July 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Meant to get this update out over the weekend but just couldn’t get round to it.

Some recent highlights:

  • Been enjoying a fantastic summer of sport – first the highs (and lows) of the Euros football, then Wimbledon tennis and then, one of the reasons I didn’t get my blogging act together over the weekend was because I’ve been too busy catching up on the Olympics. Love it all, c’mon Team GB! I’ve even been watching some of The Hundred cricket (men and women) – finally, cricket scores I can understand, haha!
  • Also been enjoying eating (and having a laugh at – see end of post 🙂 !) some of the veggies I’ve grown – spring onions and courgettes have been flavour of the month. Got some tomatoes on the go too so greenfingers crossed those will be ok seeing as I failed utterly with them last year. Carrots didn’t fare so well this year sadly. But yes, it all seems to taste better when you grow them yourself!

My spring onions have sprung!

  • I’ve been back to the office. As mentioned previously, I can continue to WFH 100% but I’ve chosen to go in (once or twice a week) to see my colleagues/other people. I was very unproductive on the days I was in – seems like I will have to learn to work amid the distractions and noise of an open office again –  but it was very nice to see everyone. Interesting to note how ‘back to the office’ has affected different people, ranging from utter joy and relief in some, to (sadly) panic attacks in others. One of my friends is back in the office 5 days a week again – the novelty has worn off already but it’s a new job so she’ll see how it goes.
  • Had a couple of social outings with friends – I would love to keep the table service and not have to ever queue at the bar again!
  • My nephew’s recent birthday present has given us a new and somewhat topical game to play on our weekly boardgame nights:

There was a lot of pressure to win this one!

  • And finally, I have found a house and my offer has been accepted! I won’t say any more right now, but the next few months will be rather busy. I feel both relieved and anxious. I’ve started my big decluttering exercise – 24 bags to the charity shop so far (not all mine, some of them ‘family’ stuff) and it’s barely made a dent… Suffice to say I’ve also just started reading Marie Kondo’s book for some inspiration… (thanks to SavingNinja for the copy).

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

I saved 13.5% of my net salary. House-purchasing fees (solicitor, conveyancing etc) means I need to put aside a chunk of cash to cover these (and any other expenses) so my savings rate will have to suffer until this is all sorted. There goes my goal out of the window but needs must.

The above includes top ups £37.03 from doing surveys with Prolific.

Shares and Investment Trusts

One new investment, I bought some shares in Aberdeen Diversified Income & Growth Trust, another investment trust as part of the dividend-paying part of my portfolio.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Apparently the markets were down this month due to share sell offs, but my Future Fund didn’t get the memo and ended up at £244,342, so continuing in the right direction.

However, I now know that I will definitely have to use some of these funds for the house purchase so there will be a chunk taken out, which will sadly mess up my nice graph and likely have impact on my FIRE plan, just when I’m so close to my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

I received £363.22, of which £132.48 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.   All dividends received were reinvested.

Here’s the graph of all dividend income received so far:

Another nice recovery from last year’s pandemic/lockdown dividend cuts.

Matched Betting (MB)

With the house purchase thing going on, I struggled to find the time to do any matched betting. Managed to squeeze in some each way bets and made a tiny £28.33 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.

Goals Update

Into the second part of the year and here’s how things look:

Life as we know it

With the return to the office and social outings with friends, it feels like things are returning to how they were before but not quite – I still have no idea when I’ll be able to travel to see my family so I guess until I can do that, things aren’t anywhere near normal for me.

Plus the next few months of ‘house shenanigans’ aren’t going to be ‘normal’ so I just need to make sure I keep on top of everything.

Anyway, I’ll end this post by showing what had me chuckling in my garden 😀

Some wonky courgettes, with a contender for the Rude Veg Competition!

How was your July?

[*referral/affiliate link]

34 thoughts on “July 2021 Savings, plus other updates

  1. I don’t comment here much but I do enjoy reading your updates. Glad you found a house, I find the stress of moving is at least a little offset by the relief of leaving behind the frustrating uncertainty stage.

    I’m sure it’s been asked before, but are there any tutorials on how to make your dividend & future fund graphs? I use Excel for my tracking but I’m hopeless when it comes to making graphs.

    • Hi Natonia

      Thanks for reading and stopping by.

      I’m not sure I could do a tutorial on how I do my graphs, (I’ve largely forgotten how I set them up in the first place!) but if you drop me a PM via the Contact Me form with your email address, I will send you a copy of the Excel template(s) I use so you can just replace and plug in your own numbers.

