August 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Well, the big highlight this month is that my Future Fund reached £250,000!

Woohoo, I’m a quarter of a million millionaire 🙂 🙂 !

I’d planned on doing a separate post dedicated to celebrating this milestone but decided to relegate it to just a highlight in my usual update because once my house purchase goes through, I’ll be withdrawing a chunk of cash, so in my mind, I’m not really there yet.

And yes, the house purchase business rumbles on – a big post about it once it’s all over. Still so much to do.

I waiver between being really excited/stressed about it and working madly on decluttering etc, to days of complete apathy where I just binge-watch tv or play video games because I can’t face it all.

Fortunately, all that needs doing by me (for solicitor etc) is up to date, it’s the sorting of the house and my/the family’s belongings which is completely doing my head in. But I will get there of course.

Anyway, I’ve finally been successful growing some tomatoes (cherry) –  so chuffed with these, which have been great in salads:

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

I saved just 13.5% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win!

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 

I’ve been too busy/distracted to know what the markets were up to this month but whatever, there was a decent jump and my Future Fund ended up at £250,171!

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends:

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July 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Meant to get this update out over the weekend but just couldn’t get round to it.

Some recent highlights:

  • Been enjoying a fantastic summer of sport – first the highs (and lows) of the Euros football, then Wimbledon tennis and then, one of the reasons I didn’t get my blogging act together over the weekend was because I’ve been too busy catching up on the Olympics. Love it all, c’mon Team GB! I’ve even been watching some of The Hundred cricket (men and women) – finally, cricket scores I can understand, haha!
  • Also been enjoying eating (and having a laugh at – see end of post 🙂 !) some of the veggies I’ve grown – spring onions and courgettes have been flavour of the month. Got some tomatoes on the go too so greenfingers crossed those will be ok seeing as I failed utterly with them last year. Carrots didn’t fare so well this year sadly. But yes, it all seems to taste better when you grow them yourself!

My spring onions have sprung!

  • I’ve been back to the office. As mentioned previously, I can continue to WFH 100% but I’ve chosen to go in (once or twice a week) to see my colleagues/other people. I was very unproductive on the days I was in – seems like I will have to learn to work amid the distractions and noise of an open office again –  but it was very nice to see everyone. Interesting to note how ‘back to the office’ has affected different people, ranging from utter joy and relief in some, to (sadly) panic attacks in others. One of my friends is back in the office 5 days a week again – the novelty has worn off already but it’s a new job so she’ll see how it goes.
  • Had a couple of social outings with friends – I would love to keep the table service and not have to ever queue at the bar again!
  • My nephew’s recent birthday present has given us a new and somewhat topical game to play on our weekly boardgame nights:

There was a lot of pressure to win this one!

  • And finally, I have found a house and my offer has been accepted! I won’t say any more right now, but the next few months will be rather busy. I feel both relieved and anxious. I’ve started my big decluttering exercise – 24 bags to the charity shop so far (not all mine, some of them ‘family’ stuff) and it’s barely made a dent… Suffice to say I’ve also just started reading Marie Kondo’s book for some inspiration… (thanks to SavingNinja for the copy).

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

I saved 13.5% of my net salary. House-purchasing fees (solicitor, conveyancing etc) means I need to put aside a chunk of cash to cover these (and any other expenses) so my savings rate will have to suffer until this is all sorted. There goes my goal out of the window but needs must.

The above includes top ups £37.03 from doing surveys with Prolific.

Shares and Investment Trusts

One new investment, I bought some shares in Aberdeen Diversified Income & Growth Trust, another investment trust as part of the dividend-paying part of my portfolio.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Apparently the markets were down this month due to share sell offs, but my Future Fund didn’t get the memo and ended up at £244,342, so continuing in the right direction.

However, I now know that I will definitely have to use some of these funds for the house purchase so there will be a chunk taken out, which will sadly mess up my nice graph and likely have impact on my FIRE plan, just when I’m so close to my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

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May 2021 Savings, plus other updates

A big influx of work has kept me really busy, and as the company I work for pivots and stretches to try to claw back business lost through 2020, deals are ever more complex and I’ve found myself working late just to get through my workload. The only evenings I’ve been finishing on time have been my gym nights – sacrificing those will affect my sanity for real.

As mentioned in previous posts, my boss has pretty much got one foot out of the door and while she continues to help when I ask for it, her mind’s not fully focused, she is obviously not as engaged as she was previously and I understand her reluctance to get involved in new (and what look to be protracted and drawn out) issues. Not her problem any more.

When sis and nephew were still living with me, it was rare for me to work long hours because we couldn’t eat too late in the evening as nephew had school. Back on my own again, I’ve slipped into bad habits which I must stop.

