The Telegraph is wrong about FIRE

A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

Everyone's favourite tabloid, The Daily Telegraph, contains an article decrying the Financial Independence Retire Early philosophy1 I have a mixed relationship with the FIRE movement. It basically boils down to "spend less, save more, then you can retire once you've save 25x your annual spend". That's it. As Michael Taylor writes, some people fetishise the […]

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FILE/DINK/DWZ/3+1 - a personal financial quadrumvirate

A complex line graph.

Brits hate talking about money. But this benefits no-one. This is my situation - it's probably different to yours. I'm acutely aware I'm in a better financial position than most. This isn't financial advice - but I'd sure appreciate anyone's thoughts. I've recently moved down to a 4-day-a-week job. Taking a 20% hit to my […]

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Converting MoneyDashboard's export file to a CSV - for Firefly III and others

Logo of the Python programming language.

As I mentioned last week, MoneyDashboard is shutting down. They are good enough to provide a JSON export of all your previous transactions. It is full of entries like this: {     "Account": "My Mastercard",     "Date": "2020-02-24T00:00:00Z",     "CurrentDescription": null,     "OriginalDescription": "SUMUP *Pizza palace, London, W1",     "Amount": […]

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Free Open Banking API using Nordigen / GoCardless

Screenshot from GoCardless. 1. Test with your own data See how the product flow would look like for your users and what data is available 2. Set up the API Follow our documentation to set up the API and start collecting bank account data 3. Customise the user interface Pay as you go Make the user agreement flow for your customers to match your brand 4. Ready to go live? Need help and advice to set up faster?

A few weeks ago I was moaning about there being no OpenBanking API for personal use. Thankfully, I was wrong! As pointed out by Dave a company called Nordigen was set up to provide a free Open Banking service. It was quickly bought by GoCardless who said: We believe access to open banking data should […]

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Why is there no OpenBanking API for personal use?

List of OpenBanking providers.

The recent news that MoneyDashboard is suddenly shutting down has exposed a gap in the way OpenBanking works. It is simply impossible for a user to get read-only access to their own data without using an aggregator. And there are very few aggregators around. Why is it impossible for me to get programmatic access to […]

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Keeping a side project alive with t-shirts and cash

A selection of hats, t-shirts, mugs, and waterbottles with our logo.

My wife and I run a side project called - it is a fun little crowd-sourced memorial bench site. It's mostly fun, except when the bills come due! Most hobby sites and side projects don't cost a lot to run. Lots of services have generous free tiers to (ab)use, and they can pay well […]

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Your phone is probably a CDO

Doctor holding Jackie's phone.

I'm not sure how many people know this, but I thought I'd share something I learned a few years ago when I worked for a mobile phone seller. Most modern smartphones are too expensive for people to purchase outright. At the most extreme end, the iPhone 14 Pro Max costs £1,2001. So a typical customer […]

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Book Review: Portraits of Childfree Wealth - Jay Zigmont

Book cover showing a Venn diagram of time, money, and freedom.

My wife and I are planning on being DWZ DINK FIRE. That's a lot of letters to say we want to retire early and not leave any money to our non-existent kids. This book is a (slightly shallow) exploration of 26 people on similar journeys. They're all American (or now living in the USA) so […]

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Who can tell you what to do with your money?

A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

There's an incredibly distressing story in the BBC about a vulnerable elderly man who was conned out of his life savings. Fraud victim gets surprise £153,000 refund despite rules BBC News In the story, the heartless bank refused to refund the fraud victim due to an absurd technicality - the money was sent to a […]

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Experiments with domestic load shedding in the UK

Screenshot of an email. It says "Hi Terence, You'll earn 1800 OctoPoints – that's £2.25 worth – for every unit of electricity you cut down between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM on 15th November. Opt in now to save power and earn rewards in this Session. You'll go into a draw to win an extra 400,000 OctoPoints – that's £500 worth! – just for opting in. Important: you need to opt in before the Session starts if you want to earn rewards."

Electricity demand varies throughout the day. When demand is higher, electricity prices go up. Most UK consumers are insulated from this variability - we pay a fixed price per kWh no matter what the actual wholesale cost. But it doesn't need to be this way. Exposing users to the immense variability in pricing is probably […]

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