March 2015 Savings, Net Worth and other updates

So, I got my bonus this month and I decided to save/invest 82% of it!

Why not save all of it? Because I still intend to enjoy some of the fruits of my labour while I’m saving/investing the rest for the future!

Anyway, this extra bonus money has been used to purchase more funds, some shares and also to invest in a new debenture venture (ooh rhymes!). Some shares won’t be purchased until next month as I missed the regular payment date, so will be in April’s update of my portfolio. However, the money I have put aside for these shares are included in my numbers as they have come out of this month’s salary.

So, what are the numbers?

I achieved a savings rate of 70.4%, my highest so far – woohoo! 🙂 This brings my average savings rate this year to 54.6% which I am very pleased with. I know that I will struggle to save 50% every month but I’m hoping I will be able to save enough to keep up the average.
This month’s savings was topped up with £10 football predictions winnings and £20.16 from Inboxpounds*.

Future Fund 

My Future Fund is now at £38,869.55, and I should still be on track to get to my £50k goal for 2015.
Net Worth

Here’s the first detailed update of my Net Worth this year:


Note:

(a) Figure based on August 2014 statement

(b) Monthly payment of £147.95, final payment of £3,166.25 in Aug 2015

(c) Estimated value of property based on similar property sold in area

(d) Statement as at May 14, plus contributions




My Net Worth has now increased by 7% since the start of the year. This is despite the fact that  my overspending while I went to Hong Kong for Christmas meant that I had to unfortunately leave a balance on my credit card. Not a huge amount but this debt is on a 0% interest card and there is a payment plan in place to pay it off so I’m not concerned. 


Dividends

I received £10.08 from BHP Billiton plc and £4.60 from BP, so a total of £14.68, my biggest monthly payout so far in the short time I’ve been buying individual shares. No year on year comparisons yet as I only received my first dividend in October 2014.

Dividends received in 2015 now total £28.97 so I’m at 20% of my goal of £145 and theoretical payment of my TV licence!

Shares and Investment Trusts

I bought some shares in Amlin plc and the funds from the sale of my Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust have been split across the other three investment trusts I currently hold. I think I’ll invest in one more IT to balance things out, still looking into which one to go for.

Updated portfolio here.

Ethically investing in Debentures

In my pursuit to increase the value of my portfolio, I admit that I may not be considered entirely “ethical” with my investing, in that I invest in ‘sin stocks’ ie oil, mining, gambling and at some point soon, I’ll have shares in tobacco and alcohol, although my trackers will already be invested in these, I guess. Outside of investing, I do my best to do my bit to be kind to the environment, eg recycle, not waste energy, water etc.

However, Cerridwen pointed me towards Abundance, a crowd-funding platform that enables you to invest long term in renewable energy projects. Investment is in the form of income growth debentures, and capital (plus interest) is paid back on an annual basis over the life of the debenture (20 years).

So, I’ve chucked £500 at this – my bit of investing while helping the planet – and also chucked in the £50 I got from joining via Cerridwen’s ‘Refer a Friend’ link.  Repayments and interest will be reinvested, most likely in funds or shares.

Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £89.94 this month, averaging £22.48 per week, so still well within my budget. However, I’m finding that I’m buying the same stuff every week, so as with my portfolio, I need to diversify a bit more, which brings me to….

Cooking Recipes – I learned 1 new recipe this month – Fisherman’s Pie with Leeky Mash. I don’t tend to have a lot of fish in my usual diet so this is a good one to up that quota.  
Yoga/Pilates classes – a big fat zero. I have failed miserably on this goal, so I’m going to abandon it. I thought it would be a good supplement to the exercise I already do but timing for the classes haven’t been convenient for me.  Over Christmas and New Year, after too much drinking and eating (and no exercising), I put on 2lbs (maybe not a lot for some people but it’s a lot for me!). I’ve been working out pretty hard since then – I weighed myself the other day and I appear to have lost 3lbs, which is a little disconcerting as I wasn’t aiming to lose more than I put on plus I haven’t been dieting! So perhaps I don’t need more exercise but I do need to do add some conditioning/stretching to my routine to keep injury at bay.

