After a slight hiatus in posting to this blog, I am back. However, I think I need to scale back my posting schedule for the duration of my employment contract. I changed my goal for 2018 to 1x per week. December was a great month for family time, but not really a great month for keeping our expenses low.
The entire family was off for two weeks and we traveled to see extended family. There were too many parties to count and we had a lot of fun catching up with family and friends.
I mentioned briefly that I starting eating a mostly strict paleo diet for the month of December and plan on continuing for the full year. This type of diet is pretty expensive, but the health benefits are very noticeable. I am sleeping wonderfully, generally happier and already lost a few pounds in the first month. All without increasing my exercise regiment. The best part, we are eating very tasty food. The downside, this shows up in our grocery bill.
We even go to see some snow in Georgia! The kids had a blast making snowmen.
Childcare/Dependent – This is our daycare expense, doctor visits and a lot of Christmas presents including this Power Wheels Jeep Wrangle. Jeep was a must!
Mortgage – Our mortgage expense includes an additional $500 in principal. I will back this out.
Groceries – Our Grocery and home supplies was very expensive even for us. Working in corporate America you are expected to hand out gifts to employees and co-workers. We usually gift a nice bottle of wine or champagne. This threw off our expenses in this category. Also, Paleo calls for eating high quality foods which are not very cheap. We enjoyed lots of fresh wild caught fish, grass fed beef and free range chicken and turkey. I am sure we will go cheaper later on as we get better managing our diet, we just really want to purge the toxins from our system.
General Merchandise – This was 90% gifts purchased on Amazon.
Clothing/Shoes – I needed to update my wardrobe for work to appear more professional, even though I would rather wear jeans and a sweatshirt.
Personal Care – This one is all Mrs. TPM and her products and a hair style. I am sure I would hear about calling her out if she actually paid attention to these updates.
Restaurants – We at out once as a family at our favorite Mexican establishment. The rest of this are work lunches and a random take out order.
Month over month change
Our expenses jumped by nearly 23% from November which was also an expensive month. The holidays are an expensive time of year. We are still on track to save over 60% of income for the year even though we ended on a spending spree.
Next year will be a better representation as we will have a full year of history for expenses.
Look out shortly for our 2017 Net Worth Review coming shortly.
Passive Income from Dividends
For 2017 we achieved over $10,000 of dividends from our taxable stock holdings. I don’t include income derived from our tax deferred accounts because we won’t be accessing it for almost 30 years. All of these dividends were either reinvested into the company that issued it if it was held in one of our DRIP accounts. If not, it was pooled with our other dividends and redeployed along with other new money contributions from our day jobs.
Over time, I intend to increase our investments in dividend growth stocks. My intention for trimming the dividend portfolio for the past couple years was due to valuations, an unfavorable tax bracket and having to write a large check to the federal government to cover our dividend income.
In December we didn’t really see many of our companies increasing dividends. We saw a modest increase from AT&T which we purchased a few months back.
DRIP and DSPP Accounts
Most months I dollar cost average into a few companies with little to no investment cost through transfer agents like Computershare and Wells Fargo Shareowner Online. This has been automated for some time. Typically the companies I choose to purchase this way are large cap stocks with durable competitive advantages that typically trade at a premium. Good examples of these are Hersey and McCormick. Both companies, I will likely hold forever if we are given the opportunity. None of these companies are undervalued at the moment.
For September I made the following small recurring DRIP investments:
Other Investments Made
From time to time I make purchases in other equities with monthly contributions to our brokerage accounts, pooled dividends, proceeds from sales or other extra money from our day job.
This was a rather boring month. We had no additional transactions for the month.
Occasionally we pay down our mortgage on our primary residence. As of today our mortgage is our only debt. Our mortgage payment is automated and includes an additional $500 draft.