November 2019 Savings, plus other updates

So it was Black Friday the other day – anyone pick up any bargains?

I should have probably done some Christmas shopping but the only thing I purchased  that day were more investments! My FIRE focus didn’t waiver!

Were the investments ‘on sale’? No idea – I’m sure I’m not alone in not checking the price of a Vanguard ETF before investing, except to make sure I’ve enough cash to invest.

I feel like I’ve caught up a bit on things this month, got myself a bit more organised, including sorted out my tax stuff. I even got round to having my tattoo to commemorate my half-century – it’s only visible when I remove my clothing so I’m not growing old too disgracefully!

In terms of blog reading/commenting, I’ve found that many of the usual blogs I follow haven’t been updating as much as before – have we reached Peak FIRE?

Still discovering and enjoying new UK blogs, but some of the older ones have been pretty quiet lately – hopefully they’re just too busy just getting on with the business of aiming for FIRE.

So, how are my numbers looking?

I saved 44% of my net salary! A larger than usual credit card bill due to social activities meant that I didn’t hit 50% but I’m happy with this.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £133.15 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £10 lotto winnings and £50 Premium Bond winnings!

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments – I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Either the markets were buoyant or it’s just a result of pound sterling taking a bashing  (probably the latter) but my Future Fund jumped quite a bit this month, up to £182,861.46.   And there was me hoping that I would end the year at £180k but we’ll see what happens after the General Election…

Dividends and Other Income

A better month for dividends:

I received income of £307, which is a decent amount. Although I’m highly unlikely to reach my goal of £4k in dividend income, I want to see how close I willl get.

Here’s the main dividend income graph:

Matched Betting (MB)

Total profits of just £220 this month, which isn’t great but I didn’t put the time or the effort in so it’s to be expected. I am nowhere near on track with my goal but I shall keep plugging away with this as it’s all tax free.

As mentioned before, the MB guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*, which is great for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike with quality tools to help you make profit. There are step by step guides and also a friendly forum for you to ask questions and get assistance on any of the offers.

Some people think matched betting is gambling but it isn’t (speaking as a former-though-now-occasional gambler). For me, it’s the ideal ‘side hustle’/hobby to do in my spare time. Anyway, check out the free trial* (with no obligations).

Goals Update

Here’s how I’m doing versus my goals:

Still not sorted out twinning another toilet – struggling to find the time to arrange this.

I am actually reading a non-fiction book (a Tim Harford oldie) but am unlikely to hit my goal of three this year.

Passive income (dividends) is now beating active income (matched betting), which is a good thing, since who doesn’t love earning income while doing nothing!? Let’s see if this remains the same by the end of the year.

I couldn’t make the Manchester Meet Up on Friday so hope those who did attend had a good time, made new acquaintances and gained new ideas and motivation.

One More Month

With one more month to go til the end of the year, I should start thinking about my next goals and targets but can’t really think beyond just ‘keep on keeping on’ right now.

Perhaps I’ll just keep things simple again.

How was November for you?

[*referral/affiliate link]

26 thoughts on “November 2019 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Today was the first time I’ve updated my blog in two months. I don’t know if I’ve reached peak FIRE, but I just found myself to be very busy recently and didn’t make the time to post. And to make matters worse, the longer I went without posting, the harder it was to start again and get back into the habit.

    Your “not great” £200 of MB profit puts me to shame; I’ve managed to lose about £50 over the last two months, rather than making any money!

    I can see a couple of new blogs on your blogroll, so I will have to check them out over the next few days.

    • Hey Dr FIRE

      Good to see you about and hope you are well!

      I’m hoping that most bloggers are just too busy with their lives (in a good way) – will swing by your blog shortly to see what you’ve been up to!

      Sorry to hear about your MB losses; EW betting is so variable, here’s hoping you see some profits soon.I find that timing is a factor too for profits: if I didn’t measure strictly at the end of the month, I’d be showing a higher profit as December has started off quite well!

