The view from Cloud City … Tuesday


Well I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a bit of a crazy month! We’ve been busy and have admittedly spent a lot of money, as you will see below. I also decided to cram a load of money last minute into my SIPP as this is probably going to be the last year for a while at least that I’ll be a 40% tax payer. SIPPs are bloody great and I wish I’d started to fill one up a few years ago, but I never really knew how good they were (or what they were at all). If you don’t know either then check out this great article from Monevator which explains all: SIPPs vs ISAs

Play around with this handy SIPP tax relief calculator from Hargreaves Lansdown. You have about 2 days left of the tax year to get some money in there so be quick if you haven’t done it yet and have spare cash laying around waiting to be invested! (You can put the cash into the SIPP and decide where to invest later on, by the way).

So the bottom line is that we had high expenses that were somewhat offset by the tax boost that was given to us by shoving a load of money into the SIPP, so still maintained an OK savings rate. We obviously can’t do that every month so really need to focus once again on keeping the outgoings down, which I am confident we can do for the next few months, until we incur some big expenses in summer when we come to do the Bathroom etc…

Enough waffling… onto the gory details!


March Income


Categories March Notes
Total £5,869.13
TFS £2,681.95  1
Mrs TFS £1,050.77
Interest TSB 1 TFS £6.01
Interest TSB 2 Mrs TFS £0.00  2
Interest Santander £13.13
Cashback Santander £2.27
Cashback CCs £0.00
Solar Panels £0.00
Gifts £0.00
Sold stuff £0.00
Refunds £250.00  3
Other £25.00  4
SIPP Tax back £1,840.00  5
  1. My income that hits my bank account is higher this month as our Sharesave scheme got cancelled, so the £250 that was normally automatically deducted from my paycheck is now paid to me instead.
  2. WTF!? No interest TSB?! What are you playing at!? Email has been sent, explanation demanded!
  3. We got a refund from the Air Source Heat Pump deposit we put down, as we decided not to go with this in the end. Read more about that decision in that link type thing that I just linked to a second ago. The one that said Air Source Heat Pump. You know the score by now.
  4. £25 was lottery winnings from Mrs TFS (Groan! I can’t exactly grumble though as you will see in a bit)
  5. This is the 20% tax bump that we automatically receive into our SIPP account by putting in £9,200 into it. Wahey! I should be able to claim another 20% back on top of that, which as far as I am aware gets paid directly as cash back to us after you fill out a self assessment tax form. As I don’t really know exactly how much we are due from that, I don’t want to assume what we’ll get and will just count that as income as and when we receive that money.


March Expenses


Total expenses: £3,765.29

To keep this post at a readable length I will summarise the main categories of spending here, but if you want to see a more detail break down just see the full spreadsheet here 1.

