March has proved to be a little better than expected.
Financially, my net worth has increased and I ended the month 3% up compared to my year end for 2020. This is a relief given that I have been living off my emergency fund and watched my shares and investments roller coaster over the past year. I completed as much work as I could on the virtual ‘gig’ site and equalled my Nov total so that has given me some extra cash. With the additional workers on the site and the currency fluctuations, the site has changed its currency ‘fees’ so I am not getting as much £££s as I was in Dec due to the poor exchange fees they have now started to charge. I am looking at ways to mitigate this so I can try to obtain as much value out of my work as I can. I have passed an English authoring test to enable me to access content work but no tasks have appeared yet. The content work should be offered on a site where I am paid in Euros but can hopefully reduce the exchange rate issues.
I have kept my expenses down this month and with lockdown, I have only been out to buy food & gifts (Mother’s day and my brother’s birthday). My brother has now had two birthdays in lockdown, not a nice feeling. Hopefully we will be out of lockdown my the time my birthday happens this year so I may be able to actually celebrate. My other expenses this month has been on my car, to keep it roadworthy, so the MOT and a new battery. Lockdown hasn’t been good for my car. I have only done 2,000 miles over the past year when I normally do about 16,000 – that’s a big difference ! So my car is now MOT’ed for another year and ready for use when we can travel further afield.
I continue to keep an eye on the job market, but nothing interesting on offer at the moment. I will have to live off passive income and ‘gig’ work for the foreseeable future, which means that for this tax year I have been ‘freelance’ and had no full time employee employment – wow – I have never spent a whole tax year out of work. It also means that for the census I have had to put down that I am a freelancer.
With more people and ex-work colleagues being laid off and/or with the axe of redundancy over them, I don’t expect to find a new job soon. I have seen a few ‘nearly’ matches but they have a list of responsibilities that’s a mile long and the hours seem hard, long and arduous. I will have to start looking at other sectors where I can re-apply my skills. I am pondering a part-time job as I would like to change my work-life balance and not end up working the long hours I have previously done. A job within a less toxic environment would be bliss. I had a bad experience at my last workplace where a work colleague collapsed with a brain aneurysm after a traumatic office meeting. It was a 50-50 chance of survival for them, they were on the operating table for 6 hours, luckily they survived. I really didn’t want to go down the same path, I was having headaches and panic attacks and felt that it was the last straw for me so left while I still had my health.
In a bid to find other avenues of income I have created a print website where I can upload my photography and any artwork and sell framed/unframed prints of my work. I now have to find ways of marketing the site so I can pick up some sales. I am not expecting a big success but if I can get a few sales via the site it will help to earn some extra income. I have posted links to ex work colleagues and business contacts. I am looking at how I can use Instagram to market my imagery and see if I can generate sales via that platform. I have signed up with some photo stock sites to see if I can sell images – all in $s again so will have the pain of exchange rates to deal with. I am no influencer and see this as a hobby and may give me more incentive to do more photography and also start doing some artwork.
I won another £25 on premium bonds this month so I already have £75 of ‘interest’ on my bond investment this year which is better than it would earn in a savings account and is tax free.
Some more share dividends were paid this month to add to my funds. It would be good if my other share holdings would start paying dividends but understandably they are holding back to maintain cashflow as they struggle with the effects of the current lockdown.
I managed to do some match betting this month, it was a bit dry for me last month, and I have increased the MB fund holdings. The total is slowly growing and as it snowballs the amount used for betting is improving and enabling me to obtain a wider range of betting options. I have grown my initial investment by 60% so far which isn’t too bad for a couple of minutes a month. All tax free too! I am only betting on the football as a ‘newbie’ and so the end of the football season will mean I will have to look at other sports to continue to earn a little bit of cash.
The good news is that the electrical work has been completed on my rental so I now have a compliant house. The certificate lasts for 5 years so this should help for a while as I ponder selling as the landlord rules continue to become more onerous. I will have to start considering when I should exit this sector as rules and regulations increase. It will be a hit to my passive income as this currently makes up a good percentage of it. It would mean looking at a part time job to provide a steady income source as its replacement.
Tax Year End
As the tax year end approaches I have been topping up my pension and ISA to their max so I can utilise the annual allowances using savings cash which is sitting earning no interest in their respective accounts. I have sold down shares to utilise my CGT allowance and have put this cash into my ISA and some into my pension. Hopefully this will be a long term good choice and I am already seeing some growth as prices rise a little. Based on my tracker, which shows the shares dipping due to the sale, the share trend has risen as share prices increase again so not looking too back. The cash injection in my ISA is already seeing an uptick too.
As a positive end to the month I have had my first COVID vaccine jab. I am now experiencing the side effects of headaches, stomach aches, sickness and tiredness. These are all minor compared to the possible affects COVID could have on me. I attended a large vaccination centre which was well run, very calm and efficient. So I am one of the 30 million to have received a vaccine in the UK. I have my second jab booked in so I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Can’t wait for the 12th April so I can go to a pub!