2 Years!

This Sunday marks TWO years since I started blogging about my journey to FI/Retiring Early!

Happy 2nd birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

2nd birthday

The years have flown by but yet at the same time, it feels as if I’ve been blogging for aaaaaaages!

Back Then

Although my first post on this blog was in April 2014, I had made a note of my finances in March – my starting or pre-FI plan numbers!

Here’s the comparison between my starting numbers and my most recent update:

  • March 2014 – Net Worth: £74,595.92
    March 2016 – Net Worth: £123,213.39
  • March 2014 – Savings Rate: 26.5%
    March 2016 – Savings Rate: 60.6%
  • March 2014 – Future Fund: £30,075.11
    March 2016 – Future Fund: £64,650.75

Ok, so my savings rate last month was an unusually high one, boosted by a work bonus but even if I compare it to February 2016 which was 51.6%, it’s still a pretty good effort if I may say so myself!

I’m particularly pleased with the increase in my Future Fund because it had taken me FIVE years to save the £30,075.11 I started off with in March 2014 (what can I say….I had no plan!), yet in the two years that I have been blogging and following my FI/early retirement path, I have doubled my fund. Go me! 🙂

The increases in both Net Worth and Future Fund are largely due to new capital being chucked in every month without fail; I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible, and also put away income I get from extra curricular activities, such as cashback, gambling winnings and various online activities.

Thank You

A big thanks to all who take the time to read this humble little blog – it’s a great incentive to me to know that people have a passing interest in what I have to say about my little journey and I love to read your comments and private emails. Thank you very much for helping me be accountable, giving me encouragement and helping me stick to my plan and aim for my goals!

Growth Continue reading

FIRE Escape in Wales

Gaer Hall

Where Huw and Richard plotted world domination…we reckon!

Just a brief update of the FIRE Escape event I attended on Saturday, organised by Huw.

Location Location

Gaer Hall was a fantastic location, set in some beautiful Welsh countryside and only a short journey for me (just over 1.5 hours). Of course, being in the middle of rolling fields, my sat nav didn’t have a clue where it was and there were no signs pointing to the property, so it was just as well that Huw put a ‘marker’ out for us (a traffic cone on a wheelie bin!)

Met up with some old friends (Huw, Lou, Richard, Emma, A+Z and M + baby) from previous gatherings and also met some new faces (Michael and Martina). Unfortunately, I managed to miss OR who left just before I arrived!

Food Glorious Food Continue reading

Good News and Bad News at Work

As I trawled through the masses of unread emails in my inbox upon my return to work after my holiday, one jumped out at me immediately, filling me with a bit of dread – my one-to-one appointment with my boss for my annual appraisal!

Over the years, I’ve tended to have good reviews but they’re just not things that I enjoy going through – I don’t like talking about my achievements, I’d rather just get on with doing them.

Yes, after all these years, I know I need to ‘sell’ myself, but I’m still pretty rubbish at it. Unfortunately, just doing a great job (which is what I do) isn’t enough, you have to apparently tell everyone about what a great job you are doing too and that’s the bit I find difficulty with…

Good News…

Anyway, despite the turmoil caused by New Co buying out Old Co last year, my boss told me that I’d kept my focus and put in a solid performance, hitting all my personal targets and helped the team achieve its target.

Also notched up another 100% attendance record at work – the few days I was sick happened over a weekend so I ended up not taking any time off.

The second (and bigger) piece of good news was that Old Co have honoured the bonus I accrued last year, have passed the monies onto New Co and I will be getting it in my March pay! Woo hoo! 🙂  This is likely to be my last bonus for a while as it doesn’t look like New Co operate a similar bonus scheme (that I know of).

This is only my 4th bonus in the last 10 years. As with the previous two, I’m likely to save/invest a lot of it but might put some of it aside for some forthcoming large expenses. Also, I can throw a chunk at my emergency fund.

I had thought that my savings rate would take a big dive this month, due to me having to pay off my family for some Japan trip expenses (when I ran out of money- oops!) but it looks like there will be a nice little boost which will hopefully help keep my rate up for the rest of the year.

…and the Bad News

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York Gathering + Monkey Stocks

Just a quick update from me about the UK PF/FI Gathering which took place in York this weekend, as I’m sure Huw will do a detailed one on his blog.

All I can say really is that it was a most enjoyable weekend – many, many thanks to Huw for organising it all!

It was great to catch up with people I’d met at the last gathering in Stratford-Upon-Avon (eg Huw, Lou, Richard, Alison and M) and to meet up with new faces, namely Cerridwen, TheFIREStarter + Mrs TFS, Emma, Craig, MikeS, A+Z and JimMcG, a resident of York who directed us to the best pubs! Much local beer and ale was consumed over the weekend, or was that just me, haha?
Incidentally, it was JimMcG who wrote the guest post on Early Retirement Guy’s blog, Top 10 Downsides of Financial Independence & Early Retirement – I hope I’ve managed to persuade Jim that if he started his own blog, there will be plenty of readers who will enjoy his wit and dry humour!

