May 2021 update

May was a mixed bag of ups and downs for me…

I started the month with a reoccurrence of depression which overlapped the May Day weekend and resulted in a week off work. This was followed by some positivity when I moved my tech blog, Knight Talks Tech, from Hostgator to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

After seeing a note about using GCP from Saving Ninja in a Slack channel I’m part of I thought it was well worth a look. Ninja had said how he had set up WordPress in GCP having followed a video by a guy on YouTube, I watched the video and completed some of the steps. Things got in the way and I became distracted from completing the work.

I came back to this though having received an email from HostGator saying that my renewal was coming up and asking for a load of money from me. I wasn’t prepared to pay a couple of hundred pounds so that was incentive enough for me.

There were a few moments when I needed to do some supplementary Googling as things have moved on since the video had been created, but other than that, it all went well. In fact, having got to the end of the video, links for a revised instructional were then being promoted! 😀

Bit of a frugal move as it costs me £10/year for the .com domain and around 90 pence/month for hosting, definitely better than around £200 from HostGator.

Additional Income Streams

  • Matched Betting £28 (Apr £16)
  • Surveys/studies £0.24 (Apr £2.98)
  • Amazon FBA/eBay £487 (Apr £0)
  • TopCashBack £30.96 (Apr £0)

I made a fair bit via eBay this month selling off a few unwanted things like my son’s old moped (£349) and a couple of MyZone fitness belts (£100) which I no longer needed as I have the latest version. Selling the moped made a big difference financially as well as mentally, having it gone feels like a weight has been lifted.

The money from the moped went toward fitting a new carpet up the stairs and on the landing. The other eBay proceeds, TopCashBack money and vouchers I get for being part of a COVID-19 survey I used toward a 2020 iPad Air from John Lewis.

My profits remain on the low side for matched betting although I am hoping that will pick up next month when the Euros come round.

I use a service called Odds Monkey to help with my matched betting, I’ve been using them for several months now and find the tools they provide to be essential in making a profit. If you are interested then drop me a message or you can sign-up via my affiliate link – OddsMonkey. The great thing is you can do as much or as little as you like and it fits around your life.

How did I do in May?

Assets

  • Emergency Fund £2,441.91 (Apr £2,150.68)
  • ISA, Freetrade £3,155.58 (Apr £3,128.50)
  • ISA, Hargreaves Lansdown £2,985.23 (Apr £2,942.21)
  • Pensions £112,741.54 (Apr £111,546.97)
  • SAYE £570.00 (Apr £540.00)
  • House £375,000 (£360,099) *Nationwide HPI 2020 Q4

The emergency fund has recovered a bit this month, just glad we have that in place and that it is available for us to use.

Liabilities

  • Student Loan -£2,803.43 (Apr -£2,980.30)
  • Mortgage -£188,430.57 (Apr -£189,389.70)

Total Assets (excluding house) – Total Liabilities = Net Worth
£121,894.26 – £191,234 = -£69,339.74 (Apr -£72,061.72)

Month-on-month

The month-on-month figures look better compared to April with increases and decreases in the right places.

My Student Loan repayment is up by £5/month and my company pension contribution up by £11.33/month due to a pay rise effect from May.

Big turn around on the EF which is nice 🙂

Future Fund

Future Fund May 2021
Future Fund

Just a shade under the £120k mark now.

Dividends

Dividends May 2021

£2.78 for May, I’m looking forward to seeing how June compares year-on-year

Here’s a little look at the composition of my lazy portfolio…

I’ve got a bit of cash sitting in the ISA waiting for me to invest, things have been so busy at home I’ve not got round to it yet.

Guest Post

If you are interested in writing a guest post for my blog, you can reach out to me via the contact page or by taking a look at the let’s work together page – it would be great to hear from you!

Vanity Metrics

These are metrics which serve me no purpose other than to see progress, or lack of, in the social media universe.

Alexa ranking: #6880720 (Apr #6880720 )
Twitter followers: 524 (Apr 507)
Blog followers: 57 (Apr 52)

Frugal Friday – #3

Quick one this week as it’s Christmas Day!

I’m talking today about a saving I’ve made in my health life, with a voucher code it works out at an even better deal 💷

One of my friends at Bannatynes is an instructor and personal trainer (PT) and we had been talking on and off for ages about nutrition. It’s taken me a while, but I recently bought a customised meal plan from him which is working really well.

