31st March 2022

It looks like the work enhanced overtime opportunity is continuing into April, so I told work I’ll do an extra day a week. I can maybe increase the number of days later, depending on how fatigue and expenses go. I was also offered the option of 4 long days, 3 days off, but as tempting ass that is, it wouldn’t work currently with after work appointments – maybe once I’ve decided to leave therapy? But an extra little bit in the pay packet wouldn’t hurt. I’ve had a few tight months in a row and I’m starting to worry it’s not actually just a few tight months – its the cost of living increases sneaking in under the radar.

~*~

There was a Spring statement about a week ago by the UK government, which has & Martin Lewis has released a tax calculator to show how the announcements and tax changes will affect people. I will be £30 per month better off. From July. Well, £30 is £30. That’s like…. two-thirds of a take out or something haha.

~*~

I was thinking on my next phone category earlier this week, I’ve been saving up for a new phone. I was intending to just save up for a big down payment, but my current phone hasn’t been showing it’s age much. I just noticed that if I can hang out about a year, I would have enough to just buy a handset outright. I do like the idea of getting out of the contract cycle with phones.

~*~

My crypto “investment” on PayPal is almost into profit territory. I spent £15 and it’s now worth £13.69. Earlier this week it was worth £14.26…. getting there! 😛 This reminds me I need to update my “current situation” page.

On 31st March 2022:

My Bank Accounts Net Worth Is £12,360.41

£3075 of that is my Emergency Fund

£2980.48 is in my “Next Month Income” category (March was bonus month)

£1466.21 is my House Deposit

£1000 is in my “Next Move” category

£750 is in my “Next Laptop” category

£620 is in my “Next Phone” category

£500 is in my “Canal Boat” category

And then the rest is in smaller categories

My Investing & Pension Net Worth is £12,625.56

£12,171.47 of that is in my work pension, to which I am currently (that is, from my March Paycheque) contributing 8% and my employer is contributing 12.5%

£338.39 is in my bank’s Investment service, I put £25 a month in there and some fund managers do hopefully smart things with it. It’s telling me that over time my investment through them has gone up in value by £3.61

£81.93 is in my Freetrade Account, where I like to pretend I know how to day trade. I dont contribute to this on a regular schedule, but so far I’ve put £71 in it so technically I’m making a profit.

£13.69 is in my Paypal Crypto account, where I like to pretend I know how Bitcoin works. I dont contribute to this on a regular schedule, but so far I’ve put £15 in so I am making a loss at this point.

£20.08 is in a Crowdcube account. This doesn’t seem to change in value so I think it was more of a GoFundMe rather than an Investment.

~*~

At the risk of being a complete and utter nerd 🤓🤓 I do enjoy the monthly rollover and love the budgeting admin of the first and last days of the month. I shall see you tomorrow with my plans for how to spend next month!

25th March 2022

Right after my last post, as in an hour later at most, I received an email about the dog’s insurance premiums increasing – by about £3 pm, so could be worse, given the inflationary environment we’re in. (I’m told that phrase makes you sound smart 👀) Also bus prices going up in my city. Story of everything right now – 20p here, £3 there…

I was going to review my mobile phone contract in April, I was paying £18pm for 2GB data. I know, I know, but I like 02. Anyway I saw a 12 month £15pm 5GB plan, I was just holding off because 02 (and probably most other networks) apply inflation price rises in April and I wanted to see what I was signing up for.

Anyway I stopped by the 02 store yesterday and asked if the new prices had been announced yet – they had – £16 and change – so on the way home I tried to upgrade in the app. I was having trouble though so I ended up calling them and doing it over the phone. In doing so they pointed out that if I went for a 2 year sim deal it would only cost £10pm. (It was meant to be £12pm but she misspoke and then said she’d honour her mistake)

My device is entirely paid off but it’s still doing what I need it to. Theres no real reason, other than convenience, for sim contracts and phone contracts to align, so if need be I can redo my phone later. So now I have a phone bill that is £8 cheaper pm and 3GB richer. Nice. I forgot to ask if the April ’22 price rise applies but I assume the April ’23 price rise will. Itll be in the T&C that they’re allowed to account for inflation.

