Beware of Freebies – a Warning to Parents

If your child is a console/PC owner you’ll know only too well that games for them can prove extremely expensive, with the newest releases commanding prices of £40 up.   I saw a special edition one for the bargain price of £80 yesterday!

So when my children asked to download a free game called Fortnite onto their Xbox I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  Free?  Wow.  What a bonus!

That was the start of our Fortnite-Mare.

That, my friends, was the last time I saw my four youngest children properly.  Ha ha!

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June ’18 – Net Worth and monthly updates #1

I’ve fallen behind on posting recently and have been put under pressure as Mrs FU seems to be taking over my blog lately.

She has generally been on my case about my laziness and procrastination, and has been mocking me by keep playing this Jocko Willink clip. (Jocko makes me feel so inadequate!)

There has been a bit of informal competition on who is getting the most post views, not that we get many, so I thought I better get my ass into gear and write an update, and take advantage of the fact Mrs FU has gone to the Trafford Centre (hell on earth) with our daughter, FU#2. (By the way the wine tastes good, Mrs FU!)

I have decided to start doing monthly and weekly updates, including net worth updates (partly inspired by cashflow cop’s numbers post here) as I haven’t put my figures out there yet.

So here goes.

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Financial Education in Schools… or the Lack of.

Mr Fu and I are both in our late forties and seriously lament our late discovery of financial independence.  What hope did we have, though, considering our non-existent education in all things financial?

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£1m Pension Pot – How to climb the mountain and when to stop saving.

In the UK news this week it has been reported that, for a comfortable retirement,  people need to save a ‘pension mountain’  of £260,000.

Cue the doom-mongers and naysayers. ‘Who could ever hope to save this amount of money?’

Using the 4% rule this would give an annual income of £10,400. Doesn’t sound very comfortable to me.

So, how do we climb this ‘Mountain’?
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An Apprenticeship in FIRE-Starting

I was listening to Jonathan and Brad on their ChooseFI podcast all about coding this week and found it really interesting.    They were interviewing Ryan Carson from Treehouse, an online coding tuition course website, who considers coding to be a trade rather than a professional qualification achieved at college/University.   TreeHouse originated from a desire to make coding education available and financially accessible to more people, and students can try it for free before committing to a course.   One point made during the podcast was that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that there will be 1.4 million new jobs in tech in the US by 2020, and only 400,000 will be filled by college graduates, so presumably the positions will be taken by those who’ve either studied elsewhere or topped up their qualifications somewhere other than college.

Fingers crossed Little Fu#1 will benefit from a similar scenario in the UK after he found college and University wasn’t for him right now.

He attended our local grammar school and was planning to continue in the Sixth Form there to do A-levels.  At the time he’d no idea of a career goal, or the path to it, so he chose subjects he’d enjoyed at GCSE.  Things started well, but by Christmas, the sheer workload of A-levels started to take its toll, and, at the suggestion of school (who were very supportive) he dropped one of his four chosen A-levels.

For us as parents, though, this made us think deeply about whether he was doing the right thing at all.  Continue reading

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Little FU#1 – Step 3 Devise an Investment Strategy

Recap – This is step 3 in the process to set up a plan for my son, FU#1, to buy a property and reach FI before he is 40 years old.

In step 2 of the plan, we set up an initial budget for him to implement. The main part of this budget was to automate his savings to enable him to achieve a 50% savings rate.

Now we come to step 3, which is to devise an investment strategy to attain the goal of the plan. Continue reading

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UK on FIRE! Free places to make memories with the family

Nature hike

Five Little FUs go crazy at Tarr Steps, Dulverton, Somerset ….A great place for a family walk

In my last post I posted a list of free educational apps and sites, but what about downtime?

As a family of eight going anywhere can end up costing the earth, but after listening to Brad & Jonathan on a ChooseFI podcast talking about the importance of making memories and reading this inspirational and fun post by My Son’s Father on frugal family activities like picnics, nature hikes and bike rides I decided to go one further  and make a list of some of the best free places (mostly indoor) to visit in the UK.  Fun can be free, too, right?

It’s not an exhaustive list and I expect to add to it, but please send me any of your favourite places to visit that won’t ruin the path to FIRE and I’ll add them to the list.

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FIRE the teacher…. Become the teacher! (Free educational websites and apps)

In my last post I mentioned how a National Curriculum can’t ever hope to keep up with the current rapid advances in technology, the workplace (AND LIFE!)

Left to their own ‘devices’ (no pun intended 🙂 ) the Little FUs will spend 24 hours a day plugged into one type or another, so it’s only natural to look to computer/tablet-based apps and websites for learning, too.

As life has gravitated online even we as adults waste while away many a rainy afternoon clicking from one interesting YouTube video to another, and children can whizz through a whole year’s worth of science videos in a couple of hours in just the same way.

But online learning needn’t be expensive.  It needn’t cost anything, in fact.

The sites and links I’ve listed below are free to access and we have no affiliation or link with any of the companies or websites mentioned – they’re merely a collection of things we use and find useful, or have had recommended to us. Continue reading

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Free Money – Who wants an extra £250,000 tax free?

Who would like a tax-free birthday present of £250,000, for free?

Me please, whats the catch? How much is it going to cost?

The cost to you, my friend? – Zilch, Nada, Zippo, Zero, Nothing!

This is a scam, right?


So what gives? Continue reading

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Little FU#1 – Step 2 The Budget

I’m putting in place a quite simple budget plan for FU#1 that doesn’t need a lot of tracking and doesn’t require every little transaction to be logged.

I have broken the budget down to 3 main areas. These are Savings, Essential Expenses, and Non-essential expenses.

The goal of putting a budget in place is to enable FU#1 to save enough to buy a house in approximately 5-6 years when he is around 25 years old, and also to become FI in his 30’s. Continue reading

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