Typically, we had the usual mix of British weather – rain one day, glorious sunshine the next – but regardless of the weather, it was fantastic company. I thought it was great just listening to other people’s stories and also being able to talk to others who didn’t think I was a freak/bore/lottery winner (delete as applicable) just for mentioning investments or early retirement!

I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend the next gathering (down south somewhere) but for those toying with the idea, I would highly recommend making the effort.
I think I feel even more motivated than ever after this weekend!

Monkey Stocks League Update

As promised, one of the highlights of Saturday afternoon was the blind drawing of stocks for my Monkey Stocks League Challenge! There was great participation and it looks like it’s going to be an exciting and fun league!

However, only two brave souls will join me in actually purchasing for real the shares that were blindly drawn out – yes, step forward Cerridwen and Lou (Mrs FFB40) – us women are fearless, haha!
Ok, here are the shares that I picked out of the hat:
ARM Holdings plc
Sainsbury (J) plc
Shaftesbury plc
Tate & Lyle plc
Temple Bar Investment Trust plc
Am I happy with my picks? Well to be honest, I was a little disappointed as I actually wanted 5 companies I’d never heard of before and there are plenty of those in the FTSE 350! 
Oh well, I shall indeed be purchasing the above shares on 10th September and have set regular investments as follows on my share account:
Now, I’m really excited! 🙂
Here are Cerridwen and Lou’s picks:
Cerridwen:
Diploma plc
OneSaving Bank plc
Prudential plc
Redefine International plc
Wood Group (John) plc Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (Cerridwen’s spare being used as she had a prior criteria of no fossil fuel related stocks being picked)
Lou:
BG Group plc
BP plc
Rolls Royce Holdings plc
Segro plc
Shire plc
Ten others blindly picked their ‘virtual’ portfolios so that they could join in on the fun. Who’s to say that they won’t sneakily invest for real in their picks!? Anyway, I’ve listed those portfolios at the bottom of this post.
For the people who are joining the Monkey Stocks League Challenge and actually purchasing their shares (eg FireVLondon, Mr Z), please can you ensure you buy your stocks in the month of September and let me know the numbers, eg cost etc.
Same goes with others joining in virtually, eg , John K, Dividend Drive and Dividend Legion, (plus Huw and M for their hand-picked portfolios), can you let me have your picks any time in September.
Oh and if you haven’t already done so, I’ll need the names of your portfolios for the league table.
Prize for the Winner
I did mention that there wasn’t going to be a prize but there’s likely to be a trophy for the winner – might even get it engraved!
Anyway, I’d best continue working on my Google sheets for the portfolios – a bit more work than I thought as I didn’t think so many people would be joining in, haha!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

EDIT – Ok, FIbrarian’s the last entrant, need to keep this easy to update!

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Virtual Portfolio Picks
Richard: CLS Holdings Plc, Enterprise Inns plc, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Smith & Nephew plc, Spire Healthcare Group plc
Alison: Antofagasta Holdings plc, Big Yellow Group plc, Nostrum Oil & Gas plc, Redrow plc, Standard Life plc, 
Emma: Centrica plc, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc, Rexam plc, Serco Group plc, Unite Group plc
Huw: Bank of Georgia Holdings plc, Booker Group plc, Bunzl plc, Carillion plc, UK Commercial Property Trust plc. (Huw intends to submit a second portfolio of personally selected shares to pit against his monkey portfolio!)
TheFIREStarter: Alliance Trust plc, Bovis Homes Group plc, Carnival plc, Mondi plc, Restaurant Group plc
A+Z: City of London Investment Trust plc, Hunting plc, Inchcape plc, Sky plc, Synthomer plc
JimMcG: Blue Crest AllBlue Fund Ltd, Electra Private Equity plc, Grafton Group plc, Rio Tinto plc, Taylor Wimpey plc
MikeS: Amlin Group plc, British American Tobacco plc, Cineworld Group plc, Experian plc, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc
Craig: CRH plc, Compass Group plc, NMC Health plc, Northgate plc, WPP plc
M: Brewin Dolphin Holdings plc, Coca Cola HBC AG, CSR plc. AVEVA Group plc, Debenhams plc, Zoopla Property Group plc.(Like Huw, M intends to submit a second portfolio of personally selected shares to pit against her monkey portfolio!)

Additional entry:

FIbrarian: Bodycote plc, Morgan Advanced Materials plc, SVG Capital plc, Standard Chartere plc and WH Smith plc