April 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed my amended logo to show the new £1 coin – thanks to The Investor from Monevator for reminding me to change it!

Anyway, I have to confess that I have really felt like not publishing this update.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been saving a large part of my salary towards my goal for FI/retiring early and happily documenting my progress on this blog.

This is the first month I have had no salary in over 20 years and I wasn’t sure what I could say, without coming over all miserable with doom and gloom – there’s still nothing on the work front yet although I continue to actively job-seek.

But hey ho, spare me the pity, I’m a mostly glass half-full kind of person and as I said in my last update, my goal to FIRE is still on, just suffering a bit of a ‘blip’, so without further ado…

Bad News Alert!

My savings rate this month is ZERO! 

This is because I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage. I know others work out their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.   I’m now living off my severance pay – ouch!

All Is Not Lost

That’s not to say I haven’t added to my Future Fund at all this month – I made investments using the following income: £400 from matched betting profits, £92.49 from TopCashback*, £138.47 affiliate income from Odds Monkey, £50 rent received and £40 from a lottery win!

This income is by no means guaranteed on a monthly basis so in the short-term, I’m going to try to continue to invest as much as I can for as long as I can, to keep the investing momentum going. I did toy with the idea of investing nothing while I wasn’t working but that didn’t seem to make sense to me, not when I had the means to make some cash which I did not require to live on.

Future Fund 

After hitting my big milestone of reaching £100k in savings/investments last month, my Future Fund continues to grow, buoyed by the announcement of our own snap election and the elections in France. At the end of April, my Future Fund ended up at £102,023.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested):

Total income received was £222.66, the most I’ve ever received in a month, smashing the previous record of £207.12 which I achieved last June!  In April 2016, I received £94.90.

I’m well chuffed with this income as it’s truly passive (and tax free as all are held within SIPPs/ISAs) and had I not added anything to my portfolio this month from my side hustles, the portfolio would have still grown as a result of these dividends being churned out regardless.

So I’m continuing to make steady steps towards my goal of £1,500. Total dividend income now stands at £454.56.

Here’s how things look in the graph:

Shares and Investment Trusts

I added to my holding of Edinburgh Investment Trust.

Current share and IT portfolio can be found here.

Matched Betting (MB)

As I am free during the day, I’ve continued to do some of the horse racing offers, though with mixed results – some days, I make a small profit, other days an overall loss due to qualifying losses and not getting the free bets. I’ve found that the more offers I attempt, the more chance I have of hitting the free bets so overall, I’ve been making profits but it can be a bit of a grind placing 20-30 bets a day and I’m only attempting a handful of the offers available.

I’ve also continued with the football accumulators (accas). I’ve been doing these a while now but I guess I got a bit complacent the other week and lost over £70 because I ended up backing and laying the wrong ‘Milan’ in three accas – both AC Milan and Inter Milan were playing on the same day and I messed up – oops! Despite what is said about MB, it’s not risk-free, as human error is probably the biggest risk, as I’ve experienced on numerous occasions.

Anyway, MB profits totalled a respectable £682 this month. This was all from football and horse racing offers only.

Total profits so far is £2,361, so already half-way to my MB goal of £4000 profit. It looks like I’m on course to smash it but bear in mind that I get most of my profits from football and the season ends in May. The summer months are going to be a bit lean, with no major sports events taking place this year.

The matched betting guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*.  It’s a brilliant website for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike – for beginners, there are plenty of tutorials which provide you with step-by-step guides on how to make profits and to work through special offers. They also offer one-to-one sessions for those who need a little more help. For the more experienced, OddsMonkey offer quality tools including the Each Way Matcher, Dutch Finder, Racing Matcher and Acca Matcher, all of which I have used successfully. There’s also a friendly forum for you to ask any questions. Anyway, you can join for free* to try it out.

Goals Update

Here’s how things look:

I know the savings rate goal is supposed to be for me whilst I’m employed but I feel that I should account for the 0% somewhere to reflect that I wasn’t working.

Hope everyone had a great April and had an enjoyable bank holiday (in UK).

[*referral/affiliate link]

26 thoughts on “April 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

  1. Wow, I think I’m bias because of my much lower networth but the money you’ve earnt/saved from side hustles and dividends alone is fantastic to me and very inspiring!

    I’m sure something will turn up on the job front, but its great that your still able to grow your wealth in the meantime!

    • Thanks TTW. You’re already doing a great job with your arbing and plans for saving/investing for FI at such a young age – starting early is a massive advantage, one which I missed out on, for which I’m trying now to make up for lost time! Yeah, something will turn up on the job front at some point but yes, I’m glad that I’m in a position to still be able to add to my wealth.

