November 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

Have finally recovered from work’s Christmas party/leaving do! Hangovers get so much worse as you get older!

Anyway, it was probably one of the best parties I’ve been to – lots of mixed emotions but what I do recall was a lot of fun and laughter.

Work for me is winding down a little as I begin to hand over the rest of my responsibilities. Not long to go now.

Anyway, how do things look on the numbers front?

nov16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 38.1% – gift-buying has taken its toll a little here but still not too bad. I’ve only a few more items to get now so for me to be able to have a decent savings rate is still a big achievement for this time of year.

My average savings rate however continues its downward trend  –  it’s now at 45.2%. If I can get it to be at least 45% by the end of the year, I’ll be well happy.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £10.36 from TopCashback*.

Future Fund 

Markets went a little wobbly this month, so my overall portfolio dropped a little and now stands at £86,188.

Dividends and Other Income

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

October 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

I was a little distracted last month and this continued to be the case this month. With various social outings, the weeks have just gone by in a haze.

Work has continued to be chaotic and also very weird, as my boss has now been laid off and I have a new boss, someone I had a dotted line report to previously. Whilst I get on with my interim boss, I miss my old boss already!

On a personal front, I actually secured a date the old fashioned way! That is, there wasn’t a Tinder-swipe or online dating profile in sight! I got dancing with someone at my friend’s wedding, we swapped numbers, we went out on a date. Ok, so there was to be no 2nd date (sorry, he had too many young children to support!) but hey, it’s good to see that old-school ways can still work in today’s dating environment! 😉

Anyway, how do things look on the numbers front?

oct16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 40.7%, not quite as good as last month but not bad considering the social events.

My average savings rate continues its downward trend  –  it’s now at 46%.  I accept that it’ll be impossible for me to achieve my end of year target of 50% – even 45% might be a stretch with the festive season coming up. I’ll keep going anyway.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £39.97 from TopCashback*.

I also chucked some more of my matched betting profits into some property crowdfunding via Property Moose*. The website has now introduced a secondary market so it is now possible to sell or buy ‘shares’ if you wish, although of course, if selling, these need to be purchased by other members of Property Moose.

Future Fund 

The falling sterling and buoyant markets continue to be good for my portfolio, which now stands at £86,509, a gain of 4.3% from last month.

Dividends and Other Income

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

September 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

My family’s visit has come to an end and the house is all quiet again. Things should be be back normal again but I’m finding myself somewhat lacking a little on the motivational front.

Work has been really chaotic (we’ve all been given brand new laptops and telephones and system migration is taking place) and people are starting to leave so that’s probably one thing that’s distracting me. I’ve also been scheduled my first workshop sessions with the back-to-work specialists to help put me on the right job-hunting path, ie sorting out CV etc.

Another reason for distraction is that things haven’t worked out with the guy I’ve been seeing for the past 1.5 years…let’s hope I don’t feel the urge to write sad posts about frugal dating at some point…

Anyway, back onto more relevant topics, let’s have a look at some numbers:

sept16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 42%, which is better than last month.

My average savings rate continues to drop  –  it’s now at 46.5%.  This is still a pretty good number, but as I said in the last update, I don’t have many months left in the year to try to drag it up to my target of 50% so I will settle for getting as close as possible!

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £19.17 from TopCashback*. There was also an unexpected £500 referral fee, which came from a Manchester property developer – I’d put them in touch with my aunt, who had ended up making a purchase – boom! A nice little windfall and although tempting to just spend it, I’ve whacked it all into investments!

I also chucked some more of my matched betting profits into some property crowdfunding via Property Moose*.

Future Fund 

The markets continue to be pretty steady for my portfolio, (although there was a small wobble last week) which now stands at £82,888, a small gain of just 2% from last month.

Dividends and Other Income

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

Monkey Stocks League Winner 2016!


Twelve months have flown by since I started the Monkey Stocks League Challenge and I can now announce that the winner is…..

M’s Underdogs Fund

Runners-up Craig and his Interesting Initials Fund just couldn’t get anywhere near the winner.

Below is the final snapshot of the league as at the close of trading on 30th September 2016:final16league

And here’s M’s winning portfolio (other portfolios can be found here):

winning-portfolio-16

The Underdogs Fund showed a gain of over 60%, or rather £300 profit on M’s original investment of £500. M’s shares were chosen based on the Dogs of the FTSE strategy, all shares with high yields. The portfolio’s only ‘blip’ were the shares in Standard Chartered, one of the many banks which suffered big losses this year, cutting their dividend completely. Can’t win ’em all, eh M?

Real Portfolios

I must say that I am well chuffed that I not only finished in the top 3 but that my stocks showed a gain of nearly 26%.  Mr Z can’t be too unhappy that his Undead Monkey Fund came 4th, with a gain of nearly 23%. FireVLondon’s B Team Fund ended up pretty much just breaking even, with Cerridwen’s Eye of Toad Fund down by around 10%.

Many thanks to all of you who bought your stocks for real to join me in my mad experiment!

Expertly Picked Funds

I’ve been waiting to say this so… “Yay, the experts got beaten by the monkeys/dogs!

Ok, so both expertly chosen funds finished in the top 10 but still, both were miles from the winning portfolios.

In the duel between the experts, Huw came out on top, with his portfolio Kunniga Apa finishing in 8th place, with a gain of 10%. Incidentally, his Monkey Stocks fund, Blinda Apa, finished one place above!

John Kingham’s Pigmamig Fund finished in 10th place, with a gain of nearly 8%.

However, it was interesting to note that John’s portfolio scored the highest total dividend paid – over time, reinvesting dividend income plays a huge part in investment success, so John had obviously picked his stocks for the long-term.

Steady Eddy

diy’s Mutley’s Magic Formula fund continued to maintain its steady process and finished 5th. This fund was based on Vanguard’s 60% LifeStrategy Fund and steadliy made gains (18% in the end) with relatively little volatility.

Best vs Worst

The best 5 performing shares since the start of the league were Centamin plc, Evraz plc, Glencore plc, NMC Health plc and ARM Holdings plc (I include the latter, as although the shares were bought out last month, funds would have been received for that buyout):

bestfivefinal16

If someone had happened to pick all these shares for their portfolio, they would have nearly doubled their initial investment of £500!

The worst 5 performing shares were Royal Bank of Scotland, Nostrum Oil & Gas plc, Restaurant Group, Interserve plc and Barclays plc.

worstfivefinal16

If you’d had the misfortune to pick this lot, you would have seen your portfolio value drop  by over 40% – ouch!

Notes and Conclusion

Whilst blindly/randomly selecting shares to buy is definitely NOT a recommended strategy for people to try at home, this experiment of mine has perhaps shown how luck and randomness can play a big part in investments. Continue reading