September 2017 Dividend Income And Expenses

September was another extremely busy month for the Tako family.  Not only were we trying to get everything done before our big trip to Japan, but I took on some additional guest post writing in September.

I wrote these guest posts completely for free, because I like the people and the blogs involved.  A little extra exposure for Mr. Tako Escapes never hurts either!  The first post was written for DividendGrowthInvestor has already been published.  The second post was for Mr. 1500, and should be published pretty soon.

I’m a fairly slow writer, so my thanks goes to DGI and Mr. 1500 for their extreme patience.  It was certainly a stressful month trying to get it all done!

Now, onto the expenses!


Expenses In September

Expenses in September amounted to a ridiculously high $7,607!  Nope, it isn’t Halloween yet… but those expenses were scary to see!

What caused the spike?  Well, insurance is what happened! (More on this later)

september expenses


Food expenditures for September were abnormally low at $336.  I believe this was our lowest monthly food spending of 2017.  Our average food spending is typically about $500 per month, so food expenses were very low in September.

Why?  We did very little shopping the last two weeks of September because of our trip to Japan.  We focused on trying to cleaning-out the fridge, and not on buying more food.

That was the plan at least… until we were gifted about 12 pounds of garden grown tomatoes.

fresh tomatoes
We were gifted about 12 pounds of fresh garden grown tomatoes mid-month

Free garden-grown organic tomatoes are not something I can easily turn down, so I ended up being a tomato cooking-fool for a few weeks in September — I made pizza , huge batches of my roasted salsa, tomato juice, curries, and plenty of fresh salads.

tomato salad
A simple tomato salad I served one night — cucumber, fresh tomato, and avocado. Add a little Italian dressing and some soy sauce.  Mix, and you have a perfect tomato salad!

Needless to say we were eating a ton of tomato dishes the entire month of September. The end result was an empty fridge, a freezer full of salsa and pizza sauce, and some very low food expenditures for the month.



Fuel spending at $97 for the month came very close to our average of $100/month.  This was a slight surprise, because fuel prices were quite a bit higher in September because of the hurricanes.  I guess we must have driven a little less because the high fuel prices appear to have had no effect.

park swing
It was a busy month, but we still found plenty of time to take the kids to the park and enjoy the nice fall weather.


Mortgage & ChildCare

Mortgage and Childcare costs were slightly elevated in September at $4570.  This larger amount was mainly due to an annual fee increase at our daycare, and the annual registration fee for two kids…. grumble… extortion… grumble!  The cost of childcare now exceeds our mortgage.

Meanwhile, our mortgage payment went down by $90 because of a escrow tax readjustment.

While our Mortgage and Childcare expenses are very large, we consider them entirely optional.  Why?  We could eliminate them at any time — We could take the kids out of daycare and keep them home with me (I’d probably have no time to blog), and we could simply pay off the mortgage with cash.



Our bi-monthly water & sewer bill came in at $290 for the two month period.  This was larger than what we’re used to, but I have no idea why we would be using so much more water.  At any rate, I expect our water bill to begin dropping now that fall is here, and electricity use should begin to rise.

Overall, I think these seasonal changes to our utility bills end-up being a wash over the course of the entire year despite the big swings in water use during the summer and natural gas in the winter.



Insurance was the real killer in our September expenses — we had to renew our auto insurance.

If you recall, last year we were involved in a lawsuit because of a car accident.  Mrs. Tako was pregnant with Tako Jr. #2 at the time, and had a car accident.  The other driver sued us for additional money outside what was covered by insurance policies.

To make a long story short, the case eventually went to a mediator and everyone involved settled.  The amount wasn’t cheap, but we were glad to be done with the lawsuit.

I think it’s important to point-out something here:  We don’t drive expensive cars, but other people definitely do.  If you have a wreck involving a expensive car, the payouts can be large and will affect your insurance.

One year later after the lawsuit, our insurance company (Pemco) decided to increase annual rates by 58% to $1,932 because of the lawsuit and settlement amounts.  That’s almost double what we would be paying if the lawsuit and accident hadn’t occurred.

I shopped around our auto policy before we left for Japan, but nobody was cheaper than Pemco.  So screw-you Pemco and your ridiculous 58% increase, but thanks for being cheapest… I guess.



The ‘Other’ category contained a number of Japan-trip related expenses like — a tablet case and screen protector ($20.68 combined) for the kid’s tablet (to protect against damage while traveling), and two international driver’s permits ($22 each).

Rather than paying for airport parking for our trip, we also elected to take a shuttle to the airport.  This is similar to taking a cab, but it ends up being a bit cheaper overall.  The cost was $152 for the airport ride and the return trip home at the end of October.

All the extra little trip expenses add-up, but I can already tell (after one week) it’s going to be worth it. The kids are having a blast in Japan.