  2. Long time reader but first-time comment – really enjoy reading your blog and updates Weenie.

    Good news on the property, and fingers crossed all goes well for you – will be worth it in the long run. Property is an asset, don’t forget, so even if taking a chunk out of your future fund, it will still be worth it in the long run, even if it does put a bit of extra time on your FI plans. Plus you get to make a house your home and your own – priceless!

    I would also be interested in a ‘how-to’ for the Weenie graphs – very useful.

    As a big cricket fan and a Surrey member, I am not that enthralled by The Hundred (the cricket is fine, the rest of it a bit too shouty and inane for me!), but if it brings in new fans and new interest, ultimately to test match cricket (the pinnacle – or at least it should be!) so be it. Glad you enjoyed your game!

    I’ve toned down my saving rate over the summer to around 25% or so (from 60-70% at the height of the pandemic), so still chugging along towards eventual FI – a high five-figure portfolio, aged 35, so still some way to go.

    • Hi JDW

      Thanks for reading and stopping by.

      Yes, I am slowly getting my head round the fact that the chunk from my future fund is being put to good use and is not just being spent frivolously!

      As per my comment to @Natonia, if you drop me a PM via the Contact Me form with your email address, I will send you a copy of the Excel template(s) to get you going with the graphs.

      Haha, I mentioned the Hundred to a couple of guys at work who I know are big cricket fans (Lancashire) and they just rolled their eyes at me! Old Trafford is within easy travel distance so I might actually go and watch some matches (next year).

      Sounds like you’re making fantastic progress with your own FI plans – well done!

      • Hi Weenie. When we bought a property I regretted the dip in my Future Fund/Available Assets graph, so put another graph on the same chart called ‘Net Worth’ which included the mortgage balance and value of the property – it made me feel bettr.

        • Hi Nik
          Thanks – that is a good idea! I’ve never tracked my net worth on my blog but I will create a graph to make myself feel better (and really, see the bigger picture!).

  3. Weenie’s green shoots in her veg patch are nicely paralleled with the green shoots in the economy, which seem to be powering the rocket and Future Fund, which will pull its weight on the house purchase. A nice FI circle if you ask me. Some cracking rude veg, too.

    Best of luck with the house purchase. Hopefully the process is not too stressful and can quickly settle.

  4. Hey weenie, good to hear you have found a house and had your offer accepted. I went through all this at the end of last year so know how stressful it can be so fingers crossed all goes well for you and you don’t get snagged up in a chain.

    I’ve been harvesting some of the veggies from my first year…green beans, salad, beetroots and courgettes. Some leeks, parsnips, blackberries and apples to come later.

    • Thanks diy. Am impressed with the veggies you’ve grown in your first year, might give leeks a go next year. My green beans last year was a lot of stalk, but not a lot of bean so I didn’t try them this year!

  5. Congratulations on the house, Weenie – one lot of stress (looking) can make way for the next lot (moving)! I decluttered in preparation for a move, then I listened to Marie Kondo’s audiobook from the library, revisited my decluttering and got rid of HEAPS more. She’s a bit woo woo, but I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. My mindset has been permanently changed.

    • Thanks Mrs ETT
      Yes, I’ve begun the decluttering but know that after reading Kondo’s book, I will be able to get rid of a lot more, once I get that mindset you mention and see things from a different perspective. Glad it helped you and I hope it will help me too (I need a lot of help on that front, haha!)

  6. Good luck for the house and move, it’s such a tricky process, we’re all cheering for you to have a speedy and low-hassle completion.

    Pandemic (the board game) is really good fun. Because it’s cooperative it works well for a mix of experienced and inexperienced players.

    • Thanks PWF.
      We’ve only had two games of Pandemic so far and we’re all inexperienced players at the moment so games are very long at the moment but still enjoyable.

  7. Hi Weenie,

    Great news about the new house. I hope everything goes smoothly and you get a stress free move into your new home. It may make a dent in your future fund but having the ability to secure your new home is a great benefit and advantage.
    I found your photos of the veg funny. Glad you have enjoyed growing them and eating them even more! They always taste better than shop bought veg which have spent too much time in the supply chain.

    Things are looking up, a great month for you, I hope next month is just as good.

