January 2015 Savings + other updates

As I didn’t start my blog until April 2014, this is my first January savings update.

However…not quite the best of starts:

Yes, I’ve fallen at the first hurdle, managed a savings rate of 48.9%, which is still a good attempt but not quite getting to my 50%! I’m still suffering a little from the over-spending in December, have really tightened the purse-strings this month (not a single social outing!) but still fell a little short. Still, 11 more months to go to bump up the average!

The above saved was boosted by £44.12 from TopCashback*, £54 boiler service cashback, £20 football predictions winnings, £7.37 Orange mobile refund and £100 rent received.

Future Fund and Net Worth

I’ll still be detailing my Future Fund and Net Worth on a quarterly basis but here are the basic numbers.

Future Fund is now standing at £34,952.16, a decent jump from the end of the year due to favourable markets.

Net Worth is £91,019.25, an increase of 2% from last month.


I received £5.31 from De La Rue and £3.80 from GlaxoSmithKline.

So the £9.11 received this month is already close to the total dividends from shares I received for 2014 (£9.59)!

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new shares purchased this month but I’ve updated my portfolio here.

Some readers may recall that I discovered an investment trust, that I’d forgotten all about, which I’d originally invested in back in 1997.  Investment trusts haven’t really been a part of my investment strategy, but then again, neither were individual shares until recently.
I’ve decided to add a couple more investment trusts (including some exposure to real estate investment trusts, or REITs) into the mix for more diversification. I shall be reporting dividends paid along with the dividends I receive from my shares. ITs invested in updated here, along with my shares.

Last year, I received a dividend of £9.38 from my Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust.

As with shares, investment trusts will just make a small part of my investment portfolio, the bulk of my money still remaining in mostly index trackers.

Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent £92.31 this month, averaging £23.08 per week, so comfortably under my budget.

Cooking Recipes – I learned 1 new recipe this month, making my own low-carb pizza. Can I just state here (since my friends  have berated me!) that a ‘recipe’ in my eyes is something I’ve gotten out of a cook book and yes, low carb pizza was in there!  Ok, not exactly gourmet but it’s something I can add to my easy-to-cook list! I’m going to be adding some really ‘simple’ recipes – there are some things that I just don’t normally cook!

Yoga/Pilates classes – I’ve been carrying a slight muscle injury to my right leg so have been unable to stretch it properly and consequently, not done anything here, so an epic fail, but I’m going to try to play catch up over the coming months…

Rubik’s Cube – I’ve been doing the puzzle most nights and am now able to complete it with instructions, which in itself is progress! I’ve probably learned about 2/3s of the sequences (or algorithms as they are known) off by heart – that last lot may take a bit longer!

My progress so far!

Library Books – I borrowed and read one library book this month.

So in a nutshell, this is how I’m doing against my goals:

A mixed month, with successes and failures but at least some progress!

Hope everyone else had a good January!

[* Referral links]

30 thoughts on “January 2015 Savings + other updates

  1. Achieving more than 45% savings rate is still quite impressive. I have never been able to complet the Rubik's Cube… maybe that's something I should spend more time in figuring out once I have more time.

  2. Hi weenie, congratulations on your January progress – that saving rate is as near as dammit and is far better than mine which I really do need to do something about.

    I'll be interested to learn about your new investment trusts as I hold several too and have been reading Monevator about using them for income in retirement.

    (btw – low carb pizza??)

  3. I really like the progress with the Rubik's cube. So I'm guessing that you'll be able to complete it without the instructions before the years over, so do you have any time goals on it? Like under 5 minutes by the end of the year?

  4. Weenie,

    Don't beat yourself up about falling short 1.1%. These things happen, but won't matter at all in the long-run. If you give it your all next month I'm sure you'll get over 50% again!

    Also, great progress on the Rubik's cube! 🙂

    Have a great weekend,

  5. Thanks Tawcan. Yes, if I'd set 45% as my target, I'd be well happy but 50% is always going to be a stretch for me.

    Completing the Rubik's Cube has always eluded me, though I'm not sure why I didn't learn to do it when my sisters were doing it when we were in our teens. This brain struggles a bit more than when it was a teenager!

  6. Hi Cerridwen, thanks. I'm having to really focus to get the savings rate but am happy with my efforts.

    I see you have checked out my new Portfolio tab which shows the investment trusts I've invested in – I'll drop a little detail there on how I chose them (no real science to it though!).

    Low carb pizza is basically pizza made with a tortilla wrap base as opposed to a proper pizza dough base! Bit of a cheat I know but it was in a recipe book (Lorraine Pascale's 100 Easy Recipes)! 🙂

  7. Hey Zee, thanks. The next stage I think is the hardest so I'm just making sure that I really know my current progress off by heart. Yes, I reckon I'll be able to complete it without instructions before the year is out and that at some point, I'll see how fast I can complete it. 5 minutes sounds cool – I'll see how I'm doing in a couple of month's time! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi NMW, thanks. I think it's important to log goals missed just as much as goals achieved – as you say, these things happen, never know what life is going to throw at you so we have to adapt and be flexible. I have an expensive month coming up but I'm hoping my frugality in January will help here!
    Thanks for the kind words and wishes, my colleagues have been calling me a 'nerd' as I've been practising the cube during my lunch hours – I don't care haha! 🙂

  9. Nice work on the savings rate weenie. It's a critical portion of short term wealth building IMHO.

    I'm a bit further down the Future Fund (I call it Financial Independence) road (I'm now into my 8th year) than yourself and I'm finding that savings has been and still is proving to be a far bigger contributor to wealth building than investing return. To demonstrate in 6 of my last 7 years more wealth has come from saving than investing.

