October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Hope you all had a happy Brexit Day Halloween!

My ‘confused’ effort on the right!

October felt like a month where I had a lot going on but hardly anything was achieved.

I’m behind on loads of things – my reading, my paperwork, my tax return (meant to submit this month), my TV watching, my blog reading/commenting, my blogging.

That said, I bought a new mobile phone as my old one has been freezing and rebooting for months (used matched betting profits again for the purchase) and I’ve been out on a few social outings, completed a 13-mile walk in the rain (again!) for charity with work and been to the cinema a couple of times (to see Ad Astra and Terminator: Dark Fate).

My social calendar is pretty much filled up for November already so I hope I don’t continue to fall behind on stuff.

Am I also behind on my numbers? Let’s see how I did….

I saved 51.3% of my net salary! With my sis contributing towards household bills, I’m able to put away more of my money but as mentioned before, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up so my savings rate will revert closer to the norm.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £67.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £30 from Siteground* affiliate income (thanks Tom!) and £57.01 from TopCashback*.

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 

The markets were all over the place this month and despite adding new capital, my portfolio value went backwards down to £178,832.19. As usual, I’m keeping calm and carrying on investing!

Dividends and Other Income

A slightly disappointing month for dividends: Continue reading

Dogs Nightmare and Random Shares update

I didn’t get round to doing my quarterly update for my experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio so thought I’d do a first ‘trimester’ update instead.

Suffice to say that the poor mutts really don’t look too healthy, mostly milling about negatively in turmoil.

Evraz plc in particular is looking extremely woeful, showing a massive loss since this portfolio start, despite showing huge gains in the previous year.

ITV leads the pack with a semi-decent gain but for how long!?

That said, the FTSE 100 Total Return was minus 1.3% over the same period so the Dogs aren’t too far behind with a loss of 1.83%, when you include dividends received (loss of 4.7% without dividends).

But it’s still early days yet, anything can happen in 8 months – yes, I know it could get worse but I’m being opimistic so see the future as being bright(ish)! In the meantime, I shall continue to collect their dividends.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is not a strategy I would recommend to anyone, this is my own fun experiment, although I can’t say it’s a lot of fun looking at all the red numbers right now.

Cheerful Randomness

To cheer myself up, I will take a look at my Random Share Portfolio, which I first mentioned here.

This portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up via my Freetrade affiliate link, bagging themselves a free share in the process. Link is here* if you are interested.

Here are a couple of the recent free random shares I’ve been awarded.

And here’s what the full portfolio currently looks like:

Still waiting for that Tesla or Netflix share to drop haha, but the fact is, I’m well happy with all my free shares. Most of them are ones I would never have considered buying, only because I wasn’t even aware of them.

I was particularly happy to receive shares for IShares S&P Global Clean Energy ETF (INRG) as I didn’t know there was such an ETF, never mind that it was available on Freetrade.

INRG tracks the performance of an index composed of 30 of the largest global companies involved in the clean energy sector. I think I will add to this as I’d like to increase my holding of more environmentally-friendly investments bit by bit.

Am still undecided as to what I want to do with this portfolio, ie sell or keep the shares.

For now, I think I’ll just leave them (mostly) and maybe decide on what to do in the new year. Although I missed out on the Aston Martin £10/per share payout because I didn’t reach the minimum criteria (only 1 share!) so I may get rid of that one soon.

Anyone with any thoughts on which ones I should get rid of and why?

*referral/affiliate link

September 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Update is later than usual but this might become the norm, not sure. Still no real blogging routine yet and I wasn’t about during the weekend to get this out.

Anyway, for those concerned, my nephew survived the few days with me, wasn’t late for school once and didn’t miss his bedtime (by much… 🙂 )

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

I saved 52.9% of my net salary! This was the first month that my sis contributed to household bills since she moved in and I invested the cash straight away.

Of course, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up, with me no longer being in the house on my own, but I’ll save as much as I can while I can!

The above savings includes top ups of £120 matched betting profit (from last month) and £126.22 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

Thinking about greener investments, I started investing in Greencoat Wind UK plc.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

With the pound taking a pounding and markets generally on the up, at the end of the month, my portfolio stood at £179,130.49. This puts me in really good stead in my race to £200k, although with Brexit (or not) looming, who knows how things will look by the end of October.

Dividends and Other Income

Another fairly average month for dividends: Continue reading

Family Life

As revealed here, my sister and my nephew have moved in with me and it’s been a massive adjustment to my life.

Until my nephew actually started school, I have to say it sort of felt like they were only here temporarily on holiday and that they would be off home at some point. I’m still kind of getting used to things.

Sis hasn’t rested on her laurels though since her arrival. As soon as the jetlag wore off, she started reorganising the house. It’s been a good exercise, getting rid of some unwanted stuff that’s been in the family for years but also digging out some things I’d packed away in the garage and forgotten about! Still can’t part with my comic collection though…

She’s not quite gone the full KonMari but there’s still a lot to get rid of as she’s got a shipment of stuff arriving in about a month’s time so needs to clear some space. A lot of old spare furniture sitting in the garage has gone to charity already.

Changes

I’m sure at some point, I will get used to seeing little boy’s pants in my washing basket!

Pants…

However, I know I won’t get used to the TV being on with no one watching it…

Or the lights being left on around the house…

Or not being able to have my music blasting around the house…

Or not being able to watch my programmes when I want as they’re unsuitable for children…

Or someone drinking alcohol in the house on a school night!

There have already been discussions about turning the heating on – it’s only September!!

But wait! Let me stop with the negativity! Whilst I’m trying to get used to my new home life, I have to admit that there are a lot of positives.

The good things:

  • home cooked meals when I get home from work!
  • shared household bills, which should positively impact my savings rate!
  • chirpy voice welcoming me home (my nephew, not my sis!)
  • Sunday roasts!
  • garden looks much tidier and weed-free!
  • house is more ‘organised’ – I think I’ve mentioned before that whilst I’m super organised and tidy at work, I’m almost the opposite at home, don’t know why!
  • less unproductive time spent online because it’s anti-social when there are people around…

This last point is good and bad – bad in that I’ve been struggling to find the time to read blogs, comment and also to draft my own posts. I guess I just need to work out a new routine.  I enjoy a bit of peace and quiet in the evenings as sis goes to bed before I do, but at the moment, it’s not quite enough time to do all my blogging stuff.

This post has taken a while to draft as I couldn’t do it in one sitting, had to write it in fits and starts.

Unexpected Consequence

My gym sessions in the evenings used to be quite drawn out affairs – an hour working out after work, half an hour relaxing in steam room/sauna, shower and then mooch home.

Recently however, I’ve just been doing the hour workout, showering and then heading straight home – because then, I can catch my nephew before he goes to bed!

Who would have thought!? Certainly not me!

I realise that he’s not going to stay an engaging chatterbox for long (and mobile phone-free) and that all too soon, his teen hormones will kick in, so I may as well make the most of this period of his life!

He’s settled in well in his new school, has made friends and is doing fine in his classes.

So things seem alright at the moment – no real clashes with sis (so far) and I’ve spent some nice family orientated weekends with them.

However

Sis is off networking with ex-colleagues next week. She will be away for a few days so will be leaving me in sole charge of her offspring.

And thus my life has changed as I will need to be a responsible adult looking after a child….

I hope I remember to not let him stay up too late past his bedtime!

And how am I going to make sure he gets ready for school when I can only just about manage to get myself awake for work!

I hope am sure it’ll be fine…