September 2021 Savings, plus other updates

A quieter month at work, which was just as well as there were occasions when I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything, leading to a couple of (rare for me) sleepless nights.

I also seem to have lost some weight without trying, despite eating, drinking and going to the gym as normal – this has happened to me in the past before, where I think I’ve lost weight due to stress. Not sure how I feel about this, I don’t need to lose any more pounds.

I realised that some things in my life were being neglected, delayed and put off, and it was like my life was beginning to spiral out of control.

For the first time in years, I renewed my house and car insurances with the same companies, instead of shopping around. I’m normally prepared well before the policies run out but I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to find cheaper deals. As it was, the new policies weren’t too far off (though both more expensive) from what I’d paid previously but my head needs to be more organised next time.

Towards the end of September, I finally got all my personal health stuff sorted, which had been preying on my mind and feel much better after attending delayed appointments for eye test, smear test and breast screening test – all out of the way now for another 2-3 years.

I should be picking up new glasses later in the month and have gone for budget rather than designer – am past caring right now and no one notices what I’m wearing anyway (apart from family).

I knew I wasn’t quite myself this month when I found myself wanting to cancel on social events, but I went in the end and of course, I was glad that I did.

The above all might sound a bit glum but I’m actually ok, I’m not unhappy or anything, just got a lot going on in my head.

Things continue to progress at a slow pace on the house front but I’m getting there.

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

I saved 14.4% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win, a £10 charity lotto win, £20.21 from doing Prolific surveys and £48.89 affiliate income from OddsMonkey.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold out of Greencoat UK Wind for a small profit – although I’ve enjoyed receiving dividends from this investment, I’ve recently felt that I was a bit too exposed to thematic energy, plus not being comfortable about the uncertain future of green energy prices. Reinvested the cash in new holding Middlefield Canadian Income Trust, a region I didn’t have any real exposure to.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I’m glad I did get to celebrate hitting my £250k milestone last month because there was a rather large wobble in the markets this month and I saw my first real drop this year. Future Fund is down to £243,768, plummeting depths like that submarine in the daft (though enjoyable) TV mini series ‘Vigil‘.

When I come to withdraw the funds for the house purchase, there will be an even bigger drop but the good news is that I won’t be selling in a depressed market to get my funds – I’ve been selling bit by bit over the summer while the markets were relatively high(er) so equities sold have been at a profit.

Dividends and Other Income

Yet another record-breaking month for dividends:

I received £693.29, of which £336.97 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.    This record-breaking month (so close to £700!) was helped by dividends normally paid in October being squeezed in on the last day of September so October will look a little lean compared to previous years.  All dividends received were reinvested.

Here’s the graph of all dividend income received so far:

Matched Betting (MB)

My head didn’t have space for any MB so no profits this month.

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

I might hit my ISA dividend income goal soon, which will be good to achieve seeing as a couple of the other goals will prove to be pretty impossible to achieve.

Finally

I can’t believe that it’s been two years since I stayed away from home!

Other than wanting to fly to see my family (still impossible), I’ve not felt like I’ve wanted (or needed) to go anywhere in the UK and have been quite content to stay at home. Even reading about people getting ‘back to normal’ and going on ‘staycations’ and holidays hasn’t tempted me or made me feel like I was missing out.

The last time I did go away was October 2019 on a trip to London, so it’s fitting that I will finally be breaking my two-year duck with another trip to the capital of England for an overnight social stay.

Since I have barely been spending on social activities, I’ve splurged on train travel, hotel and won’t even wince (much) about quaffing expensive beer! 😉

Looking forward to it.

How was your September?

[*referral/affiliate link]

25 thoughts on “September 2021 Savings, plus other updates

  1. What an open and honest post.

    I’ve previously suffered from sleepless nights generally due to work related stress. Good to see a FI blogger discuss the issue. Hope yours is just a wobble with work, leaving the family home, buying a property etc… all whirling in your head.

    Well done for timing the markets on your house withdrawals and the dividends

    Lee.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Lee and yes, it’s just a lot of stuff whirling in my head, which will be all sorted at some point.

      Looking at the continued drop in the markets, I am so glad that I’ve been selling and didn’t leave it to the last minute!

  2. Weenie, with everything going on, I consider that getting the insurances renewed on time is a win in itself. Sounds like you are cutting yourself some slack for this phase of your life. That’s what’s important, not a few pounds. Enjoy your trip to London!

  3. Hey Weenie, that sounds like a tiring month. I agree with Mrs ETT that getting everything renewed on time is a win. Something has to give in a busy month and you seem to have done a great job prioritising the important bits (particularly your health). Hope that things calm down soon!

  4. Well you already know I’ve been struggling with work related stress for a while now. Never had completely sleepless nights. I went off fine but found myself waking up even earlier than my normal early time, maybe half 4 to 5 ish every day.
    Feel so much better now stress wise. Next step is to get myself healthier again

    • Hey Adam
      Hope things have been getting better for you, with the big decision you have made.
      Yes, it’s those kinds of nights I’m talking about – I don’t have any problems falling asleep but it’s the waking up 4 or 5 hours later that’s not good. All the best with getting fit and healthier again.

