December 2021 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had an enjoyable festive period and a good start to another new year.

I’ve had a nice mostly quiet time getting used to being in my new home. Still not fully unpacked properly but I’m still moving some last few things from the old house (not sorted the garage or the shed yet – eek!). I can see that I’m going to have to do the whole KonMari thing again at some point!

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2021!

I saved 13.2% of my net salary.

The above includes £150 from taking part in an investment community exercise, another £25 Premium Bond win and £42.80 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Was there a Santa’s Rally? I wasn’t paying attention but perhaps there was as my Future Fund finished up at £232,272.61.

Here’s how it all looks at the end of another year:

Considering the unexpected house purchase, I’m just relieved to finish with a bit more in the pot than I began with at the beginning of the year.

Dividends and Other Income

An average final month for dividends:

I received £395.89, of which £194.75 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

Here’s what the graph looks like after another year:

A strong year for dividends, long may this continue!

Matched Betting (MB)

As mentioned in my last update, I’ll hopefully be taking this hobby/side hustle up again in the new year once things have settled and I’m less distracted so can resume my ‘usual interests and activities’.

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 it all ended:

Hmm…lots of FAILS there!

When I set my Savings Rate goal, I had no idea that I would be buying a house later in the year which threw my plans out somewhat. I did actually save 50% on two occasions (March and May), so I was chuffed with that. Ending up at over 28% I guess isn’t so bad, just looks like really poor effort versus the target I set.

After being affected by cuts and cancellations in 2020, it appears that some dividend income came roaring back and the amount I received exceeded my expectations. In fact, the level of income has already reached what I had pencilled in for my FIRE plan, which was to receive an average £250 a month to cover most of my basic household expenses. I may adjust my plan to see how it looks if I aim for £300 or even £350 a month.

The Matched Betting goal was a little ambitious, although I think I could have given it a good go, had I the time and inclination. As mentioned previously, I’m resigned to the fact that for me, after so many years doing MB, big profits might now be beyond my reach but there’s still money to be made so I’m not giving up on it just yet.

I’m annoyed that I missed both reading targets but I was too distracted to read. I did complete 25 books in total, so managed to hit my Goodreads goal.

I ended up donating 65% of my MB profits to charity (I have monthly direct debits), which I feel good about.

Another Year Nobody Predicted (especially me)

This was the year I sadly lost my beloved grandmother. Restricted travel means I’ve still been unable to pay my respects and it’s been another year of not seeing my parents or siblings and niblings outside of the UK.

And yes, this was also the year I ended up moving house (which I hadn’t planned to do this year) and there were times when I felt rather lost, stressed and overwhelmed with it all. I got there in the end and I’m proud of myself that I was able to organise and navigate through it all on my own, without too many mishaps.

I’ve managed to get through the year without catching COVID (that I know of) and feel well physically and mentally. Am carrying some extra Christmas poundage but have been back at the gym a couple of times already to work it off.

I’ve remained in employment and the company has been experiencing its own ‘V-shaped’ recovery, which is good news as this should mean there’s a good chance I will get my 2021 bonus. The flexible working (working from home, with one day in the office) suits me and I am happy with the arrangement.

However, this summer, my boss of 4 years, whom I considered a friend and with whom I worked really well decided she had had enough and left the company with no job lined up. Although my new boss is nice and I get on with him, I still miss her and hope to catch up with her in the new year.

My social life has been a little muted but I was still able to meet up with friends to celebrate birthdays in 2021, so I don’t feel like things were half as bad as they were the previous year, something to be positive about.

It was so good to travel to London to watch the NFL (American football) and also (just before all the Omicron variant hit our shores) to attend my first gig in years, Pete Tong presents Ibiza Classics (with the Heritage Orchestra) which was brilliant. Going to the cinema was also a real treat, so in that sense, I don’t feel like I really missed out on much.

New Year, New Hope

Of course, as I write this, it seems possible that the government may (or may not) announce tighter restrictions to try to stem infections, but I can’t see it being half as bad as it was during the initial dark days of the pandemic.

Like everyone else, I’m fed up to the back teeth with this virus and its bloody variants.

But no sense in moaning about it, I’ll just live with it and the temporary rules, whether that’s with masks, social distancing or vaccines. Soon, it’ll probably seem abnormal to be maskless when walking into a shop.

So 2022 promises to be another ‘interesting and challenging’ year, but one I wish to be filled with more happiness and hope. I look forward to seeing more of my friends, attending more sporting events/gigs. Who knows, some travel might be on the cards.

