Welcome to my August 2013 Money Making, Saving, and Investing Report!
This is the fourth of many reports I plan to write once a month to detail my progress at making more money, saving more money, and investing. Here I will show you what I’ve had success with and where I’ve not been so lucky.
In my monthly reports I’ll include charts and graphs so you can see how I’m doing. I’ll also include a detailed breakdown of income, expenses, and investments to highlight important things I’ve learned each month.
To view previous month’s report, click here.
Here’s why I’m posting this info:
- I’m doing this to help motivate people to make more money, save more money, and invest for the future.
- I’m also doing this to force myself to take a much closer look at household’s money to make adjustments for maximum efficiency.
- Talking about money in this amount of detail is taboo in my culture (US), and I’d like to change that by being as transparent with folks as possible.
- It might open up advice others can give me on how I can make/save/invest even better!
Please understand that my wife and I have both put in a lot of work to obtain highly technical degrees (Engineer and Physical Therapist), and we’re pretty well compensated for these skills. It has taken us a lot of hard work and sacrifice (four years of college for me and 7.5 for my wife), and some outstanding luck to for us to make it this far in our careers (10+ years in workforce). But, I’m interested in taking our savings, earning, and investing to the next level. The good news for all of us is that if we put our mind to it, practically anything is achievable.
Hopefully these reports will inspire and help everyone here to have a more open discussion about money. That’s my goal! Let’s get started…
Actions Plans for This Month (Set in July)
Key: Complete/Some Progress/No Progress
- Plan to sell Camry for ~$900 and get 2000-2003 Corolla (something close to $500 per year) – save ~$500+/year on gas
- I am still having a hell of a time finding a good used Corolla in this year range. Each month that goes by I’m losing $70 on extra fuel costs.
- Eliminate phone damage insurance – save $126/year
- Complete! It turns out that all I had to do was call Geek Squad to cancel it. Took about 5 minutes.
- Eliminate World of Warcraft subscriptions. – save $360/year
- Complete! I wrote a post about it here: Quit World of Warcraft Today
- Discuss if we really need to carry short-term disability insurance for wife – costs $380/year
- Complete! We decided we could get rid of it. I wrote a post about it here: Do You Need Short Term Disability Insurance?
- I plan to fill out the paperwork to get rid of it in September.
Overall I’m really pleased with the progress we made at achieving our goals in August. We hit three out of four goals! If I can just find a damn Corolla now I’ll be set 🙂
Now, let’s get into the details for the month!!!
Money Making (Income)
Salaries (after taxes) — $10,646.04
MoneyAhoy.com Income — $6.63 (estimated)
- Google AdSense Ads — $4.28 (estimated)
- YouTube Ads — $0.23 (estimated)
- Amazon —- $2.12
Yard Sale Items resold on Ebay — $20.99
Dividend Income — $19.70
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME = $ 10,693.36 ( up $2,129.41 vs. last month <due wife getting paid 3 times in one month>)
Money Saving (Expenses)
A couple of notes on the normal routine expenses for August:
- Received a $23 credit (26%) on car insurance due to the SnapShot device through Progressive. This is a special program offered by Progressive to reduce your insurance bill if you’re a responsible driver.
- Got rid of cell phone protection plan – saving $10/month.
- Spotify charges of $10/month started kicking in (ran out of gift card credits from Christmas presents).
- Got rid of World of Warcraft subscription – saving $30/month.
- Groceries jumped up about $350 for the month – we had several visitors in August that accounted for some of this increase. This is still way higher than what I expected… Will have to brainstorm with wife to determine where there are opportunities for improvement.
- Eating out jumped up $103 for the month – this is partially due to going on two camping trips and having several visitors for the month.
Special expenses for the month:
- Soccer for the kids – $220 (saved $35 because wife coached last season)
- Two camping trips – $300
- Movie at beach – $38
- Birthday present – $350
- Doctor for kids – $27
Notes on special expenses:
- Soccer was more than normal because we enrolled our son in the advanced training program. This means they practice twice a week and get more experienced coaches – for double the price.
- We went to Virginia Beach for a 3-day weekend and Outer Banks for another 3-day weekend. $300 for six days vacation lodging isn’t bad.
- We got rained out while tent camping at Virginia Beach and ended up going to see the kids movie Turbo.
- My wife got me probably my most expensive birthday present ever. The Sonos Connect. I gave her a list of ideas and kinda just threw this one on there not expecting her to get it. It is definitely a “splurge” present, but I really love it. We enjoy it just about every day – so that makes me feel like we’re getting our moneys worth.
- Kids and their ear infections continue to nickle and dime us each month!
Because of the weird pay cycle and my wife getting paid three checks for August, the math is a little funny this month in terms of savings. With the additional 401K deductions, we show that our August monthly savings rate (total savings/gross income) came in at 59% savings. That’s awesome, and only 1% away from our initial goal of hitting 60% savings by the end of September. Hopefully September will come in with much lower expenses as we get back into our normal routine and the kid’s daycare expense lowers.
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES = $ 6,180.74 ( $631 more than last month)
For the third time in a row, I went with a normal boring investment in a market index fund this month. See the post Investing In Market Index Funds is Best to understand why. I did note that the basket of stocks I recommended in the post here: best dividend paying stocks post is outperforming the S&P 500 by about 6%. I plan to do an update post on this soon to share the details.
I bought: 19 shares of SPY @ 164.80 (with $5 commission) — $ 3,136.20
- This is the S&P-500 Market Index Fund
- It pays a
quarterly dividend that works out to be ~2% APR.
- The dividends are qualified, which means they are taxed as long term capital gains at the lower 15% rate.
TOTAL MONTHLY INVESTING = $ 3,136.2
Actions Plans for August
- Get 2000-2003 Corolla (something close to $500-$600 per year) – save ~$500+/year on gas
- Read A Random Walk Down Wall Street
- Read The Millionaire Next Door
- Eliminate wife’s Short-Term Disability Insurance – Save $830/year
- Reduce wife’s Life Insurance coverage – Save $150/year
- Try to reduce my Life Insurance coverage (may have to wait until open enrollment in November, but I’m not sure) – Save $150/year
Other Points of Interest
I finally got around to creating a Resources page to collect a lot of useful products and services all in one place to help you save, make, and invest your money.
Here is a list of the posts I created for the month of August. Hopefully you’ll find at least one of these helpful in your journey.
- Best Dividend Paying Stocks – Part-2
- Best Dividend Paying Stocks – Part-3
- Save Money on Cable – How to Watch Cable TV for Free by Switching to Online TV
- How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?
- Ensure You’re Not Over Insured
- Selling a Blog or Business – When is the Right Time?
- Do You Need Short Term Disability Insurance?
- Book Review – The Art of the Start
With my second year of MBA school kicking into gear now, it will be a little harder to take the time to produce articles for the site – but I’ll shoot to create at least one a week.
Check back next month to see how well we did with our action plans! What are your money saving, money making, and investing plans for the month?