I Like Driving In My Car…

I thought I’d do a post about my car as it’s just had its MOT.

It passed but under the new rules introduced last month, there were some ‘advisory’ notes, one of which was that one of the tyres was balding – seeing as this would need replacing anyway (and for safety), I got a new one for £80.

I got a 50% discount off my actual MOT as I’m on a monthly service plan – in the days when I wasn’t on such a plan, I recall all too well how I used to just put my car services  (and repairs) on my credit cards, which didn’t get paid in full back then. Ouch!

Since I no longer have to sit on the slow-moving M60 every day, I find that I really enjoy it when I do get behind the wheel these days. Commuting via public transport (tram) is fine but I do miss being in the privacy and comfort of my own car.

Time’s Up?

I wrote about all the cars I’ve ever owned here back in 2014, but have nothing to add to that post because I’m still driving the same car, which is now 6 years old.

Six years is usually the length of time I keep my cars before I would buy my next car (a new one), usually because the current one was getting too expensive to fix mechanically.

I realise now that I wasn’t great with getting my cars serviced on time (or went to ‘cheap’ garages which weren’t really ‘cheap’) because, well, I was trying to avoid putting large amounts on my credit card and I didn’t have an emergency fund to cover the costs. Of course, foolishly by not getting the cars serviced when they should have been (or properly), they were undoubtedly deteriorating a lot quicker. Hence the service plan for my current car so I never miss a service and all the affordable payments are spread over the year.

My car is fairly economical, I do under 5000 miles a year in it now, half of what I used to do. Road tax is £30, insurance around £300 (my post code is classed as High Risk). It’s still in a good condition aside from the usual wear and tear, or shall I say ‘was’, since someone recently bashed one wheel arch causing a dent and someone else reversed into it, cracking the front registration plate – both times when my car was parked up. The car park I use next to the tram stop has very tight spaces and I now only park there if I can get in one of the slightly wider places.

Next Car

Since there’s nothing wrong (that I know of) with the car, I’m not looking to replace it just yet.

In this community, people preach about not buying new cars, not getting cars on finance or not getting cars at all but I don’t rule out the possibility of replacing my current one with a new one. And on finance.

However, if I was getting a new car, even though I would be able to buy outright with cash, I’d probably go for a 0% finance deal – yes, these are available! Pay it off monthly and pay the balloon at the end.

I might consider upgrading to an automatic – have never driven one before but I like the idea of not having to worry about clutch control when I get older, haha! Depends on the cost of the upgrade though.

I’ll even take a look at electric vehicles but only if the prices come down dramatically – not that I would ever get one but a Tesla costs the same as a one-bed apartment in Manchester!

Yes, I know, I know, blah blah blah about depreciation of new cars but I’ve never bought a car as an investment, so I don’t really consider that the price drops as soon as it leaves the forecourt. I don’t include my car as part of my net worth, it’s just something I’ve bought that I use. That happens to cost a lot of money.

The least I’ve spent on a car? £1.6k. The most? £13k (including the finance).  It’s not as if I’m getting high end luxury models!

And no – not having a car is not an option, not if I wish to continue to have the quality of life to which I am accustomed and independence.

Still, I might consider getting a used/nearly new car for my next motor, to save a grand or two. Will see what’s on offer when the time comes, what my funds are looking like, where I am with my FIRE goals etc.

May 2018 Savings, plus other updates

After what felt like the longest winter ever, we were able to bask in a glorious and sunny May!  Being a ‘sun worshipper’, I enjoyed hours of reading and topping up my tan in the garden. It’s probably just as well that we don’t have that much sunshine here normally, else I’d get absolutely nothing done over the weekends!

And who didn’t shed a tear watching the Royal Wedding? Ok, maybe it was just me! I’m a fan of the TV show Suits so still can’t believe ‘Rachel Zane’ has married a prince!

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings this month?

