Three Months

Indeed, three months have passed and I rejoiced when I received the above the other day.

YES, I’m in!!!!

It’s been so long since I’ve had to work through a probation period, I was stressing a bit over this. My friends were all saying I’d be fine but the ‘chimp‘ in my head (which hasn’t been around in a long while) kept asking, “But what if you’re not good enough?

Anyway, all’s good for now so I can relax a little.

Impressions Update

When I started the job back in May, I wrote about my first impressions, along with some pros and cons.

I’d say that in general, things are looking more positive:

  • As mentioned previously, the benefits package is nowhere near as good as my last one but I’ve joined their DC pension now, plus their cash health plan which saves me £20 a month. I’ve also applied for a loan for my annual travel pass. Every bit counts!
  • Commuting via public transport hasn’t been too bad. Since I’m setting off earlier, the trams aren’t packed and I get a space at the park and ride car-park. I love that I’m able to read a lot (or play Pokemon Go when not reading!) and as I arrive at the office over half an hour early, I can take my time having breakfast, my first cuppa and sorting out my inbox before the working day starts. Of course, I will probably change my tune when it’s winter…Plus, I’m not sure how I’ll cope when people are coughing and sneezing around me – I’ll probably wish I was back in my car!
  • I’m a bit more organised now with my routine so only need to buy lunches once or twice a week, and can have a decent lunch for around £2 per day. So, I’ve cut down on my weekly expenses and am still enjoying the free breakfasts!
  • As I’ve been getting in the office early, my boss has said it’s ok for me to leave a little earlier on my gym nights, so I won’t be just about scraping into my classes and should be able to get more of a workout again – yay! I need it – this hasn’t been a healthy couple of months for me! Driving to the gym, I always see the traffic on the other side rammed bumper to bumper – I really don’t miss sitting in those jams on the M60!
  • I was able to work from home one day (due to a rescheduled engineer visit). However, let’s just say I don’t know what all the fuss is about, I much prefer working in the office.

Three months in and my job title has changed, standardised in line across the businesses meaning that I now have ‘Manager’ in my title. Although this doesn’t mean anything to me or change my role, I guess it looks good on my CV and my Mum will be pleased, haha!

Ooh, a bit of blue sky!

And that’s it, just a quick update. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up on my blog reading over the weekend.

Have a great Bank Holiday all!

July 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

The other day, I was pleasantly surprised to spot a guy reading a copy of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad‘ on the tram into work! I’m glad he was really engrossed with his reading and didn’t look up, otherwise he would have seen some strange woman grinning at him, haha! I’ve not read it myself but I wonder if it will change his life as many readers have claimed?

Anyway, the month has flown by – I had family staying for a while so had a great time with them, plus the weather was lovely, which was a bonus.

I’ve also belatedly started having work done to the kitchen. It should have been sorted while I was unemployed and had lots of free time, but well, I actually didn’t think I would secure a job so quickly, so I’ve been busy sorting things there. And eating microwaved food as I have no oven or cooking hobs!

So, how much of my net salary did I save this month?

I saved 47.9%! A couple of meals out with my sis carved a little chunk out of what I could have saved but as I don’t get to spend a lot of time with family, it was worth that bit of cost.

My average for the year is now 47.8% so still slowly creeping towards my goal of an average 50%, but I need to get a few more >50% to hike it up. Might struggle with next month (more family members coming to visit), but we’ll see.

The above savings includes £50 from matched betting profits, £50 from my Premium Bonds win, £10 lotto win, £12.77 from TopCashback* and £57.08 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my XP Power shares to take 55% profit (including dividends received over the 10 months I’ve held the stock) – yes I did it, FiL and of course, will now attempt to avoid checking up on XPP as I don’t want to see that it’s doubled in price now that I’ve sold, haha! :).

I don’t usually sell any of my shares, mainly because my strategy is to buy and hold, but also because I find it very difficult to decide when I should be selling. Banking some profit can’t be a bad thing I guess, plus at some point, I want to simplify my portfolio so may as well sell stocks off bit by bit.

The funds from the sale will be added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs. Current portfolio can be found here.

Future Fund 

Markets have continued to be mostly favourable, so my Future Fund now stands at £122,659. Continuing to advance towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

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

June 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

I have two sets of friends with whom I socialise on a regular basis so I ended up celebrating my birthday twice on the town this month!

Why not celebrate with both sets of friends together to save time and money? It has been considered several times in the past but dealing with potential clashes of characters and personalities (with alcohol involved!) really won’t be worth the money saved and is not my idea of fun!

I had a couple of great nights out, and inevitably suffered the consequences afterwards! However, I think I was more worried about my liver/kidneys, rather than my finances!

A Bit About Work

Am pretty settled in now, the days are flying by as I continue to get to grips with different processes, procedures and people.

At the last place I worked, there were quite a lot of folk who were in their 40s or older. At my new place, I’m definitely one of the few ‘oldies’, with most people sitting around me in their early to mid-twenties.

In the run-up to pay day, talk was just of what they were going to spend all their money on – mostly socialising and buying ‘stuff’, with one young chap ordering a pair of shoes costing over £500 (some ‘must-have’ brand I’d never heard of). I didn’t join in when the others had a go at him for wasting his money, for fear I would go into ‘FIRE mode’ haha! Ah to be young and so carelessfree with money!