  • Holiday £915 – This is the main reason why it’s been such a bumper month on the expenses. We paid for flights to Madrid, but also decided to get most of our Euros as the exchange rate is so good right now. I have a stag do on Friday in Berlin and also got Euros for that as well, and should have enough for our trip to Madrid and enough left over to get us going for our second family holiday to Spain. So effectively we have paid up front for 3 big cost items, which means those months we should now spend a lot less than previously thought. So it’s not all that bad!
  • Groceries £292.24– D’oh! After two good months this seems like a lot, but I bet it is still small compared to a lot of other “normal” people :). And in all fairness, we ate like kings this month, including treating Mrs TFS’s parents to a slap up Sirloin steak meal at ours which was quite expensive, and a few easter egg purchases got chucked into the figure as well. We also still have about 2 weeks of dinners of food in the freezer and cupboards, so I’m really keen to actually eat what we have next month and should hopefully see a dramatic reduction again in April.
  • Phones £16.99 / £33.36 – Mrs TFS’s first smaller phone bill. It’s not that much less but better than nothing considering she is still in contract. I still haven’t sorted out a cheaper landline bit, slapped wrist TFS! I will add this task onto my next sprint so it doesn’t get forgotten about! 😉
  • Clothes £79.88 – Not sure what happened here. A girl’s gotta shop I suppose! Just as a guy’s gotta golf…
  • Golf £102.65 – Played a fair bit of golf this month but still around my budget of £100/month so I’m pretty happy with this. No handicap reduction just yet but I can feel an improvement and am positive it’s just around the corner.
  • Dining & Drinking £524.18 – We had two birthday nights out with friends this month (I miscalculated last month and all the spending from the birthday at the end of Feb actually came through in March!), a big day/evening out in Brighton with Mrs TFS’s work friends, and I had a leaving do to attend to. Either way you cut it though, this is a lot to spend on food & booze! Seeing as the stag do is already effectively paid for, for this month, the only big thing in April is the corresponding hen do for Mrs TFS, so I am thinking next month will be a lot less once again.
  • Car service/mechanics £0 – The TFS Mobile is 2 month and counting without any repairs needed. I am still happy with this outcome!
  • Gas & Electricity – £176 – We didn’t pay anything last month and then got stung twice this month! Also they are blatantly charging us way too much, £88 per month when we are averaging £70 in the winter months, so I am guessing around £50-60 for the year round average. Anyway there isn’t much we can do but wait for the rebate cheque when the amount gets significantly positive.
  • Garden – £100 – Mrs TFS has been scouting for a garden table and chairs on eBay/gumtree/etc for about a month and we finally got a great deal that was just around the corner to pick up. A really nice hardwood round table with 4 chairs and a big umbrella as well, must have cost around £400 new for the lot!
  • Gambling – £107 – I’ll address the elephant in the room: I used to be quite a big gambler. 99% on sports gambling and only on sports I know a lot about (i.e. golf). I know you probably aren’t going to believe this, but I actually used to make a bit of money on this, I stopped because the time vs money effort wasn’t really worth it in the end. Anyway, there are some great offers to be had when you sign up to new bookmaker accounts and since I signed up to Topcashback(affiliate link 2) I noticed that you can combine some free bet offers with cashback, so it’s a double win! I’ve opened up a few accounts and taken on some shrewd 3 long term golf bets (Ryder Cup, Money List bets, etc…), used the free bets to top up those bets and gain cashback from Topcashback. So I fully expect to get most of this back and with a chance of winning a four figure sum on top of that, I thought it was a good move. But if/when the money comes back in, that will just come into the income report, so for now, it’s obviously an expense!
  • Overall  £3,765.29 – Obviously, an expensive month, and this brings up the monthly average in 2015 to £2,985.73, which is well above the £2,666 I laid out here in our yearly budget. However as much of this was future spending for April/May that we’ve paid for up front, I am confident the average will be back down to around that figure after the next 2 months have passed.


March Totals & Savings Rate


March Notes
Net Worth £73,189.80  1
Years to FI 18.70
Total £2,930.61
Income vs Spend £2,099.88
Share Save 1 (TFS) £0.00
Share Save 2 (Mrs TFS) £250.00
Pension 1 (TFS) £453.69
Pension 2 (Mrs TFS) £127.04
  1. This has gone up around £8K since last month. This is in part due to the ~£3K saved this month but also previously I had been removing ~£4K off our Net Worth as that spending was already allocated to the kitchen/bathroom renovations I have mentioned previously. I have finally come to the conclusion that I can’t be bothered with silly adjustments like that, as and when we come to spend that money, our Net Worth will take a big negative hit… so be it!
  2. It could have been a mega month with the SIPP tax boost! Alas… 43% will have to do


That’s it for now! I was going to write up my goals progress but will save that for another post on Monday due to: A) This post is already nearly 2000 words long. B) It’s 5:58am on Friday and I am getting picked up for this Stag do at 6:05am!!! I’ll catch up with everything on Monday if I’m still alive 🙂


Auf Wiedersehen, Pets! 🙂



How did you do in March!? Let us know below!


  1. Remember you are free to copy this to your own google drive and edit to put your own figures in there! Let me know if you do so and make any decent additions and I can graft them onto my own one? Or any suggested additions, again just let me know.
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