  5. I think we have all been there with sleep disturbed nights and know how draining they are, I hope they improve soon.
    The key thing this month was you got all your health tests done. This is a big thing. My wife hates going for those tests and has to build herself up to do them, which can sap your energy massively.
    I’m sure Oct will feel and be a better month for you.
    And well done for deciding to treat yourself in London, its important to live in the present as well as plan for the future. Hope you have a great time.

    • Thanks FI-firefighter.

      Your missus is fortunate that you understand how energy-sapping those tests are – unpleasant to both mind and body. October should be a better month and I am very much looking forward to my London trip, thanks.

  6. Hope next month is a better one for you. Bit late for you, but for anyone else, I recommend Goggles4U.co.uk for cheap glasses, especially if high prescription. Good quality, and usually include various coatings (anti-glare etc) in the price.

  7. I hope you feel better soon Weenie. My Slack DM is always open to you if you need it! Realising that you’ll eventually feel better and that emotions naturally go up and down always helped for me when feeling down or stressed.

    Amazing dividend income! You’ll hit your target for sure.

  8. Amazing work on the dividends. House moves are hella stressful. The good news is they (eventually!) complete – hang in there!

    Hopefully October is less stressful, but just as profitable.

    All the best.

  9. Sorry things have been a bit difficult for you Weenie. Much of what you’ve said feels very familiar to me. I tried to ignore things which resulted in me needing time off work and some medication to try and sort the issue. Hopefully you’ll start to feel better soon. No doubt you’ll feel a lot better when the house purchase is sorted. And I think all of us in the FIRE community feel guilty if we don’t get the best deal on insurances etc, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big a deal. Enjoy yourself in London, and quite right on treating yourself to a lovely trip away.

    • Thanks SS. Hope all is well with you now. We mustn’t ignore things to do with our health, no matter how tempting, it should take priority over other things. You’re right, in the grand scheme of things, the insurance thing was tiny, but it was just another thing in my head causing me stress!

  10. I’m something of a lurker on many FIRE blogs but now feels like a good time to say I have found your blog a real source of inspiration. I’m finally in a position to start investing after clearing my debts and being able to follow your story, your thoughts, and go back and look at your savings numbers and your savings rate has shown me what is achievable. Thank you for posting through the years and good luck on your journey.

    • Hi GR

      Thanks for reading and stopping by to comment – I really appreciate your feedback and am heartened that my writing can provide a little inspiration.

      Well done to you for clearing your debts – I know you will be feeling great now that you have done it.

      Good luck with your investments and your own journey!

  11. Chin up Weenie, that Dividend graph looks fabulous. For the Future Fund graph, i know you like to stare at it all the time (tut tut), so with the chunky pending house outlay i’d be thinking of rebasing it and knocking the cost of the house off all the points on the line right back to day 1, so that you don’t have to look at a big annoying dip in the line. For me, looking at a line that’s always trending upwards will always feel better psychologically. Just a thought if it made sense to you.
    We all suffer with sleepless nights and worries, and then before you know it you’ll be wondering what all the fuss was. It’s Christmas soon, i do hope i’m going to be able to get a turkey!

    • Cheers KC – I know, I can’t help staring at the Future Fund graph but that’s a great idea, to knock off the house outlay to see what the graph would actually look like had the amount been accounted for all along. I’ll try the exercise, if only to make me feel better!

      Christmas, that will be here before we know it – I hope there will be turkey but won’t be devastated if I have to eat something else!

  12. Hi Weenie,

    Sorry to hear about your sleepless nights. I get these, even now that I am not working. I get them because my mind is ‘stressing’ about not working…lol… I just cannot win.
    The house purchase and move will be the main cause, your subconscious mind will disturb your sleep.
    Glad you have booked a trip to London, getting away and seeing a new/different environment is a good way to ease those sleepless nights. I have taken the time this month to do more things and get out and about. It has really helped me. I have used the sleepio app to help me with my really bad sessions of sleepless nights.

    One suggestion from this app that works for me is to repeat a single word constantly until my mind stops whirring and I fall back to sleep. They suggested the word ‘the’ as it means nothing and you just keep repeating it and eventually you mind calms and you fall asleep. Give it a try, it may work for you too.

    Great to see the dividends, I too have seen good dividend income in Sept, like you some of it is due to early payment of dividends, so next month will be lower. Your trickled sale to raise the funds for the house purchase was a good move, well done. It will be good when you have the keys to your new place and can close the door and relax.
    Enjoy your trip to London and have a great October!

  13. Hi Weenie, sleepless nights worrying about work is a bugger. I used to do this quite regularly, waking up in the small hours with my brain seemingly already stressing about some issue in the office. Eventually I accepted it as par for the course and would get up and read a book, have a cuppa, if I couldn’t settle. It passes, as most things do. I’m pushing my wife to retire now from her part time job as I see the stress it puts her under. I think many of us don’t realise the toll that work, and other “normal” events takes on us, but you have to add up the benefits too. Instead of counting sheep, maybe count your investments that will free you from the world of work soon enough! Keep smiling.

    • Cheers Jim and yes, I do get up and read if I find myself struggling to get back to sleep. Counting my investments would have my brain thinking of other things, so better to read something else!

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