Benefits in Lent (Week 6) – Post Balance Sheet Events

Benefits in Lent ended with a total budget deficit of £18.62. A respectable performance. However, as alluded to in previous weeks, Benefits in Lent was not a perfect simulation and another trick was to defer purchases until after Lent. But this gives a false picture of what I actually spent during Lent.

For this reason, audits take place after the end of the financial year. Transactions and events after the year end give information about conditions during the year. These are called post balance sheet events.

What I did afterwards

I needed a haircut two weeks ago. However, I avoided the immediate cost by waiting until after Lent and using a comb more often. I’ve just done a large online Tesco shop and replenished vital supplies of washing powder, cleaning products, peanut butter and pheasant. Adjusting for post balance sheet events, I should have a deficit of around £103.20+ (unaudited figure).

This week I most looked forward indulging my Starbucks coffee habit at will. I drunk many caffè lattes and re-identified myself with accounting trainee-literati. But I never used to buy coffee so regularly before Lent, so why should I change now?


I believe in corporate coffee. Photo by rudolf_schuba.

Final Thoughts

If I’m honest, the last six weeks have not been that challenging. The problem with Benefits in Lent was that it was always temporary. The fact that it was only 6 weeks made it easier because I could pre-buy and then defer purchases. If it was permanent, I would find it impossible.

I’ve learnt the importance of using what resources we have wisely, whether it is money, time or bandit-avoidance skills. Most of all I will remember Benefits in Lent for the awesome spreadsheets.

Caffeine Crusade

I used to have random nights where it would take me hours to fall asleep. A year ago I figured out that it was due to excess caffeine during the day. I stopped drinking coffee / tea / red bull / pro plus (caffeine tablets). I learnt to live with my post-lunch sleepiness by taking placebos.

There are good health reasons to cut down on caffeine. But the most important is not to be a slave of “Big Caffeine”. These heartless corporations will put their stores up in every location. They will use subliminal advertising to make you think that caffeine binges are cool. A culture will be created where caffeine teetotallers are social outcasts.

I overcame these hurdles and my sleep problems solved, except for the random nights of exam stress and/or audit stress (should I use pink files or blue files?) Unfortunately, the result was that I developed ridiculous caffeine insensitivity. Even, de-caffeinated coffee will keep me awake.

Yet, I still love/worship Starbucks. How do you reconcile that with a caffeine intolerance? By buying Starbucks shares and drinking caffeine free Diet Coke.

coke The least-manly drink ever.

Exciting Tianjin Coffee House Project

A few weeks ago I got to meet a famous American expatriate called Daygan. He has lived in Tianjin for a while and he’s involved in a radio program, acting, modelling and, more recently, starting a new coffee house in Tianjin. It’s called "The Coffee Spot" and you can find out more about it here and keep up with the latest news on the blog. Below is a photo of the future site:

Coffee Spot

I met up with Daygan to talk about investing in The Coffee Spot. He’s got a good vision for what he wants The Coffee Spot to be. I’m excited. It will add value to the community, it will be a great place for expats and local Chinese students, the prices will be reasonable and there’ll be a real coffee house atmosphere. After many, many hours with an abacus I’ve calculated that the numbers look good for the potential investor.

The main thing is though, I’m sick of handing over my money to Starbucks’ shareholders.