How was everyone’s January? Pretty boring as usual? Ours was actually pretty hectic for a change, in terms of spending at least, as we geared up for a winter sun holiday and a few other bits and bobs needed doing. Let’s see how it all panned out…



It’s a new year so I’ve made a couple of new tabs on my Uber* FI Tracking Spreadsheet for Income/Expense tracking and Net Worth tracking, as well as updated some of the summary sheets as well. Exciting stuff 🙂

*Please note this is nothing to do with actual Uber the car sharing company.

Despite the new year, we are sticking with the same format as always, so the figures below represent: £Current Month (£2018 Monthly Average / £Monthly Average Target)

The Mrs T and I have sat down and “agreed” 😀 on a yearly budget so the average target is based on that, I’ll go through it in a bit more detail in a future post.

  • Total £5074 (£5074 / £3205) – WTF?! Seriously WTF?! This is not a great start to the year TFS, what are ya playin’ at?! Hehe… well it wasn’t the best start to the year spending wise I’ll admit, find out why below.
  • Mortgage £848 (£848 / £848) 
  • Household £737 (£737 / £602) – Groceries very slightly over (I’ll talk more about groceries targets in the yearly budget update), a one off water bill and we upgraded to Sky Fibre which cost a one off installation fee all contributed to going slightly over here.
  • Holiday £1999 (£1999 / £333) – We partied liked it was 1999! Pounds sterling that is! Ziiiiing! 🙂 . OK so what happened here was that we paid nearly £1400 for some holiday stuff (we just got back Antigua and some flights to Menorca towards the end of this year) up front last year which wasn’t on the 2017 budget, so I thought it would be silly to add that as a 2017 expense and so it gets added straight onto the January expenses when we get to 2018. It’s all in the 2018 budget though so no need to panic *just yet*. We also had to pay the remainder of the flights during this month which bumped it up to near enough 2 grand.
  • Going out £304 (£304 / £467) – Under budget which wasn’t that surprising for January really as no one tends to go out much! Although this did include a nice trip to London Zoo with the little one, the entry of which was paid for with the Tesco voucher 4x scheme which is always a winner in my book.
  • Transport £468 (£468 / £192) – Not a great start to the year for the TFS Mobile either who needed some TLC from the garage as it was making some pretty horrendous sounds. Rear brakes and some suspension stuff needed doing, and now it’s running nice and smoothly again. Hoping this will pretty much be it for the whole year as we serviced it last year, but have budgeted a bit more just in case.
  • Personal Care £87 (£87 / £92) – Nothing to say here really!
  • Home/Garden £49 (£100 / £100) – Bought a rug for the sprog to play on, and the fences blew down in the January winds, so I had to buy a few bits to fix em up (see pics above and below)!
  • Lifestyle £215 (£215 / £141) – Clothes the culprit again here but we had our “yearly budget chat” a bit too late in the month to catch it in time. A good example of where regular communications are needed to stick to a budget!
  • Gifts/Charity £96 (£96 / £187) – A few birthdays but not much else this month.
  • Hobbies/Sport £59 (£59 / £149) – Paid for the Eastbourne Half Marathon (2nd March) and a bit of squash action.
  • Admin £125 (£125 / £20) – Bit of a lumpy one here this month! Mrs T was luckily having a look at the Visa requirements for Antigua when she read out the section about having at least 6 months left on your passport… “Uh oh” I immediately thought as I knew mine was due to run out in 2018. Turned out it did so in April! So I had to go up to Victoria to get a fast track passport service, which evidently a helluva lot of other people also do judging by the size of the place and the queue when I got there at 7:30 in the morning! 🙂 . Anyway, this service was only about £25 more than the normal renewal price, so no major damage done and I’m all set for travelling for another 10 years now (Brexit notwithstanding of course).
  • Financial £5 (£5 / £15)
  • Children £82 (£82 / £60) – She is growing fast now! So we needed some basics and a few bits for holiday.



Figures in the same format as expenses…

  • Total £4116 +£395 Pension (£4116 / £4422) – A little bit higher than usual which was nice to avoid a ridiculously negative savings rate to kick the year off with!
  • TFS Income £2615 +£395 Pension (£2615 / £2500) – I sold some days holiday as I probably won’t be needing them, so got a little extra pay this month. Bonus!
  • Mrs T Income £590 (£590 / £600)
  • Ratesetter £10 (£10 / £5) – Still chugging along. It’s worth noting that the offer has recently changed again. 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
  • Tax Rebate £218 (£218 / £0) – I was doing my tax return for 2016/17 1 when I realised we now qualify for the Marriage Allowance tax break, whereby I can transfer £1150 of Mrs T’s personal tax free allowance to myself as she is earning under the limit for that, and I’m earning under £45,000. What a nice surprise that was 🙂
  • The House Crowd £50 – I wrote a series of posts a while ago about The House Crowd (see link for the intro on the far left). It’s nice getting a little bump to the income every so often appear in the bank account from them.

Matched Betting / Gambling Hustles £518 (£518 / £750) – HOLD THE PHONE!!! He’s only gone and updated his profit! Yes, it took me the best part of 6 months but it turns out that through all of that I made a very measly £518. Mistakes have been made, as they say. A few lessons here…

  • I need to be more disciplined with the actual “real” betting
  • I need to focus more on decent matched betting offers (such as no lay accas)
  • I need to update my P+L 2 every month without fail so if I’m in the red I can be more aware and do something about it quicker!

