Savings Diary: June 2017 Update – What a Cracker

I managed to squeeze in a couple of weeks off work last month.  Most of it was spent at home, fixing up some old reclaimed Victorian doors and hanging them, playing video games and just relaxing.  An introduction to Financial Independence.

At the time of starting to write this is, it’s been less than a week since returning to and I can already feel the presence of the Hive Mind once again regaining control of some part of my brain, laying down work related worries and regaining it’s constant presence.  The wispy tendrils that wire me into office life are once again restoring their hold.

Life in the two weeks off just flowed naturally, I went to bed when I was tired and got up when I felt rested.  Back at work most days are now controlled by the Hive Mind’s schedule, not mine.  I’m back to reverse engineering my days.

So I need to be in work by 9am and it takes half an hour to walk there, I’ll need to leave by 8:30.  I want to get some exercise done or a bit of writing so, with a bit of time to eat breakfast and cleanse my fetid body, I’ll need to be up around 7am.  7 minus the 8 hours of sleep I need is 11pm.  With a bit of time for reading and brushing my gnashers I better start thinking about heading to bed at 10pm, regardless of where I am that evening, tired or not.

Ok, bed by 10pm.  I’ll want to have had dinner by 9 at the latest, preferably 8 so I better start cooking as soon as I get home.  I fucking hate ready meals and cooking fresh takes a while.  Better start cooking as soon as I get in from work.  Whilst cooking I can also complete some quick admin tasks, like taking the recycling out or prepping my gym kit for the next day.

Shit.  I got a busy day at work Friday, perhaps I should get in earlier a couple of days to make sure Friday is smoother.

*maniacal laughter from the Hive Mind*

What the hell, work is impacting my schedule from days out.  It has control of the future.

Once you’re ingrained in the work cycle you don’t notice this layer of stress and loss of control, it’s just part of it, automatic.  You get into a routine and don’t question it.

Travelling provides a disconnect from your normal life, and somehow this makes the work routine seem part of simply living rather than a concept that was abhorrently layered on sometime during the industrial revelation.  The absurdness of a rigid 9 – 5 schedule really stands out when you take some time off and just go about your life at home.

Despite the more relaxed pace I took the time each weekend to update a spreadsheet that tracks my NetWorth and Savings Rate.  And at the end of the month I take stock of where I am and check in against a couple of goals.

<Repetition Alert> The most important of these is my savings rate. For the last couple of years I’ve been targeting 60%, and just missed out on it both years.  Hopefully 2017 will be the year.  Then, once 60% becomes normality, I’ll increase my target to 65%, then 70% and so on.  At least until my happiness plummets off the edge, into the Chasm of Despair.  Then I’ve found my limit.

The second is around NetWorth growth.  Sure, it’s a little out of my control.  I can steer it in the right direction with my savings rate, but it will also be at the whims of the market to some extent. <Repetition Alert End>

Savings Rate – 60% target

Being well and truly in the accumulation phase, my savings rate is the most important aspect of my plan to become Financially Independent.

A high savings rate will be the Nitrous Oxide in my savings journey and also the metric that is most within my control.  I just need to apply a subtle upwards pressure to my earnings and a brute downward pressure on my spending.  Result: higher saving rate.

My expected target is to keep my savings rate above 50%, that way I’m buying at least a month of freedom for every month that I work.  Compounding just makes it even better.  60% is me trying to push myself, as the years to financial independence melt away as you push the savings rate north of 50%.

I emerged at the end of May with the bees and a total savings rate of 68.1% for the year.  Pretty fecking chuffed about that.

As a pre-cursor to this months calculation I received part of my annual bonus.  Being a cheap ass, I mean frugal legend, I planned to pile most of it into my ISA.

I don’t budget, I hate the restrictions it imposes.  I spend what I want and catch up on my spending retrospectively.  I felt like my spending was getting out of control for the last month, but it seems I my calibrations are a little sensitive…


70% plus for the first half of the year, ooohhh yeeaahhh

I did spend a bit more than normal, but by slamming 90% of my bonus into savings I reached a staggering 84.4% Savings Rate for June, the best of the year and the highest that I have recorded.

Booyaka, this brings my in year savings rate to 70.8%.  I’m hoping I can surpass my target of 60% this year, but I know that a potentially expensive September is looming.  The game is far from over.

Despite this award winning saving rate (for me at least) I have a nagging feeling that my spending has crept upwards over the last few months.  A breakfast here with chums, perhaps a lunchtime coffee over there…  which has caused something to resurface from the abyss of my mind.  Just how high could I get my savings rate in a normal month, if I spent the absolute minimum?  I feel an August challenge coming on.

I hope you’ll agree that was a lovely June.

NetWorth – 45% annual growth target

Disclaimer – I don’t include the equity in my house in this calculation.

Has my best savings rate, like ever, helped to boost my NetWorth by an equally super amount?

At the end of May my NetWorth had seen a growth of 17.7%, leaving me a percent or so above target.  Returns weren’t as great for me in June, but I still saw a 3.5% increase in NetWorth thanks to my bonus being paid.


Onwards and upwards my NetWorth tracking chums

My NetWorth increased by more in the prior month due to better market returns than it did this month with me piling my bonus into savings.

Perhaps it’s interesting to look under the hood at my NetWorth?  Nothing fancy going on there really.  No superchargers or Nitrous Oxide, just an efficient clean engine.

About £80k is in my pension, a number that would have been much higher had it not taken me nearly 6 years of work to just start contributing to.  One of my more moronic financial manoeuvres.  Automatic Enrollment is a great thing.

