February 2024 Savings, plus other updates

As mentioned in my last post and as highly recommended by various commenters, I’ve been tracking all my spending.

January was what I expected, but partway through February, I realised that there was definitely going to be variance between what I think I spend and what I actually spend.

It appears that lifestyle creep has happened, despite my efforts!

While I’ve been pretty good at buttoning down my household bills and differentiating between ‘need’ and ‘want’ purchases,  I’ve not been so great with “social expenses”. Lunches, coffees, a swift pint after work (when I’m in the office) with friends and colleagues all add up – I didn’t even think I was that active socially but obviously enough so that these costs need looking at!

A big one will likely be gifts for friends and family – some expenses have been tracked (with receipts, credit card statements), but for some reason, I seem to have glossed over the various gifts of money (for birthdays, Christmas, Chinese New Year) to my family (and I have a big family). I’ve probably lost sight of them due to the transactions just being a bank transfer here and there, probably not helped by me actively using  different current accounts simultaneously. Anyway, I’ll see what the damage is by the end of the year and hope I’m not in for too much of a shock!

February’s payslip brought a nice surprise with a bonus payment for my part in completing that project I was on. I’d forgotten about it as I had other more important things on my mind and my eligibility for it had come while I was battling with long hours and intense work activity so it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind.

I split the bonus across my ISA, SIPP, mortgage overpayment and emergency funds.

A bit left over I used to buy some small items I’d wanted (not needed 🙂 ) for my garden and kitchen.

So how did that bumper pay make my numbers look for February?

Obviously, this is way, way above my usual (much more modest) amount, but I saved 51.4% of my net salary. It’s a one-off!  The above includes £63.61 from doing Prolific surveys and a £5 charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I finally sold my holding in Persimmon (PSN), one of the stocks I’d kept after running my Dogs of the FTSE experiment. I used the money to increase my holding in a (fairly) new holding in MP Evans Group plc (MPE), a ‘sustainable’ stock I’d dipped my toe in with a few quid last year, but which I will add to now as part of my income paying portfolio.

Other than that, no new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

I need to do an update on my investing strategy but been too distracted.

Future Fund 

There was an uptick in the markets but admittedly, the rocket is only really there courtesy of my bumper capital injection this month. As at the end of Feb, my Future Fund stood at £253,452.87.

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividends:

I received £449, of which £265.11 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.

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

Goals Update

Here’s how I’m doing:

What Else?

The days are getting brighter and I’m looking forward to doing some tasks around the garden, pruning, weeding, planting some vegetable seeds and even mowing the lawn! Gosh, when did I start sounding so old!?

Am back at the gym proper now, though not back on my usual weights, might take a few months to get back to where I was as I don’t want to hurt/injure myself.

I did a spot of DIY, replacing the cheap padlock hasp that had come with my shed and which had gone all rusty.  Was quite chuffed with that as not done it before.  That’s probably the limit of my DIY skills though, haha, up there with putting together small IKEA/Argos furniture and painting the garden fences!

And that’s it – hope you all had a great February!

[*referral/affiliate link]

13 thoughts on “February 2024 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Nice progress.

    I wouldn’t neat myself up about the uncontained spending – you are still making considerable monthly savings and every graph is pointing in the right direction.

    Although, my stocks performed with turbo boosters in February, up something like 4%.
    Did you miss out, or used different dates?

    Good luck!

    • Thanks GFF.
      I did see a spike mid-Feb but this dropped a little somewhat by 29 Feb. I’m also UK-heavy on the income paying side of my portfolio and that’s been pretty flat still (down overall even!).

  2. Yes the spending tracking is very revealing. I had to baton down the hatches on “just nipping to the corner shop to get some lunch etc”. Now I bulk buy lunch ingredients (for wfh) and freeze. I still get lunch, but cheaper and better. I.e. I never buy face cleansers, a 500g tub of organic coconut oil for £20, lasts 2 years, job done (cruelty free too). Same result, cheaper, more money to channel to important stuff.

    I’m also averaging about £60pm on Prolific now. Thanks for the tip.

    Good to hear you’re back at the gym and I hope you’re feeling much better now. Weights are super important at our stage of the game.

    Maybe you’ll do a budget special, if there’s anything to help us FIRE’ers

    • Hi Starla

      I’m fine with my WFH lunches, all part of my usual weekly groceries – it’s the 1 or 2 days a week when I go into the office that have increased the costs, with this now being more of a social event. I guess I could mark this down as a ‘work’ cost which I won’t have when I’m no longer working but I do need to keep tracking of my spending in this area.

      Nice going on the Prolific – I think this is a nice little ‘side hustle’ which doesn’t require a lot of effort with decent rewards. Did you ever sign up for Research for Finance too? Surveys are invite only, not very regular but always worth doing when you get them.

      I am feeling much better thanks, almost back to normal and yes, weights are a big part of my routine and I’m aiming to get back to level I was a few months ago.

      Not sure anyone needs budget tips from me lol – I’m learning myself from you lot! 🙂

      • I haven’t signed up for Research for Finance, I’ll look into that, thank you. I meant “The Budget” (I should have been clearer) as in Jeremy Hunts responsibility, and definitely not yours!

  3. Hi Weenie, years ago I calculated that, over a year, I was underestimating my spending and budget by about 15% versus what I was actually managing to get through. It was similar stuff to yourself – the odd meal out, a few drinks here and there, a house repair I hadn’t seen coming, new tyres for the car….something seemed to come up every month that cost me £100 or more that I hadn’t covered. So I started budgeting a “catch all” amount every month that I put into a savings account, and was about 15% of my monthly budget. That gave me a decent sleeve for any unexpected costs. Obviously that came from money I would have otherwise invested, but I had to grudgingly admit that it was needed before things got out of control!

    • Thanks Jim.

      I think if my own underestimation is around 15%, I can cope with that – much more than that, then it’s probably back to the drawing board for my drawdown plans, haha!

      Your ‘catch all’ amount makes sense, the unseen (though half expected) costs for the house etc will need to be accounted for and I will need to continue to keep some sort of emergency fund topped up. My cash allocation is still woefully small, which needs to be address these next couple of years.

  4. I recently started using money hub. Our expenses were quite a lot higher than I had realised. Around 25% more in fact. A mixture of lifestyle creep and inflation but particularly the latter. For example, my mental groceries budget was genuinely what we used to spend only a few years ago. But food inflation has been quite significant these past few years so that figure had become well past it’s sell by date.

    • Hi Northern Greg
      Yes, inflation and lifestyle creep are a deadly combo! Tracking my groceries has helped make me shop for my food smarter but yes, I too had previously been using a ‘mental’ budget which was not anywhere near actual spend!

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.