August 2022 Savings, plus other updates

I’ve not had a proper break from work in a while and my brain was in dire need of some R&R so I decided to use up some holidays this month.

For the first few days, I had absolutely nothing planned (apart from a dental check up) and just relaxed by pottering around the house and garden, catching up on my reading (thus achieving one of my goals) and binge-watching Netflix (finally finished ‘Orange is the New Black‘).

The next few days, I met up with friends, colleagues and family for coffee/lunch and even ventured out for some (intentional) clothes shopping. Despite picking up a couple of items in the sales, I remembered how much I really dislike shopping for clothes so I shan’t be doing that again any time soon unless there is an absolute wardrobe crisis!

I squeezed in several gym sessions in the mornings and it was nice to have the place quiet and mostly to myself. Tried skipping at @KidCocoa’s suggestion and I think my calves have to get used to this new exercise as they were well sore afterwards! Ouch! But yep, very good for a bit of different cardio so I’ll work at it.

Anyway, that week was probably a sample of what retirement might be like for me and I liked it!

The rest of the month was just a bit of a blur with work and heatwaves.

So, how did I get on with my numbers in August?

I saved 18.3% of my net salary. The above includes £90.18 from doing Prolific surveys. I can see things going downhill from here due to increased cost of living but we’ll see how I get on.

Shares and Investment Trusts

When I ended my Dogs of the FTSE experiment I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with the portfolio at the time.

Anyway, I decided to offload some of them (for an overall profit) and used the resulting funds to buy iShares FTSE UK Dividend ETF. This ETF holds the stocks I sold, so now I have fewer positions to keep track of but I should still be getting some semi-decent dividends. For those interested, the stocks I got rid of were MNG, RIO, VOD, BHP and BATS.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund

I’m glad I wasn’t celebrating too much with the rise in markets last month as they inevitably wobbled back down. Fortunately, not all the gains made recently were lost.

My Future Fund dropped to £230,325 by month end and if I listen to the ‘noise’, it sounds like it might continue to spiral in a downwards trend.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividend income continues to roll in regardless.

A good month, with me reaping £735.09, of which £477.20 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.  All dividends were reinvested.

Here’s the updated graph:

Goals Update

One goal in the bag – woo hoo!

Finished my 4th non-fiction book to achieve one of my goals! The book was ‘Banking On It’, the account of how Anne Boden founded Starling Bank and the challenges she encountered. It was a fascinating and interesting read. Really chuffed that I can just crack on with my usual reading fodder, although I do have another non-fiction book lined up.

Not looking so great on some of the other goals but I’ll keep at it.

Linguistics Gymnastics

I was tidying/deleting some web browser bookmarks and came across one for Duolingo.

I couldn’t even remember ever visiting the website so it came as a big surprise to find that I had created an account in September 2013!  It appears that I signed up but  didn’t get round to starting any lessons!

Anyway, better late than never! I reckon I can spare a few minutes a day to dust off the cobwebs in the linguistic part of my brain.  However, rather than go for a brand new (and tough) language, I’ve opted for French.

Not saying that French is an easy language, but back in the day, I got an A level in it, plus I did a couple of years of Business French when I was at uni. That was decades ago, I obviously haven’t kept it up, so have pretty much forgotten nearly all of it.

Anyway, just a few lessons in and it’s very much a refresher course, taught in a fun and engaging way, with animations and gamification.

Thus far, I haven’t really learned anything new, so to be serious as I progress, I’ll need to be making notes and practising on my own but I will see how things go.

I’m just taking my time so I don’t steam through it all madly and then get bored. There are apparently 10 levels in this French course so it will take me a while to plough through it but I will give it a good go.

Anyway, am on a 57-day streak (logging in every day and doing some lessons/practising) so pretty chuffed with that – will see how long I can keep that going for!

After this, maybe Chinese/Mandarin – that one will be extremely tough and challenging.

Anyone else learning/learned a language via Duolingo and did you keep up the language afterwards?

15 thoughts on “August 2022 Savings, plus other updates

  1. I went on a 3/4 month streak once with Duolingo with Italian, and then a little bit with German a few years back, but it didn’t last.

    Kinda similar concept to the gym for me, if I do the same thing every time I get bored and stop going. I need to mix it up and do different things. Duolingo didn’t have enough variety or sticking power for anything longer term.

    • Hey AMM
      That’s still pretty good going. I’m at 2 months now and am still enjoying it. I see that there are podcasts so I might check those out to see how they go, to change things around.

  2. I’m up to an 850 odd day streak with Duolingo Welsh. Sadly, it hasn’t turned me into a confident speaker, but understanding of vocab is pretty good. Probably far more useful using it like you are as a refresher.