Cumulative Expenses

Our cumulative expenses for the year are now $54,564, which is roughly what we spent in 2016.  This means 2017 is going to be considerably more expensive, with 3 months remaining.

september net expenses

Outside of daycare costs and our mortgage, we’re actually pretty frugal people — core expenses have only amounted to $15,239 for the year.  While our mortgage and daycare are quite expensive, those expenses certainly won’t last forever.

The cost of daycare in particular is going to be one expense that I will celebrate when it’s finally gone.


Dividends In September

While dividends in August were nearly non-existent, September turned-out to be a completely different story — we hit a new monthly high (not counting unusual circumstances).

Dividends for September amounted to $9,512 in our taxable accounts.  This brings our annual dividend income to $39,271.  Nice!

September dividends

While this month’s dividend income was larger than our expenses, overall dividend income is actually trailing expenses this year.

But don’t worry, it’s all OK!  Mrs. Tako currently covers the difference (almost entirely the cost of daycare) with her job income.  This expense will disappear as the kids get older.

Eventually the kids are going to start school, and our total expenses will fall well under our current dividend income levels.  It’s all part of our Evil Master PlanTM.

I’m also behind on my Dividend Growth Plan for the year.  I fully expected to invest more cash this year, but good investments have been hard to find.  Surprisingly dividend increases have been rather good this year, I expect to see a 5% growth in overall dividend income for the year.

Please remember: This dividend income is from taxable accounts only.  We’re not touching our tax-advantaged accounts at this time.  All dividend income in our tax-advantage accounts gets reinvested.


The Sleep Report

This really should be the “lack of sleep report”.  With so much going on in September, I hardly slept more than 5 hours most nights.  Some nights I even saw considerably less sleep than that…  There was just too much to do.

I really need to get back on track with my improved sleep schedule, and I’m afraid that’s not going to be able to happen until November (after we return from Japan).

That said, I can already feel myself falling asleep faster now that we’re on vacation — all the extra walking seems to be really helping.  Maybe I just need more exercise?


Investment Changes In September

We made no investment changes in September.  After buying shares of Southwest (LUV) in August, I was on the lookout to buy more.  Mr. Market didn’t agree to lower his price in September, so those addition purchases didn’t happen.

Which is totally fine, I’m not any hurry to buy some expensive stock.  I’d rather wait for a fair price.

Our lack of stock purchases will probably continue into October — In Japan, we’ll be sleeping when U.S. markets are open.

If I didn’t care about our long-term rate of return, I would simply dump the cash into an index fund and be done with it.  It would be way easier.

But I do care — I care a lot about long-term returns. The difference could be the difference between early retirement success or failure.

Eventually this long bull-run party is going to end, and future returns will probably be lower than what we’ve seen over the past 9 years.  If that happens, I’m preparing for small (sub 6%) or negative returns for the next decade.

Are you?

P.S.: I’ll be starting our Japan Trip series next week!  Don’t miss it!

[Image Credit: Flickr]

22 thoughts on “September 2017 Dividend Income And Expenses

  • October 6, 2017 at 5:19 PM

    Nice update, and I’m excited to see the Japan trip unfold.

    Re: the car accident – looking back at that post, it sounds like you don’t have an umbrella policy – a little surprising with your nw. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the pros / cons.

    Safe and fun travels
    Paul recently posted…Personal Finance Basics (and Achieving Your Goal In Life)

  • October 6, 2017 at 5:34 PM

    Now I see why you said I was going to hate your September food expenses @_@. And no, I don’t hate it. In fact, I think $336.52 is AWESOME! I need to start telling Mr. FAF about your food budget so that he will get inspired too hehe.

    My MIL is also growing a small garden in our backyard. We have green onions, leeks, and radish. Green onions are relatively cheap at the grocery store ($1 for 3 or 5 I think), but they tend to go bad really fast in the fridge. I LOVE a homegrown garden, but I have to say I’m not really into the work >_< (laziness alert!).

    • October 7, 2017 at 3:51 PM

      An economic garden really isn’t all that much work. In the months that the weather is good, we grow green onions and other herbs for next to nothing. They take very little care — pretty much only watering.

      We usually keep them on the back patio in pots and then snip-off what we need when cooking. Easy! Less stuff to store in the fridge too!

  • October 6, 2017 at 6:53 PM

    Would you share where are you investing for this income?

  • October 6, 2017 at 10:29 PM

    Nice dividend income in September, Mr. Tako! Is that a monthly record for recurring dividends? Our September also hit an all time monthly record of $8963.05. You are just a little bit shy of 5 figures a month.