~*~

Someone on another forum reminded me that I might need to pay tax on Crypto profits, if/when I do sign up to Coinbase, which is a valid reminder. So I looked up how Crypto tax works in the UK. The UK Gov page is hard to understand, but this page breaks it down a bit easier – but in summary, I don’t think I have to worry until I reach £12k gbp of profit. What I am seeing though is that I need to take records – I feel a new spreadsheet coming on. You know how I like my spreadsheets 🤓

~*~

Once I have my Decree Absolute in early/mid May, I can break into the leftover money I have in my Divorce fund. There’s £400 approx – at one point I did think about having a party haha but at this point I’ll probably just have a quiet night in w my new partner. I’ll use £100 to celebrate, buy myself a lil something, probably some expensive whiskey and takeout. Maybe this is where I get £100 for crypto? Then £200 would be left for yearly goals.

~*~

I was doing an Aldi shop, and trying to penny pinch a bit today too. It wasn’t until I got to the checkout that I realised how bland and beige everything I’d picked out was. Ah well. Not all weeks can be vibrant and colourful. Not ideal in terms of nutritional content but some weeks be like that. I batch cook on Sundays, so I make two big dishes to last the whole week, one for lunches and one for dinners. This next week will be a rice, cheese, and potato bake for dinners, served with baked beans… and a curry with rice for lunches.

Still, I was quite pleased as I had about £20 left in my grocery category and thought I could pick something up later in the week…. aaaand then I remembered I had to chip in on my Mum’s birthday & mothers day present. My mums birthday is fairly early in April so sometimes it sneaks into my March budget :/

22nd March 2022

Birthday spending has been intense this past week, but things are starting to wind down now, hopefully. I still have two spending events left – but one has been delayed, potentially into April, depending on how rescheduling goes. Given that April is next weekend. So far this month I’ve spent £82.75 on Takeout and £63.03 on Social (with one, possible two, social events remaining)!! My goals for those categories are usually £25 and £50, respectively.

In a related note, I’m trying to have a freezer food week, where I clear out all the random singular portions of food I have left over from batch cooking instead of buying a full weeks shop. The math works out, there seems to be enough tupperware in there. For next weekend, I have £39 left in my grocery category, so I better pick something cheap to cook. (I’m actually planning to make Rice, Cheese and Potatoes, a cheap family recipe with 3 main ingredients, and seasoning/spices to taste)

~*~

I originally left this next bit as a comment on someone else’s blog, when when I went to dig up the link, it seems like WordPress has eaten it. So I’m just going to reword it a bit to make sense without context and then plagiarise myself here. But I’m being honest about my plagiarism!

Sometimes I see people going on vacations, or even just living alone, and I get very bitter that I cant afford that, even though deep down I know that a lot of their spending is funded by debt and I’m debt free… it’s a trade off that, most days, I’m happy to make. Most days.

I’m in a weird position where I have more in the bank account than most people my age but I also feel able to do less.

This is compounded by the fact that when I try to access help for physical and mental health conditions, most of them are means-tested, so they look at me – no kids, living in a shared house, working full time, has savings – and decide I have enough funds to pay for help myself. Are we saying that Depressed and Disabled people aren’t allowed to save for a house? Because that really doesn’t help with the Depression.

~*~

Today I got my decree nisi – the first stage of the decree ending my marriage. I am not divorced yet, I will only be divorced when the second stage is complete and I have my decree absolute.

I need to wait 6 weeks after my decree nisi is granted before I can apply for my decree absolute. Technically, the court can cancel/rescind the decree nisi at any time up until the decree absolute, if it’s presented with new evidence showing why I shouldn’t be given a divorce – but I’m not really sure what that even means in my case so I think that’s a pretty slim chance of happening.

