January's been a strange month. Initially it seemed to move slowly, but then suddenly it's gone in a flash. At the same time, it seems a long time since the December costs post.
With a new year, some of my thoughts on money/costs are staying the same, while some are changing a little.
Starting with what's staying the same:
Last year I set an after tax budget of £44,400 ($62,604) per year to cover all costs for Sally and me. I'm going to keep the same budget this year.
And the things that have changed:
Even though the GBP budget stays the same, the USD amount changes because exchange rates have moved. Being a Brit, I still tend to think in British Pounds, even though my current spend is mostly in USD. Anyway, right or wrong, I've kept the GBP the same and adjusted the USD budget based on the new exchange rate.
I'm adding a new category of cost for the big travel adventure that we have planned for the second half of this year. I haven't set a budget for it yet. I need to do some work on this.
I'm trying to change my attitude a little on the costs. Last year, I was quite focused on the cost budget (even though we ended up going over it). Because it was my first year of early retirement, I needed confidence that the money wouldn't run out. I'm now comfortable about that, so I'm going to try to relax a bit more on the cost front. Whether my accountant background let's me do that is another matter.
Below are the January costs (I've included a column on the right hand side showing the actual monthly average from last year).
The number shown in the red oval is what I'm concentrating on - it's our normal living costs, the things that most of us incur. Over the year, I'm going to try to keep this under £3,000 ($4,230) average per month. If I do can do that, it leaves £8,400 ($11,844) a year for vacations, which sounds enough to have some good trips.
I'm not going to stress about what gets spent on the round the world trip (currently it's an Australia and Asia trip) and on overseas running trips. I'll try to keep the spend sensible, but these are special events, not something that we will normally do in future years, so they can have a special treatment.
So far, so good, the red oval costs look OK for January. It's well under the £3,000 ($4,230) target, and nothing looks terrible. I'll have a quick pat on the back, and move on.
Oh, one last thing on the costs, the small matter of £5,088 ($7,175) spent on the round the world trip. It's really happening. This cost is because I've booked the flights, and bought backpacks (my midlife crisis seems to involve pretending I'm a gap year student - I keep telling Sally that at least it's preferable to buying a sports car and having an affair!). I'll post about our plans (for travelling, not affairs - I'm keeping those secret🤣) in the next few weeks.
In last week's post, I said that I was running a marathon over the weekend. Well, I did, and if you thought that you were going to get away without me telling you about it, then you're clearly deluded😂
Don't worry, I'm not going to drone on and on too much...I hope.
What was my plan - I wanted to get a 3 hour 10 minute marathon time, or to be more exact 3 hours 9 minutes and 59 seconds. My training had gone well, but it seemed a big ask. If you'd offered me a guarantee of that time before the start gun fired, I'd have shaken your hand and taken that deal in a flash.
But nobody was there to offer that deal, so I had to cross the start line and take my chances. The marathon ended with some good and some bad news.
First the good news. Don't ask me how, but I ran my little heart out, and was amazed to cross the finish line in 3 hours 3 minutes and 42 seconds. Well ahead of my target, and a big new personal best. To say I was happy would be a sizable understatement.
Now the bad news. 3 hours 3 minutes and 42 seconds, that's kind of close to 3 hours or, again to be more precise, 2 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Darn it, how can I be within touching distance and not think of having a go to break the 3 hour barrier? Answer, I'm going to have to give it a try.
It's quite possible that it will be beyond me, the infamous "marathon wall" will probably hit me squarely in the face. But if I don't dream, and if I don't try, then I'll never know. I'm entered for Boston on 16 April, so that will be where I will fight my battle. I can't believe that I've told you that I'm going to try, but now I've said it I'm going to have to give it my best shot. Oh no, this is going to hurt😬
The best feeling
I promise, this is my last bit on marathons for today.
I think at least part of me must be an optimist. For one, despite the doom and gloom that news channels constantly air, I believe that 99.9% of the human population are good, honest, decent folk.
Watching people finish a marathon is great. There are such a mixture of emotions. After months of hard effort and dedication, you see people who have achieved their goal, and some who have strived so hard but not quite got to where they had hoped.
What I love seeing is the excitement and care that the people have for each other. The delight of sharing in the achievement of others, whether they have a sub 3 hour or a 6 hour finish time, and support for those who may have struggled. It really is a joy to watch. I enjoyed that I met my own target, but the best feeling of the day was witnessing how delighted and thoughtful everyone was for each other.