Pay calculator for financial management

One of the things I did when taking control of my financial expenditure and budgeting my money was created an Excel spreadsheet. I used this as a Pay Calculator for my financial management. It helps when you’re tracking every single penny you spend, because you can see all the figures at a glance. Where you’re spending too much, where you aren’t spending enough. Where you can save.

When filling this file in, you have to be 100% honest, and input every single number. If you’re lucky, you’ll have most things on a direct debit, it makes things easier. If not you have to manually input them into the pay calculator.

Please find attached this Microsoft Excel file. Which you can use for budgeting and sorting out your finances.

http://andrewhope.co.uk/~downloads/wordpress-files/financial-calculator.xls

It’s fairly self explanatory

  • Standard household bills input into the left column
  • Any extra money in right-hand side column
  • Your standard wage / benefits goes in the middle section

The pay calculator will then work out the rest for you, and also show you what money you will have left over for the month.

For me personally credit card / loans where my main issue. I’ve been working on restoring my credit rating so I could get a consolidation loan to free up £100 per month off my wage. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re counting pennies and budgeting, an extra £100 that you no longer spending is a hell of a lot of free money to play with. Also I paid off one of my credit cards.

This has helped me with financial freedom, I’m slowly getting there.

Views – 34

money saving – changing bulbs to led

I’m always interested in saving money at home. I’ve known for a while that changing my household LED bulbs would save me some money. I’ve finally finished changing all of the bulbs in the household to LED now, so thought I’d write this article to document the prices. A lot of people who aren’t converted believe LED lighting isn’t good. It’s very good and can produce crystal white light in the house. I’ve also converted my mother to use LED lighting now she has found out how much it saves me.

One of the first things that I tackled was my lighting. Traditional (Halogen) lights in the house are very power hungry, times have changed and modern lighting (LED) is now available, which normally uses around 25% of the power that a “Traditional” light-bulb uses.

A 60W Halogen light uses around 60W in power. An LED equivalent uses around 10-15w in power. It doesn’t seem much, but when you add up how often the lights are used, and apply some basic maths formulas. You realise just how bad your household bills are affected by the smallest change in cost.

You can see in the table below, that over the cost of an entire year the bulbs cost me approximately £1.45 per month to run, compared to £13.88 to run per month. For reference, if you want to Calculate just how much your bulbs cost you over the year, this is the formula below

(W x H x 365)/1000 – Multiplied by electric cost per KW/h

An example bulb (15W LED, that is used for 2 hours per day, but used 90 days of the year)
You can work this out for any number of bulbs, just break it down by each bulb per fitting

15 x 2 x 90 = 2,700W of power – divide this by 1000 to convert to KW/h = 2.7 KW/h
Multiply by your cost of electricity (for me it’s £0.14 per KW/h) – excluding the standing charge
Cost to run this 1 LED for above time period = £0.378 per “year” (2.7 x 0.14)

In total I have spent around £30 to replace all of the bulbs (the ones I buy are from ASDA). As you can see below, the costs are made back within the first year of ownership.

If you also take into account the lifespan of the bulbs (LED – 25,000 hours) vs (Halogen – 1,000 hours). It usually costs you even more because you have to buy more bulbs to replace the Halogen ones as they fail.

Hopefully the information below should help you convert to LED. It’s a great money saving tip and simply adding an extra £2 per month onto your shopping bill buying 1 or 2 bulbs at a time can have a lasting effect for you over the years.

