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March 2019 Update – Settling In
As I write this, I’m in bed with a big wool jumper on. Whatever happened to Spring?!!
Anyhow, it’s odd to think I started March off in Eastern Burma. It feels like a lifetime ago; taking strolls by the riverside in Mawlamyine, seeking out the best pe byo nanbya (naan and chick peas), and sipping Myanmar beer on breezy rooftops bars.
From Burma, I travelled back to Thailand and said my goodbyes to friends and former colleagues. It will be at least a year till I return to Asia, so this farewell felt a lot more real than my goodbyes in September and December last year.
Settling back in
I arrived back in Heathrow in mid-March, ready to get settled back in to life (for the foreseeable future) in the UK. In a flurry of activity, I registered for the GP, joined the local library, and became a member of a political party (anyone want to guess which one?!)
I also joined the #PutittothePeople march, which was an incredible experience. After living for so long in a repressive region with limited freedom of assembly, it was cathartic to join a good-natured and diverse crowd of around 1 million people marching through the streets of London (more like shuffling though– there were so many people so the pace was incredibly slow).
I’m currently staying with my mum until my partner and I figure out our longer term plans. Unlike January when I was busy travelling around London every day catching up with friends, I’ve been happy to mostly stay at home this time. My days are taken up by freelance work, cooking, and even a bit of (windowsill) gardening!!
I’ve been terrible at updating the blog – most days I actually forget I have one.
I can’t believe I started it almost a year ago. At the time, I was in the middle of a stressful work situation, and needed an outlet for my passion for personal finance and travel. Now that I’m more in control of my time, and have the ability to dabble in lots of things I’m interested in, I don’t really feel like blogging as much.
Recently, I realised I’m quite happy to keep it as a space to share monthly updates and interact with fellow bloggers, and perhaps write other posts as and when I feel like it. But I won’t keep myself to a blogging schedule (once a week as per the goal I set earlier this year), because honestly it takes me a long time to write up the simplest of blog posts.
I was so lax with my blog, that it actually got hacked without me noticing. Apologies to anyone who came to visit across two days in late March – after about 10 seconds, my blog auto-directed to another blog. Thankfully this was easily taken care of by deleting old themes I had installed, which is often where malicious code is hidden.
I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to call this ‘side-hustling’ anymore, since I’m not fitting my hustles around a 9-5 or long-term travel anymore. My hustles have recently evolved into regular work. Although I haven’t actively been pursuing more freelance work, I seem to have landed two big writing and editing projects, and have accepted a 3-day/month gig with an ethical start-up. This kept me busy in the latter half of March. For that reason, I didn’t do that much on Etsy, but I still got a couple of sales a week so I’m OK with that.
I also started EW Betting in March, and now I understand what all the fuss is about!!
I had a bit of a terrible time with regular matched betting in January – it seemed like a lot of tedious, repetitive work, and I didn’t feel comfortable giving my personal details and bankcard details to numerous bookies left, right, and centre.
But I’m loving EW Betting right now. I put in around 10 bets a day with three to four bookies, and tot up the results in the evening – all of which requires just one hour a day. I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks and my average hourly rate is £28 – not bad for stakes of just £2.50 each way (although I know this will vary – it is actual gambling after all!). I’d like to thank Pursue Fire, The Firestarter, and The Saving Ninja for their detailed EW guides that helped get me started.
For the first time since I quit my job last September, my earnings exceeded my expenditure. I spent just £354.41 on mostly travel and groceries (I have the privilege of not paying rent and bills at the moment), and earned £734.80, giving me a savings rate of 52%. I don’t expect this to continue as I’ve got a bunch of European travel coming up, but it feels good to have one month in the green!
I’ve budgeted generously for one whole year away from full-time work, so this extra money potentially buys me more time to travel and freelance. If I decide to use these savings to increase my long-term investments, then it buys me more time away from work in the future.
I reported in my last update that my Kindle had died – but it’s still alive and well! It was just one book that was causing it to glitch. Mind you, having rediscovered the library, I’m back in love with physical books. I read The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – a collection of short stories by Hilary Mantel – including, you guessed it, an imagined tale of the Iron Lady’s early demise.