I saved 36.3%! My average savings rate has now gone down to 48.5%.  Had a couple of unplanned social outings and as mentioned last month, I had to pay my sister back as she’d booked and paid for my ‘holiday within a holiday’ (a few days in Thailand). These next few months are going to be rather ‘spendy’ so I probably won’t be able to tighten up the finances until after the summer.

The above savings was topped up with £24.80 from TopCashback*£500 matched betting funds (used to invest in Freetrade as per my previous post), and £133.91 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 have been going up, although shenanigans around the world might make it go down again. Whatever. In any case, my Future Fund has jumped quite a bit, now at £143,620, steadily making progress towards my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Wisdom of the Crowds

The idea of ‘wisdom of the crowds’ has always intrigued me and I’ve parted with a bit of money through crowdfunding, including charity and property crowdfunding, which I posted about here.

My most recent bit of crowdfunding ‘investing’ was when I bought some shares in BrewDog – less to make money, more because I like the product!

Another Crowdfunding Investment

Some of you may recall that when I set my goals in January, I mentioned that I was going to do some ‘trading’ and was on a waiting list for a new app, although by ‘trading’, what I really probably meant was not ‘holding’ long-term.

Five months later, this still hasn’t materialised and while I was waiting, I came across the chance to invest in another app, namely Freetrade via CrowdCube.

The company was looking for an investment of £500,000 – this target was reached in just 12 minutes!

After 28 hours, funding was capped at £3.1m and it became Crowdcube’s most overfunded equity offering ever.

What’s in the Box?

Freetrade has been touted as the UK equivalent of the US investment app Robinhood, which allows you to trade stocks for 0% commission.

Freetrade’s interesting tag line is: “Invest for free, forever.”

Bold words indeed – perhaps the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown aren’t quite quaking in their expensive shoes but I’m sure they will follow the progress of this app with interest.

Its pricing plan is like many of the ‘free’ apps you can download – you get a basic service for free but if you want some bells and whistles, you pay for a premium account – an ‘Alpha’ account in this case.

It’s very competitive though – check out the price list here and it looks like you can buy ‘fractional shares’- not sure how dividends would work in this case though.

There’s been mention that crypto currencies might be available on the app at a later date but I’m not tempted as that’s a gamble too far, even for a gambler like me!

Also, it’ll be interesting to see the app in amongst Monevator’s broker comparison list.

The app is being slowly onboarded (there’s a big waiting list) – my time in the queue will probably be even longer as I have to wait for the Android version of the app but I’ll probably do a proper review once I’ve got my mitts on it and tested it out.

I could be tempted to buy bits of the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) – why? Just cos it’ll sound ace to my friends – they needn’t know I’ve just got a fraction of a share, haha! Naah, most likely I’ll stick to stocks closer to home.

As you can already gather, I’m likely to just be using ‘fun money’ (ie matched betting profits) for this – right now, I can’t envisage transferring one of my existing ISAs here but I’m excited about the possibility of saving on trading fees for my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Anyway, there’s not a lot more I can say, except that there’s a nifty little Freetrade forum and community building already and I can’t wait to have a play on app!

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

[Disclaimer – I have no affiliation whatsoever with Freetrade and this is not a recommendation to download the app (although it is free). There are no referral links in this post, even though I do have a link but all it does is shove me up the waiting list – I think I can wait!]

PS – Everyone GDPR ready?

Here’s a comic strip which sums things up…

Dogs of The FTSE – Q1 (2018)

 

Just a quick update as it’s been around 3 months since I set up my second experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Before we look at how the ‘mutts’ have done, note that this is not part of my main investment strategy – it’s just a bit of fun, although I do reinvest all dividends I get from these ‘dogs’, which go towards helping to increase my overall portfolio.

 

As at close of trading on 11th May 2018, the portfolio was showing a 12% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 14.15% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 8.03% so the Dogs have gotten off to a great start on both counts!

All the dogs are showing gains, apart from BT, who recently announced the loss of 13,000 jobs. Some good dividends paid out already, notably from Evraz and Persimmon.

Well, that’s it really, until the next update – riveting stuff 🙂