June was an exceptionally good month. Life was good. Really good in fact! Our financials held-up well (all things considered) during the pandemic, and the kids finally finished school in June. Which means we have the resources and time for some family adventure!
In Washington State (where we live), our “stay-at-home order” has finally ended. Things are definitely not “back to normal”, but we can at least get out of the house a bit more. We’ve used this newfound freedom primarily for day-trips and hiking expeditions.
While summer vacation is definitely off the agenda for 2020, it still feels good to get away from home for awhile! Even if it’s just day trips or weekends.
In June we drove out to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for a family day-trip. It’s a great part of the state to visit, and only a couple hour’s drive away. The eastern part of the Olympic Peninsula is typically much dryer than other coastal areas in Washington, so it’s always a good place to visit when rain is in the forecast.
This is the coast of course, so we just *had* to visit a beach. Don’t worry, everyone was social distancing on the beach. Beaches in Washington are a very different experience from what you might find in other parts of the United States…
If you’re curious about what those people are doing on the beach, they’re digging for clams. We don’t tend to get a lot of sun bathers in Washington State. 😉
Other areas on our day trip agenda were the small coastal towns of Port Townsend and Sequim, which have tons of small-town charm.
There’s also plenty of good hiking trails on the Olympic Peninsula — both on the beach and away from the beach. We took advantage of the opportunity to let the kids burn off a little energy.
But enough about our June adventures already! Let’s get down to business! Let me tell you about our June finances!
Dividend Income In June
Hot damn! Dividend income in June totaled $14,453. Yep, no joking — that’s really how much we received in dividend income! Having passive income is pretty fantastic, I’ve gotta say.
June was a very dividend heavy month, but every month isn’t always this fantastic. Dividend income from stocks tends to get paid-out quarterly, so certain months are dividend “heavy” months and others are “light” on dividends.
Here’s the monthly breakdown for 2020 so far:
For the year so far, we’ve collected $30,195 in dividends. Clearly, most of our stocks haven’t cut dividends and we’ve benefited. The only stock that did cut dividends we subsequently sold in June (more about this later in the post).
All that dividend growth is most likely due to the stock investments we made back in March. We own more shares, so we got paid more in dividends!
The strategy is simple — Continue to compound dollars when good opportunities present themselves, and collect the growing rewards.
Household expenses in June totaled $3,361. This the lowest monthly total experienced so far in 2020, which I attribute primarily due to COVID-19 closures and lower energy spending in the summer months.
Here’s the breakdown by expense category:
Grocery spending in June was $475. Yes, our grocery bill has finally come back down to “normal” territory! For the past few months our grocery spending was elevated, even though we didn’t do any “stocking-up” or increase spending for those months. Prices were just higher, likely due to the pandemic.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that grocery spending has “returned to normal”, but our menu has remained the same. We’re still eating all the same luxurious and delicious food as usual… like this beautiful chicken salad.
As always, I take great advantage of grocery sales when I see them. In June there was a particularly good sale on dungeness crab, so we indulged a little.
Other meals in June were much more humble affairs. We often eat-up leftover odds and ends from the freezer… to clean things out. This pork chop meal in June is a good example of a “clean out” night.
For Father’s Day, Mrs. Tako made some of my favorite dishes — Karaage (Japanese style fried chicken), a salad with Japanese wafu dressing, and bean & brown rice salad (a surprising side dish). It was delicious!
June is the time when the bounty of our garden really begins. Raspberries were in great abundance this year due to lots of rain and cool temperatures.
This is a single day’s harvest from our raspberry bushes! It’s incredible to eat a breakfast of wonderful fruit like this for absolutely nothing (other than the tiny bit of effort it takes to care for the plants).
The raspberry bushes were free because a neighbor was cleaning out excess vines from his garden. That was 10 years ago. We’ve enjoyed fresh raspberries ever since.
As usual, our largest single monthly expense is the mortgage on our home. This amounts to $2360 every month, and does include all the extra trimmings like property taxes and homeowners insurance.
