October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Hope you all had a happy Brexit Day Halloween!

My ‘confused’ effort on the right!

October felt like a month where I had a lot going on but hardly anything was achieved.

I’m behind on loads of things – my reading, my paperwork, my tax return (meant to submit this month), my TV watching, my blog reading/commenting, my blogging.

That said, I bought a new mobile phone as my old one has been freezing and rebooting for months (used matched betting profits again for the purchase) and I’ve been out on a few social outings, completed a 13-mile walk in the rain (again!) for charity with work and been to the cinema a couple of times (to see Ad Astra and Terminator: Dark Fate).

My social calendar is pretty much filled up for November already so I hope I don’t continue to fall behind on stuff.

Am I also behind on my numbers? Let’s see how I did….

I saved 51.3% of my net salary! With my sis contributing towards household bills, I’m able to put away more of my money but as mentioned before, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up so my savings rate will revert closer to the norm.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £67.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £30 from Siteground* affiliate income (thanks Tom!) and £57.01 from TopCashback*.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments – I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets were all over the place this month and despite adding new capital, my portfolio value went backwards down to £178,832.19. As usual, I’m keeping calm and carrying on investing!

Dividends and Other Income

A slightly disappointing month for dividends:

I received income of £383.01, which although is more than a decent amount, was not as much as I had hoped. Back when I was setting my goals for the year, I had not considered what would happen to my dividend income if I were to adjust my investment strategy part-way through the year (by increasing the bond allocation in my portfolio). I’m highly unlikely to reach my goal of £4k in dividend income now.

Here’s the main dividend income graph:

Matched Betting (MB)

Total profits of £297 this month, which isn’t bad considering my ‘busyness’ and also losing one of my main betting accounts (restricted to pennies so as good as lost). As with my dividend income, I am nowhere near on track with my goal but I shall keep plugging away with this.

As mentioned before, the MB guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*, which is great for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike with quality tools to help you make profit. There are step by step guides and also a friendly forum for you to ask questions and get assistance on any of the offers.

Some people think matched betting is gambling but it isn’t (speaking as a former-though-now-occasional gambler). For me, it’s the ideal ‘side hustle’/hobby to do in my spare time. Anyway, check out the free trial* (with no obligations).

Goals Update

Here’s how I’m doing versus my goals:

Behind on all my goals, apart from the one to twin another toilet – just need to find the time to sort this out.

Also, at this rate, my passive income (dividends) has a good chance of beating active income (matched betting), which is a good thing, since who doesn’t love earning income while doing nothing!? 🙂

How was your October?

Oh I nearly forgot…

Next Manchester Meet Up

Date: Friday 29th November 2019 from 6pm to late.

Venue – The Bank (location of the first Manchester Meet Up), 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3FF The Salutation Pub, 12 Higher Chatham St, Manchester M15 6ED (just off Oxford Road) [edited 04/11/19]

Unfortunately, something has come up and I appear to be double-booked. I will attempt to reschedule my other appointment, so it’s 50:50 whether I can make this or not.

[*referral/affiliate link]

28 thoughts on “October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Another good month Weenie, great to see such consistency! Looking forward to seeing your future fund smash through £200k.
    It sounds you’re achieving lots and having fun so try not to beat yourself up too much about the specific goals!
    Interested to hear what phone you bought? I’ve had mine for around 5 years now and it’s becoming painfully slow!

    • Thanks, A Way To Less

      I bought a Blackberry Key 2LE, to replace my Blackberry Priv – it’s got a smaller screen and is a lot less powerful than the Priv but it’s faster, takes better photos, feels more robust and I continue to love using a keyboard!

    • Hi GFF

      Thanks – it’s not always easy being optimistic but it’s the only way I know how to keep myself motivated! I am at a happy stage of my FI journey but as I start heading towards the latter stretch of my journey, I hope I don’t end up putting too much pressure on myself!

  2. Well done on a smashing savings rate even though it sounds like you had a busy social month. I feel the same as you about October – incredibly busy but somehow I feel behind on everything. Now that there are just two months left in the year, time get things back on track!

    • Thanks Mindy.

      I kept costs on the social stuff reasonable – skipped on a few taxis, opting for public transport instead and this saved quite a bit!

      Only 1.5 months left now in the year – eek! I don’t feel like I’m ready for the end of 2019!

  3. Great work on the matched betting, you did better than me in the last month, I seem to be hitting a rut lately! Similar to you my future fund largely stayed the same, hoping that the markets pick up towards the end of the year. I’ve always enjoyed reading your updates – thanks again for all the advice on getting my blog set up.

  4. Wow, social butterfly AND managing to save over half of income, that’s great! Your range of investments makes for interesting updates, as usual. Do you have somewhere the % in shares vs funds? Thanks!

    May have to go to one of these meets soon… Do you remember years ago that pub was set up like a stock exchange but with drinks prices? Or am I imagining it?!

    • Hi Firelite

      I kept costs to the social outings as low as I could. The local cinema has got a special offer on (£5 for adults) so I took advantage of that, wouldn’t bother otherwise, unless it was a film I really wanted to see desperately on the big screen.

      Funnily enough, I had a look through my blog and no, I don’t have a % in shares vs funds so that’s something I’ll stick in a future post – thanks for asking as I’d be interested to know myself!

