Another month in lockdown and I’m finding living and working like this has become quite normal.
The latest all employees’ call with work mentioned plans being devised for people to return to the office once it’s been deemed safe to do so but I have mixed feelings.
Yes, I miss being in the office – miss printing stuff off to give my eyes a rest from the screen – miss my colleagues and being out of the house, but I can’t say that I’m looking forward to returning to travelling on public transport. I’ve applied for and received a refund for my annual travel pass in any case.
Anyway, in a full month of lockdown, how did I get on with my numbers?
I was able to save 59%! All those occasional little work lunches, Friday after-work drinks and social outings do add up and since I wasn’t spending, I was able to save a lot more.
That said, I wasn’t able to max out my 2019/20 ISA – I think I got to around the £16k mark which isn’t bad, as anything over £15k is good for me.
The above savings includes top ups from yet another £25 premium bond win (4 months in a row!) and £63.15 affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).
Shares and Investment Trusts
A couple of new investment trusts added to my portfolio, namely Murray International Trust and Templeton Emerging Markets IT, both showing decent discounts when I made the purchases.
Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.
(Entire portfolio here)
So much doom and gloom in the news globally yet the stock markets are doing their own thing. Whether this bounce-back is temporary or not is anyone’s guess.
My Future Fund stands at £179,924, an increase of over 9% from last month! I’m still down by around 4.4% year to date but that’s not too bad.
Dividends and Other Income
A few more dividends got cancelled this month but others thankfully continued to roll in:
I received £452.15 in total, of which £147.10 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.
Here’s what the main graph looks like:
Since more dividends continue to be cut or postponed, I think this graph will look
interesting a bit rubbish for the next couple of years!
Matched Betting (MB)
With no sport on, or rather nothing which I wanted to place any bets on, I didn’t do any matched betting this month.
I rather missed it, though I missed the sport more.
Never thought that I would bag two good monthly saving rates in a row but these are strange times we live in!
As mentioned before, my matched betting goal is a write-off but all the other goals are still worth going for.
I’ve continued to donate monthly to my usual charities and also donated to the recent ‘Big Night In’ TV fundraiser.
Investing During these Turbulent Times
I’ve mentioned above that the stock markets have been doing their own thing so what have investors been doing themselves? Selling? Buying? Waiting for the ‘bottom’? Doing nothing?
Carl over at MoneyMow blog asked a bunch of us FI/FIRE bloggers what investment strategies we were following (if any) during the pandemic. You can see my answer in his article along with answers from the likes of theFIREStarter and SavingNinja, but *spoiler*, I’m sticking to my plan and still investing regularly! 🙂
Anyway, during these glum times, I’ve decided to have a little fun with my investing.
I’ve joined a bunch of beta testers to try out Freetrade‘s* fractional shares facility.
This gives me the opportunity to buy bits of US companies I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. I’m thinking of having small stakes in a bunch of companies for a bit of fun.
Am I actually researching these companies before I invest? Erm, no I’m not!
[Don’t do this at home, kids, DYOR….] I’ve just drawn up a list of well-known companies – well, companies known to me and whose products/services I use regularly – and I’m just going to buy a bit of each one. Maybe I’ll top up on some of them in the future.
Although I do hold some, buying individual shares isn’t of course part of my main investing strategy but in the future, Freetrade will introduce fractionals for ETFs, which do form the bulk of my investments.
Anyway, this facility will be available to all users probably later in the month once it’s been tested properly and teething problems have been ironed out.
If anyone (in the UK) fancies trying out Freetrade for fee-free stock purchases and also wants to earn us both a free share (valued between £2 and £200), please join via this link*.
And that’s pretty much it from me – hope everyone is well and staying safe.
We will get through this.