How to get a free company share worth up to £200

Follow my main project and you’ll see that I use Freetrade for all of my investments. That’s because they charge no fees and 0% commission for a general investment account.

But if you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

In fact, so far I’ve referred seven people to Freetrade who have gone on to become a customer and have earned themselves free shares, and that’s just in the last week (at time of writing) of my blog going live.

The free shares I’ve earned for myself include;

1x Gregg’s – worth ~£18.50

2x Evraz Steel – worth £10.37

1x iShares UK Dividend – worth £6.73

1x Landsec – worth £6.54

1x iShares S&P Financials – worth £6.19

1x iShares Global Agg. Bond – worth £5.26

In addition to these, I also have ten other referrals who have joined but are yet to use their account, so I may have other free shares on the way.

Here’s how you can get a free share for yourself

  1. Join Freetrade here, download the app on your iPhone or Android and create an account
  2. Verify your account in order to deposit funds
  3. Link your bank and top up your account with some funds
  4. In your profile, there should be an option to complete a form to confirm that you are not a citizen of the United States – complete this
  5. That’s it, you should receive your free share within a week
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Month 8: 1.4% up, £2100 invested

At the end of August I’m up 1.4% overall, with my Clean portfolio outperforming the others as you might expect during an energy crisis and droughts.

I spotted that I had an error last month – noting that I actually bought 2 shares of Global Clean Water when I only logged purchasing 1 share, which put the figures at a loss until I recently updated it.

This month we’re doing the same as normal, with £300 split into £100 across three buckets of investments. I am aiming to increase this to add in another group of investments early next year.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying a share of the S&P 500. This leaves me with almost £57 in cash which will roll over into next month’s investment.

100 EM Clean

4 shares of Global Clean Energy and 1 of Global Clean water entered my portfolio this month, and I corrected a tracking issue I had with last month’s update for Global Clean Water. This bucket of investments is performing really well, even if mostly driven by Energy – almost definitely due to the current energy crisis due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

100 EM Future

This month I added 5 shares of RBTX, and just 1 of BCHS. I don’t often buy BCHS these days due to the crypto market being far down, but am starting to buy this again as I feel like the drop is consolidating and – at some point – is likely to trend upwards again.

Happening Recently

  • My recently-launched content site is getting indexed in Google, with around 20 of the ~35 pages now indexed and pulling in an average of ~5-6 clicks per week. I expect it to see exponential growth over the next year but it will still likely be 6 months before it starts to make any revenue.

Upcoming Changes

  • Ongoing from last month: I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • Ongoing from last month: I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Postponed from last month: Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Ongoing from last month: Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 7: 0.19% down, £1800 invested

It’s the end of July, seven months through my new journey, and I’m only down by 0.19%.

That’s during a pandemic, war, cost of living crisis and likely at the start of a recession.

Considering everything, that’s probably not too bad.

This month I’ve put another £300 in, split in to three separate £100 buckets of investments.

My Clean portfolio is doing best, as investment is poured in to companies operating in the clean energy and water industries, while my Future portfolio, which invests in robotics and blockchain oriented companies, is as you would expect doing the worst.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying two shares of VUSA.

By the end of the month we’re actually up with a profit of £9.37, the first time we’ve had a positive return in a while.

100 EM Clean

I bought 2 shares of Global Clean Energy and 1 of Global Clean Water, luckily just a day before Clean Energy (INRG) had a big rise in price, likely spurred on by the results of the war impacting non-renewables. Clean Water is still down, but has also been trending upwards recently.

100 EM Future

This month I added 13 shares of RBTX, and still none of BCHS. I may start buying more BCHS from next month if the situation with cryptocurrencies looks to be settling.

Happening Recently

  • I launched a new content-focused side business three weeks ago which is starting to get indexed in Google and is bringing in some impressions, but it is probably 6 months from bringing in any revenue.

Upcoming Changes

  • Ongoing from last month: I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • Ongoing from last month: I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Postponed from last month: Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Ongoing from last month: Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 6: 6.05% down, £1500 invested

The end of June saw my full portfolio being down by almost £91, or about 6.05% down in total.

