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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.