February 2019 Dividend Income And Expenses


To understand how our February went down, you first have to understand that we were “snowed-in” for a significant portion of the month.  The local news called it “Snowmageddon”, but my kids called it “fun”.

The kids were out of school for three weeks in February (because of all the snow days), and then the schools had winter break — which meant for most of the month I was playing the role of “stay-at-home-dad” and “chief entertainment officer”.

This meant a lot of my month was spent entertaining kids, and a lot less time writing blog posts, studying the stock markets, and reading about investments.

snow angels
These two little snow angels absolutely loved the snow. Who can blame ’em — They got three weeks off from school!

Thankfully the dividend checks keep coming even when the snow falls…

 

Dividend Income In February

Dividend income in February added-up to a rather unexciting $627.  February tends to be our slowest month for dividends, so this rather diminutive amount is nothing to get excited about.  March will be a much larger dividend month, for which I eagerly await.

While some people attempt to smooth dividend income month-to-month by investing in stocks that pay-out monthly or by using “extreme diversification”, I simply choose to let the dividends remain really lumpy.

(Yes, this does mean we carry a slightly larger cash pile to cover low-payout months like February… but having a little extra cash on-hand isn’t a problem right now.)

February dividends 2018

For the year so far, we’ve collected $2722 in dividends.  This is $340 ahead of where we were last year at this time.

 

February Expenses

Expenses in February amounted to $4,412.  This was another below average month for us.  I blame this extra-low monthly spending on the snow.

Several winter storms hit (one right after another), and we were completely snowed-in.  With snow being so rare in our area, infrastructure for snow removal is quite scarce.  That meant no driving, and no shopping.  We were simply stuck at home until the snow melted.

(Note: Our city does have a couple snow plows, but our neighborhood is considered ‘priority 4’.  Which means our neighborhood roads absolutely never get plowed or graveled.)

So how much snow did we get?  Well here’s a picture of one night’s worth on top of the recycle bin.

snow hands

That’s about 5-6 inches worth in a single night.  We got at least 3 big “dumps” of snow like that, along with several smaller snowfalls. With no snowplows coming, our neighborhood started to look like a ski hill.

neighborhood snow

This “bounty” of snowfall could be seen as a hardship for people used to going out for dinner, or shopping at the mall… but for us it was no big deal.  We simply took the kids sledding and enjoyed all the free entertainment.

sledding at home

The result — One of our cheapest months in a long time!  Here’s the detailed breakdown of our spending by category:

february 2018 expenses by category

 

Food

Food spending was $453 in February, which was slightly lower than our $500/month average.  We were snowed-in, so we probably went grocery shopping a little less often and ate from the pantry instead.

What did our family eat for a mere $453?  Rice and beans?  Cat food?  Well, I think we actually eat really well!

Let me provide some food-porn as visual evidence…

First, is my homemade chili con carne topped with mozzarella cheese.  This was great meal on cold February nights when we needed something spicy to keep us warm!

homemade chili

Cold nights are also perfect for comfort food, and at our house comfort food includes okonomiyaki.  Okonomiyaki is a kind of savory Japanese pancake that’s typically filled with cabbage and various meats.  It’s usually topped with Japanese mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce, nori, and bonito flakes.

okonomiyaki

I also took the opportunity to try out a couple Thai dishes in February.  The first was Rad Na with chicken and broccoli.  I need to work on my presentation a little, but the flavor was very good.

chicken rad na

As a followup, I made a Thai Green Curry with cauliflower and spinach.  Yes, cauliflower!  Despite it being a non-traditional ingredient, it actually worked really well with green curry.

green curry

As you might expect, not every night is going to be a fantastic new dish — some nights when I’m feeling tired we just do “easy mode”.  One night, I whipped up a simple green salad and some gyoza.

asparagus salad

Sadly, the gyoza wasn’t homemade (this time).  They were the frozen variety.  Frozen gyoza is about as “instant” as we get in the Tako household.  It still requires frying, but it made a easy compliment to the salad.

gyoza

On Valentines day I try to make a special meal for Mrs. Tako, and this year was no exception — Dungeness Crab and a green salad loaded with plenty of avocado.

valentines day crab

Speaking of favorites — one of my favorite ‘easy dishes’ to make is Kimchi fried rice.  I literally just grab whatever’s fresh in the fridge and stir-fry it up in the wok.  It always turns out amazing!  In this case it was broccoli, bacon, egg, onion, green onion, carrot, and (of course) kimchi.

kimchi fried rice

Oh… and we can’t forget the tacos!! (There’s always tacos!)  I made my shredded chicken tacos (recipe is here).  The hot sauce was homemade too!  Yum!

shredded chicken tacos

Clearly we *suffered* by eating so cheaply.  Next month I’ll do my best to spend a little more and bring you some higher-quality food photos.

