August 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Another month has passed in this strange year.

Some ‘interesting’ things which happened in August:

    • I ate in a restaurant (thanks for the 50% discount, Rishi!). It was nice to dress up and enjoy a pleasant evening outside of the house. Something I’ve missed a lot.
    • I put petrol in my car! I filled up the day before lockdown and haven’t really driven anywhere so it’s taken this long to use up my petrol.
    • I grew something edible and ate it! So excited as I’ve never had green fingers!

My runner beans!

    • I baked! I don’t normally do baking – I reckon the last time I baked anything was in school during one of my disastrous Home Economics classes! Anyway, I baked some healthy breakfast biscuits, which even my sis and nephew enjoyed!
    • I bought some books! I don’t tend to buy books because I use the library. Although I’ve enjoyed reading ebooks on my Kindle, I really miss holding a physical book in my hands so not knowing when my library is going to reopen, I succumbed to buying some books which I’ve been wanting to read in a while.

Can’t wait to get my teeth into these (not literally!)

    • I tried a couple of recipes with Gousto* (50% off your first box and then 30% off your first month’s subscription if you sign up via my link – while offer lasts). My sis does most of the cooking duties and we didn’t want to start getting takeaways for variety so I’ve subscribed to Gousto on my friend’s recommendation to cook some different meals. These have worked out really well – I’ve cooked some meals I never would have dreamt of cooking (all delicious so far!) and at a decent price (cheaper and healthier than takeaways for definite). I’m on a fortnightly subscription but weekly or monthly are available.
    • I was Employee of the Month – who needs to be in the office to put in a good shift and be recognised? 🙂

As there’s been no change to the lockdown requirements in Greater Manchester, I’m still only leaving the house as necessary, still not been back into the office yet although I am actually looking forward to when I do eventually go back in, just to see some different faces.

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings in August?

I was able to save 47.1% of my net salary – there was quite a bit of spending, including gifts for a couple of special birthdays, some bits and pieces for the garden and some purchases I made the back end of July on my credit card.

The above savings includes top ups from a £75 premium bond win (woo hoo!), £50 Matched Betting profits (from last month), £57.69 from affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!) and £20.20 from TopCashback*.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Big rises in the stock markets meant that my Future Fund jumped up to £197,334, but with some market wobbles this week, I’ll be lucky if I finish as high, come end of September.

Still v-shaped!

Dividends and Other Income

A better month for dividends:

Continue reading

Only Sixty Left

The other day, standing in a packed tram and having just finished reading my book, rather than dig out my phone to aimlessly scroll through Twitter, I started to idly think about my goal to FIRE.

My stretch goal (now my actual goal) is to FIRE at the end of 2024. This is in about 5 years’ time, which really isn’t that far away. I’m over half-way there.

And then it suddenly hit me.

Assuming that I will be continuously employed, this means that I only have 60 more pay days from my employer!

If not gainfully employed all that time, then less than 60!

Rather than think ‘Hurray, only 60 more pay days til I can stop working!’, I felt a flutter of doubt and fear about my numbers. Numbers which I have checked and rechecked numerous times over the years.

What if it’s not enough!?

I did the maths and the resulting number (ie 60 x my monthly salary) on its own added to my current pot is not enough for me to FIRE.

But I don’t save the full amount, do I? My savings rate is around 40-odd percent which means that based on my current savings rate, I’ll not be in sniffing distance of what I need.

Of course, there’s a chance that I might get a pay rise or two in that time and the occasional bonus, but such increases/bonuses will have a minimal effect.  I’m not looking to move to another job if I can help it, so no big hike in salary from switching companies.

I will therefore be relying heavily on growth and income from my investments to get me past the finish line. Oh and a lot of LUCK, in regards to sequence of returns risk.

What Will I Do?

Over the next 60 months, I will need to continue to remain focused, to be mindful of my spending whilst still continuing to lead and enjoy what I consider to be a normal life.

