Income & Expenses – December 2014

One of the main reasons I started a Blog was to publicly record all of my Income and Expenses each month. 

There were two main reasons why I decided to do this:

  1. Accountability – Just knowing that I’m going to be writing down all the pounds and pennies that I spend each day is reason enough not to go crazy with my spending. It also encourages me to invest as much money as I can to boost my monthly saving rate. The act of writing everything down will motivate me to spend less and save more. I have a Goal of saving more than 50% of my monthly wage every month and spending less than £950 per month for the rest of 2014.
  2. Evidence – I want to prove that anyone can become financially independent, including someone like me on an average salary (under £30,000 pa). You’ll be able to see what I spend every little penny on, each month. You’ll also see what I earn and what percentage of that I’m able to invest with. I want this Blog to represent a real-time document of how someone can go from earning less than £10 in one year (2013) in dividend income, to earning enough passive income to cover all monthly expenses and spending (2022).

Income

I will rarely have the same wage each month as I have a commission based job. I might also be eligible for bonuses at certain times of the year, which will impact on the total of my wage. My wage figure will be the net sum I’m paid after tax, national insurance, company pension, salary sacrifice for pension, and student loan. I will only include one figure for my wage but I will mention if my commission is high/low and I will also let you know if I’ve triggered a performance based bonus.

Expenses

The first two expenses are fixed amounts. ‘Mortgage/House Bills’ is an account where Miss FFBF and I pay into each month (£485 each) to cover mortgage payments, council tax, water, TV licence, telephone, electricity, and broadband. ‘Food Account’ is another joint account we use to contribute a fixed amount (£60 per month) for food shopping. 


Here’s a breakdown of my Income and Expenses for the previous month:


Income from December 2014
Wage £1,853.66
Dividends £71.44
Ebay £12.30
Interest from Savings £2.40
Topcashback £6.16
Christmas Money £141.00


Total Income £2,086.96




Expenses from December 2014
Mortgage/House Bills £485.00
Food Account £60.00
Mobile £8.22
Petrol £10.00
Birthdays £27.00
Groceries £33.44
Alcohol £56.37
Coffee shop £0.00
Eating Out £0.00
Fast Food £10.60
Fancy Dress £48.38
Clothing £20.00
Home Insurance £58.50
Christmas Presents £191.05
Office Secret Santa £5.16
Kindle Book Course £38.29
Total Expenses £1,052.01


Income

December’s wage is usually one of the biggest one’s of the year. It wasn’t as high as it is usually, but it still turned out to be the forth highest I received in 2014. 


My dividends for December were above average or the year. The total also took me past my Goal of receiving £550 in dividends during 2014.

I received small payments from Ebay and Topcashback, and I benefited from some much welcomed Christmas money. 


Expenses

December turned out to be my biggest spending month of the year….. by some margin. I didn’t realise it during the month, but my monthly average has just risen over the £10,000 a year average of £833. I’m disappointed by my lack of awareness. My initial thought was to push on in January and February to make up the full 12 months and get it below the £10k mark. However, my plan for 2015 is to invest more in my development, and in income producing assets so this total might be difficult to achieve now. I must take comfort in the fact that if I wanted to achieve it, I could. The daft truth is that if I didn’t buy that bloody He-man fancy dress and my fancy dress for the Masquerade ball this month, I would have made it! It’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world. 🙂

My Mortgage/House Bills went up £15 to accommodate a couple of increased costs. We also made the decision to increase our contributions to the Food Account up to £60 per month. We’re asses how we get on with those adjustments over the next few months.

Mobile and petrol were standard, it was my sisters Birthday this month, and my groceries were in line with last couple of months. My fast food was a little higher than normal.

My alcohol spend shot up this month. I had a wedding, a Christmas party, and a New Year’s party. On top of that I bought some alcohol for myself during the festive period. 

Fancy dress reared it’s head again! My office’s Christmas party was a Masquerade Ball. I bought a mask and cape. I once again went a little overboard on the outfit but I had a ‘cracking’ night (literally). So good in fact, I split my suit trousers dancing during the second song of the night. The cape REALLY came in handy! I kept my dignity, but I need a new pair of suit trousers. I could just wear the cape for all formal events…..

I added £20 to my clothing spend this month. Nothing fancy, just a pack of boxer shorts.

The Home Insurance bill, Christmas presents and Secret Santa gift for the office are all regular fixtures to December spends. The three items totaled over £250. (I was hugely reliant on my Bills account for this month!)

The last line covers my new venture for 2015 – Creating & Selling Kindle e-books. I enrolled in an online course on how to publish e-books for Kindle. I outsourced the writing and cover design, and I now have a book ready to sell. Unfortunately, I need to complete a W-8BEN form before I’m able to launch it. (This will enable me to earn royalties from an american company – Amazon). In order to complete the form I need to have a Unique Taypayer Reference (UTR), which I don’t have. I’ve now registered for a self assessment form via the HMRC, and I should receive the UTR in mid-January. 

The book creation cost me £36.53 so far for the one book I created in December. Although there is an expense to it, this cost is an investment in my eyes as I’m planning on receiving income from it, potentially forever….. I will report back on its returns once it’s up and running. 

I’m not planing on writing in any more detail about Kindle publishing just yet, as I don’t have a lot to share on the money making side of it. I’ve almost completed the creative process but I’m yet to market it. I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’m planning on creating at least 50 books this year to see if this is a viable option to increasing my income or not. 

Once I’ve launched the book and marketed it, I will share the process I took, the income I receive, and general thoughts on it as an income generator. 

