Ten is the Magic Number

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned an epic TEN YEARS OLD!

Happy 10th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Long time or what! Except it hasn’t really felt that way.

My blog is positively ancient compared to some other FIRE blogs (not that there are that many these days), considering how many have fallen by the wayside and dropped into the abyss of the blog graveyard over the years. In the words of good old Elton, “I’m still standing!” 🙂

Last Woman Standing

Even after 10 years, I still enjoy writing (most of the time) – the blog is a means to help me focus, to document my journey, to help motivate me, a place to empty some of the thoughts rattling around my head or to articulate ideas. The blog was never about making me money, else I would have given up after year 1!

Some might describe my progress over the years as ‘plodding’ but the truth is, I’ve gone as fast I’ve wanted to; I see it as steadily and purposefully moving forwards, step by step.

The last couple of years did feel like a bit of a slog – there was barely any progress with my Future Fund due the stock markets creeping along sideways, it was all quite disheartening and demotivating but I doggedly kept at it.

At no point in the last ten years have I ever thought about quitting my goal and I don’t feel burned out from my FIRE journey, probably as I’ve just gone along at a pace I’ve been comfortable with.

That said, neither am I all bright-eyed and excited as I was at the beginning of my journey – what has crept in recently is a little trepidation as I am now on the last leg of my journey. I feel that a slight mindset change is required but I’m not quite there yet – my mind seems to be a little hesitant about taking that next step.

I need to start thinking seriously of ‘what happens next’, look into more detail on how I am going to fund my life post work, look into what my life will look like. The word ‘decumulation’ keeps popping up at the back of my mind and I’m currently just batting it away, like an annoying fly. Don’t worry, I will get my head round this.

Humdrum

Gosh, so I’ve been posting my numbers monthly (with some glimpses of my life) for a whole decade!

It’s all been pretty mundane stuff – I reckon I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life, one which is filled with a lot of routine, same-old-same-old stuff, with good things far outweighing the bad.  My life is not action-packed, there’s very little drama and no cliff-hangers!

I am mostly an optimistic person, this governs how I live my life and also I think how I invest (whether that’s good or bad, haha!).

I think I’ve gotten the right balance with my life vs aiming for FIRE because as far as my nearest and dearest are concerned, I’m just living a normal/mundane/modest/boring (delete as applicable) life on a middle income, except that I have a fanciful idea of retiring early.

What have I been doing these past 10 years?

How Much Will I Need?

I’ve mentioned a few times that for my Future Fund and future retirement income, I had been loosely aiming for a ‘Moderate’ standard of living as cited by Retirement Living Standards (RLS), requiring an income of £23.3k.

For ease in my spreadsheets, that was a nice round income of £24k or £2k a month (net). Note that I currently do not need this much to live on and had already adjusted my numbers to account for the double-digit inflation we all had to swallow last year.

So you can imagine my dismay (and shock) to see that RLS had updated their numbers for 2023 and that such Moderate standard of living in retirement had apparently ballooned in just one year by 34.3% to £31,300. Erm, what!?

Source: retirementlivingstandards.org.uk

This predicament has been written about recently by Monevator, and from some of the comments against that post, it seems many believe the numbers are a little ‘frothy’.

Still, I’m sure there will be yet others looking at the higher end/Comfortable numbers and thinking that £43k (£59k for a couple) is nowhere near enough for their lifestyles but each to their own. For me, I mean, I’m not sure what I would spend £31k on, if I had it? I’d have to be frivolous and wasteful.

The numbers come from this report, where 135 people participated in discussion groups, people who were retired but also non-retired individuals over the age of 50.

Although the report makes an interesting read, I’m not sure about the views of this latter group, who I reckon will have somewhat over-estimated their costs.

Which is Which?

Which? have also done their own report on retirement spending, and I’m inclined to believe their numbers are a tad more accurate, given that their research was based on surveying over 5000 retirees on their actual spending.

Which?’s ‘middle’ standard of retirement living requires £20k, so my continued aim for an income of £24k falls within this catergory – phew!

Bills, Bills, Bills

Cost of living aint getting cheaper so all I can do is try to keep the costs within my control from spiralling upwards.

I mentioned that I recently switched my broadband for a saving of £20 a month – I could have gone cheaper but as I work mostly from home, I couldn’t really take the risk of not having fast full fibre (reliable) internet.

My mobile phone monthly was swapped recently from £11 a month to £8 – nothing huge but it all adds up.

Groceries I aim to average £40 a week – doing alternate normal and small weekly supermarket shops seems to be working. A shopping list is a must however, as it’s easy to blow this budget if I just drop things randomly in my shopping trolley, without first checking what I already have in my cupboards/freezer.

