April 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Another blur of a month.

Work has kept me really busy, though fortunately not in a mind-numbing way – perhaps that’s due to the brighter days, although temperatures are still on the chilly side and I haven’t put any of my winter clothes away yet!

My boss has started to switch off and I can’t say I blame her – her head’s full of making travelling plans! Two more months before she goes – I already miss her.

Anyway, a few ‘highlights’ this month:

  • The gym reopened! I’ve been enjoying re-establishing my weekly routines and already feel much better physically and mentally. I have noticed this past week however that although the women at the gym are still strictly following the cleaning and wiping down of equipment after use, many of the men have slipped back to old habits of sweating over the stuff and just leaving it for the next person to clean. Shame not all the equipment I need to use is in the ladies-only section.
  • Attended another Zoom ‘Manchester’ FIRE meet up.  This one had an excellent presentation by someone who achieved FIRE from BTLs (Buy To Lets) so it was interesting to hear about his journey and how he’s succeeded. Also attended a great ‘Leeds’ investing meet up, which had some fascinating discussions.
  • To celebrate Earth Day, work gave us the afternoon off and we did several hours of litter-picking in the city centre. It was exciting to meet up with colleagues again and it was a lovely day out. I’m glad to say that there wasn’t actually as much litter as I thought there would be but was astonished and dismayed at the gazillions of discarded cigarette butts. Now that I’ve noticed these on the ground, I can’t unsee them – they are everywhere and it really annoys me.
  • Watched some great stuff on TV, including the brilliant ‘Line of Duty‘ (no I didn’t guess correctly!) and Amazon Prime’s ‘Invincible‘ – violent animation at its best!
  • My local library has announced that it will be reopening imminently and I can’t wait. I’ve been borrowing e-books but it’s not the same. I’m far more excited about this than of the pubs opening their doors. Getting old or just getting more introverted?

Sis and nephew have settled into their new home but haven’t really moved everything out yet as there are still some cupboards/shelves they are waiting to be delivered. We’ve continued with our family board game night so I still see them on a weekly basis which is nice.

Only Happy When It Rains

I still haven’t been out for that first pint yet – I think I would rather wait and let those who need to go right now release all that pent-up desperation enthusiasm out of the way, so things will be a bit more normal and calm in a month or so’s time.

Right now, I just feel that other people will, I don’t know, just irritate me.  Lockdown syndrome or just enjoying being miserable? I don’t know…

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

I saved 48% of my net salary. I could have probably saved a bit more, but decided to put some money aside ready for when I might want to spend some, a couple of new outfits for the summer maybe, eating out, etc. Maybe even holidays? One can only hope.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Financial news seemed to be dominated with the shenanigans of cryptocurrency (which I’m not invested in) and I was momentarily distracted by the Prime Minister’s wallpaper bill (and choice), so I wasn’t keeping tabs on what the stock markets were doing, hence this was a pleasant surprise.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund had jumped up to £234,689, so the rocket continues its journey!

The bull run continues…for now

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

I received £323.48, of which £132.10 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

Dividends paid early in March meant April wasn’t so fruitful, which spoils my graph a little but as I’ve mentioned previously, it doesn’t really matter over the course of the year.  All dividends received were reinvested.

Here’s the graph of all dividend income received:

Matched Betting (MB)

It was a sad occasion this month as my last main betting account – the oldest one which I’ve had for nearly 15 years, from back when I was a normal ‘gambler’ – got restricted.  It was only a matter of time before they caught up with me, after five years of MB, I can only be so careful not to look like a matched bettor, but they get you in the end when they see you taking too much value (and making too many profits!) from them.

MB will be even harder now to eke out the profits but while I’ve got the time and inclination and I can still make something, I’ll continue to give it a go.

This month, I made just £80.97 profit.

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.

Surveys

This month, I signed up to Prolific as I’ve seen various bloggers mention that they were pretty good for both surveys and for paying out. The threshold is £5 and it took me just a few days to get that so it’s looking promising (or beginner’s luck). Any income I get from this will be logged in future.

Goals Update

Four months in and here’s how I’m doing:

One goal down!

I completed the Pennine Way virtual walking goal, got the t-shirt and the ‘medal’.  Work have got a walking challenge for May so I think I’ll continue to make sure I move about more. My gym sessions don’t actually add a lot of steps to my Fitbit as most of my sessions consist of mostly static weight training, rather than the treadmill.

It’s looking like another year where my MB profits goal is pretty much unrealistic and unreachable but still, most of the year to go, so let’s see how I get on.