    I hope you can get some more sleep while on vacation. I went to visit my parents in the USA and had a week of 4-5 hours a night. It seemed manageable but then I picked up a cold that turned into a major sinus infection and then because I ended up flying while sick, resulted in a painful ear infection and a fully blocked ear that took 3 weeks to clear. I really think it was all related to not getting enough sleep.

    Hopefully you don’t get a sickness like that. I look forward to reading about your adventure in Japan!


    • October 7, 2017 at 3:55 PM

      Yep, that’s a monthly record for recurring dividends only (no special dividends this month).

      So far I’ve been doing OK in the sleep department!

  • October 7, 2017 at 4:18 AM

    Hopefully you had a great trip. Looking forward to seeing some pics. The Mrs. goes to Japan a couple times a year for work. One of these times I need to tag along. We like to bolt on some vacations to work trips in order to save some cash.

    I feel your pain on the daycare situation. Ours will be going back up this month with me taking on a 20 hour a week consulting gig. Even part time day care for the two will exceed our mortgage.

    • October 7, 2017 at 3:57 PM

      It’s a great country to visit. Good food, good people, and an interesting culture. You should go!

      Yeah…daycare…so damn expensive. But it doesn’t last forever.

  • October 7, 2017 at 12:17 PM

    Awesome that your dividend income covered all your expenses this month, with another $2K extra to boot, that’s amazing. $9K in dividends for one month is more than the dividends I get in a whole YEAR, lol. Some of those tomatoes look ginormous, what a lovely gift!

    Sorry to hear about the car accident, good that Mrs. Tako and baby were okay. The law suit sounds like a PITA.

    • October 7, 2017 at 4:00 PM

      Yeah, I was hoping for an extra $4k after expenses, but that damn insurance hike was a big killer in September.

      Yes, lawsuits are a huge PITA. After having been through 2, I don’t recommend them as an experience to repeat.

  • October 7, 2017 at 6:15 PM

    Yes, that monthly expense number is scary but once you broke it down, it made sense. Sucks that your insurance went up after that law suit incident. Oh well. Could be worse. At least Mrs. Tako is okay and no one got hurt.

    Btw, this ” This really should be the “lack of sleep report,” made me laugh 😛 Hopefully you’ll get more sleep in Japan on your vacation. One of the best things about travelling is that you don’t have to do any cleaning! The hotel/Airbnb takes care of that! Also, eating out goes up and having to cook and do dishes goes down. So hopefully with less chores to do, you’ll be able to get more sleep (though there’s so much to see in Japan, your excitement might just keep you up!). Can’t wait to read the write up!

  • October 9, 2017 at 5:45 AM

    I hope you’re enjoying Japan. Where are you guys at now?
    Yeah, definitely catch up on some sleep. It’s not good to sleep so little. It might turn into a real insomnia problem.
    Sorry to hear about the car insurance. 58% increase is huge, but that’s how they roll. At least, nobody was hurt.

    • October 9, 2017 at 8:14 AM

      The next post will have the all the details of where we’re at! We’re mainly going to be in the Kansai region for most of the trip, but there’s going to be a bunch of small side trips to other places too!

  • October 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    I’m looking forward to reading your Japan trip adventures! Look at the kiddo’s faces! :’)

    I’m glad most insurance companies where I’m from have first accident forgiveness. Your first accident won’t increase your premiums, which is nice. It sucks that your premiums have gone up so much, but I’m glad everyone was okay.

  • October 9, 2017 at 6:10 PM

    Great return on dividends as a percentage of expenses. We are currently covering about 70% and we need to determine if this is something we are comfortable with long term.

  • October 10, 2017 at 6:48 AM

    Nice dividend for September! Do you only own dividend paying stock or do you also invest in growth stock? Looking forward to your first trip report.

    • October 10, 2017 at 4:42 PM

      Essentially both! In my humble opinion, good investments should have a combination of reinvestment opportunities (growth) and provide reasonable shareholder returns (dividends and sometimes buybacks).

  • October 10, 2017 at 1:18 PM

    Do all your dividends you reported come from your brokerage account or are they in tax advantaged accounts?

    • October 10, 2017 at 4:38 PM

      The dividends mentioned here are from our brokerage accounts only. As mentioned, all dividends in our tax advantage are reinvested (usually automatically)

  • October 10, 2017 at 7:41 PM

    Its very inspiring to see that you were able to accunulate that much into your brokerage account!

    After 36k (2 people) into 401k”s
    11k into Roth (2 people)
    I am not able to chunk as much into the brokerage account after that.

    Did you take that similar tax deferred 1st approach during your working years or prioritize brokerage the account?

  • October 11, 2017 at 2:59 AM

    Great to see that your core expenses are about the same as what we have. Proves that you don’t need that much to live life and survive. The extras do make life a lot more enjoyable!
    Amazing dividend income by the way!


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