February 2020 Savings, plus other updates

After a month of doing nothing in particular, February was a month where I was busy with something pretty much every weekend. I did have an post I wanted to put up last week but will publish next week instead.

Firstly, I’ve only gone and joined the W.I, that is, the Women’s Institute in Manchester. Like you, I too thought it was for ‘older women’, into their baking, knitting, making jam etc (I’m not interested in any of these) but when I turned up to the first meeting, I was surprised to see that I was actually one of those ‘older women’! The average age must have been around late 20s or early 30s.

Why did I join? It was one of those things which I thought I would do once I’d retired and I realised that there was nothing to stop me from joining now. Good for networking, good for establishing new interests and I got to meet and chat with some nice young women. Not sure how much time I can throw into this right now but I will make some time for it.

Anyway, before I continue with what else I got up to, some of you must be itching to see what my numbers are so here goes…

I saved 33.3% – my spending on social activities took its toll this month.

The above savings includes top ups from £20 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £77.31 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 (** Coronavirus ALERT **)

With the stock markets going into chaos caused by Covid-19, my Future Fund stands at £180,751, which is more or less back to what it was in September last year. That’s down 4% since last month.

To say that I’m not feeling a little fearful would be a lie – of course I’m a little scared, both of the virus and what it’s doing to my investments.

However, I’m going to stick with my plan. I got paid today, so my usual investment was made into my ISA. I’ve heard some people are keeping aside cash to invest at the bottom – who knows when stocks will be at rock-bottom, I will just invest when I have the cash and hope that I will scoop up some bargains along the way.

Dividends and Other Income

The bottom has fallen out of the stock markets but like clockwork, my dividends continue to roll in: Continue reading

January 2020 Savings, other updates + next FIRE meet

A bit late but I couldn’t get myself organised over the weekend to post.

A quiet month social-wise, not a lot happened – aside from recovering from having my tooth extracted following a recent visit to the dentist (it’s only just healing up now 🙁 ), much of it was spent reading, making the most of my £1.60 Now TV 3-month subscription (binge-watching Billions), working out in the gym and generally relaxing at home.

Work is nicely busy – some good news is that firstly, it looks like I should get my annual bonus and secondly, they’ve announced that they will be increasing their pension contribution to 5%! Woohoo!!

Anyway, another great start to the year for my Premium Bonds with a win of £50 – the first of many I hope!

So, how did I get on with my savings in the first month of the year?

I saved 40.8%, which isn’t too bad a start.

The above savings includes top ups from £90 matched betting profits (from last month), the £50 premium bond win, £33.81 from TopCashback* and £77.60 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

A small investment in BlackRock World Mining Trust for some further diversification,  with the rest going on existing investments. Keep calm, carry on investing.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Jittery markets as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus saw my Future Fund not moving much at £188,361, despite new cash invested.

Dividends and Other Income

A low month for dividends: Continue reading

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

Are We Nearly There Yet?

This year has flown by.

However, I don’t know about you, but I actually can’t wait for it to be over.

No, I’m not doing a ‘Bah Humbug’ but it’s just all too ‘busy’ right now for my liking.

This is despite the fact that I’ve participated in enjoyable things such as:

  • taking my nephew to the panto (Craig Revel Horward was fabulous as the Wicked Queen in Snow White)
  • having more than a few free drinks at the works’ Christmas party
  • attending my first sci-fi con in years, catching the larger than life Brian Blessed and the small but wonderful Warwick Davis, among lots of people in cool gear!
  • a couple of social outings with friends

Dare you walk on the Dark Side?

  • I even had another Premium Bond win (£25).

Work is really busy and my head is just full of ‘stuff’. I’m also glad the election business is all over – it was all doing my head in and my only real consolation was checking my investments the day after and seeing a big jump in the value of my portfolio – the ‘Boris Bounce’ but perhaps it’s the Santa Rally come early! Let’s see if the boom lasts til the end of the year.

I’m behind on my gift shopping so it’s all a mad rush these next few days. I’m looking forward to a nice break. I’m not travelling abroad this Christmas but I will be away from home – a change of scenery will do me some good.

The bits of presents I have purchased have been done online (Amazon) as I haven’t yet braved the shops.

Vouchers

Remember in my July update where I mentioned that I took part in an investment webinar and was paid £100?

Well, I was invited by the same research company to take part in a online investment panel for two weeks, whereby I had to review numerous articles, websites, listen to podcasts and watch video adverts.

Time-wise, I probably spent 4 hours max in total doing the various bits, for which I was paid £175 in Amazon vouchers! Handy for any time of year really but particularly now!

Anyone interested in taking part in such investment surveys, drop me note. I’m not sure I can share their details on my blog, so would rather share privately and no, it’s not a referral or affiliate link.

Toilet Twinning

I’m still planning on twinning my second toilet for the year. However, am unlikely to complete the task before the end of this month as I don’t want the framed pic to get lost among the festive packages.

Like before, I’ll offer the twinning for free to a lucky reader – just drop me a comment below and I’ll include you in the draw to win the twinned toilet (ensure you include a valid email address so I can contact you should you win).

The winner will be picked randomly on 30th December.

And on that note, wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

See you for my December update and round-up of 2019 (of sorts…).