March saw us head down to the sunny south coast for a 7 week peripheral rotation. We were very fortunate with the weather, and had some really good opportunities for some extended walks on the South Downs. Now that we’ve got three full comparable months, my intention is to depict it as a three month rolling view to highlight short term trends. Here’s the number crunching for March:
Happily, a nice bolus of money came from student finance this month, making the total monthly income double what it usually is. That said, the lump sum needs to be spread over 1/3 of the year, so it is a little bit deceptive.
Interest was high this month because both our Santander H2B ISAs paid out their annual instalment of ~£77 each. The rest is from another solid month’s returns from Saving Stream (now Lendy) and Ratesetter with dribs and drabs from other places.
This is my last month of matched betting for a short while (I finished with Cheltenham) because I do rather need to spend a bit more time focusing on the upcoming exam season in May. The ~£500 (plus £9.46 referral) this month brings my total to date to just above £5000 in 5 months – a very welcome boost for a lowly student.
The final couple of bits are a tenner cashback from when I signed up to one of the betting websites, £30 cash thrust into my hand from my grandparents as a send off to the south coast, and selling my blood for another tenner.
A very good – if slightly deceptive – month.
The fixed costs of rent, utilities and mobile phone remain, well, fixed. I’m sure at some point soon – likely in April – the 6 months £0 internet is going to run out and it will be £15/mo thereafter.
Groceries seem oddly high this month. I think it’s a combination of the fact that we pay for them on credit card, and the exact quantities get a bit smeared into the next month, as well as needing to do a big set-up shop when we moved into our current hospital accommodation. Averaged over the last three months, it comes out to £121.45 (£4/day) which sounds jolly reasonable indeed for a couple. I give credit to batch cooking, a comprehensive meal plan and zero wastage for that.
Buying clothes 2 months in a row – this really is abnormal. I needed a new pair of work trousers whilst the my partner bought some new summer vest-top-things.
Travel is a function of relocating to the south coast for a couple of months and there’s an Oyster card top up in there too. We should be able to reclaim about £15-20 from the university with a bit of luck.
Given that we are living in shared accommodation with some buddies for a couple of months, entertainment costs are slightly up. Weekly pub quiz (with a pint of tasty Sussex IPA) and a trip to the local award winning fish ‘n’ chip shop were well worth it.
The largest discretionary expenditure was hobbies – I bought a rather dashing pair of leather walking boots to replace my old fabric ones which were literally falling apart after somewhere north of 1000 miles of walking. They saw out Coast to Coast, the South Downs Way and the Cotswold Way, as well as countless day and weekend excursions over three years.
All in all, I think this month represents a fairly good baseline average.
A somewhat inflated savings rate was achieved this month. I wouldn’t read too much into it as it was largely a product of a tranche of student loans. That said, even without the student loans, we would have been about £400 in the positive.
A slightly squashed view of the net worth tracker – I’ll work on the format of this at some point to try and make it clearer.
More money is making its way from the negligible interest rate cash ISA into higher interest accounts. We opened 2 Nationwide accounts this month, which each pay 5% interest on balances up to £2500. The remaining cash ISA balance will likely be spread across a regular saver and topping up current accounts until the end of the academic year.
Frustratingly on the LISA front, none are available (in cash guise, at least) until June at the earliest, so we’re carrying on with paying into the H2B ISAs. I’ve actually crunched the numbers, and it will actually be optimal for us to continue doing monthly payments into the H2B ISA until about January 2018 before transferring the lot into a cash LISA.
Overall, net worth is up by about £2500 – again, courtesy of the Student Loans Company, primarily.