Howdy folks! A little later than expected on May 2019 financial update. Work has been keeping me busy along with various activities, weekends away in the caravan and other bits and bobs. I’m struggling to keep up with the chat on the Slack Channel that Dan over at PURSUEFIRE setup!

Life Update

You may have notice in our April 2019 update that we have a new member of the family that has joined us! ‘Major’ our working cocker spaniel has settled in wonderfully and is a right character with our other two dogs. A very quick learner and loves to be out in the garden.

The garden is coming on well, with not most things growing at a good rate of knots! However, some pesky little blitter is having my broccoli! Poor plants looks like it’s been demolished – need to watch out to see if I can spot the culprit. I haven’t seen any slugs, caterpillars, so I’m thinking it may be a Bird / Squirrel of sorts. The potatoes have gone absolutely bonkers and we are anticipating the bloom of flowers from them. This is how you can tell when your potatoes are ready! Wait for the flowers to die down on them and you’ll be good to go!

Financial Overview

Income & Savings Rates

My income this month came to a total of £10,000 (on the dot), of which I saved £5,816.00 resulting in a savings rate of 58%! Blast! Just 2% under my target – my credit card is to blame for this following a few necessary expenses for the caravan / dogs over the last few months. I do anticipate that June will be hitting the mid 60’s with the savings rate, following my decision to up the savings rate back in April.

My stocks and shares are doing pretty poorly at the moment, particularly Carnival and Imperial Brands. Carnival have just been fined $20 million for not following environmental guidelines on the safe disposal of their waste from their cruise ships and Imperial Brands sales figures for the US have been hugely down graded.

My S&S ISA has performed much better however. In total, my ending balance was just shy of £30,000, meaning that I’ve managed to save and put away close to £10,000 in June and May combined. I’m hoping by end of July to have maxed out my ISA, meaning I can begin ploughing in the rest to pension or general investment account. I need to work on some math though to maximise my tax efficiency prior to the self assessment due date!

On average, I have saved £4,473 into my ISA each month since the start of the year.


Expenses

My ‘bad’ expenses for the month (everything bar from the mortgage) came to £2,089 for the month. Admittedly, there was a payment to my credit card which made up the difference.

I also had a few family gatherings, caravan weekend (buying food / activities) and various other ‘bits and bobs’ which just needed to be purchased. For example, for some unknown and bizarre reason, the battery in our caravan keeps discharging quicker than we would anticipate – probably because we are heavy users of the battery. Therefore, I decided to bite the bullet and go for a detachable and portable solar panel, setting me back £286. However, given that we do go out in our caravan at-least 10 times a year, I believe this to be a sound purchase.


Side Hustles

Unfortunately I’ve had to make a step back from the each way horse racing scene. I really don’t have time to currently place / concrete on the bets given that the workload of the business has really stepped up a notch. I do still follow the football and place a few punts on matches from a tipster that I follow and in May I’m up £826 in total (not bad for a £20p/m membership fee – I didn’t include this in my total income above as I’ve just let this sitting in my B365 account). The strategy is following a waterfall type approach, whereby you continue to add your winnings to each bet until you make the decision to pull out.

I quite like this approach, it is more manageable for me by only needing to place 3-4 bets in the evening most days.


Amazon Affiliate Store

We have lift off! Well too the point of generating £50.85 commission in May 2019! Not bad for doing absolutely nothing! Take a look at the below graph;

We haven’t seen much activity towards the end of May in terms of conversions, but clicks and visitors to the website seem to remain constant. I think there may be some optimisation changes I need to make to the checkout process, perhaps reducing the delay of a visitor moving from the website to Amazon as on a daily basis, we are now receiving between 4-6 clicks a day. This is most likely down to the rankingimprovements we’ve seen! See below;

You can see via the rankings above that we are now SOOO close to achieving some first page rankings for some pretty big phrases such as ‘Concrete Mixers’ and ‘Cement Mixer’, which equivalently receives over 20,000 searches p/m! Once we start to begin to see a half decent amount of visitors to the website, we can begin the process of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) – improving the rate of which visitors buy / purchase from the website!

That’s all folks! Happy FIREing!