Some housework!

While I am working out my notice, I thought I would use some of this ‘free’ time to get a few jobs done on my house.

I know that isn’t very FI – spending my money – but it is work on the house which will pay for itself in the long term. So in prep for the winter, I have had the boiler serviced so its nice and efficient over the winter. I have also had an electrician visit to sort a few things out:

1) fit new mains powered smoke alarms (if I rent out this house then that’s a mandatory requirement for renting).

2) fitted a timer on the immersion heater – so I can use the economy 7 tariff more effectively! ( I have an energy monitor so keep an eye on my energy use!)

Small changes but ones that will make a different. I have also been painting and getting a few odd jobs done – yes, a female DIYer – painting and a few odd jobs is fine but the more complex jobs I will leave to the professionals 🙂

It means I have spent about £300 this month on the house – but with my imminent extra personal time (due to the reduction in commuting) I can enjoy my house more this winter!

With my frugal head on, I’ve been out blackberry picking – I have been freezing them so I can make some great cakes and other fruity foods to enjoy over the winter season. Maybe some Sloe picking soon as the frosts are starting – some sloe gin for Christmas presents.

I have been watching with concern the situation with Tesco – I have some shares – so not happy with the big drop in share price! I will hang on to the shares are the moment and let the new guys get in there and sort out the mess. I will ride out the storm and see where they settle price-wise in a few months time, I don’t want to sell out and lose money in the heat of the moment, that’s when bad financial decisions are made.

I am steering clear of the supermarkets and looking at utilities and consumer products/manufacturing as the area to invest in next. Meanwhile I will keep putting away money into my pensions and S&S NISA into index funds to cover the bases.

Back to the painting and house make-over.

September share purchase

As September begins I start to look at what shares to buy into with the remainder of the dividends I received in August. I have decided to buy some Glaxo, the price has dropped due to all that bad press coverage and they have also gone ex-dividend. It does mean that I will have to wait a while before I start getting any dividends from them but I am happy to wait as hopefully I am buying them while they are at a low price point (how do you ever know when the lowest point is reached).

Funnily enough, I had set a low threshold marker at the beginning of the year in my money app and that triggered today – so I have bought 100 shares in Glaxo today.  The share has closed down – typical – but hopefully in a few months time they will have picked up and be in line for a dividend payment.

Now that I have a job offer, I can start to relax a bit and get my finances sorted and keep myself on track. I have another interview with another company this week so fingers-crossed I can get another offer.

I have contacted my accountant to start getting last year’s tax form sorted, I have my rental income to declare. Hopefully I have no additional tax to pay as I have been paying some silly values in my PAYE, so should not get a big shock tax demand.

I have a new code for this year, after my employer stuffed up the employment details, so I should receive a nice refund in next months pay. Based on my use of the HMRC PAYE calculator, I should get a tasty refund which I can utilise.

This refund will be very helpful as I am trying to sort out all those silly little jobs on the house – annual boiler service for one. I am currently painting the hall so I can look to get a new carpet fitted and finally get rid of the worn out, insipid coloured carpet.

I even won £25 on my premium bonds last month, RESULT! I have received £100 so far from my bonds this year, I know they are not the best form of investment but given the very low savings rates and the fact that any winnings are tax free, it all helps at the moment. They form part of my ‘money spread’ so that I can get to it if I need it. It’s not immediate access but I can use it to cover less immediate expenses.

Interview – results

After my full-on interview last week, this week is ‘D-day’, I should have found out yesterday but no call.

I have another interview tomorrow, so have been prepping for that one, including a visit to one of their sites today to see what they are doing.

I have been reading up on the company and the person who is interviewing me. All this technology and online presence helps to get a background – works both ways.

The stories of watching what you put on the internet is very important. Prospective employers can track down those Not so good pictures from a very bad party, etc…

Lunchtime today, I received a call, I have been offered a job! That full-on interview was successful after all. Wow, just need the paperwork to truly accept that I have been offered it. I can never trust a verbal comment, seeing it in black&white is all important. Also need to see in writing the contract and offer, salary & benefits before I accept.

It will be a much shorter commute, approx 23 miles rather than the 54 miles I do now, (one way), so will halve my travel distance and reduce time. This will save on the car and also make me feel more MMM. The hours are the same but loosing that 2:30 hour driving time everyday will make a big difference to my wellbeing and reduce my tiredness. I will get my weekday evenings back.

The interview tomorrow, is even shorter distance, knocking another 2 miles off the single trip. Less pressure on this interview tomorrow now. Still want to go and compare the options. It helps to sense-check and compare the experiences.

Having a job to go to eases the pressure and means I can keep up my journey and my savings rate above 50% each month.

Just need to keep my head on this one and relax a bit. I was feeling worried as it was only the other week, I was sitting with a lot of job applications completed and no responses. Surrounded by people at work with interviews and job offers galore.

September Already! Where has this year gone?

I have reviewed my monthly dividend income and have broken a record with over £3k of dividend income – due to a nice big payout from one of the companies! (Final + Special)

I now want to reinvest this into some other shares to diversify my portfolio as I have such as high percentage in this one company I need to spread the risk.

I am pondering Glaxo (I have none in this company yet) but the price seems to be on a downward trend so want to catch it at a good time – it is ex-div at the moment so will not get any income out of it for a while – want to try and get the most I can afford to buy with the money I have. Also pondering increasing my Sage holding as they have been good for me or investing in National Grid (again, I have no holdings in this one yet either – but it looks like a good long term income source).

I need to start looking at how I will ‘semi-retire’ as I still have no job to go to when my current one finishes, only about 7 weeks left until I leave. I need to survive on my savings while finding a new job as I am not quite there will the FI status.

I should get a tax rebate due to the silly tax code which will help. I am also researching opening a 123 account to try and generate some interest from my cash savings as currently they are earning nothing in the savings accounts that they are sitting in. Potentially earning 3% on £20,000 as it rolls around to comply with the ‘payment’ and ‘debit’ rules would help to make this cash earn something significant rather than the current paltry interest. The ‘debit’ rules could be used to my advantage by also generating a cashback % of between 1% and 3% based on which direct debits I set up – telecoms/mobile bills seem to earn the highest cashback figure of 3% so those are the ones I am looking at. Plus I could get 1% cashback from paying my council tax bill via this account – a payment I have to make regardless of my employment status! The account does not seem to have any employment rules – just a requirement to pay in £500 per month.

So will continue my quest to make my money earn what it can based on my circumstances and cross my fingers that I can find a job soon.