Savings Report #17 – Going Back to School

This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

The percentage change in my total invested assets this month went up by 11.47%.

Oh boy, I’m going to miss having such a big impact from my contributions when my pot grows a little larger!

As you guys can see, I dumped an extra £3500 into my ISA this month.

I’ve done this to ensure that I maximise the ISA threshold of 20k before April, and I’m doing it early because I want to hit the 100k invested goal before the end of 2019 (I’ve got the Prosecco ready to celebrate!)

This also coincidentally lined up with an unexpected pay rise from work. I usually get a car allowance which I took as cash each month (I have no need for a car). My employer has now stopped offering this perk and instead consolidated the car allowance into my base pay.

This had the unexpected benefit of increasing my employers’ pension contribution amount and the amount of bonus they pay me by quite a large sum as it gets calculated based on my base pay. So, my pension contributions seem to have gone up by £300 – almost at the pension annual limit!

This might change next month as when something changes with your pay it usually takes HMRC a while to figure out how much tax you should be paying, we’ll see.

I’ve got another £4500 lined up to go into my ISA on the 1st of December, so it’s looking like I will hit that 100k target next month!! I really hope stocks don’t take a tumble 🙂

I benefitted from a hefty £2000 interest earned from stock growth this month which is why that drool-worthy 6-figure invested sum is within my sights.


As soon as Tesla stock tumbled because of the announcement of the AWESOME Cybertruck, I took the opportunity to buy more of them!

Due to Property Partner’s fee increase, I really wanted to get rid of the platform from my portfolio and replace it with something else, so I bought around £770 worth of Tesla shares bringing my total to 8 shares (I got 3 shares for the price I paid for 5 back in August!).

Now all of my alt-investments are Tesla stock, so it should be easier to track the performance each month.

I’ve yet to officially sell the Property Partner portfolio even when I’m listing the property at a huge loss of 12%, I may have to lower the price even further if it doesn’t sell this month 🙁

Other News

I’ve decided that I’m going to enroll in an American graduate program to get a Masters of Computer Science. This is a huge commitment and it’s going to take up a considerable amount of my time over the next 2 – 3 years as I’ll be completing it whilst still working full time.

My interest in doing this all started when I met someone at a FI meet up who’d done this course and I was shocked at the low cost and the diploma awarded. It’s actually the cheapest Masters program that you can take from a premier USA college. Check it out here, and read some awesome opinions about it here.

I’ll be writing up an article soon about why I believe that this was the right choice for me. It’s not going to change any of my other plans, I’ll still be training and applying for a FAANG[note]FAANG = Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google.[/note] job next year and I still have my sights set on emigrating – this degree will hopefully help with these goals!


I’ve been feeling increasingly melancholy about life recently. I seem to get like this every now and again; do I REALLY want to move to the USA? What will ACTUALLY make me (and my wife) happy? Maybe I should be doing something COMPLETELY different!? All of that jazz.

I think my partner and I need to have a really good planning session and simulate different routes that we both could take and where they may take us 5, 10, and 15 years down the line. Sometimes what we think we want now won’t actually be the best move when you consider what you want in the future.

Mrs SavingNinja is currently on the cusp of a potential career change so we need to really sit down and think whether it’s even worth it when thinking of our future goals, and if it is; what career she should be putting her energy and money into developing to align with that future.

We need to ask ourselves questions like; Do we still want to travel and/or have the ability to live anywhere whilst working?

That would be considerably easier if we could both work remotely. If we wanted to go down this route then maybe efforts should be focused on gaining skills to allow for a better possibility to work remotely?

It’s strange how I seem to get sad when I feel unsure of the direction we’re heading in. Planning for the future always makes me happier!

How has your month been? Do you think getting a graduate degree is worth it?


8 thoughts on “Savings Report #17 – Going Back to School

  1. I admire your drive and ambition. That Masters looks intense, but I’m sure you’ll smash through it!

    I can relate to feeling somewhat listless when I feel like I’m floundering and unsure about where I might end up in the future. Sounds like you’ve already got the best solution though; communication and planning with your partner, and then working together to achieve your desired goal!

