Dogs of The FTSE – Q1 (2018)

 

Just a quick update as it’s been around 3 months since I set up my second experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Before we look at how the ‘mutts’ have done, note that this is not part of my main investment strategy – it’s just a bit of fun, although I do reinvest all dividends I get from these ‘dogs’, which go towards helping to increase my overall portfolio.

 

As at close of trading on 11th May 2018, the portfolio was showing a 12% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 14.15% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 8.03% so the Dogs have gotten off to a great start on both counts!

All the dogs are showing gains, apart from BT, who recently announced the loss of 13,000 jobs. Some good dividends paid out already, notably from Evraz and Persimmon.

Well, that’s it really, until the next update – riveting stuff 🙂

April 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Ok, so I had some second thoughts after reading some of the comments from last month’s post about pulling out all stops to top up my ISA, so with just a few hours to go before the tax year deadline, I opened a cash ISA account – nowt like living on the edge, haha!

Sadly, I wasn’t able to max my ISA, but I did add another £2.5k to make it over £17.5k (moved some of my emergency cash over and withdrew some matched betting funds) – I’m in a better position than I was before so thanks to all who made me reconsider and not dilly dally! 🙂

I went for Nationwide Building Society as I already bank with them so it was quick and easy to open the account – interest is 1.4% (Nationwide gave me an extra 0.1% loyalty bonus – woo hoo, I guess!) and the account has limited access but I’m ok with that.

Let’s see how I get on with this tax year’s ISA – I’m going to have try to top £17.5k now, aren’t I? Eek!

Anyway, how did that affect my savings this month?

I saved 45.3%! My average savings rate has now gone down to 51.1%.  I have now booked my holiday to HK – have paid for my flight in full (most of it via my ‘holiday fund’) but my sister has paid for my ‘holiday within a holiday’ (a few days in Thailand) so I’ll need to pay her back by next month.

The above savings was topped up with £1020 matched betting funds (I withdrew some cash from my betting and exchange accounts) and £68.54 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets must have recovered a bit – after months of going backwards,  my Future Fund now appears to be heading in the right direction again at £138,939, back on track towards my next milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Home Brew #9

I can’t believe I’ve left it so long to get back to home brewing my own beer – my last batch was over a year ago!

Home brewing was a hobby which I took up back in September 2014 because I wanted to do something different, which would not only give me joy but save me some money  – it’s a fact that when I have home brew in the house, I spend far less or nothing on alcohol for home consumption. It isn’t an easy hobby but I think because of this, it’s a very satisfying one.

I only brew all-in-one premium kits, and the kit I made this time was Festival Razorback IPA.  This was probably the first kit I’ve attempted where I was a little concerned that I’d done something wrong.

After three days, fermentation still hadn’t started and I thought that I’d messed up with the water temperature, ie too hot, destroying the yeast and I dreaded the possibility of having to pour the whole lot down the drain.

Turned out it was the other way round, my kitchen was so cold that the mix had dropped to too low a temperature for the yeast to do its stuff, so as well as using a brew belt to increase the temperature, I wrapped an old winter coat round the tub and piled towels on top and that did the trick!

The kit produced 40 bottles (20 litres/35 pints) and cost £26.50.  So not accounting for the time spent doing the actual brewing, the cost of these beers work out at £0.66 per 500ml bottle or £0.76 a pint! Definitely happy hour! 🙂

Bit darker than the picture on the box!

Alcohol strength at over 5.5% is probably on the high side compared to what I usually drink but it still goes down easily! A good hoppy flavour, and this despite me not following the instructions exactly and leaving the hops in for just 4 days instead of the recommended 10 days, as I didn’t want to overdo the bitterness. From start to finish, this brew took just over 2 months before it was ready to drink and is likely to get better with time (that’s if I don’t drink them all quickly, haha!).

Obviously it’s nowhere near the quality of say BrewDog but it’s a decent beer with the important quality being that it pours with a good frothy head, which doesn’t disappear after a few minutes and which sticks to the side of the glass as you down the drink, just like a real pint you’d get in a pub! 🙂

I’ve now done 8 different beer kits and one cider kit. I had originally been planning to brew (and document) 10 different kits and then just reverting to brewing my favourites.

However, there are so many different kits out there, I may just keep going and trying new ones that catch my eye and picking up old favourites when I see them on offer.

Brewing as a Business

I can see me continuing with my brewing hobby and probably doing more of it when I no longer need to work.

Friends and colleagues have suggested that I should perhaps look into brewing as a proper business in the future (eg a microbrewery), but I’d rather not convert a hobby into a job.

