May 2020 Savings, plus other updates

11 weeks of staying at home and the ‘lockdown me’ is just getting on with life.

Whoever invented this is to blame for my expanded lockdown waistline!

My hair is the longest it’s ever been and I waiver daily over whether to keep my greys or bolt for the hairdresser’s as soon as their doors are opened so I can hide them for a while longer.

My waistline has expanded somewhat and my weight is up – not enough exercise, too much comfort food. I look forward to my gym reopening so I can revert to my previous fitness/strength levels.

I have a fantastic glowing tan, courtesy of the wonderful weather we’ve had; I’ve been enjoying a lot more sleep and have loved spending time reading (books) and watching boxed sets. I’m still currently employed.

Work sent out a ‘Back to Work’ survey form for everyone to complete – I responded that I didn’t have a need to return to the office as I could work comfortably from home, but that I would go in if I had to, as long as I felt safe.  One of my friends has already been told by her work that she will be working from home for the rest of the year.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I was able to save 60% of my net salary.  Aside from groceries, the only things I purchased this month were some plant pots. If I can keep this up, it’ll be the first time ever that I will have achieved my savings rate goal.

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 

The stock market continues to show no correlation whatsoever with what’s going on in the world.

My Future Fund stands at £186,988, only a couple of grand down from the beginning of the year, so almost a complete recovery (if you exclude the extra capital I’ve invested these past few months).

‘V’ recovery, or the beginnings of a ‘W’?

It could be the calm before the storm of a global recession – who knows?

As the great late Jack Bogle said, “Nobody knows nothing”, so I continue stick to my plan and invest on a monthly basis.

Dividends and Other Income

A few more dividends got cancelled this month but it was a good month overall:

I received £305.67 in total, of which £179.85 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

Double what I received last year, but I anticipate more dividends to be cut or postponed, over the next year or so.

Here’s what the main graph looks like:

Matched Betting (MB)

Hurray for the Bundesliga and French horseracing!

I was able to make £80.97 profit and am really looking forward to the restart of Premier League football and English horseracing so I can build up my income from this again.

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

If you’re going to try it, I’d recommend doing so when there’s a lot more sport on.

Goals Update

Savings rate so far is looking very good but these are weird times we live in!

I’ve borrowed a couple of e-books from the library so can continue to crack on with that goal over the next few months.

Reality

When I started drafting this post, I had been largely unaffected by the ravages of the virus.

Sadly, by the time I was ready to publish, I had lost an aunt (my Dad’s sister), who looks like she may have caught COVID-19 when she was admitted into hospital after she had a stroke. Or maybe she had it already when she had the stroke. Yet another case of “Nobody knows nothing”.

So it’s not known if stroke or virus ended her life but I’m told she did not suffer in the end. She was in her 80s and had not been in great health.

And on that sombre note, that’s it from me – hope everyone is well and continues to stay safe.

[*referral/affiliate link]

26 thoughts on “May 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Hey Weenie, great update! Always like the personal tone.

    Sorry to hear you lost your Great Aunt. 🙁 Must be hard when it hits home. The virus hasn’t affected anyone I really know, but a few school friends’ parents or other rels of similar age or older. I won’t be seeing my own parents for a while longer but glad my dad finally took a walk outside the boundaries of his home.

    Anyway, fantastic SR!! Congratulations for reaching your target! With such nice weather, everyone seems to be gardening! I’ve not seen this Marmite peanut butter!! But am partial to a bit of Marmite myself!

    I’m building up a nice tan too! Hope the weather lasts longer. Makes lockdown much better, even if people keep saying it’s too hot!

    Have a good month!

    • Thanks Firelite.

      Although I’ve got a rescheduled flight to HK later this year, it’s very doubtful it will go ahead so will be the first time in a long time I’ve not seen my folks in such a long time. My Grandmother isn’t in the best of health too, so it’s not a great situation. Good to hear that your dad is enjoying some freedom finally.

      The good weather’s gone for now so perhaps I might get some of my paperwork under control (it had been stacking up!)

      Hope you have a good month too!

      • Hi Weenie, ahh, that’s not so good that you won’t see your parents in HK for so long. 🙁 Especially when family are getting older, it makes you realise how precious time is, and also frustrating that each passing month can mean a lot more than that.

        My parents live in a nearby town but are both high risk, so I didn’t really want to push it with telling them to go out for walks, but I can imagine they are losing some of their mobility. It’s one of my major worries, as my Auntie had a fall earlier this year. (She’s now gone to live in HK.) My siblings all saw my parents last week, but we’re train reliant. :/ Equally for the in-laws. On the plus side, they’re probably more used to being at home a lot than we are.

