May 2023 Savings, plus other updates

May unexpectedly saw me embarking on another property purchase.

It can only be described as an impulsive buy as I really had not planned on buying but after viewing it online (I was not able to view it in person), I just had to go ahead with the purchase.

Madness? Probably Definitely. Did I mention impulsive?

It’s a detached, 3-bed, new build with no chain, and I didn’t have time to sort out conveyancing.

Given that high mortgage interest rates are showing no signs of dropping, I decided that this had to be a cash purchase.

No refurb or decorating will be required which suits me perfectly, only the odd fixtures and fittings perhaps. I just need to find tenants for it now, hoping for some viewings any time soon.

The yield on this property will be non-existent, with no chance of capital gains either.  However, I didn’t buy this property for financial gain, but to benefit the community.

Yes folks, I am now the owner of an insect hotel, or ‘Air-Bee-n-Bee’! 😀 😀

It’s been located at the other end of the garden, basically as far as it could go as I would rather not live too close to these neighbours, haha!

One of my friends has one and says she has bees (solitary bees) living in hers every year.  No idea if mine is actually attractive to insects, so might have to cope with some ‘void periods’ or resign myself to the fact that I’ve just spent a tenner on a garden ornament!

Yes, I know this seems to contradict last month’s post where I bought a plant to eat insects but I don’t mind insects in the garden, pollinating my plants, just don’t like/want them in my house!

Anyway, May was a pretty good month, with sunny days and lots of bank holidays to provide some much needed R&R as I’ve been providing cover for both my boss and another team member.

The good news at work is that they have rolled out Bupa medical cover, which is great as I know how expensive such cover costs if I had to buy it personally.

The bad news is that my boss has come back from holiday and handed in his notice. I’m sad he’s going as we get on and he leaves me to get on with my work, but I felt none of the devastation I felt when my previous boss announced she was leaving. Oh well, we’ll see what happens there.

In other news, I’ve just paid for my next trip to Hong Kong, the most I’ve ever paid (over £1.5k just for an economy class flight!), which had to all go onto the credit card so I’ll be on a tighter budget for the next month or so.

So, how did I get on with my savings?

I saved 17.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £70.11 from doing Prolific surveys and £20 from matched betting profits.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

My Future Fund seems to be going nowhere fast but at least it’s not going down! At month end, the total was £230,322.

Dividends and Other Income

A good month for dividends.

I received £545.74, of which £388.06 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

All dividends were reinvested.

Here’s what the graph looks like:

Some dividends due at the end of May have rolled over into next month so it will be interesting if I can beat last June’s mega-payout!

Matched Betting (MB)

A small profit of £35.38 this month; this might be it until the football season resumes in August, unless I find the time (and inclination) to do EW betting.

Options, Options

I mentioned in my 2023 goals post that I’d started dabbling in a bit of options trading.

This is me experimenting and having a bit of fun, and not something I am recommending. It’s been over six months since I opened and funded a live account so I thought I’d give an update on how I’ve been getting on as I’m sure some readers might be wondering if I’ve lost all my money…:

The screenshot isn’t very clear but basically, 18 of my 24 trades have been closed in profit (75% win rate), so I am currently in overall profit! It’s not always been plain sailing,  there have been a couple of hairy moments where it seemed to be going all wrong but momentary panic aside, I was able to sort things out in the end. As I’m still very much a beginner (and likely to be so for a long time), I shall continue to take things slowly, just trading small amounts. I’ll do another brief update after 12 months of trading, around October/November.

Goals Update

How are things looking goal-wise?

Finally completed my first non-fiction book of the year, the brilliant ‘Factfulness’ by Hans Rosling.


My seedlings seem to be a bit hit and miss at the moment – slugs and snails have mostly been kept at bay but my dwarf bean plants have been chowed on beyond survival, unfortunately.  I’ve been battling against aphid infestations with my trusty soapy water spray, so hopefully, other plants might be salvaged!

I never thought I’d say that I want it to rain but my lawn is looking a bit parched (despite watering it every day with watering can), so I wouldn’t mind if it rained during the week while I’m working!

Anyway, hope you all had a good May!

26 thoughts on “May 2023 Savings, plus other updates

  1. Haha! You really had me going too for a while there! I was like “wtf is going on!?”…
    I hope your new “property” doesn’t come with noisy neighbors 😉

    How are you handling this side-ways business that has been going on for almost 2 years now? This market is driving me crazy!

    Hope you have a great summer in your new home!

    • Hey Nick
      Haha! 🙂
      Yeah, kind of frustrating that investments have just been going sideways, just think something will happen soon, but up or down, who knows? Cheers and hope you have a great summer too!

  2. Yeah you also had me going although I thought there was a deception afoot. Glad you enjoyed your R&R recently and also that’s cool sorting your Hong Kong trip. I hope your replacement boss is decent!

    All the best


    • Cheers TFJ and yeah, the big question I think is whether there will be a replacement boss or whether me and my team mate just absorb some of his responsibilities, so we report to a more senior boss…

  3. LOLOLOLOL I admit to nearly having a heart attack! Well done, Weenie, I had a good laugh when I got to the reality. I hope you do get some lovely, well-bee-haved tenants soon.

    I’m curious – is health insurance a regular offering/sweetener in the UK? I know it happens in the US. Or is it just something your company has decided to do?

    • Hi Mrs ETT
      My intention wasn’t to give anyone a heart attack but am glad you saw the funny side, haha!

      Health insurance is generally offered by bigger companies as part of a benefits package, although it is a taxable. That my company is now offering it (when they didn’t before) might be a sign that a) they are doing well and can now afford to provide this benefit, and b) they want to keep staff. I did think when I joined the company that the benefits were a bit skimpy but it’s now a lot better.

