May 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

Firstly, heartfelt thoughts to the families and friends of the 22 whose lives were mindlessly cut short at the Manchester Arena.

The arena is only 5 miles from where I live, the streets where alleged accomplices of the bomber have since been arrested are ones which I have often driven down. This is scary stuff pretty much on my doorstep but talking to my friends and people at work, there is a sense of strength and solidarity, we will not let terrorism beat us. I would have loved to have gone to the ‘One Love‘ gig that’s on Sunday but there was no chance I was going to get any tickets.

Work and Pay

Well, I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants at work these past couple of weeks. It’s been both scary and a bit of a rush but I did ok! Anyway, it was fortunate that I started my new job just before payroll cut off so I received a bit of a wage in May which I thoroughly deserved, if I say so myself! Woo hoo! 🙂

So, how much of my net salary did I save?

I saved 40%! My average for the year is now 46% so not too far off my goal of 50%. I’ll need to put in some good months to haul it back up.

The above savings includes boosts of £400 from matched betting profits, £28.31 from TopCashback*, £43.50 from football predictions, £69.35 from Google Adsense (my second payment ever!) and £51.36 affiliate income from OddsMonkey.

Redundancy Cash

I still have just under 80% of my severance pay left. I’m going to invest some of it next month but think I will err on the side of caution and leave most of it sitting in cash (premium bonds) for now and review my options when I feel the urge to do so.

I’m not bothered about the crap returns from premium bonds – when I started planning for FI/retiring early, I never thought I’d be including any redundancy money so it’s a bonus already on its own. I think this will bring the cash element of my portfolio to around 14-15%.

I’ve topped up my emergency fund so that it now covers around 4 months’ expenses which seems to be an amount I’m comfortable with.

Future Fund 

With the markets buoyant this month, my portfolio has continued to grow. At the end of May, my Future Fund ended up at £104,753.

Dividends and Other Income

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

April 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed my amended logo to show the new £1 coin – thanks to The Investor from Monevator for reminding me to change it!

Anyway, I have to confess that I have really felt like not publishing this update.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been saving a large part of my salary towards my goal for FI/retiring early and happily documenting my progress on this blog.

This is the first month I have had no salary in over 20 years and I wasn’t sure what I could say, without coming over all miserable with doom and gloom – there’s still nothing on the work front yet although I continue to actively job-seek.

But hey ho, spare me the pity, I’m a mostly glass half-full kind of person and as I said in my last update, my goal to FIRE is still on, just suffering a bit of a ‘blip’, so without further ado…

Bad News Alert!

My savings rate this month is ZERO! 

This is because I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage. I know others work out their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.   I’m now living off my severance pay – ouch!

All Is Not Lost

That’s not to say I haven’t added to my Future Fund at all this month – I made investments using the following income: £400 from matched betting profits, £92.49 from TopCashback*, £138.47 affiliate income from Odds Monkey, £50 rent received and £40 from a lottery win!

This income is by no means guaranteed on a monthly basis so in the short-term, I’m going to try to continue to invest as much as I can for as long as I can, to keep the investing momentum going. I did toy with the idea of investing nothing while I wasn’t working but that didn’t seem to make sense to me, not when I had the means to make some cash which I did not require to live on.

Future Fund 

After hitting my big milestone of reaching £100k in savings/investments last month, my Future Fund continues to grow, buoyed by the announcement of our own snap election and the elections in France. At the end of April, my Future Fund ended up at £102,023.

Dividends and Other Income

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

March 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

An ‘action-packed’ month, filled with interviews, lots of matched betting, plus a short trip to Hong Kong to see my poorly Grandma (getting better but not fully recovered).

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

So, how have I done in March?

After last month’s record-breaking savings rate, it’s back to a good solid savings rate of 58.6%.

This pushes my average savings rate so far to 64%.

As I’m still only at interview stage with regards to my job hunting, it’s highly unlikely that I will have a salaried wage in April.

As I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage, this means that my savings rate is going to be a big fat ZERO! I know others calculate their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.

I think I’m likely to continue to invest using matched betting and other income – I guess others might not save/invest whist unemployed but I feel that I need to keep the saving/momentum going, even at a reduced rate. At least in the short term, anyway.

March’s savings was boosted by the £50 I won in Premium Bonds, £50 from rent received, £292.40 Jobseekers Allowance (ahem, continuing to make the most of ALL my income while I can), £14.62 from TopCashback*, £250 matched betting profits and I was lucky on the lotto again so another £10 win has been chucked into the pot too.

Future Fund 

As mentioned in my last post, I hit my biggest milestone so far, that of reaching £100k in savings/investments. With Brexit triggered and more Trump shenanigans in the news, the markets wobbled a little but my Future Fund ended up at £100,442.

Dividends and Other Income

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

Procrastination

As mentioned in my February update, I can’t say that I’ve been doing my utmost with my job hunting and I guess that as well as enjoying my free time too much, I’ve been suffering badly from procrastination.

I even borrowed a book from the library to help me focus but I haven’t gotten round to reading it yet…ahem!

What have I been doing instead of job hunting?

  • Sleep – Upon my return from my hols, the last two weeks of January were spent sleeping a lot as I was initially jet-lagged and then poorly with a virus.
  • Binge watching TV – I’ve been watching stuff like ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Blacklist’ and ‘Homeland’. No daytime TV – I’d not stoop that low!
  • Reading blogs/tweets – I didn’t read any blogs while I was away so caught up on my reading. I also culled my Twitter feed to a more manageable level – following too many is just distracting and tweets that I may actually want to read end up getting lost in the noise/spam.
  • Practising my ukulele – Still getting used to the simple chords but I can ‘play’ a couple of tunes now. A great way to relax, though I need to learn how to ‘sing’ AND play at the same time – note sing in inverted commas as I can’t hold a proper tune!
  • Painting and decorating – I’ve been glossing the doors in the house, but got bored after a few so still have more to do at some point.
  • Matched betting (MB) – I started to do a bit of horse racing MB during the day, to help boost my profits. I still very much prefer MB on football but thought I’d see if I could tap into the much-touted riches of the Cheltenham Festival which are taking place this week.
  • Bird watching – It’s not very often that I get to sit around and enjoy the wildlife/birds in my garden. The grey squirrels have been keeping me entertained with their antics and with winter over, a variety of birds have returned to the garden.  However, I never expected to see a hapless pigeon being caught and plucked alive by a sparrowhawk…I’d seen a mass of feathers on my lawn previously but had thought it was the work of the neighbours’ cats!
  • Hunter looks smaller than the prey and yes, those bits scattered about are feathers!

I’m glad that I haven’t resorted to playing games on my PC or tablet as I would end up losing hours/days. As a former gamer, I can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, however. The only game I have going is Pokemon Go, which really only means that I park a little further away from the supermarket so I can do an extra bit of walking (to ‘hatch’ eggs and ‘catch’ Pokemon!).

I’ve been maintaining a routine of sorts, so still attend my gym classes and work out, plus of course, I’m now playing netball too. I’ve continued to wake up to my alarm as if I’m going to work every day and going to bed at my usual time. This way, my weekends remain different and are something to look forward to, ie drinking and having lie ins! 😉

A Little Progress

Anyway, since I started drafting this post just over a week or so ago, I ramped up my job hunting efforts and I have had two job interviews – just goes to show what a little effort can achieve, I guess.  I hope I make it through to the next stages of interviews but realistically acknowledge that nothing is guaranteed (even though I thought the interviews went quite well) and that I could well be job hunting for a while yet.

Just need to make sure that I don’t fall back into a routine of procrastination!