Month: January 2018

How to save cash on your home energy

If you happen to be renting or a home owner, one outgoing (hopefully you’ve got your SSBS together) you’re not going to get out of paying for are utilities (gas/electric/water).  I must admit, this isn’t the most exciting topic but this is definitely worth your time, as its going to save you from parting with more of your hard earned cash than you need to. This will only apply if you’re on a standard meter for your gas and electric, so not a prepaid meter or an economy 7 meter.

The Basics

You’ll have an energy supplier (i.e British Gas, EDF, Ovo, Scottish Power) who provide the gas and electric to the house/flat. You will have a gas and electric meter, this allows the utility company to calculate how much energy you’ve used and how much you owe them. If you don’t already, I highly recommend you submit meter reading(s) each month to make sure the bills are not wildly inaccurate.

So what do you need to look out for when wanting to get the best deal possible? Here are costs to look out for:

  • Electricity – Standing Charge (this is a fixed cost per day)
  • Electricity – Unit Rate (this is the price per kWh used)
  • Gas – Standing Charge (this is a fixed cost per day)
  • Gas – Unit Rate (this the price per kWh used)

These are likely to be a little hard to find (the supplier doesn’t really want you knowing this) and if you’re finding it too difficult to find these for a given supplier, ditch the supplier and choose one who is open about the amount they charge.

Here’s the tariff example from Bulb, the current supplier of energy to the HTSC household.

As we can see, Bulb clearly show you their tariff information. Lets take another example from a different supplier and work out the difference.

Supplier: Scottish Power

Tariff Name: Online Fix and Save January 2019 v2

Tariff breakdown can be found here (they don’t make is easy for you). These are for the monthly direct debit payments for the ScottishPower supply area.

Standing Charge Per kWh
Electric 32.88p 15.164p
Gas 32.88p 3.616p

Now we’ve got our prices lets look at a month’s worth of energy usage. Lets take the month of December as it’s probably one of the most expensive.

First off, the number of days in December = 31, next is the energy used for the month of December.

Energy kWh Used
Electricity 248
Gas 1947

Now for the incredibly complicated maths (just kidding). We multiple the standing charge for each supplier by 31 and the unit prices are multiplied by the number of kWhs used.

So for the electricity from Bulb we have the following calculations:

Standing Charge

31 * 0.2456 = 7.61

kWh Used

248 * 0.12257 = 30.40

Standing Charge kWh Used
Bulb
– Electricity £7.61 £30.40
– Gas £7.61 £48.09
Sub Total £15.23 £78.49
Total   £93.72
Scottish Power
– Electricity £10.19 £37.61
– Gas £10.19 £70.40
Sub Total £20.39 £108.01
Total £128.40

Hopefully you’ve homed in on the totals and can see that in this comparison, Bulb comes out cheaper by a whopping £34.68! Now just think, it’s the same gas and electricity that is coming through your wires and gas pipes regardless of supplier so why pay more than you have to?

As I’ve mentioned Bulb are the supplier of energy to the HTSC household and do a fantastic job of providing green energy to other homes across the UK. They provide 100% renewable electricity, which gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when switching on a light. You’ll get £50 credit if you sign up and switch to Bulb from here, who can say no to free energy?!

If this all seems too much, no problem, there are services like uSwitch – Gas & Electricity who allow you to search for the cheapest deal with minimal information, just your home address, the type of meter(s) you have and how much you spend/use energy wise each month. If you see a deal you like on there, they also provide a service where they take care of informing your current supplier that you want to move to a new supplier, which means you have to do even less!!!

See, I told you it would be worth your time. Just think, if you can save £34.68 in one month, what could you save over a year?

 

 

2017 Net Worth Review

Having recently put up the HTSC portfolio, which can be found here, I thought I’d start sharing the progress the HTSC household is making on reaching their net worth target. 

Remember only percentage values are being used as it makes no difference to you what the HTSC net worth target is.

2017

Month Net Worth %
January 5.21
February 5.39
March 5.85
April 6.09
May 6.39
June 6.52
July 6.62
August 6.86
September 7.01
October 5.85
November 5.97
December 6.23

OK, tables are not the most visually pleasing way to show data so here are a couple of sexy graphs.

Graph 1 – 2017 Monthly net worth increase and slight decrease.

As we can see the HTSC net worth was happily heading north until September came along. The drop is due to purchasing a house, something the HTSC clan won’t be doing again any time soon, so there shouldn’t be another dip as large as this in the future.

 

Graph 2 – 2017 Net worth relative to target.

