Investment strategy, Just for fun, Shares

The thrill of a free share: Starting my mini share portfolio

So, I decided to set up a fun share portfolio. I’d read Weenie’s recommendation a while back of Freetrade, a start-up company which offers free share dealing. With some form of lockdown likely to last a good while, I thought this was a good a time as any to explore the stockmarket directly. Plus, Freetrade offer a free share worth £3-£200 when you open an account with them (ooh)!

Bounty, Candy Bar, Chocolate, Coconut, sweetness, delicious, sweet ...
Fun size stock photo… Tempting?

So while awaiting my free share, I made sure I set up some rules for myself!

1. Invest a max of £100 pcm (don’t have to actually invest monthly)
2. Don’t invest blind (do at least a little research; I should be able to explain why I bought it)
3. Buy shares of individual companies, not ETFs – already got indices covered!

Needless to say, none of this constitutes a financial recommendation or advice. I am clearly no expert, and if you are only fuzzily familiar with what the stock market actually is, this is a pretty good primer. I admit my free time’s pretty tight at the moment, so my research behind the company is not the most thorough, which is why it’s good that the stakes are low! I can deal with losing £100. Yet this mini portfolio still has the capacity over time to grow.

So, given my general philosophy toward passive tracking of the stock market and having my fingers burnt earlier in life, you may ask why I’m even attempting to stock pick! Here’s my why.

1. Divert tinkering fingers from my main FI stash
2. Improve my understanding of shares, the stock market, and my comfort with (a little) risk
3. Have fun with it!
4. See if my holdings grow

Yes, during these restless times economically, #1 is a biggie. For me anyway. In meditation, it is called the monkey mind. Being overly occupied with how much your index funds are falling, part recovering and falling etc. and brain being on ‘do’ mode. You get the picture!

So, I stuck £100 in my shiny new Freetrade account and awaited my free share (that monkey mind again!), which arrived 2 days ago…

Yay, not a £300 share, but an ETF worth £4.78.

Wellll, what I lacked in winnings I won on ethical high ground..?! It seems they favour giving away ETF shares? Anyway, the share gave me food for thought, as there seems to have been a sharpened focus on renewable energy especially since the Coronavirus outbreak reached west. So perhaps another goal is to buy into initiatives we value.

Over the last week, I invested in a tiny, tiny fraction in 2 other companies, so I am now the proud owner of a budding mini share portfolio! Does this class as a Lockdown Misadventure?! 😀 I invested as follows:

  • B&M Retail Value (15 shares) £48.60
  • GlaxoSmithKline (3 shares) £50.43
  • iShares Global Clean Energy (1 free share worth £4.78)

So that’s this month done for me! I feel I must remind readers again that my choices are pretty speculative and not based on any special insight. 🙂

And how have I found the Freetrade app so far?

On the plus side, simple and easy to use, and of course, trades are free and an ISA is £3 pm. If you want Vanguard funds, many are covered here, e.g. FTSE All World, S&P 500. They will also be offering fractional shares of US stocks later this year, which you can read about here. This is good if you’d like to invest in the likes of Alphabet (Google) or Amazon, which are currently beyond my portfolio capacity at $1271.17 and $2399.34 respectively per share as I write!

On the minus side, I was surprised that the selection of shares is not as wide as I thought it’d be (though they say they are adding all the time). I looked for a few stocks I couldn’t find. It’s also only useful for UK and US shares. Then again, it IS free. I haven’t compared it with other similar services, but for my mini share portfolio, so far I’m pretty happy with it. You can contact me if you’d like a referral link so we both get a free share. Or Weenie over at Quietly Saving by clicking her link. 🙂

So my monthly updates will now include a few words about how I’m getting on with this if you’re interested to follow. The firelite total stock experiment (ftse 100pm), so to speak! A very small bells and whistles bit toward my diversifying FI stash.


Thanks for reading. If you have a similar portfolio, I’d love to hear your experiences. If you use a different free or very low cost share dealing app that you think is better, I’d like to hear about that too. Or perhaps you think this is a bad idea during these turbulent times? Will I be able to stick to my rules?

7 thoughts on “The thrill of a free share: Starting my mini share portfolio”

  1. I jumped on the Freetrade wagon sometime ago- referred 5 friends and ended up with about £30~ worth of shared. I got bored of the rather simple interface rather quickly. Though, for small amounts of dealing/investing- it’s a pretty sweet deal and has gotten better as time goes on. Glad that it is adding some competition to some providers that are still charging £10 a trade etc!


    1. Yeah, for me it’s pretty revolutionary to buy shares so fast and for free, since it was once £30 to buy shares! You’d just never do it for small amounts.

      I’d been deterred from sharedealing apps previously as wasn’t sure I could trust myself not to lose too much time on shares or take it too far. Think I’m okay now though as simply gotta think of more than myself.

      Great that you got £30 from referrals. Can’t imagine anyone I know being keen on joining before passing judgement on my even asking them!

      Yeah, the app’s simplicity is maybe too basic for some, like you say. I don’t intend to dabble in shares any more than this though as not looking to really grow my savings in this way. Thanks for your comment. 🙂


  2. Yay for your mini share portfolio! 🙂 Your post made me smile because firstly you gave me a free share but also, I know exactly how happy/giddy you felt because I felt the same when I opened my Freetrade account!

    When fractional shares come in, I’m thinking of starting a “£20 Portfolio” where I invest just £20 in the likes of Google, Amazon etc. Not sure how viable this will be but we’ll see.

    I’m fine with the app’s simplicity – personally, I don’t need any more complexity or detail on my phone. However, it does mean that to do any proper research, I need to check out other websites but I’m fine with that.

    I convinced my sister to try it and she loves it and has turned into quite the trader these last couple of months, buying and selling. I’m still sticking to my buying and holding!

    Anyway, I look forward to reading your updates on this.


    1. Thanks, Weenie! Hmm, interesting thought re fractional shares. Let’s see! I agree about doing own research. Fine with that given it’s free. Do you ever end up buying more of a free share?

      Was thinking of mentioning to family too but feels inappropriate as all faced with job uncertainty in some form currently. I guess for some it becomes a hobby. For me the tricky bit is not spending too much time on it while still finding it fun and engaging. Mr Firelite is not enamoured by my suggesting he opened an account and just stuck a quid in for a free share, lol.


      1. “Do you ever end up buying more of a free share?”

        Funnily enough, I was at some point also rewarded with a free share of IShares Global Clean Energy ETF and I have gone on to purchase more of the ETF in my ISA and continue to add to it along with my other investments.

        Haha, let’s hope Mr Firelite changes his mind – for £1 ‘risk’, he might end up with a share in Tesla or Microsoft!


      2. That’s funny, Weenie, that’s what I was considering to buy more of! Clearly this is not a random draw! :p

        I wouldn’t put my bets on Mr Firelite changing his mind about very much. I used up all my arm twisting credit in convincing him to get married and have a child lol!

        Liked by 1 person

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