August 2021 Dividend Income And Expenses


Summer always speeds by faster than I’d like.  It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of moment here in the Pacific Northwest.  Owing largely to our very short summers.  We really only get 3 months of good weather here a year — June, July, and August.

It’s too bad summer ends so quickly — The kids just love being outdoors, and frankly it’s good for them to stretch their legs and get a little sunshine.

stick throwers
They might complain at first (they’d rather be playing video games), but give ’em a few sticks and their imaginations take over.

August sped by incredibly quickly here in the Tako household, as we busied ourselves with back to school shopping, and as many dry bike rides as we could fit into a month.

It was a great summer, but it’s now drawing to a close.  I will miss it.

The rain and miserable weather will return very soon, so I busied myself with as many home maintenance tasks as I could manage in August — toilet repairs, deck repairs, painting, landscaping, and resealing the windows around our home, and so on!  And I’m still not done!

The end of summer is always a race to get everything done before the rain begins, but did it rain dividends in August?  Read on to find out!

 

Dividend Income In August

Dividends from our taxable portfolio amounted to $309 in August.  This was not a record breaking month by any means, but I remind myself that “every dollar counts”, especially when they’re dollars I don’t have to work for!

Here’s the breakdown of our 2021 dividend income:

dividends August 2021

As you can see in the table above, we see large swings in dividend income from month-to-month.  This is entirely normal, due to the payout schedule of the stocks and funds we own.  Some months our passive income stream is a veritable river of money, other months it’s just a trickle of cash.

Most dividend payments occur quarterly, with the bulk of dividend payments arriving in March, June, September, and November.  This means 8 out of 12 months of the year are ‘dry’ months for dividend income (like August).  It’s mostly ‘crickets’ for those months, and then come the ‘big’ months like June — when the floodgates finally open and all that sweet dividend cash comes gushing in.

To deal with the lull of payments during the dry months, we keep a reasonable cash balance (roughly 6 months worth of expenses) in a checking account.

 

August Expenses

Expenses in August totaled $4,669.  This was a pretty expensive month for us, as we’ve been averaging around $4,000 per month in 2021.

Really, it was just a couple of large (car-related) expenses that pushed us over the $4k per month territory.  That, and a few kid-related activities really blew-out the “Other” category this month.

Here’s the breakdown of expenses by category:

expenses August 2021

 

Groceries

Grocery spending in August was a reasonable $485.  Normally we spend around $500 per month, so groceries were still affordable in August.  That said, I’m concerned about our growing food expenses.  Food inflation is very real, despite the noticeable lack of increase in our monthly grocery total.

What you don’t see in that number is lots of effort to keep our grocery costs low.  I’ve been working hard at it.  So far, I’ve been able to hold the line on grocery spending at $500, but it’s definitely getting harder.  I’ve had to be much more creative and careful about shopping, and looking for sale items.

Are we down to eating rice and beans every night?  Hardly!  Our plates continue to be filled with plenty of delicious food despite the inflation!

What kind of delicious food, you ask?

Take for example this dish called “hayashi rice”.  It’s basically a Japanese version of “beef stew” over rice.  Simple, but delicious!:

hayashi rice

Surprisingly, it was the only beef dish we ate all month!  All other meals were made with other proteins — Like this delicious chicken and shrimp Pho.  (You can find my recipe for this dish here)

pho

Many meals in August were about maximizing our use of sale items, like these brussels sprouts (which were on sale) with bacon:

bacon and brussel sprouts

Other meals were purely about making things we enjoy, like these fresh Vietnamese spring rolls!  It’s one of my favorite dishes!

spring rolls

Salads were also frequently on our table in August, owing primarily to the abundance of fresh cucumbers from our garden, and fresh tomatoes from a friend.

All those fresh veggies made this panko fried chicken salad a delightfully frugal meal!

panko breaded chicken salad

Of course, not wasting food is one of the keys to keeping your food budget low.  This tofu stir-fry is a good example of how we avoid food waste.  Just grab all the odds and ends from the fridge, add a little sauce, and then stir-fried in a wok!  It turns into a cheap but delicious meal!

tofu stirfry

Japanese cuisine favorites were also plentiful on our table in August — like this delicious Okonomiyaki!  A Japanese classic we eat at home a lot!

okonomiyaki

Clearly we’re not starving on $485 a month, but it’s definitely been harder to keep our food budget low.  I won’t be surprised if we blow past our $500 per month average later this year.

 

Fuel

Fuel spending was a very normal $104 in August.  Under the Covid-19 era, our fuel spending has been averaging around $100 per month, so August’s fuel spending was inline with that amount.

