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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2024 Goals

A week into 2024 and already, the boom we saw at the end of last year is beginning to fray a little around the edges. This is more or less how 2023 started so are we going to get more of the same?

The doomsters are still shouting the loudest and while I intend to try to avoid falling into the pit (of doom) they are digging, I’ll just roll with the challenges as they come and will as usual try to make the most of what is thrown at me.

So here goes with my Goals!

Please contain your excitement, there will be nothing radical or wildly different here.

I still prefer to keep to simple annual goals, ones which have some meaning to me, even if they might be meaningless to others. They provide me with some focus while I get on with the humdrum day-to-day stuff.

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December 2023 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

I was in the gym on New Year’s Eve and out litter-picking on New Year’s Day morning – starting as I mean to go on!

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2023!

I saved 12.1% of my net salary – not great, but a big credit card bill to cover gifts and social outings meant that I didn’t save as much as I would have liked.

The above includes £67.92 from doing Prolific surveys. I also received £103.83 from TopCashback* but ended up spending that on socialising.

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 

Well, a mediocre year for investing ended up somewhat better than expected!

The Santa Rally did its thing and resulted in me achieving my £250k milestone for the first time since August 2021! Woohoo! 🙂

As at 31st December 2023, my Future Fund stood at £250,605.80.  After the painful sideways crawl of my investments over the past year or so, I am very happy and somewhat relieved that I’ve hit the milestone again.

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

However, I had believed (hoped) that after raiding my Future Fund for my house deposit in 2021 (the big dip in Oct 21), the pot would have recouped/grown quicker but sadly, it was not to be.

Using unitization, I’m up just 5.8% this year across all my investments. This figure includes my dividend income portfolio, where stock prices continue to remain fairly depressed.

Nothing as spectacular as the growth that some other investors have reported, but after the nightmare of 2022, it was most comforting that things finally appear to be heading in the right direction.

Still, I daren’t be too hopeful for 2024 – it just feels like everything (at home and abroad) is teetering precariously on a knife edge and things liable to tip one way or another, causing tremors and disruption (or boom, if we’re lucky) in the stock markets.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent final month for dividends:

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November 2023 Savings, plus other updates

November passed in the blink of an eye and for the first time in a long while, I experienced a few sleepless nights due to workload (and other things).

However, I’m not one to dwell on negative stuff so I’ll focus on the positive.

Saving Energy

I was invited to take part in E.ON’s energy saving event, where, if I was able to use less energy than usual (during a specific period), I would be “rewarded”.

The specific period was between 4.30pm and 6pm on a Thursday, so I just logged off my work laptop early, switched all lights off apart from one lamp and read my Kindle for an hour and a half!

I know £1.09 may as well be nothing in the scheme of things, but better in my pocket than the energy provider’s.

Also, it looks like I’m paying (in more ways than one) for the extra hours that I’m putting in while I WFH.

Hope

A month ago, I visited my friend from uni, who was barely recovering in hospital from second round of chemo and I didn’t know if I was there to say goodbye to her.

Well, there’s been a complete turn around – saw her the other weekend and things have changed massively, her mentality has changed and her fighting spirit has shone through. She now has HOPE, albeit to live a very different life and has been progressing rapidly through rehabilitation. She’s nearly back to her old self and although there will always be the shadow of leukemia, it’s in remission for now.

The hospice where she has been receiving excellent care is Sobell House Hospice and I have donated to them as I have seen firsthand the fantastic care they have given to my friend.

She’ll be moving out of the hospice soon but they’ve started her on this journey of hope and I will be forever grateful.

Anyway, how did I get on with my numbers?

I saved 18.2% of my net salary.  The above includes £36.11 from doing Prolific surveys and £63.82 from Google Adsense.

Surprisingly, a small partial bonus was paid by work this month, which would normally get paid in March.

I chucked it all into my ISA, although I guess I didn’t really think things through properly, as this was the first month of my newly increased mortgage payment – ouch! 🙁

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Well it was as if the Santa Claus Rally had come early, with my Future Fund getting a decent boost, jumping up to £236,958, its highest value so far this year!

I can’t get excited about this as it’s been a rubbish year investment-wise. Still, it feels good to see the rocket again!

Dividends and Other Income

Another good month for dividends.

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