Over the next 60 months, I need to continue making extra cash via matched betting and ensuring that I continue to bank/invest any affiliate income I receive from the blog, plus any lotto or premium bond winnings.

While my sis and nephew are living with me, I need to make the most of the extra contribution to bills.

Proverbial Spanner

There will of course be obstacles for me to overcome, expenses which will try to wreck my plans.

Barely 3 weeks into the year and a spanner has already been tossed into the works.

Over the weekend, one of the crowns on my back teeth loosened and fell out, causing pain and discomfort. I went to the dentist and he told me what I was half expecting but not wanting to hear: my tooth is broken and needs to be extracted.

After extraction, the two teeth on either side of the resulting gap will be checked to see  if they are strong enough to support a bridge, cost will be around £600.

If not, then it’s highly likely that I will need to have an implant which will cost an eye-watering £2k! 🙁  It’s not on the NHS as it’s classed as cosmetic work and I’ve already used up my dental cover provision this claim period (which would only cover £100 in any case!)

Leaving a gap is not an alternative –  I won’t be able to chew properly on that side of my mouth, plus there could be a risk that my teeth could move or twist into the gap.

I can’t go through the rest of my life not being able to eat properly, so it’s a needs must.

Fortunately, I won’t have to pay the £2k in one go but my trusty emergency fund will take its biggest hammering so far and will need to be replenished. This in turn will affect my savings rate.

£2k pretty much wipes out one of my pay days, so it’s now just 59 more to go! YIKES!

How?

How has this suddenly turned into a situation where I feel like I am running out of time (to save for FIRE), instead of joyfully counting down the time until I no longer need to work?

This is the goal I have set for myself, what I have been aiming for all these years.

I think this big dental cost is giving me negative vibes – I’m normally a glass half-full kind of person.

Time to go over those numbers once more…

December 2019 Savings, plus Round Up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the celebrations last night to see in the new year.

It’s 3.30pm as I type this and I’ve only just gotten out of my pjs so it was a late one for me! 🙂

Anyway, I had a great Christmas – no travels abroad this time but there was a 400-mile round trip over the festive period – some good times eating too much but surprisingly drinking little (apart from last night!)

So, how did I do in the last month of the year and against the targets I set?

Not flying abroad for Christmas this year meant that I more or less maintained my savings rate, ending up at 41.7%.

My average for the year stands at 46.3%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m more than happy with this average, which is my highest to date. It’s a personal best! 🙂

The above savings include top ups from £120 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £70.67 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I continued to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

This time last year, my Future Fund stood at £142,831. As at 31st December, it stood at £188,605.

The total capital I invested in 2019 was £15,838 yet there’s been an extra increase in my portfolio of £29,935 over the year!  Wow – I’m astounded!

I didn’t do anything special to achieve this – all I did was ignore the noise about political uncertainty and continue to top up/buy and hold my investments, reinvesting all dividends received. I also received a good dose of LUCK with the buoyant markets.  Although I did switch some of my equity ETFs into bond ETFs (for a bit more balance and stability), this seems to have affected income rather than growth.

My investments effectively made a loss last year, so realistically, this could well happen again in 2020.  I can’t expect it to be this good every year!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

July 2019 Savings + other updates

The month of July seemed incredibly short. I enjoyed the bouts of heatwave – yes, even in Manchester!  Funny how the same people moaning about the heat are now moaning about the rain…

This month also saw me attempting to clear out some space around the house in anticipation of my sister and nephew moving in soon – that’s come round fast, yikes!

Anyway, how did I get on in July?

I saved 44.3% of my net salary – delayed holiday costs took the remaining chunk of my bonus so I wasn’t able to boost my savings rate after all. I am actually saving a little more though, my 3% pay rise is in there!

The above savings includes top ups of £100 from a webinar (more on this later), £20 matched betting profit (from last month) and £74.38 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments – I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A combination of the rock-bottom pound sterling and markets going up has meant a big jump to £173,204. I’m not getting too excited though – still plenty of political shennanigans which could make it drop right down again!

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends: Continue reading