Nine Lives

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned nine years old!

Happy 9th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Yes, I’m still (mostly) enjoying the act of blogging about my journey to FIRE. I know blogs are pretty old school these days, but then, I have to admit, so am I! 🙂

I’ve been posting my numbers monthly with some glimpses of my life for nine years come rain or shine – not exactly riveting stuff, but hey ho, I think I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life – it’s quite mundane, same-old-same-old but I’m quite content with it not being action-packed, with no drama and no cliff-hangers!

Nine Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as after all this time, it continues to be an effort to stay focused on this FIRE malarkey. After so long, you’d think that I do things automatically and that it’s all very easy but I sometimes feel that if I don’t work at keeping my focus, I’ll just fall off the rails and mess up my plans.

Recently, I’ve been feeling mentally fatigued and felt that I had to get away from looking at my spreadsheets and wishing that they didn’t govern my life so much.

I gave myself a little break but it wasn’t long before I was logging on again, and seeing my numbers (up or down), seeing where I’m at and where I’m going made me feel somewhat comforted, in some control of what I’m doing, in some control of my future. I think I just needed a break from work, which I got over Easter.

Inflation spiralling upwards has made me focus more on costs than I probably have had over recent years. It’s getting to be a harder juggling act.

Anyway, this blog has without a doubt kept me going and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments, suggestions and emails.

What have I been doing these past 9 years? Continue reading

February 2023 Savings, plus other updates

This month saw me and my sister attending an uncle’s funeral – he’d died at the grand old age of 91.

Although a sad affair, it was an opportunity to catch up with extended members of the family (first cousins).

There was one cousin I last saw while we were both still at uni and it was interesting to hear that he and his missus had done the whole geo arbitrage FIRE thing.

What I mean is that they jacked in their jobs in 2019 when they both turned 49 (he an IT consultant, she a dentist with a share in private practice), sold their house in Croydon and relocated to Thailand, where they’ve been renting an apartment in Bangkok, enjoying the benefits of far lower cost of living. They’ve no kids so unlikely they would have made this move if they had.

He dabbles in a bit of trading for pocket money, she spends her time helping out in the local community and it sounds like they are living their dream. Both are modest and happy to live a simple life, and they have been taking the opportunity to visit other countries in eastern Asia.

I wonder if they had heard of FIRE? I didn’t get the chance to ask them.

Anyway, attended another enjoyable pub meet up in Manchester this month (next face to face is in April) and I forgot to mention that at the end of last month, I had a a good catch up (online) with TheFIREStarter (yes, I did ask when his next update would be!) and SavingNinja, who was dialling in from the US.

No update on the Twitter issue but a big thanks to the 138 new subscribers to my blog – thanks for reading! 🙂

So, let’s take a look at how I did in February:

I saved 16.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £67.17 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I can’t remember buying anything new so I guess I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A bit of a wobble in the stock markets but nothing to be concerned about.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund was down a little at £231,522.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends continue to roll in as usual:

Continue reading

January 2023 Savings, plus other updates

January seemed like a long month though not in a bad way, as it was punctuated with several social outings with friends and colleagues, and a couple of enjoyably quiet weekends.

One of my minor goals is to complete a 1000-piece jigsaw and the quiet weekends have had me doing my jigsaw puzzling. Have spent many hours on this activity already and have enjoyed listening to music or podcasts (or just silence) while I’ve been working on the puzzle.

Since I can’t watch TV at the same time (not properly anyway), I’ve cancelled my Netflix subscription. Once the puzzle’s completed, I’ll probably switch it back on again. Or not. I still have some Amazon vouchers from Christmas so might have a look for my next jigsaw.

The gym is very busy with new year enthusiasts but I’ve been getting my sessions in regularly, through the dark, rain and snow!

Need a Man in my Life to Open Pickle Jars

This sad thought flashed across my mind as I struggled in vain the other day to open a large jar of pickled gherkins.

Maybe I shouldn’t have made the attempt after a gym session, with my arm muscles still fatigued from the workout. I gave up after several strenuous minutes of cursing.

The next morning, the jar sat smugly on the kitchen table, as if goading me.

I grabbed it and was shocked when I was able to relatively easily pop open the lid – phew! Maybe my previous efforts had loosened it!

Perseverance is a virtue for all things in life, whether opening pickle jars or aiming for FIRE! And no, I didn’t have pickles for breakfast!

Anyway, on that random note, let’s take a look at the first numbers for 2023:

I saved 16.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £66.90 from doing Prolific surveys and a £10 charity lotto win.

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 

Despite recession, strikes, high interest rates and high inflation, the markets moved somewhat in a positive direction, so my portfolio was up to £233,500.43.

Who knows if this will continue? If the government drops another bombshell à la Truss and Kwarteng, there could be another panic causing more big dipper moments!

Nobody has a clue, least of all me (or the government, it seems), so I’ll just carry on investing.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

Continue reading

December 2022 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

I was in the gym before 9am this morning – starting as I (hopefully) mean to go on, but I’m still a little jetlagged so am waking up at ridiculous hours.

Hope you all had an enjoyable festive period and NY celebrations.

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2022 – I’m sure many will say good riddance to that year!

I saved 13.5% of my net salary, more than I thought I would save, given my travels and the time of year.

The above includes £48.75 from TopCashback* and £29.16 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 

It was inevitable that I would end the year with my porfolio down in the dumps.  As at 31st December, my Future Fund finished up at £225,325.60.

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

Much as I’d like to forget about 2022, it’s my worst investment year so far (using unitization, I’m down 8%), but I think I need it to remind me that investing is not all upward trends and bull markets. Or fun.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent final month for dividends:

Continue reading