  2. Hi weenie,

    You’ll be pretty close at reaching most of your goals by the end of 2019. I think that what matters the most on setting up goals though isn’t actually reaching them but to challenge you, so you develop a healthy habit that makes you take action unconsciously (I think I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately LOL).

    Anyway, congrats on keep pursuing your goals month rear month, not like I did on half year that I scraped them all! Luckily the year is about to end so I can set new ones.

    • Hey Tony

      A nice way of thinking – it’s tough not to reach goals but I do try to set challenging ones, to try to make myself aim higher!

      I haven’t really thought about new goals, so will need to get my thinking cap on.

  3. Glad it’s not just me that’s gone a bit off the rails in terms of the posting. In my case it’s because of a general lethargy that is creeping into all aspects of life rather than anything FIRE-specific, but I guess when the internet is awash with so many FIRE blogs it does mean you feel less inclined to blog as readers are less inclined to miss you.

    • Hey FF

      I think I (like your other readers) have missed you posting, despite the internet being awash with FIRE blogs. I like discovering new blogs but don’t like to get too attached in case they don’t last longer than a few months (many of them don’t). At least yours has been around for a year – yay!

  4. Hi weenie,

    Another great savings month, even with a high cc bill you are very near to 50%… I don’t know how you do it!

    I’ve posted once in about 6 months now. I’ve not gone off the idea of FI but been working hard on various side projects (matched betting bots!) which has ultimately increased my profits near exponentially. So it’s just a no brainer to spend time doing that rather than blogging, which while is still fun and gets you thinking a bit more deeply on these subjects, is not going to move the needle much on getting me there any faster. Also doing the projects has been fun anyway so it’s a win-win.

    Saying that, I definitely plan to keep the blog going and will try to get a post or two out this month! And got to try to do a yearly round up of some sort. This could prove difficult as not tracked our spending at all this year. But it’s all there in money dashboard so I just need to trawl through it. Gulp….. 🙂

    • Hey TFS

      Savings rate will be lower this and next few month – money from sis has really helped but will even out now as monthly bills are naturally up now.

      Was great to read your update on your blog and also this mini update – are you any closer to marketing your bot?

      Glad to read that you will keep the blog going, the community wouldn’t be the same without you and I’ve always appreciated your support and ideas.

  5. Looking good Weenie!
    Regarding FIRE blogs – I’ve noticed the same thing. I migrated across some RSS feeds and noticed that a few that I follow have stopped posting or post less.
    I’m still trying to pump out posts but maybe you’re after quality and not quantity 😛

    and Tim Harford is a good read – enjoy.

    • Cheers GFF

      Although there’s been a flurry of posts since mine (a coincidence, I’m sure!), things have generally been quiet.

      Apart from you, you’re still as prolific as ever, for which I am grateful! 🙂

      And yes, I’m enjoying reading Tim Harford and will likely read some more of his.

  6. Those dividend figures are amazing! You can see clear progress as the years have gone on too! Once I’ve built a more substantial investment portfolio in funds and trackers I’d like to build an individual dividend share paying portfolio like that alongside it.

    • Hi AMM

      I think the dividends are skewed somewhat as they include my ETF trackers in there – what I intend to measure next year is just the income from my shares and investment trusts, which will probably give a more accurate income number for me to work into my plans.

      I’ve seen some people go wholly for accumulation and others for income only – I like a bit of both so good luck with yours when you start building a dividend paying portfolio!

  7. I’ve noticed some of my favourite FIRE blogs go quiet too! Although I’m a guilty party myself. I think I’ve attended more FIRE meetups these past few months than I’ve posted on the blog, so it’s not that I’ve gone off FIRE.

    Can’t believe we’re so close to the end of the year… you’ve made some cracking progress on a lot of your goals so well done!

    • Hi Mindy

      Well you’re not long in you new job so I can understand that you’ve been busy with things. And well done to you attending so many FIRE meetups!