I also read The Art of Life Admin. I heard a short discussion with the author on Radio 4 back in January (it might have been on Woman’s Hour), and the phrase life admin stuck with me. Life admin is described as the office work of life – from paying bills, sorting out insurance, and meal planning – to the basic paperwork required for births, marriages, and deaths. It’s ever present, but not visible or appreciated in the same way as physical chores, like doing the dishes, or going to the supermarket.
It was by reading this book that I realised my partner and I have been avoiding doing the life admin of marriage – we already know that we don’t want a traditional wedding, but we’ve put off figuring out the paperwork needed to just get a marriage certificate. Prompted by the book, I did the quick Google search that seemed so onerous before, and now we’ve got some basic idea of how to get our ducks in a row and finally the knot after an 8-year engagement!
Another life admin task I’m putting off is sorting out my SIPP, so it’s on the to-do list for April. But I did take Dr Fire’s advice (thank you!) and open up a current account with Nationwide that gets me a 5% return on up to £2,500, so my cash is now working a bit harder for me 🙂
That’s a wrap on March!! How did it go for you? Would love to read your comments below.
I love the way that you describe getting married as just a piece of life admin that you’re going to get round to sorting out soon! You’re right of course. The bit of paper doesn’t say anything about the underlying relationship.
Your experiences with EW betting are really interesting. I had the same experience with MB which is why I stopped. But, if EW does feel a bit different then maybe I’ll try it. I think OddsMonkey has a free trial so that should be long enough to work out if I enjoy it or not!
I also love Hilary Mantel so will dig out that book of short stories from the library. I can well believe that they’re amazing.
Have a great April!
I guess we’re a bit unconventional regarding weddings. Being at the centre of attention is my worst nightmare, and I don’t see why we should bother with the faff and expense.
EW betting is so much simpler than MB. Few clicks here and there, bish, bash, bosh you’re done 🙂 I don’t know if the OddMonkey free trial gives you access to the Each Way Matcher, but I have seen a 12 day trial for £1 so if that’s available it’s certainly worth trying out!
Thanks for the shout out Mindy! Since I wrote that article, most of the banks mentioned within have reduced their interest rates, with the exception of Nationwide, which is annoying. So now I’m starting to make use of some of the switching bonuses (e.g. switch here, receive £100). Don’t forget, you can refer your partner to Nationwide for another £100 each. Easy money!
I still haven’t got round to properly trying EW betting. I enjoy the process of matched betting though, although I now spend less time than ever doing it. If I see an offer that can net me £5-20, then I’ll jump on it, but I’ve started ignoring things smaller than that. I’d prefer to save my accounts for the big special offers that are occasionally available, especially for the big horse festivals.
Great job with being able to live so frugally. It really does put into perspective how much of a typical month’s salary goes towards rent/mortgage, bills and groceries. If you don’t have to worry about those expenses, suddenly you can get by with so much less!
Thanks for stopping by Dr Fire! Agree that small MB offers just aren’t worth the effort. I should try to keep the regular MB going along with the EW to make the most of my OddsMonkey subscription- especially if there are still some good offers going round.
Not paying rent and bills at the moment is such a privilege- especially because the costs are so much higher that what I’ve been paying in Thailand!
Just catching up on some reading and hope you have settled back into the UK.
Interesting that your side hustles are now just hustles without the 9-5 – good luck with those and of course, with the EW betting!
As regards the blogging, I’m always of the opinion that you should enjoy the act of blogging and if it’s not doing it for you, then stop or take a break.
In any case, you have big things to think about (including a wedding!) – I (along with your other readers) would hope to be able to read all about it, but as mentioned above, understand if blogging no longer fits in with your life.
Hi Weenie, thanks for making it round to my blog – I imagine your reading list is quite long!! Yeah, blogging definitely slipped down the priority list, but I hope to continue updating it now and then. I’m currently in Budapest for the FIRE conference, so it’s been great connecting with others in the community face to face!