March 2017 Dividend Income And Expenses

Ah!!! Spring is FINALLY in the air.  The flowers and trees are blooming, the sun is starting to peak-out again, and the birds are singing songs about… whatever it is the damn birds sing about!   😀

The green stuff is beginning to grow again too — Mrs. Tako is getting the urge to dig out the garden tools and scratch around in the dirt again.  It must be spring!

I’m extremely glad winter is finally over.  Winter in the Pacific Northwest really sucked this year.  Normally we have mild winters, with little snow (because of our proximity to the Pacific coast).  This winter was different — we had decent amount of snow…  More than I care to shovel at least.

Now that it’s over, our utility expenses should come back down to Earth.  It can’t happen soon enough!  I’m tired of gigantic heating bills and piling 5 blankets on me to keep warm!

Spring Daffodil
Signs of spring are everywhere…including this beautiful daffodil in my front yard that I didn’t plant. Hurray for free flowers!


Expenses For March

You ever have one of those months where you think your spending is under control and then you see the results?  Yeah, that happened to us in March.  

Our expenses were higher than normal, but I’ll get into the “why” part in just a moment.

Expenses totaled $6,092.74, which is roughly $1000 higher than we’ve come to expect.  Yikes!

I thought we were kicking-butt on our food expenses, but when the food bill was totaled, it came to $581.  That’s higher than our usual $500.

Utilities were also higher at $553, partly because our February utilities didn’t have a few bills.  As a result those bills fell into the March billing period.

Internet expenses rose to $45.15 for the month.  For all you guys giving me crap about our low internet expense, now’s the time when you get to feel smug.  For the past year, our internet package was only $39.99 a month.  This promotional package ended in the middle of March.  

Next month, we’re on a slightly more expensive package ($49.99/month) as I detailed in The Power Of A Phone Call.  I still think it’s a pretty good deal.

The biggest change in our expenses this month was in the “Other” category.  This category included the cost of passports for Mrs. Tako, and both kids.  Mrs. Tako’s passport had expired, and both kids needed passports for our family trip to Japan.

I also signed up for a new credit card to do a little travel hacking. The $75 annual card fee had to be paid up-front when I got the card.  “Them’s the breaks” as they say.

Hopefully it’ll be worth it when we’re on that awesome-yet-low-cost vacation to Japan.  I can taste the sushi already.

(Pardon me while I mentally stuff my face with imaginary sushi)

In March, Tako Jr. #1 also signed-up for swimming lessons….in July.  Yes, we had to do this in March because the summer swim lesson spots fill-up quickly.  The cost was $89.  Yeesh!

Normally I’m not keen on all this “activities” stupidity, but I happen to believe swimming lessons are an important life skill.  For that, I have to stomach the $89 fee and paying 4 months in advance…  (grumble, grumble)

For the year, our expenses are running a little higher than I’d like:

March 2017 next expenses

I’d prefer to see our average monthly expenses under $5k per month, so we’ve got some work to do. 🙁


Dividends For March

As expected, dividends in March were excellent.  After a slow February, March had $8,134 in dividends.  I wish every month was like this!


For 2017, we’ve accumulated over $12,265 in dividends.  If we compare this number against March 2016, we’re roughly $2,000 dollars ahead of where we were this time last year.  

This kind of forward progress feels great, especially considering this is only the end of the 1st quarter.  Most of our dividend increases are going to happen sometime in the second quarter.

As I’ve mentioned in previous months, we’re not utilizing dividends from our tax-exempt accounts (401k’s, IRA’s, etc).  Instead, we’re letting those accounts continue to grow while we live off our taxable accounts.  These dividend numbers are only from our taxable accounts.

Our stated goal in 2017 is to grow dividends by 10% to $52,000 for the year.  It’s too early to tell if we’ll make this goal, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic!

Cherry blossoms
Maybe it’s just spring, but these cherry blossoms in my backyard have me in a good mood.  I feel optimistic about our 2017 dividend goals.