  8. Great update Weenie, we’re all that little bit closer this month it seems. I enjoy seeing your dividend chart every month – at times I really wish I had a little bit of cashflow from dividends every month but ultimately I know I would end up reinvesting them anyway! When the finish line is so far away it’s often easy to forget about the impact of reinvested dividends.

    I had a good month for matched betting, which I needed after October. It all evens out anyway you just have to keep churning through the offers.

    Any way, I hope you are well and that you have a nice Christmas if you don’t post before then!

    • Thanks AO.

      All dividends received right now are reinvested and indeed, they have helped to boost my pot. I could get investments which don’t pay income and just accumulate but I want to see myself first hand that I can get the income at a level I’d be happy with.

      I will try to post before Christmas but if I don’t, hope you have a good one too!

  9. Hi Weenie,

    Great to see your penultimate update of the year. Nicely done with the passive income beating active…that’s living the dream!

    I don’t know where all the time disappears to, I have been planning to start some sort of charity goal initiative like toilet twinning for over a year, but I haven’t found the time to arrange it. I’ve still been donating to charity, but it’s just been my usual monthly donations and sponsorships.

    Re FIRE posts diminishing in the UK, I do miss Financially Free By 40 and the FIRE weekends, but luckily I do still chat to Huw from time to time which is nice. I really must try to do some more FIRE related posts on my own site. I think my last progress update was for the end of April, so it’s looking like I’m going to have to jump to a year end catch-up!

    I have to say I love how consistent you are with your blog posts and I thank you for that. Reading your posts reminds me to keep up the good FIRE fight and that steady wins the day…


    • Hi Corinna

      I know, it’s great to see the passive income beat the active income but a little annoying as the active income should be higher!

      I hope to get my second toilet twinning thing sorted soon but I think next year, I will just do something more simple as donating a certain amount to my ‘charties’.

      I haven’t been in touch with Huw in a while and hope he’s well. I should drop him a note to see how he’s getting on.

      But yes, I do miss some of the older blogs and the old crowd – still this journey to FIRE journey is much like real life, people coming and going.

      Really appreciate your comments, Corinna – I have to be consistent as it helps me focus and control – I know that I can waiver if I allow things to slide.

  10. You and TFS are my two favourite bloggers as you’re both a few years ahead of me on the journey so I’m pleased you’re still posting (and pleased to see TFS is planning a resurgence).

    I did pick up a bargain on Black Friday, a new phone to replace my formerly second-hand phone still running Android 6.0 I saw Monevator’s Free trade post in the weekend links so came back to yours now I have a phone that supports the app. Here’s hoping we both land a big one!

    • Hi JC

      Thanks for reading and great to hear that you picked up a good bargain on Black Friday. And thank you very much for using my link to sign up to Freetrade – fingers crossed we both get good free shares!

  11. Well done Weenie on the savings rate! Mine have taken a bit of a battering in the lead up to Christmas with credit card bills etc!

    Great to hear you’ve hit over £180k mark! That must sound great when you say that to yourself!

    Just a quick question – do you know what the % return of your dividends are you’ve received compared to the overall capital?

    • Hi Jase

      The savings rate will take a bit of a battering over the next few months for me!

      Yes, if feels great to be over that £180k mark, getting ever closer to that £200k milestone which seemed so far away before.

      I don’t actually know the % return of my dividends compared to my overall capital although this is something I should measure. Everything is lumped in at the moment, ie dividends, interest, tax relief etc. I intend to create a new spreadsheet which should track this.

  12. Hi weenie. Not a blogger but not commented for a while. My daughter was born Sunday morning so been a little busy! Amazing how kids change your perception. I’ve turned my phone off Monday morning and not looked at it since which has been lovely. Not back to work till Jan 2nd now. Really does change your priorities although for me really want to get to a level of net worth where I can spend time with her. We’ve talked about downsizing and all sorts since she’s been born. Ultimately I’m going to enjoy the high salary while it lasts and try and make the most of it with a view to reducing hours in a few years time

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