February 2015 Savings + other updates

After marginally missing my savings rate last month, despite imposing a ‘no social life’ rule, I had a feeling that February was going to be a struggle to achieve my 50% goal as I had two outings planned.


I was right…


So, since I was half expecting it, I wasn’t too disappointed with a 44.8% savings rate, especially as I know that next month, I should be able to easily save >50% when my bonus hits my pay.

This month’s savings was topped up with £6.31 reviewing music on SliceThePie*, £22.90 recycling my old Blackberry handset, £50 premium bond winnings and £100 rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth

My Future Fund and Net Worth will be detailed a little more next month as I update them here on a quarterly basis but here are the basic numbers.

Future Fund is now at £36,401.64, another decent jump due to favourable markets. Making some decent steps towards my goal of £50,000 by the end of the year.

Net Worth is £92,757.21, a 4% increase so far from the start of the year.

Dividends

I received £5.18 from Vodafone. Dividends received in 2015 now total £14.29, so I’ve already beaten my 2014 total, which wasn’t difficult. Small steps in the right direction as I am now at nearly 10% of my share dividend goal.


Cash Savings

Like Huw of FFB40, I had a Regular Saver account with First Direct which paid out this month.  I saved £200 a month for 12 months, during which no withdrawals were allowed. Interest was 6% (before tax). My payout from this account was £2,452.66, which I’ve split across funds, shares and my cash ISA. As this account is still available and a way to get some non-risky fixed guaranteed return, I hope to start this again, again saving £200 per month.

Shares and Investment Trusts

Busy on the share-buying front this month – I bought shares in Standard Chartered plc, (some finance exposure in my portfolio), Centrica plc (some utilities exposure but I had my eye off the ball and my buy instruction for a regular investment was put in weeks ago, before they announced that they were cutting their dividend…), Amec Foster Wheeler plc (more energy but in FTSE 250) and finally Ladbrokes plc (some consumer cyclical exposure).  I also started investing in British Land plc IT.  

I’ve decided to sell my entire holding of Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust plc – thought I would make use of the £604 profit I’ve made (>200% return) and spread the funds across the remaining investment trusts that I now hold, which appear to have better dividend potential. This change should happen next month.
My updated investment Portfolio can be found here.
Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £90.04 this month, averaging £22.51 per week, so still comfortably under my budget.

Cooking Recipes – I learned 1 new recipe this month, making my own ‘healthy’ turkey burgers. Yes, I know, I know, I haven’t gotten round to doing any ‘proper’ recipes yet but I will do at some point!  This is just another quick recipe that I can add to my easy-to-cook list! 

Yoga/Pilates classes – Failed again, as only managed to attend one class! Really struggling with this one – injury stopped me last month; bad timing stopped me this month and I’m not sure it’s going to improve much. Not sure if I should abandon this goal but I’ll give it another month.

Rubik’s Cube – COMPLETED! Yes really, I can solve it without the use of instructions! Granted that I’m still a little slow (so no record times being set here) and that occasionally, I still mess up and have to start all over again but yes, I can now say that I can solve the Rubik’s Cube!  Woohoo! 🙂

Ta-Daaaaaa!

I thought it would take me a lot longer to learn this but I felt compelled to work on it every day, hence the fast results.  I may need to give myself another challenge to keep on working my memory and brainpower! 


Library Books – one library book borrowed, for a little easy reading.

Anyway, here’s how I’m doing against my goals in brief:


So, some hits (including actually achieving one of my goals already) but also some misses but I’m not disheartened.

In March, I have a couple of social events planned again, including the PF bloggers meet in Stratford-upon-Avon but it should be a good month for me savings/investing-wise and I hope it’s a good one for everyone else too!


[* Referral link]

22 thoughts on “February 2015 Savings + other updates

  1. "I spent £90.04 this month, averaging £22.51 per week, so still comfortably under my budget." – that's incredibly low! Good work. All hole cooking and made lunches? 🙂

    I was mucking about with a rubix cube the other day. Dam they are hard. I need to learn some algorithms I think. It's cool to watch someone solve one, looks like magic.

    Mr Z

  2. Wow I haven't even completed the Rubik's Cube so I'm very impressive by your accomplishment. Despite not achieving the 50% savings rate you still have some impressive numbers. Good job.

  3. Hi weenie

    You're hard on yourself with a 44.8% savings rate while it's still better than probably 99% of the UK population. We are a strange bunch us PF bloggers 🙂 I had one of my better savings months for a long time, with a savings rate of 60% of gross earnings. I continue to track gross vs many PF bloggers tracking against net to continually remind myself how important it is to avoid/minimise tax wherever possible.

    Interesting that you bought AMFW. It's currently at the top of my HYP watchlist and I'll be pulling the trigger next month if the stars keep their current alignment.

    Cheers
    RIT

  4. Hi Mr Z
    Yes, cooking at home and packed lunches for work. The lunches can get a little boring (mostly salad) but it gets me through the day and is filling enough so I don't snack!

