March 2024 Savings, plus other updates

The days have brightened up and a bit of winter sun has been great for my spirit and soul!

I had a few extra days off as well as the Easter days. Over the bank holiday, I did the usual thing of going to B&Q and came away with a couple of plants and paint for the garden fences  (front fence now done).

Have enjoyed some nice relaxing days, pottering around the house and garden, planting some things so will see if those are successful.

Anyway, another month, another NI reduction, resulting in some extra pay in my wage packet. As with the last reduction, I will use this extra to overpay my mortgage.

Also, another month, another work bonus! This time, the annual discretionary bonus I get if the company hits its profit/growth targets and partly linked to my own performance.

I’m sure there was a time when I would have gotten hugely excited about getting a bonus, probably because it would have been already spent  on ‘stuff’ (and then some) in my head! When I saw it in my wage slip, I just thought, oh that’s nice and mentally divvied up how it would be invested etc. As with the last bonus, I split it across my ISA, SIPP, emergency funds and mortgage overpayment.

And on that positive note, how did my numbers look for March?

I saved 50.3% of my net salary. Normal savings rate shall resume next month! The above includes £87.44 from doing Prolific surveys and £50 football predictions winnings.

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 rocket continues onwards and upwards, my Future Fund hitting £262,470.89 at the end of the month. Looks great but I can’t bring myself to get too excited about it (much!).

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividend income:

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February 2024 Savings, plus other updates

As mentioned in my last post and as highly recommended by various commenters, I’ve been tracking all my spending.

January was what I expected, but partway through February, I realised that there was definitely going to be variance between what I think I spend and what I actually spend.

It appears that lifestyle creep has happened, despite my efforts!

While I’ve been pretty good at buttoning down my household bills and differentiating between ‘need’ and ‘want’ purchases,  I’ve not been so great with “social expenses”. Lunches, coffees, a swift pint after work (when I’m in the office) with friends and colleagues all add up – I didn’t even think I was that active socially but obviously enough so that these costs need looking at!

A big one will likely be gifts for friends and family – some expenses have been tracked (with receipts, credit card statements), but for some reason, I seem to have glossed over the various gifts of money (for birthdays, Christmas, Chinese New Year) to my family (and I have a big family). I’ve probably lost sight of them due to the transactions just being a bank transfer here and there, probably not helped by me actively using  different current accounts simultaneously. Anyway, I’ll see what the damage is by the end of the year and hope I’m not in for too much of a shock!

February’s payslip brought a nice surprise with a bonus payment for my part in completing that project I was on. I’d forgotten about it as I had other more important things on my mind and my eligibility for it had come while I was battling with long hours and intense work activity so it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind.

I split the bonus across my ISA, SIPP, mortgage overpayment and emergency funds.

A bit left over I used to buy some small items I’d wanted (not needed 🙂 ) for my garden and kitchen.

So how did that bumper pay make my numbers look for February?

Obviously, this is way, way above my usual (much more modest) amount, but I saved 51.4% of my net salary. It’s a one-off!  The above includes £63.61 from doing Prolific surveys and a £5 charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I finally sold my holding in Persimmon (PSN), one of the stocks I’d kept after running my Dogs of the FTSE experiment. I used the money to increase my holding in a (fairly) new holding in MP Evans Group plc (MPE), a ‘sustainable’ stock I’d dipped my toe in with a few quid last year, but which I will add to now as part of my income paying portfolio.

Other than that, no new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

I need to do an update on my investing strategy but been too distracted.

Future Fund 

There was an uptick in the markets but admittedly, the rocket is only really there courtesy of my bumper capital injection this month. As at the end of Feb, my Future Fund stood at £253,452.87.

Dividends and Other Income

An average month for dividends:

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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