Has it been a month since I last posted already? As you can tell dear readers, I’ve been posting a lot less frequently here at MrTakoEscapes. The truth is, I just haven’t been feeling the blogging ‘groove’ lately.
Maybe it’s all the rain and gloomy weather we’ve been having here in the PNW (Pacific Northwest). Or, perhaps I’m just tired of all the hate and negativity when I do publish a new post on the blog. That can be a pretty big downer! Either way, I’ve been dialing things back a bit. I’m just focusing on family and the more positive aspects of my life right now.
Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned blogging entirely! I still plan to post here occasionally, when I feel inspired to write something.
Like when the dividends from all my stocks starts rolling in! Yep, that’s inspiring (to me)! It’s time to count some dividends!
Dividend Income In November
Dividend income in November amounted to $320. This was a fairly ‘low dividend’ month for us. Most of the dividend income received in November was from one single stock. That one stock has an entirely different pays-out time than our other holdings.
Here’s the breakdown of my 2021 dividend income:
As you can see in the table above, we see large swings in dividend income month-to-month. This is entirely normal, due to the payout schedule of the stocks and funds we own. Some months the passive income stream is a veritable river of money, other months it’s just a trickle of cash.
Most dividend payments occur quarterly, with the bulk of our dividend payments arriving in March, June, September, and December.
Clearly November was not a great month for dividends, but I expect December will be fantastic!
November household expenses totaled $3,910. This is a fairly normal monthly amount for us, and included a few irregular items like household repair supplies, Christmas gifts, and even a little fast food ( Oh the horror!!).
Here’s the breakdown of our monthly expenses by category:
Grocery spending in November was a fairly affordable $452. Normally we spend around $500 per month on groceries, so it seems we’re able to keep grocery costs in-check despite the definite inflationary rise in food costs. We’re definitely working harder to keep grocery costs down every month, and probably splurging a little less than we used to.
This doesn’t mean we’re suffering by any means. The Tako family is still eating plenty of delicious food every month! “Like what?” you’re probably wondering. Rice and beans!?
No way! If your willing to learn how, it’s not hard to make delicious restaurant quality food at home. Like this delicious homemade banh mi sandwich I made in November…
Another one of my “frugal favorites” is Phad Thai, the extremely popular Thai noodle dish. Not only is it easy to make, it’s very affordable to cook at home!
Japanese classics like this miso soup, are always hitting our table too. Cheap, easy to make, and delicious!
Some nights we get a little fancier of course, and splurge on some expensive proteins. Like this Thai Noodle salad (Yum Woon Sen) I made one evening this November. Shrimp aren’t cheap, but we all love this noodle dish.
Being creative is the key, and not limiting yourself to only recipes you’ve made a thousand times before. This sweet and sour meatball dish is a perfect example of using what we already have in new and creative ways.
Of course, I don’t feel like cooking-up-a-storm every night. Sometimes I feel tired and need a quick and easy meal that takes zero effort. Frozen gyoza is my go to dish for one of those nights. Pop ’em out of the freezer, a quick pan fry, and 5 minutes later they’re good to go!
So yes, we’re definitely seeing the effects of inflation on our grocery bill, but we’re doing our best to keep things affordable AND eat extremely well at the same time!
How do you think we doing? Would you eat the food I cook?
Fuel spending in November totaled $139. This amount is 3 fill-ups of regular unleaded gasoline for our two cars. Fuel costs rose a bit in November vs. October, hence the slight increase.
We could easily stomach fuel costs that are twice this amount, so a few minor wiggles in the price of gasoline doesn’t effect our budget much.
Other than the occasional grocery trip, errand, or driving the kids to an activity, we don’t use the car a lot.
As usual, our single largest monthly expense is our home mortgage. This amounted to $2,313 in November. This mortgage amount includes interest, principal, insurance, and taxes.
Housing is extremely expensive here in the Seattle area. It’s a HCOL (high-cost-of-living) area. Most single family homes in our area sell for over $1 million dollars!
