May 2015 Savings, plus other updates

The month started off with me going halves with the neighbours on a new garden fence and I also had to get a tree chopped down so that made a bit of a hole in my bank account. A night out with friends turned out more expensive than anticipated (too many cocktails), but a couple of weekends of staying in and not spending helped keep other expenses down. 
So how did I do?

Not a bad savings rate of 46.7%, an improvement on last month’s anyway and also an improvement on the 43.4% that I saved in May 2014. 

My average so far is now 50.7% , slowly getting dragged down bit by bit and likely to be below the 50% mark after June but hopefully, I’ll be able to turn it around after the summer.

This month’s savings was topped up with £11 gambling winnings (I backed the Tories to win!) and £50 from rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth

My Future Fund is now at £41,867.92, so still on track for my goal of £50,000 by the end of the year.

Net Worth is now £99,038.93, an 11% increase so far from the start of the year and so close to that £100k milestone! I should see a good increase after August, which is when I pay off my car loan. I guess I forgot about that when I set the goal of increasing my net worth by 20% this year as I’m already over halfway there.


Lots of payouts this month: I received £3.18 from British Land Co Plc IT, £1.76 from Bankers IT plc, £11.89 from Standard Chartered Plc, £14.03 from Ladbrokes plc and £22.37 from Amlin plc. 

So a new record total of £53.23, my biggest monthly payout so far!

Dividends received in 2015 now total £100.80, only £44.20 short of my total dividends goal with 7 months still to go! 

Whilst it’s a lot of fun receiving and tracking my dividends like this, I do need to ensure that I don’t deviate too much from my current investment strategy, which is in the main, to invest in tracker funds. Hence, no new funds used to buy shares or investment trusts this month. 

However, as a result of a de-merger, I did receive one free share in mining company South32 for every BHP Billiton share I hold, so I now have 24 shares that trade on the Australian stock exchange.

Current portfolio here.

Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £122.86 this month, averaging £24.57 per week, so just about squeezed under my weekly budget.  My average weekly spend so far is now £24.43 so still on target. If I didn’t take a shopping list with me every time I went to the supermarket, blowing this budget would be really easy!
Cooking Recipes – I learned 1 new recipe this month – Sweet and Spicy Sticky Ribs – great for satisfying a big meat craving!
Online Earnings – Struggling on this one – I obviously overestimated my appetite to earn extra income this way and have found that I don’t feel inclined to make the time to do this. Still, with over half the year to go to achieve this, let’s see how I get on.
Learning to play Poker – The only progress on this is that I’ve downloaded a couple of poker apps. There is absolutely no chance of me playing for real money via these apps, I’m just learning to play, getting used to the speed at which I need to work out what is a good hand or not. As I said before, I’ll continue to take things slowly as there’s quite a lot more to take in and learn.

Library books – Two books borrowed and read this month. At 7 books borrowed so far, I’m still a little behind on my goal of 20 library books for the year. I need to be averaging 2 library books a month now to reach my goal. Still doable though I think.

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

On track for most of them, so not bad progress. Funnily enough, having abandoned the goal to attend two yoga/pilates classes a month, I did actually attend two such classes but this was as a result of leaving work early to make the classes so not something I can do consistently.

And finally:

This month I was able to see one of my favourite bands live again – long-haired bearded men don’t normally do it for me but I’d make an exception for Dave Grohl! Oh and maybe him from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies. No, he’s not one of the hobbits, haha!
And on that note, hope you all had a great May – looking forward to reading what you got up to and how you all did!

17 thoughts on “May 2015 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Hi weenie

    Just a thought regarding your contributions to both SIPP's and a Stakeholder Pension. Thought is based on the assumption that the Stakeholder is a company pension scheme otherwise please disregard.

    Have you explored whether there are any benefits/possible to salary sacrifice more into the Stakeholder first and then transfer to the SIPP when a chunk is built up in the Stakeholder? Thinking it might give you more free cash to invest. As an example I take advantage of this which results in my employer giving me (added to pension contribution) 10% of the 13.8% employers NI that they save. Additionally I get the 2% employees NI that would otherwise be paid.


  2. Hi RIT
    The Stakeholder is actually not my company pension scheme. It's a separate little pension that I started paying into when I stopped paying for AVCs at work. Why did I stop the AVCs? Mine had been invested with Equitable Life when it all went belly up and although I eventually got my funds back, it scared me into putting my money elsewhere and I started up this pension, many years before my SIPP. It's only a very small pot and by the time I'm 56, it's predicted to provide me with an annuity of around £500 – probably just enough to pay one of my utility bills!

    Perhaps I should have considered AVCs again to take advantage of salary sacrifice but with changes happening at work, it's probably too late now, although I'll have to see what's on offer in the future.

    Thanks for stopping by and posting.

  3. Well done on your biggest dividend income yet! Making excellent progress!

    Considering it was quite an expensive month a near 50% savings rate is pretty good indeed! Shows how easy a rate like that can be achieved when you get into the rhythm. It is actually harder to spend more!

    You're slightly ahead of me target wise (more on this on my fuller post early next week). I am just a little over 60% towards my target for the year. Pretty chuffed with that progress.

    We have been reducing our grocery costs recently as Miss DD is now no longer working. We have managed to get it down to about £35 per week for both of us. As you note, without a shopping list/cooking plan that would sky rocket. We have noticed that we waste food extremely rarely now as well which is excellent.

