January 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Unlike last January, where I tried to lead a frugal nun-like existence, I did no such thing this time round – it was just a really quiet month social-wise, with only one cheeky ‘beer and Nando’s’ session after work on pay day.

All other weekends, I went to the gym or stayed at home, slowly making my way through the alcohol in the house, reading a little and re-watching (and enjoying) old episodes of Doctor Who (I started from the Christopher Eccleston series).

Oh, I did go on my first walk of the year – a 6-mile flat trek along the Bridgewater Canal in Warrington, which was very pleasant. I wore my new waterproof jacket and walking trousers (hand-me-down and a late Christmas present from a family member) so my walking gear is getting a bit more suitable for the good ole British weather!

I also got my first Premium Bond win of the year – hopefully, the first of many!

NS&I’s app informing me of my win!

So, how did I get on with my savings in the first month of the year?

I saved 41.5%, which is a pretty good start.

The above savings includes top ups from £116 matched betting profits (from last month), the £25 premium bond win, £10 lotto winnings, £15 from TopCashback* and £69.02 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I was vaguely aware that the markets had begun to recover a bit but was surprised to see the extent of that recovery when I ran my numbers – my Future Fund is heading in the right direction again, sitting at £151,358. Whilst not all the losses have been recouped, I’m just glad to have crossed the £150k milestone again!

Dividends and Other Income

An average month of dividends: Continue reading

2019 Goals

Before I go into my goals, I will mention that I intend to continue to throw my cash into investments in the face of probable continued turbulent markets, uncertainty due to Brexit and whatever else happens around the world which might cause share prices to go down (or up).

I don’t intend to hoard cash because I don’t know how to time the markets and wouldn’t want the anxiety of trying to decide when to invest so I’m just going to continue investing monthly regardless. Keep calm and carry on and all that.

I need to ensure that my emergency cash funds are topped up (having dipped into them recently to fund some holiday excesses)  – my aim is for them to cover 3 x monthly expenses for now.

Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!

As with recent years, I find that setting only a few goals works well for me, allowing me to focus, with little room for distraction so I’m going to do something similar exactly the same for 2019.

Not every exciting, I know and perhaps not really stretching either but there’s another reason why I want to keep things simple and familiar, which I will go into later.

So without further ado, here they are:

Continue reading

December 2018 Savings, plus Round Up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and enjoyed the celebrations last night to see in the new year, whether you were out in a noisy pub/bar or at home watching ‘Jools’ Annual Hootenanny’ – I was doing neither, as I was already tucked up in bed suffering from jet lag well before Big Ben’s chimes rang! I could have dragged myself out to meet up with friends but FOMO can’t compete with sleep these days!

Anyway, I had a great break in Hong Kong, spent a lot of quality time with family, ate too much, though surprisingly drank very little.

So, how did I do in the last month of the year?

I saved 38.4% – surprisingly higher than expected but I put some of my Christmas shopping on my credit card so that will appear on next month’s bill.

My average for the year ended up at 43.2%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m quite satisfied with this average.

The above savings include top ups from £155 matched betting profits (from last month), £42.61 from TopCashback* and £66.32 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!). I also withdrew £1k from my Smarkets exchange account which was chucked into my SIPP.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I made an investment in JPMorgan Asian Investment Trust – don’t have a lot in this region so thought I’d diversify a bit.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I think this is the rockiest year of investing that I’ve encountered so far – no Santa Rally this time.

My Future Fund ends the year at £142,831, which was around what it was back in April 2018 – one step forwards, three steps back it seems! Hitting my £150k milestone back in September seems like a dream now but I look forward to hitting it again in 2019!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

November 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Not sure where November went – it was a bit of a blur.

I went to the Lake District for the first time ever to participate in my (kind of) new hobby, walking.

I know, Tuppenny, beautiful countryside merely 1.5 hours away in the car, pretty much on my doorstep and yet I’d never been before! No excuse really, just never crossed my mind!

Would definitely go back, it was lovely, although I’m not sure I’d want to live there long-term, bit too remote for my liking and I’m not fond of driving down country roads. Perhaps there’s too much of a City gal in me.

Anyway, stayed in Bowness-on-Windermere and went on the Grasmere to Alcock Tarn walk (around 9 miles).

I did wonder what was lurking under that peaceful lake…

Typically, it was raining and cold but after the extreme weather I experienced in Snowdonia, this was a bit of a doddle and felt quite mild :-). Although there was a part of the walk where we had to cross a fast flowing stream, jumping over slippery rocks and I ended up with what felt like half the stream in my boot!

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings?

I saved 36.3%, which sees my average savings rate going down a little to 43.7%.

Not bad really, although I’ve not done much in terms of any Christmas shopping yet.

For the first time, I actually bought something on Black Friday but it was on behalf of family. I did make one significant purchase this month – a new mattress after checking out Kiernan’s mattress review website as I didn’t know what to get. Suffice to say, I’m very happy with my purchase, although there were some shenanigans regarding delivery.

The above savings includes top ups from £240 matched betting profits (from last month), £10 lotto winnings and £124.50 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

AJBell Youinvest had their own Black Friday offer (fee-free trades) so I took the opportunity to finally offload my Vodafone shares. Yield is currently an insane 7.9% but I’m not confident this will continue in the long term. With the loss in capital and dividend income over the years I held the stock, I probably more than broke even (would have been a loss if I’d paid trading fees to sell).

Speaking of AJBell, I’ve applied for shares for when they float on the stock exchange later this month. The shares probably won’t be as lucrative as the Hargreaves Lansdown ones (which sadly, I didn’t buy) but as an existing customer of theirs, I thought they’ll be worth a punt.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets appear to have recovered a little so my Future Fund is heading in the right direction again, sitting at £146,601.

I’m resigned to the fact that I’m unlikely to end the year >£150k unless there’s going to be a really really generous Santa Rally!

Dividends and Other Income

So, wobbly markets or not, my dividends continued to roll in regardless: Continue reading