January 2017 Savings, plus other Updates

Ok, the first savings/investment update of the year and things don’t look too different from much of last year.

My ‘income’ this month has been derived from my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

Previously, my savings rate calculation was based on my net income from my main salaried job, ie net of tax, NI and company pension contribution.  The PILON is net of tax and NI.

So, how have I done in January?

My savings rate was 53.6%, a great start to the year!

That said, if I’m still jobless in April, my savings rate is going to be at or around 0%….

However, next month’s number should get a very big boost as it’ll include my bonus. My highest ever savings rate so far is 70.4%, achieved in March 2015. It’s possible I could better this…watch this space!

January’s savings was boosted by £70.84 from TopCashback* and £50 from rent received.

Future Fund 

With the crippled £ sterling doing a creditable impression of a bottom-feeder, my Future Fund continues to ignore other political shenanigans and is now up to £92.321.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

2017 Goals and some New Stuff

Happy belated New Year to you all!

The only thing that I’m certain of this year is that it will be different.

There’s a good chance that it will be better (I started it off with a great holiday!) but as there’s no guarantee, there’s also a chance that it could be worse… In any case, I’ll be doing my utmost for it not to be the latter!

Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!

I only set 5 goals last year and the focus on just a few goals seemed to work well for me so I’m going to do something similar for 2017.

So without further ado, here they are:

2017 Financial Goals:

  • Average 50% savings rate – Same old, same old! I have not been able to achieve this goal yet (3 attempts so far!) but I just feel that if I can nail this (while working), and continue to keep my living expenses down, it’s the best way to make progress on increasing my Future Fund.  A very challenging one in any case, considering my current unemployed status but hey, may as well aim high! This month and the next two will be covered by my pay in lieu of notice so I will aim for 50% for these 3 months anyway – will see what happens after.
  • £1,500 total dividend income – Last year, I surprisingly hit the £1,000 milestone in total dividend income. This is another tough goal, as in order to increase my dividend income, I need to invest more capital. Transferring my work DC pension to one of my SIPPs will help towards this goal, as I’ll stick the transferred funds into income-paying ETFs. If I can get an average of >£100 per month, I’ll be very, very happy.
  • Earn £4,000 Matched Betting (MB) income – This number may not seem very ambitious considering the earning potential of MB but I still think this won’t be an easy one for me. Given that I’m not working, I could/should be doing some MB during the day but that doesn’t appeal to me and I still consider MB a hobby, I don’t want it to become a chore. There’s also the real threat of getting more of my betting accounts ‘gubbed’, (where I can no longer take advantage of free bets etc) but let’s hope I can continue to rake in the profits.

2017 Non-Financial Goals

  • Borrow and read 20 library books – The same as last year’s goal. Borrowing from the library means that I spend less on books but also means that I am supporting my local library services. I’m going to try to read a total of 30 books this year (I track my progress here via Goodreads), of which at least 20 must be borrowed from the library.
  • Read 3 non-fiction books – Last year’s goal was reading 3 finance-related/investment books. This year, I’ll broaden it out to just topics that interest me (including financial and investment topics). Doesn’t sound like much but as I’ve said before, my passion is reading fiction so this is a challenge for me! Hopefully, I can borrow them from the library so I can work on two goals at the same time!

Charity Goal – Down the Toilet?

As per last year, I will continue to donate at least 10% of my MB profits to charity, so if I hit my MB goal this year, that will be £400. The main charities I donate to regularly are Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, British Red Cross and Magic Breakfast. I also fund ‘charity loans’ via Kiva.

However, the first donation I’ve made this year was to sponsor TheFireStarter to run the London Marathon in April. Check out his fundraising page here.

Anyway, this year I will set myself a charity goal, which will be with Toilet Twinning:

Tearfund, registered charity No. 265464 (England and Wales)

2.4 billion people don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo1, something that we’ve taken for granted every day of our lives.

Toilet Twinning is a simple way to solve a serious problem and save lives.

You can twin your loo (like towns are twinned) with a latrine halfway around the world, in a country of your choosing. For a larger donation, you can twin with a school block or with toilets in a displacement camp.

