Quarterly Review – Q1 2015

There's Value Goals

Well, I can hardly believe it, but we have already seen the first quarter of 2015 go by! Amazing isn’t it? We are on this journey to slowly increase our wealth in order to have more freedom and hopefully retire early, but time is just flying by at such a rate, that I wonder if it will still go this fast when we are ‘retired’. Will we be as busy as ever, or will life slow down? I guess we will have to wait and see, but in the meantime, here’s the first of our Quarterly Review posts which we are planning should be a regular feature of There’s Value.

As stated in our financial goals for 2015, we wanted to:

  1. To earn at least £125 in dividend income
  2. To save more per month and put into dividend shares (target to beat £165 p.m.  i.e. ca. £2000 p.a.)
  3. To save £250+ per month for travel and holiday expenses
  4. To save money for Christmas by July (£375)

So, how are we doing against these goals?

1. I am happy to say that we are on track for this goal. We have received about £40 in dividends so far, which means we are basically slightly ahead for receiving at least £125 in dividend income this year. The current figure looks likely to be at least £150, but that doesn’t include (hopeful) continued and vastly increased future investments. This may seem like a low figure to some of you, but as we only properly started putting money back into dividend and value shares in 2014, we expect this to increase a lot over the next several years. This goal also applies just to one of our NISAs, as we have other investments in our other NISA, so this figure also does not include our P2P lending, or work or private pensions, which are of significantly larger value, and thus generate a lot more in terms of overall returns.

2. I am also happy to say that we are on track for this goal too. So far, we have beaten our contributions targets to our NISA accounts during the Q1 of 2015. This does not include the £1000 we got from the sale of Standard Life shares (received when it de-mutualised), which we put into the IPO of John Laing Group. Incidentally, John Laing have just recently announced their final results for 2014, and they were good!

3. Again, we are on track with this goal. I would say we’re ahead actually, as we’ve saved an average of £300 per month towards our travel and holiday expenses. One thing to note, is that this travel fund also includes things like vocational courses e.g. M’s manuscript training course. I have absolutely no idea why we include this as travel and holiday, but I guess these sorts of things are usually away from home and they are a leisure activity, so they kind of got lumped in with travel.

4. We are slightly behind on the Christmas savings, as we are currently on track to have £300 put aside by the end of June. However, if we count money saved during July, rather than up until 30th June, then we will have accomplished this goal by then. I guess being a bit vague about ‘by July’ means that we can swing this one 😉

We are also making progress on a variety of the more general goals that we also included on our goals page. M is practising German everyday, and has bought a sewing machine. We are also saving money towards buying a piano, and we are going to visit the Baltic sea in June. Our woodworking and allotment hobbies are obviously more or a fairweather kind of thing, so we have only recently started back doing things in those areas. Overall, we are really pleased with our progress so far on these goals. The only thing to note is that some of the longer term goals do need to be clarified (it’s something we’ve been working on for a while). We should probably apply the SMART principle to them and break them down into chunks of what we want to achieve, and by when.

How are you doing on your goals for 2015 so far? Let me know, leave a comment below.

photo credit: bplanet:freedigitalphotos.net


  1. Proud of you, M! Your progress is showing us what commitment can do for our goals. You won’t always hit all of them, but if you aim high enough, you’re bound to accomplish some amazing feats even when things do go quite as planned! I’m looking forward to more of these updates. Thank for sharing and for the inspiration 🙂
    Ryan @ My Dividend Growth recently posted…Dividend Update: March 2015My Profile

    1. Ryan, thanks so much for your encouraging words. I really appreciate it.

      We are just beginning our dividend journey and hopefully our existing practice of being disciplined with savings and so on will help us get that snowball really rolling.


  2. M,

    Great job! Three out of four goals smashed and the fourth one well under way if you keep at it.

    What I take away from all of this is how much you plan ahead: holidays, christmas presents, etc. That’s a very healthy attitude to have and one that will serve you right for the rest of your life.

    As you know my first quarter has been excellent. With the plummeting Euro I’ve seen my net worth sky rocket. On top of that dividends have continued to roll in at an increased speed. It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish if we try hard enough.

    Here’s to four out of four by the end of June!

    No More Waffles recently posted…Savings Rate for March 2015My Profile

    1. Thanks man,

      It’s really encouraging to receive comments like this. Sometimes it gets a bit hard to consistently plan and save, plan and save, but I know the outcome will be good if I do, and I know if I waste my money the outcome will make me feel poor! It’s really important to look back on our progress from time to time, which is why I really enjoy writing and reading posts like this. You’ve had a fantastic Q1, and it’s down to hard work and consistency, so keep up the good work my man!


