The end of October already, I can’t believe that this year is nearly over. Yet another month flies by and I can’t tell where it has gone. It started off quite busy with a wedding to attend and then at the end a load of expenses. I have kept my food expenses well below the budget this month, so that has helped to balance out the overspend on other areas. I have started seeing the Christmas goodies and adverts, only 8 more Mondays until Christmas. Oh, BAHH HUMBUG!! I have never been much of a fan of Christmas, my work life has involved working Christmas as a peak time so it was never a joyous time for me. I guess I will need to sort out Christmas presents over the next few weeks. What a scrooge I am….lol…
Now, historically this month is a bad month for me, it includes a whole host of expenses to keep my car on the road and prep the house for winter. I do walk and use my bike as much as possible now and the amount of mileage is going down. When I was working in my last-but-one job, I was having to commute over 100 miles per day and I was ramping up the mileage on my car and spending a lot if time getting the car serviced and buying fuel (on a company fuel card…) to keep the day job ticking over.
Now that job is all over….well….any job at the moment, the car is sitting happily in the garage taking a break, like me. Hopefully over the next year I can try and get the car back down to the mileage expected for its age. In the meantime, I have been quite happy with the amount of money I am saving on travel costs. The car happily motored up to the wedding at the beginning of the month, so it gets a good long run out periodically. I have also been able to drop the mileage for the insurance quote. Whatever happens though, the cost of insuring your car just seems to creep up each year. With the new increase in insurance tax too from 3 to 9% hasn’t helped. I am still paying £15 more than last year couldn’t get it any cheaper without hiking up the excess to something stupid.
I am now on my new utility fixed plan, again, the costs just go up. I searched for the best/cheapest deal and even then I still see that the unit costs have risen. I have managed to keep the standing charges the same as in reality that is the bit that hits me the most as it is a fixed cost and so the benefits kick in if you can get a good unit rate to go with it. It was great when I was on a no standing charge tariff but the government killed that off when it brought in the new rules over each supplier only being able to offer 4 deals and all with standing charges.
I will just keep adding layers and wear my thermals more this winter! This month I also had the boiler serviced ready for the cold weather. With all this fog, rain and the clock change it is feeling cold and gloomy. So I thought I better get everything in order. I have also noticed that most of my neighbours are doing the same thing. There seems to be a lot of house maintenance going on; new kitchens (can’t afford one of those on my non-working budget) and outside maintenance – trees trimmed and gardens cleared for the winter. (Most of those jobs I have been doing myself when the weather has been good).
On the finances front, my cash has been reducing – as expected as I eat into it. I am restocking my cash fund with dividends and trying to live off those alone and leave the investment growth part untouched. My investments are now beginning to pick up and I have ended the month on a positive growth figure. Overall this year, my investments are up by 10%. That isn’t bad when I look back over the past 3 months were growth figures were near flat or negative.
I have started working on some side hustle projects with a view of seeing if I can earn some money that way. I have been researching other sellers and looking for good tips and I will hopefully be able to get something up and running soon. I am still in the planning/building stage but hopefully I can get something underway soon.
In some kind of ‘fate’ incident, one of my old workplaces has a job going – similar to one I did before I was made redundant. It would involve working in a different team and they have moved offices since I last worked there so on first impressions it would feel like a new place. The new jobs are to encourage movement and provide some career progression for those that are still there (something they lack – due to dead-man’s shoes syndrome). I have been told about the jobs and asked if I would apply. It would involve line managing a team where there is no training opportunities, no pay rises or other incentives to increase productivity and encourage them but heavy appraisal frameworks to weed out under performers. With so much lack of movement, the team members get stale and eventually, they either become zombies, picking up their monthly paycheck and ‘doing enough to get by and pass their appraisal’ or they move to find pastures new and find something that gives them growth and stimulus before they lose their minds to zombie-ism. (Is there such a word???)
It was this lack of fresh challenges and variety that made it easy for me to accept the redundancy and leave when I was there. Looking back, they did me a favour as I have had a great subsequent job which was completely different and was a real motivator, it had the variety and the chance to move around and learn new things; until the company went bang…. Then moving to a bad job which I eventually quit.
Needless to say, I have refused the offer to apply – it is just too similar to the old one, I would get bored really quickly so will hold out for something else, if it was a completely different job, I would be tempted. I did wonder if I would regret it but at the moment my body doesn’t seem to be complaining at me. My inner voice isn’t hitting me with noise! I am therefore not expecting to find anything until the new year at least. The recruitment for the new year will start to pick up soon and I hope that agents will read my comments about wanting a local job – not one in London!!!!
As my accountant warned me: I maybe enjoying this non-work status too much!
Being able to control my daily timetable and actually relax is good. I have noticed that I have started to sleep really well and haven’t had a headache or anxiety attack for ages! Just goes to show how the job was getting me down and I was just trying to battle on and stay with it hoping it would get better. Leaving has been a good choice even if it has messed up my chances of getting another one – quitting does not go down well, people see you as a problem case. Good job I am following a FI/RE path and able to survive….I am a FI/RE prepper! (just search the term prepper … there are some unbelievable people out there prepping in the UK. I was listening to a radio show that was talking about prepping and how it is growing in the UK).