August 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Another month has passed in this strange year.

Some ‘interesting’ things which happened in August:

    • I ate in a restaurant (thanks for the 50% discount, Rishi!). It was nice to dress up and enjoy a pleasant evening outside of the house. Something I’ve missed a lot.
    • I put petrol in my car! I filled up the day before lockdown and haven’t really driven anywhere so it’s taken this long to use up my petrol.
    • I grew something edible and ate it! So excited as I’ve never had green fingers!

My runner beans!

    • I baked! I don’t normally do baking – I reckon the last time I baked anything was in school during one of my disastrous Home Economics classes! Anyway, I baked some healthy breakfast biscuits, which even my sis and nephew enjoyed!
    • I bought some books! I don’t tend to buy books because I use the library. Although I’ve enjoyed reading ebooks on my Kindle, I really miss holding a physical book in my hands so not knowing when my library is going to reopen, I succumbed to buying some books which I’ve been wanting to read in a while.

Can’t wait to get my teeth into these (not literally!)

    • I tried a couple of recipes with Gousto* (50% off your first box and then 30% off your first month’s subscription if you sign up via my link – while offer lasts). My sis does most of the cooking duties and we didn’t want to start getting takeaways for variety so I’ve subscribed to Gousto on my friend’s recommendation to cook some different meals. These have worked out really well – I’ve cooked some meals I never would have dreamt of cooking (all delicious so far!) and at a decent price (cheaper and healthier than takeaways for definite). I’m on a fortnightly subscription but weekly or monthly are available.
    • I was Employee of the Month – who needs to be in the office to put in a good shift and be recognised? 🙂

As there’s been no change to the lockdown requirements in Greater Manchester, I’m still only leaving the house as necessary, still not been back into the office yet although I am actually looking forward to when I do eventually go back in, just to see some different faces.

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings in August?

I was able to save 47.1% of my net salary – there was quite a bit of spending, including gifts for a couple of special birthdays, some bits and pieces for the garden and some purchases I made the back end of July on my credit card.

The above savings includes top ups from a £75 premium bond win (woo hoo!), £50 Matched Betting profits (from last month), £57.69 from affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!) and £20.20 from TopCashback*.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Big rises in the stock markets meant that my Future Fund jumped up to £197,334, but with some market wobbles this week, I’ll be lucky if I finish as high, come end of September.

Still v-shaped!

Dividends and Other Income

A better month for dividends:

I received £358.52, of which £245.32 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. This doesn’t make up for the abysmal income I received in July but is welcome all the same and was a very good year-on-year increase. All dividends are reinvested.

Here’s how my graph is looking now…

I need an average £185 per month to hit my target – doable perhaps?

Matched Betting (MB)

A combination of being busy at work and the football season ending meant that I didn’t spend a lot of time on MB.

However, I still made a half decent profit of £253 so am happy with that.

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

Goals Update

With 4 months (is that all!?) of the year left, here’s how the goals look:

Same Old Same Old

So, Summer’s come and gone, we appear to be in the throes of Autumn, and I’m already battling with my sis about the central heating…

How was August for you?

[*referral/affiliate link]

30 thoughts on “August 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Wow, we made 3,000 mile and 1,000 mile road trips and at least six 200 mile ones in August, probably ate in a dozen restaurants. I have bought a ton of gasoline and bought a newer used car for $24K and sold an old one for $4,700 cash. We’ve played in multiple tennis tournaments and team matches, fished several different lakes, rivers and the ocean all in the last month. We’ve eaten a lot of produce from our garden and the gardens of friends, and eggs from their chickens! In other words life here has been pretty much unchanged from our pre-covid lives. Still only know one person who was sick from it, and he spends a lot of time in casinos, which seem kind of high risk to me. Spent a few days without power when hurricane Laura hit us head on but the generator kept everything running including the air conditioning. And while the economy looks rough our net worth has never been so high. It’s really a good time to be an empty nest early retiree with a diversified portfolio. Much tougher on people with at home kids and jobs although the kids are back in the classrooms here again.

    • Hi Steveark

      Life isn’t back to normal here yet for us. Although the local lockdown we are experiencing will be lifted slightly from next week, we still won’t be able to mix households, or visit other people’s gardens.

      My neighbour is a doctor so when she recommends following lockdown rules because of what she sees in the hospital she works at, it’s probably worth listening to her!