Learning to play Poker – Well, I think I now know the very basics of the game (Texas Hold Em). Still need to get a hang on all the different terms and learn about winning hands and such like. No need to rush on this one, I’ll take things slowly as there’s quite a lot more to take in and learn.

Library books – I borrowed two books this month, one which I’ve read, the other, I’ve yet to start. I’m a little behind on my book reading – been reading too many blogs!

Here’s how I’m doing against my goals in brief:

So apart from having to abandon one non-financial goal, it was a very good month for me in particular my savings rate. That this month also included the meeting of like-minded people in Stratford-upon-Avon made it even better!

Anyway, hope it was a good month for you all too!

Am out on the razz with friends this weekend – wishing you all a Happy Easter!

[*referral link]

36 thoughts on “March 2015 Savings, Net Worth and other updates

  1. Hi Weenie,

    Thanks for the update. Great news too!

    First of all saving 82% of a bonus is excellent. It's still an income and you didn't have to do that. You decided on an 80% saving rate there, and that is outstanding. Enjoy the rest too!

    Congratulations on your huge saving rate this month! You saved more money than I earned this month, and I had a bonus! Now that you're above the 50% line, you'll hopefully be able to stay above it for the rest of the year.

    Your Net Worth is coming on a treat, especially as you mention spending a lot in recent months. The £40k mark is in sight now, and then onto the big 50.

    I've been watching Amlin fro almost a year now, and they're a company I'm considering moving on due to their income potential. Their current special dividend is huge! Great news on your dividends too. They start to mount up over time don't they!

    With your grocery shopping average down it looks like you're cooking on gas this year Weenie. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

    All the best
    Huw

  2. I think you're doing pretty damn well overall, especially with that stonking savings rate!

    Also, it is good to see that you're diversifying your investments really well, p2p lending, cash isa, shares, renewable energy debentures – pretty amazing diversification I'd say!

    Here's to a wonderful April!

    Cheers

    P.S. am drinking the homebrew you made this weekend!

  3. Great progress, Weenie! You're about the same percentage towards your dividend income goal for this year as I am. The quicker months will help no doubt!

    Well done on the bonus saving. As you say though, you don't have to save 100%! You should enjoy life too especially with all the non-financial goals you have set!

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Well done Weenie. Those are very impressive figures. As 'Theres Value' has said you have spread your investments wisely.

    I am with you on Amlin. I have held them since the end of 2014 and have steadily been increasing my stake. We are due a nice 33.9p dividend payment in May which at the current price is just over 6.6%.

    Hope you have a nice long weekend.

    Richard

  5. Awwwwwwww yeah! Awesome work there Weenie. Interested to see how Abundance works out!

    Like Huw said, with the average above 50% now, there's no holding back 🙂

    Have a good (& frugal) night out on the lash!

    Mr Z

  6. Well done Weenie! A great month for you. There is no point saving all your bonus when you are doing so well. A few little treats here and there will not break the bank as long as you keep control of it. There is no point scrimping and saving at the complete detriment of some fun otherwise the path to FI is a lonely and joyless one.

    Your net worth is growing well, my net worth has increased by 6% since the start of the year so very similar. 70% SR is brilliant!! Congratulations, keep that up and you will be reaching your targets in rapid time.

    Your comment on weight loss – maybe you have actually been eating less, especially if you have been cutting down on your food bills – you just dont realise it?

    One of my spending pleasures is going to the gym – I have to go with my friend, if I dont then I just don't go. We both push each other to attend and its exercise with some social chat and catch up too. Is there a potential Yoga buddy out there who could help to get that attendance to happen?

    My 'free' exercise is a mix of: cycling, walking & home exercise (kettlebell!) great to do in front of the TV or with the radio on – all this works a treat for me.

  7. Hi M
    Thanks for the best wishes. Yes, done really well this month, just need to try to maintain it although April expenses could be higher than this month.

    Yeah, not bad with the diversification, eggs are in many baskets!

    Hope you enjoy the brew and have a great Easter!

