April 2024 Savings, plus other updates

Update is later than usual and I blame the sunny evenings and weekends, which had me spending more time outside, less indoors on my laptop (wi-fi isn’t great in the garden!).

April started off well with an evening out at the darts to witness teenage sensation, Luke Littler trounce seasoned pros – so cool and calm for such a young lad! This was my first time watching darts live – we knew what to expect, it was rowdy, noisy (a lot of singing which we took part in), the beer was expensive and the testosterone in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife, but it was a fun evening!

Packed on a school night

However, the month didn’t end so great as I had various major repair works done on my car, which came to a total cost of £1,718.93.

Ouch! I was expecting a bill of at least £1k and my heart sank when they gave me the full quote but hurrah, my emergency funds came to the rescue! I need to focus more on topping it up to replace that big chunk removed.

Anyway, how did my numbers look for April?

I saved 15.8% of my net salary. The above includes £46.52 from doing Prolific surveys and £12 Grand National bet winnings.

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 

No rocket in April as the markets appeared to stabilise. My Future Fund remained flat at £262,558.40 at the end of the month.

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividend income:

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Ten is the Magic Number

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned an epic TEN YEARS OLD!

Happy 10th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Long time or what! Except it hasn’t really felt that way.

My blog is positively ancient compared to some other FIRE blogs (not that there are that many these days), considering how many have fallen by the wayside and dropped into the abyss of the blog graveyard over the years. In the words of good old Elton, “I’m still standing!” 🙂

Last Woman Standing

Even after 10 years, I still enjoy writing (most of the time) – the blog is a means to help me focus, to document my journey, to help motivate me, a place to empty some of the thoughts rattling around my head or to articulate ideas. The blog was never about making me money, else I would have given up after year 1!

Some might describe my progress over the years as ‘plodding’ but the truth is, I’ve gone as fast I’ve wanted to; I see it as steadily and purposefully moving forwards, step by step.

The last couple of years did feel like a bit of a slog – there was barely any progress with my Future Fund due the stock markets creeping along sideways, it was all quite disheartening and demotivating but I doggedly kept at it.

At no point in the last ten years have I ever thought about quitting my goal and I don’t feel burned out from my FIRE journey, probably as I’ve just gone along at a pace I’ve been comfortable with.

That said, neither am I all bright-eyed and excited as I was at the beginning of my journey – what has crept in recently is a little trepidation as I am now on the last leg of my journey. I feel that a slight mindset change is required but I’m not quite there yet – my mind seems to be a little hesitant about taking that next step.

I need to start thinking seriously of ‘what happens next’, look into more detail on how I am going to fund my life post work, look into what my life will look like. The word ‘decumulation’ keeps popping up at the back of my mind and I’m currently just batting it away, like an annoying fly. Don’t worry, I will get my head round this.

Humdrum

Gosh, so I’ve been posting my numbers monthly (with some glimpses of my life) for a whole decade!

It’s all been pretty mundane stuff – I reckon I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life, one which is filled with a lot of routine, same-old-same-old stuff, with good things far outweighing the bad.  My life is not action-packed, there’s very little drama and no cliff-hangers!

I am mostly an optimistic person, this governs how I live my life and also I think how I invest (whether that’s good or bad, haha!).

I think I’ve gotten the right balance with my life vs aiming for FIRE because as far as my nearest and dearest are concerned, I’m just living a normal/mundane/modest/boring (delete as applicable) life on a middle income, except that I have a fanciful idea of retiring early.

What have I been doing these past 10 years?

March 2024 Savings, plus other updates

The days have brightened up and a bit of winter sun has been great for my spirit and soul!

I had a few extra days off as well as the Easter days. Over the bank holiday, I did the usual thing of going to B&Q and came away with a couple of plants and paint for the garden fences  (front fence now done).

Have enjoyed some nice relaxing days, pottering around the house and garden, planting some things so will see if those are successful.

Anyway, another month, another NI reduction, resulting in some extra pay in my wage packet. As with the last reduction, I will use this extra to overpay my mortgage.

Also, another month, another work bonus! This time, the annual discretionary bonus I get if the company hits its profit/growth targets and partly linked to my own performance.

I’m sure there was a time when I would have gotten hugely excited about getting a bonus, probably because it would have been already spent  on ‘stuff’ (and then some) in my head! When I saw it in my wage slip, I just thought, oh that’s nice and mentally divvied up how it would be invested etc. As with the last bonus, I split it across my ISA, SIPP, emergency funds and mortgage overpayment.

And on that positive note, how did my numbers look for March?

I saved 50.3% of my net salary. Normal savings rate shall resume next month! The above includes £87.44 from doing Prolific surveys and £50 football predictions winnings.

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 rocket continues onwards and upwards, my Future Fund hitting £262,470.89 at the end of the month. Looks great but I can’t bring myself to get too excited about it (much!).

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividend income:

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February 2024 Savings, plus other updates

As mentioned in my last post and as highly recommended by various commenters, I’ve been tracking all my spending.

January was what I expected, but partway through February, I realised that there was definitely going to be variance between what I think I spend and what I actually spend.

It appears that lifestyle creep has happened, despite my efforts!

While I’ve been pretty good at buttoning down my household bills and differentiating between ‘need’ and ‘want’ purchases,  I’ve not been so great with “social expenses”. Lunches, coffees, a swift pint after work (when I’m in the office) with friends and colleagues all add up – I didn’t even think I was that active socially but obviously enough so that these costs need looking at!

A big one will likely be gifts for friends and family – some expenses have been tracked (with receipts, credit card statements), but for some reason, I seem to have glossed over the various gifts of money (for birthdays, Christmas, Chinese New Year) to my family (and I have a big family). I’ve probably lost sight of them due to the transactions just being a bank transfer here and there, probably not helped by me actively using  different current accounts simultaneously. Anyway, I’ll see what the damage is by the end of the year and hope I’m not in for too much of a shock!

February’s payslip brought a nice surprise with a bonus payment for my part in completing that project I was on. I’d forgotten about it as I had other more important things on my mind and my eligibility for it had come while I was battling with long hours and intense work activity so it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind.

I split the bonus across my ISA, SIPP, mortgage overpayment and emergency funds.

A bit left over I used to buy some small items I’d wanted (not needed 🙂 ) for my garden and kitchen.

So how did that bumper pay make my numbers look for February?

Obviously, this is way, way above my usual (much more modest) amount, but I saved 51.4% of my net salary. It’s a one-off!  The above includes £63.61 from doing Prolific surveys and a £5 charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I finally sold my holding in Persimmon (PSN), one of the stocks I’d kept after running my Dogs of the FTSE experiment. I used the money to increase my holding in a (fairly) new holding in MP Evans Group plc (MPE), a ‘sustainable’ stock I’d dipped my toe in with a few quid last year, but which I will add to now as part of my income paying portfolio.

Other than that, no new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

I need to do an update on my investing strategy but been too distracted.

Future Fund 

There was an uptick in the markets but admittedly, the rocket is only really there courtesy of my bumper capital injection this month. As at the end of Feb, my Future Fund stood at £253,452.87.

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividends:

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