I am reporting this a little late again this month so the below screenshots are from the 8th June, where the performance is a little better (only being down £40.91).

The largest contributor to the drop so far is my 100 EM Future portfolio, which invests in companies that are invested in the robotics and blockchain spaces. You can read more about this below.

This month I am not opening up any new investments again, so am continuing to invest a total of £300. I am planning to increase my investments to another £100/month by the end of the year.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying a share of VWRL.

We’re still down, as you might expect during the current economic climate, but I consider this to be a good time to buy while the market is “cheap”.

This month I bought one more share of VWRL, taking my average cost down by about £0.61/share compared to last month’s figure.

100 EM Clean

In my last update I was roughly breaking even, but that’s changed to give me almost a £15 profit at the time of reporting. The end of June was a little different with almost a £15 loss, so this bucket of investments is very volatile right now.

100 EM Future

This month I added 12 shares of RBTX, while the total value dropped to a £53 loss by the end of June. Luckily since then this has rebounded to just a loss of £40.09 at the time of reporting.

Considering that the Institution of Mechanical Engineers just published survey results that suggest 84% of their members expect skills in automation, robotics and mechatronics to be the most important in their industry over the next ten years, and also that corporate investment in blockchain is growing exponentially, I do trust that there is significant growth yet to be seen by these stocks and that investing while they drop is likely to reward me long-term.

From next month I am likely to start putting more focus back on BCHS, as I have taken some away while the crypto crash has been on the radar.

Happening Recently

  • As part of my side business, I have started a new content-focused niche website and aiming for this to return a £1,000/month profit within the next 18-24 months, from an investment of less than 36 hours/month.

Upcoming Changes

  • Ongoing from last month: I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • Ongoing from last month: I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Postponed from last month: Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Ongoing from last month: Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 5: 1.25% down, £1200 invested

I am a little late putting this blog post together, again, due to being abroad for the past couple of weeks. As with last month, we’re still seeing a significant drop in the market due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

May marked a roughly £15 drop in the value of my total portfolio, after investing another £100 into each of three buckets of investments, bringing my total investment to £1200.

However, as I am reporting this a little late, my title shows the percentage change as of the end of May, but my figures below do include a larger drop as a result of the war, stock market crash and potential recession on our hands, where my portfolio has dropped by about £51 in total (almost 4.25%!) by the 12th of June.

This month I am not opening up any new investments again, so am continuing to invest a total of £300. I am working out my finances and should increase this either late this year or at the start of next year.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying a share of VWRL.

We’re still down, as you might expect during the current economic climate, but I consider this to be a good time to buy while the market is “cheap”.

100 EM Clean

This month I bought 6 shares of Clean Energy and just 1 of Clean Water, which I think was the right thing to do. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty because of the war and the energy reserves that Russia usually provides to the rest of the world, so it seems natural that governments and companies will be investing more into clean energy initiatives.

Not only that, but it now costs around £125 to fill my diesel’s fuel tank (it was around £65 when I first bought it in 2016…), and everyone’s utility bills have doubled recently, so the average person is likely to be thinking more about clean energy going forward as a way to reduce their costs.

Last month, I was almost £21 down, so being pretty much at the break-even point makes me very happy! Of course, Clean Energy’s price is now above my average cost, so it seems that it may be becoming more costly to invest over time.

100 EM Future

This month I added 5 shares of RBTX and just 1 of BCHS, both, unfortunately for the short term, ultimately resulting in a negative return of about -£36.

As the heading suggests, these are “future” oriented stocks, and I don’t expect to be making much of a return in the short term.

The cryptocurrency space is seeing a large scale crash, spurred on by the stock market crash, the war, recessions and other bad stuff, and the Automation and Robotics industry, I believe, is still hurting from a chip shortage and other delays due to the pandemic.

Happening Recently

  • I had a pay review at work and received a raise of 4.5%. Considering I had a 45% raise about 8 months (due to negotiating after receiving another offer), this is pretty decent.
  • I am awaiting some feedback about a share option at work, as I was previously offered a very tiny percentage, and am hopeful that I can get that number 3x’d.
  • My side business has picked up a bit and we’re making sales daily now, but revenues are still half of what they were last year.

Upcoming Changes

  • Ongoing from last month: I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • Ongoing from last month: I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Postponed from last month: Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Ongoing from last month: Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 4: 1.34% down, £900 invested

I am a little late putting this blog post together, and am seeing a significant drop in the market which appears to be spurred on by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

April marked a £12.10 drop in the value of my total portfolio, after investing another £100 into each of three buckets of investments, bringing my total investment to £900.

However, as I am reporting this a little late, my title shows the percentage change as of the end of April, but my figures below do include a larger drop as a result of the war, stock market crash and potential recession on our hands, where my portfolio has dropped by almost £70 in total (almost 7.5%!) by the 10th of May.

This month I am not opening up any new investments, so am continuing to invest a total of £300, but may increase that to £400 in total next month.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying a couple of shares of VUSA while also making use of some of the left-over cash.

Growth as of the 10th May, as you can see, has been negative, predominantly because of the recent stock market crash. Regardless, these typically hold very worthwhile companies to invest in, so I will continue the quest.

100 EM Clean

A little of each went into the pot this month, with 6 more shares of Global Clean Energy and 1 more of Global Clean Water.

Towards the start of April this was looking good, but that quickly took a tumble later in the month.

I do consider these to be good long-term investments and in a sense am happy to be gearing up to buy more shares at a discount towards the end of May

100 EM Future

This month I added 10 shares of RBTX, as a way to slightly keep away from my blockchain investments. Not that I consider those to be bad investments, but that I expected a larger drop in the blockchain industry – and it looks like I was roughly right – as a related impact of the war.

For next month, I will likely buy a share of BCHS and 1-2 of RBTX.

Happening Recently

  • It is pay-review season at work, however, as I received a massive 45% increase last year it is looking as though my new pay rise may be just a couple of percent – or potentially even zero
  • I am being offered a share option which would vest if the company were to sell, but this is not a significant number (a few months of work)
  • My side business is slowly starting to pick up again, but not exceeding £500/month revenue at the moment. We expect slow months due to being out of the regular season but this is still uncommonly low compared to the last few years.
  • I am working towards establishing myself as a course creator in my main industry (of which I have 16 years experience) and will be looking to market several courses at the £500-1000 mark, and a few smaller ones at the £50-250 mark, later this year. My aim will be a regular income of at least £1,000 per month within 6-12 months.
    • I do have to consider that while it is definitely possible to do this at low-cost, I do expect to have to invest in advertising as a means to test market-fit, and so I am going to estimate that I’ll need to make at least a £5k investment at least to begin with in the next year, which would then scale upwards if/when making sales

Upcoming Changes

  • Ongoing from last month: I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • Ongoing from last month: I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Postponed from last month: Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Ongoing from last month: Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 3: 3.8% up, £600 invested

This month I’ve opened up my 100 EM Future fund, adding both Invesco Coinshares Global Blockchain (BCHS) and iShares Automation & Robotics (RBTX) to my portfolio.

As this is month #3, I’ve invested a total of £600, and am currently seeing a return of ~£23, or about 3.8% up. To see my portfolio updated daily, see my portfolio page.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying 1 more share of VWRL at £88.68, leaving £41.91 in cash for next month. This is going well, as last month we were at a return of -£1.75.

Next month, I should be able to add in a couple of shares of the S&P 500 (VUSA), but VWRL as I have bought so far is costly enough to mean I can only buy one of one or the other each month.

Growth so far is good, as this is a very broad set of investments that are going into highly valued companies.

100 EM Clean

I added another 6 shares of Clean Energy and 1 share of Clean Water, leaving £1.26 left over as cash. Once again, last month we were down by £1.68 immediately, but we’re almost up by £10 (~5%) in this bucket of investments.