~*~

I’m really tempted to sign up for Coinbase and try start trading crypto properly. Maybe if I can scrape together £100 in my April budget I might give it a try. Am I getting swayed by the hype though? I know I’m vulnerable to that kind of thing, I get swayed very easily, I’m pretty gullible unfortunately. (But I’m also self aware about it so that helps somewhat)

If I only put in money that’s budgeted for trading, if I’m not risking rent money, then that’s ok surely? I’m allowed to choose crypto instead of a new sims expansion pack. I’m allowed to waste my Fun Money on whatever I want.

I might need to set rule for myself though – firstly, that if I’m going through Coinbase, I’m looking for coins that aren’t accessible through Paypal. For those who don’t know, Paypal only offers 4 cryptocurrencies; Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. If I went onto something like Coinbase I would looking at more alternative coins, whose values fluctuate more wildly. These are inherently more risky coins, but if I want Bitcoin, I already have a way of accessing Bitcoin. Also I think as soon as (or maybe that should say “if”) I made my original £100 back, I withdraw it pretty quick. Maybe I use it on something else, maybe I donate it to charity, but I think getting that original £100 out pretty quickly will be important. I would need to spread it over as many currencies as possible, to maximise the chance of returns & minimise the chance of losses, at least until I learnt what I’m doing. I dont know if Coinbase has minimum trading rules, as in I need to buy at least £x of each coin.

Concerns – well firstly that I lose my original £100, this is probably pretty likely tbh. I need to make my peace with that before I open a Coinbase account. But how much money have I “lost” on lottery tickets over the years? Did I have fun spending it, envisioning my winnings? Did I seriously think I would win millions? Did I secretly hope for just a couple of K to smooth things over? These are valid questions. My main other concern would be something similar to a gambling addiction… Sometimes I think I may be slightly prone to that. It’s not got me into trouble yet as I manage access to things like that and refuse to go into Casinos as a general rule (not that it comes up much) so I worry that Crypto trading may be too much.

~*~

On the note of lotteries and birthdays, the other day I was checking my emails, because some companies send you birthday vouchers for discount products, and I noticed I had an email from the national lottery saying “you’ve won a prize! check your account”. So of course I was like “omg is this it, and on my birthday no less?!”

It was a fun 90 seconds. I won £2.50 so I just bought another ticket with it.

But maybe this one…! 😛

18th March 2022

Shorter post today, as I’m very tired haha

~*~

So my work bonus came in – I got £2980.48 total, approx £1400 ish more than my normal salary. The amount I had planned was between £1770 and £2270 so I need to prioritise.

The main variable is the gym membership. If I put aside 2 years of full gym membership, that’s £950. 2 years of swim only membership is £650. Putting money into a gym category also has the advantage of it being a very WAM-able category if cost of living gets dire, but it does only leave £450 for spending, and £350 of that will be fixing my budget snafu with the house deposit.

With the remaining £100 I’ll probably get a food processor so I at least have something tangible for myself, and then just sprinkle the remaining over some yearly goals.

It’s a little depressing that I get so little of it to spend on treats for myself, but I’ll also have 2 years of gym membership sat in an envelope, and that’s not nothing.

~*~

I sent documents off to get my passport updated a while back. I checked the tracking information Thursday morning and it said they’d received and signed for my documents on 2nd March. Then later Thursday afternoon I got an email from them saying they hadn’t received my documents yet 😬😬 So I called them and they just said to check tracking again on Monday…. and then on Friday morning I got an email saying they’d officially received my documents, which I’m sure is 100% coincidental. 🙄🙄

15th March 2022

Now that the finance blog is up and running, my brain keeps suggesting I do a sims blog as well. It was easier to ignore before, with the deadline to transfer my posts before the old forum closed down, but all the posts are transferred now. I’m not saying I’d keep it up, or even finish building the site, but I think I might need to do it to get the idea out of my head lol. I could have a page, with all the “Current State of” houses, and then the individual posts would be one week in sim time (or one rotation, as I switch households every week), and I could do categories by family so you could read one family at a time if you wanted. So anyway if you like SimLit (Sims 4 in particular) you can follow me at littlesimsstories, which was just whichever URL they had free that day.