    • Thanks Sparklebee and I’m glad you liked the funny veg! I never thought I could develop green fingers and find growing my own food so enjoyable – certainly a hobby to continue when I retire!

  8. I knew you’d find a house. From recent experience of house buying, yes it is stressful. I had a tiny chain, but it took 18 months to complete, indecisive sellers, covid, probate etc. It was mentally hard to transfer a lot of my FI fund to my mortgage provider, (how many times did i check my Conveyancers bank details!!!) but I couldn’t be happier. You will be too. There’s something so satisfying about painting your own walls, caring for your own garden and feeling “at home”. I find FI and minimalism go together, but I Marie Condo’d right down to 6 knives, 6 forks, 6 plates, 6 bowls etc. My FI savings rate went right out of the window for the first few months though. It took a while to get a grip on my new finances and appreciate that my mortgage is in effect part of my savings rate. I hope the sale goes smoothly.

    • Thanks Starla, it was a frustrating struggle at first looking for a house but I got there in the end. I can’t even imagine what you must have gone through during those 18 months, but well done for getting through it all. I will be the same transferring my FI funds for contract execution!

      I’m not sure I could whittle down my things down to the minimalism you describe (I’ve just done a cull of drinking glasses and although I’m getting rid of around a dozen of them, I could probably get rid of more. Need to get that mindset which @Mrs ETT mentioned!

      Yes, am aware that my savings rate will go right out of the window for a while and my old FIRE goals may sputter to a temporary halt, so will need to mentally prepare myself for that too!

  9. hahaha those courgettes wennie, is that because of the climate change? ;P

    Congrats on finding a house and all the best on moving out.

    • Thanks Tony. I don’t know if the courgettes are like that due to climate change, or me not watering properly or whatever – will be interesting to see if I ever get those funny shapes again! 🙂

  10. A new house – well done. The miracle of owning your own house is that the imputed rent you receive isn’t taxed, the old Schedule A income tax having been abolished in 1963, and you pay no capital gains tax either.

    As for courgettes, our discovery of the summer is courgettes fritters. Lovely.

    For your next garden I recommend yellow courgettes, simply because they look so much better.

    • Thanks dearieme.

      Ooh, not tried courgette fritters before, just googled the recipe and it’s something I can make, thanks!

      Not sure about yellow courgettes, not sure about them looking better in teh garden – they look radioactive to me, haha! But if I spot the seed packets, I’ll probably give them a go!

  11. I’m so glad to hear you’ve found a suitable house! I’ll keep everything crossed for you – I know how stressful it can be.

    And congratulations on the de-cluttering; it’s so much easier (and cheaper!) to move when you only have the things you actually want. Plus, you won’t have to fill up all the cupboards in your new place. Particularly well done on getting rid of the unwanted family stuff 😉

    Jane in London

    • Thanks Jane in London.

      The decluttering is still only at the early stages, still so much to do! The 24 bags was from the spare bedrooms (parents had full wardrobes!), although I’ve yet to tackle my own clothes. Not really looked at the kitchen yet, and the biggest task will be the (full) garage! But I’m glad I’ve made a start on the family stuff, it was overwhelming just thinking about it all before and now it seems a lot more manageable.

  12. Ha ha ha – only you would end up with veg like that – awesome, love it.

    I’m so happy you’ve found a house!! That’s hugely exciting. I know you’re concerned about the dent to your FIRE plans but honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up loving having your own place so much it seems worth it. Besides – it’s all just diversification of investments – right?!

    • Haha, I know – not sure I could grow another like that if I tried but watch this space next year! 🙂

      Thanks and yes, it’s just getting my head round that I’m shifting the funds into property, so diversification.!

  13. Haha that courgette at the end did make me chuckle! 😀 – I haven’t quite every grown anything to attend the Rude Veg competition but that one is certainly a contender!

    Absolutely loving the Boardgame night – Pandemic is a fantastic game! A great co-op game.

    And to finally top it off with the total fund almost reaching £250,000! Onwards and upwards!

    • Cheers Jase – don’t think I’d ever grow a veg like that again! Beginners luck 😀

      Yes, onwards and upwards – I’m not sure I can get to that £250k before I need to take the chunk out of it for the house purchase so it’ll be some steps backwards before going forwards again!

  14. Hey Weenie,

    Congrats on finding the house – that’s great news! Exciting times but equally stressful too getting everything in place.

    LOL – homegrown veg can come out in all shapes and sizes, eh?! 😀

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