Has it really been two weeks since I last posted here? Time flies when you’re having fun I guess! With the kids are out of school, and summer well underway, we’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks!
Our most recent adventure took us to Arizona, where we soaked up loads of the southwestern sunshine… and plenty of mesquite grilled tacos. Visiting the desert was an incredible change of pace from the perpetually soggy Pacific Northwest. The landscape is just so incredibly different.
And the cactuses… oh so many cactuses! I had no idea there were so many different varieties in the cactus family. Over 1750 documented species!
I’ll have a proper post about our Arizona trip coming soon, but it’s safe to say that we had an incredible time. Arizona is definitely a very underrated state to visit! Tako Jr. agrees!
I can also honestly say it’s great to be back traveling again! It had been WAY too long since we had a proper family vacation…
But the financial show must go on! Read on to find out exactly how much we earned from our investments (and spent) during the month of June!
Dividend Income In June
Dividends in June amounted to an incredible $14,677. Yes, you read that correctly! We really pulled in nearly fifteen thousand in dividends in June.
This was one of those big “gusher” months when the dividend income just blasted into our bank account. Even after years of collecting dividends like this, I still get excited to see these big quarterly totals!
June was certainly an exceptional month for dividend income. 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 in May). It’s mostly ‘crickets’ for those months, and then there’s ‘big’ months like June — when the floodgates finally open and cash comes gushing in.
For the year so far, we’ve collected $30,933 in dividend income, which is comfortably above our household spending for the year. This extra dividend income will tide us over during the ‘dry’ months.
Expenses in June totaled $4,859. This monthly total is significantly higher than what we usually spend in a given month, primarily due to vacationing expenses.
We were on vacation in Arizona the last week of June, so travel expenses were a significant factor. You can find most of those vacationing travel expenses broken-down in the “Other” category.
Here’s the breakdown of all monthly expenses by category:
Grocery expenses in June amounted to a very normal $468. As a family of four, we usually spend right around $500 per month on groceries. June was very usual month in that regard.
What that number doesn’t tell you, was that about a quarter of the monthly grocery shopping was done “out of town” on vacation. Despite being in strange locations (and engaging in completely unoptimized spending) we still managed to keep our grocery total close to $500.
And what did we eat on such a small food budget?
Plenty of delicious food! Take for example this homemade clam chowder made from clams we dug in May. It was incredibly good!
Other affordable dishes, like this Japanese fried rice, provided plenty of ‘bang’ for our food budget bucks!
Along with the warm weather in June, there were plenty of “cold” foods like this savory hiyayako made with natto and okra.
Other “cold” foods on our menu included Vietnamese spring rolls made at home. They’re a family favorite and surprisingly cheap to make too!
Other family favorites, like Japanese home-style hayashi rice made it to our table too.
And of course, some scrumptious tacos made an appearance in June. These particular ones were made with mesquite seasoned chicken, homemade guacamole and a jalapeño sauce.
Did we eat well in June? I’ll let you be the judge, but my tummy was extremely happy with our modest food budget!
Fuel spending was ‘up’ in June, at $138. Under Covid-19, our fuel spending had been averaging below $100 per month, but this number is rising now that we’re traveling again.
During our vacation to Arizona, we rented a car and did *a lot* of driving. This bumped up June’s fuel spending, and will have an even larger impact on July’s fuel spending.
As usual, our largest single monthly expense is our home mortgage. This amounted to $2,357 in June. This includes interest, principal, insurance, and taxes. If this seems like a lot of money, please remember that we live in a very high-cost of living area, and real estate is quite expensive here.
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.
Home internet expenses for the month were $45. This is our usual amount for 100Mbit cable internet service. While there are both faster and slower packages available (as well as a cheaper), we’re happy with the price-to-performance we’re getting with the current package.
Anything cheaper would be WAY too slow, and anything faster would be unnecessary.
Mobile phone spending in April came to $0. Yes, zero dollars! 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 is it zero?
We pre-pay our mobile phone service once a year. This happened back in May of this year, and amounted to $34.5 for two phones, and $8.50 for two months of a Tello data-plan.
The Tello data-plan was used primarily during our vacation. Normally we don’t need a data plan (I’m almost always surrounded by fast and free WiFi), but I wanted to have some data access during our trip. Tello was by far the cheapest MVNO that fit our (rather small) needs.
If you’d like a similar low-cost data plan, sign-up using my referral code: p3s4bkgq to get $10 off!
Utility bills in June amounted to $500. That’s the amount I paid anyway. Our actual power bill was significantly less, but I pre-paid our utility bill for a few months to meet some spending requirements on a new reward credit card.
This is an easy way to temporarily increase spending in order to meet card-spending requirements, without needing to buy a bunch of “stuff”.
Insurance costs in June amounted to $0. This is a normal amount for us, even on vacation. I usually decline most of the additional insurance when renting a car, since our car insurance covers rental cars as well.
Usually, our insurance expenses occur once per year in October, when we pay our annual car insurance bill. Yep, it’s annual.
We prefer to pay very large once-a-year insurance premiums due to the slightly lower cost (given by our insurance company) by doing it this 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 spending in June was $1350. This “Other” expense category is a ‘catch-all’ for all the expenses that don’t fit anywhere else in the monthly report.
These “Other” expenses consisted of the following categories in June:
- $628.69 – Travel related expenses (airport parking, hotels, baggage fees, tickets, attraction expenses, etc.).
- $238.99 – Eating out while on vacation.
- $280 – Continuing swimming lessons for the boys.
- $107.70 – Miscellaneous purchases from Amazon and Target (mostly clothes, sunscreen, sandals, etc).
- $95 – New Citi credit card membership fee.
Cumulative Expenses For 2021
For the year 2021 so far, the Tako family has spent a combined $23,481. That’s an average spend of $3,913 per month, and slightly below our dividend income for the year.
We’re only six months into 2021, but our spending is picking-up a lot more now that we’re traveling again. Currently we’re on-track to earn enough dividend income this year to completely cover all of our living expenses.
This is the ideal of course (to have expenses 100% covered by dividends), but only time will tell if we’re on-track to meet my passive income goal of $62k for 2021.
June 2021 Investing Update
As you might expect, making changes to your stock portfolio is difficult while on vacation. Difficult, but not impossible.
Occasionally I set long-term limit orders on stocks I’m interested in purchasing — in the hope that someday the stock will hit my preferred purchase price. Usually these orders don’t get filled, but I was lucky enough to have one actually execute while we were on vacation.
What exactly did I buy? Another 100 shares of that small thinly-traded bank stock I started buying back in February.
I continue to believe that certain bank stocks will outperform if purchased at the right price, and I was lucky enough to hit that price target (temporarily) in June. The share price promptly rose by 10% after our purchase went through, so I’m feeling fairly confident the share price I set was a good one.
That’s it for June! Thanks for reading everyone!