    PS: Why did you end up with ASX listed South32 shares? Did you not receive the London-listed ones?

  4. Library Books! My local library (North Yorkshire) has an excellent online account system where you can see what you have borrowed, search the catalogue, reserve book and maintain a wish list of books to read. I just reviewed my Amazon wish list and removed 18 items and added them to my library list. Even if I have to reserve them or get them all from a different North Yorkshire library(for which North Yorkshire charge £1) it still saves me £105 compared with buying them on Amazon.

  5. While lower savings rate than your target, I think it's still very good at +45%. Looks like you're making great progress all around. I've only seen the Foo Fighters live once, they were opening for Nine Inch Nails and it was a fabulous concert. Foo Fighters were very energetic and definitely pumped up everyone.

  6. That all looks to be going along swimmingly weenie. Congratulations 🙂

    The dividend income must be particularly satisfying as it is such a concrete example of true passive income. I really should start tracking mine – it's all ploughed back in automatically at the moment but I can see it come in (and then go back out again) as lines on my ISA statement so it would be interesting to know exactly how much is involved. You should hit your target with a fair bit of room to spare.

  7. Hi DD, thanks.
    Great job on you and Miss DD with a grocery cost of just £35 per week – before I started my food budget, I was spending more than that each week on my own!

    Aha, at the time of drafting my update, I could only see South32 listed on the ASX, there was nothing listed in the UK and most websites just pointed me to the ASX. I have amended this now so I don't need to convert from Aussie dollars – thanks!

  8. Hi Mike
    My local library has similar facilities and like you, I've pretty much stopped buying new books and read them all as library books these days. For my Kindle, I just download free or cheap/discounted books since it's not convenient to take library books on holiday! My library also emails me a few days before my books are due to be returned so I can avoid paying fines!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Hi Tawcan
    I think around 45% is probably a savings rate I can maintain quite easily – 50% is the stretch and although it annoys me that I'm not hitting it every month, it's a big challenge for me and makes me try harder!

    The Foo Fighters were excellent, they're one band I will watch live time and time again. I've seen Nine Inch Nails once at a festival some time ago – sadly, much alcohol had been consumed so it was all a bit of a blur but I do recall they were pretty good! 🙂

  10. Hi Cerridwen
    Thanks and yes, it's ticking along nicely and slowly!

    I must say that I'm really enjoying logging the dividend income, especially as all my funds are Accumulation so I don't really see any income there. Tracking your own dividends might give you an idea of the sort of income/increase to expect when you retire, and perhaps help you see how much you will end up receiving as you act on your plan to sell some of your funds to gift the cash to your sons?
    Yes, my target should be reached in a couple of months and that will be my TV licence covered! 🙂

  11. A really solid savings rate and sooooo close to that £100k! It's weird how milestones which are basically just numbers in certain orders can seem so important.. but £100,000 does look pretty awesome.

    Im with you on the Foos too! Seen them a couple of times at music festivals in the past and they've been amazing. I dread to think how much tickets for one of their gigs must be nowadays though!

  12. Thanks Guy and yes, almost there at £100k! It is just a number but a number which I will be proud of to achieve!

    The Foos cost £55 for the outdoor gig (Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester), or rather £60 if you include the rip-off booking fee. Not the cheapest but they have a huge catalogue of songs and at one point, they just sounded as if I had my ipod on shuffle on their greatest hits – tune after tune, it was awesome!

  13. I'd quite like to see the Foos. Especially their older stuff. Bet they were good.

    Weird how these milestones seem very real, but in reality £100k is not really different to £99.9k. Still it will be awesome to breach it 🙂

    On target for most goals for 2015 🙂

  14. Great that you are almost at a net worth of 100k!! I reached it recently and it feels so good! Good dividend payments this month too at over £50! Wouldn't it be great if you could multiply this by 10 and get over £500 a month!!

    By the way I would love to learn to play poker too. I think my husband is quite good at it so hoping he might teach me and then I can try and win some money.

  15. Hi Mr Z
    Yep, they were very good and I love their older stuff, which was pretty much what they played as they have a big old catalogue over the years!
    Yes, like you say the £100k isn't very different but just has more 'meaning' for some reason!

  16. Thanks Laura. I'm unlikely to ever get dividends over £500 a month, as I would need a share portfolio of around £150k for that. I'm not really aiming to have much more than £60k of individual shares/investment trusts in my future fund, so aiming for something like £200 a month, still a decent number which could cover my utility bills.

    It would be awesome to learn to play poker and be able to win money but for now, I just want to learn to play the game. I've cut down on my gambling so need to be careful not to get back onto the slippery slope!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Thanks TFS (*I think I inadvertently deleted your comment but have copied it below)

    Great going on the 42%, look forward to reading the update.

    Will be great if you can make it up to York – not sure about chatting about poker, I'm barely past beginner stage! You and Huw are probably like 'sharks' compared to the level I'm at haha!

    ========== wrote: "Great going considering you had a busy social calendar and the fence expense! I think we hit around 42% but need to double check my Net Worth calcs again as something seems up with that. Annoying! When I've sorted it I will post an update.

    If I manage to make it to the FI meet up in York we can chat poker (you will probably be teaching me some stuff by then I reckon though as I haven't played in years 🙂 ) "

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