We don’t do a ton of daily driving, but most days typically have a small errand that involves less than 15 miles of driving.  That, and the occasional visit to the grocery store add-up to two or three fill-ups per month.

packing for road trip
We didn’t do a lot of road trips this year, so fuel spending has been surprisingly low despite the high fuel prices.

 

Mortgage

As usual, our largest single monthly expense is our home mortgage.  This amounted to $2,357 in August.  This includes interest, principal, insurance, and taxes.  If this seems like a lot of money, please remember that we live in a very HCOL (high-cost of living) area.

Real estate is extremely expensive here.  Most homes in our area sell for over $1 million dollars!

While technically we could pay-off our remaining mortgage at any time, we’ve chosen to retain all that money and hunt for better investments instead.

So far, this has proven to be a very effective strategy.

 

Internet

Home internet expense for the month was $45.  We get a ton of value out of our 100Mbit cable internet service from Comcast, so I’m actually quite pleased with the performance of our internet package.

While there are certainly faster and slower packages available, most of these don’t make a lot of sense for our household.  Slower and cheaper packages would be too bandwidth limited for our multi-video conferencing household, and faster packages would just be completely unnecessary.

 

Mobile Phones

Mobile phone spending in August came to $0.  Yep, zero dollars again!  This might come as a complete shock to people who are used to spending $60 (or more) for phone service every month, but it is possible to spend $0.

Why zero?

We pre-pay our mobile phone service, and pay only once a year.  This happened back in May of 2021, and amounted to $34.50 for two phones.  This amount usually lasts us the entire year because we don’t talk on the phone a lot, and have no need for an expensive texting or data plan.

Most of the time when I need to make a call, I simply use Google Voice.  It gets the job done for free.

If you’re working from home and spending 95% of your time in a place with free wifi, do you really need a mobile data plan? We’re living proof that you don’t need it!

 

Utilities

Utility spending was $0 in August.  This ultra-low cost month is likely due to the timing of when our bills arrive, and the fact we prepaid our electricity and gas bill to meet some spending requirements on a new credit card.

Don’t worry, I don’t expect this low utility spending to continue in the future.  This was simply a timing fluke, and September should have plenty of utility expenses for us to pay!

 

Insurance

Insurance costs amounted to $0 in August.  This amount is completely normal for us!  Our insurance expenses typically occur once per year in October, when we pay our annual car insurance bill.

We prefer to pay very large once-a-year insurance premiums due to the slightly lower cost (given by our insurance company) when paying this way.  One lump sum ends-up being cheaper, so why not do it that way?

(For the curious: We do have home-owners insurance.  It’s included in our mortgage, but I’m super lazy, and I don’t break that number out here in the insurance section.)

 

Other

Other spending in August was $1,677.  Clearly that’s an unusually large amount of “other” spending.  Over half of this amount was entirely due to car expenses.  Mrs. Tako’s car needed new tires, and my car needed a little maintenance too.

Thankfully these care expenses are very irregular purchases, and we shouldn’t need any car work done for a very long time.

Here’s the breakdown of all the major “other” items in August:

  • $419 – Kid’s soccer and swimming lessons.
  • $695 – New tires for Mrs. Tako’s car.
  • $310 – Minor maintenance work on my car.
  • $12 – School supplies.
  • $81 – Dinner out with friends. (Yep, we ate out!  Hell must have froze over.)
  • $120 – Home maintenance and repair supplies from Amazon.
  • $28 – Leaky toilet repair supplies from Home Depot.
  • $12 – 5 gallon propane tank refill.

 

Cumulative Expenses For 2021

For the year so far, the Tako family has spent a combined $33,322.  That’s an average spend of $4,165 per month, which is slightly above our average monthly dividend income.  Oops!  We spent too much!

net expenses August 2021

Normally spending more than your income doesn’t sound like a smart idea, but this slight discrepancy will be resolved in September when the river of dividends starts flowing again.

For the entire year, I’m projecting we’ll earn a total of $62k in dividend income, and our annual expenses will probably arrive at $56k.  This is an estimate of course… things don’t always go as planned.

For example: We might need to replace our water-heater before year-end, and there are several other home-maintenance projects I might try to complete before the end of 2021.  These unusual (and large) expenses could easily blow-up my budget estimates for the year.

That’s OK though, by spending less than our projected income we can breath-easy when the unpredictable expenses arrive.  I might not be able to predict the future, but I try to control the damage by having a big buffer in our budget.

 

August 2021 Investing Update

For the month of August, I made two important changes to our portfolio — I sold my shares in Points International Ltd. (PCOM) and Amgen (AMGN). As a result, I realized a small ($3k) profit for each transaction.

