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!
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)
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*.
Here’s how it all ended:
4 out of 5, with me failing the toughest goal but I’m pleased with my achievements.
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! 🙂