I have a credit balance on my electricity/gas account and have been notified that my direct debit will be reducing by £20 a month soon. I’ll leave whatever credit balance is left for next winter.

Water, Water, Everywhere

When I moved into my house, I got a water meter fitted as soon as I could, knowing for a fact that I would make a saving (as with my previous home).

I’ve got a water butt in the garden for my plants (also use that water for my indoor plants) and think I’m doing a decent job of not wasting or using excessive water.

Since I’ve switched to a water meter, I’ve apparently saved £753.98 (over 2 years) compared to if I’d stayed on rateable value bills.

What surprised me was my average daily usage compared to other singleton households…

So it looks like my daily average is around 40 litres, the outlier being 97 litres a day during summer 2022, which would have been due to the heatwave we had and me using the garden tap (plus watering can, to avoid using the hose) to water my parched plants.

But according to United Utilities, other single households typically use 149 litres a day – what are these people doing to use so much water?

Several baths every day/really long power showers, leaving the water running while they brush their teeth/wash the dishes, flushing the toilet needlessly/endlessly? Using the hosepipe daily to water their garden/wash their car?

I’ve never been one to stay in my PJs while working from home (except the time when I had Covid), I’m dressed every day so I shower every day. However, my showers are usually 5 minute max, (I tend to just go over the much vaunted 4 minutes)  longer if I have to wash my hair!  It’s not just about cost-cutting, it’s about not wasting resources.

I let the washing up pile up in the sink during the day and do it all in one go in the evening, water in a washing up bowl, the old fashioned way.

I do 1-2 clothes washes a week, don’t always have enough dirty clothes for a full load so have to wait sometimes!

I understand that larger households will use a lot more water but seriously can’t see how my norm is so low compared to other singletons? Not that I’m worried about it but it just seems bizarre.

The Only Way is Up

It’s likely that I will probably at some point be left with no alternative but to revise my income numbers – there’s only so much I can do to keep costs down, other costs will creep up which I will have no control over and I don’t want to change my current lifestyle too drastically.

I still think it’s unlikely that I would need £31k though.

I’ll track my spending this year to see if I’m proved wrong.

How does your intended retirement income compare to RLS/Which?

Nine Lives

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned nine years old!

Happy 9th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Yes, I’m still (mostly) enjoying the act of blogging about my journey to FIRE. I know blogs are pretty old school these days, but then, I have to admit, so am I! 🙂

I’ve been posting my numbers monthly with some glimpses of my life for nine years come rain or shine – not exactly riveting stuff, but hey ho, I think I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life – it’s quite mundane, same-old-same-old but I’m quite content with it not being action-packed, with no drama and no cliff-hangers!

Nine Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as after all this time, it continues to be an effort to stay focused on this FIRE malarkey. After so long, you’d think that I do things automatically and that it’s all very easy but I sometimes feel that if I don’t work at keeping my focus, I’ll just fall off the rails and mess up my plans.

Recently, I’ve been feeling mentally fatigued and felt that I had to get away from looking at my spreadsheets and wishing that they didn’t govern my life so much.

I gave myself a little break but it wasn’t long before I was logging on again, and seeing my numbers (up or down), seeing where I’m at and where I’m going made me feel somewhat comforted, in some control of what I’m doing, in some control of my future. I think I just needed a break from work, which I got over Easter.

Inflation spiralling upwards has made me focus more on costs than I probably have had over recent years. It’s getting to be a harder juggling act.

Anyway, this blog has without a doubt kept me going and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments, suggestions and emails.

What have I been doing these past 9 years? Continue reading

Faith in Eighth

Yet, another year rolls on by and my blog has just unbelievably turned eight years old!

Happy 8th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

So am I still as FIRE’d up about all this after 8 years of writing and sharing my mutterings and my journey?

Yes, I guess I am.

But I’m not half as excited as I was back then.

Eight Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as it continues to be an effort to stay focused.

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t be arsed updating the blog, because I feel like there’s nothing really for me to write about, just the same old, same old.

I’m just getting on with my life and the dogged path of perseverance to get to my FIRE goal is not exciting at all!

Life before I discovered FIRE did seem so much more carefree, when I was just merrily drifting aimlessly with no set goals. Life, that is, AFTER I had paid off my credit card debts – it wasn’t so merry during my dark days of being neck-deep in debt.

But if I want to get to where I’m going, I need to keep at it, need to stay focused, and carry on saving and investing as much as I am able to towards my future.

This blog has undoubtedly kept me from straying and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments and emails.

What have I been doing these past 8 years? Continue reading