FIRE Update 11: May

First of all – I skipped the April update. I was caught in a mix of exam stress and blog-crisis. We’re back now, hopefully more improved by now!

We have arrived in May, and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable.

What happened this month?

I have just been busy with exams. I also had a bit of shopping spree – not a big one, but enough to soothe my stress (lol, at least I am aware of it now!) and to celebrate some good things happening in the family.

I’ve also taken some time to reflect on where I’ll be prioritising my energy from now on. I’ve had an incredibly stressful semester that took its toll on my body. It was a scary experience, so I now have to be ruthless on how I navigate my everyday life and not just “power through”. Therefore, I am now only sticking with stuff that I either find enjoyable, is worth the money, or is a core activity that makes a significant positive impact on my life. I’ll be talking more about that later in a post on how I plan to “summer audit” my life.

Savings

My current general savings are $16,065.

My travel and luxury savings are $890.

So I’ve done some readjustments since I’ll be embarking on a Master’s degree next semester, and I got some unexpected money. Suddenly it seemed like a reasonable task to try to save up as much as possible to diminish the need for loans. I’ll also be moving houses in a few months, so it is nice with a laser-focus on saving money and reducing my belongings. However, I also plan to travel (if the world allows it) and still buy a few quality pieces from my wishlist if they show up, so I also have a separate account for those frivolous things…

Investments

My current investments are $6,186 out of my $33,000 goal (19%)
My net worth is -$20,200

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $52,100. (when I last calculated it).

Goals for next month

I’ll be finishing up my degree (woo!) and plan out a whole Life Audit over the summer before I start on my Master’s degree. More on that later!

How is your May going, and how did April go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

New design, who dis?

I realised that I have been neglecting the blog quite a lot. I was also quite confused about where I wanted to take it – what to focus on, what should/could I write about, and so on. So while I was completely destroyed with university work (phew!), I also had a bit of leftover mental space to think it through. Now I am ready to go for it.

If you have been here before, you may have noticed that the blog has gotten a fancy new (incredibly basic) design, a little drawing of me, and some posts have been removed. I am trying to rewrite the ones that will fit my vision for the blog because I do want to make an effort. It is a good writing practice and also one of my core values – doing your best. Use half-assing for things that are, well, perhaps not going up on the internet.

So what is the focus of this blog?

My goal is to de-mystify how young people handle money. Show a peek behind the curtain. I am only figuring things out, slowly figuring out the career direction I want to take, finding my core values and priorities for where I want to put my money. Like everyone else. But here, I can be upfront about the challenges, my best tips and resources, and hopefully contribute with something useful in the personal finance blogosphere. We’ll be talking about:

  • Spending money in the big city as a young person (without the zen of those cool finance bloggers, unfortunately)
  • Saving money for investing, travelling, and luxuries – and how it CAN be done on a smaller income.
  • Earning money while juggling your studies, main job, volunteering, and all that jazz.
  • And all the other things that constitute life as a young student in London!

I see myself as a person who can Get Shit Done and knows how to work hard. It is a constant practice, and for many years, I had nothing to show for it (perhaps except some very expensive designer bags, which I still love). This blog also helps to keep me accountable and see how I progress from a small finance fish to a big, uh… money shark?

In any case, I am sure it will be a fun process! Maybe you’ll be horrified, maybe you’ll pick up some good tips – I am also just figuring out my life as I go along. At least now I have a place to write it all down, and hopefully start a good conversation.

Stay tuned for more posts – I’ve set up a real fancy content schedule now, so you can except regular entries. You can also follow the blog on BlogLovin (if anyone still uses that?).

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 10: March

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

I can’t believe I’ve almost done this for a year! We have arrived in March, and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable. I am still keeping up, even if life is a bit overwhelming at the moment!

What happened this month?

