February 2020 Savings, plus other updates

After a month of doing nothing in particular, February was a month where I was busy with something pretty much every weekend. I did have an post I wanted to put up last week but will publish next week instead.

Firstly, I’ve only gone and joined the W.I, that is, the Women’s Institute in Manchester. Like you, I too thought it was for ‘older women’, into their baking, knitting, making jam etc (I’m not interested in any of these) but when I turned up to the first meeting, I was surprised to see that I was actually one of those ‘older women’! The average age must have been around late 20s or early 30s.

Why did I join? It was one of those things which I thought I would do once I’d retired and I realised that there was nothing to stop me from joining now. Good for networking, good for establishing new interests and I got to meet and chat with some nice young women. Not sure how much time I can throw into this right now but I will make some time for it.

Anyway, before I continue with what else I got up to, some of you must be itching to see what my numbers are so here goes…

I saved 33.3% – my spending on social activities took its toll this month.

The above savings includes top ups from £20 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £77.31 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund (** Coronavirus ALERT **)

With the stock markets going into chaos caused by Covid-19, my Future Fund stands at £180,751, which is more or less back to what it was in September last year. That’s down 4% since last month.

To say that I’m not feeling a little fearful would be a lie – of course I’m a little scared, both of the virus and what it’s doing to my investments.

However, I’m going to stick with my plan. I got paid today, so my usual investment was made into my ISA. I’ve heard some people are keeping aside cash to invest at the bottom – who knows when stocks will be at rock-bottom, I will just invest when I have the cash and hope that I will scoop up some bargains along the way.

Dividends and Other Income

The bottom has fallen out of the stock markets but like clockwork, my dividends continue to roll in:

I received £249.54 in total, of which £142.13 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

Here’s what the main graph looks like:

Matched Betting (MB)

Busy weekend meant not a lot of time for MB and coupled with a spot of bad luck, I ended up with a month where I barely made anything, just £39! I know, really disappointing but I didn’t have time to put the effort in this month.

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, 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

Not a lot to see still:

Go me, I read my second non-fiction book, ‘Size Matters Not‘ by Warwick Davis. Am a big fan of films he’s been in (Return of the Jedi, Harry Potter movies). Feel a little less stressed now that I have the rest of the year to read just one more non-fiction book to bag one of my goals!

Manchester FIRE Meet Up

So, Manchester FIRE Meet Up #4 took place the other week.

There were about a dozen of us – as mentioned, it was a different format from previous meet ups. We had a room booked upstairs, so there was no having to shout over pub noise or music and best of all, it was free!

A round-the-table format had everyone briefly talking about themselves and their plans for FIRE/investing and I did a mini-presentation about my FIRE journey, even with Powerpoint sides! Afterwards, most of us went back downstairs for more drinks and chats in the pub.

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable evening, there was a mix of those aiming for FIRE and those who had FIRE’d already and lots of interesting stuff was discussed. It was fascinating to hear everyone’s stories and great to meet new faces and to see old ones again, including Mr & Mrs FU and The Squirreler.

There was a bigger slant on investing this meet up and a few chaps had come via The Lemon Fool forum – serious stuff, hah!

Anyway, another meet up is planned for April – date to be agreed and I will post as soon as I get the details.

Other Stuff

Aside from the FIRE meet up, I had a couple of other social outings with friends. I also spent a day doing some (unpaid) promotional work for Freetrade*, which had me working with a film crew in some pretty adverse weather but in some beautiful countryside!

I’ve been enjoying going to the gym at weekends as well as during the week, so feel pretty fit and strong these days.

I was supposed to go on my usual annual travels to the Far East next month but it’s not the best time to travel so I’ve postponed my trip until later in the year.

That means a very long time before I have a holiday so I may end up just taking some time off (but not going anywhere) sometime in the next month or so.

Anyway, hope everyone is ok and well and that the current stock market crash isn’t freaking you out too much!

[*referral/affiliate link]

14 thoughts on “February 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. I dare say that the Manchester WI’s demographic profile is somewhat younger than most. My mother’s crowd certainly don’t fit the “late 20s or early 30s” label!

    I started investing back in May – hence my nom d’Internet, which won’t age well – so I’ve not had much growth in the first place, leaving me with a real loss at the moment. But I’m strangely unconcerned – like you, it’s business as usual with regular monthly investments to be made. The markets will rise again and for as long as they are depressed I’ll benefit by buying stock at relatively lower levels.

    Many thanks for your regular updates. I find them very rewarding to read.

    • Hi NewInvestor

      I think Manchester WI is rather different from other crowds and the exception, rather than the norm!

      Thanks for reading the blog and good luck with your investments!

  2. Sanity check! 33% is still very good for a busy month of socialising so don’t do yourself a disservice for that one…for comparison, mine tends to fall to around 10% when I have a month like that 🙂
    I’m curious about the promotional work for Freetrade…are you allowed to disclose what this was about yet, sounds intriguing!

    • Hi AMM

      33% is a very good number, just low compared to my usual!

      I won’t go into too much detail about the Freetrade stuff but will drop you a note seeing as you asked!

  3. Pingback: The Full English Accompaniment – Premium Bonds: The time is now? – The FIRE Shrink

  4. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stock market, you’re still investing rather than withdrawing and in it for the long term, these things happen, but over time the market will rally and come back up again.

    • Hope you are right.The Japanese stock market has never got close to getting back to its 1980’s highs.In long bear markets though one does still get huge short term rallies.
      Note if an antidote is not found to Coronavirus we may be living in the equalavent of the summer of 1914 where few people realised the disaster that was about to unfold

      • Hi Simon
        I’ve read several articles about the Japanese stock market and do hope that it’s not going to be a similar situation. But if you say it’s going to be like 1914, then stock market investments might be the last thing on my mind, survival might just be of more pressing need! I’ve been quietly stocking up…

    • Hi Baldrick
      The drop in my investments has been scary but yes, it’s for the long term and no sense is pulling out and sticking it in cash. I made my usual investment on Friday and that’s already all gone up since. Just going to stick to my plan.

  5. Hi Weenie, I think most of us have been hit by the recent drop in the markets, but I’m not too concerned just yet. I’ve been keeping a small amount of cash (about 5% of NW) in the last few months but invested around half of it just over a week ago after the first relatively big drop. The rest of it is there if it goes down much further, otherwise it could probably be used towards other things. In some ways I’m lucky that it dropped around just after I got a bonus from work… but we’ll see where it goes from here.

    It sounds like you have a similar strategy to me, of accepting you can’t control anything in the market (or know everything), and take each day as it comes!

    Are you focussing on Cheltenham much at all this year for your matched betting?

    • Hi AO
      Worst case scenario is that the big market drop pushes me back on my FIRE goal but I’m sticking to my plan. Tempting as it is to use some of my cash reserves to jump into the market but the cash provides balance to my portfolio and I don’t want to be 100% in equities.

      I will be placing a few bets on Cheltenham but am so restricted now that there aren’t many offers available to me. Good luck to you anyway!

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