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!

January 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Unlike last January, where I tried to lead a frugal nun-like existence, I did no such thing this time round – it was just a really quiet month social-wise, with only one cheeky ‘beer and Nando’s’ session after work on pay day.

All other weekends, I went to the gym or stayed at home, slowly making my way through the alcohol in the house, reading a little and re-watching (and enjoying) old episodes of Doctor Who (I started from the Christopher Eccleston series).

Oh, I did go on my first walk of the year – a 6-mile flat trek along the Bridgewater Canal in Warrington, which was very pleasant. I wore my new waterproof jacket and walking trousers (hand-me-down and a late Christmas present from a family member) so my walking gear is getting a bit more suitable for the good ole British weather!

I also got my first Premium Bond win of the year – hopefully, the first of many!

NS&I’s app informing me of my win!

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

I saved 41.5%, which is a pretty good start.

The above savings includes top ups from £116 matched betting profits (from last month), the £25 premium bond win, £10 lotto winnings, £15 from TopCashback* and £69.02 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I was vaguely aware that the markets had begun to recover a bit but was surprised to see the extent of that recovery when I ran my numbers – my Future Fund is heading in the right direction again, sitting at £151,358. Whilst not all the losses have been recouped, I’m just glad to have crossed the £150k milestone again!

Dividends and Other Income

An average month of dividends: Continue reading

April 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Ok, so I had some second thoughts after reading some of the comments from last month’s post about pulling out all stops to top up my ISA, so with just a few hours to go before the tax year deadline, I opened a cash ISA account – nowt like living on the edge, haha!

Sadly, I wasn’t able to max my ISA, but I did add another £2.5k to make it over £17.5k (moved some of my emergency cash over and withdrew some matched betting funds) – I’m in a better position than I was before so thanks to all who made me reconsider and not dilly dally! 🙂

I went for Nationwide Building Society as I already bank with them so it was quick and easy to open the account – interest is 1.4% (Nationwide gave me an extra 0.1% loyalty bonus – woo hoo, I guess!) and the account has limited access but I’m ok with that.

Let’s see how I get on with this tax year’s ISA – I’m going to have try to top £17.5k now, aren’t I? Eek!

Anyway, how did that affect my savings this month?

I saved 45.3%! My average savings rate has now gone down to 51.1%.  I have now booked my holiday to HK – have paid for my flight in full (most of it via my ‘holiday fund’) but my sister has paid for my ‘holiday within a holiday’ (a few days in Thailand) so I’ll need to pay her back by next month.

The above savings was topped up with £1020 matched betting funds (I withdrew some cash from my betting and exchange accounts) and £68.54 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets must have recovered a bit – after months of going backwards,  my Future Fund now appears to be heading in the right direction again at £138,939, back on track towards my next milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading