Howdy all! How’s everyone doing? We all made it to 2020! Here’s to another FIRE journey year for us all!

I normally open up every blog post with the same old line; “This month has been crazy busy!” – perhaps I should stop that because January saw absolutely no change in that statement. There’s so much to write about so I’m going to break down into small chunks.

Life Stuff

There’s been a whole tonne of stuff that has gone on already in January. Mainly quite a few house/garden improvements. Why you might ask? Well a handy tip with construction / trades people is that typically after Christmas they have quiet periods. It normally results in them being able to provide more cost effective prices on their services (to get back into the swing of things) whilst in the summer, when they’re normally very busy, you’ll be paying much higher odds.

So here’s a few pictures of some of the things we’ve had done over the last few weeks in January;

  • New Shed! (A beast shed to be precise that should hopefully outlive me!) – Going to eventually become my FIRE man cave / tool shed.
    • Concrete Base – We’ve had to have people come round to install a concrete base. The guys worked incredibly hard and the result has been great!
  • New Fencing! Our old fence in our garden was going rotted, so I thought I’d strip it all out and get new put in. So we did! And absolutely love the style we’ve gone for.
  • New Electric Van! We’ve gone for a full electric van – an ex British Gas Nissan env200 – total of 9,000 miles on clock for just less than ?10,000 (a very good price).
  • New Greenhouse! I’m still awaiting the delivery of this, but we’re going to bolt this against our Beast Shed (a few example pictures attached below).

Really looking forward to getting my hands on the Electric Van (this Friday – 7th Feb I’m picking it up). Have worked out the various calculations and essentially compared to current fuel usage now and against current night rate electricity costs (to charge the van), we’re looking at a saving of around ?3,000 per annum.

I’m going to do another separate post on this as I’ve had quite a few questions about the electric car / vehicle side of things!

Tax

January is that horrid month of knowing that self assessment tax returns need to be done and realising that there’s a whole bunch of money to pay the tax man. Yikes! My income is slightly different to most – we pay ourselves on PAYE but take the majority of earnings through dividends. This all calculated up and with a whole bunch of money going towards my student loan repayments, meant that in January I had to fork out close to ?30,000. The delight of paying her majesty’s revenue and customs this amount was quite a set back.

Of course, this is what the bottom line is. If you earn more, you pay more tax – simples. I’m glad in a way – I do generally care about ensuring that the more wealthier amongst society can contribute their fair share (even though it really annoys me when companies such as Vodafone pay ?0 in corporation tax each year).

Value of Investments

Here?s the total value of investments to date across all accounts;

Jan-19 Feb-19 Mar-19 Apr-19 May-19 Jun-19
??17,919 ??24,666 ??29,873 ??37,687 ??41,400 ??48,743
Jul-19 Aug-19 Sep-19 Oct-19 Nov-19 Dec-19
?58,104 ?60,882 ?68,509 ?73,577 ??79,553 ?88,075
Jan-20 ?Feb-20 ?Mar-20 ?Apr-20 May-20 ?Jun-20
??88,597

Ouch, only a gain of ?500 essentially, even though I’ve contributed ?2,500 to the funds this month. Here’s some basic stats;

Total Income: ?10,000
Total Saved (?): ?2,500
Total Expenses: ?8,500

Savings (%): 25%

Core blimey! Savings rate has been hit hard this month. If I take into account some more of the tax payments that have been made, really, my savings rate is lower than this.

How are those graphs looking?

Still going up in the general direction! Even though my Stocks & Shares (active investments) are still performing relatively poorly. As per usual from this end, we’ll continue to keep calm and carry on with saving as much as we can possible!

Here’s to the next month!