While we could technically pay off our remaining mortgage at any time, we’ve chosen to retain that money and hunt for better investments.
Childcare was $0 this month, as it has been during the entire COVID-19 lockdown. While some childcare facilities have begun to re-open, I’ve elected to keep both kids home with me during the summer.
Yep, it’s daddy daycare full-time around here, which is why our childcare spending was $0.
I’m the homeschooling teacher, the lunch lady, art teacher, janitor, nurse, and MC all rolled into one. Hence, this is why I’m blogging a lot less than I used to. I don’t have the time to do everything, but I do enjoy spending time with my kids.
Now that summer vacation is here, we’ve eased up on the lessons, and are having a lot more fun together. The kids and I have been playing a lot of Splendor recently.
Unless something drastic happens, childcare spending is likely to remain $0 for the foreseeable future.
As in previous months, our internet expense was $45 in June. This is our regular monthly contracted amount, and we’ll pay it for the rest of the annual contract.
For the curious, we pay for 100Mbps cable internet from Comcast (XFinity) with 5Mbps upload speeds. It might not be the fasted package out there, but it’s more than sufficient for our needs.
Utilities in June were a mere $66. This was our electricity and natural gas bill for the month. This amount is significantly lower than what we pay in the winter months, primarily because we’re not heating our home. Summer is also quite cool here in the Pacific Northwest so we don’t need to pay for air conditioning.
It’s a very affordable time of year, and I hope the trend continues for awhile.
Insurance costs in June were $0. Whenever possible, we try to pay our insurance bills for the entire year all in one go, to lower the total cost. For example, our car insurance is paid only once per year.
(For the curious: We do have home-owners insurance. It’s included in our mortgage. Call me lazy, but I don’t normally break that number out here in the insurance section.)
Other spending amounted to $307 this June. The “Other” category is something of a catch-all for expenses that don’t fit elsewhere. In June, the Other category broke down to the following purchases:
- $9 – A new t-shirt for Mr. Tako. Normally I get t-shirts from the thrift store, but they’re closed.
- $151 – A trailer hitch for the new car. It’s a bolt-in hitch, and I will install this when it arrives.
- $74 – New automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and rear differential fluid for the car.
- $73 – Premium synthetic 0w20 oil, oil filter, and other parts/fluids for the car. I do my own oil changes, and I can afford to buy the really fancy stuff!
Cumulative Expenses For 2020
For the year so far, the Tako family has spent $19,339. This works out to an average spend of $3,223 per month. Total spending is roughly $10k less than our total dividends for the year. That’s great news! Exactly where we want to be.
Outside of our mortgage, core spending remains very low — typically between $950 and $1500 every month. If this trend continues, it means we’ll have plenty of excess cash for compounding in 2020!
In previous posts, I’ve mentioned what a weird year it’s been. June continued this trend. Our spending remained very low, primarily due to COVID-19 slowing down the amount of travel we’ve been doing.
Normally we do a bunch of traveling with the kids during the summer (and typically spending a few thousand dollars), but this year we’re sticking to home and limiting our travel to weekend road trips.
June 2020 Investing Update
In early June, the stock market experienced a incredible rally. Most stocks were up, well off the lows experienced in March. Investors were feeling pretty optimistic about the future, the pandemic, and the economy.
Too optimistic in my opinion! I took the opportunity to dump our Limited Brands (Symbol: LB) shares on June 9th. This was not a large part of our portfolio (only 300 shares), but I should have dumped them a year ago.
The recent dividend cut was the final straw I needed to sell our shares. June’s rally made it convenient to do so for a good price of $19.76.
I held onto this stock too long in the hopes that it might transition into a bigger online business. That never happened. While we still realized some very good returns from owning this stock, in my humble opinion retail is dead. Especially mall based retailers. The pandemic pretty much killed any chance of future returns, so we sold.
That’s it for this month! Thanks for reading everyone!