With both my boss and the rest of the team not being based in the same office apart from on the odd occasion, I’m working pretty autonomously, more so than in my previous job. I think I will appreciate this more as time goes by, although I have to admit that I am actually starting to enjoy my work – not so clueless any more!

I still think it’s bloody hard – coming from a highly regulated environment to one that is not so (yet) regulated isn’t easy and my boss warned me that it could get a little frustrating but to be patient as things were moving towards more regulations and controls. I look at their processes and see so many things which would fail an audit.

I think I’m one of the few people who actually abides by the clear desk policy, which isn’t enforced but it’s how I’ve been working for the past ten years so I continue to do so. Still, it’s far too soon for me to be making major suggestions of improvements but I’ve been making notes for the future, ideas for projects and such like.

The lifts weren’t working the other day so I had to take the stairs. I realised that walking up to the 5th floor isn’t too bad and is a great workout, so from now on, I will climb the stairs every day.

Anyway, I got paid in full this month so how much of my net salary did I save? (no £500 shoes for me!)

I saved 54.6%! My average for the year is now 47.8% so slowly creeping up to my goal of an average 50%.

The above savings includes £100 from matched betting profits, £25 from my Premium Bonds win, £20 lotto win and £57.08 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

When I saw the my wage hitting my bank account, I was pleasantly surprised. Until I realised that this is my pay without any corporate benefits deducted – I’ve yet to join the company pension scheme (although the contribution will be low) and I no longer have the ‘premium benefits’ I used to enjoy, namely medical, life insurance and critical illness cover. Oh and my corporate gym membership was also deducted via salary sacrifice.

Another birthday celebrated, another year older – although I keep myself pretty fit and healthy and have a fairly balanced diet, age will catch up at some point so perhaps I need to consider my own medical cover seeing as I no longer have it. I was given a quote by the insurers who used to provide my company medical cover but it was nearly 4 times what I used to pay! What a rip off! I’ll do a bit of research, methinks.

Future Fund 

I have now shifted what’s left of my severance pay into my Future Fund, giving it a decent boost and it now stands at £119,717. A good step towards reaching my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

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

First Impressions

So I’ve survived my first week at work!

My friends asked if I enjoyed it and I have to say that although I was glad to be working again, ‘enjoyable’ is not a word I would use to describe my first week!

After many months where the only thing to tax my brain was calculating my matched betting profits and losses, my brain has been hurting from all the new stuff it’s had to absorb. I’ve certainly slept well at night!

Work

The company I’m working for is a global business with offices around the world. The two main HQs are UK (Manchester) and the US (Houston). My immediate boss is based in London.

It’s in a different industry from the one I’ve worked in previously (ie not Finance) but the business culture appears to be very similar from what I’ve seen so far.

My job is VERY different from my old one and I have an extremely steep learning curve ahead of me which I need to climb quickly.

The person I am replacing leaves next week so handover and training is going to be minimal. To up my game, I’m going to do some reading/studying at home to gain some background knowledge.

During my interview, it was established that formal training was not planned as such so it’s me, with my trainers on, trying to hit the ground running! I hope I don’t stumble!

Anyway, here are some initial pros and cons I’ve come up with from my first week:

Pros v Cons

Pro – I’m back on track with my FI plan! I got a bit of a pay rise, so I’ll be able to save/invest a bit more.

Con – The overall benefits package is nowhere near as generous as my old one, particularly the pension.

Pro – I’m learning lots of new stuff that will enhance my career.

Con – I’ve gone from knowing everything about the business I work for, to knowing nothing about the business I work for. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this way!

Pro – The office is only 4 miles away from where I live, compared to my previous office which was 14 miles away.

Con – It’s in city centre so major traffic jams all the way.

Pro – I like Manchester City Centre.

Nice surroundings, 10 mins from the office

Con – I am travelling by public transport.

Pro – Public transport means I can read during my commute.

Con – There are often delayed trams or full trams not stopping, so I need to take this into account for my journey.

Neither Pro nor Con – Public transport costs will be about the same as my old petrol costs.

Pro – My tram stop is a 15 minute walk to the office so I am getting 30 mins of general exercise every day.

Con – I’m not looking forward to this walk during the cold/snowy and dark winter mornings/nights or shivering on a freezing platform.

Con – I have to leave the house half an hour earlier than I used to, to ensure that I get a parking space outside the tram station.

Con – I no longer have time to make my own lunches in the morning and I don’t like to make salad pots the night before.

Pro – Work provides free breakfast (toast, cereals and fruit) every morning so the extra money I’m spending on lunches is cancelled out by no longer having to spend any money buying stuff for breakfast.

Pro – I can still get to the gym in the evenings and make it in time for my aerobics classes.

Con – As I only make it just in time for the aerobics classes, there isn’t any time for my gym/punchbag workout beforehand.

The people are generally friendly and tea and coffee (proper bean!) is free. They have two dress-down/casual days so I only need to wear business attire for 3 days – yay!

It’s back to the grindstone, working for ‘The Woman’ and yep, as far as things go, I guess I’m happy! 🙂

Have a great weekend all!