August 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

The weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye and it’s time for another update.

aug16saved

I managed a savings rate of 39.4% – entertainment/social costs with the family, and birthday outings added to the expenses.

My average savings rate has continued to plummet –  it’s now at 47.1%.  It’s not been easy keeping to my usual spending routine with family around. Still pretty good I guess but I don’t have many months left in the year now to try to drag it up to my target of 50%. I’ll just try to get as close as possible in that case.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £20.42 from TopCashback*. I also channelled another £300 of matched betting profits into Property Moose (property crowdfunding).

Future Fund 

The markets continue to be buoyant in the face of Brexit doom-gloomers and my portfolio now stands at £81,511, a gain of over 4.8% from last month. It didn’t seem that long ago that I broke the £70k barrier, yet here I am sliding past the £80k mark – a combination of new investment capital and investment gains. I know that this figure could just as easily drop (eg when Brexit actually happens) but right now, my portfolios are heading in the right direction.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

How To Speak Money


When I borrowed John Lanchester’s ‘How To Speak Money‘ from the library last month, I was able to make progress on two of my goals in one go.

how to speak moneyOk, so technically this book isn’t about personal finance or investing as such but as there’s mention of ‘asset allocation’, Warren Buffett and ETFs among a lot of other interesting and diverse topics that can be linked with personal finance, I’m counting it as part of my goal!

Economics

The intro talks a little about the history of economics, including human behaviour, capitalism, some politics and other interesting stuff, mostly written in a non-text book style with pop-culture references and bits of humour.

There was however also a bit of ‘waffle’ which dragged on a bit, as what I really wanted to get to was the chunky middle section, entitled ‘A Lexicon of Money’.

Lexicon

Basically, it’s an A-Z of words, phrases and acronyms which I often hear or read about in financial or money context, words which I sort of know the meaning of but which I would struggle to explain in detail to a complete novice if I had to.

I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve expanded my knowledge a bit on finance related topics these past couple of years, it still doesn’t mean that I totally understand all of it. I might understand it while reading it in a blog or news article. Ask me about it 6 months later and I’ll not be able to explain what it all actually means!

I’m not saying that after reading the book, I know everything – I just understand a bit more about implications of say, QE, increasing/decreasing interest rates (and not just relevant to savers) etc and that’s what the book was all about – increasing my understanding of some things I thought I knew a bit about but also learning about new stuff I knew nothing about. All in mostly bite-sized, easily digestible chunks.

Words

So now, among some other things, I know the basic difference between ‘fiscal‘ and ‘monetary‘ and what the IMF does but my favourite new word?

FUNGIBLE1

I don’t know why but it makes me smile! 🙂

All in all, an interesting book, one that I’m likely to revisit just for future reference.

Anyway, hope you all have a great (long. for those in the UK) weekend.

January 2016 Savings, plus other Updates


So amidst all the silly roller-coaster stock market stuff causing all sorts of shenanigans in January, how did I do in the first month?

Jan16saved

A savings rate of 51.6%! Yay! 🙂

I’m really chuffed with this great start! Looking back on 2015, it appears that I only managed to hit >50% twice – my overall average had been boosted by an annual bonus I received in March. That bonus had been based on a share of Old Co’s profits – now that I work for New Co, it’s looking extremely unlikely that I will get a similar bonus so just as well I saved most of that one!

This month’s savings was topped up with £17.07 from TopCashBack* and £50 from rent received.

Future Fund 

As with most people’s portfolios, the Bear Market caused my Future Fund to fall in value a little but I’m not concerned or worried. It now stands at £56,956.73.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested):

Jan16divs

So a total of £26.21, which is a nice increase compared to last January’s £9.11!

The first few months of the year are quite lean dividend-wise for me, but this is a decent start.

I also received £13.37 from my P2P investments.

Shares and Investment Trusts

This month, I topped up on my holding of Bloomsbury Publishing, getting the shares cheaper than when I first bought them.  I’m hoping the Bear Market will last a while longer so that I can continue to buy cheaper.

Current portfolio here.

Non-Financial Goals Update

Library books – So I’m going to try to read 20 library books again this year. I completed just the one library book this month but it’ll be a while before I read any more because the next five books I’ll be reading will be ones that I own – I’m planning on a back-to-back re-read of the Game of Thrones books! Why? I’m hoping Martin will have finished book 6 before the end of 2016, so I’ll have the story all pretty fresh in my mind! Anyway, I’ve just started book 2 (again).

Suffice to say that my other reading goal, that of attempting to read 3 books related to personal finance/investing will be resumed later on in the year!

If anyone’s interested, I track all my reading via GoodReads (though not able to track these GoT re-reads) – add me as a ‘friend’ if you are a member!

Anyway, here’s how things look on the goals front in brief:

GoaltrackJan16

Hope everyone had a great January, which always feels like the longest month ever!

[*referral link]

2016 Goals/New Year Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year everyone – I hope the hangovers weren’t too bad (unlike mine – I never learn… but at least I wasn’t doing shots!)

newyear16i

In the past, I’ve pretty much always set myself new year resolutions and probably kept to most of them. Setting goals and resolutions on my blog however makes me more accountable and more likely to try to keep to them and work hard to achieve them.

Although I found them all interesting, I think I set myself too many goals last year (11), allowing myself to get distracted and on occasion, a little stressed out that I couldn’t concentrate on certain goals.

So I’m taking a leaf out of Mr Z’s book and am going to simplify things a little this time:

2016 Financial Goals

  • Average 50% savings rate – I’ve failed twice now to achieve this…third time lucky?! Saving 50% of my salary is probably my most important goal – saving the most I can towards my Future Fund, keeping my living expenses down so that I can save that amount and knowing what I can live on comfortably in the future when I no longer want to work.
  • £720 total dividend income – Last year, my total dividend income was £356.36. I’d like to try to get an average £60 per month so I’m pretty much doubling what I achieved last year. £60 would cover my mobile phone bill, the TV licence, my water bill and my car maintenance plan! My main investment strategy continues to be investing in index trackers so I need to balance this right to maintain this.
  • £1k personal emergency funds – Not a huge amount I know but I’ve got to start somewhere. How have I managed to get away with not having an emergency fund? I’ve used 0% credit cards in the past. Yes, I know, I know…

2016 Non-Financial Goals

  • Borrow and read 20 library books – Borrowing from the library means that I spend less on books but also means that I am supporting my local library services. I’m going to try to read 35 books this year (5 less than last year as I’m going to reread the ‘Game of Thrones’ books and some of them are over 1000 pages!) of which 20 must be borrowed from the library.

Continue reading