~*~

I have got SO MANY social events set up for me this week. Seriously, who did I think I was when I made this many plans? So I’m just getting it over with and WAMing ahead of time (From the YNAB website: Whack-a-Mole/WAM: You know that carnival game where you use the foam mallet to bop mechanical moles on the head as they pop up randomly from their holes? Yeah, we do that with our budget. Budget whack-a-mole, or WAM, is when you have to borrow money from one budget category to cover expenses in another.) So at this moment in time my “Social Spends” category has over £70 in, which is kind of insane considering I’ve spent from that category multiple times already this month.

~*~

I talked to my therapist about the fact that I always feel guilty about not giving enough to Charity etc (I’m using quite a loose definition of “charity” here, also including things like GoFundMe, Patreon) and he suggested setting a % of my budget aside for charity each month. I have seen other people on the forums discussing/doing this, but its very often framed in a religious context, and me and religion have Bad Blood, so I never really though about it for myself. But, it might be helpful. So I’m going to try work that into my budget from 1st May. I am going to try make donations in April too, because I’ll have that work bonus, but from May I’ll be using standard work pay. I’m going to start at £10 pm, which I know is not a %, but ssh, we start small and increase over time. Besides, 1% of my mean take-home salary so far in 2022 is £14.50, so £10 is like… 0.66 % approx? Thats still a % !

Part of the reason I’m waiting until May is the rising cost of living UK (and everywhere else, but for me the UK part is most relevant). In April some of our taxes are increasing, plus we get a slight raise at work, plus I increased my pension contribution, so by May hopefully I’ll get an idea of what my new take-home pay looks like. So far I’ve been relatively shielded from the cost of living rises but its starting to creep in around the edges.

The main thing “protecting” me this far is that I live in a shared house and my rent is all inclusive of bills. I know logically that the household bills must be increasing – because everyone’s are – but so far my rent has not. And from taking a brief look at rental websites, I can see that I am now paying below market value for a room. So I’m just sort of waiting for the lead tenant to raise my rent, he would be fully justified in doing so. Of course, if he did do that, then I would less willing to put up with him smoking weed in the house and would look more seriously at other rooms. He agreed not to smoke in the common areas but I think regular users become nose-blind to it and don’t realise how much it leeches out throughout the house. I have no moral objection to weed, in fact in general I do fall on the “legalise it” side of the debate…. but I absolutely cannot stand the stench. Yikes. But its cheap here, and finding pet friendly accommodation is HARD.

11th March 2022

Very Exciting – this is the first post where I don’t have to put the disclaimer at the top, I just can jsut get stuck into the post!

~*~

I was having an overtime at work dilemma – work is currently offering enhanced overtime if I go in early and answer the phones. Its tempting, who couldn’t use a little extra cash? But I also have 3 or 4 conditions that could arguably cause chronic fatigue and I’m worried about the impact. I just about decided to ask if I could start at one day a week and go from there… only to find out the enhanced overtime stops next week. Overtime is still available, but just at the standard rate I get in my normal hours. I’ll pass, for now.

Part of why I was considering it was because of my decreasing act balance – my act balance has been creeping downwards the last few months. All my spending has been budgeted for, so it’s not necessarily a problem, but it’s a stark contrast to the previous year. I’m not entirely sure what’s happened as I’m not saving any less than usual. There was Christmas, I suppose, then the divorce fees, then the little mistake with the house deposit funding. Still. My main account balance is now under 4k today, where last year it was hovering around 5k.

I think I need to split up dog toys & treats from dog food. It’s worked fine until now, but with going for the bulk orders of food, I need to have £x by a certain date, and trying to buy treats and toys as well from the same category just confuses the targets. I’ve decided to go with £15pm for food (it’ll build up to £45 to bulk buy food, I bought some earlier this week and it was £40 but inflation may kick in by next time) and £10 pm for Treats & Toys.