 

Fuel 

In February, we spent $28 on fuel.  This is abnormally low, and a reflection of how little driving we could do with all the snow.  That’s literally one fill-up at the gas station.

Instead of driving, we entertained ourselves at home.  The kids might have gotten a little spoiled by all the cool science kits and outside activities I occupied them with.

slime kit
Making slime on a “snow day” using a free science kit.  Future scientist at work!

 

Mortgage And Childcare

As usual, monthly mortgage and childcare expenses were our two largest expenses in February.  Combined, these two items totaled $3694.05.

Unlike many families however, these expenses are entirely optional for us.  Using spare cash I could easily pay-off the mortgage.  If I wanted to, I could take our youngest son (Tako Jr. #2) out of daycare and trim that cost too.

Those actions would completely eliminate our two largest expenses, but I would no longer have all that spare cash to invest, and no time to blog either.  On top of that, Tako Jr. #2 would be missing out on his language immersive daycare (The daycare is completely non-English).

We’ve decided to keep these expenses for the time being.

 

Internet

It should come as no surprise that our internet bill was $0 again in February.  We pre-paid our internet expenses to meet a credit card sign-up reward waaay back in May of 2018.  I expect we’ll finally see a new cable internet bill in March.

Our internet service is 60Mbps down and 5 Mbps up cable internet.  That’s plenty fast for our needs, and it normally costs $49.95/month.

 

Utilities

Utility bills in February totaled $153.  This amount is our power bill which covers both electricity and natural gas.  All of our other utilities are billed bi-monthly and we should see a bill for those again in March.

With all of this cold winter weather, you might expect to see a higher utility bill… and you’re certainly right.  That larger utility usage should show up on next month’s bill.

 

Insurance

Monthly insurance bills totaled $0 in February.  Whenever possible, we try to pay our insurance premiums for the entire year all in one go.  Our car insurance (for example) is paid once per year.  This is always a large expense, but most insurance companies give-out a discount for paying it all upfront — so it’s actually cheaper this way.

The last big insurance bill we had was back in October 2018 when we paid our annual car insurance bill.

For the insurance curious — Our homeowners insurance is included in our monthly mortgage payment. (I get emails asking me about this all the time.)

 

Other

Despite February being a “snow” month, I still managed to get one home project done — I DIYed the changing-out of a sink faucet in our downstairs bathroom.  The cost for a replacement was $86, which included the faucet and a few fittings.

Home Depot had this particular faucet on-sale, and with me being a “not picky” plumber, cheap is good.  I just went with that.  For being a cheap faucet, I think it looks pretty good!

new faucet

 

Cumulative Expenses For 2019

For the year so far, we’ve spent $9,120.  Outside of our mortgage and childcare, this means we’ve only spent $2085 in 2019.  That feels fairly frugal to me, but opinions on the internet tend to vary wildly on this particular topic.

It is personal finance after all, so I just try to do my best to keep our expenses low.

feb net expenses 2019

 

 

February Investing Updates

Admittedly, I did very little on the investing front in February.  I basically ignored all my investments in February.

I should have been spending some of our extra cash and buying more shares of good stocks while they were still at bargain prices — Like more shares of DFS (a long term holding of mine) while they were still under $70, but I admit I wasn’t paying very close attention to stocks or the stock market.

Instead, I was having too good a time hanging out with my boys.  They really are the best reason for financial independence!

rocket launch on snow day
Together we launched many air-powered rockets… but only a few made it to distant planets!

Now that the snow has melted (and school has restarted), I’m starting to get back to my regular groove and thinking about investing again.

My dividend growth plan for 2019 requires that I invest $108k of our spare cash.  To date, I’ve only purchased $39,064 in new shares.  That’s roughly $5,800 per month that I still need to invest in order meet my dividend growth plans.

Clearly I need to stop goofing around and make it happen!  Wish me luck!

 

[Image Credit: Flickr]

22 thoughts on “February 2019 Dividend Income And Expenses

  • March 6, 2019 at 3:34 AM
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    Snow, food and money. Boy, did you have a good February 😉
    Strong numbers as per usual (albeit the dividend is low indeed). Good luck finding some gems to invest that cash and get some more dividends!