  10. Weenie, I think you're doing really well. I'm just about to look through my goals and see where we're up to. We blew our budget really badly last month, I have no idea how we managed to spend so much on food, but hey. I am not going to beat myself up about it, because we've got the whole year to make it up.


  11. Hi M, thanks. Yes, like you, totally blew my budget last month and it's only favourable markets that has enabled my net worth to go up as I had to resort to not paying a credit card in full (0% of course though!). Like you say, still 11 months to go and I'm feeling optimistic!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi RIT, thanks. Yes, I see what you mean – wealth from saving can only go up whereas from investment, it can fluctuate.

    The saving is not easy by any means but this blog (and the support of the PF blog community) helps me stay focused. I have no real idea if I can sustain this level of saving long term as who knows what life may throw at me, so while I am able, I'm just trying to save as much as I can. Good to hear from someone like yourself with years of saving under your belt, it gives me hope and motivation to continue! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Great work Weenie. I once saw a guy on my train do a rubix cube while blind folded after having someone else mix it up then studying it for around 1 minute before the fold went on….something to strive towards maybe?!?!?

  14. Yes, you're right there, that's if you leave your cash in an account that's paying a paltry interest rate. Fortunately, all my cash is earning more than inflation, with the exception of the cash in my premium bonds. It's been a long time since I won anything there but I continue to keep my fingers crossed!

  15. With all the pilates class you had and still 48% savings is awesome. You had both enjoyed saving and spending at the same time

    The rubicks are pretty popular here. I used to own them in the past trying to figure out how they can miraculously solve by itself.

  16. Hi B, now that I've made progress on the cube, it no longer scares me and I'm getting a little addicted, like I have to work on it every day!

  17. Hi M

    Premium bonds are probably my equivalent of sticking cash under my mattress, readily available when I need it, but with the added 'bonus' (albeit remote), that I might win a prize!

    I still play the lotto every week too and I know that's just throwing money away but I can spare a couple of quid a week for me and my friends to dream about winning the big

  18. Wow, it's less than a year and you've managed to changed your spending habit, even through the holiday season and save almost 50% of your income. That's such an admirable number.

    As for rubik cube, the last algorithm sometimes get me too. Then I'll have to start all over. 🙂

  19. Thanks Vivianne. It's not been easy and I always have to focus!

    Good to speak to a fellow Rubik's Cube enthusiast – I've not looked at the last algorithm properly yet…saving myself haha! 🙂

  20. Hi Weenie,

    49% is right where you need to be for your saving target. You have a long way to go too!

    Congrat's on the weekly grocery spend, and the low carb Pizza. How was the Pizza? Was it close to the delights of the full Carb version?

    I love the Rubiks cube goal Weenie. It's something I've always wanted to complete and I might add it to my list for 2016. It looks like you've made great progress on that in a month. Screw Dividends, solve puzzles! 🙂

    Overall it looks like you've had a cracking month. You're ahead of some goals and close to the ones you haven't hit. Great start, well done!


  21. Hi Huw, thanks for the kind words of support. The pizza? I liked it as not too fond of thick bases anyway, so this low carb version suits me fine!

    You know, I think I'm pretty close to achieving my Rubik's Cube goal now, perhaps a week or so away. I guess the no social activities in January meant I had time on my hands! Hey, why not dividends AND puzzles! 🙂

    Yes, I'm pleased with the start, it could have been worse after my Christmas overspending.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  22. I'm the opposite on pizza's Weenie. I love a thick stuff crust base with cheese! It nice when you find a healthy alternative that you prefer though. I can't think of many personally.

    I'm really impressed with the Rubik's cube completion. I'm totally going to steal that idea for next year. It's up there with completing a marathon and FI! 🙂

    Dividends and Pizza sounds fantastic by the way.

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Hey Huw, if you do want to do the cube challenge, I'll send you the instructions that I've used that I've found really easy to follow!

  24. Hi weenie,

    Well I for one am well impressed with your start to the year! I'd bite your hand off for 49% right now as I'm sure you are well aware 🙂

    I'm not sure how something out of a cooking book doesn't count as a recipe?! Where do your friends get theirs from, do they synthesise them from original ingredients themselves… I don't think so?! Anyway I'd be really interested in reading about what you're cooking if you get time to post about it. Low carb pizza sounds up my taste bud alley.

    £44 from top cashback is good. Can I ask exactly what that consists of… I.e is it an accumulation of cash back built up over time and you just withdrew it, or is it literally for one month. If the latter then I take it you had some referrals and it's not all from spending? 🙂

    Cheers and good luck in Feb

    Oh and Rubik's cube -watch out Derren Brown!

  25. Hi TFS

    Thanks! Rather than go into my recipes in detail (and embarrass myself!), I'll just say that I got them from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hairy-Dieters-Eat-Life-Weight/dp/0297870475/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423754206&sr=1-1&keywords=hairy+dieters+eat+for+life

    However….low carb pizza just has a tortilla wrap base, instead of a full carb doughy base! 🙂

    Lots of 'recipes' to choose from in there, I will get to the more complex ones at some point, just easing myself in, haha!

    Re TopCashback, the £44 is made up of mostly £31.50 that I got from switching my mobile phone contract. The rest is from my Christmas present shopping, so mostly from Boots, Argos and Debenhams – no referrals unfortunately.

    I won't get any cashback in Feb as not been shopping – unlikely to get any big amounts now until when I renew all my various insurance policies later in the year.

  26. Cheers for the book recommendation and explanation of the low carb pizza. That's what my niece and nephew like to make so maybe you should up your ambition some what yes 😉

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