July 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Compared to the past few months, July has been positively ‘exciting’ and ‘action-packed’:

  • I took my car for its service and MOT – it passed!
  • I went to the hairdresser – au revoir unruly tresses and grey hair!
  • I went walking on the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in North Yorkshire!
  • I went to a friend’s house for a socially-distanced BBQ!
  • I bought a sausage roll from Greggs!
  • I got a McDonalds delivery!
  • I went back to the gym – need to get rid of my lockdown flab and to counter the last two points!

One of the waterfalls at Ingleton

Does it feel like things are getting back to normal?

It was beginning to feel that way, until the newly imposed lockdown measures for Greater Manchester (where I live) were announced, due to some spikes in people testing positive for COVID-19. Ah well.

Despite things being more relaxed earlier in the month, I’ve still not been back in the office, nor have I visited a pub or a restaurant.

I’ve been wearing a mask – lots of confused messages about where you should wear them, so my thinking is that if in doubt, I’m just going to wear one.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I was able to save 61.6% of my net salary!

The above savings includes top ups from yet another £25 premium bond win, £50 Matched Betting profits (from last month), £35 football predictions winnings and £24.54  from TopCashback*.

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 

Ups and downs in the stock market, with it ending on a down, just as I was running my numbers!

So a bit of a dip from last month, with my Future Fund standing at £191,900.

Will it go back up or continue to fall? It’s anyone’s guess!

Sitting at the top of a rollercoaster and about to go down the other side?

Dividends and Other Income

Remember when I said that I hadn’t really been affected by any dividend cuts?

I spoke too soon!

I received £138.24, which for what should be my highest paying month of the year, is truly abysmal!

Ok, some income which would normally come in this month was paid out early in June but still, it was quite sobering to see the effects of cuts and cancellations of dividends.

Here’s how my graph is looking now…

Ouch! There goes my target out of the window too, I think!

At least I am experiencing this drop in income while I’m still accumulating and not when I’ve retired and am trying to scrape a living out of the dividend payments (although fortunately, it’s not my intention to rely solely on dividend income).

Matched Betting (MB)

Another decent month but another account lost – bookies do really hate it when you win too often!

I made £444 profit (from football and horse racing). With the English domestic football season ended, I think August will be a little quieter on the offers front.

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.

Goals Update

Here’s how the goals look just over the halfway stage:

A few purchases at the end of July on my credit card might put a stop to my recent highs in savings rate but I hope to continue keeping all other costs as low as possible.


With the virus still causing havoc around the world, I’ve decided to cancel my flight to Hong Kong. Would things improve by September? No idea.

As a non-resident, I wouldn’t even be able to set foot in the country with the current restrictions, and strict quarantine would render my trip pointless.

The airline wouldn’t give me a cash refund so I’ve accepted a credit note – annoying but better than nothing.

So, no seeing the family this year – fingers crossed things will get better at some point and I’ll be able to travel next year.

What to do with my holidays then?

I’m quite happy taking time off and going nowhere, so that I can enjoy my home as a home again and not as an office.

How was July for you?

[*referral/affiliate link]

21 thoughts on “July 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Your Future Fund chart is looking prettier than mine. My unit price fell about 2% last month (your Fund value a barely noticeable 0.15%!). Even allowing for that the capital value of your rental property accounts for 45% of your FF, your ITs/ETFs are doing better than the ones I’ve backed!

    • I was half expecting a much bigger drop in my portfolio, only because I had a glimpse of the headlines in the news so thought it would be worse. Perhaps it’s the bond ETFs which are keeping things a bit more stable – do you hold any bonds in your portfolio?

      • Yes, I had INXG and VGOV which proved useful counterweight in March but I’ve slimmed down the bond proportion since: I found I had a higher risk appetite than I previously thought. So, I’ve been favouring equities since.

        The problem I seem to have developed is that since starting in May last year, I can’t seem to find an asset allocation with which I’m comfortable. This week, spurred on by Monevator’s recent article on Freetrade portfolios (plus reading, or re-reading the lazy portfolios one), I’ve had another major tinker. I’ve upped the bonds again but ditched the INXG in favour of the riskier VAGP (hey, a dose of corporate bonds into the mix at a time like this?!).

        I’m trying to jettison some other ETFs but they’re heavily in the red (that’ll teach me to start them at the height of the market in January). Still trying to work out the plus and minuses of just holding them for (potentially) a few years till they recover or just to crystallise the loss. Still, much as it feels wrong to invest in something I want to sell off, I have been cost-averaging them down since March and will continue to do so for the time being. Which reminds me…

        Do you continue to invest in the ITs that are heavily down in your portfolio e.g. Temple Bar, Aberforth Smaller Companies? Or do you think they are so far gone, you’ll just hold and take whatever income they give?

        • Interesing, my ETF portfolio is still mostly based around one of Monevator’s lazy portfolios (the Tim Hale one).

          In answer to your question about the ITs which are heavily down, I’ve been cautiously topping up those investments, including the two you mention and will continue to hold and hope things improve in the longterm.

  2. With your Future Fund, is that like an inclusive number consisting of your SIPPs, EF, and other accounts? Would you include your company pension, if you have one, in that too?

    I signed up to Odds Monkey at the end of July, via your link of your course 😉 – just on the free trial at the moment as I’m working through the guides and waiting for my Bet Fair account to be validated.

