September 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Compared to last month’s ‘activity-filled’ calendar, September was on the quiet side.

The only things of any note were:

  • My nephew went back to school and all was well until during the second week when he came home with the lurgy and we had to self-isolate. Fortunately, he was able to get tested within a day and his results (negative) 48 hours later so there was little disruption to the household.
  • I had a little homegrown ‘harvest’:

  • And did I mention that I managed to hit a little milestone this month? More on that later…

Work had my brain fried most evenings so all I’ve felt like doing after logging off was slumping on the sofa watching ‘comfort’ TV – I rewatched/binged all 4 seasons of ‘Heroes‘ (“Save the cheerleader, save the world!“) and have just started to rewatch ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ (the remake, not the original camp 70s show).

I did however keep up my gym sessions so haven’t been entirely unhealthy!

Me and Sis have slowly started to add more to our shopping – an extra packet here, a couple more tins there – in anticipation of a second lockdown and in case people start going mad again stockpiling like they did in March and April (which seems a lifetime ago).

Restrictions haven’t eased off in Greater Manchester, with cases continuing to rise. Life (as we know it now) will just go on.

So, how did I get on with my savings in September?

I saved 56% of my net salary – very good, but considering it was a month of doing pretty much nothing, I was surprised I didn’t save more.

The above savings includes top ups from £60 Matched Betting profits (from last month) and £72.72 from affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my holding in Murray International Investment Trust (MYI) for a small profit (reason being that MYI hasn’t done so well compared to other global ITs and while the yield of >5% is tempting, I’m not sure it will be maintained). I swapped it for SPDR S&P Global Dividend Aristocrats ETF (GBDV). I topped up other existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

After reaching my £200k milestone, the stock markets went all jittery and did their best to spoil my little celebration.

By the end of the month, my Future Fund had dropped to £199,167 – it could have been worse so I’m ok with that, although it seems I wasn’t the only one who ‘flirted’ with £200k, only for it to skip out of reach again!

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividends:

I received £229.69, of which £214.08 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.

Here’s how my graph is looking now…

I need an average £175 per month to hit my target – as long as there aren’t too many cancelled or reduced dividends in the final months, this could still be doable.

Matched Betting (MB)

With my brain frazzled from work, I had little mental energy or inclination to put any real effort into MB this month. I had a go on some football accas on recent weekends, but forgot (again) that results are all over the place early on in the season so they didn’t come through and resulted in losses.

In the end, just a tiny profit of £51.36 but better than nothing, I guess.

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

With only 3 months left of the year left, here’s how the goals look:

I need to crack on with my reading (instead of watching TV) so will hopefully make some more progress on that goal this month.

Will have to pull out all stops to get that savings rate goal too but perhaps with no festive social outings, December might be cheaper than usual for me so I’ll be able to save/invest more.

Something New

After reading Sassanach Saving’s excellent post reflecting on her turning 50, I was reminded of the time when I set myself a challenge to learn how to do the Rubik’s Cube.

I did achieve this goal and still know how to complete it off by heart (although I’m really slow!)

I’ve decided I’m going to try to learn how to do the 4×4 Rubik’s Revenge or the Master Cube.

I’d like to be able to solve it (without help or notes) by the end of the year but already, I’ve found that it’s not quite as straight forward as the 3×3, so it will be a while before I can get my head round it without any assistance!

Good mental exercises though, trying to work through the algorithms!

Plus, my sister is able to do it so if she can, I must…! 🙂

Anyone else thinking of trying something new?

[*referral/affiliate link]

29 thoughts on “September 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Ooh, so close! Still, another month of saving should get you over the £200k mark again, hopefully for good.

    And I notice that you’ve finally bought some EM: if you hadn’t, I would have made some jocular remark about commitment issues 🙂 i.e. failure to commit to buying any. Oddly, I thought you held some but I guess you must have offloaded that in earlier reshuffle. EMIM as well, rather than bog-standard VFEM.