While technically we could pay-off our remaining mortgage at any time, we’ve chosen to retain the money and hunt for better investments instead. So far this has proven to be a very effective strategy. U.S. stock markets have returned far more than our home equity during the life of our mortgage.
Our internet expense for the month was $45. This is the regular amount we pay every month for 100 Mbps cable internet.
While there are certainly faster and slower internet packages available, we’re happy with the speeds and service we’re getting.
Mobile phone spending in November was (once again) $0. This might seem shocking to some people, but we choose to pay our mobile phone service once a year.
This happened back in May of 2021, and amounted to $34.50 for our two phones. (Note: This low cost service does not have a data plan)
When we do need a data plan (such as during a vacation), we use Tello. Pre-paid data plans from Tello are extremely low cost. Sometimes as low as $5 per month (with 2 gigs of LTE data)!
If you’d like a similar low-cost plan, watch for promotions, and then sign-up using my referral code: p3s4bkgq to receive $10 off. (That’s basically 1-month free!)
Utility spending in November amounted to $390 for the month. This included a water bill ($266) and a garbage bill ($124).
It’s worth mentioning that most of our utility bills are not billed monthly — some are bi-monthly, and others are tri-monthly. This means our utility spending can vary greatly from month to month.
Insurance spending in November was $0. Most of our insurance spending regularly occurs in October, due to an annual billing cycle. We chose annual billing due to it’s lower cost.
(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 November was $570. This was a large amount of Other spending for us, primarily due to Christmas gifts, and some new outdoor lights for the house.
Here’s the breakdown of our “Other” spending in November:
- $46.84 — Fast food meal for the family one night. (I didn’t have time to cook)
- $112 — Swimming lessons for Tako Jr. #2.
- $359 — Some new outdoor lights and Christmas gifts from Home Depot.
- $7 — A Christmas gift from Harbor Freight Tools.
- $11 — Some metal clips for a craft project (from Amazon).
Cumulative Expenses For 2021
For the year so far, the Tako family has spent $44,888. This works-out to an average monthly spend of $4,080 for 2021.
Here’s the breakdown of spending every month (so far) in 2021:
When compared to our YTD dividend income of $47,908— we’re in pretty good shape!
With only one month left in 2021, I estimate we’ll spend around $52k for the entire year. (December tends to be a more expensive month. I’m guesstimating $5,000 in spending for Dec).
I also fully expect that annual spending will remain below our total dividend income for the year.
This is a good place to be! For the entire year, I’m projecting a total dividend income of $62k. Without any surprise expenses, our annual spending will probably be around 1.7% of our taxable portfolio.
November 2021 Investing Update
After months of making zero changes to our portfolio, I finally started making a few modifications in November. The first big change was selling half of my First Industrial Realty (FR) position for roughly $79k.
The industrial real estate sector has been going completely crazy-town lately, and FR is up 48% year-to-date. It’s been crushing the S&P 500, and remember: this is a REIT folks! Listen to any industrial real estate analyst, and they all say they’ve never seen the warehouse market this hot before. New warehouses are being built at unprecedented rates, and most are 100% leased before construction is completed.
In my opinion industrial real estate stocks are now a little overheated. For a business that’s growing at single digit growth rates. It seemed like a good time for me to take a little money off the table. Maybe I’m wrong, but I still continue to hold half our position (for now).
Meanwhile, I’ve started buying shares of a medium sized regional bank. This is actually a bank stock I discovered a year ago, and (at first) neglected to buy shares. Which was really stupid, because the shares promptly went up. I should have purchased shares when I first discovered it.
Oh well! the stock is now a bit more expensive, but should still have some growth left in the decades ahead. I like the business model, and I’m slowly buying more shares when the opportunity presents itself. Eventually I’d like to grow the size of my position to be about 10% of our portfolio.
That’s it for November! Thanks for reading everyone!
[Image Credit: Flickr]