~*~

When I was transferring blog posts over to WordPress I read my previous comments on the USA insurrection, and I keep wondering if I should talk about Ukraine on here too. But why? For posterity? There are so many people offering their takes on the matter, and I am certainly on the less informed end of the spectrum. I’m having less emotional fallout than compared to the USA insurrection. Maybe I’m just in a better place overall emotionally. Maybe its because I dont know anyone in Ukraine, but I have friends in America. Maybe I’m just desensitized after the last few years. I’ve hit capacity. It’s not that I dont care, obviously I care, but it’s not consuming my thoughts the way the insurrection did.

~*~

I’ve got an insanely busy social week coming up – who did I think I was when I made these plans? I do not have energy for all this! Or money tbh 😬😬 We’ll work it out as we go

Welcome To My Blog

The Essentials

My name is Mx Emmin, I live in the UK, I am 28 (almost 29) and I use They/Them pronouns. This is my money journal.

I get paid about £21K a year, and after all deductions – tax, student loans, pensions, some work benefits like dental – I get about £1300 each month in my bank account. That’s… ok, if I live a very specific lifestyle. I live in a shared house so rent is lower and bills included, I shop at cheaper supermarkets, I don’t have a car, I never go on holiday, and I have no kids. So I don’t exactly want to be living this life forever.

My diary/journal was on the Moneysavingexpert and YNAB forums initially, but the MSE forums are aimed at becoming debt free, and YNAB forums announced they would close at the end of March 2022, so I’ve moved all my previous posts across to WordPress and started my site here 🙂

The Current Situation

On Feb 28th 2021:

My Bank Accounts Net Worth Is £10,596.98

My Investing & Pension Net Worth is £11,745.41

See a further breakdown here

The Backstory

When I was at the height of my debt I didn’t take as accurate measurements as I do now so I’m not 100% sure how much debt I had. The highest figure I had recorded was -£2355.04 but that was when I was already a few month into my journey and I suddenly realised that I needed to know how far I’d come.

That doesn’t sound like much I know but as I said, I’m single, and I work in customer service. I’m not paid mountains now and especially back then I was paid near-minimum wage. Plus, because I didn’t have a good grip on my finances, £2000 felt like £200,000.

I went through a nasty break up/escaped a really bad home situation in Feb 2019, moved to a new city and decided to sort my life out. I started out on Moneysavingexpert, which gave me a good starting point. They first suggested an envelope style system, although they called it “piggybanking”, but their suggestion was to essentially have a different savings account for every savings goal. That obviously isn’t hugely sustainable but it gave me a good start, and then I saw people talking about this “YNAB” system in the forums…. I started my YNAB account in late September 2019 and now I became debt free in July 2020!

So small confession: technically – technically – technically – I still have student loans. But for those of you who aren’t in the UK, they work a little different here. They basically function as an extra tax. A % of my income above a threshold (the exact % and the exact threshold varies according to the year you went to uni) is deducted automatically from my paycheque before the money hits my bank account. If I don’t pay off all my loans within X many years – and I would need to be very well paid to do that – the student loans are cancelled. Very few people pay them off. There is technically a way to overpay, I’m told, but it’s just not worth it for the majority of us unless you receive a big, lottery-style windfall. And frankly if I got that windfall I’d buy a house. So those debts are basically invisible to me, as I said, they just act like an extra tax.

Visit The Archives to find out more

7th & 9th March 2022

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

7th March 2022

Bought an early birthday present for myself, a sims expansion pack

Normally its £35ish and I had £20 set aside, and I was pretty confident I could find the remainder, except the Manchester trip later this month is a bit of a wild card budget wise, so its have to wait until after that, except the sale brought it down to £17.95 so I could just buy it last night

Also, the dogs bag of food is running out sooner than expected so moving money from my “clothes” category to the dog food & treats category ( I just think I got the maths wrong of meals per bag 🤷‍♂️)

Parenthood is hard lol

 Admittedly it probably would have been less if I wasn’t also buying another dog puzzle…  👀


9th March 2022

My dog Sherlock Bones w my partner’s guinea pigs. We’ve told him he’s not allowed to touch the cage so he just sort of meerkats in front of it.