      I do recall something like that aobut the stock exchange but I don’t think I ever saw it myself! Also, the venue has now changed, just need to update my post!

      • Thanks Weenie, look forward to the update. I was just trying to piece together all the various parts of your portfolio, as interesting as I find each bit!

        £5 cinema is fab! I bet you take your own goodies in to eat too. I read once the biggest mark up on a product is cinema popcorn!

        Cutting back my social life (not much choice since becoming a parent) has helped save money, that’s for sure. We make for it in eating out though!

  5. Hey Weenie congrats on the savings rate.

    Don’t you feel greater when you surpass the 50% savings mark? It’s happening to me lately on those months where I get over the half. It’s impressive that you’re able to save that much having such an active social life.

    Shame on the dividend drop, that’s the price to pay for lowering risks. Anyway I bet you’ll soon get the 4K mark, perhaps not in 2019 but in 2020?

    • Hey Tony

      Thanks. It does feel good to be saving more than 50% but I’m not sure this amount is sustainable but I think this is more than what I’ve saved in a long time.

      I agree, I think I will likely hit the 4k dividends in 2020, so will probalby make that my goal for next year!

  6. Brilliant breakdown of a hard working saver. Keep at it. Dividend income building is a time and money game. You’ll get there.

    • Thanks Anthony. Yes, dividend income building is definitely a combo of time and money – I remember when I started my graph and it felt as if I would never get anything decent but over the years, it’s continued to grow.

  7. Hey Weenie,

    Another 50%+ savings rate month is great to see. It’s a pity about your slightly lower dividends than you’d expected, but planning ahead & increasing your bond allocation is sensible from a risk perspective.

    Hope you’re having a great November!


    • Thanks Corinna. As mentioned in other responses, I’m unlikely to be able to sustain this rate but it’s more than I’ve saved in a long time, so I’m happy with that.

      Yes, the drop in dividends was a little disappointing but I’m not planning on changing allocations next year so I should hit my goal then. Thanks and hope you have a great November too!

  8. We are also saving over 50% of our net income. I am yet to start dipping my toes into Matched betting but I see everyone doing it with great success. I like that your goals not only include financial things, but also include reading books. I failed my book reading target miserably this year, but will try harder in 2020. there just isn’t enough time in the day.

    • Hi Frugal Alien

      It’s sad that I think if I don’t set myself reading goals, I’m unlikely to read as much, even though I enjoy it. I’ll end up watching more tv or staring at my phone more, so I guess it’s a good thing I do set myself these goals!

      Good luck with the matched betting – drop me a note if you need any advice.

  9. Your previous bond/stock re-alignment seems IMO quite reasonable.
    FWIW, I personally prefer cash and cash like instruments (e.g. ILSC) to bonds.
    It may be worth you further categorizing your dividend income by “source” (e.g. Future Fund (FF) or IT/Share Pot). I suggest this because if you intend to run down your FF once FIRE’d you might want to know the level of sustainable annual dividends you will ultimately receive and a probable path through the Gap and beyond.

    • Hi Al

      I think in the couple of years, I will start to build up my cash reserves.

      And absolutely, I do need to further split the dividend income from the two sources – as you have noticed, it’s all lumped in together (just for ease of tracking) but I really need to know how much I need to build up in the IT/Share Pot for income.

      Thanks as always for your suggestions and ideas – I need readers like you to ensure I keep an eye on the bigger picture!

      • Weenie,
        Glad to know my input and/or comments are in some way valuable and/or useful.

        An alternative approach that you might like to consider is to change your non IT/Share Pot units to all be accumulation units, rather than, I assume, dividend units. Whilst some folks like dividends, the general consensus seems to be that a total returns approach (using accumulation units) is more efficient.
        There is IMO a pretty good discussion on this topic at http://www.theretirementcafe.com/2019/04/a-good-many-retirees-seem-to-be.html and, as usual, some of the comments help to amplify the points made.

        • Hi Al

          I’m thinking of transferring one of my SIPPs to Vanguard when their SIPP is available so will take the opportunity to switch from distribution units to accumulation units. Might have a look at my other investments to see if cost effective to switch them as want to avoid too many trading fees. Thanks for linking that article, very interesting.

  10. Great savings rate again Weenie. Do you contribute to a company pension as well? If so, do you add that contribution to your net pay figure to calculate your savings rate or keep it separate? It is wise to think about bonds especially as equities have had a good decade and you are now in your fifties (sorry to bring that up!). Keep up the good work and the very best of luck to you.

    • Thanks Simon and yes, I do contribute to a company pension (DC). I don’t add that into my savings rate as my savings rate is calculated on ‘net income’. If I included it, it woud mean that my SR woud be higher but it seemed easier at the start just to work off what dropped into my bank each month.

      I need timely reminders about my age, so no need to apologise and yes, continue to add to the bonds in my portfolio.

      • And even higher still if, as is conventional, you also included your employers pension contributions (in both the numerator & the denominator) too!
        Having said that, IMO a savings rate of around 50% (howsoever calculated) is very high. Well done!
        Out of interest, do you have a feel for your average savings rate across your working life to date? I ask as this is generally not a bad predictor of the number of years from when you start working to FI?

        • Hi Al
          For much of my working life, apart from paying into a company pension, I saved barely anything and had a lot of consumer debt. My first recorded savings rate (March 2014) was around 26%, so it would have been undoubtedly far less than that in the precediing working years!

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