I’ve been a sun-worshipper since my teens and like nothing better than to relax and bask in the sun for hours (with sun lotion on), listening to my favourite tunes or reading a book, but that heatwave we had this month was a little too much, even for me! Phew!
It was so tempting to WFH in my bikini and just not put my camera on but I didn’t want to risk me forgetting and joining a video call! It was times like these that I missed the office air con, which I usually complain about being too cold! And no, I’m not one of those who ‘works in the garden’ as in any case, 1) the wifi signal isn’t strong enough and 2) I can’t work with just the laptop screen and need a second (bigger) screen to do my job properly.
Was madly trying to keep my plants alive in the heat – many are in pots so suffered a lot more than the ones in the beds/borders. I’m always reluctant to use the hosepipe so was doing some extra ‘weight training’ by lugging the watering can around!
Also, trust my sister to go away during this particular hot period as I’ve been tasked to water her plants (indoor and garden). As her house alarm is linked to her phone, she knows how many times I’ve been over, so I can’t skimp on my duties, haha!
This month, it wasn’t only the temperatures which were soaring but also my expenses.
I had a couple of social outings but the big expenses were car repairs – a few items marked as ‘Amber’ on my MOT in previous years turned to ‘Red’ so had to be fixed in order for my car to pass. The ensuing £648 was mostly paid for by emergency fund, so that’s me not reaching that goal I set this year.
Reasons to be Cheerful
The news continues to be filled with doom and gloom, so I look on the bright side:
- My sister who lives in Singapore came over to visit – it was so good to see her and my niece in the flesh after over 3 years and my little niece has grown so much!
- Summer sports – first the tennis, then the Women’s Football Euros – this is the first time I’ve watched most of the matches of the women’s tournament and I’ve really enjoyed it – what a win for the Lionesses! Have also been catching lots of the events from the Commonwealth Games – after spending a couple of hours watching women’s T20 cricket, I think I can say this is another sport I will happily go to spectate.
- After numerous IVF treatments, my friend had a baby girl! ‘Geriatric’ Mum (as new mothers over 35 are referred to) and daughter are doing well and I can’t wait to see them both.
- Meeting another blogger – more on this later!
So, how did I get on with my numbers in the heat of July?
I saved 15.2% of my net salary. The above includes £96.57 from doing Prolific surveys. As my social life continues to make up for lost-Pandemic time, my savings rate will suffer but hey ho, it’s important to enjoy my life and maintain friendships.
Shares and Investment Trusts
No changes here, I just topped up existing investments.
Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.
(Entire portfolio here)
Well, I wasn’t expecting this upon checking my portfolios!
My Future Fund climbed to £232,406 by month end. I’m now back to where I was at the beginning of the year. That is, if you don’t include new capital added so far this year.
On the graph, it looks like another ‘V’ shaped recovery. However, I’m not getting too hopeful, as this is likely just a false dawn and this bear market probably hasn’t quite finished with us yet by a long stretch.
Dividends and Other Income
A fairly average month for dividend income:
I received £311.99, of which £203.57 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.
Here’s the updated graph:
Matched Betting (MB)
Was too busy sweating in the heat and going out to do any MB this month so no profits (or losses!).
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 my goals look just past the midway stage:
Well the emergency funds goal is a no-go – even without the car repair, I think a combination of increasing cost of living and my social activities is having an impact.
Blogger meeting Blogger
I’ve met several FIRE bloggers face-to-face over the years but all of them have been UK-based.
So when the blogger LatestarterFIRE from Australia asked if I wanted to meet up with her as she was visiting the UK over the summer, there was really only one answer!
Our meet up was nearly derailed as she caught Covid upon arrival to the UK, but fortunately, she recovered quickly and we arranged to catch up early evening, after I finished work.
That afternoon, I was out meeting a friend for lunch and was just crossing the road around the corner from my office when somebody caught my eye and I was prompted to ask, “Um, excuse me but aren’t you…?”
Yep, it was only LatestarterFIRE, who just happened to be crossing the same road at the same time! What were the chances or probability of that happening!!?
I mean Manchester’s nowhere near as big as London but it’s hardly small! The timing was a little spooky and uncanny, but we both found it hilarious! It was just as well that as anonymous bloggers, we had sent each other selfies so we could recognise each other!
Anyway, after work, we met up again (at our actual arranged time!) and spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting and getting to know each other more – we kind of already knew some bits from reading each other’s blogs.
We had quite a lot in common and it was good to compare stories and experiences. To my somewhat embarrassment, LatestarterFIRE introduced me to a restaurant I wasn’t even aware of in my own home city, for which I’m very grateful for, as I’ll probably head back there again with my friends! (My excuse is that I don’t normally go to that part of the city!).
Anyway, she says she’ll likely be back in the UK again at some point so if she can fit me in with her travel plans, it would be great to catch up with her again.
And that’s it for this month. Hope you all had a good July and that your numbers finished higher like mine did!