  4. Another one fooled, I was thinking ‘Noooooo!’ for the first few paragraphs. Let’s just hope that you don’t have any more cladding issues with this new-build. *fingers crossed*

    Luckily, I don’t need an insect hotel in my garden as the bees and insects love it the way it is. The trick is to be too lazy to mow or prune anything, lol.

    • Hi Sarah
      Haha, no cladding issues on this property for certain and government unlikely to impose any future regulations!

      I think I need to plant more bee friendly plants at the back. Only have a lawn at the front and I mow it regularly as I don’t want to be ‘that’ neighbour in the neighbourhood haha!

  5. Noting you are flying to HK i am trying to research if in the 1980’s there were direct Cathay Pacific flights between Manchester and HK and which days in the week they would have flown on.Do you know? If not no problem .Thanks

    • Hi Simon
      Not sure if Cathay was operating out of Manchester in the 80s (probably not) – think they were just flying out of Heathrow. I think they did in the 90/00s, then stopped for a while due to a dispute but have resumed again.

  6. You really got me as well Weenie!! I thought you had dumped out all of your FIRE fund into a property!

    Ouch for the Hong Kong ticket.

    Good luck with your Air-Bee-n-Bee!!

  7. Another mug here who fell for the house purchase ruse! Borage is my favourite flower for helping the bees out. Also White Comfrey, but that spreads like mad so be careful if planting! Once you get a few attractor plants in you’ll be staggered at the different types of solitary bees that will start to appear. They’re fascinating to watch.

    I was always happy to ‘self insure’ on the medical cover at work, so reduced to cover down to the lowest level (and for a few years received a cash uplift in exchange). I was prepared to back my relatively good state of health, and apart from the odd physio appointment that I could have benefitted from I never felt I missed out. Now I no longer work I don’t really miss the ‘benefit’. Healthy living undoubtedly helps here.

    Good luck with options trading. I’ve held a few warrants over the years and dabbled with the odd leveraged commodity future (that’s scary enough for me), but I put my activity there down to boredom/stupidity, definitely not knowledge, and thankfully never did too much damage. It’s certainly seat of the pants stuff if that’s what you’re after. I do still play a few plain commodity future etfs, cocoa being my long term favourite, but keep the stakes small. I like thinking that I can predict the long range weather in west Africa, the political situation in each of the producing countries, and everything that the genetic scientists at Nestle are dreaming up in their labs. Who am I kidding!

    Looks like we’re in real danger of another drought in the uk this summer. My grass has to fend for itself, but all the veg and flowers get laborious regular watering. Roll on the rain. Focus on the successes in the garden, there’s always a few failures. There’s still time to sow more dwarf bean plants. They’ll grow really quickly at this time of year if you keep them watered.
    PS – sounds like it might be about time for you to become the boss at work.

    • Hey KC

      Interesting that you mention borage as I was talking about gardening with a colleague and he said borage was a good plant to have, so I’ve bought some seeds to try out!

      Yes, healthy living is key and part of my motivation to go to the gym regularly for as long as possible – sooner or later, age will make it inevitable and I want to delay that for as long as as I can!

      I can see why cocoa is a favourite of yours! 🙂 Monevator’s recent post on commodities was interesting as my only exposure is probably in mining. This could be something I could consider playing with after some research. My options trading is limited to the the US 500 index right now.

      Rain was promised yesterday and didn’t materialise. I even left the house without an umbrella, which is usually a surefire way to get the clouds to open up!

      They offered me the boss job a few years back and I turned it down. I’m certain I don’t want it.

  8. Hey Weenie – it’s been a while!!!

    Good to read your latest monthly update. I completely fell for your new property story right up to the reveal!! 😀

    Great stuff though, I think I’ll do the same when I finally move home.

    My son has recently returned from HK, he went out in January as part of his uni course and returned mid-May. I can testify to how expensive those flights are but, thankfully, his didn’t quite hit the £1.5k mark.

    Hope to catch-up soon on Meetups 🙂

    • Hey John

      Long time no hear and hope all’s well with you in sunny Norfolk! Hope your son enjoyed HK, I may be biased but I would always recommend it as a travel destination.

      Good luck with the house move and hope to see you soon at the meet ups!

  9. Haha what a shame this wasn’t posted on April 1st. You got me as well.

    I can’t believe the ticket cost, imagine taking a family of 4 or more, killer!

    Would love to hear more about the options trading how you are making picks etc… 🙂

    • Hey TFS
      I know, poor timing on my part, haha!

      Yes, at that price, people just wouldn’t go there as a family, just ridiculous!

      Happy to drop you a note on the options, will send something on Slack/email.

  10. That sounds like a very sensible house purchase!
    Ouch on the ticket price, but that’s money well spent.
    Looks like you’re making good progress on your goals, so well done.
    I’m away just now so I’m hoping for a bit of rain back in the UK as I’m not entirely convinced my son will have remembered to water my plants!

    • Hey SS
      Yes, will be money well spent, just jarring to have to spend so much!
      It’s been raining for the past few days here so fingers crossed same for where you live! Hope you’re having a great holiday!

  11. Hi Weenie,

    wow – was starting to wonder what you had done…. phew … an insect house…LOL..
    I have just returned from my holiday and catching up on reading. I get the feeling that air travel is going to just get worse as the green lobby push for less mobility.
    Glad you are off to see family again though. Enjoy your birthday too!!!

    I will look out for your update for June…. Take care and enjoy the UK sunshine…

    • Hey Sparklebee
      Agree, the days of cheap flights are over, not that the flights I used to buy were cheap but they were at least affordable! Thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂

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