August 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Well, the big highlight this month is that my Future Fund reached £250,000!

Woohoo, I’m a quarter of a million millionaire 🙂 🙂 !

I’d planned on doing a separate post dedicated to celebrating this milestone but decided to relegate it to just a highlight in my usual update because once my house purchase goes through, I’ll be withdrawing a chunk of cash, so in my mind, I’m not really there yet.

And yes, the house purchase business rumbles on – a big post about it once it’s all over. Still so much to do.

I waiver between being really excited/stressed about it and working madly on decluttering etc, to days of complete apathy where I just binge-watch tv or play video games because I can’t face it all.

Fortunately, all that needs doing by me (for solicitor etc) is up to date, it’s the sorting of the house and my/the family’s belongings which is completely doing my head in. But I will get there of course.

Anyway, I’ve finally been successful growing some tomatoes (cherry) –  so chuffed with these, which have been great in salads:

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

I saved just 13.5% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win!

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I’ve been too busy/distracted to know what the markets were up to this month but whatever, there was a decent jump and my Future Fund ended up at £250,171!

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends:

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July 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Meant to get this update out over the weekend but just couldn’t get round to it.

Some recent highlights:

  • Been enjoying a fantastic summer of sport – first the highs (and lows) of the Euros football, then Wimbledon tennis and then, one of the reasons I didn’t get my blogging act together over the weekend was because I’ve been too busy catching up on the Olympics. Love it all, c’mon Team GB! I’ve even been watching some of The Hundred cricket (men and women) – finally, cricket scores I can understand, haha!
  • Also been enjoying eating (and having a laugh at – see end of post 🙂 !) some of the veggies I’ve grown – spring onions and courgettes have been flavour of the month. Got some tomatoes on the go too so greenfingers crossed those will be ok seeing as I failed utterly with them last year. Carrots didn’t fare so well this year sadly. But yes, it all seems to taste better when you grow them yourself!

My spring onions have sprung!

  • I’ve been back to the office. As mentioned previously, I can continue to WFH 100% but I’ve chosen to go in (once or twice a week) to see my colleagues/other people. I was very unproductive on the days I was in – seems like I will have to learn to work amid the distractions and noise of an open office again –  but it was very nice to see everyone. Interesting to note how ‘back to the office’ has affected different people, ranging from utter joy and relief in some, to (sadly) panic attacks in others. One of my friends is back in the office 5 days a week again – the novelty has worn off already but it’s a new job so she’ll see how it goes.
  • Had a couple of social outings with friends – I would love to keep the table service and not have to ever queue at the bar again!
  • My nephew’s recent birthday present has given us a new and somewhat topical game to play on our weekly boardgame nights:

There was a lot of pressure to win this one!

  • And finally, I have found a house and my offer has been accepted! I won’t say any more right now, but the next few months will be rather busy. I feel both relieved and anxious. I’ve started my big decluttering exercise – 24 bags to the charity shop so far (not all mine, some of them ‘family’ stuff) and it’s barely made a dent… Suffice to say I’ve also just started reading Marie Kondo’s book for some inspiration… (thanks to SavingNinja for the copy).

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings in July?

I saved 13.5% of my net salary. House-purchasing fees (solicitor, conveyancing etc) means I need to put aside a chunk of cash to cover these (and any other expenses) so my savings rate will have to suffer until this is all sorted. There goes my goal out of the window but needs must.

The above includes top ups £37.03 from doing surveys with Prolific.

Shares and Investment Trusts

One new investment, I bought some shares in Aberdeen Diversified Income & Growth Trust, another investment trust as part of the dividend-paying part of my portfolio.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Apparently the markets were down this month due to share sell offs, but my Future Fund didn’t get the memo and ended up at £244,342, so continuing in the right direction.

However, I now know that I will definitely have to use some of these funds for the house purchase so there will be a chunk taken out, which will sadly mess up my nice graph and likely have impact on my FIRE plan, just when I’m so close to my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

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“Freedom” Dogs of the FTSE 2021/22

My last Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio didn’t do too badly despite volatile markets during uncertain times.

Things got a bit hairy on occasion, with the markets all over the place, but I continue to follow the strategy as an experiment, documenting the bad times as well as the good.

As another reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced, prior to purchase]

The Dogs of the FTSE strategy is based on the original Dogs of the Dow strategy.

Note that this is my ‘fun’ portfolio and represents less than 1.5% of my Future Fund.

New Pooches

Time to set up my new Dogs of the FTSE 2021/22 portfolio! [I set this up in June but only getting round to posting about it now]

So, in accordance with the strategy:

Three Dogs Set Free (Sold):

    • Anglo American (AAL)
    • Standard Life Aberdeen (was SLA, now ABDN)
    • United Utilities (UU)

Total received from sales = £911.16

Total Dividends received = £35.79

Profit from original investment = £172.77 (28.6% profit)

Last time round, I had to shut my eyes and grudgingly push the ‘sell’ button to ditch loss-making stocks – it was rather easier this time!

No trading fees applied as I’m using Freetrade* for this portfolio.

Sign up via my link to get us both a free share worth £3 – £200.

Ok, next, in accordance with the strategy:

Three Dogs Rounded Up (Bought): 

    • Persimmon plc (PSN) – was in my Dogs portfolio 2019/20
    • SSE plc (SSE) – was in my Dogs portfolio 2017/18
    • Polymetal International plc (POLY) – a brand new Dog, never even heard of this company before!

So here’s how the Dogs of the FTSE Portfolio 2021/22 looks as at today:

A sea of red at the moment but that’s the way of the markets right now. Let’s see how they fare after a year.

I will continue with quarterly updates as before so those interested can see how the portfolio is doing.

Until next time, keep calm and carry on investing.

June 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Ah, the great British summer, dithering like a bumblebee between bouts of heatwaves and non-stop rain – I wouldn’t have it any other way! 😉

So how did I get on with my savings in June?

I saved just 13.5% of my net salary. I realised that it was probably a better idea to put funds to one side ready to cover future house purchasing costs like conveyancing, solicitor etc, rather than add much more to my Future Fund (for the moment). It does mess up my goals somewhat but that’s the way of things.

Hurray for unexpected income – the above includes top ups from another £25 premium bond win (yay!), £20.19 from doing surveys with Prolific, £100 from winning the football predictions at work, £11.64 from WeBuybooks (started decluttering!) and £55.05 from affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets appeared to go mostly up for me this month.

At the end of June, my Future Fund was at £241,446, so a nice increase despite barely adding any capital this month.

Grinding ever closer to my next milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Another decent month for dividends:

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