  3. Wait, there are 2 pictures of the guy canoeing to the “goal” but I don’t see any different. Is it a “typo”? you’ve clearly >100 pound richer than last quarter. 😛

    Wow, Christmas saving is a lot of money. I’m wondering you guy should opt for home-made presents rather than expensive presents. Just a thought.

    I grew up in Buddhist tradition, sometimes I feel like it’s a blessing. 🙂 I had a friend, she was barely making ends meet, but every year, she was saving $1500 to buy her siblings gifts. ouchy!

    1. The pic – It’s a weird glitch that I am about to fix. It somehow comes back every time I update my theme, which is quite annoying.

      Our Christmas savings is not just for presents, we actually have a limit of ca. £10 per present, but I do have a rather large family. But the figure also includes travel costs and food for the whole 12 days of Christmas, so the figure is actually quite low compared to what some people spend on gifts alone.

      That is an incredible amount of money to pay for siblings’ presents, but I guess it depends on what your friend bought and what she valued gift-giving as. For some people, giving and receiving gifts is their primary way of expressing love. For others, they prefer love to be expressed in words, others still prefer the gift of quality time, some like acts of service, and others still (men especially) like physical affection. My Mum for example is a real ‘acts of service person’, but seems totally lacking in wanting quality time, whereas a good girlfriend of mine is all for the kind and loving words.

      We are all different, but what is important is that we pay attention to our friends and family and try to love them in a way that suits them i.e. we need to learn to speak their ‘love language’, and if it is gifts, then I don’t mind saving up and buying things that I know people will appreciate more than a well-written letter.


  4. Hi M
    Thanks for the update and well done on being on track with 3 of them and not so far away from the 4th one!

    I must say that I am very impressed with you investing and also socking away money for holidays and gifts – I don’t think I’ve planned very well for this. True I’ve started putting a little away for Christmas but my holiday this summer comes out of my emergency savings which I then set up regular payments to pay back. As I’ve just booked my flight, the payments start…this month! Eek!

    Just as well I did get that big savings rates as a cushion but I can see things going a bit pear-shaped later on in the year!

    I’d love to hear more about your woodworking and allotment hobbies. I wish I were more green-fingered though, I’m just not great at growing stuff although I do try – I have a chilli plant and there is just one lonely little chilli…where did I go wrong, haha?
    weenie recently posted…March 2015 Savings, Net Worth and other updatesMy Profile

    1. Hey Weenie,

      Nice to ‘see you’ haha. Thanks for the kind comments. What we try to do is plan our trips quite far in advance, and then divide the overall costs into a monthly payment. This is about £270/month, but then we have been topping it up a bit for safety lately, as we have a wedding to go to, and we are also hoping to visit a family member who moved overseas. In addition, I booked a manuscript reading and handling course for the Summer and this comes out of our ‘holidays and festivals’ fund.

      We do the same with things like home and travel insurance, as well as car insurance and maintenance costs – we divide the annual costs into monthly payments and these get out into seperate accounts that can’t be touched for other purposes, otherwise we’d be left high and dry when the car insurance or tax was due! You do have a high savings rate, so it would be pretty easy for you to implement this kind of strategy. It really keeps the stress down, because we know there’s no big bill waiting for us around the corner.


      1. Costs like car and home insurance are covered by cash in other accounts for such purposes, a lesson I learnt as I was paying down my debts. It’s the other stuff like holidays etc that I should put money aside separately for, like you’re doing. I think my savings rate is likely to drop over the next couple of months, hopefully not by too much.
        weenie recently posted…March 2015 Savings, Net Worth and other updatesMy Profile

        1. Yeah, I think if you have an overall savings strategy in addition to the savings rate goal, it could work really well. We don’t have a savings rate goal, but just go by our spending plan and savings strategy instead. I’ll have to blog about it at some point or other. If we have money left over at the end of the month, then that is a little extra bonus that goes into savings or investments as we see fit.

  5. 3 out of 4 goals is pretty good, M. Thats good progress and hopefully you will have enough time to catch up on your savings for xmas. Now that you have some dividends flowing in, you should start seeing some increases regularly.

    Best wishes and thanks for sharing
    Roadmap2Retire recently posted…Passive Income Update – Mar 2015My Profile

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, as always R2R. I’ll soon be going back to working more days after having had a child (currently only doing 2.5), so I hope that I will be able to save some more money into the dividend investing pot (M’s NISA). Unfortunately, childcare is very expensive, so we will see just how much money is left over after the new monthly childcare bills.


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