Welcome to my July 2013 Money Making, Saving, and Investing Report!
This is the third 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 see last month’s report (June), 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 June)
Green = complete, Orange = some progress, Red = no progress
- Try to get Grocery bills a little lower (>$50 lower)
- We didn’t do as well as I hoped here. We were able to get it $5.59 lower.
- Plan to sell Camry for ~$900 and get 2003 Corolla (something close to $500 per year)
- I’m active in the hunt for a new car. I went to see one, but is was in pretty bad shapre compared to the Craigslist ad. I’m not interested in buying a car unless I can see the previous maintenance records to get a “warm and fuzzy” that the owner took care of it. I do have two promising leads currently, so hopefully this will pan out.
- Get cheaper car/home insurance combo through GEICO vs. State Farm – could save ~$576/year
- Was able to actually switch from StateFarm to Progressive and save ~$475 per year!!! Read about the adventure here.
- Eliminate phone damage insurance – save $126/year
- Totally failed here. I didn’t take the extra time to go to BestBuy and cancel it. My wife was also concerned that the phone could get messed up at the beach. I hope to cancel this insurance this weekend!
- Try to increase MoneyAhoy.com income to > $8.00/month through ad revenue (views plus clicks)
- I increased income over last month, but didn’t hit the goal. I’m going to not focus so much on this goal going forward and just work to bring you interesting and helpful content.
July was another rough month at achieving my goals. I only hit one out of five. We had company unexpectedly visit for 1.5 weeks and we took a weekend trip out of town. So, this through a wrench into achieving some of these goals. Hopefully I can make up for it in August!
Now, let’s get into the details for the month!!!
Money Making (Income)
Salaries (after taxes) — $8,521.62
MoneyAhoy.com Income — $5.41 (estimated)
- Google AdSense Ads — $5.31 (estimated)
- YouTube Ads — $0.10 (estimated)
Yard Sale Items resold on Ebay — $16.48
Dividend Income — $20.44
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME = $ 8,563.95 ( down $434.49 vs. last month <due to increased 401K contributions & no bonus>)
Money Saving (Expenses)
A couple of notes on the normal routine expenses for July:
- Our childcare expenses were higher in July since our son was out of school for the entire month. We’re spending $1,406 a month on this!!! There’s got to be a way here to save more, but for the life of me I can’t find a solution here. The daycare they attend is the least expensive in the area… Thankfully, it will go back down by about $300/month once school starts.
- My wife was able to continue her progress at resisting the Starbucks temptation. 2 months in a row! How long can she go?
- Gas expenses were ~$30 higher for the month. This is probably because we took a trip to the beach at the end of the month.
- Will save $40/month going forward due to switching from StateFarm to Progressive for car and home insurance.
- Did not spend any money this month on clothes ($35 reduction)!
Special expenses for the month:
- Van maintenance – had the timing belt, hoses, belts, and brakes replaced – $530
- Family pictures – $147
- Picture frames from Michaels – $80
- Doctor visits and medicine – $77
- Tent camping reservation – $52
- Bath & Body Works – $50
Notes on special expenses:
- Our Toyota Sienna just hit 160,000 miles. Yay! We had our family mechanic do the works on it to keep everything running smoothly. He changed the timing belt, hoses, belts, brakes, and the transmission fluid. This work should last us for the next 100,000 miles, but we took the hit to this month’s expenses.
- I normally take family pictures with a tripod and our Canon 50D and we print them on Shutterfly, but we decided to have professional portraits taken of the family and the kids since we haven’t had any in the past 3 years. They are growing up so fast!
- More pictures mean more frames! After much discussion, I think we’re going to return the $80 in frames from Michaels and try to find some at yard sales (if we’re lucky). How the hell did medium/large frames get so expensive?!?!?!?
- Both of our kids got sick in July. Our daughter got strep throat, and our son had an ear infection (chronic issue). Doctors visits and medicine added up to quite a bit for the month.
- We wanted to have a beach trip with the kids since they really didn’t get a vacation this year. We decided to go tent camping over a weekend at a Virginia Beach campground. It rained and a lot of stuff got soacked! But, it ended up being a pretty frugal 2-day trip, so we were both pretty happy for that.
- My wife spent $50 at Bath and Body Works for X-mas presents and some stuff for herself since they were having a 50% off sale.
As a result of all of these special expenses, our savings rate was lower than the past two months. Our July monthly savings rate (total savings/gross income) came in at only 42% savings. That’s definitely disappointing, but I’m still working at whittling away our expenses so that we can eventually get to our goal of 60% savings. I’m not sure if I’ll hit the goal before the end of September, but I’m trying my best to get there!
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES = $ 5,549.15 ( $550 more than last month)
I again 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 think I’ll look into getting one of the stocks that shook out of the best dividend paying stocks post for next month. I didn’t get a chance to actually purchase the SPY stock in July because I was busy with work, but I’m including it here in the July report since I got it at the beginning of August.
I bought: 12 shares of SPY @ 169.90 (with $5 commission) — $ 2,038.80
- 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 = $ 2,038.80
Actions Plans for July
- Plan to sell Camry for ~$900 and get 2000-2003 Corolla (something close to $500 per year) – save ~$500+/year on gas
- Eliminate phone damage insurance – save $126/year
- Eliminate World of Warcraft subscriptions. My son and I play this, but with school restarting and trying to get him more into sports, we’ve decided to get rid of it – save $360/year
- Discuss if we really need to carry short-term disability insurance for wife – this costs $380/year
If we implemented all of the above actions, we’d save an additional $1,400+/year or a an additional 2.5% of our income each month!
Check back next month to see how well we did with our action plans!