    Being a nosy old cod, what’s the “Other Cash” item in your monthly saving? Does it have a particular purpose e.g. saving for travel (when that becomes viable again)?

    Anyhow, all the best for (a currently very wet) October, Weenie!

    • Hi NewInvestor

      Haha, I wasn’t sure if anyone was paying attention to those investment pages! You’re right, I did have EM funds but sold them in anticipation of transferring a SIPP. However, lockdown happened so I decided it wasn’t the right time to transfer. Recently rebalanced (sold some VWRL) to buy some EMIM but didn’t get the chance to update my graph.

      The ‘Other Cash’ is mostly cash paid into my First Direct Regular Savings account, which still pays out a fairly decent interest rate of 2.75%. After 12 months, I decide whether to invest the whole lot as a lump sum, or (if being cautious), invest some of it but put the rest in Premium Bonds.

      I don’t include the money I put aside for travel or holidays as those are future expenses, so spent already in my eyes.

  2. Heroes! My god I loved that show! Hayden Panettiere was definitely my first celebrity crush.

    That’s a hell of a Rubik’s cube, I didn’t even know they made them that size!

  3. That fund will be back at 200k soon. What’s your future fund target before you retire?

    I think the S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF is a good choice. I wondered about investing in this one to cover the US in my dividend portfolio, but since the main purpose is fun thought it would be too boring.

    Have a great month.

    • Hey Tony
      My future fund target waivers betwee £350k and £400k, depending on the different scenarios I play around with. I guess I could say it’s £375k as that’s the midpoint, so I’m just over halfway there.

      Haha, yes, stick to the stock picking if you want more ‘excitement’, although the S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF could pay some nice exciting dividends!

  4. That 4×4 cube looks like a monster! I did once “solve” a 3×3 Rubik’s cube (with a lot of online help, so it probably doesn’t count) but never committed it all to memory. I must still have it lying around somewhere, so maybe I’ll give it another go!

    • I mentioned my challenge to my boss and she’s going to try to learn to do the 3×3 now – I’ve started a retro-trend! 😉 Good luck!

  5. You’ll be back above £200k before you know it.
    I’m away for the weekend and I’ve brought a 3×3 cube with me. I’ve not had any time to get started yet, but no doubt I’ll make some time at some point. Good luck

      • Thanks SS and yes, I’ll be back above £200k at some point.

        Thanks and good luck to you too.

        And hope all goes well with your son at uni – I hope the various restrictions don’t spoil his student experience too much.

  6. Lets hope that future fund remains over £200,000!

    Those veggies look fab! Really well done Weenie! Did you notice the difference in taste compared to shop bought? And most importantly, did you enjoy growing them? 🙂

    • Fingers crossed and cheers Jase – it’s those awesome pics of your veggies which inspired me to try to grow my own, so thanks! 🙂

      Yes, I did notice that my own veggies were less bland than supermarket ones….or was that just bias!?

      I really enjoyed growing them, will be more prepared next time so can start earlier!

  7. Hi Weenie
    I hold similar amounts to you in City of London IT and am suffering from similar losses. What are your thoughts on it – hold until it recovers or are you thinking of swapping out of it into something more global?? I am torn betwixt and between

    • Hi Jacqui

      Personally, I’m going to hang onto CTY because I can’t bring myself to sell at a loss right now. Despite the big drop in price, I still like the trust and am hoping for a UK recovery in the long term.

      I’m in a similar dilemma with TMPL – price massively dropped, cut dividend too.

  8. Nice little crop of veg there weenie

    I still have some tatties and onions that are growing, I’ll share a piccie when I post my update.

    Two quality box sets to get stuck into to. I like both of those although BSG (as the cool kids call it – lol) is my fav. I really liked Caprica, have you watched that too?

    Your savings rate is decent, still working on clearing my debt before I can increase my rate.

    Who are your SIPPs with? I opened one for my son a few months ago with Vanguard as they seemed pretty good value.