I was very happy to learn that I have been accepted into a really good Master’s programme, so it has been a great month so far. Other than that, I am still just grinding away. I have also signed up for All Star Money, which looks super interesting and the articles they pick out seem quite inspiring. So maybe I’ll attempt to rack my efforts up here some more and hope for a good opportunity to show up, haha.
Otherwise, I just had my 2-year anniversary at the world’s best student job, aka my consulting position. I got a raise, which is not bad, and I’ve been handed some extra work on a more regular basis (although that is not related to the raise). So I take that as good signs, because I do prefer to divide my energy between my studies and that job.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $7,600.
So my computer had to be repaired, which means I had to dip into my savings. I am not trying to worry too much – after all, this is what my savings are for and I am grateful for having this kind of cushion. Therefore, I am just continuing with work and spending as minimally as possible. This is turning out to be easier than I expected – when you are worn out and overworked, I often find that I spend less – because I am too exhausted and don’t have time for online shopping. So as long as we avoid emotional spending to cope with the stress, it should be OK on that front (while looking out for my mental health).

Investments

My current investments are $5,500 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-30,500.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $52,100. (when I last calculated it)

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

Mainly just academic stuff, and then some money articles from the website I mentioned above!

Goals for next month

I am going to get back into the minimalism challenge. I ended up stuck after 2 weeks, but I’ll get my head into it again. Then I also hope to have written a big chunk off my uni work, and have launched my website.

How is your March going, and how did February go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 9: February

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

We have arrived in February, and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable. I am still keeping up, even if life is a bit overwhelming at the moment!

What happened this month?

Busy as always. I have finished most of my applications by now, but I still have, well, a whole thesis to write and stay on top of work and uni. It feels like pouring in a lot of hours without a lot of tangible output just yet. But we are staying on track.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $8,000.
I am very close to reaching my savings goal, and I had initially changed it to $8,250, but I might just go for $9,000. The extra padding is to ensure that I have enough for moving apartments, studying (even if something happened with my finances), and still have leftover money to put down a deposit after my studies. But once that has been solved, I am going to go all-in on investments and a bit of debt repayment. I am also adding to a travel fund, which is obviously not gonna get used any time soon, but once the pandemic is over, I think I’ll be happy to have funds that are allocated to have fun, lol. Especially between my degrees.

Investments

My current investments are $5,380 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-29,400. You may have noticed there is a sharp decline in my negative net worth, which is mainly because I put in extra money on my savings and recalculated my student loans.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $52,100.

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

I am currently reading “Superhero nutrition”, but I am in the process of setting up a website for my articles and everything.

Goals for next month

I have started a minimalism challenge with my friend. I have to declutter 1 item a day, and send her a picture of it, which keeps me accountable. I’ll save all the pictures for a collage. 1 a day seems reasonable, and if I keep it up, I’ll be in a much better place once I am actually moving out. I refuse to carry around stuff I will never get to use.

How is your February going, and how did January go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 8: January

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

We’re already well into January, and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable. I am still keeping up, even if life is a bit overwhelming at the moment!

What happened this month?

Christmas happened! It was great seeing my family and I enjoyed the time there, but I also still have tons of studying and work to do, as the exams are just around the corner. So the grind is still on, but I am staying optimistic. Better to focus on my studies than worrying too much about my applications for further study. Lol.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $6,270.
I have done some calculations concerning the next year of my life. My primary objective is to have a sufficient safety net that would cover living costs during a Master’s degree, and still have money leftover for a deposit and moving costs. My goal is, therefore, to have $8,250 in that account, and then I’ve decided to focus somewhere else. I want to build up a travel fund and my investments further, and then pay down debt a bit more aggressively. I’ve written some smaller goals along the way that I am working towards.

Investments

My current investments are $5,200 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-48,000.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $56,634.

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

All I am reading for now is just academic stuff. 🙁

Goals for next month

My goal is to survive exams and deadlines. I am also pulling out a bit more from my closet and shoes to sell (it is highly addictive once you get going), so I will not have as much of an overflow as before. Since I know I am moving in six months, I know I need to downsize as much as possible.

