Perhaps it was just as well that I had a frugal January, which was quiet and without incident, seeing as February was almost the opposite, though it was a mix of good and not-so-good.
Several social outings with friends did the world of good to banish away some January blues!
Work has been manic but manageable – the leadership team were over from the US, and my colleague and I were described as a ‘Dream Team’ – hope they remember that when they’re dishing out the pay rises, haha!
I received a surprise letter from a building society regarding a ‘failed’ PPI claim I’d made last year, which advised me that following the FCA’s updated regulations, I was actually entitled to payout so I received £74.40 – thanks very much!
Then, it was another month, another premium bond win, with £25 going into the pot with the other winnings!
Also, I kicked off my home brewing again as I had a ‘window of opportunity’ before work on my kitchen is finally completed. I’d forgotten how much effort it all takes but it was an enjoyable kind of effort and my kitchen smells like brewers hops now! A full update once I have a (hopefully) nice IPA to sample!
Chinese New Year came and went with its usual associated family expenses which were (mostly) budgeted for. May the Year of the Dog be a happy, prosperous and lucky one for all!
That first cold snap we had in the month, my boiler broke down so I was without heating and only intermittent hot water for 3 days. Fortunately, I still had the use of a gas fire, made the most of the shower facilities in my gym, plus the call out and subsequent repair was covered by my boiler plan.
Next, my PC of 8 years decided to break down. I spent 3 days trying to fix it myself (via youtube vids) but as I didn’t want to make the problem any worse, I had to call in an expert. The repair and replacement hardware took a chunk out of my emergency fund but it’s all running like new again so here’s to another 8 years.
So, how did I get on with my savings this month?
Ok, I saved 43% – not as bad as I thought it was going to be if I’m honest. My average savings rate now drops to 51.2%. As I’ll be booking my holiday in the next month or so (which may turn into a ‘holiday within a holiday’), I’ll just need to keep a cap on some other spending over the next couple of months so my average doesn’t drop too much, though I won’t go full-out frugal again like last month (too soon!).
The above savings was topped up with my £25 Premium Bonds win, £74.40 from the PPI claim and £85.73 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all who signed up via my links!)
Shares and Investment Trusts
I started investing in Scottish Investment Trust this month, for more diversification.
Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.
(Entire portfolio here)
The news in February was all about the crisis – I’m talking stock market, not KFC chicken, haha – which I pretty much ignored at the time.
What I do know is that at the end of the month, my Future Fund stands at £132,249 – yes, it’s gone down a bit from last month, but in line with my long-term plan, I’ll just continue investing as normal.
Dividends and Other Income
Dividends received this month:
£87.76 was received – I was hoping to break the £100 barrier for the first time in February but a couple of payments didn’t hit my account until the beginning of March. Total dividends this year stands at £329.42, so a little behind plan but still a way to go yet with some big payouts in the pipeline!
So here’s how things look on the main dividend income graph:
Matched Betting (MB)
Social outings plus my PC breaking down meant that I missed out on two Saturdays this month, which is when I do most of my MB.
My profit was only £145, which is a bit rubbish really but it’s better than nowt! At least the no-lay accumulators (accas) didn’t end up in a loss although it was touch and go at one point! I’m hoping March will give me a decent run of profits.
The no-lay acca strategy is a long-term (and slightly risky) one. I have had decent runs on them before – starting to feel like a distant memory though!
Note that there are plenty of folk who do MB who don’t touch accas at all but who still make regular profits from other offers.
The matched betting guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*. It’s an excellent little website for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike – for beginners, there are plenty of tutorials which provide you with step-by-step guides on how to make profits and to work through special offers. They also offer one-to-one sessions for those who need a little more help. OddsMonkey offers quality tools including the Each Way Matcher, Extra Place Matcher, Dutch Finder, Racing Matcher and Acca Matcher. There’s also a friendly forum for you to ask questions. Anyway, check out the free trial*.
Again, not much to see as it’s only the second month:
The way it’s going, passive income (dividends) could end up beating active income (matched betting) which would be great, though not great for the MB goal I’ve set myself this year!
Also, for those interested, you can also see how I’m getting on with my Book Bingo here – I’ve crossed off some more squares!
Anyway, that’s it from me – hope people haven’t suffered too much from the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’!