Some people relish seeing the bigger picture and some people just don’t. Mr HTSC is a ‘wants to see the big picture’ kind of chap, regardless of how depressing it might look. Case in point, the grey line in graph 2 is the HTSC net worth and the yellow line at the top is our goal. To say we’ve got a way to go is a slight understatement but who doesn’t like a challenge eh?

You might be asking, why doesn’t this scare Mr HTSC to death? Well here’s why (yep, another graph)

Graph 3 – The big picture

According to graph 3, we should be hitting our net worth goal around 2043, now this might seem like a long time into the future, and it is. But power is knowing and now we’ve got this big picture, if we think that waiting until 2043 is too far into the future, we alter the plan accordingly. Whether that’s by saving and investing more or generating more income per month.

The data behind the graph can be seen below. You’ll notice the HTSC prediction was to have a net worth of 6% around 2022. So we’re already ahead having achieved that in 2017.

Year Net Worth
2014 0.30
2015 0.83
2016 1.43
2017 2.10
2018 2.84
2019 3.67
2020 4.58
2021 5.61
2022 6.75
2023 8.01
2024 9.42
2025 10.99
2026 12.73
2027 14.67
2028 16.82
2029 19.22
2030 21.88
2031 24.84
2032 28.13
2033 31.79
2034 35.86
2035 40.37
2036 45.39
2037 50.96
2038 57.15
2039 64.02
2040 71.66
2041 80.14
2042 89.55
2043 100.00

Hopefully, this has been useful and possibly even a prompt to put together a sexy graph or two yourself. I realise that finance can be a dry subject but it really doesn’t have to be, especially when it involves your future.

Happy graphin’!

Portfolio

OK so it’s time for HowToSaveCash to nail his colours to the mast and let you in on what the HTSC portfolio looks like. I’m going to update this page on a monthly basis as well as post monthly updates to show the progress the HTSC household is making on achieving their net worth goal. The portfolio will be in percentage values, as it makes absolutely no difference to you, dear reader, whether the HTSC goal is to have a net worth of £10, £100, £10,000, £100,000 or £1,000,000.

HTSC Portfolio – July 2018

Here’s a sexy pie chart which gives an overview of the portfolio.

Here’s the breakdown of what is in the portfolio.

Overall Percent
Cash 17
Stocks & Shares ISA  50
Fund Name Percent
Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity  Fund – Accumulation 100
SIPP  25
Fund Name Percent
Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity  Fund – Accumulation 100
Work Place Pension (Aviva) 6
Fund Name Percent
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila UK Equity Index Tracker S6 20
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila US Equity Index Tracker S6 45
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila European Equity Index Tracker S6 20
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila Pacific Rim Equity Index Tracker S6 5
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila Japanese Equity Index Tracker S6 5
Aviva Pensions BlackRock Aquila Over 15 Years Gilt Index Tracker S6 5
BrewDog Shares 2

Notes 

The Aviva pension is an auto-enrollment work place pension that Mr HTSC was signed up for some time in 2016/2017. The funds in the pension are ones that have been manually selected since being enrolled. The default fund that was chosen was an actively managed, high fee fund which just doesn’t sit well with the ethos of saving cash, so it was changed for the 6 index funds listed above.

Yes, Mr HTSC invested in BrewDog some years ago and happens to benefit greatly from the discount received in their bars and online shop for being a share holder. Yes, I know, spending money on beer is not a basic need but hey, you have to live a little right? For those wanting to know more here’s a link Equity For Punks.

 

Wise Words: Talks from the world’s best investors

So you’ll be glad to know this post will be light on text and heavy on YouTube videos. For me, these videos provide some great advice on how to approach life and best of all, it’s free!

These videos have been chosen because not only are Mr Buffett and Mr Munger the most successful investing partnership there has ever been, they both seem to be good, honest and down to earth people. Their ability to explain complex issues in a simple way and do it with humility and humour, just cannot be beaten.

Warren Buffett – Even if you don’t watch the entire video, I highly recommend you watch/listen to the first 10 minutes. You never know, it may just change the way you approach life.

Charlie Munger – A great insight into the workings of another great mind. There’s a great life story from 16 minutes in.

Warren Buffett – A film released in 2017, I’m not sure it should be on YouTube but I’d recommend watching it whilst you can. It’s a great insight into the man behind the title ‘World’s Most Successful Investor’.

 

A quick search on YouTube will return even more videos of talks Mr Buffett and Mr Munger have given over the years. If you have the time I’d recommend you watch as many as possible. I mean why wouldn’t you, they are talking about their life experiences and lessons learnt from investing. If someone has learnt a valuable lesson, how great is it to learn from them and not have to make the mistake yourself? Happy viewing.