Happy Holidays everyone! Is it that time of year already? It’s amazing how quickly 2022 passed! It seems like only yesterday we were starting to pack-up the house for our big move! A lot can happen in a year, that’s for sure!
Since the kids are now officially out of school on holiday break, this is probably going to be my final post for 2022. It’s now “family time” in the Tako household, and I do my best to be ‘present’ for these rare family moments.
That said, I didn’t want to leave my blog readers hanging! So, here’s one last final financial update before the year ends!
Dividend Income In November
It’s been a rough year for the stock market, but the Tako family is doing just fine! Stocks are probably going to be down 20%-ish when the market finally closes at year-end, but we’re relatively isolated from these wild market gyrations primarily due to our dividend income.
Dividend income in November amounted to $1,526. While November is not considered a “high dividend” month, these days even our “low” income months still provide a healthy stream of dividend income.
As you can see in the table below, dividend income has been excellent this year:
Our passive income stream is holding-up just fine, despite turbulent markets. While it is possible for dividend income to decline in a recession, I seriously doubt this will happen for most of the companies/funds we own. I tend to pick secure, long-term payers with reasonable payout ratios, and low debt levels.
The only downside is that this strategy does not result in a “high yield”. Having a little less yield is probably preferably over a big loss if and when dividends get cut.
Expenses in November totaled $4,288. While this seems like a rather high amount, it’s actually right where I expected expenses would fall in November.
November tends to be a more expensive month for our family due to higher “holiday” spending. This is totally OK in my book, because eating well during the holidays and giving gifts to family members is something we enjoy doing.
Here’s the breakdown of expenses by category:
Grocery spending in November was $666. These days we seem to average around $600 per month for groceries. It used to be lower, but inflation has had a pretty big effect on grocery costs in 2022. We can’t eat quite as cheaply anymore.
That’s OK, an extra $100-$200 isn’t going to break us. And we eat pretty well on this amount too! We even splurged a little in November by making some delicious sukiyaki at home! Yum
Not every meal is going to be this fancy of course! Most of the time we tend to buy what’s on sale and make the best of it! For example, if brussels sprouts are deeply discounted at the grocery store, we buy brussels sprouts (and try to make something delicious)! Check out these oven roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat brussels sprouts!
Often times, the food I make is about cooking the food that everyone loves. In our household, clam chowder is a family favorite, and I tend to cook up a large pot of this during the winter months. In November we feasted on some delicious homemade clam chowder!
Who needs to eat-out when you can cook delicious stuff like this at home? In most cases, once you’ve learned to cook extremely well, eating at a restaurant is a disappointment. A good example of this is a Thai dish called Pad Kra Pao (or “Holy Basil Chicken”). I’ve been making this dish for years, and had a lot of practice. It’s one of those dishes I can make cheaper and better at home.
We tend to cook a lot of Asian-style dishes, but I’m also learning to cook some more “Southwestern” style dishes now that we live in Arizona. This spicy chorizo chicken soup I made in November is a great example of the Southwestern cooking I’m experimenting with.
As you can see, at $666, we ate fairly well in November. Clearly I’m still learning to cook the “local” recipes, but I was fairly satisfied with the results this month! Plenty of delicious food, and not too expensive either!
Fuel spending was a reasonable $149. This seems to be right around our “average” of $120-$150 per month. This is slightly higher than what we were spending back in Washington, probably because our old neighborhood was more ‘walkable’ and certain stores were located closer.
That said, a few extra dollars for gasoline is perfectly understandable after our move. We definitely drive more in Arizona than we did in Washington, but the cost per gallon is definitely cheaper here.
After years of being home owners, we’re renters again! Our monthly rent is $2,212.50, which includes some required renters insurance. While I don’t really enjoy being a renter, this situation is most-likely temporary. We’re shopping for a house, but haven’t found one we liked yet.
Our local housing inventory is very limited right now, and every house that hits the local MLS we look at.
Hopefully we can find a house in the next few months and have a big fat ZERO in this expense category going forward.
Internet expense for the month was $39.99. This is for cable internet — 200Mbit down and 14 Mbit up service. This is our normal contracted monthly amount, and it should remain this same price for the next 8 months.