    I like that you have a decent monthly income from your dividends. September still seemed healthy despite the ongoing uncertainty.

    Working on that 4*4 Rubik’s cube should get the old grey matter going!

    Earlier in lockdown I started to learn Chinese but I’ve let that slip recently, need to be more disciplined and resume it.

    Great to see your future fund is still making progress up and to the right even though it ended just below the £200k mark. Well impressed with it!

    And thanks for adding me to your blog roll – much appreciated!

    • Hi John

      I nearly wrote BSG but didn’t think anyone would know what I was talking about 😉

      My SIPPs are with HL and AJ Bell. I was going to transfer the HL one to Vanguard but the timing’s not right so I think I’ll just leave them as they are.

      All the best with learning Chinese (Mandarin?) – it’s not an easy one to learn. I speak a different dialect with my folks and would consider learning Mandarin as one of my new hobbies on retirement. Although there’s nothing to stop me from doing so now I guess, just need to find/make the time!

      No worries, just helping out a fellow blogger!

      • Haha – guess that makes us the cool kids then eh?!

        Fair enough WRT the SIPPs. Have you seen that Freetrade is introducing their SIPP? I’ll compare their offering to Vanguard and see which looks more appealing.

        Yep, it’s Mandarin- I’ve been a bit slack lately so need to get back into the good habit of doing a bit each day. Will prophase to reset my progress on Duolingo I reckon – lol!

  9. Congratulations on hitting £200k Weenie! Amazing 🙂

    My parents are telling me how bad it is being on lockdown again up north, hopefully we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel soon. It’s like nothing is going on here in Sweden.

    I’ve started reading Sanderson’s novels in order, I’m currently halfway through the Mistborn trilogy! I’m probably going to be reading everything in the cosmere for the next few years.

    Have you read any? Check this out!

    • Cheers SN and good to hear from you!

      Yep, we’ve been locked down since July – I think I’ve just settled into the routine of work, gym and weekend. Have set my expectations really low so try not to see how things are. I can imagine that things are very different in Sweden.

      I’ve only read the first book in the Mistborn Trilogy and enjoyed it, just didn’t crack on with the next ones for some reason. The only other Sanderson books I’ve read are the ones where he finished off the Wheel of Time series when Robert Jordan passed away.

      Had no idea about the Cosmere – amazing how they all fit together! Looks like I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on!

  10. I can sympathize with the “brain fried” feeling at the moment but mine is due to 8 week old baby who doesn’t like to sleep during the day (flip side is he’s pretty good at night, you can’t have it all 🙂 ). So by the time we get to 8pm we’re pretty knackered and can barely even concentrate on a decent box set let alone actually do anything productive haha.

    As they say this too shall pass and I’m sure we’ll both be kicking butt again soon weenie!

    Glad to hear your nephew’s test came up negative. It sounds a lot worse up there, life still seems fairly normal down this way at the moment.

    • Hey TFS

      I think I probably prefer my brain fried from work to yours from lack of sleep due to now-10 week old baby!

      Yes, this too shall pass, but it’s just passing oh so slowly!

  11. Rubik’s cube 4×4 is really hard! My daughter has a couple of friends who do this professionally. I always feel depressed when, in my presence, they collect a Rubik’s cube 4×4 in 2-3 minutes)))) And I can hardly collect 2×2 …

    • Hi Illia

      I haven’t timed myself but I think I can complete the 3×3 in maybe 5 mins the fastest. Never timed myself on the 2×2 and still learning the 4×4 – getting there I think!

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  13. I used to love Heroes! Mainly for the cheerleader haha, was a good show though.

    Putting up some great numbers again, always inspiring.

    Good look with the Rubix cube, my mate gave in with the normal one and youtube it haha.

    • Hi Sean

      Yes, the cheerleader was for the fanboys but there wasn’t a lot of eye candy for me – the smarmy politician Nathan or the moody nurse Peter?

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