June 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

I have two sets of friends with whom I socialise on a regular basis so I ended up celebrating my birthday twice on the town this month!

Why not celebrate with both sets of friends together to save time and money? It has been considered several times in the past but dealing with potential clashes of characters and personalities (with alcohol involved!) really won’t be worth the money saved and is not my idea of fun!

I had a couple of great nights out, and inevitably suffered the consequences afterwards! However, I think I was more worried about my liver/kidneys, rather than my finances!

A Bit About Work

Am pretty settled in now, the days are flying by as I continue to get to grips with different processes, procedures and people.

At the last place I worked, there were quite a lot of folk who were in their 40s or older. At my new place, I’m definitely one of the few ‘oldies’, with most people sitting around me in their early to mid-twenties.

In the run-up to pay day, talk was just of what they were going to spend all their money on – mostly socialising and buying ‘stuff’, with one young chap ordering a pair of shoes costing over £500 (some ‘must-have’ brand I’d never heard of). I didn’t join in when the others had a go at him for wasting his money, for fear I would go into ‘FIRE mode’ haha! Ah to be young and so carelessfree with money!

With both my boss and the rest of the team not being based in the same office apart from on the odd occasion, I’m working pretty autonomously, more so than in my previous job. I think I will appreciate this more as time goes by, although I have to admit that I am actually starting to enjoy my work – not so clueless any more!

I still think it’s bloody hard – coming from a highly regulated environment to one that is not so (yet) regulated isn’t easy and my boss warned me that it could get a little frustrating but to be patient as things were moving towards more regulations and controls. I look at their processes and see so many things which would fail an audit.

I think I’m one of the few people who actually abides by the clear desk policy, which isn’t enforced but it’s how I’ve been working for the past ten years so I continue to do so. Still, it’s far too soon for me to be making major suggestions of improvements but I’ve been making notes for the future, ideas for projects and such like.

The lifts weren’t working the other day so I had to take the stairs. I realised that walking up to the 5th floor isn’t too bad and is a great workout, so from now on, I will climb the stairs every day.

Anyway, I got paid in full this month so how much of my net salary did I save? (no £500 shoes for me!)

I saved 54.6%! My average for the year is now 47.8% so slowly creeping up to my goal of an average 50%.

The above savings includes £100 from matched betting profits, £25 from my Premium Bonds win, £20 lotto win and £57.08 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

When I saw the my wage hitting my bank account, I was pleasantly surprised. Until I realised that this is my pay without any corporate benefits deducted – I’ve yet to join the company pension scheme (although the contribution will be low) and I no longer have the ‘premium benefits’ I used to enjoy, namely medical, life insurance and critical illness cover. Oh and my corporate gym membership was also deducted via salary sacrifice.

Another birthday celebrated, another year older – although I keep myself pretty fit and healthy and have a fairly balanced diet, age will catch up at some point so perhaps I need to consider my own medical cover seeing as I no longer have it. I was given a quote by the insurers who used to provide my company medical cover but it was nearly 4 times what I used to pay! What a rip off! I’ll do a bit of research, methinks.

Future Fund 

I have now shifted what’s left of my severance pay into my Future Fund, giving it a decent boost and it now stands at £119,717. A good step towards reaching my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

First Impressions

So I’ve survived my first week at work!

My friends asked if I enjoyed it and I have to say that although I was glad to be working again, ‘enjoyable’ is not a word I would use to describe my first week!

After many months where the only thing to tax my brain was calculating my matched betting profits and losses, my brain has been hurting from all the new stuff it’s had to absorb. I’ve certainly slept well at night!


The company I’m working for is a global business with offices around the world. The two main HQs are UK (Manchester) and the US (Houston). My immediate boss is based in London.

It’s in a different industry from the one I’ve worked in previously (ie not Finance) but the business culture appears to be very similar from what I’ve seen so far.

My job is VERY different from my old one and I have an extremely steep learning curve ahead of me which I need to climb quickly.

The person I am replacing leaves next week so handover and training is going to be minimal. To up my game, I’m going to do some reading/studying at home to gain some background knowledge.

During my interview, it was established that formal training was not planned as such so it’s me, with my trainers on, trying to hit the ground running! I hope I don’t stumble!

Anyway, here are some initial pros and cons I’ve come up with from my first week:

Pros v Cons

Pro – I’m back on track with my FI plan! I got a bit of a pay rise, so I’ll be able to save/invest a bit more.

Con – The overall benefits package is nowhere near as generous as my old one, particularly the pension.

Pro – I’m learning lots of new stuff that will enhance my career.

Con – I’ve gone from knowing everything about the business I work for, to knowing nothing about the business I work for. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this way!

Pro – The office is only 4 miles away from where I live, compared to my previous office which was 14 miles away.

Con – It’s in city centre so major traffic jams all the way.

Pro – I like Manchester City Centre.

Nice surroundings, 10 mins from the office

Con – I am travelling by public transport.

Pro – Public transport means I can read during my commute.

Con – There are often delayed trams or full trams not stopping, so I need to take this into account for my journey.

Neither Pro nor Con – Public transport costs will be about the same as my old petrol costs.

Pro – My tram stop is a 15 minute walk to the office so I am getting 30 mins of general exercise every day.

Con – I’m not looking forward to this walk during the cold/snowy and dark winter mornings/nights or shivering on a freezing platform.

Con – I have to leave the house half an hour earlier than I used to, to ensure that I get a parking space outside the tram station.

Con – I no longer have time to make my own lunches in the morning and I don’t like to make salad pots the night before.

Pro – Work provides free breakfast (toast, cereals and fruit) every morning so the extra money I’m spending on lunches is cancelled out by no longer having to spend any money buying stuff for breakfast.

Pro – I can still get to the gym in the evenings and make it in time for my aerobics classes.