How is your January going, and how did December go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

The Great Closet Clean-up: Results

So I did as promised: I emptied out my entire wardrobe and drawers and put all the clothes on my bed. Before I emptied everything, I thought this wouldn’t take super long. I thought that those people on the Marie Kondo tidying-up show were way more extreme than me. Granted, I don’t have several closets filled with clothes, I have quite limited space. But I have somehow still managed to accumulate way more items than I had imagined. It all got quite real when everything was lying on my bed. Here is how it looked:

Good thing that you are supposed to put it on your bed, because then I couldn’t go to sleep before I had finished, haha. Overwhelming as it was, it was also quite interesting to get a complete overview of my wardrobe. For the first time in years, I knew exactly what I owned.

How I sorted my clothes

Again, I have very limited space to work on, but I divided my clothes into four piles:

  • Keep: I love this item, I wear it a lot. My brain has to go “instant YES”.
  • Sell: I don’t wear this and I am happy to part with it. It is in a good condition and I think I absolutely can sell it.
  • Donate: I really can’t sell this, but it is too nice to be turned into rags.
  • Maybe: I need to try this own and see how it fits, I need some more time to think.

Once I had divided all my clothes into these piles, I hung the items I wanted to keep back in the closet, and then I started trying on the “maybe” pile. It was a lot, but having that option helped me get through the first rough categorisation quicker. Once I tried on most of these items, I either remember how well they fit me, or the exact opposite. Most of them went to the sell pile.

So how many items are getting sold or donated?

The total number of clothes I removed from my wardrobe was 73.
That is absolutely crazy to me because I am by no means a huge shopper. But when you aren’t aware of how much clothes you have, it is easy to forget about drawers, or keep items that don’t fit you perfectly “just because”. Now I know what I have left, and seeing the piles of clothes to sell or donate grow, was a nice wake-up call. It also effectively curbed my need for shopping – now I know what my wardrobe needs, and where I by no means should add anything else.

The total number of clothes I am donating is 22.
Still too many for my taste, but I am glad that I’ve taken good care of my clothes and steered clear of too much fast fashion, so that the majority of the 71 items are easier to sell. I also removed outworn socks, underwear, etc., but I didn’t count those in.

The total number of clothes I am selling is 51.
This was the biggest shock for me. I am quite good at selling items I don’t use and return things I’ve bought online, but the fact that I still had over fifty pieces of clothes to sell was mind-blowing to me. And an insane amount of money. If I sold all of these items for just $13 a piece, I’d have more than a month’s rent. I might not be able to sell all of them, and hopefully I’ll get more for some of the more expensive items, but it really was quite thought-provoking.

So yeah. Even for a mindful spender that has gone on several shopping bans, I was able to dig out this much. It makes me think about how much money I’ve wasted, or not gotten enough use out of. I also realised that I had a lot of clothes from a job in retail, that I never used due to the bad memories tied to it. For the money I did spend, however, I could have invested more, travelled more, paid off more debt. It is easy to spiral into this sort of thinking, so I am trying to remember that there would be no use in keep holding on to these things. I can recoup some of the money, and now I can start fresh. It really does feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, now that I don’t have to think any more about the piles of clothes hiding in drawers and in the back of the wardrobe. I know exactly how much I have and need – that is quite liberating, and it was worth the many hours of sorting.
Another side effect is also that I now assess my wardrobe much more critically. I have my eye on a few things that might be nearing the end of their life or that must be sold at some point. But at least I only own clothes now that I enjoy wearing.

Photo by James Hollingworth on Unsplash

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 7: December

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

We’re already well into December, and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable.

What happened this month?

So, I almost skipped this update for two months straight. This has mainly been due to a combination of tons of deadlines, work and the fact that I’ve had to dip into my savings, which means that the number hasn’t looked all that impressive to me, to be honest. But we are still heading in the right direction, so I just have to keep my head held high.