I do think that this could be performing well because of the situation with Russia and Ukraine, where Russia supplies a large amount of oil to the west and the west is finding alternative sources of energy to mitigate any issues that arise.

Long term, that’s good, because it brings more attention to the clean energy debate, and thus, the companies I’ve invested in which are working towards a more sustainable future.

I do believe this to be one of my most valuable buckets of investments for the future.

100 EM Future

I started this bucket of investments with Invesco Coinshares Global Blockchain (BCHS) and iShares Automation & Robotics (RBTX), keeping £1.99 over for next month.

This is investing in companies that are investing in both blockchain and robotics and automated machinery, which seems like a solid choice to me. If you have exposure to either of these fields, you would know that the number of people being hired to build these industries is incredibly high, but that it is still relatively early in the industry lifecycle.

I expect slow, but very good growth.

Happening Recently

  • My side business has slowed down a lot recently, due it it being out of our main seasonal selling periods, pulling in just £250 in the past month. We will need to restock our products in June/July in time for the black friday / Christmas period, which may cost around £5,000, with a projected return of £15,000.
  • I’ve increased my pension contributions again, from 7% to 9%. A little earlier than expected (as I only increased it last month), but I will give it 3 months now to get used to the new take-home pay before I increase it again.
  • I’ve almost managed to max-out my LISA (lifetime ISA), but I had hoped to be able to max it out completely. A business trip to the US with work set me back a little and I’ll just about miss out on maxing this out by about £500.

Upcoming Changes

  • I may look at altering the VS FTSE100 comparison for my charts, as I don’t think the FTSE100 return is completely accurate as a comparison here.
    • Or, I may look at changing the comparison to something else.
  • I may look into getting details about my pension on here, so that I can also track that. I think that may be a little more difficult as I don’t have manual control over that, so it may be a little less accurate than my ISA portfolio.
  • Next month I will be opening up 100 EM Global, a new bucket of investments that will focus on ETFs that invest in global companies that have good and strong growth prospects.
  • Just in the short term, I may slow down some of my investments so that I don’t open up any new investments while I aim to pay off debts at a faster rate (I will continue to invest £100/month into each of the above, however). Doing this will decrease my credit utilisation which should benefit me when I can use my LISA towards a deposit for a house.

Month 2: ~1% down, £300 invested

This month I’ve opened up my 100 EM Clean fund, adding both iShares Global Clean Energy and iShares Global Clean Water to my portfolio.

As this is month #2, I’ve invested a total of £300, and am currently seeing a return of -£3.43, or about -1%. To see my portfolio updated daily, see my portfolio page.

About my investments:

Every month I use Freetrade to invest £100 into each of several buckets of investments. If you’re a new customer and are referred to them (you can join here), you’ll also get a free, random share in a company or other fund, worth between £3 and £200.

Portfolio so far

100 EM Core

I added another £100 into this bucket of investments, buying 1 more share of VWRL at £84.67, leaving £30.59 in cash for next month.

100 EM Clean

I started off my Clean portfolio with 6 shares of Clean Energy and 1 share of Clean Water, leaving £3.13 left over as cash.

Happening Recently

  • February was a relatively normal and slow month really
  • No further progress on the freelance side of things
  • My side business pulled in ~£500, of which our profit margin is around 40%, and we’re in the process of saving up for our next order of stock probably in May/June
  • Maxing out my LISA should be just about doable by my next payday
  • I’ve increased my pension contributions from 5% to 7%, and will be increasing that every 2-3 months until it’s about 15%, giving me chance to get used to the slow drop in wages

A new beginning

It’s the 25th of January and finally time to kick-start this project again, now I’ve had my first pay day of the year and have a few hours spare to get writing.

At 100 Every Month, I’ll be blogging about my investments and ambitions to achieve FI/RE – the ability to become financially independent and retire early.

This blog, going forward, will focus on a few main areas;

  • How you can invest up to £100/month into a variety of different “buckets” of investments
  • My journey to achieve FI/RE
  • Personal finance advice from me, who has spent 6 years working for one of the UK’s largest money-saving websites

How my £100/month strategy works:

For the next few months, I’m going to be tapering up my investments so that in month 1 (this month), I invest in just one of my portfolio buckets, invest in 2 next month, 3 the month after and so on until I can ensure that I can contribute to each one every single month.

