July was an exhausting month. Everything went well financially, but the month just felt extremely busy.
First, Mrs. Tako went on a business trip for a few days. This made life busier than usual, having to take care of the family by myself.
There’s a lot of very important stuff to do when taking care of a young family — like making sure everyone gets their pants on the right way in the morning.
Like I said — important stuff! I was pretty tired by the time Mrs. Tako came home.
Second, we did a lot of stuff outdoors in the month of July. The weather was great, so we spent plenty of time hiking and taking mini-trips to the beach in July.
We also went on a road trip that took us across much of eastern Washington. It was a very fun trip, but I’m really glad to be back home.
I don’t know how other bloggers manage to travel and write blog posts at the same time, but let me tell you — it isn’t easy. After a full day of traveling, I didn’t have the energy left to stay-up late blogging!
Expenses In July
Expenses for July totaled $5,526. July was an extremely busy month for the Tako family, filled with business trips, travel, and other unusual expenses. That said, our expenses were only slightly higher than normal for the month.
Here’s how our spending broke down for the month of July:
Food expenses appear to be a usual amount for our family — $500. What that number doesn’t tell you, was the month of July was extremely unusual — we actually went out to eat!
STOP THE PRESSES! Yes, it’s true we ate out for the first time in months.
Most of the time we cook delicious meals at home. This saves us a considerable amount of time and money. When we travel, we usually try to pack our own food, and drinks (as much as possible) in a cooler. But it’s not always feasible to just eat food out of a cooler.
Sometimes you want a hot meal. So, we did a little eating-out, a cost of $30.14.
It was a good meal, but to be perfectly honest, I can make a better taco at home. (Really!)
July also included my first attempt at making Bahn Mi sandwiches. They were delicious, and turned out great…. but were very time consuming to make properly. I’m not sure if I’ll make them again.
Fuel cost was average for the month at $99.34. We had one additional fill-up ($20) at the end of the month, right before we left on our road trip. The remaining fuel costs for the road trip will show up in August.
Mortgage and Childcare
Mortgage and Childcare expenses are our big expenses for the month — in July they totaled $4,340. We consider these costs entirely optional.
Because we could eliminate them at any time — We could take the kids out of daycare and keep them home with me (I’d probably have no time to blog), and we could pay off the mortgage with cash.
Outside of our Mortgage and Childcare, core expenses were $1,185.91. This is very close to our average.
Internet expenses were $49.99/month for 100mbit service. Normally I wouldn’t bother paying for such fancy 100mbit service, but Comcast offered this good deal for 12 months. I couldn’t pass it up.
When they try to jack-up the price in a year, I’ll either ask for the next promotion or just downgrade our service.
Utilities were slightly higher in July because of a very large water bill ($251.42) and a larger garbage bill ($114.45). Our electricity usage tends to drop in the summer — that was the case in July which resulted in a low power bill of $64.52.
The other category was larger in July due to higher vehicle licensing fees. The State of Washington recently increased vehicle licensing fees for passenger vehicles, and this is reflected in July’s “Other” category.
One set of new car tabs cost me $90.75 this year. I also had to get a vehicle emissions test for $15 dollars before the license could be renewed.
Again, this was only for one vehicle. We have two cars, so I expect to see a similar price increase when the other vehicle’s car tab renewal hits later this year.
For the year so far, we’ve spent $38,213. This includes our mortgage and daycare costs. Outside of those two major expenses, our core spending was a mere $7,832.
Dividends In July
Dividends in July amounted to a plentiful $4,170. This was not one of our large dividend payout months. The biggest payout months tend to be March, June, September, and December. That said, July was no slouch and it covered the vast majority of our July expenses.
For the year so far, we’ve collected $29,645 in dividends.
Yes, our dividend income is trailing our expenses this year. I’m waaay behind on my Dividend Growth Plan — Mainly because of high equity prices (more on this later) this summer.
That’s OK though. Dividend growth investing isn’t a short-term race. It’s a long-term marathon.
Mrs. Tako covers the difference (mostly the cost of daycare) with her job income. This high spending outside of our dividend income won’t last forever. The kids will eventually start school, and our expenses will fall well under our current dividend income levels.
It’s all part of our Evil Master PlanTM. [Insert maniacal laughter here]
Please remember: This dividend income is from our taxable accounts only. We’re not touching our tax-advantaged accounts at this time. All dividend income in our tax-advantage accounts gets reinvested.
The Sleep Report
Unfortunately the month of July was just way too chaotic and I didn’t keep track of my sleep for the month. Lame!
If you’re not familiar with this project, I wrote about my terrible sleep habits earlier this year. I’m an absolutely terrible sleeper. I average somewhere around 4-6 hours of sleep per day. It’s not very good for my health, and I’m trying to change it.
The good news is, I’m back to tracking my sleep habits in August. “So far so good” is all I can say. Let’s hope I don’t get distracted again in August.
Investment Changes In July
I made no investing changes in July. Equity valuations looked a bit stretched, so I wasn’t as enthusiastic about investing our excess cash.
While I continue to hunt for new investments, there isn’t much that appeals to me right now.
The bull market simply can’t last forever of course. Eventually something will happen and business valuations will return back to ‘normal’ levels. When? I have no idea. It could last for years!
I suppose I could simply buy into all the most popular FAANG stocks and hope the greater fool theory will provide returns.
That’s not really my style. “Hope” is not a real strategy. I’m not interested in being the “greater fool”, so I’ll stick to my guns about the businesses I buy… even if that means holding a lot of cash right now.
[Image Credit: Flickr1]