With that last issue in particular, I will admit that in part I didn’t want to update you lot with my P+L because I knew I was in the red, and didn’t want to mess up my figures with a red one (and hence make savings rate %age even worse in that given month where losses may have occured), when I knew (eventually) I would be back in the green anyway. But I don’t think that’s a very good idea going forward. So here’s what I’ll do to remedy the situation, if I have a losing month going forward I will report it here to be fully transparent and more importantly to give myself the kick up the arse I need. BUT… I won’t include it as a negative number on our income panel. I am hoping this won’t be an issue this year, but it could well be because I am going to be experimenting with some other offers and systems which are inherently more risky, but should ultimately be more rewarding in the long term. The keyword here is variance, and so I could well have some months in the red, despite turning over a healthy profit throughout the year. To make things crystal clear if I make +£1000 one month, then -£1000, then +£1000, I will report that as £1000 income, £0, £0. Hopefully that makes sense?

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 hootenany

Unsurprisingly we have started off the year with a negative savings rate of -12.47%. So on the back foot already! However, pretty much all of our holidays are now paid up so we should be able to up that average over the next few months so we’re roughly back on track. I’ll talk about the yearly target for this in the yearly review/yearly goals post I’ll be doing shortly.

Net worth did this:

Excluding house equity: £152,400 / –£3,124 / -2.01%

Including house equity: £234,897 / -£3,124 / -1.31%

Liquid Freedom: £68,267 / £923/ 1.37%

I guess the markets finally run out of steam! But somehow our Liquid Freedom fund managed to pile on a few extra pounds.

The big change on the Net Worth tab here is in the Cryptocurrencies (dun dun daaaaarrrn!!!) row, where I have stuck more in and it’s gone up from £4,067 to £7,227*. It’s been a wild ride with this but despite the big crash that has happened recently I have somehow come out relatively unscathed (so far) I think. This is another area where I need to get my reporting well up to speed so I know exactly where I stand, as I’ve done my usual thing of diving in head first and now need to clear a lot things up before it all gets out of hand 🙂

*Just to be 100% clear here, £7,227 is how much money I’ve put into Cryptos, not what the portfolio is currently worth. I haven’t worked out the current worth of it yet (see below) but I have a fair idea that I am roughly even as some things have gone up, and some down 🙂

I will be working on a spreadsheet that will use the API so I can track my portfolio value live ASAP (or just copy one of someone else if I can find one) and then give you a proper update on that next month. Although it must be said I am reluctant to actually include that in my NW figures unless I actually crystallise any profits/losses… I’m not sure though… what do you guys think is best? To report the “Current worth” of the Crypto portfolio and include that in NW, or just leave the NW figure as the money in pounds sterling I’ve actually put into it, and only report any change in that figure if/when I take some actual money back out of the “cryptoverse”?


other updates

Book – I read a book! Actually I very nearly read two books. This is impressive for me. Both were “Leisure” books and didn’t really learn all that much but it was good to actually get through them, as I don’t think I completed any books at all in 2017. Obviously I read a shit ton of other stuff on the internet instead but sometimes you just can’t beat a book. I am going to try to continue this into the rest of 2018. The books I read if you are interested were:

  • Neither Here Nor There (<– amazon affiliate link), Bill Bryson – One of Bryson’s now rather dated travelling books where he goes solo around Europe. It’s quite funny as you’d expect, and was quite cool as it was kind of a look back into (recent) history as it was around 1988-1990 I’d guess, as he mentions the recent fall of communism in some of the former eastern bloc countries he visits, and how they are coping with the new post revolution changes. A quick fun, easy read.
  • Ayoade on Ayoade (<– amazon affiliate link) – A Cinematic Odyssey, Richard Ayoade – Let’s get things straight, this book is really off the wall. But if you like Ayoade’s 3 style of humour then you will probably really find this funny. Definitely some laugh out loud moments for me. It is kind of split into three parts, the 1st is an interview (with himself, hence the title), the second is some random “essays” about cinema/film industry type stuff (funnier than it sounds) and the third is a large appendix of totally random stuff that he references constantly throughout parts 1 and 2, which is slightly annoying flicking back and forth, but is still really funny. Did I mention this book is funny? 🙂

Fences – During the strong winds our fences blew down, first one went, then a few weeks later the other side went! I was worried the cost would run into the hundreds at first but on inspection the fences were mainly intact so I managed to just fix them up for a minimal cost. I bought a fence spike for one side and re-concreted the post on the other side (as I couldn’t dig down due to patio etc), and stuck a ton of nails just to be sure. Wasn’t a bad job in the end, the hardest part being trying to force the protruding bits on the fences into the posts because there was very little give (hence the nails!), and only cost about £25! If it lasts another year or two before we have to redo them all properly I’ll be pretty happy with that. Here are some pics of the “devastation” and subsequent fix up…

Fence 1 goes down!

Fence 2 goes down!

Tool kit to the rescue!

Fence #1 back up!

Fence #2 back up!

Finally, as those pics were admittedly rather boring, here is a nice one of the penguins from London Zoo


  1. I know… leave it till the last minute or what!? 🙂
  2. Profit/Loss
  3. the dude with the afro and glasses from The IT Crowd and more recently many comedy panel shows