But, there’s a problem.

With UK shares I can only buy whole shares, so if the value of one share goes above £100, I won’t be able to buy one whole share that month – consequently, if the share price is under £100 then I may have spare cash left over.

I can solve this by separating out both Shares and Cash, and invest up to £1,200 in any particular bucket of investments each year.

Investment buckets are simply my way of grouping shares, where I can split my £100/month investment into any proportion of that bucket’s investments.

For example, as part of my 100 EM Core bucket, I can invest up to £1,200/year in VWRL and/or VUSA. To buy one share of each would currently cost around £140, so I simply cannot buy both every single month. I may instead buy one share of VWRL at £80 and reserve the cash for the following month when I can then buy two shares of VUSA for £120.

This month’s investment:
I’ve invested £100 into Freetrade for one share of VWRL at £84.74.

You can check out my portfolio here to see how this is performing – it will update every evening and compare against the FTSE100.

Next month, I’ll be investing £100 into each of 2 buckets rather than just one.

Now, let’s just have a quick overview of my situation:

  • 31 years old
  • Renting at £700/month, hoping to buy with partner in next ~2 years
  • £65,000 pre-tax earnings
    • ~£3,600 take-home/month
    • Future pay rises are likely to be very minimal unless I jump company
  • 7% pension contribution by myself (4% by my employer)
    • Pension contributions increasing to 15% by myself in next 12 months
  • ~£20,000 debt, mostly on 0% credit cards
    • Two large medical procedures in the last 2 years
  • Medical costs of ~£200/month
  • Other costs of up to £800/month
  • Maxing out LISA each year from now
  • Side business generating at least £2,000/year profit that I can withdraw
  • Some investments in Cryptocurrencies which are too volatile to provide a value for
  • Savings rate, after paying off debt in next ~12-15 months, should be at least 50%
    • Current savings rate is around 8-10%

Current Investments, suffering due to repaying debt:

  • £1,100 in S&S ISA through Freetrade
  • £2,100 in Cash LISA through Moneybox

So, when can I retire?

According to Networthify, I should be able to retire in about 20 years from when I have fully paid off my debt at the current rate. After increasing my pension contributions over the next year, this may increase to about 22 years. so I will need to make some updates as my journey to repay my debt has ended.

Happening recently:

  • I was in talks with a freelance client that I was very confident about, which has unfortunately led to me being ghosted. I had anticipated a take-home of at least £12,000/year from this. It’s quite unfortunate as I have had very good relations with this company’s staff and community for about 6 years online.
  • I have a call coming up with another company which may lead to freelance work, however I am not hoping for much.
  • My side-business had its best month ever in December and pulled in at least £1,000 of profit (about 40% profit margins), although this is split between myself, my business partner and reinvesting into new stock.
  • The current market conditions are quite volatile, with many stocks and crypto dropping significantly. My crypto holdings have been anywhere between “a small car” and “a small house” and are currently going down. I have no intent to sell.

Taking 100 Every Month in a new direction

Like many people, I started this blog with good intentions and expected to be keeping it up to date at least once per month.

As always, things change, things get in the way and some of the things we plan just don’t work out.

Earlier this year I had a large medical payment to make, and have recently made another large medical payment, both using credit, while my priority has been to pay those off instead of investing.

During the year, I’ve learned more about investing and about what my focuses should be. Particularly as I previously was buying lots of individual stocks and very few ETFs.

I have also recently managed to increase my salary by another 42% this year, which certainly helps, allowing me to double my pension contributions and giving me another £500/month which can go straight into my ISA.

I’m intending to take this blog in a new direction, and now instead of simply investing £100/month into lazily-picked shares, I will instead be putting up to £100/month into several different buckets of investments, showing the return from those.

In cases where I can only buy one whole share (as with the UK market) but that share price is above £100, I will work this out to come under £1,200/year over the whole year.

