July 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Compared to the past few months, July has been positively ‘exciting’ and ‘action-packed’:

  • I took my car for its service and MOT – it passed!
  • I went to the hairdresser – au revoir unruly tresses and grey hair!
  • I went walking on the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in North Yorkshire!
  • I went to a friend’s house for a socially-distanced BBQ!
  • I bought a sausage roll from Greggs!
  • I got a McDonalds delivery!
  • I went back to the gym – need to get rid of my lockdown flab and to counter the last two points!

One of the waterfalls at Ingleton

Does it feel like things are getting back to normal?

It was beginning to feel that way, until the newly imposed lockdown measures for Greater Manchester (where I live) were announced, due to some spikes in people testing positive for COVID-19. Ah well.

Despite things being more relaxed earlier in the month, I’ve still not been back in the office, nor have I visited a pub or a restaurant.

I’ve been wearing a mask – lots of confused messages about where you should wear them, so my thinking is that if in doubt, I’m just going to wear one.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I was able to save 61.6% of my net salary!

The above savings includes top ups from yet another £25 premium bond win, £50 Matched Betting profits (from last month), £35 football predictions winnings and £24.54  from TopCashback*.

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 

Ups and downs in the stock market, with it ending on a down, just as I was running my numbers!

So a bit of a dip from last month, with my Future Fund standing at £191,900.

Will it go back up or continue to fall? It’s anyone’s guess!

Sitting at the top of a rollercoaster and about to go down the other side?

Dividends and Other Income

Remember when I said that I hadn’t really been affected by any dividend cuts?

I spoke too soon!

Continue reading

“Lockdown” Dogs of the FTSE + Random Shares

My last update on my Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio showed just how badly this strategy can perform in certain markets.

Whatever, I’m still following the strategy as an experiment and I intend to document the bad times as well as the good.

As another reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Note that this is my ‘fun’ portfolio and represents less than 1.5% of my Future Fund.

New Pooches

Time to set up my new Dogs of the FTSE 2020/21 portfolio!

So, in accordance with the strategy:

Eight Dogs Set Free (Sold):

  • Evraz plc (EVR)
  • Imperial Brands Group (IMB)
  • Persimmon plc (PSN)
  • Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG)
  • Aviva plc (AV)
  • HSBC Holdings plc (HSBA)
  • ITV plc (ITV)
  • BT Group plc (BT.A)

Total received from sales = £1,518.96

Total Dividends received = £185.26

Loss from original investment = £295.78 (14.7% loss) – ouch!

It was horrible pushing the ‘sell’ button to ditch those stocks at a loss but I am committed to the strategy so did it in an ‘unemotional’ way (although in my mind, I was screaming “Noooooooo!”)

Also, it was really difficult swalllowing the 3 x £9.95 trading fees (three of the Dogs were still with AJ Bell).

Ok, next, in accordance with the strategy:

Eight New Dogs Rounded Up (Bought): 

  • National Grid (NG)
  • Rio Tinto plc (RIO)
  • United Utilities Group plc (UU)
  • M&G plc (MNG)
  • Phoenix Group Holdings plc (PHNX)
  • BHP Group plc (BHP)
  • Vodafone Group plce (VOD)
  • Anglo American (AAL)

Hmm…pretty much miners, insurance and utiilities.

The first three are Dogs which made an appearance back in my 2018 portfolio – can these old Dogs be taught new tricks in this current market climate?

So here’s how the Dogs of the FTSE Portfolio 2020/21 looks as at today:

Best of breed or mangy mutts? Pretty much looking like they’re the latter right now but it’s early days yet!

I think I should still manage quarterly updates as before so those interested can see how the portfolio is doing.

At least finally, the entire Dogs portfolio will now be on Freetrade, so I can buy and sell without any fees.

Random Shares

Speaking of which, my Random Share Portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up to Freetrade* via my affiliate link, bagging us both a random free share (worth between £3 and £200) in the process.

Two free shares I received recently

Here’s the full portfolio – it’s gotten a bit too big to do a full copy and paste.

Own a Piece of Tesla!

