January 2022 Savings, plus other updates

I was in the supermarket doing my weekly shop when my phone rang and I saw it was my sister.

“I’ve got COVID,” she mumbled, “You’d better get tested asap!”

Great – I’d been round at hers for dinner the night before!

I finished my shopping as quickly as I could (fortunately, I had continued to wear my mask), giving wide berth to other shoppers where I could.

The good news was that I was negative, so I’ve managed to escape it for another day!

However, I feel like I’m living on borrowed time and that it will get its grubby little viral mitts on me at some point.

Not today!

PS – sis is ok, just has mild flu-like symptoms.

So where has this month of January gone – it’s just whizzed by!

The bursting inbox I faced upon my return to work starkly reminded me of why I continue to pursue FIRE – at some point, I’ll be able to choose not to have to deal with crappy unimportant emails!

Boris said it was safe to go back into the office so I did and it was nice to catch up with colleagues and be in the city centre. I took the opportunity to visit the library and it was so nice to browse the bookshelves.

I think post-COVID (such as it will ever be), the company will continue to implement a hybrid working policy, which is fine by me.

House-wise, all immediate repairs/replacements have finally been done inside the house. This was such a relief finance-wise but also, I’ve had my fill (not literally) of tradesmen and their builder’s bums, haha!

It’s been quiet on the social front – my friends have kept within their immediate circles so I haven’t seen them, apart from a quick lunchtime coffee catch up, but we have a couple of dates pencilled in for February.

I’ve been quite happy having quiet weekends in, starting the day competing against family in the daily Wordle (we’re very competitive!).

Been pottering around the garden doing a bit weeding, clearing away leaves, digging up the beds and planting a small tree. I’ve found that gardening is a time when I can listen to (and enjoy) podcasts.

When not outside, I’ve been wallowing in some ‘comfort tv’, namely ‘Downton Abbey‘ – I know, I never watched it when it was on over 10 years ago, just enjoying it now in my own time!

The gym is currently unbearably busy with new year enthusiasts – it probably isn’t really that full but I’ve been used to it being quieter, so am looking forward to things calming down when people start breaking their NY resolutions!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the first numbers for 2022:

I saved 18% of my net salary.  The above includes £69.62 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I offloaded my holding in Hipgnosis Songs (SONG) for a small loss (a couple of quid) – the recent Spotify/Neil Young incident has shown that the whims/control of song artists represent an added unforeseen risk/variable in this investment that I’m not comfortable with (Hipgnosis owns 50% of Young’s worldwide rights).

I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to take a stance in accordance to their values, I’d just rather not lose any money over it!

Funds from the sale were used to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Ouch – is this finally the end of the longest bull market? It’s all looking pretty disastrous on the stock markets front.

Energy prices, inflation, interest rates, tax hikes, Russia v Ukraine, any (or all) of these might be the reason for the tanking stocks.

Or none of the above, just people being people. The question is, how long will these depressed markets go on for?

I’m just going to (try to) keep calm and carry on investing, despite my Future Fund plunging to £225,515, down 3% YTD.

Well if anything, I guess it makes the graph look interesting!

Dividends and Other Income

Hurrah for dividends when stock prices are plummeting:

I received £343.57, of which £290.26 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

Here’s what the graph looks like:

Good to see income received in January finally breach the £300 mark. At the end of 2021, I had been quietly confident about dividends continuing to rise in 2022, but perhaps I was a tad optimistic, in light of the wobbling markets. Let’s see what happens anyway.

Matched Betting (MB)

I was all for diving back into this side hustle but have just been spending my free time reading, listening to podcasts and watching tv. In order to make any money on this, I need to spend time on it but I’m struggling with motivation. Maybe next month!

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

Here’s how I did this first month:

Not a lot to see yet (note I didn’t start at zero with my Emergency Funds goal).

I think I might do ok on the non-fiction reading front for once – got two books on the go right now so watch this space.

Dividend income has started off on target so looks promising, considering January has historically been a low income month.

Useless

I’m still advising various companies of my change of address – I hadn’t considered how many companies I’d have to contact.

Most changes have been easy to do by phone (or online if I had an online account), but  I must give special mention to Natwest, who get this month’s ‘Most Useless Award’.

After going through the usual security details, I was informed that my address couldn’t be updated over the phone (why not, when one of the security details was to confirm my old address!?) and that I had to make the changes online. A link was emailed to me to register online.

This should have been straight forward but no, I needed a pin to activate the online registration and this had to be posted to me.

Yes, really.

I’m expecting something to say that I will have to send my confirmation by carrier pigeon!

It seems ridiculous to believe that all legacy banks will survive in the digital age.

Anyway, on that note, hope your January was a good one.

[*referral/affiliate link]

20 thoughts on “January 2022 Savings, plus other updates

  1. When I moved a few years ago, I can’t recall NatWest being difficult but their procedures may have changed…something to be aware of when I move later this year (fingers crossed), so thanks for the advance warning. (I think before I did it via the online banking).

    On that note, I would avidly read any post you do on the works you’ve had done to the house (House Move Pt 3) – you can leave out the builder’s bum details though :-). I’m curious to know what did, both what was necessary and what was preference, and how much it cost (if you don’t mind disclosing some detail). I recall you saying about having had some of the floors done but it sounds like you had other things attended to.

    NB congrats on the pay rise (or maybe you got a bonus this month)!

