August 2015 Savings plus other updates

With three back-to-back weekends away on social activities in August, I thought my savings rate was going to take a massive hit. However, I forgot that I’d applied for my gym rebate at work and with the expenses from my most recent weekend being carried over onto next month’s expenses, it looks like I had a surprisingly great August:

A savings rate of 52.2%, which is my second best this year! 

This takes my average back up to bang on 50%!

I will savour this rate right now because I can assure you that it will be dropping dramatically over the next few months due to a change in priorities, which I will explain in a future post.

This month’s savings was topped up with £12 from TopCashback*, £6.24 reviewing music (and occasionally, ladies fashion!) with SliceMyPie* and £50 from rent received.

Also, note that the above figure includes £500 that is now sitting in my investment account ready to purchase the shares I picked in York for my Monkey Portfolio! Since I get paid in the middle of the month, I’ve had to use August funds for the investments to take advantage of the regular investment service.

Future Fund and Net Worth

The global market has been all over the place this month and it has been pretty tough looking at all the red numbers. I haven’t been tempted at all to sell my investments though or regret my investment decisions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have spare cash lying around to take advantage of the big dip in the market.

My Future Fund now stands a£42,145.28, a slight drop of £336 from last month. If you factor in what I saved this month, then it’s a bigger drop but nothing to get me sweating or worrying needlessly.

To get to my year-end goal of £50k, I’ll need to get an average increase of at least £1963 per month over the next 4 months. A rather big ask that is dependant on the markets and my savings rate but let’s see what happens.
Net Worth is now £112,245.84, an increase of 25.8% so far from the start of the year.

Another big jump from the previous month because I have finally paid off my car, so that’s over £3k of debt wiped off – woohoo! 🙂

I will now divert my old monthly car payments towards investments but will also be putting some towards a ‘maintenance fund’ to cover any unforeseen repairs and also some towards breakdown cover, which I previously got free as part of my loan repayments. 
Dividends and other Income

I received £10.68 from De La Rue, £10.97 from Vodafone, £3.18 from British Land Co, £2.85 from City of London IT, and £1.76 from Bankers IT.

So a total of £29.44, bringing my monthly average now to £22.82.  Next month, I will be able to do my first year on year dividend income comparison!

Dividends received in 2015 now total £182.57.

Oh, I also received another £50 P2P referral from Funding Circle, thanks to Graham!

Shares and Investment Trusts

I topped up my holding of BHP Billiton plc and also picked up a few shares in Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (BMY) to use up a bit of tax reclaim sitting in my SIPP. Unfortunately, both purchases were made early on in August before the drop in share prices…ah well, such is life!

Current portfolio here.
Non-Financial Goals Update

Food/Groceries Budget – I spent only £79.18 this month, averaging £19.80 per week. I’ve been making use of food that’s in my freezer, which has kept costs down, plus I shopped less as I wasn’t at home most weekends. My average weekly spend so far is now £22.99 so still on target. 

Cooking Recipes – I didn’t manage to learn any new recipes this month, so will have to catch up next month!
Online Earnings – Still very much behind on this one but a small amount came in this month from TopCashBack as listed above, bringing my total online earnings so far this year to £188.45. I have about £90 in the cashback pipeline, which I will log as it gets paid out but sadly, I’m nowhere near my over-optimistic £500 goal.
Library books – Two books borrowed and read this month.  12 books borrowed so far, so I’d say I’m still on track to hit my target of 20 library books by the end of the year. 

Here’s how I’m doing against my goals in brief:

Two greens, in particular my savings rate, makes this a very good month!

I’m currently working on reading my ‘personal finance/investing book’ so hopefully this is a goal I can cross off next month.

Hope everyone had a great August and bank holiday (if in the UK).

[*referral links]

25 thoughts on “August 2015 Savings plus other updates

  1. Looking great Weenie!

    Hopefully the extra saved from your car payments can keep your savings rate nice and high in the coming months. It's a good call on keeping some back just in case the engine falls out or other similarly disastrous act of god.

    We were talking about P2P lending the other day and I mentioned I might be dipping my toe in the future. If you have a referral link for FundingCircle I'll happily help top up your Future fund 😉

  2. That swathe of green on the goals has got to be feeling pretty good Weenie!

    Cars! don't talk to me about cars…

    You're wise to put some aside for this – mine's looking like it will cost me close on £400 this month. Fortunately these are not unexpected jobs that needed doing so I had put some aside for this (it's a regular budget item these days, which is better than in the bad old past where car repairs just ended up on the credit card!)

