Phone-free Day

I left my mobile phone at home the other day.

I only realised as I got out of my car at the tram stop. Although I had time to drive back to pick it up, I wanted to get into work early to crack on with stuff so I thought I’d go phone-free for the day.

I’m sure there are people breaking out into a cold sweat at the thought of being without their phones!

How did we get like this?

History

My first phone was the Nokia 1610. Nokia phones were what everyone wanted, back in the 90s and 00s. Very sturdy, with a battery which lasted for days. I think there were only around half a dozen telephone numbers stored in it as it still wasn’t very common for people to carry phones, not among my circles of friends anyway.

A) My first phone, the Nokia 1610; B) My last non-smart phone, the Nokia 6600 Slide (photos not to scale)

Over the years, I possessed various phones of other makes, including the Motorola Razr clam-shell, which was probably one of my all-time favourites, but I kept returning to Nokia.

In 2009, I switched to my first smartphone, a Blackberry Bold 9700. This was also the first contract phone I owned as I had previously only ever been PAYG (pay as you go).

Not Part of the Crowd

My friends and family all thought it was funny that I chose Blackberry when they had all gone for iPhones but I fell in love with the Blackberry keyboard and still love it. I had nothing against the iPhone but as I already had an iPod Touch and an iPod Nano, I thought I owned too many Apple products already!

I’m glad that I didn’t jump on that bandwagon anyway as I don’t have the urge to upgrade to the latest phone – I don’t mind that my Blackberry looks a bit chunky and seems a bit slow when browsing the net – what’s a few seconds?! It is a little annoying that new apps tend to be developed for iOS before Android but as mentioned before, I don’t mind waiting.

Phone-free Day

So back to my phone-free day – what did I miss?

  • 16 x Whatsapp messages
  • 1 x missed call
  • 1 x voicemail
  • 10 x emails (3 were spam)

That first hour of work, I felt a little anxious and kept thinking about not having my phone. However, as the day progressed, it was out of sight and out of mind.

I usually do a bit of matched betting* during my lunch hour on my phone but as I was on a bad run on the each way bets, I was glad to have the break.

The only thing I really missed was Whatsapp as that’s how I keep in touch with my family and close friends.

I didn’t miss anything else – not Twitter or Facebook. Or scanning blog posts.

As I still use my iPod for my music and use a mini Filofax for my diary, I guess that’s why I didn’t miss my phone so much in those respects. I don’t look at my phone when I’m at the gym so again, felt no loss when I went for my work out that evening.

Anyway, with no distractions, it felt like I was more productive at work, so perhaps I should have more phone-free days!

Would anyone else consider this or is your phone like an extension of your body which you can’t do without?

[*referral/affiliate link]

July 2018 Savings, plus other updates

So it was back down to earth again this month – back to work, back to a mix of sunshine and rain – a great British summer!

I’ve had my sister and nephew staying with me, spent a nice weekend with them, so while they’re visiting friends, I’ve been able to update the blog, do my numbers and also catch up on a bit of blog reading.

My fridge freezer finally arrived and so my kitchen is complete at last! However, I keep inadvertently going back to the old fridge which is now empty – I guess it will have to revert back to being my ‘beer fridge’!

Anyway, how did I do with my savings in July?

I saved 40.3%, which sees my average savings rate going down to 46.2%.  A little higher than expected but some costs are on my credit card which won’t be settled til next month.

The above savings was topped up with £64 matched betting profits (from last month), £50 premium bond win – woo hoo! 🙂 and £63.98 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all who signed up via my links!).

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 

The markets mostly went up for me this month and with the extra capital, my Future Fund now stands at £147,993, still steadily making progress towards my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Dogs of The FTSE – Q2 (2018)

It’s been around 6 months since I set up my second experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio, so it’s time for another quick update.

Note that this is not part of my main investing strategy, it’s just a ‘fun’ part of my portfolio but any dividends earned are reinvested.

So how have these unloved shares done?

As at close of trading on 20th July 2018, the portfolio was showing a 10.84% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 14.44% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 7.95% so the Dogs are still looking good on both counts so far.

However, since we know that anything can happen to make the markets jittery (trade wars, for example…), I’m not celebrating just yet!

Next update in another 3 months’ time!

Holiday and more Toilet Rolls

I had a great holiday – enjoyed catching up with all the family, but as always, it was over far too quickly.

 

Not quite as action-packed as my last holiday but I still managed to squeeze quite a bit in:

  • A day out at the trampoline park with my niece and nephew – I did realise that I shouldn’t really be flinging myself around on American Ninja-style apparatus at my age but I couldn’t help it!
  • A karaoke session with the siblings – we sang all our 80s and 90s favourites!
  • Five days in Koh Samui, Thailand where I snorkelled, kayaked, ate a lot of yummy food and stayed up til 3.30am watching England in a nail-biting penalty shootout!
  • A foot massage evening with the siblings
  • An outing to celebrate my sister’s birthday
  • Ten pin bowling session, scoring 73 in the first game and 150 in the second – clearly the first game was just a warm up, haha!
  • A game of badminton
  • Lots of dim sum and sushi!

I didn’t know that planes with open propellers were still used commercially!

Budget Blown

As with previous holidays, I hardly bought anything for myself (just snacks and green tea teabags!) but I spent a lot on eating and drinking out and of course, I had to treat the kids and ended up spending a lot more than planned.

So much so that I had to borrow from my sis so she will be wanting to collect on her debt either later this month but maybe I can stall her until next month…

Some people buy souvenirs on holiday….I buy toilet rolls!

As always, I leave home with a heavy suitcase (full of stuff for the family) and end up with a light/empty one and as with my last trip, I stocked up on toilet rolls for my return trip home.

Toilet Rolls

Why toilet rolls? Because they’re something I will use, I can store them away and I needed to fill up my empty suitcase!

I usually buy Tesco brand, £3.35 for 9 rolls, 2-ply, average 220 sheets per roll.

The HK ones I buy cost £2.88 for 10 rolls, 3-ply, average 340 sheets per roll.

And that’s with a crappy Sterling exchange rate. There will, however, be no need for me to buy any more on my next trip – the stash I have will last a long time!

On the subject of spending, I successfully used my Starling card in both Dubai (airport) and Thailand – am very happy with the app so no doubt, I’ll be using it again on my travels.

Thoughts and Ideas

As mentioned previously, I didn’t do any blogging while I was away but while I was lounging by the pool in Thailand, I jotted down a few ideas and thoughts about my investments.

I’ve now got more of an idea of how I will use my SIPPs and ISA for income when I pull the plug on full-time work. It’s still only a loose idea and I’ll see how things look at the end of year as I’m overdue an update on my investments plan.

I’ve realised that I’ve been coasting along when I could probably make a lot more effort with my expenses and my savings. I guess a bit more focus won’t do any harm and might be enough to make a difference. I have family staying with me later this month so perhaps the focus will have to come after they leave!

Some clowns, plus a couple of guys wearing white make-up…

A shame that ‘football didn’t come home’ in the end as this trip was very much entwined with the World Cup, with various plans being made around catching the timezone friendly (and some unfriendly) matches.

I almost miss the ‘Three Lions’ song which has been played endlessly everywhere!

I shall still enjoy watching the final as a neutral and also look forward to catching the Wimbledon finals – tennis has been forgotten with all the football excitement!

Have a great weekend all!