Anyway, I escalated my workload issue and the good news is that I will get some  support, which will take some pressure off me. I’ve also booked some days off to clear my head (and do house stuff) and it looks like I’ve picked the right time –  even Manchester is enjoying a little mini-heatwave!

A few ‘highlights’ this month:

  • I’m now ‘fully’ inoculated – had my second AZ vaccine, no side effects this time, just a sore arm for a couple of days.
  • The Fitbit my friends bought me two years ago stopped working. However, after a lengthy discussion with Fitbit Customer Services, they told me I was eligible for a free replacement (worth around £150), which arrived a week later! Very pleased with that, as I was only asking for help, not a freebie!
  • Had my first ‘harvest’ from the veggies I’m growing – this is a kind of Japanese spinach, which was so easy to grow from seed, even for me!

  • Work have announced they are reopening the office doors ‘officially’ on 21st June, subject to government announcements. Flexi-working will be introduced, with various departments scheduled to go into the office on a certain number of days (no more than 3). However, I’ve been told that if I want to, I can continue to WFH 100% – I guess they can squeeze more hours from me that way! Suits me, but I think I will go in once or twice a week to be sociable and so I can catch up with friends.
  • I had my first ‘non-family’ hug (from a friend) in a long time. It was rather marvellous.

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

I saved 50.5% of my net salary. Despite things opening up, I haven’t been anywhere and my social life has yet to be resurrected, but I’m ok with that. Increased payments into premium bonds because as mentioned, it’s looking likely that I will have to dip into my Future Fund for my property purchase, so I need to build up cash reserves.

The above includes top ups from a £25 premium bond win (yay!) and £46.37 from doing surveys with Prolific.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets were all over the place but settled down towards the end of the month.

At the end of May, my Future Fund was at £236,836, so staying steady on course.

Dividends and Other Income

A bumper month for dividends – nearly too many to list:

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April 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Another blur of a month.

Work has kept me really busy, though fortunately not in a mind-numbing way – perhaps that’s due to the brighter days, although temperatures are still on the chilly side and I haven’t put any of my winter clothes away yet!

My boss has started to switch off and I can’t say I blame her – her head’s full of making travelling plans! Two more months before she goes – I already miss her.

Anyway, a few ‘highlights’ this month:

  • The gym reopened! I’ve been enjoying re-establishing my weekly routines and already feel much better physically and mentally. I have noticed this past week however that although the women at the gym are still strictly following the cleaning and wiping down of equipment after use, many of the men have slipped back to old habits of sweating over the stuff and just leaving it for the next person to clean. Shame not all the equipment I need to use is in the ladies-only section.
  • Attended another Zoom ‘Manchester’ FIRE meet up.  This one had an excellent presentation by someone who achieved FIRE from BTLs (Buy To Lets) so it was interesting to hear about his journey and how he’s succeeded. Also attended a great ‘Leeds’ investing meet up, which had some fascinating discussions.
  • To celebrate Earth Day, work gave us the afternoon off and we did several hours of litter-picking in the city centre. It was exciting to meet up with colleagues again and it was a lovely day out. I’m glad to say that there wasn’t actually as much litter as I thought there would be but was astonished and dismayed at the gazillions of discarded cigarette butts. Now that I’ve noticed these on the ground, I can’t unsee them – they are everywhere and it really annoys me.
  • Watched some great stuff on TV, including the brilliant ‘Line of Duty‘ (no I didn’t guess correctly!) and Amazon Prime’s ‘Invincible‘ – violent animation at its best!
  • My local library has announced that it will be reopening imminently and I can’t wait. I’ve been borrowing e-books but it’s not the same. I’m far more excited about this than of the pubs opening their doors. Getting old or just getting more introverted?

Sis and nephew have settled into their new home but haven’t really moved everything out yet as there are still some cupboards/shelves they are waiting to be delivered. We’ve continued with our family board game night so I still see them on a weekly basis which is nice.

Only Happy When It Rains

I still haven’t been out for that first pint yet – I think I would rather wait and let those who need to go right now release all that pent-up desperation enthusiasm out of the way, so things will be a bit more normal and calm in a month or so’s time.

Right now, I just feel that other people will, I don’t know, just irritate me.  Lockdown syndrome or just enjoying being miserable? I don’t know…

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

I saved 48% of my net salary. I could have probably saved a bit more, but decided to put some money aside ready for when I might want to spend some, a couple of new outfits for the summer maybe, eating out, etc. Maybe even holidays? One can only hope.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Financial news seemed to be dominated with the shenanigans of cryptocurrency (which I’m not invested in) and I was momentarily distracted by the Prime Minister’s wallpaper bill (and choice), so I wasn’t keeping tabs on what the stock markets were doing, hence this was a pleasant surprise.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund had jumped up to £234,689, so the rocket continues its journey!

The bull run continues…for now

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

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