November 2023 Savings, plus other updates

November passed in the blink of an eye and for the first time in a long while, I experienced a few sleepless nights due to workload (and other things).

However, I’m not one to dwell on negative stuff so I’ll focus on the positive.

Saving Energy

I was invited to take part in E.ON’s energy saving event, where, if I was able to use less energy than usual (during a specific period), I would be “rewarded”.

The specific period was between 4.30pm and 6pm on a Thursday, so I just logged off my work laptop early, switched all lights off apart from one lamp and read my Kindle for an hour and a half!

I know £1.09 may as well be nothing in the scheme of things, but better in my pocket than the energy provider’s.

Also, it looks like I’m paying (in more ways than one) for the extra hours that I’m putting in while I WFH.

Hope

A month ago, I visited my friend from uni, who was barely recovering in hospital from second round of chemo and I didn’t know if I was there to say goodbye to her.

Well, there’s been a complete turn around – saw her the other weekend and things have changed massively, her mentality has changed and her fighting spirit has shone through. She now has HOPE, albeit to live a very different life and has been progressing rapidly through rehabilitation. She’s nearly back to her old self and although there will always be the shadow of leukemia, it’s in remission for now.

The hospice where she has been receiving excellent care is Sobell House Hospice and I have donated to them as I have seen firsthand the fantastic care they have given to my friend.

She’ll be moving out of the hospice soon but they’ve started her on this journey of hope and I will be forever grateful.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 18.2% of my net salary.  The above includes £36.11 from doing Prolific surveys and £63.82 from Google Adsense.

Surprisingly, a small partial bonus was paid by work this month, which would normally get paid in March.

I chucked it all into my ISA, although I guess I didn’t really think things through properly, as this was the first month of my newly increased mortgage payment – ouch! 🙁

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Well it was as if the Santa Claus Rally had come early, with my Future Fund getting a decent boost, jumping up to £236,958, its highest value so far this year!

I can’t get excited about this as it’s been a rubbish year investment-wise. Still, it feels good to see the rocket again!

Dividends and Other Income

Another good month for dividends.

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October 2023 Savings, plus other updates

A blur of a month.

Work continues to be really busy. I’ve now met my new boss and getting used to working with her. I have a load of holidays to use up before the end of the year and sorely in need of a break (late nights starting to take a toll), but need to balance hitting deadlines with resting my brain. A few long weekends should hopefully help.

My niece and nephew were up for half-term, stayed mostly with my sis but I had them for a weekend. I did take a day off work to take them to Arcade Club,  four floors of arcade machines and games consoles. We were there for nearly 4 hours so it was well worth the money, and yes, I really enjoyed myself too, reliving my misspent youth!

My teenaged self’s idea of heaven!

Anyway, how did I get on this month?

I saved 14.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £62.35 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

OOF! The biggest drop of the year for me – I’d been oblivious to ‘market noise’ as been too busy to check my accounts, so was a little shocked to see this when I ran the numbers. Still, it’s already started to pick up in November but as at the end of October,  my Future Fund ended the month plummeting 4% down to £224,414. 

Just have to keep calm and carry on investing.

Dividends and Other Income

A fairly average month for dividends.

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September 2023 Savings, plus other updates

A bit late with this update – my head’s not been quite right as September was a month of quite extreme highs and lows.

Highs

Work gave us the day off to do the annual charity walk.

62 of us set off early one Friday morning to do the Saddleworth 3 Peaks – not everyone completed it but I did…eventually!

Over 25km (just under 16 miles) and I made it to the pub at the end (what else? 🙂 ) in almost exactly EIGHT hours! It was pretty exhilarating, there were breath-taking views and I’m glad I did it but not sure I would (or could) do it again!

 

At the second peak, ‘Pots and Pans’ cenotaph

At the 3rd peak where we looked back and could just about see the cenotaph behind us in the distance!

I nearly joined some others in giving up after the second peak, but decided to soldier on, despite being in real pain – my left knee did not cope well with the downhill pounding. I had a walking pole (which helped) and ended up taking painkillers (which didn’t help).

Still, we couldn’t have asked for better weather and I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it if we’d had the rain-lashing and high winds experienced during the Snowdonia walk from a few years back. £5000 raised for charity (as a team) with the company matching it so all went to good causes.

Lows

I found out a few months ago that one of my friends from uni (fellow course and house mate) had undergone chemo for cancer. First round went well and all sounded quite positive.

However, the second round of chemo didn’t go well and she was in a coma for a month. She won’t recover fully from this and there was mention of her in line for a move to a hospice.

I and some other friends went to visit her as soon as we found out (6 hour round trip by car, plus hotel stay). What a roller coaster of emotions that weekend was – my friend was herself but also, obviously, not herself. We don’t know how long she has left (could be weeks, months?) and they continue to monitor how her body is battling the illness. She has however made it clear to all that she does not want to ‘exist’ like this.

As she has lost most of her sight, when we turned up, we played the game “Guess who I am?” and she got us all by our accents!  The ward nurses said that it was lovely to hear laughter coming from the room as we reminisced about our foolish youthful antics and were probably a bit loud! It’s down to us now to provide a little joy in her life.

Us friends realised regretfully that it had been over 10 years since we had all met up face to face – busy lives and all that, although we did catch up via video during lockdown and the friendships and connections have been maintained over the years (we all graduated in 1991!) first via Facebook, but lately via Whatsapp.

Life is just far too short and we must make time for loved ones before it is too late.

Sorry for that downbeat update but I feel better for writing that down.

I guess one good thing to come out of this was that I caught up with the friend who had FIRE’d (mentioned in my July interim post). It was as I thought – two good careers, leading to a couple of investment properties (sold) and now living the good (retired) life. Great for them, hoping to join them in the not too distant future!

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 15.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £31.94 from doing Prolific surveys,  £10 from a charity lotto win and £20 from matched betting winnings.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

My portfolio continues to creep along in a mostly sideways movement, ending up at £231,906. 

 

Dividends and Other Income

A very good month for dividends.

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August 2023 Savings, plus other updates

Apologies to readers who tried to visit the blog over the last couple of weeks and got:

Attacked

My blog was ‘attacked’ and the attacks pushed me up to the maximum CPU seconds quota I’m allowed on my website hosting plan. Once the quota is reached, the website is made unavailable until the following month.

Such an attack on my blog has happened before, only on that occasion, I was able to block the IP/country where the attacks were coming from, so I didn’t end up hitting the CPU limit. Unfortunately, this time, I was on holiday when I was getting numerous messages like “The Web Application Firewall has blocked 101 attacks over the last 10 minutes.”

I had just enough of my CPU quota left to post my belated July update and then that was it for the month.

Have to admit that over the years, I’ve neglected the back-end stuff of my blog, so I guess I should read up/work on whether there’s anything I can do to try to prevent such attacks in the future. Still, apart from the blog being made unavailable for a period of time, at least the firewall did its job and all seems ok.

Anyway, August was a mixed bag of a month – a great holiday followed by post holiday blues/jetlag, celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday with a cocktail-making session and then catching COVID, which, whilst symptoms weren’t as bad as last time, still had me below par for a week. At least no lingering cough this time.

So how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 14.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £49.72 from doing Prolific surveys and £10 from a charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Hmmm, not great to see the dreaded ‘submarine of doom’ on the graph after last month’s rocket! However, it could have been worse, the markets were looking really rubbish mid-month but fortunately, things stabilised somewhat and my Future Fund ended the month just slightly down at £232,947. 

That sideways movement is not a great motivator, but I will just keep on keeping on, as they say.

Dividends and Other Income

A good month for dividends.

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