As you already know, I’ve done a huge closet clean-out, so that meant extra money for me, but it has also taken a long time to upload all these things for sale. That’s just how it is. I am also really swamped with work, so I am honestly just looking forward to getting through with all the work and really enjoy my Christmas.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $5,431.
Slow but steady increase. I had to dip into the savings account last month, so we’re rebuilding it and perhaps aiming for $9,800-10,000 instead of $6,000. I do want some extra cushion, since I am not sure what life will throw at me once I have to choose a place to study for my Master’s.

Investments

My current investments are $4,770 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-45,689.
I’ve increased my investments the last two months, so we’re picking up speed, which is really nice. I’ve accumulated some more debt, but this is used to pay off my tuition fee loan, which is a more expensive loan – so it is a calculated risk. It will all be OK in the end.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $54,634.

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

I’ve read “Cant Hurt Me” by David Goggins and I am currently reading “The Alter Ego Effect”. It will be a slow progress though, because I need to channel all my energy into my dissertation.

Goals for next month

My goal is to finish off those stupid deadlines and get on track with my dissertation. Meanwhile, thanks to the wake-up call from my closet clean-out, I am also in a mindset of saving money and squirrel as much away as possible. Hopefully that will translate into more savings and investment… and debt payoff as well.

How is your December going, and how did November go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

The Great Closet Clean-up

So I haven’t been that good with updates over the past month or two, and although I am mainly blogging for myself and my own accountability, then I’ve missed doing some sort writing that is not related to work or academia. It is still my plan to ramp it up some more, but for now, I’ll stick to my little, insignificant corner here.

What’s up with a closet clean-up?

I’ve been in quarantine for almost two weeks, which… Actually has not been that difficult. I mean, while I have wanted to go outside, then I’ve also just been absolutely swamped with work and catch-up with my studies. In a way, it was kind of a boot camp.

However, my room in London is almost embarrassingly small, which I have become even more aware of, now that I haven’t been able to use the living room. I have noticed how much stuff I have, and I have thought about the fact that I do have to move within the next 8-9 months. So what does one have to do? One has to downsize.

That will start with my closet. I am aware that I do own other things that I (probably) aren’t getting a ton of use out of these days, but my clothes are taking up quite a lot of space. We need to sort that out, and then I am going to prepare it to be sold. So not only will I (hopefully) free up more space, I am also going to earn a bit of extra money. And my savings account can use all the extra TLC it can possibly get.

So how am I going to do it?

It usually takes me ages to get through bigger piles, so I am trying to get this sorted over just one weekend, so I can upload all the listings and then take it from there. I am also going back to my home country for Christmas, so it adds to the urgency of getting the closet sorted out as soon as possible. I’ll do it over this coming weekend.

My steps to cleaning out my closet:

  1. Put all my clothes on my bed. Marie Kondo-style.
  2. Go through each item. How much do I wear it? Does it still make me happy? Does it need repair? It can be difficult to do this, but I am trying to practice a mindset of abundance. It is just a top, your image does not depend on that top.
  3. If I decide I do not use and/or like it anymore, I either put it in a “sell” pile or in a “donate” pile. Or if it is completely destroyed, I usually cut it up and use as rags.
  4. Now I have to prepare the clothes for selling. I make sure it has been washed, steamed and looks nice on the hanger. It is also important to have good light and a good camera.
  5. Once I have the pictures, I have to create listings on e-Bay and other places where I sell things. This takes a lot of time, so this is why I want to do it in bulk.
  6. I neatly fold the clothes and put it in a big bag, so it is ready to be taken out and prepared for shipping.

Once I have done my closet, I think I will move on to another category, e.g. books, handbags or similar. But one step of the time. To make this a little more fun, I have made a spreadsheet down here, where I will write down all the items I’ve sold, and how much I’ve earned in total. So let’s get started!

ROOM CLEAN-UP OVERVIEW:

ItemTypePrice
Clothes
Clothes
Total:

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 6: September

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

We are at the end of September and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable.

What happened this month?

While my blog activity is still put on a back-burner, then I am happy to stay consistent with my monthly updates. Just the fact that I am posting my finances online (albeit semi-anonymously), means that I am keeping myself more accountable and think twice before making movements that impacts my finances.

