December 2017 Savings, plus Round Up

Well, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, full of sumptuous food, loads of drink and festive cheer! I travelled south to celebrate the holidays and spent some excellent quality time with some family and friends, increasing my waistline further in the process!

Interesting sights in London (Peckham)…

Not even missing my flight home on Boxing Day (the M25 was closed for several hours following an accident, so I couldn’t get to the airport in time) really spoiled things for me – I booked myself into a hotel, spent the evening reading and took the first flight home the following day.  Of course I wasn’t particularly happy that I had to unexpectedly fork out an extra £150 but I’m just glad that my flight wasn’t grounded by snowy weather.

So, how did I do in the last month of the year?

I saved 37.8% – surprisingly higher than expected but some expenses will appear on next month’s credit card.

My average for the year ended up at 42.4%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m pretty happy with this average.

Anyway, December savings include £62.81 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated and hope you’re enjoying matched betting!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments this month.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I believe Santa put in a Rally, pushing the FTSE 100 to yet another all time high –  my Future Fund ends the year at £133,063, an increase of 46% from the start of 2017!  This increase is almost entirely due to extra capital invested (mostly from my redundancy payment) and not from any ‘investing skills’. I will add however that my investments have benefited from dividends re-invested and uplift from the downtrodden sterling.  I continue to creep towards my next big milestone, for now!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Holiday and Toilet Rolls

I had an excellent holiday – enjoyed lots of quality time catching up with family and friends.

Where are the customers’ yachts?

Managed to squeeze quite a lot in, including:

  • Weekend at an arts & music festival
  • National Geographic dinner event, with Professor Brian Cox as guest speaker – absolutely mind-blowing!
  • Michael McIntyre live in Hong Kong (funny, although jokes about housework fell a bit flat as pretty much all ex-pats have cleaners/maids…)
  • My Dad’s 80th birthday bash
  • My Gran’s 92nd birthday celebrations (maternal grandmother, in case anyone’s trying to do the maths…)
  • A couple of days in Macau – my gambling exploits ended with a HK$100 loss (about a tenner!)
  • A ‘hairy crab‘ evening with the siblings
  • Two ‘Superhero’ cinema trips (‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Justice League’)

St Paul’s Church Ruins in Macau, which you might just be able to see behind all the tourists…

Budget Blown

The last few times I’ve been on holiday, I’ve hardly bought anything but this time, not only did I do some Christmas shopping but I also actually purchased some new clothes – I know, whatever came over me!? 😉 So I spent quite a bit more than expected out there but it means much of my present-buying was done, so that was a result.

As mentioned above, it was my Dad’s birthday and there was a full-on formal banquet laid on, with the whole clan in attendance. It was fabulous to catch up with cousins, aunts and uncles I very rarely see and great to see all 4 generations get together. Although I knew I was going to be contributing towards the costs with my other siblings, I hadn’t put enough aside for it, so most of it came out of my ’emergency funds’, which I will have to ‘pay back’ over the next year.

This may put a little squeeze on my savings rate but I aim to tighten my spending further so am hoping there won’t be too much impact there.

Toilet Rolls

Some people (apparently) take toilet rolls with them when they go away on holiday – me, I brought some back! Groceries in HK are very expensive, much of the food is imported, so the own-brands of Tesco, M&S and Waitrose compete well over there versus imports from other countries.

However, I spotted that toilet paper in HK is cheaper than in the UK – half the price of an Andrex 9-pack for similar/better quality – so since I had space in my suitcase and I was under my luggage allowance, I brought back some rolls, haha!

And on that note, with the dark days hurtling towards the inevitable madness that is the Christmas holiday, I wish you all a very merry one and will see you all on the other side!

Looks like Zippy (from Rainbow) dressing up as Santa…

November 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

I’m back from a fabulous holiday but am both jet-lagged and hungover – not a nice combination, but yes, Christmas parties have started early!

I’ll do a bit of an update on my hols at a later date but without further ado, how much of my net salary did I save in November?

I saved 25.2%. My worst number since I returned to work but I’m quite surprised I even saved this much to be honest. Hurrah for automated savings!

My average for the year has now dropped to 42.8%. Unless I have an utterly disastrous December (it’s not looking great but shouldn’t be that bad), I should be able to make a reasonably good 40% average savings rate.

The above savings includes £25 premium bonds winnings, £36.75 from TopCashback*, £50 rent received and £85.73 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my Ladbrokes Coral shares to take 15% profit (including dividends received over the two years I’ve held the stock).

I sold as part of portfolio simplifying exercise but my decision to sell was also partly based on my thoughts that the government’s pending restrictions on the fixed odds terminals which will likely to have a big impact on the company, plus the viability of high street bookies in general. As for the takeover by Foxy Bingo owners, GVC? Not really interested to be honest.

The funds from this sale have been added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets appeared to be up a little this month, boosting my Future Fund, which now stands at £130,765. Another step towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

O.O.O plus another PB win

Out Of Office

Blogging’s going on hold for a bit as I’m off on hols to Hong Kong (for around three weeks). My holidays are all budgeted for, although this particular one is going to blow my budget… we’ll see anyway!

I’m really looking forward to the break as I’ve not had a single day off since I returned to work in May and as we all know, weekends just aren’t enough so my brain is a little fried!

As usual, I’m stressing a little (I always do before I go away) but once I’m on that plane, I’ll be fine! Can’t wait to catch up with the family and also to soak up some rays and warm weather, hopefully get rid of some of these winter blues!

November’s savings and numbers update will likely not appear until the second week of December, assuming I get myself semi-organised upon my return!

I’ll catch up on my reading and comments when I get back.

Another Win

Anyway, I’ll end this brief update with the news that I got another Premium Bond win – yay! Just a £25 prize but better than nowt!

My Premium Bonds represent the small (10%) cash element of my portfolio, not likely to earn much in the long run (although I live in hope!) but safe and stable (strong and stable??) compared to the rest of my portfolio, which is pretty much all in equities.  Here’s to more wins!

Anyway, catch you all when I get back! 🙂