Nearly £55k is invested in equities in my ISA or wrapped up in share option schemes with my employer.  Then there’s a bit in cash and a taxable share dealing account.

And there lies my investing plan, max out on company pension scheme contributions, try to max out my ISA by investing in world equity trackers, take up share option schemes to the full when they are offered (as they really do kick ass) and if there is anything left invest it in equities in a taxable account.

Pretty fecking boring really.

As each month passes my slow ascent of Mt. Financial Independence continues, I secure my position slightly further higher and cling on for dear life.  Screaming my hoarse cries into the swirling winds and looking down at the crowds of consumers at sea level for inspiration.  There’s a few of us making the ascent, but we are a sparse bunch really.  I might be able to make out a grim determined face way off to my left or the shape of someone above, ahead of me in the journey.  But the numbers of us climbing are nothing compared to the mindless consumers milling about at the base.  So few that I’ve only met others on the journey through the magic of the internet.

Thing is, it’s hard to get going.  You haven’t yet got the tools and techniques dialled in, making progress difficult.  The base of the climb has been rubbed smooth by others attempting to start the climb, on top of that there’s a slippery moss growing everywhere.  To make things worse every time you try to start the frantic horde of consumers reach up as one to try and drag you back down.  Eyes empty save for the slightest glimmer of life, stay with us they all murmur.

Get your shit together and you can escape, get yourself out of reach, appreciate the serenity and then crack on with the journey.

Prior updates can be found right here.

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Mr Z

14 thoughts on “Savings Diary: June 2017 Update – What a Cracker

  1. The Rhino

    If you wanted to make the August challenge even tougher why not aim to see if you can spend *nothing* and still have a good time?

    I think you have to exclude utility bills and groceries

    Could be a pretty challenging challenge?

    Fancy a sporting challenge?

    How many kms can you fit in a month in the pool/saddle?

    My 2017 records so far..

    March – 30kms pool
    May – 726kms saddle

    1. Mr Zombie Post author

      Spend nothing other than bill and groceries? That is very appealing. And as long as I got Mrs Z on board would be achievable without being miserable. Can I keep my pool subscription?

      30kms in the pool takes some doing, a few 8k swims in there somewhere? 22k for me in 2017 in the pool and 600k on the bike (but that did include a couple of days away…)

      Mr Z

  2. Sarah

    Well done, you’ve really nailed it, so aware of your working demands and your long term goals.
    Would you mind sharing your spending?
    What do you actually buy?
    I’d love to know how ‘low’ you can go!!!
    I’m at the start of FI. I have a pension pot at the moment giving me….wait for it… £4000 a year (don’t know what the total is). Then £15,000 in ISAs. Husband has £70,000 in his pension pot (same as you wasted 10 years without signing up). But luckily we have a rental property giving a good return and about £200,000 in equity.
    So that’s my life story!
    Let’s know your spending (nosy)

    1. Mr Zombie Post author

      Sure – I was thinking of doing a spending post 🙂

      Good work on the rental property, a big chunk of the journey right there. £4,000 isn’t insignificant, would need £100k in savings (at 4% withdrawal) to match it!

      Mr Z

  3. Norm

    Ugh. So true about the Hive Mind schedule and reverse engineering your days. I want to cut that out and put it on my cubicle wall.

  4. Tim Kim @ Tub of Cash

    Thanks for sharing, Lol hive mind XD Yeah it does get pretty drone-like I admit. I’m a bit of a workaholic though because I get depressed when I’m not working. It’s odd. But I do see the allure of freedom. I mean at the end of the day, a big percentage of happiness comes from autonomy. Being “in control” of your own life and not by some hive mind or rigid structure placed on you by the system. So with that in mind, I’m stacking up the benjies myself. You just never know!

  5. Steve

    Good work managing to unhook a bit in your time off. I do tend to let my sleep cycle become more “on demand” when I’m on holiday, but at the same time I always feel I end up “wasting” my scanty holiday in bed and then I get annoyed with myself. Can’t wait for that tension to disappear post-FI…

    I love the description of “reverse-engineering” your life around work, never seen it put quite like that before and it’s so true.

    1. Mr Zombie Post author

      Yeah, the rigidity of the office work schedule does grind away (there’s no need for it to be that way other than presenteeism, in my opinion).

      I tend to be up within 45 minutes or so of my work alarm when I’m off work, so it’s not too different. Just feel way more rested 🙂

  6. Noedig

    Been reading the blog for a while. It’s a morale booster for those whose arse is on FIRE. The zombie metaphor is one that keeps yielding comedy gold. Also lucre in the literal sense. I think pretty much everyone feels they “woke up” too late, after pissing away rivers of money and opportunities for a quicker buck when house prices/shares/whatever were low. It’s worth reminding oneself that it’s like market timing: the best time to start might have been back then …. but the second best time is always right now. And although the growth matters, it’s the savings rate that works best as it the ratio of savings to expenses that works the wonders. All obvious enough …. but bears repetition from a gazillion angles and with as many absurd metaphors as you can find.

    As I said, cheering that you have your arse in gear, keep the undead blog posts coming. It’s a grave subject. Saving for tomborrow. It’s not rocket Seance.

    1. Mr Zombie Post author

      It’s simple really, like you say its not rocket seance, all about repetition, keep the savings rate consistently high and don’t try to time the market 🙂

  7. JoeCrystal

    Well Done! What an epic month indeed! It is always a nice feeling when you get a bonus, no matter how small or big they are.


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