Sleep Report

OK, and now for the part where things aren’t going well — The Sleep Experiment.  As I wrote about in March, I’m a terrible sleeper.  If it’s not the kids waking me up in the middle of the night, it’s my own brain keeping me awake.

I seriously suck at sleeping, and it’s probably bad for my health.  

My sleep goal for the year is to:

  • Sleep a minimum of 7 hours per day.
  • Get to bed by 1AM (or earlier) every single day.

How did I do in March?  Not so good — I met this goal a total of 4 nights out of 31.

Yep, terrible…but I’m making an effort to improve.

On the bright side, our youngest son (Tako Jr. #2) has started sleeping through the night!  YAAHOOO!!!  Anybody with young kids knows what a miracle it is when they finally sleep through the night.


Expect improvements in my April sleep report if this “sleeping through the night” business holds…  and if I can retrain myself to sleep properly after 4 years…


Portfolio Changes For March

After the big gains in February, equity markets looked really expensive to me.  This problem persisted through March, and I had a hard time finding decent investments to deploy capital into.  We didn’t make any portfolio changes in March.

Anyone who’s followed this blog for very long knows I’d rather hold onto cash for a few months than make a bad investment….so we did just that — We held onto our cash in March.

S&P 500 YTD
The S&P 500 saw some really big gains in February. Those big gains only began to ease near the end of March.

By the end of March though, the tide began to turn.  I really should have picked up some shares on March 27, but alas my actual purchases didn’t happen until April 3rd.  

At any rate, I’m starting to see some decent purchase prices again.  Expect more detail on these buys in the April version of this post.



[Image Credit: Flickr]

20 thoughts on “March 2017 Dividend Income And Expenses

  • April 5, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    You have some solid dividend income Mr Tako. (I always crave Mexican food after reading your site for whatever reason ;-)).

    I am glad to hear you have found some actionable ideas where to deploy your cash. I am curious, what % of your taxable accounts is in cash ready to be deployed?

    On a side note, does it make sense to pay off the mortgage for you guys, before Mrs Tako leaves the dark side and joins you? How long do you have left on that mortgage?

    I know you may potentially earn more on your investments vs the mortgage, but on the other hand some claim that paying off the mortgage is akin to getting a “guaranteed return on investment”. Many are forecasting low returns on equities going forward too ( of course Economic forecasters exist to make astrologers look good) . I see both pros and cons to it, but was interested in your take on the situation.

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:22 PM

      Mexican food huh? That’s….weird.

      Gosh, on April 1st I think we were 40% cash, but I’ve since invested some of that.

      As far as the mortgage goes — We’ll probably never pay off our mortgage early. With our interest rate sitting very close to the normal rate of inflation, it’s highly unlikely that equity investments could do worse over the long term.

  • April 5, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    It took our kid forever to sleep through the night. Last night, he woke up at 2 am and came to get me. He was scared, then cold, then need to go to the bathroom, then his ankle hurt so he needed an ice pack. Oh man, rough night. Anyway, great news that your youngest is sleeping through the night. 🙂
    I’m planning to just put some money into the Vanguard total bond fund until the stock market is cheaper. What do you think about that?

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:14 PM

      Well, I can relate to that Joe. We still have nights like that from our oldest son too.

      In regards to the Vanguard Total Bond fund — With the fed increasing rates, and signaling the possibility of faster raises, there’s the potential for huge negative changes in bond pricing. A 1% rise in interest rates would equate to a 24.5% price drop in the Vanguard Total Bond fund….assuming of course the bond market acted efficiently and adjusted bond pricing to compensate.

      A 1% rise might sound extreme, but the potential is there.

      The big caveat to this theory is that markets don’t always act rationally, and there will probably be a significant lag between when the fed adjusts rates upward and the wider bond market prices in those changes.

      My feeling — bonds will probably be a wash for the next year.