    Reply
    • March 6, 2019 at 3:37 AM
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      Just wait for March, dividends are gonna be large! 🙂

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 4:45 AM
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    hey Tako

    wow think thats the lowest month ive ever seen your post. Its still nice though!

    March will most likely make up for that.
    Thats crazy about all that snow, what state do you live in? Im in Ontario, so we are prepared for snow and yet my son probably had 4-5 snow days this month.

    Its nice to see real winters again, although im ready for spring!

    Some nice dishes cooked up, I got to step up my chef game.

    keep it up, look forward to your march report.

    cheers.

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 8:54 AM
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      We live in Washington state and rarely get snow. This year is unusual. I’m ready for spring too!

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 6:22 AM
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    Are you waiting for a dip in prices to invest your cash?

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 8:57 AM
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      Hi beth. Essentially. I believe that price determines your return, and I won’t invest until I see long term returns that merit taking such risks.

      Make no mistake, the stock market is still a risky place to invest. Despite the fact that “everybody’s doing it” now.

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 6:44 AM
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    You literally could open your own restaurant, I am not kidding! It’s a hard business with lots of work so I wouldn’t recommend it but wow your dishes look great. I can make a pretty decent homemade pizza that I have perfected or about 3 years but that’s it.

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 8:58 AM
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      I used to work in some fancy restaurants when I was younger, so I know what a hard business it is. Thank you for the compliment!

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 6:46 AM
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    Food looks great, faucet looks great, and the month looks like it was a lot of fun. Extended snow days are a great contrast to normal life, and I imagine the lads will remember this month forever.

    Happy hunting in the market!

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 8:59 AM
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      Thanks Paul! Nothing’s been jumping out at me as a great deal lately. A few “maybe’s” and “too hard’s”. 😉

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 7:42 AM
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    Nothing better than combining good good with good personal finance. I’ve been tracking your blog since a while now and really enjoy it, especially this monthly updates. Keep up the good work! Greetings from Costa Rica (no snow here ;),

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 9:00 AM
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      Thanks Sumando! Oh how I wish I could be in Costa Rica right now. 2 inches of fresh snow here this morning!

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 10:40 AM
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    Looks like a good month investing in your future, and by that I mean hanging with the kiddos. I have to ask about the scissors in the crab photo, do you use these while eating crab or is it just a weird coincidence they are there? I am going to have to try this savory pancake thing

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 9:13 AM
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      Yes, a sharp pair of scissors is actually the best way to ‘crack’ a crab. Not a coincidence.

      You can find okonomiyaki at some Japanese restaurants, but really the best place to eat it is in Japan at a Okonomiyaki restaurant. They sit you down and griddle it right in front of you. Great on a cold winter day!

      Here’s a photo from our last Japan trip: https://www.mrtakoescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Okonomiyaki.jpg

      Good stuff! 🙂

      Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 11:07 AM
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    Do you make the gyoza dough yourself or do you buy from a store? Our monthly dividends are smoother than yours but we didn’t construct our portfolio that way. It was a pure accident. But I agree, you shouldn’t put that on high priority if that results in extreme diversification.

    Looks like you guys got quite a bit of snow as well down south. We’ve gotten a bit of dump here metro Vancouver too.

    Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 9:15 AM
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      Usually not. Good gyoza dough is so cheap and hard to match if you DIY. We usually buy one of the Korean brands — they’re quite affordable and thinner than the Chinese varieties.

      Reply
    • March 7, 2019 at 9:16 AM
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      Yeah, they had a ton of fun! More snow this morning too! 🙂

      Reply
  • March 10, 2019 at 1:08 PM
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    Fantastic dividend numbers! These appear to be growing quite well for you. I’ll also have one of everything on the menu please.

    Cheers

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 9:54 AM
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    I love reading your posts when I can. They’re very inspiring! Here’s to hoping your March will be wonderful too! 🙂

    Reply
  • March 15, 2019 at 10:33 AM
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    Hi Mr. Tako,
    I was feeling a little down on my dividend income but after reading your February number, I feel much better:) February seems to also be a very low month for me , in addition to a few changes in dividend payment for a couple of my Canadian stocks (Corus and Crescent Point).
    I am always impressed how little miscellaneous expenses you have each month , even with two kids. With my three older kids, I always seem to have something to buy! Even if it small.
    Spring is coming… Cheers

    Reply

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