Con – As I only make it just in time for the aerobics classes, there isn’t any time for my gym/punchbag workout beforehand.

The people are generally friendly and tea and coffee (proper bean!) is free. They have two dress-down/casual days so I only need to wear business attire for 3 days – yay!

It’s back to the grindstone, working for ‘The Woman’ and yep, as far as things go, I guess I’m happy! 🙂

Have a great weekend all!

Full Speed Ahead

So, as luck would have it, after describing what I did on a ‘typical day‘ during my unemployment ‘unplanned practice retirement’, it looks like I won’t be having any more such typical days.

Following that interview I mentioned at the end of the post, I received a job offer late on Friday and…

…I started work at my New Job TODAY!

I know!




…as the kids would say!

I can’t say I’ve ever gone through such a quick recruitment process – interview Thursday, job offer Friday, start Monday – tap tap BOOM!

At least I had a chance to celebrate with friends on Friday and Saturday.

I’m still rather stunned by it all but I’ve had a good four and a half months off work, they wanted someone to start ASAP and I was able to and more than ready to rejoin the paper-shuffling horde!

And yes, it is a very challenging role and job which I want to do with a company I like the look and sound of.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho and all that, but there goes the free time I was half looking forward to over the summer!

I will do a proper update when I get the chance to catch my breath!

Thanks for everyone’s best wishes – it obviously helped! 🙂

Go me, yay!


Typical Day

In a recent comment, @Playing with Fire mentioned that it might be interesting to know what a typical day looks like during my ‘unplanned practice retirement’.

I’m not sure it would make a very interesting post but here goes!

Also, I would love to treat it as ‘retirement’ but feel a little uneasy about enjoying myself too much!

Anyway, three of my days in the week are pretty much the same so I guess they’re ‘typical’:

My alarm wakes me up at 7.30am. I know this isn’t actually that early but considering I don’t really need to wake up at that time, it’s still quite early (for me, especially as I’m not a morning person!). I need to set the alarm as I don’t want to end up treating every day like the weekend. Also, when I get a job, the transition won’t be so painful!

I’m up and about, have a simple breakfast, read the news online, check my emails and by 9am, I will sit down to do my matched betting.

This can take between 1-1.5 hours, depending on the number of offers on and if I can get any decent matches.

Matched betting done, I do my job hunting – this can take between 1 – 3 hours depending on whether there are any vacancies worth investigating, what job matches I have in my inbox, if I make any applications etc.

I probably get 1 or 2 agencies calling me each week, some just to go over my CV and experience; other times, I end up having a mini telephone interview.

I’ll have my lunch anytime between noon and 2pm, depending on the above activities. I used to take my own salad box for work but for some reason, I can’t face eating salad at home. It would be so easy to just nip out and buy lunch but keeping costs down in mind, I just make a light lunch at home.

If it’s sunny, I’ll then potter around the garden. If the weather’s crap, I’ll catch up on some blog reading, read my book, occasionally practise my ukulele or listen to some podcasts or the radio.

At around 4pm, to avoid traffic, I’ll set off for the gym. I catch up with my friends in the club area and then do my own training in the gym (weights and punchbag). After this session, I rejoin my friends for the aerobics class. Shower, change, drive home – by this time, it’s nearly 8.30 pm.

I never have much of an appetite after a workout so I’ll make a small evening meal, perhaps have a couple of snacks.

Anyway, it’s then back online to check how my matched bets have gone and I update my spreadsheets, cheering at the profits/free bets and grimacing at qualifying losses!

The TV is finally switched on and I’ll watch 2 or 3 episodes of some show I’m currently in the middle of watching or catch up on iPlayer.

Around midnight, time for bed but I’ll read for up to an hour before my head hits the pillow.

And that’s pretty much it – the days don’t seem to drag but I’ve noticed they certainly don’t go by as fast as they did when I was working.

I’ve still been keeping to my drinking-only-at-weekends rule – it’s feels important to me to distinguish the weekdays from the weekends so yes, I still look forward to the weekends. In this, I think I’d probably practice something similar when I am finally retired.

My social life hasn’t changed but I actually turned down a couple of recent ‘unplanned’ outings, (“Champagne afternoon tea? Sorry, count me out!”) which I would have probably accepted when I was working.

I’m spending a lot of time at home, which would drive some people mad but the other alternative is to go out and going out often means the opportunity to spend money. On the few days when it’s been sunny and I’ve decided to walk into the local village, I’ve deliberately not taken my purse.

I still do my one supermarket shop a week, keeping to my usual routine. My grocery bill hasn’t changed too much but I might start planning my meals better again, cook in batches etc.

Resistance was futile…

As mentioned in discussions with @FIREin’ London, I was trying to not buy any alcohol for home consumption this year – I lasted until April – ended up wandering down the ‘wrong’ aisle in the supermarket and left with a few bottles of Brewdog! I’ll see how long I can resist again – really need to get another homebrew on but struggling to find the motivation to do so.


I think I’ve retained a positive outlook by keeping to routines, maintaining my fitness and continuing to network. My friends and family seem more concerned that I’m not working, when in the back of my mind, I don’t think I’d be too upset if I was free to enjoy the summer! However, my preference of course would be to get back to working sooner rather than later.

My ex-boss has been calling me every other week to see how I’m getting on and to provide support and advice. I’m actually very grateful he does this as we had a great working relationship.  His calls help keep me focused on the job hunting, plus he has a lot of contacts in the industry.


Today would have been one of the above ‘typical days’ only it wasn’t because I had an interview so spent the entire morning prepping for it (all of yesterday too). It was probably one of the toughest interviews I’ve had and I very much feel like breaking that no-alcohol-in-the-week rule, haha! Fingers crossed for this one!