So, to unveil my new monthly investment portfolio(s);

100 EM Core:

  1. Vanguard FTSE All World – VWRL
  2. Vanguard S&P 500 – VUSA

Additional possible investments:

100 EM Clean:

  1. iShares Global Clean Energy – INRG
  2. iShares Global Clean Water – IH2O

100 EM Future:

  1. Global Blockchain – BCHS
  2. iShares Robotics – RBTX

100 EM Global

  1. iShares MSCI World – IWDG
  2. iShares Momentum Factor – IWFM
  3. iShares MSCI World Quality – IWFQ
  4. iShares MSCI EM – EMIM

100 EM Technology

  1. iShares Digitalisation – DGIT
  2. iShares Nasdaq 100 – CNX1

100 EM Small

  1. BlackRock Smaller Companies – BRSC
  2. iShares USA Momentum – IUMF

100 EM Crypto

  1. Various cryptocurrencies with a focus on ETH and MATIC

100 EM Strategy

  1. Individual shares picked using investment strategy tools such as OUTPRFRM and TYKR

Ready, set…

For the sake of consistency and ease of tracking, I will be re-starting my journey here from January 2022. In the meantime I will be publishing more details about investing in general and about FI/RE, which is something I’ve been very interested in for a while.

The 8-Step Guide to Building Your First Emergency Fund

Building your first emergency fund is crucial if you want to be financially secure. It is not possible to predict when financial emergencies will occur, but if you have an emergency fund, you won’t have to worry about money. With that in mind, here is an 8-step guide on what it is and how to build your first emergency fund.

What is an emergency fund?


An emergency fund is an amount of money set aside for unexpected expenses. It should be used to pay for unexpected situations such as medical emergencies, car problems, home repairs, among others, and/or for all of your living expenses in the event that you are made redundant from your job.

People tend to think of an emergency fund as something they have to painstakingly build. In reality, you can build your emergency fund by saving up the little money you have left over after paying your bills and other expenses.

Why is it important to have an emergency fund?


The main reason why you need an emergency fund is to save yourself from financial disasters, emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances.  These kinds of events can be really stressful and can affect your finances in a very bad way.

If you don’t have any savings, you will have to resort to various kinds of loans or might even have to borrow money from your family just to get by.  

On the other hand, if you have an emergency fund, you will be able to handle these kinds of situations very easily. You can just easily take out some money from your emergency fund if you have to.  

You will also be able to enjoy more peace of mind since you will know that you have a financial safety net in case anything happens.

How much money should be in my emergency fund?


Most of us would recommend somewhere between 3-12 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund.

It’s a case of “the more the better”, so aim to build up 12 months’ worth in total, as this would allow you to ‘get by’ without any income for a full year if you need to.

For instance, let’s say that your take-home pay after all taxes is £2,000, yet your average expenditure is £1,000 per month – that covers your accommodation, bills, basic living costs including food and water, and various other small costs that you can’t really live without.

In this scenario, each month of pay will pay for two months’ worth of living expenses, so you can build a 12-month emergency fund of £12,000 in 12 months.

What are the most common emergencies?


The most common emergencies are: medical emergencies, car breakdowns, car accidents, fires, floods, thefts and redundancies.


Any one of these can cost hundreds or thousands and as most people don’t have more than a month of expenses immediately available to them while many live paycheck to paycheck, even the smallest emergency can have a big impact on your finances.

How can I save up for my emergency fund?

The first step to building your emergency fund is to look at your expenses and see what areas you can reduce by asking yourself a number of questions such as;

  • Do you spend too much on utility bills and are you able to reduce these somehow?
  • Do you spend a lot on food and groceries and can you swap expenses brands for supermarket’s own-brand versions, or could you shop somewhere cheaper?
  • Do you smoke, drink alcohol or have another regular habit that is expensive and can you reduce those or completely cut them out?
  • Do you have credit card debt and can you use a 0% balance transfer to move that to another card with minimal costs?
  • Do you spend money on fuel for lots of short journeys where you could walk or ride a bike instead?

