The post that touches base on how I’m getting on with my goals halfway through the year.
Rather staggeringly it’s the end of June already, so I thought I would check in with the goals I’ve set for myself this year.
1. Buy a property
This one’s a happy tick (as anyone who reads this blog knows). I bought a flat at the end of February after thinking every day that it was going to fall through. There was a strange empty feeling in the immediate aftermath of completing. But that soon subsided and I’m now loving living alone. Of course there’s the oppressive weight of a large mortgage around my neck, but that’s for another post.
2. Save for a loft conversion or overpay the mortgage
Still haven’t decided what to do here. In my goals’ post I estimated this would take 2-3 years to save for. But I think it will actually only take one year (especially if I don’t up my pension contributions). When I’m enjoying work and tolerating London I’m very in favour of spending some money converting my loft and really making this my long-term home.
And then I have days (this last week being a prime example) where I find the idea of being trapped in London for the long term intolerable. On those days I’m thinking that the c. £50,000 that a loft conversion would cost would be better spent investing in an ISA and/or overpaying the mortgage to accelerate the road to freedom.
For now I’m going to keep the savings in cash a little while longer until I make a decision.
SAVINGS & INVESTMENTS
3. Increase my pension contributions to 15%
This one hasn’t happened. Mostly because we changed pension provider at work recently and the transfer process is still going through. I’m not massively keen on the default fund of the new provider as it’s only 40% equities. I had a quick look at other options the pension provider offers and none seem particular appealing.
My recent exam has taken up all my spare time and has meant I haven’t had a proper chance to look at it in detail, but it might be that a SIPP is more appropriate.
4. Maintain a 60% savings rate
I’ve been meeting this one (I think), but to be honest I’ve decided not to measure savings rate anymore. I find it’s too arbitrary and I’m never quite sure what I should be including. E.g. if I start overpaying the mortgage should I include that?
5. Keep up with posting once a week
I’ve mostly stuck to this but have gone rather off the boil in the last month or so. Again I point to the horrendous exam that destroyed any semblance of a life. I’ll try and get back on track but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
6. Get better at social media
Pretty easy to meet this one given how clueless I was before. I’ve been keeping up with Twitter, albeit I’m not the most active user. I’m also battling on with Pinterest and have signed up with Tailwind. Quite honestly I’m hating it. Given I’ve paid for Tailwind for the year in an attempt to give Pinterest a proper go I’ll persevere. I’ll probably do a post at some point about the issues I have with it.
What I definitely will do at some point soon is have a proper review of my old posts for SEO purposes.
7. Take an affiliate marketing course
I did take one of these and it was useful, albeit I haven’t taken any action in this regard. I still have barely any readers so there’s not much incentive to press on with the affiliate marketing.
I’m also still reluctant to monetise the blog. I like it looking nice and “clean” without a load of ads or affiliate links. Until I get more traffic my way it’s not something I really have to worry about. But even the things that pro-bloggers suggest doing to boost traffic seem unappealing to me. So for now I’ll plod along with my handful of readers.
8. Do some posts that are actually helpful to the reader rather than my rambling
I’ve done a few of these. Mostly in respect of house-buying, and I also did one on voluntary National Insurance Contributions. The NICs one is even one of my most popular posts, rather surprisingly. However, my most popular post as at today’s date is actually my 2019 goals post itself. So it seems that at the moment people who do read my blog prefer the “personal journey” stuff. I’ll keep trying to do a mix of both.
9. Learn how to do matched betting
A big ol’ fail on this one so far. Once again, I blame it on the exam.
I had a “wild card” or “alternative” goal of just jacking in London life and re-starting somewhere else. Obviously this one won’t happen as I’ve bought my flat now.
And I love my flat. And I really like the area of London I’ve bought in. But I haven’t shaken off the feeling that I’m at the end of my tether with London life. The commuting. The exhausting crowds. More and more I’m drawn to my other “alternative” plan of earning as much as I can here in a short space of time and then buggering off to Spain.
I mentioned as an aside in my goals’ post two “lifestyle” goals. One was to go to bed each night by 10.30. This hasn’t happened.
The second was to get healthier and exercise more. In the last few months I have been making a concerted effort to do this. I’ve been exercising more and adhering to a fairly joyless healthy diet. I’ve lost a fair bit of weight. I had hoped that I’d be springing out of bed full of vim and vigour each morning, as people always assure you happens when you get healthy. But that hasn’t happened. I feel as stressed and lethargic as ever. Not sure how long I’ll be keeping it up!