December 2017 Savings, plus Round Up

Well, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, full of sumptuous food, loads of drink and festive cheer! I travelled south to celebrate the holidays and spent some excellent quality time with some family and friends, increasing my waistline further in the process!

Interesting sights in London (Peckham)…

Not even missing my flight home on Boxing Day (the M25 was closed for several hours following an accident, so I couldn’t get to the airport in time) really spoiled things for me – I booked myself into a hotel, spent the evening reading and took the first flight home the following day.  Of course I wasn’t particularly happy that I had to unexpectedly fork out an extra £150 but I’m just glad that my flight wasn’t grounded by snowy weather.

So, how did I do in the last month of the year?

I saved 37.8% – surprisingly higher than expected but some expenses will appear on next month’s credit card.

My average for the year ended up at 42.4%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m pretty happy with this average.

Anyway, December savings include £62.81 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated and hope you’re enjoying matched betting!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments this month.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I believe Santa put in a Rally, pushing the FTSE 100 to yet another all time high –  my Future Fund ends the year at £133,063, an increase of 46% from the start of 2017!  This increase is almost entirely due to extra capital invested (mostly from my redundancy payment) and not from any ‘investing skills’. I will add however that my investments have benefited from dividends re-invested and uplift from the downtrodden sterling.  I continue to creep towards my next big milestone, for now!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month:

The £113.67 received was lower than expected as some December payments will be crossing over into January but great to see another >£100 monthly pay out.

Total dividends received this year added up to £1,950.83 – not quite £2k but close enough!

So here’s how things look at the end of the year for dividend income:

Bit disappointed that I didn’t beat December 2016 but still, it looks great overall and makes me very excited about what might be achieved next year!

Matched Betting (MB)

Only really did MB for a couple of weekends in December, and as usual, had mixed results with my no-lay accumulators (accas).

I ended up making just a tiny profit of £32.96! At one point, I was down by over £170 after a bad run on the accas over the festive weekend but I managed to claw that back with a few winning runs.

Total profit made for the year was £4,381, which I’m very pleased about. Not the riches that some matched bettors report but it’s more than enough for me for the effort I put in and of course, it’s all tax free.

The no-lay acca strategy is a long-term (and slightly risky) one. I’ve decided that I will continue to follow it into the new year and depending on my progress, will perhaps review my strategy at intervals (particularly when I’m having a bad run!)

Note that there are plenty of folk who do MB who don’t touch accas at all but who still make regular profits from other offers.

The matched betting guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*.  It’s a nifty little 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. OddsMonkey offers quality tools including the Each Way Matcher, Extra Place Matcher, Dutch Finder, Racing Matcher and Acca Matcher. There’s also a friendly forum for you to ask questions. Anyway, check out the free trial*.

Goals Update

Here’s how it all ended:

4 out of 5, with me failing the toughest goal but I’m pleased with my achievements.

Pledge

I didn’t set it as a goal but I pledged (to myself) to donate at least 10% of my MB profits to charity. In the end, I donated over £507 (which includes the £240 toilet twinning) so am very happy with that.

Round Up of 2017

Despite a scare caused by a close relative being very poorly earlier in the year, all in all, I’d say it’s been a good year for me.

The year had started with some uncertainty as I was unemployed, following my redundancy at the end of 2016. My savings and investments were however largely unaffected as I had a pretty generous severance package. I was determined to resist splashing out/splurging, so most of this payout now forms part of my Future Fund, which will be the main source of my income in (early) retirement.

I was pretty relaxed when I wasn’t working but then endured a happy yet stressful period when I got myself a new job – I found it quite difficult being the ‘new girl’ after being an ‘expert’ for over 20 years at the same company.

I have recently had my annual appraisal which went well, although any bonus or pay rise I receive next year will be dependent on the company hitting its targets. No change there then from the last place I worked at, even though they’re in completely different industries!

I feel like I have not been as good with my spending as I could have been, particularly when I started working again. New commuting routines and lack of planning for meals (work lunches as well as meals at home) led to my grocery bills creeping up this year which will need to be addressed. Must try harder…will try harder!

Investments-wise, in 2017 I ploughed most of my money into investment trusts and will likely continue to do so.

I’ve been thinking about what goals to set for next year and the chances are, they’re going to be pretty similar (if not the same) as the ones I set for this year.

And on that note, hope you all enjoy the new year celebrations (I know I will!), hope you don’t get too hungover (again, I know I will!) and hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2018! 🙂

[*referral/affiliate link]

29 thoughts on “December 2017 Savings, plus Round Up

  1. Happy new year weenie. A quiet night in for me with a takeaway and my girlfriend. Rock and roll. Lol I always find new years eve an anti climax tbh

  2. PS you’ve probably explained this somewhere so apologies but your freedom fund is that non pension assets excluding home equity or does it include your pensions as well?

    The majority of my savings go into my work pension to keep things simple but I’m now trying to build up my non pension savings as well. Difficult though as I keep finding things to spend it on

    • Happy New Year, FBA! My future fund includes my SIPPs and the small DC pension I have just started contributing to with my new employer. It does not include the company pension (final salary) that I had with my previous employer because I don’t know what the value of it is. Good luck with building up your non-pension savings – small but regular amounts initially to start you off, perhaps? 🙂

      • Hi Weenie. I’m a new reader to your blog. I like your easy to read writing style and fascinated by the amount of progress you’ve made in such a short space of time.

