October has felt like a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. We started the month on a high coming back from our first van adventure, but shortly after getting back
we lost our dog quite suddenly. He was old, but that doesn’t make it any easier to lose a pet who has been an integral part of the family for 12 years.
Off the back of that. it was quite nice to have a busy return to work to distract me from the suddenly very empty house. However this busyness quickly began to feel more like stress, so we took advantage of a few non-working days to celebrate my birthday at the end of the month. We booked a last-minute airbnb on the coast near the Anthony Gormley ‘Another Place’ statues which I have always wanted to see. We took advantage of the location to explore Liverpool and the River of Light installations which were on at the time. There was also time for a birthday treat – a posh afternoon tea at the Titanic Hotel, which I would definitely recommend if you appreciate industrial architecture and love a good scone (and perhaps a glass of prosecco too).
This trip was certainly a welcome break, but work has been just as full on since getting back. I am not sure if this is amplified coming as it does after a long non-working period, or perhaps because I was feeling a bit down for other reasons, but right now full early retirement is looking quite attractive. There is a particular activity at work next week which has required a lot of preparation from my team, and not as much progress as planned was made while I was away, which was frustrating, and has required a considerable catch up effort. I think we are there now, but I am really looking forward to a couple of non-working weeks later this month.
With all the ups and downs and pressures of October, there wasn’t really any time to think about the freedom fund and it’s performance, but it turns out it was quietly working away in the background to reach another new high, up over £37k from last month:
Freedom Fund Value: £1,170,743
Hypothetical monthly income @4% SWR: £3,902
Actual monthly expenses: £2962*
Expenses this month were still a little above our average, but considerably down on last month. There was a car insurance renewal, which again required shopping around due to a large hike in premium from Direct Line, who we had been insured through for years. When I have benchmarked in the past, the renewal had always been competitive, but not this year. Just like with the home insurance in August, I could find a saving of £225 by switching. As both were swaps away from Direct Line, I wonder if they have a focus this year on deterring customers that aren’t very profitable. I was able to get through on the phone this time to give them the opportunity to match, but they wouldn’t come anywhere close.
There was also a large vets bill, which was mitigated by insurance, but due to his age we were still responsible for a percentage of costs. I think not having a dog will save us on average around £200 a month (he was on a special diet and had ongoing medication for allergies), but clearly this is not a saving we wanted to make. For now we will take the opportunity to do a few things that are difficult when you are a dog-owner, like spontaneous trips and visiting friends who have cats(!). Mr Wombat is already looking at dog adoption sites, so I am not sure how long this will last…….
In the mean time, we have maintained the routine of going for a walk before work, and it is something I look forward to, and sets me up for the day. That said, there hasn’t be a morning with pouring rain yet 🙂
We have a number of family birthdays and visits to friends planned in the next few weeks, I just have a couple of working weeks to get through first. I hope that when next week is out of the way, things will return to more of a balance.
Now I am without my trusty blog writing supervisor, I hope you won’t notice a drop in content quality.