        I loved the good weather, but I can’t complain as I made the most of it, with a socially distanced gathering at ours just before the weather turned. Good luck with all the paperwork!

  2. Very sorry to hear about the loss in your family.

    We had friends with relatives who passed away early on in lockdown so got a reality slap fairly quickly about the situation, which I’ll admit to being blaze about early on.

    That’s a lovely V shaped graph, I do wonder what it will do next?!

    Can’t wait to get stuck into racing this week. Really hoping for a good start as I have a driveway to pay for haha!

    Hmmm. Well I like marmite. And I like peanut butter. But I really can’t see how that tastes good together?! Will have to give it a go at some point I guess haha.

    All the best to you as always 🙂

    • Cheers TFS.

      Yes, loving the V shaped graph so it’ll be interesting to see what shap it ultimately turns out to be. Looking good so far this month.

      I love Marmite but a bit so-so with peanut butter. The mix means you get a more savoury peanut butter, with a definite (though not too strong) Marmite kick – very more-ish!

      All the best to you too, particularly with racing winnings – what a great way to fund improvments to the house! 🙂

  3. Sorry to hear of the loss in your family Weenie – the passing sounds like it was relatively peaceful / little suffering.

    On more positive note, it’s great to see your dividends for the month of May. It certainly will be interesting to see what effect dividends have over the coming months (and whether or not there are more cuts)?

    I know the feeling of the hairdresser as well – given that I’m only into my 30’s, i’m noticing more and more grey hairs! They’ll soon be calling me the silver fox at work! (or more recently the silver hippo with the recent weight gain 😮 !)

    • Cheers Jase.

      Yes, she passed away peacefully.

      I was surprised with my dividends this month as I thought they would continue to go down, not up! The big test will be in July, when historically I tend to receive my biggest payout of the year – I’m preparing for disappointment!

      It’s ok for guys with grey hair – if you get called ‘Silver Fox’, it sounds quite flattering and somewhat conjures up a dashing fellow with greying temples and a twinkle in his eye (ok, maybe I speak for myself, haha!). There’s no real positive equivalent for women sadly.

      Anyway, I’d have thought you were keeping fit toiling in your garden growing all those veggies!

  4. Hi Weenie

    So sorry to hear the news about your aunt but at least, she does not appear to have suffered, at the end.

    Along with Simple Living in Somerset, this is easily my favourite FIRE blog, not least because, unlike most other FIRE blogs, you are earning a normal income, just like me. It gives us all hope!

    Keep up the good work and hopefully, continue to benefit from the unusually good weather that we are currently experiencing in the North West.

    • Thanks for the kind wishes Templeton and thanks for reading the blog! I think there are more and more of us on just normal income in the UK, in comparison to the high earning bloggers in the US.

      Sadly, it’s grey clouds over us here for the rest of the week – the garden could do with some rain in any case, plus my car was looking a bit dusty haha!

  5. Sorry to hear about your recent loss, Weenie.

    I’m with TFS, the Marmite and peanut butter concoction sounds… odd. I love the individual components, but, combined? Not sure about that! I’ll be keeping an eye out for it next time I do a grocery shop.

    Nice work with getting a profit from matched betting, despite the lack of events. I haven’t done any at all since lockdown started. I’ll have to start keeping a closer eye on those OddsMonkey emails to see if they have any good offers.

    The equities recovery has been surprisingly quick! I’m not sure if I see it lasting though, as the covid-19 impact has surely yet to be felt. Like you said though, what do I know?? I’ll just keep investing as usual.

    Hope you have a good month ahead 🙂

    • Thanks Dr FIRE.

      The Marmite and peanut butter combo does seem to work – I’ve only tried the crunchy version though I think I might prefer the smooth.

      Yes, it feels good to be matched betting again, although lack of practice means I’ve made the odd mistake already! Oh well, practice makes perfect!

      I reckon there will be another dip in the stock market later in the year, but not quite as big as that one we had in March. That’s just me guessing, but my guess should be just as good (or bad) as the so-called experts gazing into their crystal balls, hehe!

      Hope you have a good month too!

  6. That global portfolio must have helped you to that “‘V’ recovery (or the beginnings of a ‘W’) in your graph. Well done. I’m still 22% down on a like for like basis, but at least my dividends haven’t fallen (yet).

    • Hi Getting Minted
      Yes, I do believe it was the global aspect which has helped with the V recovery. My investments in the UK and property haven’t recovered half as much, so I’m trying to add to these to get the balance back up.

      Good to hear that your dividends are still going strong.

