July 2023 interim update

Just an update on the month with no numbers as decided to get this out while I could and there’s obviously one more working day for my portfolio numbers to change, dividends to be paid etc.

A blur of a month, felt like a lot was going on at home and at work.


Another year of being lucky with Wimbledon tickets, this time, I got to see a couple of cracking quarter-final matches. The weather was great and even the trains ran on time, so it was a great day out.


The news continues to be full of doom and gloom about the NHS but for me recently, the NHS continues to chug along, doing its thing in the background.

As well as getting invited for routine cervical screening, I’m now of an age where I also get invited for routine breast cancer and bowel cancer screening.

None of these screenings are particularly pleasant (although at least with the latter, I can do the test at home) but when I get these invitations, I will always attend/accept because it’s the only time it feels like ‘someone’ (other than myself) is looking out for me.

I got my results when they said I would get them (no issues) and that’s that for now, until the next screenings.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to look after myself and my health so as to try to avoid relying on the NHS unnecessarily – sadly, it seems like all’s fine when you don’t really need them but perhaps a different story if/when you do.


I considered yet another ‘try before I retire’ activity, by attending a life drawing session for the first time.

The last formal ‘art lesson’ I had was when I was 13 before I chose my options at school (I ended up doing Physics instead of Art).  I’ve only ever really done doodles and cartoons so I wasn’t sure how to use charcoal or pastels.

Anyway, it was a challenging yet enjoyable experience, which I found ‘mind-opening’! There was no teaching or guidance, it was just a free-for-all, with attendees’ skills ranging from enthusiastic beginners to more experienced artists. My friends thought my drawings were good but all I could see were the imperfections.

Budget constraints mean I probably won’t attend many of these sessions but I will certainly see what kind of free online resources I can find so that I can improve my drawing skills. And now I’ve found another thing which I enjoy doing, which I can do in retirement.


Having just completed sitting his GCSE exams, my nephew did a week’s work experience at our company. It was weird seeing him in the office and I resisted being a ‘helicopter aunt’, largely avoiding him so he could just be himself.

A product of independent schooling, colleagues commented positively on his confidence and ease at dealing with adults in a new/strange environment.  In his words, he ‘learned a bit and had a right laugh’ (he was with the Marketing team). I’ve also gone up a point in the ‘cool aunt’ stakes as he reckons I work for a good company! 🙂


I used my birthday money to buy a lawnmower (a small Flymo). Thus far, I’d been mowing the lawn with a strimmer, a bit time consuming but quite successfully, I might add.

The strimmer however is an antique, a 40 year old Black & Decker model, and while it still functions, it’s on its last legs so should probably just be used for edging and borders.

Since the new lawnmower has massively reduced mowing time, it has meant that I’ve been able to squeeze in ‘fast cuts’ during brief sunny periods before downpours – yay!

And finally, Friends Fired

I was surprised (but also not so surprised) to learn recently that a couple of my uni friends (we were course mates) have retired at the age of 55.

I wasn’t surprised because they were always the poster couple who I thought would ‘make it big in life’. Met at uni, they were the first of our bunch of friends to get a mortgage (so grown up!), theirs was the first wedding I attended without my parents, they had 3 children in quick succession, in between both juggling what appeared to be hugely successful careers.

However, I was surprised they would retire early due to the ever increasing size of their house (the last one I was aware of was a 6-bed mansion) and his penchant for tinkering with classic cars. Success has come to them through ambition and hard work (as far as I can tell) but it looks like once all their offspring had finished uni/schooling, they evidently realised they had ‘enough’, and decided enough was enough.

They’ve never mentioned FIRE before (but who does?), yet in true FIRE-fashion, they first trialled and then bought a motorhome and will be making some road trips in that! It’s been a while since I caught up with them properly so I hope to find out more when I see them next.

A recent message to me was “Retirement is fab, do it as soon as you can!” Believe me, I’m trying! 😀

Anyway, need to finish my packing for my hols – will sort out a numbers update when I get back.

Hope you all had a great July!

Nine Lives

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned nine years old!

Happy 9th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Yes, I’m still (mostly) enjoying the act of blogging about my journey to FIRE. I know blogs are pretty old school these days, but then, I have to admit, so am I! 🙂

I’ve been posting my numbers monthly with some glimpses of my life for nine years come rain or shine – not exactly riveting stuff, but hey ho, I think I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life – it’s quite mundane, same-old-same-old but I’m quite content with it not being action-packed, with no drama and no cliff-hangers!

