March 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Another month has flown by, our humdrum lives just go on.

I’ve had a more positive outlook this month, with the better weather, brighter days and the prospect of lockdown restrictions being lifted.

Work eased off a little, allowing me to tackle my mountain of boring admin and although I’m still trying to catch up on my blog reading, it’s better than it was before.

A few ‘highlights’ this month:

  • Had my COVID jab (AstraZeneca) – felt crap for a few days (shivers and aches) but not so bad that I couldn’t work. Thanks go to the volunteers and the nurses at the local medical centre for making the whole process so smooth and easy.
  • Attended the latest Zoom ‘Manchester’ FIRE meet up.  This one had a good presentation by an independent financial adviser on ISAs vs SIPPs, so there were some good discussions.
  • Started a daily stretching routine – the creaking, popping and cracking sounds emanating from my joints show me that this is long overdue and that I seriously need to keep this up.
  • Followed this guy on Twitter and got some lighthearted updates on the (now resolved) ‘traffic jam’ on the Suez Canal :

Some Bad News

My boss revealed that she has handed in her notice at work because she has ‘had enough‘ (her words).

No, she hasn’t reached FIRE in her 30s but she has saved enough during the pandemic (built up her FU fund!) to allow her to take a long break from work.

I can’t say that I’m really surprised as there’s been an unreasonable amount of pressure put on her this past year (her boss left and wasn’t replaced) but I’m pretty devastated all the same at the news, as I have a great relationship (work and non-work) with her and we work well together as a team.

My job will become very tough without her having my back and there’s potential here for it to go from something I like doing, to something I don’t like, way before I’m ready to pull the FIRE plug…

Some Good News

The day after my boss announced her impending departure, I was notified that I was to receive a 6% pay rise.

This came as a surprise because 1) I didn’t ask for it and 2) we’d all been told that there was a cap on salary increases this year. Unlike many in the public sector, I don’t get an automatic annual increase in pay (not even 1%), any increase is subject to the whims of the powers that be and partially based on performance (as discussed in my annual work appraisal). Since the former carries more weight, it’s usually a zero increase.

I guess my performance has been good (I did win Employee of the month in August)  but perhaps this is just the company not wanting me upping and leaving too. The extra will come in handy with the bills, with my sister moving out next week.

Anyway, how did I get on money-wise in March?

I saved 50.5% of my net salary – continuing with my decent start to the year.

The above savings includes a top up of £55.05 from 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 holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Who knows what’s going on with the markets, down one week, up the next.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund jumped up to £227,628, so the rocket is back!

What a difference a year makes

Dividends and Other Income

Another bumper month of dividends:

I received £418.57, of which £283.54 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

March isn’t normally this high for income but it looks like some dividends which are usually paid at the beginning of April sneaked in on the last day of the month. This will provbably mean that next month might be lower than normal but it doesn’t really matter over the course of the year.  All dividends received were reinvested.

Here’s the graph of all dividend income received; great to see another big spike:

Matched Betting (MB)

A fairly average month I think – March is usually a time to get ‘rich’ on the Cheltenham festival but I wasn’t able to take advantage of the offers due to account restrictions.

I made just £112.38 profit, which is probably as good as it gets after 5 years of doing MB.

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

The first quarter is in, here’s how I’m doing:

I should complete the Pennine Way virtual walking goal by the end of April so that will be one off the list.

Oh, nearly forgot to mention, I’ve started my planting, so (green) fingers crossed I will have some veggies to show for it (have started with tomatoes, spring onions and spinach):

Being eco-friendly and making the most of all those lockdown toilet rolls and a discarded foil container!

How did you get on in March?

[*referral/affiliate link]

17 thoughts on “March 2021 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Hey weenie,

    Sorry to hear about losing your boss at work. I know very well from experience how that could really change how you feel about work but hopefully your new boss will be decent (here’s to hoping). Great news on the pay rise though, that’s great!

    I have had both my Pfizer jabs and the second one affected me where as the first only gave me a dead arm and a little fatigue. After the second one I woke up and my arm was aching very very badly and I was so hot. When I moved my duvet, I was almost instantly cold. On route downstairs to get some paracetamol, I started shivering and my teeth were chattering… the next day I was hot again and very tired but then I was fine. Most my work colleagues had a similar reaction. The one positive was I felt incredibly relaxed in bed whilst fatigued, almost sinking into it hehe.

    Nice to see that rocket again on the charts!.

    TFJ

    • Cheers Chris/TFIJ

      Yes, I just hope things will work out ok – I’ll do my best anyway to try to make it work.

      Interesting about your reaction with your second jab – I heard from other people that if they had a bad first reaction, the second one was not as bad, and vice versa.

      Yes, good to see the rocket and long may it continue!

  2. Great dividends this month. I need to learn how to do a ‘weenie graph’.

    Now I’m getting older I think I need to start stretching more as well.

    • Cheers Mr Fu.
      Definitely try out the stretching – I never realised how inflexible I had become these past few years so am desperate to halt that!

      As per @JohnKnight’s comment, I’ll forward an excel template you can try out.

  3. Hi weenie,

    Glad the vaccination side-effects didn’t last too long and sorry that you’ve lost your boss, it can be quite unsettling when that happens especially given the good relationship you had.