Before Tom created this plan for me, I gave him a few ideas of things I like so that he could try and integrate them. Amongst those is Grenade Carb Killa protein bar.

Carb Killas come in some great flavours including Jaffa Quake, Dark Chocolate and Raspberry but my absolute fav is Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel.

Proper decent flavour!

As much as I love these bars, they are like £2.50 each and my food bill would be huge if I were to buy these from Sainsburys or similar.

They are available on subscription from Amazon and work out around £1.50 each. However, I have found similar bars at MyProtein where there are called Carb Crushers.

A box of 12 bars using the current coupon code at the time of writing brings the cost down by £5.72 to £13.34. This then works out at a pretty decent £1.12/bar.

Another good thing about buying from MyProtein is that you can collect points to use as money off in the future, and they pretty much always have offers on such as a discount or spend X and get a free t-shirt.

If you don’t have an account with MyProtein then use my link (aff. link*) and create yourself an account. If you spend over £35 then you’ll be given free delivery for three months plus I’ll get a little thank you credited to my account 😁

Also, if you go to TopCashBack and create an account (aff. link*), not only will you get a £5 bonus but you can then search for MyProtein, you can get up to 12% cashback.

* This is an affiliate/sign-up link, please see my Affiliate Disclaimer.

Frugal Fridays – #2

If you listen to the ChooseFI podcast then the likelihood is that you’ve heard Brad and Jonathan talking about saving money on your mobile phone bill. The provider that they have been recommending is Mint Mobile, if you’re UK-based then Mint aren’t an option. I’ll share here how I’ve made a decent saving on our family mobile bill.

Can you save on your mobile bill?

We have been using Three as our mobile provider for four 12-month SIM-only contracts; two at £8.22/month and the other two at £9/month, all with 8GB data, unlimited texts and minutes. This wasn’t too bad a deal as it gave a saving over our Virgin Mobile deals plus £175 cashback altogether via Quidco*.

For that twelve-month period, the cost per SIM worked out at £4.96 average which is decent but if we’d stuck with Three, the average cost would rise. Plus the kids were complaining of lack of coverage now and again which is pretty much end-of-world when you’re a teenager!

After some looking around, I opted for Lebara. These guys piggyback on the Vodafone network which apparently provides decent 4G coverage for our area.

I signed up for the first deal via Topcashback* which will earn me £5 cashback and, using Honey*, I also got a voucher code which saved £2.50 on sign-up. If you haven’t used Honey, it is a browser extension that checks websites for valid coupons/vouchers to save you money.

The contract is £5/month on a rolling monthly deal, this provides 2GB, 1000 minutes, and a 1000 texts. This will be fine as I’m connected to wifi the majority of the time and I don’t make many calls. As a Lebara* customer I can make referrals which is handy as I can then earn £10 for each of the other three SIMs I sort out for the rest of the family.

If you take a look and decide that Lebara might be good you too, then if you sign-up via my link* then you get double data for the first month and I get a referral bonus.

Searching out a new deal rather than just sticking with our previous provider has resulted in a monthly saving of £14.44 and a cashback bonus/saving of £37.50. Decent 🙂

* affiliate link(s), see affiliate disclaimer

Frugal Fridays – #1

So the idea is that I post something about frugality each Friday, I expect the posts will be pretty short in comparison to my pretty wordy monthly updates!

This first post is for something super-exciting – hand wash 😀

We use the handpump washes at home, these come in a 250ml plastic container when bought individually. The standard Carex antibacterial ones cost £1 (40p/100ml) each and the Sainsburys “The Collection” equivalent is 85p (34p/100ml) for a 250ml item.

Sainsbury’s currently have for sale a Carex 500ml original refill pouch at £1.50 (30p/100ml) which will save you 50p over the price of two individual items. The saving is smaller if purchasing The Collection variant.

Exciting photo of handwash…

When I last bought a refill pouch I was able to pick up a 1000ml version for £2.85 which works out to 28p/100ml.

With using these refill pouches you can save not only money, albeit a small amount, but you also save on waste packaging. Each pouch can be recycled so rather than chucking away the container and pump each time the handwash runs out, considering refilling it – you’ll be saving money and more importantly helping to save the environment.

Thanks for reading – I can’t guarentee the next Frugal Fridays post will be any more riveting but I don’t think anyone said saving money would be mind-blowingly exciting! 😉

If you have any frugal tips then please share them in the comments section below.