LED Lighting Comparison

ROOMORIGINAL BULB (Wattage)

( ) = Total power usage
NEW BULB
(Wattage)

[ ] = Equivalent power
WATTAGE
SAVING
Approx usage (Hrs/year)

( ) = Hours per day
Annual KW/h

Formula =
(Bulb Power (W) * Hrs per Day * 365) / 1000

( ) = Halogen KW/h
Annual Electric Cost @ 0.14 per kw/h

LED listed

( ) = Halogen Cost
Bedroom 13 x 50W (150W)3 x 5W (15W)
[ 50W ]
135W2920
(8)
43.8 (438)£6.13 (£61.32)
Bedroom 24 x 30W (120W)4 x 3.7W (14.8W)
[ 40W ]
105.2W182.5
(0.5 - 30 Min)
2.701 (21.9)£0.37 (£3.06)
Bathroom1 x 20W (20W)1 x 9.4W (9.4W)
[60W ]
10.6W365
(1)
3.431 (7.3)£0.48 (£1.02)
Landing3 x 50W (150W)3 x 5W (15W)
[ 50W ]
135W365
(1)
5.475 (54.75)£0.76 (£7.66)
Stairs3 x 30W (90W)3 x 5W (15W)
[ 50W ]
75W365
(1)
5.475 (54.75)£0.76 (£7.66)
Kitchen (Main)4 x 50W (200W)4 x 5W (20W)
[ 50W ]
180W1095
(3)
21.9 (219)£3.06 (£30.66)
Kitchen (Sink)3 x 40W (120W)3 x 2.9W (8.7W)
[ 40W ]
101.3W730
(2)
6.351 (87.6)£0.88 (£12.26)
Living Room4 x 50W (200W)4 x 5W (20W)
[ 50W ]
180W1460
(4)
29.2 (292)£4.08 (£40.88)
Rear Door1 x 20W (20W)1 x 9.4W (9.4W)
[ 60W ]
10.6W182.5
(0.5 - 30 Min)
3.431 (7.3)£0.48 (£1.02)
Downstairs Toilet1 x 20W (20W)1 x 9.4W (9.4W)
[ 60W ]
10.6W182.5
(0.5 - 30 Min)
3.431 (7.3)£0.48 (£1.02)
TOTAL£17.48 (£166.56)
PER MONTH£1.45 (£13.88)

Views – 45

Retirement at 40

Retirement at 40, is it possible? – For me, yes. I think it’s possible. Although to retire early, ideally you want to get started early. The same as compounding interest, the younger you start saving. The more money you have in the future.

How much do I need in order to retire at 40? I estimate savings of at least £500,000 (realistically though I’d like this to be closer to £1,000,000)

Now this number is a lot, don’t get me wrong. I’m currently 35 years old as I type this Blog entry, however I like a challenge and I’m still optimistic, if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll have built up savings. So it’s a win-win regardless

The reason I want to retire at 40? – “Life’s too short”, you’ve heard those words many times before, and it’s true. Once you’re gone, you’re gone. So I’d rather focus my time on enjoying it and focussing towards my interests. These include Medicine, Robotics and Energy.

As a person, I’d like to do something to leave a mark on this world, which has a greater impact. Working a 9-5 job isn’t doing it though, this is the reason why I’m aiming for a retirement goal. I care about the bigger picture and being happy. Reaching this point would allow me to achieve this goal

Based on a retirement figure of around £1,000,000, I’d need to earn somewhere in the region of £600 per day!

Now, I’m not thinking about this number, quite frankly it’s absurd to think about.

I’m thinking of another way, via “Passive Income” – basically making money without me working for it (so I make money whether I eat, sleep or shit.

For reference it’s about £26 per hour passive income I need in order to get the magic number based on my current age. Which is why I said start early, if I started working on retirement when I was 20, I’d only need a passive income of around £7 per hour!

Anyhoo. My thoughts towards retirement at 40, and what I need to do. Or currently are doing to achieve them

  • Reduce outgoing expenditure (paying off debts / mortgage) and saving money in general
  • Investments (I’m looking into things like Dividends, and REIT) to help pay out dividends as passive income
  • Stocks and Shares (this is more long term investments)
  • Increasing my passive earnings (writing books, training guides, writing more content for my website)
  • Earning more money (whether this be matched betting, ebay, etc)

I don’t earn much passively, but I have my mind focussed on a goal now which is something I’m good at. Quite frankly the thought of leaving any job at 40 appeals to me. I’ve always said if I could afford to not work for a living I’d work with animals

Anyway, that’s my short rant for now. I’d love to hear ideas of how you think about passive income, or what works for you.

