Hello there! Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to this blog, but I’m not dead yet! Really! Behind the scenes A LOT has been going on the last few weeks! First off, the Tako family moved 1500 miles from Washington state to Arizona. It was a long road trip that took place over three very full days with two cars, two kids, and a trailer.
Surprisingly, neither of the kids got car sick! (This is a minor miracle) The trip went as well as can be expected. We arrived in Arizona 3 days later, with roughly 9 hours of driving time per day. Everything was all in one piece, with no flat tires or engine trouble!
Along the way we drove through Oregon, Northern California, and very large part of Nevada… to eventually arrive in southern Arizona.
The other big news, is that we prepped, staged, and put our Seattle-area house on the market several weeks ago. This was a TON of work to get our house ready for sale, and consumed way more cash than I want to think about right now. I literally spent months painting, repairing, and otherwise making our house look as beautiful as possible.
Was it worth it?
Well, we currently have a buyer and the house is now ‘Pending’. Cross your fingers and knock on wood that the sale goes through!
In my experience, the real estate market has *really* slowed down these last couple of months. Instead of homes receiving multiple offers at well over asking price, we received just two offers near asking price.
Meanwhile, we’re now residing in a beautiful Airbnb home in southern Arizona, soaking up plenty of sunshine and trying to get to know this new place. I’m now a stranger in a very strange land.
And how much did this epic moving adventure cost us? And how much passive dividend income did we bring-in over these past few weeks?
Since I missed one of my regular monthly posts, I’m combining the May and June posts together into one super post!
Keep reading to find out how much of an impact all this had on our finances!
Dividend Income In May & June
Dividend income in May and June totaled $32,584. You read that right — over $32k in just two months! The bulk of the money ($31k) arrived in June. This was the combination of regular dividends, and a large special dividend from our LYB shareholdings.
As you can see, dividend income is either boom or bust. Feast or famine. Primarily this happens due to the irregular nature of dividend payments. Payments occur quarterly, with the bulk of our dividend payments arriving in March, June, September, and December.
As you can see in the table above, outside of those 4 ‘big’ months, dividend payouts are lower.
In order to “balance out” these large dividend fluctuations, we keep plenty of cash on-hand to deal with day-to-day expenses and any emergencies that might arrive.
May & June Expenses
It was good thing our dividend income was so high in June, because our expenses were also massive due to moving, house staging, and other house selling costs.
In May we spent $6,614, and in June we spent $14,160. June was our most expensive month ever recorded. In a typical month we would normally spend around $4k-$5k per month, but June just blew that average out of the water.
Here’s the breakdown in each spending category for May:
And here’s the breakdown in June:
Clearly I would have liked our spending to be lower in May and June, but our move simply needed to get done.
For the two months (May and June) combined, grocery spending was $486. If this seems suspiciously low, your money sixth sense is right on the money. Because our kitchen was being packed-up and shipped away, we spent a lot less time cooking than usual. There were several weeks where we only ate restaurant fast food, or grocery store deli food.
Honestly, this rather was awful. Maybe I just have high food standards, but I can only eat fast food so many times before it starts to taste gross. Eventually Mrs. Tako and I resorted to buying those already prepared grocery store salads just so we could get a vegetable or two.
This was so terrible I didn’t even bother to take food pictures over the last couple of months. Sorry folks!
Fuel spending in May was higher than in recent months at $183. I attribute this higher amount almost entirely to elevated gas prices. We didn’t fill-up or drive any more than usual in May, but prices were higher. Oh well!
June however was a completely different story. We spent $303 on fuel, primarily because of the road trip, which began at the end of June. Of the $303 spent, roughly $150 was spent on the first day of the road trip. This was for two cars, one of which was pulling a trailer and only got around 23mpg.
The rest of the road trip fuel expenses will land in my July expense report.
May and June mortgage spending amounted to $4,626. This is $2,313 per month, our usual amount. Our mortgage typically represents our single largest monthly expense, and it includes interest, principal, insurance, and taxes.
