February 2020 Savings, plus other updates

After a month of doing nothing in particular, February was a month where I was busy with something pretty much every weekend. I did have an post I wanted to put up last week but will publish next week instead.

Firstly, I’ve only gone and joined the W.I, that is, the Women’s Institute in Manchester. Like you, I too thought it was for ‘older women’, into their baking, knitting, making jam etc (I’m not interested in any of these) but when I turned up to the first meeting, I was surprised to see that I was actually one of those ‘older women’! The average age must have been around late 20s or early 30s.

Why did I join? It was one of those things which I thought I would do once I’d retired and I realised that there was nothing to stop me from joining now. Good for networking, good for establishing new interests and I got to meet and chat with some nice young women. Not sure how much time I can throw into this right now but I will make some time for it.

Anyway, before I continue with what else I got up to, some of you must be itching to see what my numbers are so here goes…

I saved 33.3% – my spending on social activities took its toll this month.

The above savings includes top ups from £20 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £77.31 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

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 (** Coronavirus ALERT **)

With the stock markets going into chaos caused by Covid-19, my Future Fund stands at £180,751, which is more or less back to what it was in September last year. That’s down 4% since last month.

To say that I’m not feeling a little fearful would be a lie – of course I’m a little scared, both of the virus and what it’s doing to my investments.

However, I’m going to stick with my plan. I got paid today, so my usual investment was made into my ISA. I’ve heard some people are keeping aside cash to invest at the bottom – who knows when stocks will be at rock-bottom, I will just invest when I have the cash and hope that I will scoop up some bargains along the way.

Dividends and Other Income

The bottom has fallen out of the stock markets but like clockwork, my dividends continue to roll in: Continue reading

January 2020 Savings, other updates + next FIRE meet

A bit late but I couldn’t get myself organised over the weekend to post.

A quiet month social-wise, not a lot happened – aside from recovering from having my tooth extracted following a recent visit to the dentist (it’s only just healing up now 🙁 ), much of it was spent reading, making the most of my £1.60 Now TV 3-month subscription (binge-watching Billions), working out in the gym and generally relaxing at home.

Work is nicely busy – some good news is that firstly, it looks like I should get my annual bonus and secondly, they’ve announced that they will be increasing their pension contribution to 5%! Woohoo!!

Anyway, another great start to the year for my Premium Bonds with a win of £50 – the first of many I hope!

So, how did I get on with my savings in the first month of the year?

I saved 40.8%, which isn’t too bad a start.

The above savings includes top ups from £90 matched betting profits (from last month), the £50 premium bond win, £33.81 from TopCashback* and £77.60 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

A small investment in BlackRock World Mining Trust for some further diversification,  with the rest going on existing investments. Keep calm, carry on investing.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Jittery markets as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus saw my Future Fund not moving much at £188,361, despite new cash invested.

Dividends and Other Income

A low month for dividends: Continue reading

June 2019 Savings + other updates

Just back from my hols, so here’s my belated update for June.

This month saw numerous social outings with friends, interspersed with meeting new people at my second investors’ meet up in Manchester (similar to the first one, except in the evening) and attending my first crowdfunding event.

Reaching my milestone age and attending these events nudged me to reconsider the allocations in my portfolio. After revisiting some old Monevator posts, including one on age and portfolios, I’ll be starting to implement some small initial changes – I’ll sort out a post on that soon.

So, how did I get on in June?

I saved 50% of my net salary! I should have/could have saved more as I received the second part of my small annual bonus this month. However, I’ve put some funds aside to cover for some holiday spends, some of which may carry over into July. Perhaps a missed opportunity to really bump up my savings rate but it’s been an expensive month!

The above savings includes top ups of £33.68 from TopCashback*, £60 matched betting profit (from last month), £50 from another premium bond win and £74.67 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I opened a small new investment in The Renewables Infrastructure Grp Ltd (TRIG) but mostly added to existing investments. I also made a small crowdfunding top up to my Freetrade investment.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets have been pretty buoyant lately as my Future Fund has risen to £169,631.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends: Continue reading

Gin and Win

*This post has been edited upon request*

For a side hustle, you can’t do anything more exciting or different than create your own GIN!

My go-to drink (when I’m not on the beers) is gin and I’ve been drinking it since the days when all that was available was Gordon’s or Bombay Sapphire and the only tonic you could get was good old Schweppes.

Nowadays, you can’t go to a pub without there being a display of different gins to choose from for discerning drinkers and a whole raft of different flavoured Fever Tree tonics to try out.

Funny how there are drinks which you loved when you were younger (for me, cider and rum) which I can no longer drink or stomach (probably because I’ve been so ill from over-indulgence in the past!) but the same can’t be said for gin, which I still love!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to receive some samples of Springmount Gin. However, I was out last weekend (Manchester meetup and then out for 30th birthday) and as I don’t drink during the week it’s taken me until now to try them, so bottoms up…

Gin

So three flavours:

The first one I tried was Mint and Lime – the mint was more of a hint, which I didn’t really taste at first as the lime flavour was quite strong. However, in between sips, you definitely got the minty flavour, which made this drink quite refreshing, something for a nice summer’s day, rather than a dark evening in March!

The second flavour I tried was Strawberry and Raspberry. Of all fruit-flavoured food or drinks, I’d say strawberry is my favourite so I was a little disappointed that the strawberry flavour wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be. Perhaps the raspberry just blended the flavour into a tangy ‘berry’ flavour, which was nice and fruity, but not standout different.

I saved the last one, Lavender and Lemongrass for last as I thought this would be my favourite and I was right! Upon pouring the gin, there was a lovely light lavender fragrance, which combined well with the stronger lemongrass. Taste-wise, the lemongrass came out well (it’s a taste I love) so unfortunately, this one I didn’t really take the time to savour as it was very more-ish and after finishing it quite quickly, I wished there was more!

So for me, order of preference was Lavender and Lemongrass, Mint and Lime and Strawberry and Raspberry. I’d be happy being served any of these and personally, would recommend them with plain, unflavoured tonic water to allow for the flavours to be enjoyed.

Win

Nothing last month but March sees my second premium bond win of the year (£25).

So this prize will be chucked into the ISA to be reinvested. Let’s hope I get some more prizes in the year.

As mentioned previously, Premium Bonds make crap ‘investments’ but it’s the only cash element of my portfolio and represents less than 10% of the total, with the rest pretty much all equity, hence the roller-coaster dips and rises of my Future Fund.

The gambling gremlin in me also loves the fact that I could win a big prize – in it to win it!:-)

And that’s it, just a brief update to get these bits out of my Drafts – have a nice weekend all and hope the weather isn’t too bad!