  2. Such great income from your side hustles! I am particularly impressed by your Matched Betting income. I dabble in MB, but this month profited a measly £80! As you say, one or two wrong bets or lays and you can lose quite a lot, which is what happened to me. Good luck with the job search this month!

    • Hi Mrs Small

      The MB income is on the high side (for me) because I’ve been spending a lot more time on it. When I was working and just doing evenings and some weekends, my average was a lot lower. £80 is still £80 tax free which you wouldn’t have gotten without MB! Although I do feel like kicking myself when I make silly mistakes, I am glad that it’s MB and not gambling where what you lose is your actual money, as opposed to MB profits.

  3. Weenie, thanks so much for this update – even if it wasn’t the most fun to write. It’d be interesting to hear what you are spending your extra time on during this unplanned practice retirement.

    I’m impressed that you’ve kept up your charitable giving despite not having a salary. It shows a real sense of character.

    The new pound coins look cool, I still haven’t seen one in real life. Probably more a symptom of not using cash than my uber-frugal credentials.

    How much of your spending would your other sources of income cover now?

    Good luck on the job hunting, I hope you are finding ways to keep it interesting and upbeat.

    • Hey PwF

      Haha, I hadn’t really thought of this as ‘unplanned practice retirement’ but I guess it is and I think come actual retirement, in terms of keeping myself occupied, I think I’ll be ok – I don’t get bored easily. Thanks for the idea of posting about what I’ve been getting up to, although it won’t be very interesting or exciting really, I’ll do an update at some point.

      The charity giving is coming from my matched betting profits. Yes, I could be diverting it to either my personal spending or more to investments but I’m determined to continue towards my charity goal.

      It’s possible that some months, my other sources of income could completely cover my spending. This month for example, it covered close to 3/4 which is pretty good. I know that if my lack of employment is prolonged, I’m not going to be in absolute dire straits and my important bills will still be paid.

      I have only received one new pound coin. As soon as I got it, I put it in my money box as it’s the first one I’ve seen – maybe that’s what other people are doing, ie hoarding them?

  4. I think you’re very harsh with the savings rate calc
    I know we’ve been over this before but this surely highlights that it doesn’t make much sense unless you take the whole picture in? It kind of made sense when working but now it definitely doesn’t.

    What if you reach FIRE and live purely of divs? And your divs cover expenses and still allow you to save? Will you still say 0% then?

    This highlights that you could even argue to include divs and even capital gains into your savings rate, something I’m not currently doing but I’m starting to think is how maybe we should be doing it “properly”.

    In any case well done on another great month, all things considered! 🙂

    • Hey TFS

      I see what you’re getting at but the extra income was always something just ‘on top’ of savings from my usual wage. Documenting it this way helped me determine what I can live on comfortably and helped me confirm my plan and FIRE number.

      Perhaps it’s better to not even mention savings rate any more, not until I get back to working again, then all will make sense (kind of) again!

      When I reach FIRE I’m not sure I’d still want to be calculating my savings rate!

      I know what you mean about doing it all ‘properly’ but when I considered it in the past, it made my head hurt, not necessarily too complicated but too much of a faff!

  5. Hi Weenie, well done on staying positive about the income because I know just how you feel! When I stopped earning a wage after almost thirty years of doing so, it was really difficult for me to reframe it in order for it not to bother me. I don’t think I ever quite reconciled it and I’d admit it was partly why I went back to work. At fifty, I just felt I should be earning! You do too, you have that drive, and that will ensure you’ll soon sort something out on this front. I’ve remarked before that a lot of us interested in FIRE are the type of people who almost HAVE to work, because we care about our incomes and expenditure. We’re interested and motivated, as what you’re doing on side hustles shows.

    • Cheers Jim.

      Yes, I do need to be back at work and earning. Side hustles are all well and good to keep things ticking over but it’s definitely not enough for me and it’s annoying that it’s slowing down my progress to FIRE! I do often think of your posts of when you were temporarily early retired and have taken on board your ‘Efforts vs Results’ tip as regards to job hunting – thanks for that.