If our house sale closes on-time, I expect our last mortgage payment will be in August. Unfortunately, I will then need to change this category to “Rent” in future months, due to us being renters now.
Internet expenses for both months was $58, for a total of $116 spent on internet service. As soon as we moved out of the house, I disconnected the service, but this won’t be reflected until the July expense report.
How much will internet cost at our new home? I’ll let you know when I find out! For now, the airbnb is providing us with complementary internet service.
Mobile phone spending in May and June was a combined $102. Normally we have mobile phone spending of $0, but in May we needed to renew our pre-paid plans for the year. This cost $90 for the entire year. (Note: This cheap service does not include a data plan)
For the road trip, I wanted to have some mobile data, so I purchased a Tello 2GB data plan for $12.20. This amount includes taxes and a new sim card for my phone. (Yes, I have a dual-sim card capable phone.) Pre-paid data plans from Tello are an extremely low cost way to go. Sometimes as low as $5 per month if a promotion is running!
If you’d like to find a similar low-cost data-only plan, watch the Tello website for promotions. They seem to run new promotions every couple of months. You can also sign-up using my referral code: p3s4bkgq to receive $10 off. (That’s basically 1-month free just for using my referral-code!)
Utility spending in May and June was a combined $583. This amount includes two power bills, a trash bill ($120), and a very large water bill ($263). These amounts are very normal for this time of year in Washington.
Meanwhile, we’re not paying for utilities in Arizona yet. The Airbnb we’re staying at includes these expenses. We need to find a more permanent home before I sign-up for these services, but it will be very interesting to see how large the cost differences are between states.
Insurance spending in May and June was $0. This is a normal amount for us. Most of our insurance spending (at least for car insurance) occurs in October, due to the annual billing cycle. Instead of paying monthly, we choose to have an annual insurance bill. Believe it or not, paying annually costs less!
Not all insurance providers allow annual payments of course, but ours does!
(For the curious: We do have home-owners insurance. It’s included in our mortgage. I’m super lazy, and I don’t break that number out here in the insurance section.)
Other expenses is normally the category that I use as a ‘catch-all’ for minor expenses that don’t fit anywhere else. But in the case of May and June, these expenses actually made up the bulk of our spending!
Some of the major expenses include:
- Airbnb rental fees — $1,499.
- Home staging costs (fancy fake furniture rental cost) — $4,245.
- Home improvement expenses (for selling our Washington house) — $499.
- Uhaul shipping and storage fees for our Uboxes — $5,551.
- Uhaul 5×8 trailer rental — $940.
What can I say? Moving is very expensive! I suppose in hindsight we could have made this move cheaper by selling more of our stuff, but we still spent thousands of dollars less by not going with a full service mover!
Cumulative Expenses For 2022
Total spending for the year so far is $44,518. This was a huge jump from previous years, due to home selling expenses and moving costs.
Here’s the breakdown of our YTD expenses by month:
Clearly, June was a very expensive month, but there wasn’t much I could have done to reduce those expenses further. Our moving expenses were already scheduled and locked-in a month before it happened. Making changes would have incurred additional costs.
That said, I expect these elevated expenses will begin to fall back to “normal” levels starting in September. By then, the house should be sold and the mortgage finally paid off.
Unfortunately I did very little on the investment front over the last couple of months, and there isn’t much to share. I was WAY too busy fixing our house. I’ve been a painter, a carpenter, a cleaner, a plumber, a furniture mover, and a general all-around handy-man over the last couple of months. I simply didn’t have time to do any investing, or investing research.
It’s not that our house was in bad shape, but to really stand-out in today’s real estate market the house has to look amazing!
Meanwhile, our investment accounts sunk just like the rest of the stock market in May and June. This was unfortunate, but the ebb and flow of the markets is perfectly normal behavior for investments. What goes up must come down, and vice versa.
Eventually I’ll find the time to do a little investing again, but for now I’m trying to stay focused on completing the house sale and finishing our move.
That all for now! Thanks for reading everyone!
[Image Credit: Flickr]