December 2015 savings, plus goal updates

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and good break from work. I had a lovely dinner on Christmas Day with close friends and a generally relaxing time, catching up on reading (books and internet) and tv. Was back in work on 29th – that was a bit of a shock to the system!

So how did I do in December savings-wise and how have I done versus the goals I set at the start of the year?


I saved 31.5%. Not quite as bad as I thought in the end. This has meant that my average savings for 2015 was therefore 43.7% so goal failed! I’m a little bit disappointed that I’ve missed my target again but well, I gave it a good go and will continue at it!

The amount saved was boosted by £58 from TopCashback*, £25 premium bond winnings and £50 rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth

My Future Fund now stands at £57,530.57. If I don’t take into account the private pension transfer, it stands at £46,144, so goal failed. However, I’m very happy with how it is progressing, although any growth has mostly been attributed to money I’ve put in rather than growth from investments.

Dec15networthv2(a) Figure based on August 2015 statement, plus overpayments made

(b) Personal Emergency Fund

(c) Emergency Fund for stuff related to BTL property

(d) On a 0% rate

(e) Zoopla estimated value of property as at 30/12/15






Net Worth is now £117,595.83, an increase of just over 31% from the start of the year so goal achieved. A seemingly big jump, mostly I’d say due to the increase in valuation of my rental property – it seems even properties ‘up north’ can go up in value!

Dividends and other Income
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November 2015 Savings, plus other updates

It’s silly season and despite ignoring Black Friday and the like, I’ve been buying gifts and presents for friends and family. Of course, a fair chunk of my income also went towards my holiday too instead of being saved/invested.

So how did this month go?

A savings rate of 29.5%. Hmmm…not bad compared to average UK savings rates but this is my worst savings rate since I started my blog! 

This takes my average down to 44.8%. The good news is that although things aren’t going to be any better in December, I should be able to maintain a >40% average, which I won’t feel too bad about.

This month’s savings was topped up with £12.90 from TopCashBack* and £80 from rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth
My Future Fund now stands a£57,023.34, buoyed a little by improving markets this month.

Net Worth is now £114,802.96, an increase of just over 28% so far from the start of the year.

Dividends and other Income

I received £3.26 from British Land Co plc, £3.05 from Ladbrokes plc, £3.64 from Centrica plc, £2.19 from Vanguard Government Bond ETF, £2.85 from City of London IT, £1.80 from Bankers IT plc and 67p from Bloomsbury Publishing!

So a total of £17.46, not one of my better months. However, back in November 2014, my total dividend income was ZERO, so it’s a fantastic year on year increase! 🙂

Anyway, this brings my monthly dividend income average to £24.67, with total dividends received in 2015 now £271.36. There’s a good chance that I will hit the £300 mark by the end of the year!

 Shares and Investment Trusts

I didn’t invest in shares or investment trusts this month but my transferred personal pension has been invested in various ETFs (exchange traded funds), one of which (
Vanguard Government Bond) has already produced dividends.
Current portfolio here.
Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £94.37 this month, averaging £23.59 per week. My average weekly spend so far is now £23.27 so unless I have a big blow-out next month, I will achieve my goal. Incidentally, I’ve just realised that my average dividend income actually covers my weekly shop – sweet!
Cooking RecipesTheFIREStarter gave me the idea of making a fish gumbo – it’s great with my homemade bread!
Online Earnings – I’m well short of my £500 target in online earnings but as mentioned before, I think I was a tad massively over-optimistic when setting the annual goal. Still, another payout from TopCashback as listed above. I have around over £100 in the cashback pipeline as show at the end of this post, but most of it won’t get paid til next year.
Library books –  My target of reading 20 library books was achieved this month – woohoo! I’ve been working 4-day weeks in November to use up my holidays and instead of watching day-time TV, I’ve been enjoying a lot of uninterrupted reading! Really pleased I’ve achieved this goal and will definitely set it again for next year to make the most of local services, read new books and not spend any money needlessly on reading material!

If anyone’s interested, I track all my reading via GoodReads – add me as a ‘friend’ if you are a member!

Here’s how I’m doing against my goals in brief:

* SIPP transfer not included

Ok, it looks likely that I will achieve the cooking and grocery goals but not the savings rate, Future Fund, or online activity goals.  The poker one…well, I know how to play now but not to any high standard, so not sure what to do about that one.

Just one more month left in 2015 – how time flies when you’re having fun!

Wishing everyone great strides towards FI as we see out this year!

[*referral link]

October 2015 Savings, plus other updates

A couple of social outings, plus a stupid parking ticket added to my expenses. Of course, a fair chunk of my income went towards my holiday too instead of towards my savings.

So how did this month go?

A savings rate of 31.1%, so not too bad, I guess.

This takes my average down to 46.4%. I think if I can keep my average above 40% by the end of the year, I’ll be happy, especially knowing how the expensive the end of the year will get.

This month’s savings was topped up with £20.02 from InboxPounds*, £6.34 reviewing music (and occasionally, ladies fashion!) with SliceMyPie*, £5.74 from TopCashBack* and £100 from rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth

My Future Fund now stands a£56,294.82, a seemingly huge jump from last month but this was due to my stakeholder pension being transferred into one of my SIPPs. Without the transfer, the balance would be £44,908.29 – an increase of over £2.5k from last month, due to the global market stabilising a little.
Net Worth is now £113,389.32, an increase of 27% so far from the start of the year.

Incidentally, this is the last month I paid into my stakeholder (the direct debit came out just before the transfer). I have now set up a standing order to pay into my SIPP for the same amount from November.
Dividends and other Income


I received £5.54 from Amlin, £5.93 from Diageo, £7.79 from GlaxoSmithKline, £2.36 from Land Securities Group, and £3.01 from Standard Chartered.

So a total of £24.63, bringing my monthly average now to £25.39.  
In October 2014, my total dividend income was just £3.80, so another great increase!


Dividends received in 2015 now total £253.90.

Shares and Investment Trusts

With Amlin soon to be bought out, I decided to start investing in another similar insurance company, namely Lancashire Holdings Ltd. When I receive my funds from the Amlin sale, I think I’ll use it to build up my investment trust holdings, although I’m not yet sure if it will be a top up of existing investments or new holdings. 

Current portfolio here.
Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £113.78 this month, averaging £22.76 per week. My average weekly spend so far is now £23.24 so still on target. 

Cooking Recipes – I made a roast chicken dinner – I know…it seems absolutely mad that I’ve never done this before but this was my first time!
Online Earnings – Still plugging away at this bit by bit, with amounts coming in from InboxPounds, SlicethePie and TopCashback as listed above, bringing my total online earnings so far this year to £242.28. I have around £140 in the cashback pipeline, but it looks like most of it won’t get paid til next year so won’t count towards my goal.
Library books – Three books borrowed and read this month.  17 books borrowed so far, so on track to hit my target of 20 library books by the end of the year. If anyone’s interested, I track all my reading via GoodReads – add me as a ‘friend’ if you are a member!

Here’s how I’m doing against my goals in brief:

* SIPP transfer not included

Out with the Old, In with the New…

This will be my last update while working for my current company as I will very shortly be working for New Co when the sale finally takes place, just 2 weeks short of my 20 years’ service!

I’ve been told I will get continuous service – I wonder if I’ll get anything for it though?

Hope you all had a good October!

[*referral link]

Yearly Target Reached?

I set myself a target to have £50k in my Future Fund by the end of the year.

A combination of wobbly markets and not saving enough has meant that this goal had became unattainable – my September update showed a value of £42.3k, and unless the markets see-sawed massively in my favour, there was no real way to make up the big gap to my goal.

However, looking at my numbers today, my Future Fund stands at £56,335.87!

Celebrations all round!?

Not exactly….
I mentioned recently that I often suffer from procrastination and one of the things I’d been putting off for months was the transfer of my stakeholder pension into one of my SIPPs.
I read some recent posts on procrastination, realised what I was doing (or not doing!) so I just went ahead and finally did it.
The whole transfer process from requesting a quote from my provider (Scottish Widows) to submitting the transfer form and seeing the funds in my SIPP has taken just under two weeks – pretty painless and I can’t believe I dragged my feet so long over it!

One of the reasons I’d wanted to transfer was fees – the management fee for the stakeholder pension was 0.8% – not a huge amount but it all adds up in the long run and neither of my current SIPP providers charge this much.
Another reason was that I wanted more control in how my money is invested.
Previously, my stakeholder pension, whilst included in my net worth, was not part of my Future Fund as I had planned to take a small annuity (a few hundred pounds) from it upon retirement age. This plan was obviously made before the recent changes to pensions.
It’s now all lumped in with the rest of my Future Fund, so there’s no change overall to my net worth but a big boost to my Future Fund total.
I however won’t count this as reaching my annual goal – it feels like cheating to me as I had aimed to get to £50k without the help of this pension transfer.

My Future Fund is now however over the half-way mark to my first big milestone of £100k – got to keep at it!

What Investments?
The money has been transferred to my AJBell YouInvest SIPP – I will buy a bunch of ETFs and build these up in accordance with my Portfolio For All Seasons, reinvesting the dividends.
Yes, this should hopefully bump up my dividend income by quite a bit! Happy days!