My goal is to twin with a School Block of toilets (donate £240), as well as continuing to support above-mentioned charities. My donation will help build a block of toilets at a school, providing safe, clean and hygienic sanitation and also help fund hygiene education and clean water projects.

While Huw’s formidably aiming to build an entire school with his charity aims, I’m just going for the loos – small but just as important, we all know what it’s like when we need to go! 😉

The lack of a loo in certain developing countries makes women and girls a target for sexual assault as they go to the toilet in the open. Many get bitten by snakes as they squat in the grass! Having no toilets to go to in school, girls often drop out at puberty.

I hope my donations will make a difference to people’s lives.

New Stuff

The following aren’t goals as such but new things that I will be doing in 2017:

  • New Job – I will have a new job at some point.
  • New Hobby – When thinking about what I want to do in my spare time when I’m retired, learning to play a musical instrument is high on my list. Although I’m not musical at all – I didn’t progress past the recorder and glockenspiel at school and I don’t think the triangle counts, haha – playing an instrument has always been something I’ve fancied doing. Anyway, I thought, why wait til I’m retired? So, that’s how I came to buy an instrument while I was out in Hong Kong, which I brought back with me! I’ll reveal more info in a later post! 🙂
  • New Exercise – I found out recently that there’s a place near me where all comers can play netball. I was on the school team so the last time I played was when I was 17! Following the recommendation of one of my ex-colleagues, I thought I’ll check this out – I’ll attend my first session in the next two weeks. The extra exercise will supplement my gym classes as I need to shift some post-holiday poundage! Unfortunately, I’m suffering from a bad cold at the moment, so exercise isn’t on the forefront of my mind.
  • New Man – errrrr…we’ll see! 😉

So that’s it for my goals – did you set any goals for 2017?

If so, good luck! 🙂

 (footnote 1 –  also known as toilet, lavatory, WC, bog, privy or bathroom, plus some other names not mentioned!)

December 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

Hi all, I’m back! 🙂

I’ll talk about my hols in a later post but right now, I need to get my final 2016 numbers out, plus an update on how I did against my goals.

Apologies in advance for this long post but here goes…

My savings rate in December was 40.6%, resulting in an overall average in 2016 of 44.9%. Although it meant that I failed in my goal, I’m pretty satisfied as I was able to beat 2015’s savings rate of 43.7%!

December’s savings was boosted by £122.25 affiliate income from Siteground* and Oddsmonkey*, £100 from rent received and £100 from matched betting winnings.

Future Fund 

With the crippled £ sterling continuing its slide, my Future Fund got a big boost, up to £91,101. The number looks good on paper/online and I’m a bit giddy that it’s getting closer and closer to that coveted £100k milestone. However, I’m not kidding myself that things are all rosy – the UK is poorer as a result of this currency slide and of course, at some point, the stock market will come crashing down again.

Net Worth

I’ve not mentioned my net worth in a while, only because it’s not something I regularly track. Anyway, my net worth is now £163,004, an increase of 39% from the start of 2016.

I have no idea what a ‘good’ net worth number should be so I’ll just say that I think that’s a pretty good increase!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

November 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

Have finally recovered from work’s Christmas party/leaving do! Hangovers get so much worse as you get older!

Anyway, it was probably one of the best parties I’ve been to – lots of mixed emotions but what I do recall was a lot of fun and laughter.

Work for me is winding down a little as I begin to hand over the rest of my responsibilities. Not long to go now.

Anyway, how do things look on the numbers front?

nov16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 38.1% – gift-buying has taken its toll a little here but still not too bad. I’ve only a few more items to get now so for me to be able to have a decent savings rate is still a big achievement for this time of year.

My average savings rate however continues its downward trend  –  it’s now at 45.2%. If I can get it to be at least 45% by the end of the year, I’ll be well happy.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £10.36 from TopCashback*.

Future Fund 

Markets went a little wobbly this month, so my overall portfolio dropped a little and now stands at £86,188.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading