September 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Compared to last month’s ‘activity-filled’ calendar, September was on the quiet side.

The only things of any note were:

  • My nephew went back to school and all was well until during the second week when he came home with the lurgy and we had to self-isolate. Fortunately, he was able to get tested within a day and his results (negative) 48 hours later so there was little disruption to the household.
  • I had a little homegrown ‘harvest’:

  • And did I mention that I managed to hit a little milestone this month? More on that later…

Work had my brain fried most evenings so all I’ve felt like doing after logging off was slumping on the sofa watching ‘comfort’ TV – I rewatched/binged all 4 seasons of ‘Heroes‘ (“Save the cheerleader, save the world!“) and have just started to rewatch ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ (the remake, not the original camp 70s show).

I did however keep up my gym sessions so haven’t been entirely unhealthy!

Me and Sis have slowly started to add more to our shopping – an extra packet here, a couple more tins there – in anticipation of a second lockdown and in case people start going mad again stockpiling like they did in March and April (which seems a lifetime ago).

Restrictions haven’t eased off in Greater Manchester, with cases continuing to rise. Life (as we know it now) will just go on.

So, how did I get on with my savings in September?

I saved 56% of my net salary – very good, but considering it was a month of doing pretty much nothing, I was surprised I didn’t save more.

The above savings includes top ups from £60 Matched Betting profits (from last month) and £72.72 from affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my holding in Murray International Investment Trust (MYI) for a small profit (reason being that MYI hasn’t done so well compared to other global ITs and while the yield of >5% is tempting, I’m not sure it will be maintained). I swapped it for SPDR S&P Global Dividend Aristocrats ETF (GBDV). I topped up other existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

After reaching my £200k milestone, the stock markets went all jittery and did their best to spoil my little celebration.

By the end of the month, my Future Fund had dropped to £199,167 – it could have been worse so I’m ok with that, although it seems I wasn’t the only one who ‘flirted’ with £200k, only for it to skip out of reach again!

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividends:

Continue reading

FIRE, hit for Six?

With all that’s going on in the world, a milestone nearly passed by without me realising – what a time to be celebrating six years of blogging!

Happy 6th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

It’s seems weird to be writing about achievements right now, but this blog documents my own experiences, accomplishments, plans and goals, and serves as a personal journal for me to look back on.

Before I ramble on about the present however, let me just revisit the past…

What have I been doing these past 6 years? Continue reading

Are We Nearly There Yet?

This year has flown by.

However, I don’t know about you, but I actually can’t wait for it to be over.

No, I’m not doing a ‘Bah Humbug’ but it’s just all too ‘busy’ right now for my liking.

This is despite the fact that I’ve participated in enjoyable things such as:

  • taking my nephew to the panto (Craig Revel Horward was fabulous as the Wicked Queen in Snow White)
  • having more than a few free drinks at the works’ Christmas party
  • attending my first sci-fi con in years, catching the larger than life Brian Blessed and the small but wonderful Warwick Davis, among lots of people in cool gear!
  • a couple of social outings with friends

Dare you walk on the Dark Side?

  • I even had another Premium Bond win (£25).

Work is really busy and my head is just full of ‘stuff’. I’m also glad the election business is all over – it was all doing my head in and my only real consolation was checking my investments the day after and seeing a big jump in the value of my portfolio – the ‘Boris Bounce’ but perhaps it’s the Santa Rally come early! Let’s see if the boom lasts til the end of the year.

I’m behind on my gift shopping so it’s all a mad rush these next few days. I’m looking forward to a nice break. I’m not travelling abroad this Christmas but I will be away from home – a change of scenery will do me some good.

The bits of presents I have purchased have been done online (Amazon) as I haven’t yet braved the shops.

Vouchers

Remember in my July update where I mentioned that I took part in an investment webinar and was paid £100?

Well, I was invited by the same research company to take part in a online investment panel for two weeks, whereby I had to review numerous articles, websites, listen to podcasts and watch video adverts.

Time-wise, I probably spent 4 hours max in total doing the various bits, for which I was paid £175 in Amazon vouchers! Handy for any time of year really but particularly now!

Anyone interested in taking part in such investment surveys, drop me note. I’m not sure I can share their details on my blog, so would rather share privately and no, it’s not a referral or affiliate link.

Toilet Twinning

I’m still planning on twinning my second toilet for the year. However, am unlikely to complete the task before the end of this month as I don’t want the framed pic to get lost among the festive packages.

Like before, I’ll offer the twinning for free to a lucky reader – just drop me a comment below and I’ll include you in the draw to win the twinned toilet (ensure you include a valid email address so I can contact you should you win).

The winner will be picked randomly on 30th December.

And on that note, wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

See you for my December update and round-up of 2019 (of sorts…).

Family Life

As revealed here, my sister and my nephew have moved in with me and it’s been a massive adjustment to my life.

Until my nephew actually started school, I have to say it sort of felt like they were only here temporarily on holiday and that they would be off home at some point. I’m still kind of getting used to things.

Sis hasn’t rested on her laurels though since her arrival. As soon as the jetlag wore off, she started reorganising the house. It’s been a good exercise, getting rid of some unwanted stuff that’s been in the family for years but also digging out some things I’d packed away in the garage and forgotten about! Still can’t part with my comic collection though…

She’s not quite gone the full KonMari but there’s still a lot to get rid of as she’s got a shipment of stuff arriving in about a month’s time so needs to clear some space. A lot of old spare furniture sitting in the garage has gone to charity already.

Changes

I’m sure at some point, I will get used to seeing little boy’s pants in my washing basket!

Pants…

However, I know I won’t get used to the TV being on with no one watching it…

Or the lights being left on around the house…

Or not being able to have my music blasting around the house…

Or not being able to watch my programmes when I want as they’re unsuitable for children…

Or someone drinking alcohol in the house on a school night!

There have already been discussions about turning the heating on – it’s only September!!

But wait! Let me stop with the negativity! Whilst I’m trying to get used to my new home life, I have to admit that there are a lot of positives.

The good things:

  • home cooked meals when I get home from work!
  • shared household bills, which should positively impact my savings rate!
  • chirpy voice welcoming me home (my nephew, not my sis!)
  • Sunday roasts!
  • garden looks much tidier and weed-free!
  • house is more ‘organised’ – I think I’ve mentioned before that whilst I’m super organised and tidy at work, I’m almost the opposite at home, don’t know why!
  • less unproductive time spent online because it’s anti-social when there are people around…

This last point is good and bad – bad in that I’ve been struggling to find the time to read blogs, comment and also to draft my own posts. I guess I just need to work out a new routine.  I enjoy a bit of peace and quiet in the evenings as sis goes to bed before I do, but at the moment, it’s not quite enough time to do all my blogging stuff.

This post has taken a while to draft as I couldn’t do it in one sitting, had to write it in fits and starts.

Unexpected Consequence

My gym sessions in the evenings used to be quite drawn out affairs – an hour working out after work, half an hour relaxing in steam room/sauna, shower and then mooch home.

Recently however, I’ve just been doing the hour workout, showering and then heading straight home – because then, I can catch my nephew before he goes to bed!

Who would have thought!? Certainly not me!

I realise that he’s not going to stay an engaging chatterbox for long (and mobile phone-free) and that all too soon, his teen hormones will kick in, so I may as well make the most of this period of his life!

He’s settled in well in his new school, has made friends and is doing fine in his classes.

So things seem alright at the moment – no real clashes with sis (so far) and I’ve spent some nice family orientated weekends with them.

However

Sis is off networking with ex-colleagues next week. She will be away for a few days so will be leaving me in sole charge of her offspring.

And thus my life has changed as I will need to be a responsible adult looking after a child….

I hope I remember to not let him stay up too late past his bedtime!

And how am I going to make sure he gets ready for school when I can only just about manage to get myself awake for work!

I hope am sure it’ll be fine…