Views – 102

Z340 Zodiac Killer Letter

I’m always interested in solving the unsolved mysteries (Murders, Space, Ciphers, Medicine).

Anyway, I’ve been looking at the Z340 Zodiac letter and how it’s already partially solved, I’ve been studying the letter and here are my thoughts relating to it

Some of the letters look like they would be in a PigPen Cipher

The Zodiac killers letter seems to be using a mixture of plaintext + encoded text, or at least 1 the entire full work + one ciphered word (or at least the ones that are easy to guess, the more detailed information is already encyrpted plus their words (accounting for spelling mistakes) also have one or two letters in the string encoded, or swapped around & encoded

They’ve linked periods to full stops to end sentences.

Examples from the first line

HER> = Here
TGOB = Both (

DWY = Day

Also near the end they’ve written POSHT = Poshtwats?

That’s my theory, so it’s what I’m working with at the moment

UPDATE : 27/07

Finding some interesting strings of words that make up a fuller story. Currently playing around with them. As the answer doesn’t match the solution already posted for about the first 8 lines

Views – 98

How I fixed my Car Audio with Zip Ties

I recently wrote how I replaced my factory head unit in my car with an aftermarket one. One of the problems I’ve been experiencing however, was intermittent sound AND no radio. I had a weird issue where the head unit also wasn’t powering up too. The speakers were dropping in and out, and also the next time I fitted the aerial wire, the head unit would no longer power up.

Needless to say this confused me, until I did a bit of investigation

Turns out that the ISO adapter harness I purchased to fit the head unit to my car, was connected to the block. However there was always a little bit of “play” where you could wiggle the connector in and out 2-3mm which I was never happy with

This small amount of “play” was enough to break the connection between the pins and cause a signal loss, and power loss. Hence why my previous testing on the head unit wasn’t showing any problems and why it randomly powered up again after I tested it

Basically I added two zip ties tightly against the harness, one near the speaker wires, and one near the power. It’s now permanently solid and worked flawlessly since

Views – 115

Finally some sounds in the car

This has been going on for some time now, but I’ve wanted to replace my factory head unit with a better one. The standard one in the Nissan isn’t exactly the best, it does the job but the CD player part was broken and it was annoying me.

I didn’t want to chop any of the wires incase I decided to sell the car at a later date, so I purchased an ISO harness.

As an FYI, the Nissan Almera doesn’t have an earth connection through the factory wiring harness. The earth connection is done to the chassis of the vehicle through the earth wire and the metal cage that holds the head unit in

Now, I fitted the head unit to the vehicle, wouldn’t power up. Balls. Went over it again, now worked. Great. I had to order an DIN–>ISO aerial adatper because the factory one didn’t fit my Alpine head unit. The standard aerial is one of those thick ones, and the normal adapter you get is usually the reverse (thin > thick), so I purchased a replacement

I went to it the next day, no power again…. annoying.

I pulled it out the day after, multimeter at the ready and tested the earth and +12 power wires. All working, test the head unit fuse, that works, ok, must be the head unit. No power… shit. Did head -unit

I unplugged the power wire and plugged in again, now working. What the hell. Sod it, it’s working for now. That will do

I’ll look into it further when I get the replacement aerial wire to see if I can figure out what’s wrong. It’s using a harness wire and there’s a connector which goes from factory harness (albeit it’s a bit loose) to the alpine ISO

I’ll post more if I figure it out

Views – 113

Home Asterisk Server

One of the things I’ve wanted with my Home IT Setup is as much control as possible. My Internet service (and analogue telephone line) is provided by British Telecom (BT).

Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just simply prefer to have a lot more control over the phone line when it enters my household, and coming from a technical background being able to view the statistics for the phone line and how it’s connected. Plus the call control features you get with Asterisk PBX are way more advanced.

