Here we go with how my finances are looking for the month of October. As always last month’s figures are in brackets for comparison. I break down my figures to both include and exclude my house equity. The latter figure is to show how I’m doing in my quest to reach mortgage neutrality.
Mortgage £82,712.71 (£83,459.58)
Cash £15,289.89 (£15,897.60)
Money in share save £13,804 (£13,304)
AVC’s £4,573.30 (£4,530.85)
Shares £33,128.09 (£30,833.00)
House £245,000 (£245,000)
Total Assets £311,795.28 (£309,565.45)
Net Worth including house equity
£311,795.28 – £82,712.71 = £229,082.57 (£226,105.87)
Net Worth excluding house equity
£66,795.28 – £82,712.71 = -£15,917.43 (-£18,894.13)
I’m pretty happy with those figures I think. My cash figure seems to be getting a little bit lower every month. This seems to be an almost imperceptible creep down the way. With one thing and another it seems to have been quite an expensive year. House and car expenses have been quite high, as have general life costs. I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. The good thing is that I’ve not needed to touch the £10k that I have in a cash ISA, but rather I’ve been using the surplus that I keep in my current accounts. So it could be worse, but I could do with a cheap few months. Seems unlikely with Christmas coming up and the fact that I’ve just booked a trip to Berlin with friends to run the half marathon over there next year. You have to live a bit though, so I’m not going to worry unduly about it.
My AVC’s seem to be faltering a bit, but I’m trying to ignore that and remind myself that this is the long game I’m playing, rather than get caught up in the month to month values. That’s the downside of a monthly catch up on what you’re worth. It’s great for keeping you motivated, but it can cause a certain amount of fixation on what’s happening to particular parts of your money.
Overall things seem to moving in the right direction. The big picture figures all seem to be doing rather nicely (helped by a healthy share price of the work ones that I own). I can see that I’m getting closer and closer to mortgage neutrality, which is something I’m really looking forward to. I’ve got a big birthday coming up next year and it would be lovely to get to the point where I could cash in enough assets to clear the mortgage if I was so inclined. There’s something about a birthday with a zero on the end of it that makes it even more important than normal to have FU money. I don’t think I’ll quite hit the sweet point of mortgage neutrality by the time I get to 50, but I won’t be far off it. Something to aim for anyway.
I’ve started playing around with some graphs showing how my figures have been doing this year, the first year that I formally started tracking what I’m worth. It’s interesting to see the upwards trajectory, despite a few dips over the months. Once we get to 2020 I’ll put out a summary of 2019 showing how I’ve done. It will be nice to have a record of where I started the year and how I got to the end point.
So overall I’m feeling quite positive about my figures. I feel like I’m haemorrhaging money at the moment, so it’s good to see that things are still going in the right direction. I’ve got some potentially expensive times coming up. My boiler is a little temperamental at times. It doesn’t seem to cope all that well in very cold weather, which is inconvenient in a boiler to say the least! Last weekend it died a death and refused to come on, just when we needed it most. We don’t have an electric shower, so if the boiler isn’t working we have cold showers, which is a character building way to start the day. I’ve managed to coax it back to life, but I think I either need to accept that every few months we’ll have a couple of days without heating or hot water, or bite the bullet and replace it. For now I’m ignoring the issue and hoping that we’ll get another couple of years out of it. At some point I’ll need to address the issue though.
As I said I’ve booked a trip to Berlin with the girls for a bit of a running getaway. I’m very excited about this, but of course it all has to be paid for. Entry to the race, the all-important T-shirt (which you have to pay for separately!) and rental of the chip so you can get a time(I’ll never complain about the cost of entry in to the Great North Run again) comes to just shy of 100 Euros. It’ll be worth it though. This trip is to celebrate a couple of us turning 50 next year, and quite frankly I can’t think of a better way to mark my advancing age.
I was talking to someone at work this week about my finances. I was saying to him that I still can’t use my ensuite, as since the shower tray cracked and the subsequent leak I haven’t got it fixed. He thought I was crazy and should get it sorted before Christmas. I explained that what made most sense was completely doing out the bathroom, as already the loo won’t flush, the wet wall could do with replacing and the floor will need to be changed. I said that I would get it done, but just not immediately. I said that instead I’d spent £700 getting my main bathroom sorted so that we had a shower screen, new wet wall and the existing shower attached to the wall. He clearly thought I was crazy for having an ensuite there but not spending money on it to get it usable again.
Now I definitely will be getting the ensuite sorted, but the money isn’t there in the budget just now. Yes I could dip into my cash ISA money. It’s there for emergencies, and isn’t this an emergency? Well not really. We still have a bathroom that we can use. In our last house we only had one bathroom and we managed just fine. And in this house we also have the luxury of a downstairs loo, so there’s no crossing your legs if someone is in the shower. I’m pretty sure we can wait until next year to get the extra bathroom sorted.
The general consensus at work seems to be that I’m loaded but very tight with my money and won’t spend any of it. There is an acknowledgement that I am in such a relatively good financial position because I am careful with my money, and yet still I get some good natured ribbing for my reluctance to part with my hard earned cash. I’m not tight when it comes to collections for people at work, or paying my share when we’re out, just on spending unnecessarily on myself. I get told on the one hand that I have done so well as a single parent to get myself so financially sorted, but then the same people also tell me that I should spend more on myself. I do get where they’re coming from, but sometimes you can’t have it both ways. There’s only a finite amount of money coming in to the family coffers, so I can either save and invest it or spend it. I can’t really do both. Well I could, but that would slow my plans down, and quite frankly they’re going to take long enough to achieve as it is. I just smile, agree that I should treat myself more and carry on as I am.
I seem to be out of step with much of the world in this way of thinking though. The mind set seems to be I want it now and I deserve to not to have to wait. I think that’s one of the reasons why I like the FIRE movement so much and the idea that planning for the future sometimes means delaying your gratification. And realising that maybe the thing that you think you want/need is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Case in point, Christmas night out dresses. I have a Christmas ceilidh to go to next month with my running club. I found myself in Debenhams (my guilty pleasure) and suddenly I was perusing party dresses. I don’t need another going out dress, particularly as I don’t go out very often any more. Somehow though I was in the dressing room with a very fetching green number on twirling in front of the mirror. I tried very hard to remember what The Minimalists would say about this. I could definitely have done with Josh and Ryan on speed dial to talk me down from that dress. I remembered their rule about waiting for purchases, so I put it back and went home. I then went to my wardrobe and counted the twelve perfectly nice dresses that I already had that would be perfect for a Christmas night out. I’ve decided that next time I think I need a new dress I’ll just go shopping in my own wardrobe.
I’ll continue trying to not buy things unnecessarily, without depriving myself. I’ll spend money on experiences that will enhance mine and my family’s life, and try to avoid buying yet more unneeded party dresses, no matter how pretty they are or how nicely they’ll twirl around when I’m trying my best to follow the directions at the ceilidh. I love a wee ceilidh, even if I didn’t have the advantage of learning all the dances when I was at school. I usually get cut a bit of slack though, on account of me being a Sassenach. Going wrong and getting confused is all part of the fun, especially at Christmas time.