Nine Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as after all this time, it continues to be an effort to stay focused on this FIRE malarkey. After so long, you’d think that I do things automatically and that it’s all very easy but I sometimes feel that if I don’t work at keeping my focus, I’ll just fall off the rails and mess up my plans.

Recently, I’ve been feeling mentally fatigued and felt that I had to get away from looking at my spreadsheets and wishing that they didn’t govern my life so much.

I gave myself a little break but it wasn’t long before I was logging on again, and seeing my numbers (up or down), seeing where I’m at and where I’m going made me feel somewhat comforted, in some control of what I’m doing, in some control of my future. I think I just needed a break from work, which I got over Easter.

Inflation spiralling upwards has made me focus more on costs than I probably have had over recent years. It’s getting to be a harder juggling act.

Anyway, this blog has without a doubt kept me going and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments, suggestions and emails.

What have I been doing these past 9 years? Continue reading

February 2023 Savings, plus other updates

This month saw me and my sister attending an uncle’s funeral – he’d died at the grand old age of 91.

Although a sad affair, it was an opportunity to catch up with extended members of the family (first cousins).

There was one cousin I last saw while we were both still at uni and it was interesting to hear that he and his missus had done the whole geo arbitrage FIRE thing.

What I mean is that they jacked in their jobs in 2019 when they both turned 49 (he an IT consultant, she a dentist with a share in private practice), sold their house in Croydon and relocated to Thailand, where they’ve been renting an apartment in Bangkok, enjoying the benefits of far lower cost of living. They’ve no kids so unlikely they would have made this move if they had.

He dabbles in a bit of trading for pocket money, she spends her time helping out in the local community and it sounds like they are living their dream. Both are modest and happy to live a simple life, and they have been taking the opportunity to visit other countries in eastern Asia.

I wonder if they had heard of FIRE? I didn’t get the chance to ask them.

Anyway, attended another enjoyable pub meet up in Manchester this month (next face to face is in April) and I forgot to mention that at the end of last month, I had a a good catch up (online) with TheFIREStarter (yes, I did ask when his next update would be!) and SavingNinja, who was dialling in from the US.

No update on the Twitter issue but a big thanks to the 138 new subscribers to my blog – thanks for reading! 🙂

So, let’s take a look at how I did in February:

I saved 16.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £67.17 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I can’t remember buying anything new so I guess I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A bit of a wobble in the stock markets but nothing to be concerned about.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund was down a little at £231,522.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends continue to roll in as usual:

Continue reading

January 2023 Savings, plus other updates

January seemed like a long month though not in a bad way, as it was punctuated with several social outings with friends and colleagues, and a couple of enjoyably quiet weekends.

One of my minor goals is to complete a 1000-piece jigsaw and the quiet weekends have had me doing my jigsaw puzzling. Have spent many hours on this activity already and have enjoyed listening to music or podcasts (or just silence) while I’ve been working on the puzzle.

Since I can’t watch TV at the same time (not properly anyway), I’ve cancelled my Netflix subscription. Once the puzzle’s completed, I’ll probably switch it back on again. Or not. I still have some Amazon vouchers from Christmas so might have a look for my next jigsaw.

The gym is very busy with new year enthusiasts but I’ve been getting my sessions in regularly, through the dark, rain and snow!

Need a Man in my Life to Open Pickle Jars

This sad thought flashed across my mind as I struggled in vain the other day to open a large jar of pickled gherkins.

Maybe I shouldn’t have made the attempt after a gym session, with my arm muscles still fatigued from the workout. I gave up after several strenuous minutes of cursing.

The next morning, the jar sat smugly on the kitchen table, as if goading me.

I grabbed it and was shocked when I was able to relatively easily pop open the lid – phew! Maybe my previous efforts had loosened it!

Perseverance is a virtue for all things in life, whether opening pickle jars or aiming for FIRE! And no, I didn’t have pickles for breakfast!

Anyway, on that random note, let’s take a look at the first numbers for 2023:

I saved 16.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £66.90 from doing Prolific surveys and a £10 charity lotto win.

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 

Despite recession, strikes, high interest rates and high inflation, the markets moved somewhat in a positive direction, so my portfolio was up to £233,500.43.

Who knows if this will continue? If the government drops another bombshell à la Truss and Kwarteng, there could be another panic causing more big dipper moments!

Nobody has a clue, least of all me (or the government, it seems), so I’ll just carry on investing.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

Continue reading