January expenses handle with care

You won’t find George Osborne rocking a budget this hot…


The consensus is in, if you want to get your expenses down you better damn well post them on your blog for all to gawk at and to keep them focused like a laser beam burning a hole into your frontal lobe at all times. So I better give it a go considering my last 6 months of spending like a recently crowned lotto lout let loose in TK Maxx.

I’ve always found these things pretty tedious on most other PF blogs so apologies if you do too. Please skip over this (and future) posts briskly and I will post something more exciting in a few days time, promise! Wait, where are you going…!? 🙂


A new dawn, a new day, a new free spreadsheet

Thanks to Under The Money Tree with his comment here for giving me the inspiration to set up a new spreadsheet. His idea was to encompass all spending categories for each month of 2015 1 into a column, with totals as a row at the top for each month and columns on the left for category spending over the year. I took it one step further and added in an income section, and therefore a savings percentage, plus a Net Worth 2 and then I can even work out years to FI on the fly given your savings rate that month (if you kept that up) and for the average savings rate for that year. Take a look and see what you think, I think it is pretty cool. Any suggestions for additions welcome of course!

You can view and then copy the spreadsheet onto your google drive to edit and use yourself for free here:


If you want to use it, you will have to clear down my January column but that will take about zero seconds. You may also want to change some of the category names, and remove things like “TFS” and replace your own, much cooler name(s) there. I have set it up to work with good ole MoneyDashboard categories (still copying them over manually, but this is now a 10 minute job once a month which I think I can handle) so your category names of choice may well be different.



January Income

Categories January Notes
Total £3,842.19  1
TFS £2,432.36  2
Mrs TFS £1,050.77  2
Interest TSB 1 TFS £5.84  3
Interest TSB 2 Mrs TFS £6.73  3
Interest Santander £10.76  3
Cashback Santander £3.44  3
Cashback CCs £0.00
Solar Panels £57.29  1
Gifts £235.00  1
Sold stuff £0.00
Refunds £0.00
Other £40.00  4
  1. A pretty good month for income as we received some cash gifts for Xmas which we deposited into the bank, plus we got our first Solar panel quarterly payment. Whoo! It was a bit meagre at just £57.29 but I am hoping that the summer months more than make up for that!
  2. Important note: This is not our total income from our jobs, as we both save £250 each which goes into a sharesave scheme. This is accounted for in the final set of rows I will go through in a minute (actually on the spreadsheet, those rows appear above income, but thought it best to do it this way around). I also pay for a train ticket to work which gets auto deducted from my paycheck. As I know with 100% certainty this is one expense I will not have if/when I reach FI, I just don’t count it as income or an expense, as it is completely irrelevant to any of the other calculations.
  3. As you can see I am counting interest received etc as income, but won’t include dividends or price appreciation of any shares we hold. This is because bank interest is pretty predictable, whereas the others are not so much.
  4. I can’t even remember what this was for. Sorry!


January Expenses

Total expenses: £3,060.92

To keep this post short just have a look again at the spreadsheet here and I will highlight any oddities or things I think we did well/badly on here:

  • Groceries £183.86 – Happy with that. If we keep that up for the year I would be very happy. We did have a lot of food left over from Xmas, but on the other hand we did host quite a few people over for dinner as well, so it probably balanced out.
  • Clothes £159.88 – Oh dear. Mrs TFS finally admitted “she thinks she has a problem” to me earlier this month 3 but the damage had already been done for January. She is going cold turkey for Feb and March. I’d be very impressed if that happens and am rooting for her big time! 🙂
  • Holiday £479.00 – We paid for a holiday we are taking in May for my mum’s 60th birthday. Not much we could have done about that (other than not going, obviously!)
  • Car service/mechanics £372.43 – The (un)trusty old TFS-mobile had an MOT and failed on quite a few small things that added up to a pretty big cost. Following my own advice I had a pop at doing some of it myself to save cash but couldn’t do it all. I will post very soon about how my first adventures in car mechanics went!
  • Dining & Booze £50.40 – Well happy with this. However I’d be an idiot to think it will stay this low all year. 🙂 – But a good start nonetheless
  • Golf £99.43 – About spot on for my £100 a month target here. I can’t really play in February either so a good start to the year in this category as well
  • Overall  £3,060.92 – This was an expensive month but it was mainly down to the car and paying off the holiday. It is above our run rate of average core expenses of £2,641.08 I laid out here which is a shame. I am confident we can get the average down after the shorter month of Feb, and I am doing 2 half marathons so won’t be out drinking much again (if at all) so should be looking at a cheaper month, barring any other unforseen expenses.


January Savings Rate

January Notes
Net Worth £54,307.85  1
Years to FI 23.69  2
Total Savings £1,646.79  4
Income vs Spend £781.27
Share Save 1 (TFS) £250.00
Share Save 2 (Mrs TFS) £250.00
Pension 1 (TFS) £302.00
Pension 2 (Mrs TFS) £63.52


  1. Consists of 3 different ISAs, a SIPP, mine and Mrs TFS’s work pension fund, cash savings, and our sharesave totals. Does not include house equity as this will not help me produce income when I retire, although I realise that imputed rent is a key factor and is clearly worth something. Let’s save this debate for another day shall we, it’s late and I need some sleep! 🙁 I’ll look at this again in depth hopefully very soon and work out the best way to factor it in, seeing that it was nearly a year ago I first very nearly wrote my post about it. How time flies!
  2. This is a big sobering slap round the face and I am hoping that by looking at it every month it will be a really good motivator to get our expenses down!
  3. Using the formula from my post here – (Total Savings) / (Total Savings + Total Expenses ) = £1,646.79 / (£1,646.79 +£3,060.92) = 34.98%
  4. Again using rules from the above post this is your net income minus spending (£781.27), plus any automatically deducted savings you make (i.e. the sharesave schemes for us), plus any tax advantaged savings, including employer match (i.e. our work retirement/pension scheme contributions). This totals up to £1646.79


Final thoughts

Naturally I’m not over the moon with 35% savings rate as this would mean nearly 24 years to FI if we kept that up as the average, when I will be 57. I guess that’s not the end of the world but I think we can do better. Also, given the fact that I’ve already quit my job I am very conscious we need to be in full lockdown savings mode for the next 6 months, as my income could well be dropping like a stone in the latter part of this year. For these reasons I will be watching our spending like a hawk… 🙂


How did you do this month? All thoughts and comments welcome as usual!


  1. or any year, for that matter, seeing as they tend to not vary in name or order from year to year
  2. When I say Net Worth here I mean income producing assets. Stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, ISAs, and the like. House not included, for now at least. I still need to work that one out!
  3. If you are reading Mrs TFS, apologies for revealing this to the world, but remember, it’s only the practically anonymous internet init!