        I have read somewhere that a very crude way to calculate the value of your final pension is to take:

        (Annual Final Pension x 20) + Any Final Salary Pension Lump Sum

        Perhaps you or others have a better way. I know it’s very rough and ready, but at least it gives you an idea. You should also get a pension statement for the final salary scheme which tells you the Lifetime Allowance used. This will also give you an idea of the value. If I come across the source or the article that I read again then I will post on here.

        • Hi Cashflow Cop

          Thanks for suggesting that calculation – a quick Google shows that it is indeed a rough and ready way to get the value of a final pension. That said, since I can’t touch that pension until I’m 65, I’m not sure having that number will make any real difference to my plan, which is to retire quite a bit before then. My Future Fund will largely provide income for the period from when I take early retirement up to age 65 and any surplus will then be used to top up as required once I start drawing on that pension. Including this pension number, my net worth goes up by over 75% which is great but since I’ve never included it in my numbers, I’m not sure it’s best to do so now – my plan has always been exclusive of this pension though it is good to know!

          Thanks for reading and stopping by.

  3. Hi Weenie, looks like you’ve done well on your goals, and a sterling performance on the Matched Betting, something I’ve pretty much fallen away from. I reckon I pocketed about £3k in six months until the bookies banned me following Cheltenham! Also admirable that you gave away a substantial portion to charity too. It’s been a great year on the stock market, but I wonder what’s in store in 2018? My view is that what goes up must come down – hopefully in about fifty year’s time.
    Have a great New Year and keep posting the progress.

    • Cheers Jim and Happy New Year! I think the matched betting might get harder, not just because of gubbings (Bet365 is now a dead account) but because I feel like I want to spend even less time doing it as I could be doing something else instead! However, I may consider taking some time off for Cheltenham – we’ll see! Agree with you with 2018, it can’t keep going up surely? However, I don’t plan on changing my strategy just yet – will just keep on buying a bit every month.

  4. Hi Weenie,

    Happy New Year, welcome to 2018 🙂 Sounds like a great break out, even with the pain of an overnight extra stay, at least you had the flexibility to be able to book into a hotel – got to love the M25 at times 😉 Just imagine commuting on it….!

    Great work on the savings rate, ok not quite the 50% but still one heck of a savings rate (mine ended up at about 37% over the year, excluding company pension and tax topup into my pensions)

    Congrats on the good review as well – fingers crossed you manage to land a bonus/pay rise that you can invest into your future fund.. but don’t beat yourself up on the food side of things – settle into your new work first (that can be stressful in itself), then you can start working on it once you are fully comfortable.

    Cheers
    FiL

    • Happy New Year, FiL!

      I’ve read about people moaning about the M25 – now I really feel for them and their commute!

      I am pleased with my savings rate, despite not hitting that elusive 50%. I’m not sure I’ll ever get it unless I do something very different, which I’m not quite prepared to do yet! Great stuff on you getting 37% – I think that’s amazing with you living in the capital and your exquisite fine wine tastes! 🙂

      I’ve got (hopefully) a quiet month to settle into a good routine so hopefully, expenses should be properly tightened up then.

      • Hi Weenie,
        Yes, London commuting is a thing in itself – I have found if I want to get out of London the best time is to leave either around 4:30am or around 8pm on… not fun!
        Doesn’t hurt to keep aiming for that 50% – its what I am trying to do but failing! The only caveat I have on my savings rate is I do exclude a few things in that:
        – My company salary sacrifice pension
        – The tax rebate into my private pension
        – My bonus that all goes into my pension
        Add those in and the savings rate looks even higher, but I dont include as I just look at what comes out of my net income.
        And nothing wrong with a good bottle of wine 😉 The 2016 Burgundy is looking interesting 😉

        Well enjoy the relatively quiet routine and get expenses in – you are now settled (it seems?) in your new job so you can start a gentle squeeze…
        Cheers!
        FiL

    • Hi John

      Well I did have a bit of a head start but I find it amazing that your model portfolio increased by that much already with no extra capital! I may be in the lead now but it’s only the start of the race! All the best for 2018!

  5. Congratulations on a great year, Weenie! 42% in savings rate is really good. I got 40% for the year myself, so I really know how you feel about getting above that 50% mark. Let’s try our best to do that in 2018 🙂

    • Thanks Carl and congrats on your great savings rate too! Whilst 50% is a truly worthy target to aim for, I’m not sure this will be the year I will do it but I shall certainly try! All the best for you too in 2018!

    • Hi Little Miss Fire

      The number looks great but it’s actually really too soon to tell if I’m actually on track or not, although I’m certainly heading in the right direction! I think it will depend on how soon I hit my next big milestone, which will largely depend on how my investments do and what the stock market gets up to! Yes, still lots of unknowns – that is exciting but also pretty scary!

      All the best for 2018!

  6. Happy New Year, Weenie! 2017 was a big one with the job change, here’s to a steady 2018 with your company totally outperforming their expectations leading to a sizeable bonus.

  7. Congrats on a very successful year! Very impressive savings rate and goal-hitting record, especially factoring in the redundancy at the start of the year which would have scuppered a lot of folk. Looking forward to reading about your 2018 progress!

  8. Just catching up weenie!

    Looks like a great year overall. Always good to take stock of where you are once in a while and these yearly updates are as good a place as any.

    All the best for 2018 (although we’re nearly 1/6th of a way through it already! Scary!)

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