December 2019 Savings, plus Round Up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the celebrations last night to see in the new year.

It’s 3.30pm as I type this and I’ve only just gotten out of my pjs so it was a late one for me! 🙂

Anyway, I had a great Christmas – no travels abroad this time but there was a 400-mile round trip over the festive period – some good times eating too much but surprisingly drinking little (apart from last night!)

So, how did I do in the last month of the year and against the targets I set?

Not flying abroad for Christmas this year meant that I more or less maintained my savings rate, ending up at 41.7%.

My average for the year stands at 46.3%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m more than happy with this average, which is my highest to date. It’s a personal best! 🙂

The above savings include top ups from £120 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £70.67 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I continued to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

This time last year, my Future Fund stood at £142,831. As at 31st December, it stood at £188,605.

The total capital I invested in 2019 was £15,838 yet there’s been an extra increase in my portfolio of £29,935 over the year!  Wow – I’m astounded!

I didn’t do anything special to achieve this – all I did was ignore the noise about political uncertainty and continue to top up/buy and hold my investments, reinvesting all dividends received. I also received a good dose of LUCK with the buoyant markets.  Although I did switch some of my equity ETFs into bond ETFs (for a bit more balance and stability), this seems to have affected income rather than growth.

My investments effectively made a loss last year, so realistically, this could well happen again in 2020.  I can’t expect it to be this good every year!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

November 2019 Savings, plus other updates

So it was Black Friday the other day – anyone pick up any bargains?

I should have probably done some Christmas shopping but the only thing I purchased  that day were more investments! My FIRE focus didn’t waiver!

Were the investments ‘on sale’? No idea – I’m sure I’m not alone in not checking the price of a Vanguard ETF before investing, except to make sure I’ve enough cash to invest.

I feel like I’ve caught up a bit on things this month, got myself a bit more organised, including sorted out my tax stuff. I even got round to having my tattoo to commemorate my half-century – it’s only visible when I remove my clothing so I’m not growing old too disgracefully!

In terms of blog reading/commenting, I’ve found that many of the usual blogs I follow haven’t been updating as much as before – have we reached Peak FIRE?

Still discovering and enjoying new UK blogs, but some of the older ones have been pretty quiet lately – hopefully they’re just too busy just getting on with the business of aiming for FIRE.

So, how are my numbers looking?

I saved 44% of my net salary! A larger than usual credit card bill due to social activities meant that I didn’t hit 50% but I’m happy with this.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £133.15 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £10 lotto winnings and £50 Premium Bond 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 

Either the markets were buoyant or it’s just a result of pound sterling taking a bashing  (probably the latter) but my Future Fund jumped quite a bit this month, up to £182,861.46.   And there was me hoping that I would end the year at £180k but we’ll see what happens after the General Election…

Dividends and Other Income

A better month for dividends: Continue reading

October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Hope you all had a happy Brexit Day Halloween!

My ‘confused’ effort on the right!

October felt like a month where I had a lot going on but hardly anything was achieved.

I’m behind on loads of things – my reading, my paperwork, my tax return (meant to submit this month), my TV watching, my blog reading/commenting, my blogging.

That said, I bought a new mobile phone as my old one has been freezing and rebooting for months (used matched betting profits again for the purchase) and I’ve been out on a few social outings, completed a 13-mile walk in the rain (again!) for charity with work and been to the cinema a couple of times (to see Ad Astra and Terminator: Dark Fate).

My social calendar is pretty much filled up for November already so I hope I don’t continue to fall behind on stuff.

Am I also behind on my numbers? Let’s see how I did….

I saved 51.3% of my net salary! With my sis contributing towards household bills, I’m able to put away more of my money but as mentioned before, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up so my savings rate will revert closer to the norm.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £67.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £30 from Siteground* affiliate income (thanks Tom!) and £57.01 from TopCashback*.

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 were all over the place this month and despite adding new capital, my portfolio value went backwards down to £178,832.19. As usual, I’m keeping calm and carrying on investing!

Dividends and Other Income

A slightly disappointing month for dividends: Continue reading

Dogs Nightmare and Random Shares update

I didn’t get round to doing my quarterly update for my experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio so thought I’d do a first ‘trimester’ update instead.

Suffice to say that the poor mutts really don’t look too healthy, mostly milling about negatively in turmoil.

Evraz plc in particular is looking extremely woeful, showing a massive loss since this portfolio start, despite showing huge gains in the previous year.

ITV leads the pack with a semi-decent gain but for how long!?

That said, the FTSE 100 Total Return was minus 1.3% over the same period so the Dogs aren’t too far behind with a loss of 1.83%, when you include dividends received (loss of 4.7% without dividends).

But it’s still early days yet, anything can happen in 8 months – yes, I know it could get worse but I’m being opimistic so see the future as being bright(ish)! In the meantime, I shall continue to collect their dividends.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is not a strategy I would recommend to anyone, this is my own fun experiment, although I can’t say it’s a lot of fun looking at all the red numbers right now.

Cheerful Randomness

To cheer myself up, I will take a look at my Random Share Portfolio, which I first mentioned here.

This portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up via my Freetrade affiliate link, bagging themselves a free share in the process. Link is here* if you are interested.

Here are a couple of the recent free random shares I’ve been awarded.

And here’s what the full portfolio currently looks like:

Still waiting for that Tesla or Netflix share to drop haha, but the fact is, I’m well happy with all my free shares. Most of them are ones I would never have considered buying, only because I wasn’t even aware of them.

I was particularly happy to receive shares for IShares S&P Global Clean Energy ETF (INRG) as I didn’t know there was such an ETF, never mind that it was available on Freetrade.

INRG tracks the performance of an index composed of 30 of the largest global companies involved in the clean energy sector. I think I will add to this as I’d like to increase my holding of more environmentally-friendly investments bit by bit.

Am still undecided as to what I want to do with this portfolio, ie sell or keep the shares.

For now, I think I’ll just leave them (mostly) and maybe decide on what to do in the new year. Although I missed out on the Aston Martin £10/per share payout because I didn’t reach the minimum criteria (only 1 share!) so I may get rid of that one soon.

Anyone with any thoughts on which ones I should get rid of and why?

*referral/affiliate link