Another month is done, and 2022 is over! It’s that time of year again — the final accounting of dividends and spending in 2022!
Believe it or not, I’ve been doing these posts for years now, and December is almost always the most interesting month to look at. In a normal year, December has the biggest dividends, and the biggest spending!
This year (2022) turned out a little different however. We received a GIANT special dividend in June, as well as exceptionally high spending in summer due to our move. Those two items really blew-out our spending in 2022, as well as our dividend income.
So how did 2022 go? Despite having a down-market year, our dividend income was excellent! That’s good enough to put me in the holiday spirit!
Dividend Income In December
In 2022, we collected $89,732 in dividend income. Just a hair short of $90k in passive income! December alone accounted for $18,095! That’s amazing! Especially when I think back to the days of my dividend income only being a few hundred dollars a month!
As you can see in the table below, December was an exceptional month. Outside of the June special dividend, it was our highest earning month of the year.
Our dividend income increased 42% in 2022!!! Wow! As you can see, the terrible stock market had zero effect on our dividend income. This is because dividends come from an actual business earning income, and stock market returns are a calculations of value based upon the last market trade that occurred.
You’d be surprised how few ‘investors’ understand why this distinction matters.
Expenses in December were $5,413. This is a high amount for us, primarily because we splurged on a new TV for Christmas. Those Black Friday sales sucked me in! You can find out more about this purchase in the ‘Other’ section of the post.
Here’s the breakdown of our monthly spending by category:
Grocery spending for the month was a fairly normal $664. We spent roughly the same on groceries as we did last year at this time, but we didn’t splurge on any fancy foods like Dungeness crab or salmon this year. Inflation was probably the culprit.
We actually ate very frugally for the Holidays. Our Christmas dinner was Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) soup with green bean casserole.
With the kids out of school, I was making them a lot of lunches in December. Sandwiches are one of my favorite frugal lunches, and this toasted turkey sandwich is a fair representation of this sort of lunch.
I guess the only real ‘splurge’ meal we had in December was this lemongrass beef noodle salad. Generally we don’t eat a lot beef, so this was a unique meal.
Of course, the Holidays are known for deserts. We didn’t make any cookies, or Christmas cakes. Nope, that’s not our style. Instead, we made mango and sticky rice (several times) for a holiday treat!
If you haven’t tried mango sticky rice before, I highly recommend it! Especially when mangos are cheap and in-season!
Fuel spending was a very reasonable $78 in December. I’m amazed at how low it was actually! I attribute this low spending to less driving (the kids were out of school), and much lower fuel prices than what we saw last summer.
Our monthly rent is $2,206.55, which is slightly lower this month due to some credits the landlord gave me for fixing the toilet. Yay. I saved him hundreds of dollars on a plumber, and he gives me a credit on our month rent for the cost of the parts.
It’s safe to say I won’t be doing that again.
While I don’t really enjoy being a renter, this situation is most-likely temporary. We’re shopping for a house, but haven’t found one we liked yet.
The local housing inventory is very limited. Nobody seems to be selling, and the only houses for sale are run-down garbage. It’s frustrating to say the least.
Our internet expense for the month was $40. This is the regular amount we pay every month for 200Mbps cable internet from Xfinity (our local cable broadband provider).
Mobile phone spending in December was $0. Again. I know I know! It’s always the same. A boring zero in this category. Our mobile phone spending is far lower than your average American family, because we choose to not waste money here.
Why pay for a fancy mobile phone service if you don’t need it?
Utility spending in December was $238. This amount included the following bills:
- Electricity (monthly) – $60
- Natural Gas (monthly) – $88
- Water (monthly) – $90
The biggest increase in our utility bills this month was natural gas. It gets cold enough in December that we actually need some heating here in Arizona. Our primary source of heat is from gas.
Insurance spending was $0 for the month. We pay auto insurance every six months, and this last happened back in August. The next payment will occur in February, and I expect it will rise slightly from the teaser rate we were given at the start.
That’s fine. It’s all part of the insurance game.
Kid spending in December was $0. Although technically we gave the kids a bunch of Christmas presents, I’m not going to bother separating those out here (too much work!). They all got lumped together on one big Amazon receipt, which you can find below in the “Other” category.
‘Other’ spending for the month was $2,186. We splurged on Christmas presents this year, and it shows-up in this category.
Here’s a breakdown of our ‘Other’ expenses:
- $1947 — A new 65″ TV for the family for Christmas. In case you are curious, we purchased the 65″ Samsung S95B OLED.
- $202 — Christmas presents for various family members from Amazon.
- $37 — Misc. household goods from Target.
Yes, we really spent a lot on our new TV. That said, I made $150 from selling our old (free) TV before we moved. We reinvested those ill-gotten profits into a nice new Samsung OLED TV.
It’s a great TV. Miles better than our old one. OLED is an actual improvement over LCD, and it really puts the movie theater to shame these days. Why would I ever go to the theater when I have superior picture quality and great sound (I can adjust the volume too) at home!
Cumulative Expenses For 2022
For the entire year, the Tako family spent $75,922. Clearly this is a lot more than what we spent in 2021, but most of the additional expenses I can attribute to the cost of our move (and home selling costs).
So far, our attempt at geo-arbitrage seems to have realized no real savings. However, this is skewed by the fact that the U.S. has experienced strong inflation over the last year.
A normal month of spending for our family here in Arizona costs about $4,000/month. This is roughly the same as what we were paying in Washington state 1 year ago.
Here’s the monthly breakdown of our annual spending:
Unfortunately the stock market continued to decline in December, and I saw no indication that this will change anytime soon. The Fed will continue to raise interest rates in 2023, and money will continue to become more dear as it gets siphoned out of the economy. This does not bode well for the stock market, and I’m keeping as much money in cash as I can.
At some point the tide will turn, and I’ll be ready to invest again when that happens. It just hasn’t happened yet!
There is always the potential for a real bargain to show up, so I’m always on the lookout. An investment with a real cash-on-cash return equivalent to long term market returns would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
I’m not holding my breath for this kind of bargain however. Bargains like that are exceedingly rare these days, and extremely unlikely to occur. For now, I’ll continue to wait patiently!
That’s it for December! And have a Happy New Year!
[Image Credit: Flickr]