January 2024 Savings, plus other updates

I kind of ‘lost’ two weeks in January while I recovered from my surgery.

The procedure went well; painkillers sent my head into woo-woo land and antihistamines I had to take to counter an allergy to antibiotics caused such drowsiness that I was just shuffling around the house like the Walking Dead for the best part of a week – am so grateful that my sister looked after me.

When I returned home, I just spent most of the time sleeping. My freezer was full of food I’d prepared weeks before which only required heating up in the microwave and visiting friends topped up my milk, eggs and fruit.

As I came off the painkillers and antihistamines and my head became clearer, I spent my days reading, sketching/drawing and playing video games.  A prelude to how I will spend my days in retirement? Evenings were spent watching TV, nothing with intricate plotlines though, my head was still a bit slow!

I’m still on the mend, not quite 100%, can now drive short distances without too much discomfort and am now back at work (I took nearly 3 weeks off and eased myself back by just doing a few hours a day last week). However, I’m already tired of the emails beginning with “Hi Weenie, how are you? I know you’ve been off but…<insert big piece of work which is apparently really urgent>”. Who says retirement isn’t a worthy goal, lol?

Anyway, the good news is that test results came back and I’m in the clear – what a huge relief.

And on that positive note, how did my numbers look for the first month of 2024?

I saved 17% of my net salary.  The above includes £44.35 from doing Prolific surveys and a £10 charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A small wobble at the start of the month and then a slight recovery had my Future Fund ending the month at £249,583.56.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent start to the year for dividends:

I received £480.54, of which £399.07 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.

This month’s dividends would have been enough to cover the monthly cost of my groceries, TV licence, broadband, council tax, water bill and gym membership.

Here’s what my ISA income dividend graph looks like:

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, there was a carry-over from last year).

The book I read off my bookshelf was ‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue‘ by VE Schwab – not one I bought, so it must have come from a family member, but it was a good read.

What Else?

Whilst much of the month was spent recuperating, I did actually get some things done, including:

  • Filing my self-assessment tax return
  • Finally sorting out my will
  • Switching my broadband deal, saving £20 a month

I don’t normally leave it until the last minute to do my tax return but anyway, I got it done in time. With the will and broadband, I’m happy to get two things crossed off my to-do list in a month where I thought I would achieve nothing.

Anyway, I’ll end here and hope your January was a good one.

Oh and for those who celebrate it, Happy Chinese New Year this weekend! Kung Hei Fat Choi!

[*referral/affiliate link]

24 thoughts on “January 2024 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Haha nothing beats the feigned sympathy of a request email after an absence. Glad to hear you’re on the mend–and it sounds like you put those days to good use! I’d love to take a couple (non-surgical) weeks for video games, reading, and plotless TV!

    • Thanks IF – I plan on taking some days off, perhaps next month/Easter just so I can spend some more time reading, playing video games and watching plotless tv, it was very enjoyable!

  2. Great to hear you’re on the mend and well done for taking the full time off, I seem to recall that you weren’t too sure about it. Mentally file away those annoying work emails and use them for extra retirement incentive!

  3. Hi Weenie,
    Glad to hear you’re on the mend. As a homeowner and a stock market investor, I just wanted to get your take on something. I’m about to purchase my first flat. Not sure whether to go big or small with the deposit. I could put down a 50% deposit, but at the risk of losing most of the money I’ve invested in index funds. What do you value more: low mortgage payments but a depleted Future Fund or higher mortgage payments but your Future Fund mostly in tact? I guess there’s always the compromise of falling somewhere in the middle. I won’t take this as advice!

    • Hey Tom

      Thanks for the kind wishes.

      In terms of the size of deposit for your flat, you probably have to factor in time, as in how long before you need access to your Future/FIRE Fund? If still many years to go, which will allow you time to rebuild what was taken out, then go with taking a chunk out for the deposit. Then there’s the mortgage interest rate to consider – I reckon we’ve probably peaked and that mortgage rates shouldn’t go much higher but they will never go back down to the ultra low 0.5% – 1% we were enjoying a couple of years ago. Probably around 3.5-4% will be the norm – over the long-term, investment in a global tracker should likely beat this. Like you say, something in the middle is probably the best way to go! Good luck!

  4. Hi Weenie,

    I’m so pleased you’ve got the all clear, what a relief, and extra kudos for taking three and not two weeks off.

    Good that you got some downtime, and some reading in. I’ve nearly finished my 5th book for this year so far, “Open” Andre Agassi’s autobiography, and it’s absolutely brilliant (no need to be a fan or particularly care about tennis).

    I hope there isn’t too much “Hey Weenie… I hope you’re feeling better…now here’s task tsunami coming your way…” type emails. Extended time off certainly gets things into perspective.

    • Thanks Starla.

      Agassi used to be one of my favourite tennis players and that he married one of my other favourite tennis players (Steffi Graf) probably makes for an interesting read. I think I mentioned to you that I rarely read autobiographies, although there is one on my shelf which I will attempt this year!

      Work is busy as I’m dealing with a backlog (there was only so much my boss and colleagues could cover) but that project is over now, so I can get back to the day job. However, I think I’m being placed on another project… I’m more aware of my limits now and will definitely be putting health before work!

  5. Hey John

    I’ve been doing Prolific surveys since 2021 and I often get surveys direct to me as I meet certain demographic criteria. I’m sure there are surveys which you do which screen me out and vice versa. Also many surveys are follow-ons – I did surveys during the pandemic and every so often, I get follow up surveys about Covid, vaccines, working from home etc. I also get many surveys which are about work environment, decision making etc.

    So I do as many as I can, regardless of pay, but none which are going to take more than say 10 minutes to do. I also do mostly ones for desktop only, don’t seem to be quick enough for the mobile only surveys! On a good month, I usually get between £50-£60.

    Make sure you have completed the ‘All about You’ section so if you fit a certain group they want to survey, you will be considered for it. Good luck!

  6. Glad you have the all clear and also that you took the full time off to recover. After all your long hours it is time for you to have some ‘me time’ and let work take the back burner.

    Time to focus on health and recover. Hope you find some great new hobbies or rekindle some old ones this year. Take care and don’t work too hard!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.