To celebrate Freetrade’s 200,000th customer, anyone signing up to Freetrade before the end of the month via my link* will get the chance to receive a piece of Elon Musk’s company for free – each share is currently worth just under £1,300!

All you need to do is sign up via my link, fund your account with £1 and complete a    W-8BEN form (to declare you don’t pay US taxes).

Good luck! 🙂

Thanks to all who have signed up via my link in the past – hope you all got a decent free share!

Until next time – hope you’re all keeping well, keeping calm and still investing!

 

June 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Into month 4 of lockdown and if I’m honest, I’m not in a hurry for things to change (apart from a much-needed haircut!).

No plans to venture into any pubs on ‘Super Saturday‘ – I’ll make do with socialising online a while longer.

The woods near where I live

This month, it was my birthday and I celebrated by going for a nice walk in the woods, a boozy Zoom night in with friends and my sis cooked me a steak dinner.

We’ve had some lovely hot days, which would have been more enjoyable had I not been working.  I’ve got a ton of holidays left so I’d better start using them up.

As well as the hot days, we had the typical rainy ones too and I spent such time engrossed with The Great British Sewing Bee, which I think I enjoyed more than the better known The Great British Bake Off, probably because I’m a better seamstress than I am a baker!

There was an online Manchester FIRE meet up, which was fun and interesting. Although I really enjoyed the meet ups we had in the pub, these online ones meant that people from afar could dial in, including various people from London and even one lady from Uruguay!

The next meet up is Friday 21st August – sign up to Meet Up for the details (time and Zoom link).

I’m trying my not-very-green-fingered hand at growing vegetables and whilst I’m nowhere near the level of expertise as Jase of FIRE Lifestyle, I hope I’ll be able to share some photos of the fruits of my labours at some point! The veggies I’m trying to grow are green beans, carrots, potatoes and cherry tomatoes.

At work, our office has reopened and those who want to go back in have done so and although it looks like they’ve made the place appear safe, I’m in no rush to return. At some point, I do want to go in to retrieve some things from my locker and I guess it would be nice to see some of my colleagues.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I was able to save 66.8% of my net salary!  I received a credit card refund for my Wimbledon tennis tickets, so an extra £180 got chucked into my ISA.

The above savings includes top ups from yet another £25 premium bond win, £10 lotto winnings (from charity lottery) and £68.91 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 

The stock market continues to do its own thing without a care for what’s happening in the world.

My Future Fund stands at £192,197, which means it’s finally higher than what it was at the start of the year, so all losses have been recouped (not counting capital deployed in the last few months).

Still looking ‘V’ shaped

Heading back in the right direction but really, who knows for certain?

Dividends and Other Income

What dividends did I receive? Continue reading

Dogs of the FTSE 2019/20 – final update + Random Shares

After an awesome 2018/19 when my 2nd experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio romped home with 8.77% gains (16% including dividends), I was stupidly quietly confident that they would do the same again for 2019/20.

Sadly, like everyone else, I hadn’t counted on the pandemic.

Plague Dogs

So one year on and my 3rd experimental portfolio has been quite a disaster, to put it bluntly.

As a reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Here’s how the 2019/20 portfolio looked after a year (as at 8th June 2020):

Ouch – look at all the red numbers!

An overall loss of -20.09%-15.46% if you include dividends paid out.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was -9.60%.

Only one of the Dogs showed showed any significant profit (Persimmon) so a woeful performance overall.

What Next?

It’s always been my intention to run this as a (minimum) 5-year experiment so the Dogs will be back for their 4th outing very soon.

There’s likely to be a brutal culling – mangy mutts hopefully replaced by Dogs with a bit more pedigree!

I’ll get this new portfolio set up soon, so will do an update in a couple of weeks.

Random Shares

My Random Share Portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up to Freetrade* via my affiliate link, bagging us both a random free share (worth between £3 and £200) in the process.

Here’s the full portfolio – it’s gotten a bit too big to do a full copy and paste.

One of the free shares I received recently

Thanks to all who have signed up via my link – hope you all got a decent free share!

I’ve actually sold a couple during the recent market recovery (whenever any showed >40% gains) and replaced them with more random shares.

Until next time – keep calm and carry on investing!

[*affiliate link]