I love goal setting although I haven’t always been successful in following through and achieving goals that I set. I think part of that is that it can be easy to forget after a few weeks or months what your goals were and why they are important. I find having this blog helps because it prompts me to regularly review my financial goals and that keeps them from being forgotten. This year I’m going to expand the blog a little to talk about other goals I have in the hope that the regular review will help me stay on track in a similar way. That will be coming up in a future post but first a review of last year!
My 2018 goals were:
- Set up an additional savings account to allow saving in different pots e.g. emergencies, holidays, car loan pay off, Christmas.
COMPLETED! This was completed early on in the year and I’ve just renewed the regular and easy access accounts to ensure I’m getting the best interest rates.
- Save up to pay off the car loan currently just over £6k.
IN PROGRESS. I didn’t save anywhere near enough to pay this off although the normal payments have brought the debt down to just over £3k. I also looked into how to pay it off and found that I can pay smaller lump sums off to save interest without having to pay it off all in one go.
- Increase the overpayment on my mortgage by £100.
COMPLETED! I changed the standing order back in August 2018 increasing the payment by £100 per month. For a bonus point I also added an overpayment to my rental property mortgage of £200 per month!
- Build my emergency savings to £3,300.
COMPLETED! By the end of December I had just reached £3k in my regular saver and I had nearly £1k in my easy access. These pots have been swapped around a bit to access the better rates but the bottom line is I have access to £3,300 in an emergency. In my mid way review of the year, I floated the idea of using this money to pay off my car loan and then holding only £1k as an emergency fund on the basis that I have a steady job, good credit and access to credit cards in line with the theory from Early Retirement Now. Since then, I’ve become more nervous about having no emergency fund and to be honest, I like to see it build up in my accounts! I think this is in part having the experience during the year of potential expensive things coming up at short notice – car repairs, boiler repairs etc – and now with a rental property the chance of things going wrong has increased somewhat. Given these circumstances and the fact that I’m getting reasonable interest on most of this money, I’m actually going to build up my emergency fund a bit more this year.
- To lose 2 stones in weight
IN PROGRESS. I was going to put “Failed” but I don’t like to be negative and I did manage to lose half a stone and keep it off. This is one area that needs more regular tracking to keep me motivated!
- To learn to play the violin
IN PROGRESS. I reported in the summer that my violin needed a new bridge and six months later I still haven’t done this! Another area that needs tracking especially whilst I don’t have the lessons to give me structure. Hopefully my violin teacher will be back from maternity soon and we can recommence my lessons.
In terms of spending, this is my second year of tracking so I can now compare year to year. My net income for the year increased to £40k (£33k in 2017), however, so did my spending to £38k (£34k in 2017) although to a lesser extent. This has left me with a surplus of £2k which is a huge improvement on the £1k deficit in 2017. Initially, I was pleased with this but then I dove a bit deeper into the numbers and the story isn’t as great!
Clearing Debt – £6k / 16% (£13k / 39% in 2017)
This is lower than 2017 as I had less consumer debt in 2018 but I could have put all of the difference towards savings which you’ll soon see I did not!
Savings £10k / 26% plus £4k pension (£5k / 14% in 2017 plus £4k pension)
Although I have doubled the amount of savings, I’m still a bit disappointed that this was the best I could do bearing in mind what I had paid off debt in the previous year. It also means my savings rate dropped to 42% from 53% in 2017 excluding pension contributions which is terrible! I think I’ve gotten a bit too relaxed with day to day spending so I definitely need to up my monthly debt repayments and/or savings for this year.
Other Expenses £9k / 23% (£8k / 24% in 2017)
This is similar to last year so I’m not overly concerned about that.
Joint expenses £4k / 11% (new category)
This is a new category as in the year I opened a joint account with my boyfriend. This is for joint meals, entertainment, presents for birthdays, Christmas etc and holidays. We ended the year with a balance of nearly £1k but that does mean we spent £7k which seems like an awful lot!
Other utilities £3k / 7% (£3k / 8% in 2017)
A tiny reduction here mainly because I cancelled Sky midway through 2017 as everything else is largely constant.
Food £2k / 6% (£3k / 9% in 2017)
I’m really pleased this came down so much! I think this is largely due to using Asda, Aldi and Lidl more than Sainsbury’s and now I’m in that habit there shouldn’t be many problems keeping this up.
Fuel £2k / 6% (£1k / 4% in 2017)
I was expecting an increase here as it’s the first full year I’ve commuted. I have started paying more attention to where I get my fuel i.e. supermarkets are cheaper, and how I drive to maximize fuel efficiency.
Energy £1k / 2% (£1k / 2% in 2017)
Largely constant, I did change gas provider in the year to access competitive prices and this was a green energy provider too so I feel I’m doing a little bit to help the planet.
Overall, I feel like I let things slide a bit this year. To remedy this, I’ve already increased the amount of automatic payments going into my savings accounts. I also intend to review the spending on our joint account to see where that money went so hopefully 2019 will be a more frugal year!
How was your year in figures? Did you spend more or less than you wanted to? Did you meet your savings targets?