September has been intense, in the sense that I’ve been busy with my internship and then university also started. So I have more than enough to look into, and it will probably continue in October. I still have ideas for posts to write, and, more generally, the direction I want to take my own writing, but I have accepted that it is better to have it on the “not to-do list” for now and simply wait until I have some more breathing room. I am still doing things I enjoy and find important, after all.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $4,874.
Slow but steady increase. I even had some unexpected expenses this month, so I am happy that I still came out with an increase. We’ll just carry on with this until we reach the $6,000 mark, and then I’ll see if I should lower the monthly payment for more investing/debt repayment instead.

Investments

My current investments are $4,088 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-44,796.
I paid off a debt I “owed to myself” and added some extra debt repayment. My investments were kept on the same level though, but I figure that I will start increasing that from November and onwards, as I have a few big expenses this month I need to save up for. But the net worth is slowly moving the right way, which is nice.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $52,664.
I owe myself $0!

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

I am currently reading Dostoyevsky. I’ve also read a number of nonfiction books related to studyinng, such as “Make it stick” and “How to take notes”, which have been very useful and inspired me to amp up my efforts. I also have a few books waiting on me for my dissertation, so I try to make sure I read at least 1 hour a day besides the standard studying.

Goals for next month

My goal is to amp up my activity level for October, as I want to focus more on strength training. Othewise, now that university has started, I figure that I will be busy and need to develop an even more co-dependent relationship with my calendar. To-do lists are awesome. Other than that, I am actually trying to use up a lot of skincare products so I can’t take them with me back to London, and then I am working to save up for big expenses and more investing.

How did your September go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading

FIRE Update 5: August

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-dooley-dj7bwa-gwks-unsplash.jpg

We are at the end of August and that means that the paycheck has rolled in, the investments are transferring and I have to look through my finances anyway. It is the perfect time to review my journey and just keep myself accountable.

What happened this month?

I managed to get my passport covered by my insurance and received it just in time before I had to leave for Brussels. I am super excited about this internship, but I can tell already now that it is going to be a tough few weeks ahead. On the bright side, I have set aside enough funds for it and have a good, reasonable budget. I had a large payout this month so I have put extra into my savings and debt repayment. I’ll start focusing on upping my investments even more from now on, as I hit a milestone with my savings.

I have tried to get my academic stuff sorted out, which proved to be more difficult than what I initially thought, but it is going in the right direction. I have to start thinking about my dissertation and what I’ll do after my degree, so I hope I will have sufficient time to come up with these things.

Savings

My general/apartment savings are currently $4,750.
My September trip got cancelled, so I technically also have a travel fund now, but I’ll keep it out of the equation – I figure I’ll need those funds later this year anyway so at least they are just sitting there now. My goal for my apartment savings is $6,350, to get it to pre-uni level, but I am very happy with the current sum, so I’ll the extra payments down and instead amp up investing and debt repayment.

Investments

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2020-08-03-at-21.29.34.png

My current investments are $3,950 out of my $33,000 goal.
My net worth is $-45,721.
Due to the summer holiday, I had extra hours waiting for me this month, which meant I paid off more debt and put more into savings. However, my investments were kept at the same level and I would like to ‘supercharge’ it a bit more, so I will work more towards that from now on.

Debt repayment

My current tuition fee debt is $52,664.
I owe myself $158.

Books I’ve read and texts I’ve written

I read “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty” by Florence Given, which was a super interesting read. I have only written opinion pieces for my work this month (which I also appreciate the opportunity to do!), but I am working on launching a more EU-focused blog. And an author blog, to keep my other pieces aside, but I am not prioritising that right now.

Goals for next month

My goal is to “survive” September, which means sleep, eat, work, study, repeat. I won’t be trying out new wild recipes, I cannot sell anything and I should not buy shit I have to drag with me back from Brussels. I will make an effort to eat healthy food, take good care of my skin and make sure I stay active throughout my crazy schedule.

How did your August go? Do you have any goals?

Continue Reading