    Me solving the cube isn't quite like magic just yet…still a bit of cursing going on haha!

  5. Hi RIT
    Yeah, I know what you mean – compared to so many, that savings rate is excellent but I've obviously set the bar quite high! Well done on your 60% savings rate and gross earnings too – very impressive!

    Yes, AMFW caught my eye when I saw them on the UK Dividends Champions spreadsheet so I just put them on my buy list. Perhaps your stars will tell you to buy too!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi Tawcan

    Thanks. Yes, the numbers aren't too bad, just feels like I've not really gotten going properly yet this year.

    I'm impressed with my Cube accomplishment too! When I first decided I was going to do it, I really thought it was going to take me a lot longer but I think after a while, my mind/brain got used to the daily work out and it became easier to learn the algorithms/sequences.

  7. Thanks Laura. I haven't really had to buy too many household goods though recently which I know can bump up the cost, especially as I try to buy in bulk. Perhaps I need to try to start picking a few things up now so I don't end up running out of everything at the same time and blowing my budget!

  8. Wow, I'm really impressed by your determination. After reading a bit of your blog I'm inspired to take my finances more seriously. I'll start by figuring out how much I spend every month (and where the money goes). I used to track everything many many years ago but got lazy, I was using Microsoft Money back them. Do you use some software or spreadsheet to keep track of your finances?

  9. Hi D, thanks and thanks for stopping by. I use a combination of Excel and Google Docs to keep track of my finances. Good luck with tracking yours!

  10. Good profit on your Japan IT. I find it tricky to know when to sell up and take profits is something I find tricky but I've decided to follow the "rules" and do it as part of rebalancing.

    I'm afraid I'm with you on the yoga – I did try it once but it played havoc with my knees. I should give it another try though as I'd like to keep as flexible as possible as I get older. I tried belly-dancing last year but I'm a rotten dancer. Maybe I should just stick to swimming and walking 🙂

  11. Hi Cerridwen

    The latest statement I got for my Japan IT didn't look promising, so that made it easier for me to sell. I think I'll find it harder to know when to sell my individual shares when the time comes.

    I prefer pilates to yoga but the class that I try to attend is a combo of the two (Body Balance). I may try to see if I can just buy the DVD so I can do it at home. But yes, flexibility as we get older is important and I find that the stretching is good as my other workouts are high impact and jarring on the joints and muscles.

    Haha, never tried belly dancing before, not sure I have the hips for it! I tried to sign up for a pole dancing session a couple of years back – for fitness only of course, you need to have really good upper body strength – but the class was so popular, I didn't get in.

  12. Hi Weenie,

    Wow, what a month. To start with 45% saving rate is still solid considering you had a couple of outings. Don't they round '5's up to whole numbers anyway? (eg. 50%) 🙂

    Congrat's on the future fund and net worth growth. I'd take a 4% monthly growth any day. The stock prices were kind to us in Feb, and it's encouraging to see your income go up too – whether that's your new Salary or Dividends. It all helps to have more disposable money to invest with each month. I'm so excited for you about your Saving Rate this month. It looks like it's going to be an all time Personal Best. Do you have any early predictions, or do we have to read next month to find out…..

    Thank you for the mention too. I'm glad you also benefited from the cash return from First Direct.

    The highlight of your post has to be the Rubiks cube though. A bucket list Goal completed. well done Weenie! Like I said on a previous post. I'm going to challenge myself to that same goal in 2016.

    It's very motivating to see the progress, you and others are making. It makes me want to continue driving forward myself. Keep up the good work! I can't believe I'm saying this now, but see you in 2 weeks!

    Cheers
    Huw

  13. Hi Huw

    Thanks and thanks for the encouraging words. It was a good month for savings but I guess I've set my goal quite high so it's a challenge!

    I get paid at the end of the week, so I should be able to give some sort of estimation of my savings rate before my full round-up of the month, so watch this space!

    Yes – the Rubik's Cube was a great personal achievement for me and I hope you have fun (as I did) in achieving that goal next year!

    See you soon!

  14. Weenie,

    You did it! You solved the Rubik's cube! 🙂

    Even though you didn't make your 50% goal, I think you still did a bang-up job this month. 45% is mighty impressive and your Future fund continues to grow at a nice pace. Falling short 5% will hardly put off your financial independence date.

    Keep it up,
    NMW

  15. Hi NMW – yes, I did it! 🙂
    I always knew that trying for 50% every month was going to be a tough one but the challenge is there for me to go for and if I'm close, then yes, my Future Fund does keep on growing! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Well impressed with the Rubik's cube. You knocked that goal out very quickly. Have you seen Derren Browns last show where he did one behind his back… Maybe that would be your next challenge 😉

    Well done on the SR, 44% certainly not to be sniffed at.

    Cheers!

  17. Hi TFS, thanks and yes, I surprised myself with how quickly that goal was sorted. Yes, I've seen the Derren Brown cube trick. Still have to really concentrate to complete it so can't even contemplate completing it without looking at it haha!

    Thanks, it is a good SR, it just could have been better!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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