    Actually had a great Bank Hol weekend, if a little spendier than I'd have liked. Blame the weather being surprisingly good on a couple of days and one too many pubs alongside our hiking route… also weather being bad at the right day to decide take on a DIY project I'd been putting off (still cost of getting someone else to do the labour = a saving?)

    I'm in the reverse process to yourself of stocking up the freezer at the moment – the allotment courgettes keep on coming and the soups keep getting made. Am now wondering if there's some reverse condition to scurvy that's caused by eating too much green veg!

    Re: Monkey Stocks – managed to do a little bit towards sorting an auto-updating web page for this while the soup was cooking this morning – will keep you posted. One question – are you going to be building in any transactional costs into the values on this? would make it more realistic I guess but may over complicate matters you think? (appreciate you'll be paying share trading costs for real, not like the rest of us chickens!)


    PS Can send recipes for Courgette soups of many varieties if that helps one of your goals 🙂

  3. Pretty solid numbers all around. We made this amazing chicken kale barley soup the other day and it was delicious. Love making new foods and try them.

  4. Hi FIB
    Yes, I plan on putting the extra saved from my car payments into investments but there's going to be a chunk that will be diverted towards something else, which I'll explain in my next blog update. I got the idea of a putting money aside for the car from M of There's Value! 🙂

    I'll drop you a note about FundingCircle – thanks! 🙂

  5. Thanks Tawcan. Unfortunately, I wish I did love making new foods but for some reason, I don't have a great interest in cooking and I've set my goals to force myself to do something! That soup sounds great!

  6. Hi Mike

    Yes, it's good to see all that green, especially as all I've been seeing are red numbers when I look at my portfolio!

    Like you, in the bad old past, my car repairs ended up on my credit card – that was part of my debt problem so I don't want to go there again!

    I so want to grow me some courgettes next year! Miss FFB40 mentioned how relatively easy there were to grow and I hope that even my non-green fingers will be able to grow some! There's no such thing as eating too much green veg, is there? 🙂

    Re: Monkey Stocks, yes, I was thinking of doing the odd transaction. When the shares are purchased, most portfolios are going to have surplus cash, which can be used to buy more shares. For the virtual ones, if people tell me which of their existing shares they wish to purchase, I will 'buy', deducting the £1.50 fee and stamp duty. I will of course be doing it for real but the calculation should be the same. Does mean that's not automated but otherwise, there will just be a wad of money sat there, unless that's what people want!

    Yes, please send me some courgette soup recipes for when I grow my own – that will be my incentive! 🙂

  7. Yoooooo! Great work Weenie.

    A smashing August indeed 🙂 Your food spending in always impressive.

    Which book are you reading at the moment?

    Having the car repaid must feel awesome 😀

    Mr Z

  8. Miss FFB40 is correct – Courgettes practically throw themselves out of the ground. We intended to plant two this year but one fell victim to the late frosts, however we've found that one has been more than sufficient! (in previous years we had 3-4 on the go and neighbours were continually surprised to find Courgettes on the doorstep).

    Allow about 2ft x 2ft per plant.

    As for recipes – I just tend to make them up as I go along but they basically follow the following steps:-

    1) Dice courgettes (3 or 4 medium size will roughly translate to about 8 servings or so)
    2) Dice a couple of spuds & a couple of onions
    3) Chop any other bits you fancy bunging in for variety (I've done it with chillies (nice & warming!), mint (very freshening) and cheddar before now)
    4) Melt some butter & throw the lot in a pan and sweat them, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes (excluding the cheese if you're going that route)
    5) add a litre or so of Vegetable stock
    6) throw in seasoning to taste and bring to the boil
    7) reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes or so
    8) Whizz through the blender (I usually hold some chunky bits back to add texture)
    9) Add the chunky bits back in & either serve immediately or decant into frugally recycled plastic Supermarket fresh soup containers (what do you mean you throw them away!)
    10) Freeze them to enjoy later!


  9. Hi FIUK
    Thanks and yes, I am very excited about being able to do a year to year comparison. The dividends should continue to grow slowly but surely!

  10. Hey Mr Z
    Thanks! I think I could shave off more on my shopping if I put my mind to it (eg M from There's Value halving her grocery by following meal plans) but I'm comfortable with what I am buying right now, even though I do have to work at it and remind myself as I am going along the supermarket aisles!