Expense Goal

I have a goal for 2014 which is to keep my expenses below £950 per month, averaged out over the year. Here are my total expenses to date:

My average spend at the end of November was £813.16. After my biggest spending month of the year, I’ve increased my average to £837.05 (£23.80 increase). As I mentioned earlier, I’m a little disappointed about not keeping it below £833 per month (£10,000 a year), but I know that I could have achieved it if I had wanted to bad enough. Fancy dress, Kindle publishing, and alcohol could have all been put on hold or reduced if I chose to go for that total. My goal for 2014 was to keep expenses below £950, which I’ve managed comfortably. I am pleased with that result. 

I’m not planning on having an Expenses Goal for 2015. I’ve proven to myself that I can keep a budget below £10,000 with my current lifestyle. I want to focus on increasing my income instead and I don’t want to be influenced by reducing my spending on personal development or giving money to charity to keep my expenses below a certain amount. The act of having a target and publishing it made a huge impact on my total spend. I’ll continue to live frugally, but I want my focus to be on generating significantly more income to invest with. 


Can I achieve the same success with income generation that I have experienced with low expenses?

Expenses – 2014
January
February
March £856.36
April £922.86
May £966.20
June £585.54
July £833.15
August £859.99
September £766.17
October £815.20
November £712.99
December £1,052.01
2014 Total £8,370.47
2014 Average £837.05



Savings Rate


I have a goal to save/invest at least 50% of my income every month for the remainder of 2014. 

I saved and invested 65.3% (£1,363.59) of my income this month. My average for the year decreased to 69.6%. The percentage has steadily dropped over the last five months, and I was trying to cling onto the 70%. If you round the number up I hit the 70% mark, but if I’m being honest I was a little gutted to fall below the ’70’. 

Thank you all again for supporting me and for taking the time to read about my month. 



How was December for you? Was it the most expensive month for you? Did you meet your goals for the year? 

0 Comments

  • Mr Zombie

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015

    Huw,

    Motivational as always.

    Good work on the savings rate! You're a machine.

    Looks like dividends are already becoming a nice amount 🙂

    The publishing side hustle still intrigues!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015

    Hi Mr Z,

    Thank you so much!

    I'm not sure if I'm a saving machine, but I like the compliment. 🙂

    Yes, my dividends have turned around very quickly, from £10 in the whole of 2013 to £600 in 2014. I can't wait to see how I get on this year.

    My Publishing is my biggest goal of the year. If it works out to my plan, I might be able to become financially free in a couple of years rather than 8. I need to prove the system to myself before I get too carried away though. I will happily help other people achieve the same thing if it works. Watch this space!

    Thank you for your continued support, it means a lot!

    Huw

  • No More Waffles

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015

    Huw,

    Great job as always! I understand you feel a little down about not keeping your spending below the magical level of £10,000. It won't matter much in the end, so don't worry too much about it.

    Weird question, but am I reading it right that your alcohol expenses are about 30% of your total food+drinks budget? (56 vs 66+33+10) That's a lot of booze, my friend. And people tell me I'm a drunk sometimes! 😉 At least it was for some special occasions and a future stash.

    Keep it up!
    NMW

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015

    I appreciate the comment. It was a little annoying as I was so close and I didn't realise, but it really isn't the end of the world.

    Ha ha. Alcohol was high for me this month as I had several parties. I spent much more than I normally would. I do go months without drinking a drop, so over the course of the year my alcohol spending is low. The amount for December is based on buying rounds for others too, so it's not all me, but I've lumped it together. The scary thing is, I used to spend more than that on a night out on the weekend back 10 years ago, and I would go out 2-3 times a week EVERY weekend! If only I knew back then what I know now. Hey ho.

    Thanks again
    Huw

  • Tawcan

    Reply Reply 8th January 2015

    69.6% for the whole year is very impressive. Nothing to be bummed out about. Some people can't even save 10% of their monthly income.

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 9th January 2015

    Hi Huw, still a great average on your expenses – coupled with your incredible savings rate and dividend income, it's been a most excellent year.

    Like the others, most intrigued to hear more about your Kindle book publishing. It's not something I've really considered doing myself but I'd be interested to know more about what it entails.

    Still chuckling over your split He-Man trousers haha! 🙂

    I really blew my budget in December – aside from messing up and not adjusting my automatic savings, there were some expenses regarding my HK trip that I hadn't accounted for and I have just 'discovered' them on my credit card bill. I'll reveal more info in my end of month update but it won't make pretty reading!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 9th January 2015

    Thanks Tawcan. I'm not down in the dumps, just a little disappointed that I got so close and I was unaware. You're right though, it could be a lot worse!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 9th January 2015

    Hi Weenie,

    Thank you very much! It's been a great year overall.

    The process of creating books so far has been fairly straight forward. I'm not sure what selling and marketing will be like, but I'll let you all know how I get on in the next few weeks.

    I wish I had split the He-man trousers! I spit my only suit trousers, which were tailor made for me, so it'll cost me a fair bit to replace them no doubt. It was bloody funny though!

    I don't think we're alone on the expensive December weenie. I think it's probably an expensive month for most people. Saying that, it was more expensive than I was expecting!

    All the best
    Huw

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 11th January 2015

    Hello, good job. How can you spend around 40 in groceries for the whole month? that is very low!

    Thanks

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 11th January 2015

    Hello,

    It's hard to answer that question. I just do really. I shop at Aldi, we buy things in bulk and we don't spend excessively.

    Remember £60 on my expenses goes into a joint food account, so it turns out I spend approx £100 per month.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Huw

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field