    Not ideal timing on that front I guess as the season is now done, gives me time to get the hang of things ready for next month though. What an awful season it was too and not just in terms of COVID-19 – my team finished bottom of the Prem, complete opposite to yours! 😀

    Shame you had to cancel your hols to Hong Kong, I’d like to go there sometime. If things work out, we (my fam and I) are hoping to get somewhere either in Derbyshire or Yorkshire for a short break. Will see how C-19 impacts on that.

    Oh, nearly forgot, I’m signed up for the Meet Up this month – looking forward to hearing about people’s experience of Matched Betting.

    • Hi John

      My Future Fund includes all the investments and savings I control, ie SIPPs, ISAs, premium bonds, cash accounts, and also my company DC pensions, all of which I can track.

      I don’t include my company DB pension as what I’m investing on a month by month basis has no effect on that value.

      Thanks for signing up via my OddsMonkey link. There’s still Champions League and Europa matches to play and also the Scottish season has restarted so hopefully, still enough offers to keep things ticking along!

      Sorry to hear that you are a Canaries fan!

      Regarding the Meet Up, there might be a change in the date as a couple of the organisers now can’t make the 21st and it might be pushed back to 28th. Keep an eye out on the Meet Up calendar and look forward to chatting to you! 🙂

  3. Well…. I wasn’t that lucky with passing the MOT in July, but fortunately I was given a 6 months extension, so I don’t need to worry until January 2021. I’ll need to get a new car though as I would have to spend almost my car’s value to fix it. That will be a bite on my savings 🙁

    I’m in the same situation with seeing my family this year, although flying Spain is a quick one compares to Hong Kong, so I may get chance to see at least my mum later this year, but you never know what will happen with covid.

    I still got a lot holidays left, so a homecation is among my favourite plans.

    Have a great August.

    • Hey Tony

      Unlucky with the MOT! Hopefully no issues with the car until you can replace it with another.

      I was given an extension too but decided to get it done, so it was off my to-do list.

      Hopefully you will get to see your mum later this year – I think if anyone’s travelling any time soon, just plan for worse case scenarios (eg quarantines and delays) and then nobody will get any nasty shocks or suprises. I know a few people who are still risking travelling abroad in the next two months – I don’t think I would be able to enjoy myself knowing that things there could be travel restrictions at a moment’s notice.

      You have a great August too!

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  5. Taking time off and going nowhere is exactly what we’ve been doing! Whilst it’s a shame to not be doing anything different or travelling anywhere new, it is nice to just relax at home.

    Hope you’re not affected too much by the latest lockdown measures in Manchester, and that you have a good month ahead!

    • Totally agree there, Dr FIRE. It’d be nice to go somewhere but just as nice to stay at home and relax. With so many having staycations, the idea of being stuck in traffic and going anywhere that might be busy just doesn’t appeal to me!

      The latest lockdown is annoying as I’d been hoping to catch up more with friends – oh well, we’ll just continue with our Zoom nights in for a while longer!

  6. That’s a superb savings rate weenie, well done. Completely get the decision about Hong Kong too. We are still going to Amsterdam for now in October as I had to move it or lose my money essentially, we should have gone in early July. Unlucky with the local lockdown, I was thinking you would be affected by that. I have been to Wetherspoons about 4 times in the last couple weeks, been good to have a small taste of some normality at least.

    Nice to see the future fund at 190k plus still, that’s great 🙂


    • Cheers Chris.

      Things could be improved by October and your trip to Amsterdam might be fine. I’ve already lost £170 as my flight had been moved from March to September so I won’t get that money back.

      Hope your portfolio is still going strong.

  7. I really need to look into this whole matched betting thing! It seems too good to be true haha

    Hopefully, you can get to Hong Kong soon enough.

  8. Yep we are hoping we will still be able to go in October, fingers crossed. My portfolio is at £192,281 so indeed it does seem to be doing its own thing no doubt.


  9. Well Done Weenie!

    I haven’t ventured to the hairdressers yet but do need to.
    It’s the full PPE gear, temperature check and with this heat the salon will be a hot house so really need to go when it is cooler so the place is more comfortable to sit in.

    I also received Tesco and Glaxo dividends and a few ETF/fund dividends but down considerably on the norm. August is normally my biggest month for dividends but with the companies already stating that divs will not be paid I will be well down this year. In theory my income from this year will be used to fund next year as I draw from my cash buffer so I am hoping I can get some kind of job by then but I will wait and see as the market is picking up but full of poor quality jobs. Ah well, I will need to try and find more side hustles to keep me scraping some extra money and learning a few more new skills.

    Glad to see you managed to get out of Manchester and I hope the current reimposed lockdown isn’t causing you too many problems. Sorry to hear about the cancelled family visit, there is next year. Think its a staycation for most people this year as the risk of travelling and having problems is too great. I am trying to find somewhere to go that isn’t crowded and overpriced.
    Enjoy August and await your next monthly update!

    • Thanks Christopher.
      Yes, a good bounce back so far but I feel that there’s a dip on its way, perhaps in the next month or so.
      Hoping my dividends will improve – some companies have announced that they are reistating theirs so that’s good news!

  10. The random shares portfolio is looking very healthy, Weenie! I wish I’d bought more of my free share now as it has done the best of all my shares hah! Great to see you got out in July!

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