    I'm currently reading 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill. Only a few chapters in but it seems ok so far.

    Yep, am very happy to have repaid the car, felt a big sense of relief!

  11. Great going weenie – you must feel especially good about paying off the car.

    My regular buy day is the 23rd of the month so I'll let you know when my "Monkey Stocks" have been purchased. My dealing costs are also £1.50 but I'll be using up some of the £18.50 commission credit I have so can I count it as free, or does that start to make things too complicated? 🙂

  12. Hang on, hang on, something isn't adding up here…

    Your net worth goes up £2,350 July to August after a market drop and contributions added of £1,289
    * Scratches head, studies figures*

    Got it.

    You've been under-recording your previous net worths because you've been including the full initial amount of you car loan of £3,462 instead of reducing its balance each month (as you would with a mortgage). This month looks as if you've suddenly found £3,462 to pay it off when in fact you've just made the final payment .

    Your net should have dropped this month (like mine).

    You can't fool us , you know!

    Anyway, keep up the good work (I'm rumbling along a little bit behind you on NW) !


  13. Hi CP

    Thanks for stopping by and looking at my numbers/calculations!

    I have been reducing my car loan by £147.95 each month. At the start of the year, the loan outstanding was around £4.2k. I've always made a note on my detailed net worth updates that there was a final ‘balloon’ payment of £3,166.25 required to clear the loan. Had I not made this final payment in full, I would have had to hand the car back.

    I think I’ve caused some confusion when I decided to remove money I had put aside for the repayment of the loan (that had been sitting in my cash ISA) from my figures and put it in my ‘Emergency Funds’- I mention it here in my post from a year ago: My reasoning was that I didn’t think the amount belonged with my long-term savings/investments because I was knew I was going to ‘spend’ it.

    However, I see now that rather than remove it completely from my updates, what I should have done was just 'move' it so that it was no longer a part of my Future Fund, but still included in my net worth, plus the amounts that I’ve been making to make up the £3,166.25.

    So you are correct in that my net worth shouldn't have jumped up by that amount as if I’d conjured the money from thin air! I apologise for the confusion!

    Currently, my Emergency Fund stands at zero but I intend to start to top it up, so I will include it in my net worth figure. From next month in fact!

    Thanks very much for stopping by and posting so that my updates will make more sense in future!

  14. Hi Cerridwen
    Thanks and yes, it's a great feeling now that's gone.

    You're making actual purchases and as it's free, you can count it as free! 🙂 Just let me know the numbers when you've bought them!

    You'll be ahead by £7.50 right from the get-go, which I think aptly illustrates how trading fees can make a dent in any portfolio! 🙂

  15. may I chip in and say check out this recipe for courgette scones. For the first time in ages, I didn't grow courgettes this year, but everyone else in the neighbourhood seemingly did, so there's literally not been a week this summer without a neighbour having a basket of FREE courgettes outside their front door.

    Adding veg to breads and scones gives them a delicious and moist quality that is unbeatable. You could also add grated courgette or carrot to bread recipes. Totally scrummy:

  16. Way to go Weenie, your savings rate is doing great.

    Thanks for the mentions on car savings fund and the meal plans. I was just saying to the Fibrarian, that we've spent £12.91 on food this week. That included 4 extra items that weren't on Thrifty Lesley's list for this week too. I can honestly say that I am a bit stunned at spending so little on food… it's going really well and will hopefully push our own savings rate up too!

    Keep up the good work,

  17. Hey M
    Thank you very much for giving me the idea to put aside funds for my car maintenance and also pointing me to Thrifty Lesley's. I did my weekly supermarket shop earlier and I spent £17 – the food will last me all week, covering my evening meals and all my work lunches – I think I have this sussed now but I must continue to monitor it, as I think it will be easy for me to relapse back to the bad old days of spending too much on groceries.

    Your 50% reduction on your own groceries is phenomenal – keep up the great work!

    Thanks for your continued support and kind wishes.

  18. Impressed you managed to save >50% with all that going on including the York meetup!
    If we get anywhere near that I will be impressed but I'm not holding my breath as I already know how much we spent and it doesn't look good 🙁

    I'll do the figures tonight and post tomorrow I think… 🙂

  19. Thanks TFS. The gym rebate helped a lot with the 50% and my food shopping for that month was particularly low as I was away most weekends.Also, York is a lot closer to me than it was for you! Good luck with your figures!

Comments are closed.