June 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

A bit of a topsy-turvy month – with the announcement at work and various members of my family arriving for an extended visit and birthday celebrations (mine!), things aren’t quite normal in the weenie household. Oh, and also Brexit happened….

jun16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 39.7%, my lowest so far this year. Meals out with friends and family plus shopping trips (again with family) incurred extra expenses.

My average savings rate has now sadly dropped below my target, now at 49.4%, so just below my target. With my family being around for a few more months and work being uncertain, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to drag this back up but I’ll do what I can.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received, £25 premium bond winnings and £25.05 from TopCashback*. I also made my first £100 investment using matched betting profits – more on that another time.

Net Worth and Future Fund 

I don’t report my Net Worth on a monthly basis, but here’s the detailed info after the second quarter:

Jun16networth(a) Figure based on August 2015 statement, plus overpayments made

(b) Personal Emergency Fund

(c) Emergency Fund for stuff related to BTL property

(d) On a 0% rate

(e) Zoopla estimated value of property as at 30/06/16

Brexit has actually had an initial positive impact on my portfolio – helped along with new capital, my Future Fund now stands at £72,192.02, an increase of 5.9% from last month.

Since December 2015, my net worth has increased by 15.2% (not including my work DC pension). I’m not really hung up on this number but it’s heading in the right direction, so I guess I’m happy.

 

Dividends and Other Income

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

April 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

It was always going to be tough to follow last month’s excellent savings rate but how did I do in April?

april16saved

Three birthdays this month meant that my savings rate dropped down to 43.6%!

A rather significant fall from last month but in line with my usual and it means my average savings rate now stands at 51.9%, so still on target.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received, £100 gambling winnings (my horse won in the Grand National!) and £41.92 from TopCashback*.

Future Fund 

Rising markets plus new capital means that this now stands at £66,386.77.

Dividends and Other Income

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

Gambling for Cashback, Home Brew Beer #4 and OOO

Oh look – a post on two of my vices – gambling and drinking! 🙂

Conscious that I’ve not made much headway in my goal to earn £500 from online activities, I had a quick browse through TopCashback* to see if there were any decent offers that didn’t involve me spending a lot of money.

The following offers jumped out at me…

In my mind, I couldn’t lose with either of these offers – if I bet my respective £10’s and lost, I would still make £17.30 profit with William Hill and £16.25 profit with Betfair!

Yes, I know that this past year, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping my gambling to a minimum, but TFS will understand why I had to jump on these offers as he’s taken advantage of similar himself (although he’ll note that I’m less adventurous with my bets!).

First Account

So, I opened my William Hill account and deposited a tenner.

I placed a bet on a football match (won’t bore you with the details) and won £3.33

Not much but I didn’t lose any money, ie still had my original stake, which was the main point.

Second Account

I opened my Betfair account and deposited a tenner (or rather, just over a tenner as I read the small print re qualification for cashback).

Another couple of bets on football matches and I won £5.65.

All in all, including cashback, I made a total profit of £62.53 – not bad for a few minutes’ work!

And the £10 deposited in my each of my new accounts? I withdrew it all so I can’t place any more bets!


These gambling cash backs were tricky ones to test my willpower but I believe I passed the test, although with me rolling the dice to choose an investment earlier in the month, some may think I haven’t totally gotten rid of my gambling bug and chances are, I never will but I reckon I can keep it under control

More ‘sedate’ cash backs to be earned over the coming month or so, as I’m due to renew my various insurances (home, travel, car and landlord).

Anyway, if you choose to do so, please gamble responsibly!

Home Brew Beer #4

Time for another home brew beer update and this time, I went for Young’s American Amber Ale kit.

I brewed it at the beginning of April and the brew has finally conditioned to make a very nice hoppy-flavoured beer!

When I bought it, the kit cost £28 (down from £32) but it looks like I can get it cheaper now which is good news as I definitely want to do this one again.

I brewed just over 21 litres/37 pints, so the cost of this one worked out as £0.67 per bottle or £0.76 per pint! I handed out samples to friends and colleagues last week and received some great feedback (and requests for seconds!), so this one is a good brew.

The beer is still a touch cloudy though not too much – recent bottles have been much clearer than the picture shown, which was taken of the first bottle I opened a few weeks ago.

Strength of the beer is about 5.0% ABV, enough to give me a smidgen of a hangover anyway, after I had a few bottles the other Friday night!

I think this brew is better than the Woodforde’s Wherry I did and maybe slightly ahead of the St Peter’s Golden Ale.

For my next home brew, I think I’m going to try a fruit cider kit. I’m not much of a cider drinker but I got a kit as a Christmas present and well, I may as well make use of it, even though I’d much rather continue brewing beer! Plus my cider-drinking friends have been feeling rather left out compared to my beer-drinking pals – it’s their turn to sample some of my home brew!

Update when I’ve gotten round to brewing it!

And finally….

OOO (Out Of Office)

I’m about to head out for my usual trip to Hong Kong to see my folks so won’t be about for a while.

I don’t have any posts scheduled so updates will resume upon my return, and I’ll have a big catch up on my blog reading when I’m back.

See you all then!

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Saving on my Mobile Phone Contract

My 24 month contract with EE (originally Orange) was coming to an end so I called them up to tell them I didn’t wish to renew after the contract end date.
20 minutes of hard-selling later by two different people, I finally managed to convince them that I wasn’t going to change my mind.
It’s not that I’ve been unhappy with EE’s service, just that they didn’t have a deal that I wanted to upgrade to and I knew I could probably find something from somewhere else and save some money at the same time.
The thing is, for my sins, I’m a dedicated Blackberry user; such devices are so old fashioned and unpopular these days, that EE didn’t have any as available upgrades on their website. I just happen to like using the little keyboard, plus I like being different from my friends who are all iPhone users. 
I was paying £22 a month which was the best deal I could find at the time.

For the past 6 months, I’ve also been using billmonitor.com  which analyses my mobile phone usage, so I know what I actually use my phone for in terms of calls, texts and data usage. The most useful bit of the analysis showed that I rarely go over 400MB data usage a month (average 300MB), so I know that I don’t need to pay for a large data allowance to be included.

Shopping Around
As with when I renew my insurance policies, I shopped around for the deal I wanted and in the end, I went for a deal with Mobilephonesdirect.co.uk.
It’s another Blackberry (the Q10) and the network I’ll be using will be…..EE! Yes, really! Seems they weren’t offering such deals direct but do so via third parties.

I’m now paying what works out as £17 per month on a 24 month contract (£48 for the handset, £15 monthly rental), with similar provisions to what I had in my previous contract with EE, only now on a 4G network.
I also received £31.50 cashback from TopCashback*.
Did I really need a new handset?
Probably not.

Could I have gotten a cheaper deal?

Yes, if I’d gone for a sim only/pay as you go deal and continued to use my old handset.

However:

1) I’ve reduced my pro-rata monthly rental by £5
2) I received £31.50 cashback which I will invest, and 
3) I’ve treated myself to something new which doesn’t happen very often these days and at no extra cost, so I see it as win, win, win! 

I should be able to get something for my old handset too – may as well get that recycled for a bit of cash.

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