    • Hi NewInvestor

      I’m not sure I could flesh out the stuff that I’ve had done on the house to make it into a part #3 post but in brief, the major stuff I had done (with parts + labour costs in descending order):
      – fitted wardrobes (sliding doors, covering full back wall of bedroom) – £2150
      – fitted carpets (living room, stairs and landing) £1000
      – all rooms/ceilings/skirting boards painted – £800
      – various electrical stuff (new shower and rail fittings, fitted bathroom extractor fan, ceiling lights, garden security light, all power sockets replaced) – £600
      – floor tiles fitted in porch – £315
      – locks changed £170
      – kitchen extractor fan motor replacement £170

      Total – £5205

      I’d say most was necessary. The electrical (apart from kitchen fan) and painting were done by friends in the industry so I had “mates’ rates”, plus they sorted out extra bits I spotted, ie ‘while you’re here, can you just sort out…?’

      I had no real idea how much it would all cost, so I totally blew my budget, hence the feeling that I was just bleeding cash!

      Cheers, but the bonus isn’t due until March, trying not to think about it until it’s in my account!

      • Thanks for the quick response, Weenie. And that’s exactly the sort of detail I had in mind.

        Yes, that electrical work at mates’ rates is very cheap, as is the painting. At the other end of the scale, I never thought a fitted wardrobe would be that expensive. Eek! I’m out of touch.

        • Budget fitted wardrobes can be half the price but I splashed out on mid-range bespoke with a local guy who came highly recommended and he did a superb job, so it was worth paying extra.

      • I wish I had some mates who could do these kind of jobs for me. Sadly I have to try and find tradesmen that will quote and not rip me off.

        I am currently trying to find some recommendations, the last electrician was found via a friend.

        Glad you have had the work completed quickly so can focus on settling in.

  2. Nice update @Weenie. Good to see all the house is going well and you’ve got a pay rise. You are a great inspiration to ignore the noise, and carry on putting money in! My portfolio has gone down 4% this month. I’ve looked, suspect in a previous life I would have tinkered and sold and changed. Not this time. Can’t say I’m *that* bothered – slow and steady, long term, diverse holdings and assets. Repeat, repeat, repeat. All I’ve done is upped cash holdings really.

    Here’s the thing with Covid now – we just need to get on with it, I think. Personally, I don’t think we live by fear or overprotection now. On the assumption that most sensible and rational people are now triple-jabbed, the severity of the impacts of the virus are dropping in most cases – as you say, mild, flu-like symptoms. There comes a point, after two years, the impacts of other factors (economy, mental health and uncertainty and the knock-on effects of this – I know I for one have found it difficult, as have most people!) I’m of the opinion we must now outweigh the pandemic with all the other factors. (I’m certainly no Government apologist, definitely listen to scientists more than politicians!)

    Thanks again for the update and take care.

    • Hi JDW

      Thanks, it’s great to hear that I’m providing a little inspiration to ignore the noise – I can’t pretend that I’m not worrying or a little anxious but I know that panicking will do so much more harm! Slow and steady and consistency is the key!

      Agree, we just need to get on with Covid – apart from the travelling abroad aspect, my life is pretty much back to normal now. Financially and mentally, I have come away from the past two years unscathed but as you say, not everyone has been so fortunate. With the rising fuel prices, rising inflation, rising taxes and an incompetent government (with no viable alternative leader or opposition), it seems like we are lurching from one disaster to another. Just have to grit our teeth and carry on as best as we can.

  3. I love the little submarine on the graph, and your attitude towards the squiggle down in your net wealth. Some day it will be “dive dive dive” no more 😉

    Your updates are so cheery. They remind me of my early investing days before everything got so serious. 🙂

    Glad you’re enjoying some peace in your new house!

    • Cheers TI!

      I use the emojis to keep it all light-hearted and cheery – I can save the serious stuff for when I’m closer to pulling the plug on working and stressing about relying on my investments to live on!

  4. I’m not really into things that go viral as I’m not on most social media so don’t really tend to even know about them, but Wordle is such great fun! Especially as it’s something that makes you think a little rather than some viral Tik Tok dance 😛

    The inbox fatigue is very real and seems to be worse coming back after Christmas for some reason even though most other people are also off. I suppose I work with a company solely based in China too so their festival periods aren’t the same as ours so they’re still working, but I still find emails from my U.K/ European based colleagues over that period; I just want to reply ‘please take some time off, it really can wait’ :).

    • Hi AMM

      The number of times I’ve clicked on a TikTok video is barely in the double figures and most of those times were by accident!

      Yes, still loving Wordle and hope it will stay free for a long time!

      Same here, some of the countries in the region I cover for at work do not celebrate the same festive period so my inbox is always full this time of year. I’m just glad I turned down a works mobile phone so nobody can contact me!

  5. There is an alternative in music publishing to Hipgnosis and that is penny share One Media.Whereas Hipgnosis CEO has paid big money for a famous artist catalogue like Neil Young One Media’s CEO goes for buying cheap one hit wonders like Candi Staton ‘Young Hearts Run Free’.Despite the problems with Spotify i like Music Publishing as a growth industry and hold One Media as i prefer the strategy of One Hit Wonders .Find with many popular artists that they are often generational and many of their hits no one plays anymore outside of their generation whereas one hit wonders are often timeless as with ‘Young Hearts Run Free’

    • Hi Simon

      Thanks for the heads up on One Media, I will do a little research but I do like a one hit wonder – those artists would not be kicking off to be taken off Spotify!

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