  8. Hi Huw
    Really chuffed with savings rate, never thought I would ever be able to get it that high but then, I never thought I would save most of my bonus, instead of spend it!
    All in all good progress which I'm really happy with. Funnily enough, I was talking to a friend about my grocery shopping budget and she asked "But what do you eat?". When I told her that I did actually cook proper meals on my budget, I think it got her thinking about her own budget!
    Thanks for the words of support!

  9. Hi DD
    Thanks and yes, I can't wait to see the dividend income increasing as time goes – good luck with yours too. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words.

  10. Hi Richard
    Thanks – I'll continue to spread my investments as none of us know what the markets will be doing in the future.

    Amlin look very good and yes, we are due a bumper dividend. I hope to increase my stake too at some point.

    Wishing you and Alison a great Easter weekend.

  11. Thanks Tawcan – I hope I've created a big enough cushion to maintain a 50% average by the end of the year and yes, it's a great feeling to see my net worth increasing positively.

  12. Hi sparklebee
    I did at one point contemplate saving 100% of the bonus, but like you say, I don't want my path to FI to be a lonely and joyless one, especially as none of my friends are on the same path.

    Yes, it's possible that I have been eating less, certainly have less snacks in the house and been making sure my own lunches that I take to work are filling so I easily say no to the chocolates my colleagues always seem to bring in!

    I do attend the gym because it's social – meet a couple of friends there to do my aerobics classes (although I will attend even if they don't go – I'm a bit like clockwork with those classes). My goal was to attend a yoga/pilates class as well as my usual classes but there's only one on a Tuesday night but which means I don't get home til after 9.30pm and one on Sunday morning but I've really struggled with that one.

    I've invested in some 'free exercising' kit too – have a kettlebell and a hulahoop – so I'll try to use those more.

    Thanks for stopping by for for the words of support.

  13. Hey Mr Z
    Thanks and yes, the Abundance thing looks really interesting. Not sure yet, if I'll invest more but I'm not ruling it out.
    I will be trying to be frugal when I'm out – sadly, none of my friends are in the same 'zone'!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  14. Hi weenie
    "So, I got my bonus this month and I decided to save/invest 82% of it!" I've been a little more extreme than yourself and gone for 100%. Makes the office conversation a little dull when every one around me is talking about holidays, gadgets or fashion and I have nothing to say. I am however smiling on the inside with net worth up 11.2% in Q1 '15 alone.
    Cheers
    RIT

  15. Hi RIT
    Haha, congrats on saving 100% of your bonus – you're in the home straight though and see the winning post so every little bit takes you steps closer!
    Funny you should mention office conversation – we've been told not to talk about our bonuses because not everyone was given one and those who got them got varying amounts. However, you can sort of guess who has got them, ie ones who are booking holidays or planning work done on their houses etc! Great work on the net worth already!
    Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend!

  16. Thanks for the kind words. It's quite liberating (and also accountable) detailing it all and above all, it gives me focus!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Weenie,

    Good job on such a great month, well done! Many people can only dream of breaking the 70% barrier and you did it without too much effort this month. Too bad we don't receive a bonus every month, right? 😉

    Your dividends are also coming along nicely. As you move into more and more stocks you'll see them climb even faster. I hope you make the TV license threshold for this year!

    Keep it up, you're doing fantastic!
    NMW

  18. Hey NMW
    Thanks and even I didn't ever dream that I would be able to save this much in one month! Yes, too bad bonuses are only once a year! I am however likely to be unable to keep up this savings rate (the 50% average is going to be a struggle), got some expensive months coming up and I haven't planned properly how I should pay for my holiday in the summer…

    Yes, the dividends are coming along nicely and I have a feeling there that I will make the TV licence for this year and perhaps some other bills!

    Thanks for the kind words of support!

  19. Wow, you're really killing it with that savings rate! Awesome work! I think I should be due for a bonus soon since it's been a while, I love getting that extra income that I don't really plan for.

  20. Thanks Zee. The bonus was unexpected and the savings rate a definite one off this year, but it was so good to achieve it!
    Great to hear that you will be getting your bonus soon!

