November 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Not sure where November went – it was a bit of a blur.

I went to the Lake District for the first time ever to participate in my (kind of) new hobby, walking.

I know, Tuppenny, beautiful countryside merely 1.5 hours away in the car, pretty much on my doorstep and yet I’d never been before! No excuse really, just never crossed my mind!

Would definitely go back, it was lovely, although I’m not sure I’d want to live there long-term, bit too remote for my liking and I’m not fond of driving down country roads. Perhaps there’s too much of a City gal in me.

Anyway, stayed in Bowness-on-Windermere and went on the Grasmere to Alcock Tarn walk (around 9 miles).

I did wonder what was lurking under that peaceful lake…

Typically, it was raining and cold but after the extreme weather I experienced in Snowdonia, this was a bit of a doddle and felt quite mild :-). Although there was a part of the walk where we had to cross a fast flowing stream, jumping over slippery rocks and I ended up with what felt like half the stream in my boot!

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings?

I saved 36.3%, which sees my average savings rate going down a little to 43.7%.

Not bad really, although I’ve not done much in terms of any Christmas shopping yet.

For the first time, I actually bought something on Black Friday but it was on behalf of family. I did make one significant purchase this month – a new mattress after checking out Kiernan’s mattress review website as I didn’t know what to get. Suffice to say, I’m very happy with my purchase, although there were some shenanigans regarding delivery.

The above savings includes top ups from £240 matched betting profits (from last month), £10 lotto winnings and £124.50 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

AJBell Youinvest had their own Black Friday offer (fee-free trades) so I took the opportunity to finally offload my Vodafone shares. Yield is currently an insane 7.9% but I’m not confident this will continue in the long term. With the loss in capital and dividend income over the years I held the stock, I probably more than broke even (would have been a loss if I’d paid trading fees to sell).

Speaking of AJBell, I’ve applied for shares for when they float on the stock exchange later this month. The shares probably won’t be as lucrative as the Hargreaves Lansdown ones (which sadly, I didn’t buy) but as an existing customer of theirs, I thought they’ll be worth a punt.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets appear to have recovered a little so my Future Fund is heading in the right direction again, sitting at £146,601.

I’m resigned to the fact that I’m unlikely to end the year >£150k unless there’s going to be a really really generous Santa Rally!

Dividends and Other Income

So, wobbly markets or not, my dividends continued to roll in regardless:

I received £259.97, which means total dividends so far this year now stands at £2,931.44. It’s more than what I was expecting this month so the good news is that it look like I should hit my dividends goal by the end of the year after all! All dividends are reinvested, bundled up with whatever extra capital I invest monthly.

So here’s how things look on the main dividend income graph:

Matched Betting (MB)

Not the best month for each way betting – hit a horribly long losing streak but managed to claw my way back into profits. In a double whammy, I made a loss on my no-lay accumulators so there was no joy there, just misery. Total profits this month came in at only £311.64.

The good news is that I’ve achieved my goal, with Total MB profits with one month to go, standing at £4,294. Perhaps I was being a tad optimistic when I said that it might have been possible to get to £5k – with a short December in terms of MB opportunities for me, Lady Luck will definitely have to be on my side from the start!

As mentioned before, the MB guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*, which is great for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike with quality tools such as the Oddsmatcher, Each Way Matcher, Extra Place Matcher, Dutch Finder, Racing Matcher and Acca Matcher. There are step by step guides and also a friendly forum for you to ask questions and get help on any of the offers.

Matched betting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you won’t know until you try it! Anyway, check out the free trial* (with no obligations).

Goals Update

Here’s how things look right now:

Great to have achieved two of my goals already, especially knowing that I will definitely  fail in two of the others!

I’m just waiting for my toilet twinning charity certificate so I’ll be able to take a picture of that soon.

Anyway, hope everyone had a great November and has a (mostly) stress-free December!

[*referral/affiliate link]

26 thoughts on “November 2018 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Nothing wrong with The Lakes, except that the whole area swarms with bloody people. If you want a bit of space to yourself go off to the North West Highlands, preferably in May or early June.