I perform this exercise at least once per year and always find something that I can work on to reduce my expenses.

The second step to building your emergency fund is to open a savings account and set up an automatic transfer from your current account to go through after you receive your pay each month. This way, you won’t even see the money in your account and thus are less likely to spend so much.

The amount you set up to automatically transfer to your savings account is an amount that you are guaranteed to have spare each month. So if your take-home is £2,000, your average monthly expenses are £1,000, you might want to automatically transfer £500-800/month just so that you have a little left over in case of an unforeseen last-second expense, then at the end of the month simply manually transfer anything you have left.

What are some great places to save my money?

The purpose of the budget is for it to be easily and quickly accessible, which means that you don’t want to invest it in an asset that you would then have to sell before being able to access the money.

A simple savings account with your bank will be enough for most of your emergency budget and is almost immediately available – simply login to your bank and move the money from your savings account to your current account almost instantly.

Premium Bonds and Cash ISAs are good options to store some of your emergency fund, but you should be aware that the money isn’t immediately available. Premium bonds may take up to two weeks while cash ISAs may only take 1-3 days for the money to reach your bank account.

Keep some of your budget in cash, in case you have an in-person expense to pay and are in the coincidental situation of being unable to access your bank account (such as if you misplaced your debit card).

For myself, this is where I store my 12 month emergency fund:

  • 6 months’ worth in a savings account
  • 3 months’ worth in premium bonds
  • 2 months’ worth in cash ISAs
  • 1 months’ worth in cash

How can I keep track of my expenses?

I simply use Excel or Google Sheets.

All you really need to do is look back over your bank statements, record your spending into a spreadsheet and categorise them where you can.
For instance, based on the prior 12 months of spending I can give myself a £200/month food budget, which means I expect to spend up to that much but no more.

I can total together the spending at several different supermarkets throughout the month and see how that compares to my £200/month budget for food, and record how much I spent on that category of expenses in each month.

What you want to be able to do is look back at previous months and easily see that you spent X on food, Y on utilities and Z on entertainment, which then allows you to see which categories of expenses are having the largest impact on your finances and thus which ones to work on reducing.

If you don’t fancy handling everything yourself in a spreadsheet, you can also use the following budgeting apps: YNAB and Mint.

Your emergency budget in 8 steps

  1. Calculate your emergency budget savings goal
    • Determine what your necessary living expenses are per month and multiply by twelve to get your emergency budget savings goal
  2. Review your spending habits and make alterations
    • Look over your bank statements for the last year and categorise all expenses for each month, then look for ways that you can reduce your spending in each category
  3. Reduce debt payments
    • If you have credit card debt, move this into a 0% account using a 0% balance transfer, giving you a period of time (usually 12-24 months) with no interest to pay and thus lower repayments
  4. Start saving into a savings account
    • Set up an automatic transfer from your current account to your savings account to happen after you receive your monthly salary
    • You may want to save 50% of your available cash in a savings account
  5. Open a cash ISA account
    • Find the highest-interest cash ISA that’s available, open an account and start saving
    • You may want to save 15% of your available cash in a cash ISA
  6. Open a premium bonds account with NS&I
    • You may want to save 25% of your available cash in premium bonds
  7. Monitor your spending habits regularly
    • Review your spending each month or when possible to make sure you’re on the right track to minimising your spending and maximising your savings
  8. Invest the excess
    • Once you have built up your emergency fund, funnel the rest of your available funds into investments, and for times when you have to use your emergency fund, focus on rebuilding it

Conclusion: Life is unpredictable, but with an emergency fund you can feel safe about your financial situation.

Your emergency fund is your safety net. It’s there for you if something goes wrong. It’s there for you if you lose your job, have a major car repair, are sick longer than expected, have a major appliance break, or any other unexpected expense. A true emergency fund can protect your finances from life’s unexpected events. I hope this blog post has helped you to improve your financial situation. If you have any other questions or concerns about building your first emergency fund, please feel free to comment below.