September 2023 Savings, plus other updates

A bit late with this update – my head’s not been quite right as September was a month of quite extreme highs and lows.

Highs

Work gave us the day off to do the annual charity walk.

62 of us set off early one Friday morning to do the Saddleworth 3 Peaks – not everyone completed it but I did…eventually!

Over 25km (just under 16 miles) and I made it to the pub at the end (what else? 🙂 ) in almost exactly EIGHT hours! It was pretty exhilarating, there were breath-taking views and I’m glad I did it but not sure I would (or could) do it again!

 

At the second peak, ‘Pots and Pans’ cenotaph

At the 3rd peak where we looked back and could just about see the cenotaph behind us in the distance!

I nearly joined some others in giving up after the second peak, but decided to soldier on, despite being in real pain – my left knee did not cope well with the downhill pounding. I had a walking pole (which helped) and ended up taking painkillers (which didn’t help).

Still, we couldn’t have asked for better weather and I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it if we’d had the rain-lashing and high winds experienced during the Snowdonia walk from a few years back. £5000 raised for charity (as a team) with the company matching it so all went to good causes.

Lows

I found out a few months ago that one of my friends from uni (fellow course and house mate) had undergone chemo for cancer. First round went well and all sounded quite positive.

However, the second round of chemo didn’t go well and she was in a coma for a month. She won’t recover fully from this and there was mention of her in line for a move to a hospice.

I and some other friends went to visit her as soon as we found out (6 hour round trip by car, plus hotel stay). What a roller coaster of emotions that weekend was – my friend was herself but also, obviously, not herself. We don’t know how long she has left (could be weeks, months?) and they continue to monitor how her body is battling the illness. She has however made it clear to all that she does not want to ‘exist’ like this.

As she has lost most of her sight, when we turned up, we played the game “Guess who I am?” and she got us all by our accents!  The ward nurses said that it was lovely to hear laughter coming from the room as we reminisced about our foolish youthful antics and were probably a bit loud! It’s down to us now to provide a little joy in her life.

Us friends realised regretfully that it had been over 10 years since we had all met up face to face – busy lives and all that, although we did catch up via video during lockdown and the friendships and connections have been maintained over the years (we all graduated in 1991!) first via Facebook, but lately via Whatsapp.

Life is just far too short and we must make time for loved ones before it is too late.

Sorry for that downbeat update but I feel better for writing that down.

I guess one good thing to come out of this was that I caught up with the friend who had FIRE’d (mentioned in my July interim post). It was as I thought – two good careers, leading to a couple of investment properties (sold) and now living the good (retired) life. Great for them, hoping to join them in the not too distant future!

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 15.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £31.94 from doing Prolific surveys,  £10 from a charity lotto win and £20 from matched betting winnings.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

My portfolio continues to creep along in a mostly sideways movement, ending up at £231,906. 

 

Dividends and Other Income

A very good month for dividends.

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August 2023 Savings, plus other updates

Apologies to readers who tried to visit the blog over the last couple of weeks and got:

Attacked

My blog was ‘attacked’ and the attacks pushed me up to the maximum CPU seconds quota I’m allowed on my website hosting plan. Once the quota is reached, the website is made unavailable until the following month.

Such an attack on my blog has happened before, only on that occasion, I was able to block the IP/country where the attacks were coming from, so I didn’t end up hitting the CPU limit. Unfortunately, this time, I was on holiday when I was getting numerous messages like “The Web Application Firewall has blocked 101 attacks over the last 10 minutes.”

I had just enough of my CPU quota left to post my belated July update and then that was it for the month.

Have to admit that over the years, I’ve neglected the back-end stuff of my blog, so I guess I should read up/work on whether there’s anything I can do to try to prevent such attacks in the future. Still, apart from the blog being made unavailable for a period of time, at least the firewall did its job and all seems ok.

Anyway, August was a mixed bag of a month – a great holiday followed by post holiday blues/jetlag, celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday with a cocktail-making session and then catching COVID, which, whilst symptoms weren’t as bad as last time, still had me below par for a week. At least no lingering cough this time.

So how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 14.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £49.72 from doing Prolific surveys and £10 from a charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Hmmm, not great to see the dreaded ‘submarine of doom’ on the graph after last month’s rocket! However, it could have been worse, the markets were looking really rubbish mid-month but fortunately, things stabilised somewhat and my Future Fund ended the month just slightly down at £232,947. 

That sideways movement is not a great motivator, but I will just keep on keeping on, as they say.

Dividends and Other Income

A good month for dividends.

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July 2023 Savings

Hello, I’m back after an enjoyable holiday.

I shall just quickly post the belated numbers for July.

I saved 16.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £77.08 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Finally, things were looking up but for how long!? As at the end of July, my Future Fund stood at £235,744, so the rocket makes an appearance but is highly unlikely to be sticking around for the August update!

Dividends and Other Income

Not a bad month for dividends.

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June 2023 Savings, plus other updates

This month saw me celebrating my birthday by playing crazy golf and drinking in the sunshine! It’s a sign of age experience and knowing my limits that the following day, I was able to get up and go to the gym the following morning, instead of feeling utterly cabbaged and wasting the whole day hungover in bed!

I’ve loved all the hot weather we’ve had, but was glad of the rainstorms that followed, as was my poor parched garden!

Anyway, after last month’s ‘property post‘, I am so excited to announce that ‘tenants’ have moved in!

My little house appears to have attracted a diverse community – I believe I have leaf-cutting bees (yellow arrows) and mason bees (red arrows). Apparently, it’s not unusual for solitary bees of different species to nest near one another. I wonder who moved in first though? 🙂

I had noticed funny little circular chunks chewed out of the leaves of some of the shrubs in my garden, the leaf-cutting bees’ trademark. Anyway, I am delighted that these little critters have deemed my garden worthy enough to live in!

Since that photo was taken, at least another two bees have moved in and a spider or two, judging by their webs!

This month was rather expensive – car insurance renewal, breakdown cover renewal, washing machine repair (5 minutes to fix, £107!) and a new shed (to replace the dilapidated/unsafe one) – the pounds are getting really stretched, especially as I’m struggling to say no to social outings (went to another enjoyable and interesting Manchester FIRE pubmeet this month).

MOT on my car is due next month…maybe I need to just get past this expensive summer and cut back on the expenses in the latter part of the year.

So, how did I get on with my savings?

I saved 16.5% of my net salary.  The above includes £59.62 from doing Prolific surveys and £10 from a charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I offloaded Civitas Social Housing and used the funds (plus new funds) to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

My Future Fund seems determined to crawl along sideways.  There’s not a lot I can do except to keep on investing. As at the end of the month, it stood at £229,441.

 

Dividends and Other Income

Thank goodness for a great month of dividends.

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