I’m still thinking about what to do about my goals for 2022.

They will likely end up being similar to previous ones which have never been very exciting but they keep me focused.

Anyway, here’s to a happy, healthy and wealthy 2022 to all of us!

[*referral/affiliate link]

14 thoughts on “December 2021 Savings, plus round up

  1. Happy new year, Weenie!

    I honestly don’t think you need to beat yourself up at all about these “failures” – in fact, I think you should count the year as a massive financial success.

    That’s because you’ve achieved one of your most important financial goals: you bought your house. And way earlier than planned, too, which gives you some valuable certainty going forward. Job done and a great big tick, I reckon 😉

    Jane in London

    • Thanks Jane – Happy New Year!
      Yes, those are just “failures” in terms of the goals I set myself; the bigger picture is that the year was an overall financial success. I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in what I have achieved but I know I won’t regret what I have done!

  2. Congratulations on the new home. Whilst reading this I don’t see any failures. You’re up on last year and have a house to show for it. Good work! And happy new year!

  3. Tip for reading more (I’m a very avid reader); go to bed an hour earlier and have that hour for winding down by reading; ban all elecronic devices from the bedroom (get an alarm clock instead of using your phone). You’ll sleep much better and read a lot more. Also, don”t struggle on with a (fiction) book if you’re not enjoying it; life is too short! I find the older I get, the less inclined I am to invest time in reading books that I feel I’m ploughing through, unless (as with some classics) I consider I’ll get something back for my trouble.

    • Hi Tina

      That’s a great tip, thanks – seems so obvious! By the time I go up to bed, I find that I’ve only got 10-15 mins to read and it’s either don’t read as much as I want to, or read late into the night and wake up tired!

      I turn my phone to airplane mode in the evenings but do need to get an alarm clock to replace the one which has recently stopped working – I don’t like relying on my phone to get me up.

      Hear what you’re saying about not continuing with books I don’t enjoy but that’s something I struggle with – fortunately, I don’t often start books which I have regretted reading by the end.

  4. Hey Weenie – Happy New Year!

    Glad you’ve settled in well to your new place & made the most of last year as/when we could. It’s pretty much my mantra to live by at the moment – focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. That way I stay a little saner when ‘planning’ travel et al. Planning being a very loose word these days!

    I’m with you on the unexpectedly good dividend year – it’s not been something I often calculate but I did this year and it was pretty nice surprise too.

    Here’s hoping you get to see family et al later this year and continue to enjoy what we can.

    Cheers, Michelle

    • Hey Michelle
      Happy New Year!
      Yes, just have to focus on what we can do and not on what we can’t – I’ve stopped watching the general news again, just too much doom and gloom.
      Here’s to a better year for your travelling!

  5. Happy New Year Weenie!

    Pete Tong’s gig looks good, one I wouldn’t have minded assisting myself. Haven’t been in a similar sort of festival/concert for ages now, kind of crave it a bit!

    You did pretty well on your goals considering your housing move. Tried to buy something down South during years but never managed with the idea of choosing a house quickly because otherwise it’s gone next day, so that itself it’s a great accomplishment on your side!

    Keep rocking those dividends! wuuu!

    Looking forward to reading more about your 2022 goals!

    • Happy New Year, Tony!
      Yes, the Pete Tong gig was awesome – it was a bit unnerving being among so many people in an enclosed space but the music was just brilliant.

      Good luck with your own househunting – things still seem to be moving fast so if you are serious about it, you have to jump on board!

      Still mulling over my 2022 goals but all the best for yours!

  6. Happy New Year Weenie!

    Overall a really good year for you – given the circumstances – so nothing to beat yourself up about! Like Tina, I normally read for 30 mins before bed and find that I can relax and sleep well as a result, it takes a while to get into that routine though – or it has done for me.

    I think you have had a lot to deal with and you have a new house to show for all the toil and you can now feel that you are starting 2022 with a new set of goals and challenges on a good basis.

    Good luck with the goal setting for 2022, I find goal setting hard so mine are normally a framework rather than a strong ‘must do’. I then am pleasantly surprised when I find I have achieved them.

    Like you, I am sick of the pandemic and just want to get back to normal and living some kind of life which enables me to go out and not be so restricted. I have taken the chance during December to go out and have some kind of social life to try and improve my mental health – I am not a hermit and need some social contact now and again. (Something that working gave me) I will continue to find another path and hope that 2022 sees a more prosperous and happy year of living.

    Wishing you the best for 2022 and look forward to next year’s updates!

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