is but it sounds painful!)

buying gin in france

and finally the classic…

fat naked women


I don’t know about you but I think it’s great to see the audience is a lot more, ahem, shall we say “varied”(?) than I’d originally thought 😉


And on that bombshell, we’ll wrap things up for the month.

Hope you found at least some of it interesting 🙂


I’m over in Dubai for the next week so apologies if I’m tardy at replying to any comments!





  1. Just to be clear, by optimisations here I’m talking about things that might save me time writing the reports and you reading them, so please don’t suggest something like “I’d like to see year on year figures for every spending category with and without inflation weighting for the past 5 years”; “write less crap” on the other hand is a perfectly reasonable suggestion 😉
  2. For non software developers this is a poncy industry term that just means “discontinued”. I don’t know why people can’t just say what they bloody well mean in plain English nowadays!!