      • A few perceptive people said to me that looking for work is a full time job, which wasn’t any less irritating when I found it to be pretty much true! 🙂

  6. Hi Weenie,

    Congrats on publishing this month – it can’t have been easy. At least you had the side hustles as well pulling in a little extra cash which lessens the blow a little bit at least I guess.
    I hope the job hunting is going well, and look forward to hearing on the further growth of the future fund!
    FiL

  7. Good on you for publishing the post Weenie. I know it’s difficult to reflect when things aren’t going the way you planned (nevermind publicly!).
    Having your investments and side hustles offer some reassurance at least. It would be a lot more challenging to hunt for a job without any income and not knowing how to do Matched Betting etc.
    I totally agree with TFS too. 0% isn’t actually correct (in my book anyway). You’re earning dividends, which you’re reinvesting. I include interest from my cash and dividends, and even capital gains within my isa’s if I cash in a profit towards my monthly totals. They’re all forms of income, which I could utilise, but I’m choosing to save them.
    RE Dividends: Congratulations BTW. I love seeing progress like this and I especially love a PB month. It makes all the effort worth it!
    I’m virtually sending you all the luck I can via this keyboard in finding a new job. Stay positive and keep moving forward. You’ll eventually get what you’re looking for if you stop for nothing.
    Huw

    • Hey Huw

      My redundancy pay will cover my lack of employment for a while but without the side hustles, I would not be adding to the investments.

      I had considered including things like dividends and interest in my savings rate in the beginning but decided that while I would just report them, they would be listed as ‘on top’ of or ‘as well as’ my savings rate. Although I now know how to calculate the dividends paid by my funds which were of the ‘acc’ variety, I didn’t at the time, so those were largely ignored or just seen as ‘growth’ of my funds.

      I guess it does mean that I haven’t been absolutely accurate reporting my savings rate from my income (it would be a lot higher) but I’ve always made it clear the rate was based on just on my normal salary.

      Yes, I’m very pleased with the growing dividends – in the early days, it was difficult to see if I was making any progress in that area.

      Thanks for your kind wishes and continued support.

  8. Hi Weenie,
    Impressive side hustles! When I was made redundant, I only had my redundancy pay and dividends to rely on. I don’t think MB is for me, I am too risk averse, lol.
    Having enough to cover bills and live is a great position to be in whether chasing FI or not.
    I did a mix of job hunting, house chores/diy and free online courses to fill my day. Like others, I am chasing FI but also have that motivation to do something. I can’t sit all day watching TV or sitting in a chair watching the world drift by.
    Keep hunting a job will turn up I’m sure. Jobs just seem to take longer to find now.
    Enjoy the summer months outside while you can.

    • Thanks Sparklebee

      MB isn’t for everyone and even for someone like me, there’s a lot of MB that I don’t do, ie I only really do football and horse racing and don’t do MB on darts, snooker, casinos etc.

      I am fortunate that my redundancy will cover my bills and more, hence I have the relative ‘luxury’ of investing my side hustle income, for the short term at least.

      Like you when you were job hunting, I don’t sit all day watching TV, although it is a cheap evening entertainment! There’s plenty to keep me ‘occupied’.

      In a way, I’m kind of looking forward to having a free summer so I hope we get some good weather!

      • Agree with TV being cheap entertainment !, I often have boxsets on in the background while arbing thanks to NowTV.

        I recently enjoyed The Blacklist and have started to get into Game of Thrones this weekend.

        • I’m up to date with The Blacklist, it’s one of my favourite shows! Have also watched all of GoT – can’t wait for the next season, which should hold lots of surprises for me, as it won’t have been covered by the books.

  9. Hi Weenie, you’ve invested over £700 of new money into your Future Fund, all from non-salaried income, and earned over £200 from dividends. Wow! That is a hugely impressive achievement, one only a tiny fraction of people would manage while looking for work. It seems to me that you are well on your way to escaping dependency on a corporate salary. It’s a very motivating post!

    • Thanks Sarah. I’ll keep this up as long as I can with the side hustles. Not being able to invest an earned income however has probably slowed down my progress to FI somewhat but I’m just glad it hasn’t ground to a sudden halt!

    • Hi MG
      The matched betting income isn’t passive but yes, it’s important to have income streams from sources other than your main job (if you have one, haha!), Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Weenie,
    Re matched betting, might be worth being aware that flash player is now tracking certain betting sites and sharing the information (certainly with Betfair – not sure if any other betting firms). The type of info they are gathering would be for instance where you have multiple betting sites all open at once.
    Betfair are using this information to restrict accounts that they classify as ‘shrewd’. The restrictions currently may not be too drastic; i do know that one restriction they have imposed is to delay sharing the latest odds with the impacted account.
    Not sure if any other bookies are adopting similar tactics, but it sounds like another worrying trend with the old big brother.

    If you’re good with computer software etc (i’m not) it might be worth looking into further. i fear that simply uninstalling flash player or blocking it only alerts them to the fact, so that may not be the answer. Good luck.

    • Hi Kid Cocoa

      Betfair gubbed my account a while back but I shall certainly be more careful about having multiple betting sites open at the same time.

      I have no idea what info current bookies are gathering but I’d probably not bother to install any blocking software. As you’ve already suggested, I think that such blocking software would surely flag up an account as a matched betting one, since normal gamblers would never have such software installed.

      Thanks for the heads up anyway.

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