The partner/relationship is new so Sherlock’s meeting the guinea’s for the second time ever in these pics.

The guineas are AMAZINGLY chill but Sherlock is upset he isnt allowed to play w them. The guineas are even eating whilst he’s looking at them, which I’m told is the maximum sign of relaxness for guineas haha

Sherlock isn’t being aggressive which is a big relief, he’s a toy poodle x Yorkshire terrier, and those are both hunting breeds so we were a bit nervous. But he essentially acts & sounds like he lost his ball under the sofa.

~*~

**trumpet noises** The WordPress site, life-after-debt.co.uk, is now active! I’ll probably update on here until the end of March, but that will be my primary site from now on

Also in regards to the Gender clinic appointment – it went very well, but we dont set a treatment plan until the next appointment. Initially we’re going to look at Gamete Storage, before we start on hormones and surgeries. The clinic told me it would be in about 2 months, someone else said for them it was 7 months. Make of that what you will. I guess to know the full story you’ll have to follow me on WordPress haha.

2nd & 3rd March 2022

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

2nd March 2022

I bought the dog some fancy dog treats – a bit on the expensive side (£10 for 6 but they last a few months so I can space them out)

Also, I got called to my first appointment with the NHS Gender Clinic! I thought I’d have another 6 to 12 months to wait. I am slightly closer to the Top Surgery of my dreams haha


3rd March 2022

In the last 24 hours

– sent off documents for passport 

– got 1st gender clinic apt

– got date for 2nd-to-last step of divorce 

This week has good vibes

1st March 2022

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

Budgeting day!

Budget has been tighter than expected this month. We got given a mini-bonus in our February paycheque but somehow I havent been able to put as much into discretionary/fun as hoped :/ I think its because I ran my last months budget so very close down, I didnt even have any money left in my “Public Transport” category. 

I’ve put £55 into a “Manchester” category which is that I’m going to see a friend in – you guessed it – Manchester later this month, right around my birthday. The train ticket will be about £30 and I want to buffer my social a bit if possible.

I put a bit extra in my Takeout category so I can get myself a birthday takeout, and I put an extra £10 in the dog’s food category so I can buy him some special treats. 

As a result, I haven’t been able to contribute to the following categories: Hobbies, Easter Eggs, Travel Rucksack/Suitcase, Whiskey Decanter, Extra House Deposit, Works Night Out, Bird & Blend Christmas in July, Sims, Big Emotional Goal, and Vacation. 

Travel Rucksack, Whiskey Decanter and Extra House Deposit, are yearly goals so I hope to make them up later in the year.

Hobbies, Easter Eggs, Bird & Blend Christmas in July, and Sims, are all just… less important goals. They’re also ones I can probably find a spare tenner if I really need to.

Works Night Out, Big Emotional Goal, and Vacation, are saving for a future theoretical event but I actually have no confirmed plans or dates to use any of those funds. I should probably share that the “Big Emotional Goal” is a place holder for “Baby”. I want to have a Baby one day. I only very, very, recently got into a relationship so we haven’t had that conversation yet. It’s just a vague intention to have some money set aside because we’re both queer, and things aren’t simple, and it’s not like any parent ever regretted having a little stockpile when having a baby.  But none of these categories have any confirmed plans or dates set yet so I feel I can skip them this month. 

Now I have belatedly realised that I have enough money to send off for a name changed passport, and I think I’m going to have about £40 left over after, so I will able to redistribute that amount into that middle group of categories, probably just at an even £10 each. 

I was hoping to have enough to buy the processer this month, but that’s unlikely it seems. We’ll see where we’re at after the Manchester trip & birthday Sims haha

A commenter offered to talk through Queer Parenting journeys, but at the time of this post I’ve been dating my current for less than 3 months 🙂

A commenter asked if I saved up for Easter Eggs all year

Haha thanks… I don’t save the whole year, just for 2-3 months beforehand. Though maybe I should next year lol. I’m only trying to save up £40 though, for some Hotel Chocolat ones