Whilst it would be nice to earn money from a hobby, I just think that having deadlines and customer expectations would suck all the joy out of it. I’m happy just doing it for fun and sharing some of the fruits of my labour. My friends and colleagues are happy with the free beers they get off me but I reckon they might be a tad fussier if they had to pay!

I’ll leave the experts to rake in the profits that way!

I’ve promised a friend that I’ll do a cherry beer next – not something I would normally drink but I’ll give it a go in the next month or so.

Anyway, cheers!

4 Years!

 

This month marks FOUR years since I started blogging about my journey to Financial Independence/Retiring Early!

Happy 4th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

With so many new blogs springing up all the time and other blogs falling by the wayside, no longer being updated, I guess this must rank me amongst the ‘veterans’!?

Back Then

Although my first post on this blog was in April 2014, I had made a note of my finances in March – my starting or pre-FI plan numbers!

Here’s the comparison between my starting numbers and my most recent update:

  • March 2014 – Future Fund: £30,075
    March 2018 – Future Fund: £130,574
  • March 2014 – Net Worth: £74,595
    March 2018 – Net Worth: £219,974

The increases have been largely due to me saving hard so that new capital can be invested every month, although I have also been lucky with investment gains from the (mostly) favourable stock markets these past four years. I also reinvest any dividends and interest I receive.

I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible (averaging around 40-45%), and also put away income generated from cashback, a bit of rental income, the odd bit of gambling, affiliate links and profits from matched betting. Any bonuses I’ve received from work have largely been invested too, plus as I found a job fairly quickly, I was able to save/invest the bulk of the redundancy pay I received in 2016.

I don’t practise extreme frugality – I just don’t spend a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but splash out on things I enjoy and which are important in my life, eg holidays, eating/drinking out with friends, my gym membership.

Blog Stats and Numbers?

This is where I could probably post some numbers to show how many visitors I’ve had over the years, page views, followers, subscribers etc.

Apart from the first few giddy months of me starting this blog, I have to say that I’m not really interested in such stats. Although my blog is monetised, it’s never been my intention to make any real money out of it so I’ve never felt the need to work at driving a load of traffic here. The bit of income that I do get from Google Ads barely covers the upkeep of my site but that’s enough for me. The bit of affiliate income I receive is detailed in my monthly updates and is lumped in with the rest of my investments.

Someone even contacted me recently to buy my blog (why??) but I wasn’t interested, not even to see what they were going to offer.

My only goal blog-wise has been to document my own progress on a semi-regular basis.

Top Finance Blogs

Some of you may have spotted that I re-added the Modest Money ‘Top Finance Blogs’ badge to my blog some months ago, after ‘losing’ it when I transferred from Blogger to WordPress.

When it was originally on my blog back in 2014, I had a rank of around #260 out of around 500 FI/PF blogs. My ranking has plummeted but the number of blogs is now around 1000, so I guess I’m still around the halfway mark.

I can’t say I’m actively trying to improve my rank, as I don’t have the time or inclination to sweat over analytics, SEO scores, Alexa Rankings or massing gazillions of Twitter followers.

But fair play and massive respect to those who do put in the hard effort and reap the rewards of a decent blog income – I personally just can’t be bothered with it.

As I draft this post, my rank is #596 so it’s probably gone down further by the time I publish this! How low can I go, haha?

For comparison, Monevator is the top UK blog, ranked at #40 (at the time of writing).

Thank You

A massive ‘Thank You’ to all fellow and non bloggers who take the time to read this little blog – I really appreciate your comments and emails.

Thank you very much for helping me keep my focus, keeping me motivated, giving me ideas and helping me stick to my plan!

I will also take this opportunity to give a shout out to the two blogs, Retirement Investing Today and diy investor UK, who between them, have provided nearly 12,000 referrals to my blog!  Cheers, chaps! 🙂

Also, thanks to FIREin’ London and theFIREstarter who have posted the most comments over the years – keep ’em coming!

Next Chapter

This time last year, I was unemployed (or practising living the FIRE life!) and I wrote that I would be entering a new chapter of my life.

The new chapter so far has turned out to be not too different from the old – I’ve settled into my job and am just getting my head down, getting on with my work. Next month, I will have been at my ‘new job’ for a year – I know! That’s bloody gone quick, hasn’t it?

Being settled means I can pretty much set things to ‘automatic pilot’ and continue with my plan for FIRE, barring any unforeseeable obstacles which life may throw at me in the meantime!

Onwards and upwards!

Hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine in the UK, while it lasts!

Spring is finally here, so no more scenes like this on the way to work!