    • Hi C
      Wow, well done to you on your epic streak! I didn’t even think of checking out Welsh on Duolingo. I studied it at school up to pre-GCSE level and can still remember a few words/phrases, though really basic stuff like rydw i’n hoffi coffi. I’m going to mention to my family and one of them is BOUND to try it out! Thanks and keep at it!

  3. I always hate when the market drops at the end of the month because it tanks that net worth every time I track it haha (I keep an excel sheet updated with the last day of every month). Oh well, more time to buy stocks on sale in the long run. Sounds like retirement will suit you just fine when the time comes!

    • Hi Impersonal Finances
      Tell me about it – sometimes I feel tempted to not use the last day of the month so the figures look a bit better, but I’d only be kidding myself! So I use the last (working) day too to show consistent numbers, bad or good!

  4. On the subject of reading I recently received a free copy (from Ruffer) of The Price of Time, The real story of interest by Edward Chancellor.
    What an interesting read, particularly relevant to the shenanigans of the banking system and the ‘printing of money’.
    Well worth a look.

  5. Bonsoir mademoiselle. Good to hear you’ve been mixing up your gym sessions, although as we all do, overdoing it on the first go by the sounds of things. Hopefully you enjoyed it enough to incorporate it ongoing into your regular routine. It took me 5 long months of almost daily perseverance to get to an acceptable standard for me (slow learner), so set your mind on doing it for the long haul if you want to master it, and once you do it’s so rewarding. There are loads of good youtube instructors out there if you need tips and guidance.

    For me, i think the next big new educational challenge is going to be learning the guitar. After a couple of weeks on/off consideration, I’m still trying to determine whether to go left or right handed, so if i see this through, sounds like it will take a lifetime. Ces’t la vie.

    • Hi KC

      Yes, I’ll keep at the skipping, although I can only do it at the gym in the weekends when there are fewer crowds of people so more space. I tried skipping in the garden but the paving is damaging to my rope so didn’t want to continue. I’ll check out some youtubers once I’ve gotten into some sort of consistency with my skipping.

      I believe you have FIRE’d (from a comment on Monevator?) so congrats and good luck with taking on your new hobbies and interest. I only ever thought there was ‘one’ way to play a guitar and didn’t realise it was optional! I’ve let my ukulele playing drop so want to take that up again at some point. Bonne chance, mon ami, with whatever you choose!

  6. Hi Weenie. I’m a big fan of Duolingo too. I’m on a 1197 day streak. Not quite sure how that happened, but it’s a non-negotiable in my day. I’m doing Spanish and am slowly ploughing my way through the tree. I’m on unit 7 of 10 now, but it takes ages if you get each skill up to level 5. Let’s not even talk about legiondary status which became a thing quite recently. I love their podcasts too. Aside from Duolingo I watch Spanish programmes on Netflix. I’m 113 episodes through Betty en NY which has been suitably trashy to keep me entertained.
    Well done on your French and keep up the good work.
    Glad you enjoyed your taster of a FIRE life.

    • Hey SS

      I recalled you were learning Spanish but wasn’t sure you were doing it on Duolingo – wow, well done on that stupendous streak! I’d be well happy if I got anywhere close to that sort of dedication! Yes, I’ve been working through the legendary statuses too, which I’m happy to do for practice/exp although as I’m not a Plus member, they use up all my gems. I try not to skip levels as I want to get all the exp and progress up the leagues (currently in the Amethyst League – you must be in the Diamond league?). I’ve tried one of their podcasts so far and did enjoy it so will try to check out a few more.

      I’ve been watching Money Heist on Netflix – I believe that’s Spanish but I watch it with dubbed! I guess when I become more proficient, I will seek out French speaking programmes.

  7. Thanks for your update weenie. I think it’s interesting you saying about sampling what retirement might be like. About 3 years ago or so. I had 2 weeks off for a stay cation and I kind of tried to simulate what it could be like, impossible on one level of course as you know work is still there coming back soon but still interesting to see what you’ll get up to. I also have at the back of my mind though what’s good for the first 3 months might change afterwards but none the less, I enjoyed my sample too hehe. My portfolio is at £237k so not soo dissimilar from yours, I wrote off some crypto punt losses recently too.


    • Hi TFJ
      Agree, the ‘holiday effect’ of retirement will wear out at some point I guess but I’m looking forward to experiencing those first 3 months (or longer!) in any case!
      Yeah, portfolio not looking great, continuing to go down but there’s not a lot to do except to keep on investing!

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