For the record, this is slightly faster internet, and slightly cheaper than what we were paying back in Washington state. Faster and cheaper is great!
Mobile phone spending in November was $0. Again. I know I know! I almost always report a zero in this category. I do this to make a point: Our mobile phone spending is far lower than your average American family, because we choose to not waste money here.
Most people far over-pay for mobile phone service. We’ve been saving money in this category for 20 years now, because we don’t see the need to overpay for mobile phone service.
We pay for our prepaid mobile phone service only once a year, and you won’t find mobile phone spending in this category again until next year.
Utility spending in November was pretty average at $184. This amount included the following bills:
- Electricity (monthly) – $61
- Natural Gas (monthly) – $34
- Water (monthly) – $89
Oddly enough, water was our most expensive utility bill in November. Despite living in the desert, the water here is fairly reasonably priced. With that said, we’re also not big water users compared to some folks. We don’t have a lawn here in Arizona, and other than a little drip irrigation for the plants around our rental house, the landscaping here doesn’t use much water.
As cooler winter weather sets-in, I expect our natural gas bill will eventually rise for the months of December, January and February.
Insurance spending was $0 for the month. We pay auto insurance every six months, and this last happened back in August.
We recently switched to a semi-annual insurance payment because our old insurer did not write auto policies in Arizona. Thus, our recent move to Arizona required a new auto insurance policy. This amount is for two cars for 6 months, and is actually less than what we were paying last year.
The lesson here is that when your insurance renewal comes up, be certain to shop around for better deals!
Kid spending in November was $205. This included the cost of a field trip for Tako Jr. #1 ($35), and the cost of after school activities for both boys $170.
Gone are the days when we spent very little on our kids. They’re getting older and want to do activities away from home, and these things cost money. I don’t mind though. It’s good to give the kids opportunities and experiences that I never had the chance to get in my childhood.
‘Other’ spending in November was $830. This category is typically where I put expenses that don’t fit anywhere else, and the bulk of this spending for the month was Christmas gifts.
Here’s the breakdown of expenses:
- Taco lunch from a local taqueria – $34
- A Christmas gift from BestBuy (a black Friday deal) – $394
- Tools (gifts) from Home Depot – $170
- Misc. Amazon gift purchases – $230
Clearly it’s only November, and there is going to be plenty of holiday spending in the coming month!
Cumulative Expenses For 2022
Year-to-date spending for the Tako family is $70,509. The year is almost over, but I can safely say our spending was considerably higher in 2022 compared to the previous year. This was (mostly) due to moving expenses.
Moving was very expensive, and I don’t recommend doing it very often. We probably spent $15,000-$20,000 more this year than we would have, due to moving expenses and house selling expenses.
Here’s the monthly breakdown of our annual spending:
Currently, our dividend income is slightly ahead of our spending, which is definitely a good place to be. My annual goal is to keep our total spending *under* our dividend income. It looks like we will achieve this in 2022. December is usually an excellent month for dividends, and it’s unlikely we’ll spend that much in a single month.
With any luck, our dividend income growth will stay ahead of inflation, and continue its slow climb upwards. Only one month left! 2022 is going to be another solid year, despite stock prices being down significantly in 2022.
As usual, any remaining cash we have at the end of the year is going to be reinvested into stocks, ensuring that we keep compounding capital during this down market.
November was another one of those months where I just sat back and watched the market continue it’s decline. It’s been far better to hold cash for most of 2022, and this continued to be the case in November.
In the face of rapidly rising interest rates, falling stock prices are to be expected! Will this change in 2023? Your guess is as good as mine! I would have about as much luck at predicting that, as I would predicting the Fed’s next inflation reading! (Which is to say: I’d probably be wrong if I guessed.)
Sometimes it’s simply better to count your pennies and wait for better sailing weather. 2022 has been a ‘stormy’ year, and a lot of investors (especially fast-growth investors) have suffered the brunt of it.
The stock market reminded everyone in 2022 that markets don’t always go “up and to the right”, and this has been a great lesson for new and old investors alike. (Myself included!)
In the interim, have yourself a Happy Holidays, and wonderful New Year!
[Image Credit: Flickr]