  2. with respect, having met with you and read your posts of late; I’m thinking that as Dr. Fire says you have drive and ambition but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense when tied up to living as frugally as you do. I’m sure it’s possible to live in the US spending what you do working in central London – but you’ll be a thousand miles from Silicon Valley.
    Maybe you should focus on building up a position in the UK – pension, ISAs, house (rented out) and move off to the US for a while once you’re in that position.
    You can always move back if you like and you’ll be FI when you do so – you needn’t even save any of your silicon millions anyway!- you’ll be better off than 90% of the population here anyway.
    You’re a sensible person with a lot of potential – use that to expand your options just as there’s a risk that Early Retirement can limit them – you can do whatever you like and if that means a lot of coding for big bucks – so be it!

    1. Hey GFF! Yeah, we were thinking that if we moved to SF we’d probably opt to save a lot less and live in one of those ridiculously expensive 1 bedroom SF apartments, at least until we started applying for permanent residency. That’s why we’re trying to compound as much as we can now, so we can not worry about it as much when we emigrate. Although saying that, EEE managed to spend only $7000 per year living in central SF in a trailer park, maybe we can do the same? 😉

      I was hoping to be min-FI before relocating, but the problem is we’ll be taking on way more tax burdens from moving (ISA isn’t recognised), and the salary jumps in USA should come after 4ish years when I can hop company after getting a green card, so the earlier the better. The Mrs and I just have to sit down and think if it’s really something we want to do, as it will take a lot of time and money to achieve it. Do we really want to throw away an early British (or Scottish? 🙂 ) retirement for the chance at breaking America and potentially losing a shit ton of money and gaining IRS tax forevermore?

      There’s also the fact that my partner wouldn’t be able to work in the USA unless she retrains now and gets a few years training here in the UK. And although I’m the main income earner, she’s starting to bring in a decent income after 5 years as a teacher, that combined with a higher cost of living in SF will definitely decimate our savings rate (even if I’m on a 6 figure Silicon Valley package).

      No matter what we do, we’ll be staying here for the foreseeable future, I’ll be staying in my current job until I get my bonus in July and start my degree. I’ll be thoroughly trying to ‘break into’ a US mega-corp in London over the next couple of years too (so I have a chance of an L1 Visa for inter-company transfer to the USA). If nothing comes up, I’ll be staying in my current place and stashing savings whilst I complete my degree until something better comes up.

  3. Hi SN,

    Nice honest update a usual.

    Uncertainty is never great, even when it is kind of self-imposed. At least you are in control of that and have steps in mind to remediate it soon.

    I love planning ahead as well, I can’t imagine anyone who’s gotten the idea of FI doesn’t!

    However the true, and easiest path to happiness is to just appreciate where we are and what we have now. Easy to say of course but I’m sure most people deep down know it to be true.

    Good luck with the FAAANG training and maybe I’ll see you on that course some time next year 😉

    1. Thanks TFS 🙂

      I agree that living in the moment is best and it’s something I strive for – it’s just so bloody hard when you’re working full time 🙁 I feel it needs a major shift in lifestyle to be able to achieve properly, especially because I bloody hate the city! As you know I’m in more of a suffer now kind of phase :)) But I’m really hoping to change that when my stash grows a little bit more.

      I’m hoping this masters will almost distract me from being discontent whilst my stash grows to a suitable level.

      It would be AWESOME if you joined as well! We’d be able to meet up and study together 😀 Make sure you start applying soon as it’s lengthy, and it closes in March!

  4. Firstly, congrats on the pay rise – I’ve only ever received an unexpected one once in my career but at the time, it was during my spendy phase so I didn’t make the most of it (in a postive way).

    I haven’t invested directly in Tesla but have an investment in Scottish Mortgage which invests in the companyt – I’m following the news on the Cybertruck with interest (shattered glass notwithstanding!)

    Sorry to read that you are feeling melancholy – sounds like you need another detailed ‘master plan’ for this next phase of your life now that the wedding is over – time for you and your missus to do another brainstorming/planning session with all those post-it notes, which I was well impressed with!

    1. Thank you Weenie 🙂

      Haha, you remembered the board! We will have to get that back out 😉 We’ve decided we’re going to dedicate some time over the Christmas break to planning.

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