    • Hi dearieme

      There weren’t so many people there though I can imagine in the summer/nicer weather, it’s probably heaving.

      I’d like to visit the West Highlands at some point, been watching Outlander and imagining it’s all like that scenery-wise!

      • Don’t go in the rainy season (which is when almost everyone else goes).

        But if, even in May, a sou’westerly brings rain, go out onto one of the low peninsulas. You can be dry there, enjoying sunny spells, while the rain lashes down a few miles inland.

  2. Good to see you are sticking at the new hobby weenie. The Lakes are an amazing place for walking. If you get into it seriously, you may want to get a copy of ‘Wainwright’s Walks’…could get you over the line for your non-fiction target!

    • Hi diy

      Thanks for the suggestion although I’m not sure how serious I will get with the walking. Definitely something to consider although I think we can find most info online these days.

  3. Walking is great!
    There are so many long, short, high, low, easy, hard walks all over the UK.
    You are lucky living as close to the lakes as you do – we live in Scotland near the highlands and just love to get out into the countryside and climb a munro or two.

    Best of all – walking is free!
    Plus you get to meet other people and it’s great for your mental health (as well as physical)

    • Hi GFF

      Walking’s just never been something I’ve enjoyed in the past, but as I’ve gotten older, perhaps I appreciate the fresh air and the meeting of people a bit more.

      Good point about it being great for mental as well as physical health – time away from mobile phones and social media, with my phone only coming out to take a few photos.

  4. I was in the lakes myself last week. Had great weather – ie dry days and although busy with people In The towns a bit quieter on the hills. It has been 7 years since I was last there and the amount of people has definitely increased. Traffic was horrendous but pretty much walked everywhere I wanted to go so not a problem for me.
    Plus a trip on the lake cruisers to get away from the crowded roads.

    It was so relaxing and a great break from the rat race grind of work. Still deciding whether to just walk as the pain and grief of the job and the toxic workplace get to me. Walking helped melt all that away and made me realised how I miss going to the lakes or wales to escape the madness and surround myself with nature.

    It’s the first break I have had since May when I went to Scotland. Roll on Xmas so I can have some more time off the treadmill.

    • Hi Sparklebee

      I’d love to to return to the Lakes when the weather is nice but can imagine it’d be a lot busier. That 1.5 hour journey could easily turn into a 3 hour one if the roads get clogged up.

      Am surprised you’re still enduring the really tough situation at your work and hope you’ll soon be able to move onto something which makes you happier.

  5. Ha! Glad you enjoyed your Lakes weekend even if it did rain. Can’t believe you live only 1.5 hours away and have never been! Shocking! Although I’m only a hop, skip and a jump from the Isle of Wight and have only ever been there for work so similar situation.

    Bowness is hectic, we prefer the western lakes as less crowded but definitely takes longer to get there. I totally hate crossing streams and rivers – am an absolute wreck doing so and will often walk downstream vainly trying to find the perfect crossing place. Hubby just humours me and usually ends up standing midstream to help me cross.

    Your savings rate is holding up really well given you bought a new mattress – worth it though I am sure.

    • Haha, I know it’s shocking! Yet, I have been to Isle of Wight and it’s right on the other side of the country!

      Maybe it just wasn’t a very busy time but I didn’t think Bowness was that hectic, can imagine during peak season it’s heaving with people.

      Re the crossing of the stream, I’d watched one guy from our walking group cross over easily so in my mind, it look straight forward. Until I suddenly realised that the guy was around 6ft 4 so of course his legs easily crossed the rocks! But I didn’t stop to dwell on it, mind over matter was how I saw it otherwise I too would have been a wreck, I reckon!

      Oh, I just realised that I didn’t mention that my new mattress was purchased with MB funds, only the second time I’ve used the funds to buy something for myself.

  6. It must feel great to have aced two of your goals already, and be so close to a third! My reading goal (52 books) went out of the window months ago. I set the same goal each year and never quite manage!

    • Hey Mindy

      Yes, it’s a great feeling to have bagged the goals already and not too early in the year so I know I set them at the right level!