      Two of my colleagues have been sick with it (one of them in Houston), both young men and they were bed-ridden for a couple of weeks (though not serious enough to go to hospital) and it’s taking a while for them to recover.

      Stock markets are showing no correlation with the economy – the latter will continue to get worse for a while longer so I’ll enjoy the stock market highs even though they’re probably not long term!

  2. Looking good – although your August sounds a lot like mine – books, cooks petrol and eating out!

    The future fund is looking very strong- no doubt helped by your asset allocation and stock market rally.

    Sounds like of all bloggers I read you have your shit most together and employee if the month to boot!
    Congrats.

    • Cheers GFF – dunno about having all my shit most together; just been trying to focus on the stuff I can control, namely my work and my spending/saving. It would be easy to get dragged into all the negative stuff that’s happening right now but the fact is, although life could be better, it’s actually not too bad either, so I’ll go with that!

  3. Hi Weenie! Nice to read about the various new things you tried this month. Sounds like you did more than me around the house. I also miss physical books, had that feeling when I browsed in a charity shop last week. But didn’t get any. I’m generally a Kindle convert.

    I’m yet to win anything on the premium bonds, but am impressed with your continued luck! Well done on the savings rate.

    Hoping to get around to my Aug update tonight. We did some mini breaks around the region, which were surprisingly nice but turns out still got very itchy feet and my attempts to get Mr Firelite working from Barbados have failed so far!

    • Thanks Firelite and haha good luck with getting Mr Firelite transferred to Barbados!

      I’ve written off this year for travel (anywhere), so have no urge or wish to go anywhere. A friend of mine has just flown to Corfu for a wedding – no matter that I would love to be on a Greek beach right now, I don’t think I would have taken that trip!

  4. Hey weenie, congratulations on getting employee of the month…obviously working hard from home!

    Also well done with your veg garden – those runner beans looking really good. I hope you will be inspired to expand the range next year!

    • Thanks diy and yes, after struggling initially, I adapted well to working from home. This surprised me as it wasn’t something I enjoyed doing in the past (hence I only did it rarely).

      Hopefully there will be other things growing in the garden, just waiting for harvest!

  5. Well done with the growing and baking! Try some dwarf beans (Lidl have a good range) for next year; much smaller (don’t need supporting), very heavy croppers, and the beans don’t go all stringy like runners.

    Agree about the books. I was right at the front of the queue when ours reopened!

    • Thanks Tina and thanks for the tip on the dwarf beans. I had no idea how tall my beans would go and they ended up sprawling all over the place!

      The bigger libraries in our region have reopened but not our little local one, so I continue to wait impatiently!

  6. 47.1%? Expensive month, Weenie! Still, overall your FF has increased over £5k so no bad thing.

    How often do you reassess the capital value of your rental property, which I think forms part of your FF? Apparently prices have been rising fast this last month so that might have a significant effect, if not already taken into account.

    • Hi NewInvestor
      The value of my rental property isn’t included in my FF but is part of my net worth, a figure I don’t tend to really keep track of. It’s been a while since I last checked my property’s capital value and I see it has appreciated 50% since my purchase so that was nice to find out – thanks for prompting me! I didn’t buy the property for capital appreciation as yield is usually the number to focus on for properties up north.

      • Re the FF/net worth aspect: so I see (by reference to some of your older posts).

        As for the yield, isn’t that inextricably linked to the capital value? E.g. a property with rental income of £10k has capital value £200k, then it’s a 5% yield (let’s keep things simple, ignore voids, repairs, and so on). If a few years later, the rental value has increased to £15k and the capital value to £250k, the yield has increased to 6%. Of course, an investor may prefer to use the original purchase value to calculate their yield (7.5%) but over time that becomes less meaningful – a subsequent purchaser would base their calculations on today’s values.

        • Yes, you’re right, the yield is linked to capital value but I was only really bothered about it when I initially bought my property, to work out if it was worth my investment. At the time, it worked out as just under 11% yield (gross). As I haven’t really increased my rent, yet my property is now worth a bit more, it seems my yield is now 8% (gross) so still a good investment if I were to sell now to another potential landlord.