I like being able to control my calls, and being able to record all calls and leaving voicemails whilst ignoring unknown numbers appeals to me. I’ve been familiar with Asterisk PBX now for a few years, so looking into developing a system I can use with it.

Ideally I’m going to need an Asterisk PBX Server. Should be simple enough. The technology is cheap enough to purchase. A cheap old PC should do the basic functionality.

I’ll need to integrate the phone lines. BT provide their Analogue phone lines of POTS. Which means I’ll need at least an Interface card which offers FXO functionality (may aswell get FXS card too since Fax Machines are old technology but you never know when you might need it). As I plan on integrating them with VOIP phones (I’m familiar with Avaya) I’ll need to buy a card that supports an FXO Gateway.

I’m still researching at this point. I only have one phone line entering the household (which is both my phone calls / internet)

If I’m using multiple VOIP phones (I’ll need at least two), does that mean I’ll need two FXO gateways, or can I get away with one and it’s looking after with Internal routing via my network switch?

I’ll keep posting as I go

Views – 194

I think clearer when angry

Ever had those moments of zen? I was doing the dishes in the house and whilst doing them my mind went over an argument I had at my place of work recently.

I realised that for some strange reason I think clearer when angry. I get the red mist, my adrenaline flows, and my temper goes off the rails. For some reason however my mind never phases, it actually zones in when I’m angry and I seem to have an acute point of reasoning or understanding of the problem at hand.

I don’t know whether to be worried or interested about myself. Probably means I’m borderline psychotic, bi-polar or have ADHD. Most likely something along those lines, but for now I’ll go with the flow.

I’m not a shrink so can’t really analyse myself; I just for some reason at times reach complete clarity and realise things. I just now have to figure out how I can use my anger to fuel a solution to problems rather than to increase my mental stress when I encounter them

Views – 314

Old RAC Sat Nav Files

I’m busy working on an old Sat Nav for someone but one problem I’ve come across which seems to be regular. Is that the site which used to be used by them for all the files (it was known as Route 66) is no longer online

 

It was taken down due to more and more people going to mobile apps

 

This is a pain in the arse when you need Old RAC Sat Nav Files

My colleague uses an RAC5000Wide model.

 

If you have any (firmware, original maps, software, manuals), I’d love for you to email me a link to it so I can add it to an online database (admin – at – andrewhope.co.uk)

Views – 323

AudioEndpointBuilder – The Dilemma

Thought I’d make this post to help save some time if someone else came across it. I was recently asked to fix a Windows 8.1 64-bit Laptop with no sound. The problem being specific to Windows 8 laptops

 

Talk about a night mare. The sound wasn’t working basically because the “Windows Audio” service wasn’t started. The problem is this thing relies on 3 other dependancies before it can work

– Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

– Multimedia Class Scheduler (MMCSS)

– AudioEndpointBuilder

 

Everything would start except for the AudioEndpointBuilder. It would fail with an error code 193:0xc1. The log in even viewer said it was not a 32-bit application

 

After going through various troubleshooting procedures after going through the usuals. I trailed the web and checked everything suggested

  • Reinstalling the sound drivers, motherboard drivers
  • Running SFC.exe
  • Checking the registry – making sure the paths were correct
  • Accepting the windows drivers
  • Booting into safe mode
  • Recreating the service.

None of it it worked, the only thing I could do would be either reinstall windows or find a solution

 

Luckily I found a solution (or rather a bodge)

Basically to fix the Windows 8 audio problem I did the following after finding it online…

 

– Open the registry

– Navigate to Microsoft\Windows\Current Control Set\Services\AudioSrv

Look for the path which talks about dependancies, there will be 3 entries

– RPC

– MMCSS

– AudioEndpointBuilder

 

You need to open this and delete the values for AudioEndpointBuillder and Rpc

Save it and reboot. The audio, should now be working

Views – 481

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