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).
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.
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!