  7. I’m a massive fan of twiglets and peanuts in the same snack bowl (and i finally just managed to get a Sainsburys* delivery for this week, woohoo), so i have to assume that the marmite and peanut butter spread must work. Jury’s out on whether it would beat my proven raw ingredient combo though. Peanut butter and jelly (strawberry jam) is another wonderful combo, that sounds truly awful, but must be tried first before passing judgement. I will add that i’ve actually shed a couple of kg during lockdown, due to a slightly healthier lifestyle. It’s not too late to start a home exercise workout regime – do it now and in a couple of months you’ll be back on track. Improvise and you can replicate anything you can do in a gym. There’s no excuse!!!

    Not being critical, but upon lockdown i reckon you should have upped your target savings rate a bit, as it’s obviously going to be easy to hit your goal for a few months in monk mode. FIRE people should really be coining it in at the moment. It’s also been a really good intro for me to the RE side, to see how i cope at home all day. The weather has been about as good as it could be (= lots of time in the garden), and i am very happy with the almost total lack of boredom and ~zero tv watching. I wonder how many others of a certain age and situation will be coming to the conclusion that they don’t really want to return to the office once this is all done.

    Sorry to hear about your aunt. My uncle passed away right at the start of the outbreak (from a non-related illness) and i wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral. Last i heard, my aunt was still unable to collect the ashes due to the situation.

    There’s obviously a heck of a lot of unknown in the financial arena at the moment, and like most others i’m trying to work out what a sensible game plan should look like now – i really don’t know where and what to be invested in. Something is telling me that equities are over priced, but i keep coming back to the conclusion that they’re the only game in town. I’ve not read a newspaper or financial magazine in 2 months though, so i am starting to question my judgement a little. I’ve not sold anything since the outbreak, and am probably back to circa just a 10% loss overall, which is a right result as far as i’m concerned, bearing in mind where we dropped to.

    Overall, and ignoring the massive debt and inevitable unemployment the Country is building up, for me there are more positives than negatives from this lockdown. Pollution, litter, noise, stress, and car boot sales which i abhor on a sunday morning bike ride, have all reduced significantly, and i don’t welcome the return of any of them.
    Get back inside, it’s not safe!

    (*disclosure – the author holds shares in this company that should be coining it in at the moment,…and isn’t very happy about the deferred dividend!)

    • Hey KC

      Peanut butter and jam is on the sweet side for me – I’m more a savoury person rather than sweet-toothed, hence the Marmite peanut butter works for me! Well done you for shedding a couple of kg! I’ve starting upping my home work outs so hopefully will see a bit of a difference soon.

      Funny you should mention it but I had considered upping my target savings rate. There are costs coming up later in the year but I should aim for a proper target, not one which has been achieved easily due to the current circumstances.

      Yes, from what I see, most FIRE people are coining it in, certainly with their emergency funds etc, they are in a far better situation than many other folk.

      Lock down has been a good intro of sorts for me too in respect of future retirement – whilst I still have to spend most hours of the day working, during recent bank holidays, I spent more time in the garden (I’m trying to grow vegetables!), pottering around the house, tinkering on my spreadsheets, reading, playing video games and watching tv. There was no rush to do anything and I liked the pace!

      Sorry to hear of the loss of your uncle. None of us can attend my aunt’s funeral, all we can do is arrange for a wreath.

      Regarding the stock market, I think we’re very much in unknown realms. Are equities overpriced? They said they were overpriced last year too so I’ll just continue investing. Like you say, they’re the only game in town.

      I feel a little sorry for those who bailed out of equities and are now sitting on piles of cash, wondering when to get back in…

      Agree that there are a lot of positives to be had from lockdown – I’m not sure that I want everything to go back to the ‘previous normal’.

      • Veg growing is something that more people aspiring to FIRE should probably consider, although it’s not particularly cost effective and does require a lot of time. For me though, the rewards are well worth it. I must have had fresh salad from the garden every day since the start of lockdown. And i’ve only had to go out food shopping twice since the outbreak.

        If you are looking for inspiration, check out Charles Dowding on youtube. His clips are very helpful and a fantastic resource of information.

        HAGW.

  8. That’s a fantastic savings rate weenie, well done… It’s great to see your future fund has recovered also for now at least…

    You certainly won’t be alone in putting on some weight during lockdown, I saw a work colleague the other day who came in that I had last seen 10 weeks ago. He had a Santa beard and was literally a couple of stone heavier, I thought it was somebody else :O.

    All the best.

    Chris @ The FIJourney

    • Cheers Chris.

      At least I still only drink moderately (compared to many friends and colleagues) otherwise my weight would have ballooned! And like you, I noticed that a couple of colleagues are sporting a bit more timber than normal!