  • April 5, 2017 at 10:59 AM

    Your sleep cycle is mind boggling. I’m on a 10-6:30 (81/2 hrs) schedule and I couldn’t survive on much less. Try no naps, caffeine after lunch or food after 7:00. I also try to read for 45 min to an hour before bed. No cell phone checking! Good luck!!!

  • April 5, 2017 at 3:25 PM

    Tell me about getting kids sleeping through the night. Baby T1.0 has been sleeping through the night for a while now but Baby T2.0 hasn’t. Every night she would literally wake up screaming on top of her lungs and we couldn’t get her to stop. This has resulted in poor sleep for me and Mrs. T. Didn’t help when I occasionally have to wake up early to be at the office at 6:30 AM (oh wait you don’t know what this is like anymore. :p)

    Solid dividend income. Looking forward to hearing which stocks you have purchased.

  • April 5, 2017 at 4:48 PM

    “Hopefully it’ll be worth it when we’re on that awesome-yet-low-cost vacation to Japan”

    It’s going to be SO worth it, you’ll see 🙂 Just hearing you mention Japan makes me want to go back again. The food is unbelievably good and the service even better. Ahhh Japan. How I love you so…

    Even though your expenses were higher than expected, your dividends also went up, so still good overall.

    And congrats on getting kiddo to sleep through the night! That’s a HUGE win!

    • April 6, 2017 at 7:26 AM

      Japan is amazing when it comes to food. On my recent trip I managed to have blow fish. Amazing stuff. 🙂

  • April 5, 2017 at 10:39 PM

    Sorry to hear your sleep has been poor. If you would like to email me I can put you on a program that will help your sleep, but you can do it after your Japan trip.

    My dividend income in March was pretty solid at $8353.49 with 2017 YTD income through end March at $16,394.29. I’m trying to break $70K in dividend income this year, which will be a challenge but achievable.

    Best wishes and greetings from beautiful Vienna- our family is doing a springtime trip to Austria.


  • April 6, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Yes, every time I read your blog I crave sushi (probably because you mention it a lot). Looking forward to that Japan post!

    Thanks for your comment about bonds, too. My dad’s got some cash he wants to invest for the short term and I was thinking of telling him to try Vanguard Total Bond Fund. Sounds like not such a great idea?!

  • April 7, 2017 at 3:06 AM

    I completely agree with your decision to hold cash. I think too many investors believe that they ALWAYS have to be fully invested. That simply is not true. Even Warren Buffett holds a lot of cash when he doesn’t see good opportunities.

    Although I’m 100% long right now, I will sell some stocks if the market rise more this month.

  • April 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM

    Ha, that is the most brilliant picture at the start of the post. How on earth did you find that (or did you shoot that youself?).
    Seems like you got things under control, income more so than expenses, but I don’t think you sleep any worse. Well, at least not for this reason 😉 Best of luck getting better at it, sleeping that is of course! I do know the moment when the little one slept through the night again, it’s wonderful….zzzzz
    Team CF recently posted…Frugal Funeral

    • April 9, 2017 at 9:21 PM

      I usually look through all the new Flickr pictures for anything to do with Octopi, Tako, or related sea creatures….this just happened to pop up, and I thought ‘oh, that’s too perfect!’

  • April 10, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    Awesome numbers. I’ll be ecstatic when I hit 4,000 a quarter lol don’t know what I’d do if I hit 12,000 a quarter lol. Good job.
    Doug recently posted…Tuesdays Buys

  • April 12, 2017 at 4:50 PM

    I think the mortgage and childcare account for a large portion of your expenses. The food expenses don’t look that bad to me. My husband and I are trying to pay off our mortgage fast. We’re risk-averse and want to pay off all of our debt before investing in anything besides our retirement.

  • April 21, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    I really hope that your sleeping improves. I’m also a terrible sleeper because my brain won’t turn off. I wouldn’t wish the zombie feeling on anyone.


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