    Future Fund is looking strong – good work!

    Nice to see your seedlings coming along, you’ve reminded me that I need to get going with planting up my veggies. I’ve got two large tubs of potatoes growing nicely with another three to get started.

    The main problem I have is with my dog digging up the freshly planted seeds/plants as she likes to eat the soil! 😀

    • Hi John
      Yes, need to keep on top of the seedlings, I’ve planted a few and need to stop now otherwise some are going to be neglected by this beginner gardener!

      Nice one, I’ve not done any spuds this year although I do plan to. I don’t have a dog digging up stuff but I do have a pesky grey squirrel who likes to bury his nuts next to my plants and then dig them up again!

  4. My March results will be out at the end of the tax year but nice to see how you are doing.

    Some advice on pay rise, start spending it now and take it for granted. Compound your lifestyle and think about taking up a new hobby like cocaine!

    Congratulations.

  5. Just had a conversation last week with the operation manager of the company I work for. He confessed to me he’s having enough and wants to leave but can’t afford it as opposed as your boss and me.

    Similar thing happened to me in December, January. I just managed to see I was entering into a dark tunnel full of shit and pulled out on time. I wouldn’t have been brave enough without a proper savings fund.

    Congrats on your pay rise. At least some good news 🙂

    • Hey Tony

      Yes, you were in a similar situation as my boss, ie had enough but had the financial security to be able to walk away.

      A friend of mine a few years back was in a toxic job and she was desperately trying to get a new job (going for loads of interviews) because she couldn’t leave without having secured another job.

      Having a savings fund gives you that security, the courage and the choice.

      Thanks yes, a small bit of good news.

  6. Hi Weenie,

    Not sure if I’ve ever commented before but I’ve reading your blog religiously for years and always enjoy each post.

    I can understand the anxiety around your boss leaving. I Ieft the NHS for a complete career change towards the end of last year. When my boss found out she admitted she hated her job and would probably look for another one in a year or so. It seems strange to me that we only open up about these things when someone has gone to breaking point. Another colleague also said he was planning to leave but stayed as he was keen to move into my role which made me happy as I felt he would be good for the service I was leaving and knew the patients would be in good hands. If your job environment changed dramatically when your boss leaves do you think you’ll stick it out until you can RE or find a job elsewhere?

    It seems like your future fund is really starting to benefit from compounding!

    I haemorrhaged money in March in order to finish the final few bits on my house to be able to rent out my spare rooms. It’s only taken 2 years since I moved in!

    Congrats on the pay rise! Anything like that is always welcome in these turbulent times.

    • Hi unfurled gnat

      I hope that my boss leaving doesn’t turn my job into something I hate but as mentioned in response to an earlier comment, I will do my best to make things work out. So in answer to your question, I’d try to stick it out for as long as possible, hopefully until I can RE.

      You’re right though, people don’t talk often enough about things troubling them until it’s almost too late – I knew my boss was unhappy but didn’t know how it was affecting her; if not for lockdown, she might have been more open about it as we used to meet up in the pub on a regular basis for a chat/rant about work. I don’t know.

      Good to hear that you have sorted the bits on your house so you can earn extra by renting out the spare rooms, to kickstart your saving again!

      Thanks for reading and for stopping by!

  7. Sorry to hear that your boss left which is causing some uncertainty. I’m hoping that come May it’ll be time for my COVID jab! I think that is when the 30-40 ish year olds are getting called up. Glad it went all ok your end (even with the side effects). Do you know the date for your 2nd one yet?

  8. Hi Weenie,

    Sorry to hear about your boss. I know the feeling from your boss’s perspective. That’s why I left my job the other year, I had had enough of the stress, crap and office politics. My actual words to my boss when I resigned as ‘I have had enough’. It is nice to have the FU money and just take a break for a while. I suspect the pay rise does have something to do with your boss leaving, invest it well. I am sure you will !
    I too had income this month that I was expecting next month so expect April to be less profitable than normal due to the dividends being paid early. Ah well.

    I am glad you have had your vaccine too. It is really impressive how quickly this was developed and how efficient and co-ordinated the vaccine rollout has been, something good to come out of all this. There seems to be comments saying those having the AZ have side effects with the first jab where as those having the Pfizer one – which seems to be ok for the first and more side effects for the second.

    It is surprising how tense your body gets and how starting some stretching and even yoga can help to get rid of those tensions that you didn’t know you had. How you get into a good routine with them as you will really notice the difference in a few months time. Especially after gym sessions !

    Glad to see the seeds, I should have grown some tomatoes and herbs but not sure I have the time to nurture and care for them as I want to get out and about once the lockdown eases. Don’t want to be restricted by plant care requirements – lol !

    • Hey SparkleBee

      It’ll be interesting if my boss did actually use the words ‘I’ve had enough’ since she said them to me but she might have said something else to HR. I’m still feel gutted by her decision, purely for selfish reasons.

      Yes, am really feeling the benefits of stretching and must remember to incorporate them in my gym sessions when I return (tomorrow!).

      I’m unlikely to be travelling anywhere any time soon so should be able to look after a few seedlings!

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