      Hope all’s well with you.

  9. I am truly sorry to hear about your loss, Weenie.

    Congrats on getting tan but not sunburned, that’s more challenging for some in the UK than building a consistent dividend portfolio, hehe.

    That saving rate is fantastic! I know some acquaintances who are spending more now than before, as they can’t stop purchasing things online.

    That’s a healthy recovery for your future fund. I am not doing so well, as I fell behind the 100k mark again, and I am not back up yet.

    Can’t wait to get back to the gym too. I do weight lifting at home and push-ups but I miss the energy the gym transmit. When you see people pushing hard makes me push hard too, while at home I exercise next to the sofa! No wonder why my muscle are saying goodbye to me!

    Good job on non-fiction reading.

    • Thanks Tony.

      As a sun worshipper (and someone who doesn’t want to get too many wrinkles!), I can get quite religious about suncream!

      I did think that I too was going to get into online shopping but I think I would only really fall in that trap if I was bored and looking for things to buy. It’s rare that I get bored, hence no random shopping!

      Sorry to hear that your pot has slipped back from 100k but you continue to invest so it will go back up.

      I agree with you – when in the gym, I go there with a particular mindset, to work out hard as I can see others doing the same. When I do tough workouts, I also seem to eat less as I don’t have an appetite after exercise. Yes, my muscles are disappearing too, I don’t have big enough weights to lift at home! 🙁

      But soon soon, I am hopeful the gyms will be reopening with some social distancing.

  10. Hi, just came across your blog and first want to say sorry to hear about your loss!

    I see you have a good portfolio of stocks/index funds etc. and I’m just wondering if you’ve considered cryptocurrencies? I’m starting my journey myself and have a much less sizeable portfolio than yours. I know crytpocurrency is still very young and has a higher risk level, just curious if you have any knowledge about it?

    Cheers from Norway!

    • Thanks Paul and thanks for stopping by.

      I heard about Bitcoin many years ago before it became a ‘thing’ and because I didn’t understand how I could make money, I never invested.

      I’m fearful of the lack of regulation so cryptocurrency isn’t something I would consider – the risk is too high for me personally.

      Good luck with your portfolio in any case!

      • Thanks, yes a few years ago Bitcoin was largely unregulated, but now you have regulated exchanges in most countries. Anyway, each person should stick to what they know best and have done their due diligence on!

        All the best to you on your journey!

  11. Pingback: The Full English Accompaniment – Cold turkey interest rates – The FIRE Shrink

  12. Hi Weenie,

    Sorry to hear about your aunt.
    I have only heard of someone who has just been released from ICU after spending 3 weeks in a coma. They are currently learning to walk again and build muscle strength so they can just hold a cup/fork/etc…

    Well done on the saving rate. lockdown has it’s advantages.
    Lockdown hair is something I am having to deal with, it is getting so long when I do get a chance to get it cut it will fill the floor! LOL… my hairdresser is starting to post info on how they will work when they are allowed to reopen, including temp checks before entry, warning on the PPE that will be used by the staff, no drinks, no magazines, distancing rules in place. Lots of cleaning between customers.

    The positive of not working is that I can go out get a tan and exercise so cycling as much as I can is helping my health and waistline. Hopefully the vit-D from sunshine will help my immune system.

    With comments that this will be the ‘norm’ into next year, I wonder what the long-term fallout will be. Glad that your work is assessing the back to work plan. If it anything like my last workplace there isnt enough space to have everyone in the office, so trying to work out the best way to operate is key. Working from home wouldn’t trouble me and I have been finding that some people are now ‘simulating’ their commute to work as the time to exercise. So they are either walking or cycling a set distance/time to mimic the commute, setting them up for the day and also getting their exercise into the daily routine.

    Glad your future fund is rebounding and that you have received dividends this month. I am continuing to track mine as I have received some but some of my big payouts have been cancelled which is a shame.

    I will have a look at MB now that sport has restarted, just need to find a few little side hustles and additional income streams

    Stay safe and look forward to your next post.

    • Thanks Sparklebee.

      Unfortunately, this virus doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon and more will suffer the after effects (assuming they survive…).

      I haven’t heard from my hairdresser yet but I assume they will implement similar strategies to the ones you mention. I have heard from my gym and I look forward to it reopening.

      Our office is opening up next week for people who need to be in and they have sent detailed instruction and plans to abide by. I’m not in a rush to go in, in any case.

      Will you be considering rebalancing your portfolio to counter the dividend cancellations, or will you just wait and see?

      Anyway, good luck with the MB and if you have any questions, you can always drop me a note.

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