march update – first full baby budget month!
Wow! March just came and went so quickly, it was a bit of a blur. Sorry for not posting much but we are still adjusting to LAB (Life-After-Baby!). Crucially it was also the first full month where our financial situation might have changed beyond all recognition, if media reports and certain other parents are to be believed. Luckily though that turned out to be a load of baloney 1 and we rocked a pretty tight budget in the first month of parenthood, despite buying what seemed like a fair bit for the little one.
Let’s see how it all went down!
We spent a total of £2,363.65 in March which puts that in the position of our 3rd lowest spending month since I started tracking it – and I would hazard a guess at “ever” 🙂
Of course you are fairly restricted in what you can do and therefore spend money on with a newborn but I am betting that some people still manage to carry on spending exactly what they earn (and then some) when baby comes along.
It could have been even better but for some extra expenses due to other factors anyway… the highlights being:
- Groceries £260 – crept up a little but I can let this one slide I think as bargain hunting in the supermarket was not at the top of our priorities this month.
- Clothes £107 – Actually bought a few clothes myself this month! *Shock horror* – All of my jogging trousers have been turned into DIY clothes so needed a couple of new ones, plus I think I got a jumper or something for about £7.
- Dining and drinking £67 – Still a paltry amount, unsurprisingly. Definitely still don’t feel like drinking much, decent sleep is priority right now!
- Concert/Theatre £72.50 – Bought some tickets for later in the year for a treat
- Transport £0 – WOAH! That’s impressive right? I mean I guess all it means is that we filled the car up with petrol just before the end of the last month and didn’t drive that much, but still… I like this 🙂
- Takeaway £55 – Woah! That’s not good! When time is short and kitchen is destroyed I think I can live with it for this month though
- Golf £92 – I think I only played twice but also bought a bulk load of coins for the local driving range, which bought the cost from £4 down to £2.50 per bucket of balls, so that is a long term savings play 😉
- DIY + Lighting £204 – A few more bits needed for the kitchen remodel, with a few more to come in April but it’s nearly done and dusted on the spending front. *Reminder to self – need to tot up the final cost of Bathroom and Kitchen and do a post about it all!
- Children £138 – Not too bad! I’m sure we bought some stuff that wasn’t needed but overall I’m pretty happy with that as our first full month as parents. Long may this continue (or go down!)
- Furniture £130 – We bought another table! We are fast becoming known as table addicts, having bought 3 now since we moved into our new house only just over a year ago. Basically I cut a dent into the old table when cutting the kitchen work tops and shortly after we stumbled across a lovely and solid (and extendable) table in a charity furniture shop for a knock down price of £130 – we couldn’t resist! It basically looks new (see pic below) and must have been well over £500 new. If you need to kit out your new house I would highly recommend anyone do so with second hand furniture rather than new stuff, it’s a massive money saver and you can get some higher quality items that actually last longer than more expensive new stuff from Argos and the like that actually fall apart after about 2 years.
Another note on expenses, you may remember the savings challenge I set up for Mrs T and I? We decided to drop our target from £500 per month down to £400 to offset any extra expenses we may incur for baby T. Well I am happy to report we are smashing that target so far! I’ve spent £697 (average £232/month) compared to £1166 this time last year, and Mrs T is on £798 (£266/month) compared to £1314. Why the drop? We haven’t booked any expensive holidays this year (yet… but very unlikely to do so) and also we had a stag and hen do last year respectively so pay for early in the year last year, but I’d like to think a large part of this is down to our money mindset slowly getting stronger and moving towards frugality and freedom!
Bit of a bumper month on this one! We pulled in £5,670.96 this month! Kerchingggg!
How did we do this? Find out below…:
- Normal income £3,265 – This includes Mrs T’s first maternity payment which is paid at 90% of her usual pay. Next month this will be reduced to statutory maternity pay
- Child benefit £62 – Free money from the government, what’s not to like?! Apparently you get £20.70 per week which to be honest I totally didn’t realise/forgot about it, so this was a really nice surprise, and I will have to re-adjust my baby budget to figure this in!
