May 2022 Savings, plus other updates

May was a month where there was just so much doom and gloom about, well, seemingly everything.

I’ve continued to consume as little news as possible, just enough so that I’m aware of what’s going on without getting too emotionally affected or distracted by it all.

The cost of my groceries has noticeably gone up. I’m not consciously trying to keep costs down yet, perhaps I should.

So, how do my numbers look in May?

I saved 15.7% of my net salary.  The above includes £91.30 from doing Prolific surveys, plus £281.99, which was a credit balance refund from the utility suppliers at my last address. The full credit was actually £100 more but I used that to replace my Fitbit which had recently died on me.

As mentioned in my last post, the sale of my parents’ house has finally completed and now that I’m no longer paying duplicate utility direct debits and council tax, my savings rate should improve.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I opened a (small) new investment in NB Global Monthly Income Fund Ltd (NBMI), to add to the income-paying part of my portfolio. This is the only other monthly income investment I will have, the other being BMO Commercial Property Trust (BCPT) – will see how that goes.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund

May was apparently a bit of a rollercoaster for many investors and somewhat of a bloodbath for others. I wasn’t particularly worried, although I did check my portfolios a few times to see if there was anything worth stressing about. There wasn’t.

My Future Fund didn’t entirely escape scot free from all the noise and wobbled down a little to £228,772 by month end. I’m down -1.5% YTD, which is a bit meh but nothing to worry about.

Dividends and Other Income

Three cheers for dividends received!

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April 2022 Savings, plus other updates

Well, April came and went in the blink of an eye!

Work on my driveway was completed and I’m very happy with it – looks so much better and is a lot safer (for me and my car!).

Before and after

I used most of my work bonus to pay for it and also pretty much cleared out my ‘House Fund’, so need to save up for the next bits which need doing.

Work was extra busy, with me covering for colleagues on annual leave (I can’t wait til I no longer have to do this any more!), so it was a big relief to have that nice relaxing long Easter weekend.

There was also a week where I had a really bad cold, which was so bad that I tested myself in case I’d caught COVID again (I was negative). I’m sure I used to catch colds all the time and they were only ever mild, just the ‘sniffles’, but perhaps my immune system still isn’t quite right yet.

Anyway, some good news at work was that I received the maximum performance-related pay rise offered by my company.

The bad news was that at 5%, it doesn’t beat inflation but hey ho, I’m not going to cry about that – increases are not guaranteed and there have been years when no pay rise was given (performance-related or not). Average wage increase in the UK this year is apparently just 3%.

Some people would complain and even consider leaving due to the size of this pay rise but for me, it’s not such an issue. I know the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, even if the pound signs might appear to be bigger. I don’t love my job but I mostly like what I do, I get on with my boss and my colleagues and enjoy a fair amount of flexibility and autonomy in my job – those things I value far more than ££££.

Also, as promised by the government, I duly received my £150 Council Tax rebate.

I chucked this into my ISA.  I know, this rebate wasn’t really meant for people like me, who didn’t need help with bills, but my house meets the criteria (Council Tax band A – D) and I’ll not say no to free money from the government.

My direct debits (utilities, broadband and council tax) have all gone up, as has the cost of my weekly shop but not significantly so. My car is only used for trips to the gym and supermarket so increased petrol costs haven’t really affected me. I’ve yet to feel the need to cut back on anything.

So, how do my numbers look in April?

I saved 13% of my net salary.  Having received my pay rise, I was planning to save a bit more but social activities (paid for by credit card) caught up with me! The above includes £65.18 from doing Prolific surveys and the aforementioned £150 rebate. I also invested £374.20, a partial repayment I received from my disastrous foray into property crowdfunding, which was a pleasant surprise since I’d pretty much written all of that off four years ago.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I opened a new investment in European Assets Trust, to add to the income-paying part of my portfolio.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets waivered somewhat after last month’s apparent recovery, but I really can’t let myself stress about it – just gotta keep at it.

My Future Fund wobbled down a little to £230,752 by month end.

Dividends and Other Income

As always, when the markets are down, dividends always bring a smile to my face. Actually, scratch that, they make me smile regardless of what the markets are doing 🙂

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March 2022 Savings, plus other updates

In my world, March was another good month – funny how just a bit of sunshine really lifts the spirit.

Courgettes and leek sprouting, with the help of recycled toilet roll tubes and food cartons!

I tentatively planted a few seeds and these are doing well already.  Hoping to do more over the coming weeks.

There was good news work-wise – firstly, I got paid my (discretionary) annual bonus.

Secondly, I was among several employees who picked up an award for ‘exceptional services’ in 2021 – our reward will be a trip somewhere in Europe (once Covid restrictions have died down), so that’s something to look forward to. It would be great if it’s a country I’ve never visited before.

Anyway, with one quarter of the year over already, let’s take a look at my numbers:

I saved 34.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £92.99 from doing Prolific surveys.

Previous years have seen me achieve a savings rate of over 60% or 70% during bonus time, but although I would have loved to have been investing more while the markets are still down, the large majority of the bonus will have to go towards some critical work which I’m getting done in a couple of weeks (sorting out my unsafe driveway).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No changes here, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Did the stock markets hit rock bottom last month?

Who knows but signs of a recovery propelled my Future Fund back up a little, finishing at £232,209 by month end, pretty much back to where I was at the end of 2021. Check out that ‘W’!

Dividends and Other Income

I love seeing my dividends roll in and it was another decent month for income:

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February 2022 Savings, plus other updates

Thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine.

I can do nothing except make a financial donation to charities helping the people in crisis over there.

Meanwhile…

In My Little World

In my little world, February was a good month, including several social nights out with friends and an actual works leaving do  – colleagues had been slinking off over the past year or so with no thanks or fanfare so it was nice to give someone a good send-off.

There was also the Manchester FIRE pubmeet, which was the usual eclectic mix of people at all different stages of their FIRE journeys, and was the usual engaging, enjoyable and interesting event.

Work ran a ‘Compliment a Colleague’ on Valentine’s Day, where you could submit an anonymous (or not) Valentine’s compliment or message to a colleague (all compliments and messages vetted by HR to ensure nothing inappropriate was sent, otherwise it could have been carnage, with an office full of young twenty-something lads…)

I received the following compliment:

Dear Weenie

You are awesome at your job and so patient with people!

I appreciate our chats and think you’re an amazing person – kind, smart and funny. You rock!

It was sent anonymously but I know who sent it and I was extremely touched to receive the compliment from them!

Anyway, enough of that warm fuzziness, let’s take a look at the numbers for this month:

 

I saved 22.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £37.96 from doing Prolific surveys and £61.63  from Google Adsense.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No changes here, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

It’s obvious that war causes uncertainty and volatility so the markets continued to dip.

I have no insight (who does?) as to what will happen next but as I think my portfolio is mostly diversified, I just continued to invest as normal according to my plan.

My Future Fund continued to fall, settling at £223,780 by month end, down by 3.6% YTD.

 

I’m almost back to where I was a year ago!

Dividends and Other Income

Another hurrah for dividends, which are a welcome sight when stock prices are plummeting:

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