January 2024 Savings, plus other updates

I kind of ‘lost’ two weeks in January while I recovered from my surgery.

The procedure went well; painkillers sent my head into woo-woo land and antihistamines I had to take to counter an allergy to antibiotics caused such drowsiness that I was just shuffling around the house like the Walking Dead for the best part of a week – am so grateful that my sister looked after me.

When I returned home, I just spent most of the time sleeping. My freezer was full of food I’d prepared weeks before which only required heating up in the microwave and visiting friends topped up my milk, eggs and fruit.

As I came off the painkillers and antihistamines and my head became clearer, I spent my days reading, sketching/drawing and playing video games.  A prelude to how I will spend my days in retirement? Evenings were spent watching TV, nothing with intricate plotlines though, my head was still a bit slow!

I’m still on the mend, not quite 100%, can now drive short distances without too much discomfort and am now back at work (I took nearly 3 weeks off and eased myself back by just doing a few hours a day last week). However, I’m already tired of the emails beginning with “Hi Weenie, how are you? I know you’ve been off but…<insert big piece of work which is apparently really urgent>”. Who says retirement isn’t a worthy goal, lol?

Anyway, the good news is that test results came back and I’m in the clear – what a huge relief.

And on that positive note, how did my numbers look for the first month of 2024?

I saved 17% of my net salary.  The above includes £44.35 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 

A small wobble at the start of the month and then a slight recovery had my Future Fund ending the month at £249,583.56.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent start to the year for dividends:

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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

March 2023 Savings, plus other updates

The month started quite well, with things I hadn’t done in a while.

The first was a Friday after-work drinks session, which was followed by a cheeky Nandos.

Great fun, which harked back to the days when this was something I used to do on a semi-regular basis and would not have warranted a mention on the blog.

The second was a social outing which had me rolling home after 2am – another fun night but the lack of sleep and ensuing hangover reminded of why I don’t do these very often (aside from financial cost)!

Things went downhill after that – first, the battery in my car died and had to be replaced (£145). The short (but necessary) car journeys I make aren’t great for the battery, so it generally needs to be replaced more often than if I used my car regularly and for longer journeys.

Next, I woke up one weekend with throbbing toothache.

Managed to get a dental appointment first thing on Monday but due to the location of the offending tooth (right at the back), the work that needs doing (likely root canal) is beyond my dentist’s expertise/equipment so I’m being referred to a private specialist.

As someone who doesn’t automatically reach for painkillers at the first sign of discomfort, I’ve not liked having to take so many but needs must if I am able to do my work and get sleep. I hope I get an appointment soon (it’s been two weeks and counting…). The pain is so bad sometimes that I dream of just getting a pair of pliers and pulling out the damn tooth for some relief.

This month, I got paid my company bonus and while in the past, I would have tossed the majority of it into my ISA, this time, I’ve put most of it aside to cover my impending dental work treatment. Ouch, in all senses. That’s not to say I haven’t invested any of it, I have, just not as much as I would have liked.

Anyway, the first quarter to the year is over already so let’s take a look at how I did in March:

I saved 25.9% of my net salary.  The above includes £83.66 from doing Prolific surveys, £59.70 from OddsMonkey* referrals, £20 from matched betting profits (yes, I know, more on this later!) and a nice £400 from taking part in a 3-week online investing community thing with Research in Finance (not a referral link – sign up for free!)

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

All’s not right in the banking world – Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse and First Republic are unlikely to be the only ones this year to get into a spot of bother, and it’s probably only a matter of time before some other ‘too big to fail’ bank will need propping up/rescuing. Let’s hope regulations help prevent the worst from happening.

At the end of the month, jittery markets caused my Future Fund to drop a little, down to £229,463.

Dividends and Other Income

When markets are down, dividend income provides the only ray of light in my portfolio:

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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:

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