  21. Great work Weenie, bonus month is always a good boost, same with me getting it paid in March. Can I ask if your DB pension is included in your savings rate/net worth? I couldn't see it, but that could be me missing something. If it isn't then that's a massive boost to your savings rate/net worth?

    Exercise: Really important for mind, body and soul, and I used to pay £85 a month for a gym (London plus I'm a gym snob) but ditched it 2 years ago, and go down the Sparklebee route of kettle ball, weights etc at home. I bought a bike to cycle to work (6 miles each way) so that's a massive saving on petrol and time and gym fees. Not for everyone, but worth a thought if your commute is viable/not terrifying?

  22. Hi Starla, thanks!

    No, I don't include my DB pension in either savings rate or net worth. I opted to calculate my savings rate based on what I get in my bank account each month just for simplicity.

    Also, I don't know the actual value of my DB pension, since all I see from the statement is what annual pension I will get at 65, based on my term of service.

    So yes, I guess it is a boost to my savings rate/net worth if you put it that way. The savings/investments I track on this blog were always going to be on top of my DB pension and a means to provide income until I can get my hands on the DB pension.

    Haha, I'm still a gym snob and it's one of the things I'm not looking to ditch just yet as it's part of my social life, ie my friends are members too.

    That's an impressive cycle ride to and from work – well done! Unfortunately cycling to work isn't possible for me – office is 14 miles away and all but one mile of the journey is on the M60!

    Good to see you about again Starla and looking forward to your blog when you get it going! 🙂

  23. Thanks for clearing up the DB pension. I include mine in my savings rate (62% currently on a normal month), as I'm chucking about £450 net of my own money at it monthly. It seems harsh not to include that, so I do think you're doing yourself out of your true savings % rate here and being too modest. The Firestarter did an excellent piece last year on how to calculate Savings Rate from gross/net with pensions. I need to investigate exactly how the worth is calculated, so I make a guestimate on how much equivalent cash I'd need for that eternal annual income particularly as I'll take it at 55. Like you I don't include in my net worth as it's separate, but still a huge amount of "future self" net worth.

    Point taken about 14 miles and the M60!

    Blog… hmmm… well.. busy… excuses. I did start, likely over complicated things for myself, so should focus on keeping it simple and re-visit it. It's "Coming Soon" as they say in the movies. Release date TBC.

  24. Wow, great savings rate at 62%! Hmm..maybe I am being too modest. I had toyed with the idea of working out my savings rate from my gross pay but opted with the current calculation instead. I'm paying in around £300 towards the work pension – I guess that would add quite a bit to my savings rate if I worked it out that way.

    As to the actual worth of my pension pot, the statement I had back in 2011 showed a 'value' of around £100k. This value is no longer updated in current statements. I'm not planning on taking mine until 60 at the earliest, may even wait til I'm 65.

    Hehe, good luck getting the blog up and running – starting simple is good, then just build up as you go along 🙂

  25. Thanks TFS. Congrats on the bonus – spending money to do up the bathroom and kitchen is adding value to the house, in turn, increasing the net worth ultimately! Hopefully, you can get a good deal on the price so you can save more of your bonus!

  26. I loved reading your March savings report. You are definately not putting all your eggs in one basket by spreading your investments. I notice you hold premium bonds too and have a buy to let mortgage so we are similar on that front. Our net worths are not too far apart either. I have missed the option for early retirement too so am having to save and invest hard so that I do not rely on my work pension too much. Good luck on getting to 50k, I reckon you can do it no problem this year as you have such a high percent savings rate.

  27. Hi Laura

    Yes, I'm trying very hard on the diversification front so spreading my risk around. Your premium bonds pot is rather bigger than mine so I'm still adding each month, although I did get a £50 win (first in years!) earlier this year!.

    Yes, I see that we have some similarities, ie BTL and also similar net worth. However, as I have no children and with you expecting your first, my journey to FI will surely be somewhat easier than yours (sorry!).

    Thanks for the kind wishes and for stopping by – I already know that April's savings rate will be down, too many birthdays!

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