Both stocks are former growth stocks that probably won’t be doing a lot of growing in the near future.  Yet both stocks are still trading at growth stock prices!  It seemed like a good time to safely exit with a profit.

The future is impossible to predict of course, so I might have to eat my own words about selling.  Thankfully, I’m OK with that.  These were only small investments, and I’m happy I made a decent profit.  Time to move-on to something else with better prospects.

It’s certainly unusual for me to sell a stock this quickly (especially after I just wrote a post extolling the virtues of long-term holding) but reality changed very quickly.  My investment thesis needed to change too.

Such is life.  I never make a stock purchase wanting to sell, but conditions are always changing.  I have to be mindful of that change, and ready to take action when I sniff out a lack of compounding in the air.

That’s it for August!  Thanks for reading everyone!

 

[Image Credit: Flickr]

9 thoughts on “August 2021 Dividend Income And Expenses

  • September 12, 2021 at 4:45 AM
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    Some nice summary on grocery buying, mortgage – investment strategies and do it yourself savings … will have to look into phone – internet saving ideas as we head home from overseas to Canada in my semi?-retirement mode this winter – you have 9 months of rainy weather? … we will first reside around southern Lake Huron area with pretty good summer, fall, and spring weather – little bit of snow in the winter etc …. maybe you should investigate Port Huron – beaches and similar weather to here … no sharks or jellyfish here though 🙂 … after settling in here – we may go house hunting in that million dollar? range like yourself in the GTA or GVA in a year or two … will have to review your dividend ideas – not sure if an octopus can live in fresh water though ?

    Reply
  • September 12, 2021 at 7:00 AM
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    Congrats on another great month!

    Glad you were able to enjoy the last of summer, and I’m pretty envious of your summer weather (June – August are our worst 3 months here in AZ). If we didn’t have a little kiddo in school, I think we’d be all about following the good weather around during the year.

    It’s hard watching the grocery store prices creep up. But your food is looking great, especially that hayashi rice (yum).

    Hope you get another few weeks of summer weather to enjoy, and best of luck with the new school year.
    Mrs Richfrugallife recently posted…Making the Transition to Early Retirement: Our 5 Year Plan

    Reply
  • September 12, 2021 at 9:39 AM
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    +1 internet points for pix of delicious food! I’m a terrible cook and mostly eat out. I need to take some classes so I can eat like a cephalopod!
    Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Sunday Punday

    Reply
  • September 13, 2021 at 7:32 AM
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    Great pictures of food, as usual. I’ll try the beef stew soon. That sounds like a nice winter dish… I’m not looking forward to the rain either.
    I’ll check out Tello. Mrs. RB40 needs a new plan. Thanks.
    Joe recently posted…August 2021 Goals & Financial Update

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  • September 13, 2021 at 7:42 AM
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    Enjoy your passive income and expense updates, nice breakdowns. Such massive aggregated dividend income amount, very motivating to see.
    Also interesting changes to your portfolio.
    All the best
    SavyFox recently posted…Sometimes dividend cuts are good signs

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  • September 13, 2021 at 9:21 AM
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    Good month, Mr. Tako! The food looks delicious as always, especially the chicken and shrimp Pho and the Okonomiyaki (I’ve never heard of that one!).

    I’m always intrigued by your phone plan (or lack of!). I don’t think I could jump ship completely like that but it does seem like WiFi is available almost everywhere now. We were on Total Wireless before we came to Panama which worked very well. However, I’m going to start digging into some other less expensive MVNOs for when we get back like Mint or Tello.

    Have a great week!
    Jim @ Route to Retire recently posted…Wow, Big Changes for Tourists Visiting Panama!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2021 at 12:18 PM
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    A low month but you had some very high dividend income months too. Overall, very solid dividend income you got Mr. Tako.

    Okonomiyaki looks amazing. We tried to make okonomiyaki but perhaps didn’t have all the correct materials (we used udon noodles rather than soba noodles). Looks like you made Osaka style okonomiyaki? We prefer Hiroshima style. 🙂
    Tawcan recently posted…Dividend Income – August 2021 update

    Reply
  • September 20, 2021 at 10:23 AM
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    Wow, your dividend income is quite impressive Mr Tako!

    The food looks delicious as well, especially the spring rolls.

    Was wondering if the dividend income is all through stocks, or does it include other dividend-paying assets like real estate/p2p lending, etc?

    Reply
    • September 20, 2021 at 12:45 PM
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      There’s some REIT income in there as well as some minor levels of interest income from money markets (but it’s extremely minor amounts).

      Reply

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