Passive income (from the dividends) is really the way to go right now!

How did you get on in April?

[*referral/affiliate link]

19 thoughts on “April 2021 Savings, plus other updates

    • Cheers Tina – I just called my library and they are open now, restricted hours, social distancing rules etc! Got my first trip planned tomorrow lunchtime! Yay!

  1. That future fund is looking sweet Weenie, you have indeed pulled ahead of me a bit as you mentioned on my last post, well done …

    That’s good that you are feeling better now after getting back to the gym, it really makes the difference doesn’t it when you feel good in yourself physically. I’ve lost around 7 pound in the last month and I feel great as a result too, I need to do a bit more fitness though as I have been slacking a bit.

    Sorry to hear about you losing one of your main accounts for MB, that does suck. It’s done you very well though, had to happen sooner or later.

    Keep safe
    TFJ

    • Hi Chris/TFJ

      Well you mentioned that our funds were close in value in the first instance, otherwise I wouldn’t have known any different as I no longer do comparisons.

      Well done on losing the excess weight. The lockdown weight I had to lose was from the first lockdown which I shifted a while ago, so now my exercising is just to maintain and keep the weight off!

      Yes, struggling with the MB already this month.

  2. Disappointing to hear the gym goers have went right back to bad habits (and men do always seem to be the worst offenders). I love exercising but I’ve decided to cancel my gym membership. I picked up some weights between lockdowns and I’ve been enjoying doing Les Mills online class at a fraction of the price. Now I don’t have gym frustrations such as equipment hogging and the bon-wipers. On the downside I do appear to becoming ever more hermit like…

    • Hi Mr Misanthrope

      I did consider cancelling my gym membership but firstly, I don’t enjoy working out (and sweating) at home and secondly, my current membership is so much cheaper than my previous membership that it feels like I’m getting a bargain. I used to love doing Les Mills classes (Body Attack and Balance were the two I used to do regularly) but I think I’m happy with just doing my weight training at the gym these days.

      Although unlike at my old gym where it was also like a social club, it’s nice to say hello to other regular gym goers so yes, less like a hermit for me and gets me out of the house!

  3. You have reminded me that I promised myself that ‘when I’m working less’ I’ll make better use of the library. I think that time has come
    Our freedom fund also had another rocket month – I wonder how long it can last?

    • Hi Wombat

      See above reply to @Tina – my library is open – hurray!

      And yes, even this week, things are bubbling and I can see a few red numbers. A big drop on its way or just a wobble?

  4. I’m another one celebrating the reopening of our local library, haha. I’ve already checked out three books, with another couple on reserve. It’s nice to be reading a physical book for a change!

    I used Prolific for a short while a few years ago. The rewards were generally good value for the time involved, but I ended up forgetting about it… It’s been long enough that I might check it out again.

    Ms FIRE and I had a drink in a beer garden last week for the first time in too long. It was the middle of a weekday, when most people are still working, so wasn’t too busy.

    Have a good May!

    • Hi Dr FIRE

      Yeah, I need to remind myself to look out for Prolific surveys, have missed a few because I’ve been too slow but I’m just doing them when I can’t so not getting too hung up on that.

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed your midweek beer and all the best for your May too!

  5. Pingback: Weekly FIREUK Blog posts on CFD – at May 07, 2021 at 06:34PM – Dave's Finance Ramblings

    • Cheers Chris. Agree MB is certainly not the cash cow that it once was for those of us doing it for a while but I’ll keep at it while there’s profits to be made!

  6. I definitely know of that feeling of being a ‘blur of a month’. I do hope it doesn’t continue to be a blur when we all reach that special day of FIRE!

    Do you think the dividends side of things will build back up to 2019 levels for you? I’m guessing many companies will eventually come with confidence and the world beating the pandemic?

    • Hi Jase
      I’d like to say yes, the dividends side of things will be back up to 2019 levels but with the current wobble in the markets, I’m not sure now!

  7. Ha – how things change as we get older!

    It’s defn an upside of being FIRE’d that we’ve got out and enjoyed our local pubs / breweries when quiet. It’s been nice to catch up with old friends that way but I actually entirely get your point on how people can be irritating. One of the things I love about travelling somewhere I can’t speak the language is not accidentally overhearing banal conversations – now that surely is heading into grumpy old person territory right?

    • Hi Michelle

      When I travel, I’m usually able to zone out, like I used to be able to when I was in the office (open) – I hope I’ve still got that skill, might even struggle with office noise when I (eventually) have to head back in!

      Lovely that you’ve been able to get to quiet local pubs and breweries.

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