      It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to read 52 books in a year but some of the books I read are over 800 odd pages so take longer to read. 46 is the most I’ve ever managed, this year’s attempt has been a bit rubbish really, think I’ll finish at around 26 or 27.

      Perhaps I’ll really make an effort on the 52/year once I’ve pulled the FIRE plug!

      • I have the same problem with picking up long books. I read on a Kindle, so I have no idea how big the books are until I get stuck in. If it takes me a long time to get to 1%, I know I’ve chosen an epically long tome.

  7. I’ve never been walking in the Lakes but all the comments on this seem to recommend it! I’ve always wanted to the the coast to coast walk – I have it down for a summer holiday when the kids are a bit older.

    Nice progress on your goals – if you hit four out of six that’s far better than most people manage.

    I’ve been reading a lot more this year and I’m loving it. I realised that I was putting pressure on myself to read things that I thought I ‘ought’ to read and as a result I wasn’t reading anything. Removing that has led to my rediscovering my reading mojo!

    • Hi Caveman

      The lakes looked like a great place to take the family, so I’m sure you’ll have a great summer holiday there when your kids are older.

      Thanks and yes, 4/6 goals won’t be too bad in the end.

      I very much read for pleasure and would never get round to reading hardly anything if I too only tried to read what I ‘ought’ to read (in my mind, non-fiction!). Limiting myself to a few means I at least learn something new whilst still able to enjoy reading my fiction! What are you enjoying reading right now?

  8. Hi Weenie,

    Glad you enjoyed the walking holiday – cant knock it there are some great places out there, and with the right “kit” (i.e. waterproofs!) it really doesnt matter that much what the weather is truly like!
    Although you may end up missing the target savings rate it is still a very fine savings rate, and always positive to see the overall future fund continue to tick up!


    • Hey FiL

      Yes, I will be considering buying some decent waterproofs, perhaps check things out in the sales in the new year if I can bear to!

      And yes, gotta keep plugging away at the future fund and it will come good in the end in the right direction!

  9. Lakes are amazing! We did a couple of family holidays there when I were a pad and have also been back as an adult and loved it.

    It was a tough month on the each way. At least you made a profit in the end as I’m definitely down on the month. First month in loss though so just solider on I think!

    I saw the AJ Bell IPO offer but decided to not go with it as I don’t really like their website. Maybe a shallow thing to judge it on but it was enough to stop me from bothering to read any deeper about their business. Was there any nuggets I missed out on? Hopefully it will do well for you 🙂

    Cheers and have a great December/Xmas

    • Hey TFS

      Yes, EW betting was brutal in November and it’s not been a great start so far this month either. If I can scrape any kind of profit, I’ll be happy, I think!

      Re AJ Bell, you’re right, the website isn’t great compared to some others but I’ve been with them a while and have seen improvement so I think they’re heading in the right direction. Their fees are competitive, they give the occasional freebies and for me, it’s a chance to invest in a local (Manchester) company who can keep costs down by not having their HQ in London! 😉 If their success is anywhere close to that of HL’s (shares floated at £1.60, now worth £19.80!), I’ll be happy!

      All the best in the run up to Xmas and hope Lady luck shines on us for the EW betting!

  10. I love the Lake District weenie – so jealous you are so close and got to visit.

    The scenery always invigorates me and makes me appreciate life more, not to mention that the mountains always exhaust me too.

    • Hey MsZiYou

      Yes, the scenery was just breathtaking, when I stopped to have a look at it! I don’t think I’m great at appreciating it whilst I’m actually walking, too busy looking down to see where I need to put my feet!

  11. The lake district looks lovely! I wanted to go while I was studying at Oxford, but I never ended up going. Definitely on the list of places I want to visit.

    • Hi Moriah

      It was lovely and I just can’t believe I’d never been before with it being so close. I would definitely recommend and I look forward t returning for future visits.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Startting my own financial independence this past month, j can see how hard it is. My goal is to create small but obtainable goals as well. Got to pay off credit cards and create a savings for emergencies.

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