  7. What a lovely looking runner beans! Any spares over there? 😀

    We also tried Gousto, and we loved it, shame it get so expensive after the discounts. Now we’ve been purchasing Simply Cook, which gives you the recipe and sauce ingredients only. You can get a trial box for £3. My GF really enjoys it.

    Your Future Fund looks bueno, bueno, love the V shape.

    Your dividend chart is inspiring. I am so looking forward to keep having fun with my dividend stocks and see the dividend income (hopefully) grow as yours.

    Those books look big! I would like to start reading fiction again. It was helpful to expand my English vocabulary. I think I’ll add some in my 2021 goals.

    Good luck with the heating!

    • Hey Tony

      Yes, Gousto is expensive when you compare it with normal home cooking but as an alternative to takeaways, it’s good value, plus I’m trying recipes I would never have tried myself previously.

      In the early days, the dividends didn’t look like much but it’s the year-on-year growth plotted on a graph which really motivates me to continue with that side of my investing strategy.

      Haha, I prefer reading big books, ones I can just dive into and get lost in!

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  9. I second Tony’s suggestion- Simplycook is excellent. And since they are only spices they last for months- rather than being “forced” into cooking them within days of getting them. Our August was much the same as yours- though I did take full advantage of the eat out scheme. September will be less eating and more exercise!

    • Cheers SWFI, I will take a look at them once I feel Gousto is feeling expensive and I don’t like their timing of cooking their food! Definitely need to up my exercise efforts myself!

  10. Sounds like you had a very busy and interesting month. The eat out 2 help out scheme really was too good to miss, although I still question the wisdom of it. I can’t help but think it just shifted most of the custom from one half of the week onto the other half.

    We did gusto for a bit last year but cancelled as we didnt like the huge amount of packaging waste they used to send. I recall hearing they’ve gotten better now. If nothing else; they were good inspiration for new dishes and we re-use the recipe cards.

    I bet your glad to see that recovery from the March future fund dip. Infact it looks like youre almost at the point you would have been had the dip never happened anyway.. just goes to show people should never panic sell.

    All the best,

    ERG

    • Thanks Guy.

      The eat out scheme was very good but will people continue to eat out once it’s gone – probably not, so I think restaurants really need to get on board with deliveries.

      Agree, when I eventually stop with the Gousto, those recipe cards will definitely come in handy.

      It wasn’t easy seeing that big dip in March but I kept my head and didn’t panic. I might not have been so calm however if I was closer to my goal, so sequence of returns risk still worries me when I think about it!

  11. Wow, a great month Weenie!
    Well done. I haven’t won anything on PB for a while. £25 a few months a gap was the last win.
    Glad you enjoyed your homegrown food. I have been enjoying my homegrown tomatoes. I have enjoyed growing my own food this year. Having all this time has allowed me to do things I have not had the time to do before. Other than costa and mcdonalds, there is no one local to me doing eat out. So I never too advantage of it. So I am one of those who hasn’t eaten out and used the discount. Most places by me have remained either takeout or Full price to try and recover their lost income.

    Heating – just some extra jumpers first! I used to know someone who refused to put their heating on until November. You had to just wear extra layers of clothes.

    Have a good September.

    • Thanks Sparklebee.

      I was late with my planting and my tomatoes aren’t ready so I hope I’m not too late! I’ll know better next year.

      I’m definitely of the view of wearing extra layers/jumpers first before putting the heating on. October is usually when I put mine on, although I did have a competition with a colleague once and held out til November; probably won’t do that again!

      Hope September’s good for you too.

  12. Nice Weenie! Well done on those Runner Beans! I look forward to seeing some more pictures of those home grown veggies! 😛

    Matched betting incoming still looks like it’s ticking along! Do you know when you’ll be back in the office?

    • Cheers Jase – no other veggies have made an appearance (I did plant late) so hopefully, there will be more pics to share!

      I haven’t been told that I’m required to go back into the office, so I’ll just go in when I’m ready. I was going to go in this month but with a spike in infections and me taking public transport, I’m not sure.

  13. I am glad you got to go out Weenie and that you enjoyed it… I have been making the most of being able to get back to a new normal albeit now that looks like things might be stepped back a bit nationally. It really felt good to get some normality back, albeit a new normal no doubt.

    That’s awesome having had not to fill your car up for so long. I am spending 2/3 less on fuel id say but still have to fill up once a month. All the best.

    TheFIJourney

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