- Gifts £70 – We got a few cheques in with all the congrats cards for baby T, very generous!
- SIPP tax rebates £375 – You know I love a SIPP tax rebate, hell yea!
- Matched Betting £562 – Not getting the returns some others have so far but then I already have many accounts opened and to be honest I didn’t spend all that much time on it, so very happy with this! I will do a full post on my thoughts on Matched Betting soon. An extra note: I’m rolling all gambling activities into this category as can’t be bothered to track it separately. If any of the profits are from a decent win (say £100+) I’ll be sure to hoot about it though 😉
- SSSH (Super Secret Side Hustle) £1,321 – Very happy with this first months income! I can’t really say much else about it, as it’s, well you know, a super secret 🙂
savings rate and net worth
Due to a great income and fairly frugal spending month, we hit a savings rate of 61.17%. This is our highest so far this year and our third highest ever, so no complaints at all here!
The markets have gone up a bit? I think? I don’t know, I haven’t really been paying much attention.
Excluding house equity: £105,443 / +£3,211 / +3.14%
Including house equity: £177,603 / +£3,593 / +2.06%
A few notes on the Net Worth:
- I accidentally put £200 instead of £2000 in one of the columns last month, so under reported by £1,800! I’ve fixed this now and will do so in the Net Worth table, but can’t be bothered to go back to last months post to fix it there.
- We pulled out of Mrs T’s share save scheme so that has now gone down to £0 and our cash buffer is up hugely. Still decided on what to do with that right now, I might just leave it in the Santander 123 for a while and see what the markets do over the summer.
- I am now estimating both mine and Mrs T’s pensions, so NW is likely higher than this, but would rather under estimate for now.
Remember to tune in next month for some more in depth stock market insights 😉
other ninja updates
Umm, not much to tell really, we’ve just been keeping our heads down and trying to get into a routine with little T. Haha, who am I kidding? We are still just running around like headless chickens for the most part. Still enjoying every moment.
I’m currently on another 2 weeks off period so am trying to finish off the kitchen by laying some flooring and doing the tiles. The flooring has so far taken 3 days, it’s been an absolute bitch to fit because the laminate we decided to choose is absolutely massive and so cutting it around fittings is nigh on impossible. I also under ordered so can’t finish the job until next week! To quote that famous Springfieldian – D’oh!
I’m also really enjoying the weather getting (slightly) better as it’s making me think about the summer ahead when I’ll have much more free time once all my main DIY work is done and dusted, and I can spend some quality time with the girls. And the odd round of golf, naturally!
Oh yea, I also applied to be on Ninja Warrior UK, so will be training for that if I get an audition – watch this space! 🙂
Here’s a link to the application form if anyone else fancies joining me!
random blog type stuff update
I haven’t posted much over the last 8 weeks for obvious reasons but have every intention of getting back to posting as regularly as possible when the house is back in order, which should hopefully be at the end of next week. What is quite funny is that traffic to the site hasn’t really dropped off all that much, so maybe I should not write to many posts after all? 😉
Joking of course. Maybe this is the fact that after being around for nearly 3 years, the blog is finally integrated nicely into the fabric of t’internet and there is a decent amount of residual google traffic that is keeping things ticking over. Who knows?
One fun fact I noticed a while back now is that this blog has made it onto the top spot when you google the following terms:
- “thefirestarter” – ok, maybe not that surprising
- “the firestarter” – is my evil masterplan to catch google clicks from all of those Keith Flint fans and converting them to FI ways finally paying off?! 🙂
I also made it onto the first search page of google 2 for the ludicrously generic search term:
Which got over 46,000 impressions in March yet still only yielded 9 click throughs to the site. Still, better than nothing 🙂
How was your March fellow FI chasers?!