November was a decent month for savings. I didn’t do spectacular, but I didn’t do terrible either. I think mediocre would probably be the best word to use to describe the results.
Bills, Bills, Bills
First off, the standard expenses: rent, utilities, phone were inline with usual expectations. Nothing to report on this end, though I did recently learn that my rent will increase by $50/month starting next January. Combining this with the new tax rates for 2013 will mean less take home money each month. Talk about a double whammy! Also, it’s too soon for me to raise the rent on my tenant, since we just recently signed a one-year lease in September, so that’s out of the question. My current phone contract is also locked in for another year, so there’s really nothing I can do to lower this cost. After it expires, though, I will look for a cheaper alternative. I don’t subscribe to a data plan, since I just have a “dumb” phone, but I still think paying $50/month is too much.
Moving on to transportation costs. Gas prices have been dropping around my area as of late, so that’s always welcomed news! I also didn’t drive around much on the weekends, so I was able to save more than usual. I also let a friend borrow my car for one weekend, and they were kind enough to refill the tank to Full upon returning, so that actually saved me an extra trip to the gas station this month. I only had to fill up once this month, so can’t complain there 😉
Other expenses were up this month due to the MLB postseason and World Series. I’m not much of a consumer (really), but I’m a huge San Francisco Giants fan. This year they were able to advance back to the Series and sweep 4-0! So, I did indulge a bit and purchase some souvenirs: caps, sweatshirt, t-shirts, collectibles, the World Series Program, Sports Illustrated Collector’s Edition, etc. I also purchased the Blu-Ray set, but this expense won’t show up until the December report.
Readers who follow this site know that I hate clutter and most consumer goods. But, I’m still a kid at heart, and have watched the Giants since childhood. I had to endure until 2010, so about 21 long years since I started watching at age 5, until I could witness a championship season. The 2012 season was really icing on the cake, but I know that these magical seasons don’t always come around every year.
Even though I want to maximize my savings each and every month, there are times when I will make the exception. This happened to be one of those times, but I still did my best to keep the spending under control. Total cost (including the Blu-Ray set) is around $400. What I usually end up doing is sticking each collectible into a sealable plastic bag, and then placing them all inside of a large plastic bin. I then time capsule it away in my closet. These mementos don’t mean much to me at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll cherish them immensely in the future, when I’m old and gray. At that point, I’m certain I’ll be glad I bought these items when I did.
Some issues came up this month with the rental property. First, there was a satellite dish problem, but that has since been resolved. This was more just a minor inconvenience than anything else. Luckily, I wasn’t at fault here, so I didn’t have to dip into my savings or anything like that.
At the end of the month, I received another complaint that the garage door was not opening properly. Since I’ve been real busy with work lately, I didn’t have the time/patience to deal with the issue. I outsourced the work to a local repair guy, and the cost of labor was $60. The replacement parts were less than $5, so he said he would just charge me $60 flat. It’s experiences like these that make me wish I had more free time, so that I could just take care of the issues myself! It’s a little uninspiring to know that little things like this can quickly eat away at the monthly profits. I guess it’s still better than having to hire a property manager.
Lastly, I paid one installment of property taxes for $1337.58. The second installment is due in April 2013. Because of this large expense, the rental property generated -$536.69 this month. That is, I had to dip into my own savings to cover all the expenses.
Overall, the rental property experience has been very good, so I definitely can’t complain with a few minor issues.
Even though I feel like I did a mediocre job of saving this month, I still managed to save 63% of my net income (excluding the rental). When I say excluding the rental, I mean that the rental expenses are not included in the calculation. It’s a bit more confusing this month, because the rental property cash flow was negative.
This is how I calculated my “true” savings rate:
Total Expenses = $1686.13
Work Income = $5049.16
Dividend Income = $153.33
Rental Income Net = -$536.69 (Rental Income – Rental Expenses)
Expense Ratio = Total Expenses / (Work Income + Dividend Income + Rental Income Net)
Savings Ratio = 1 – Expense Ratio
Hopefully, I can get back on track next month and close 2012 off with a bang! I am aiming for nothing short of 70% savings next month! To my knowledge, the Giants and 49ers can’t win championships in December, so my spending should be better controlled 😉
This month, I made the following transactions:
63 share of LinnCo (LNCO)
60 shares of Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)
30 shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
23 shares of McDonald’s (MCD)
76.588 shares of SeaDrill (SDRL)
58 shares of Transocean (RIG)
Here are the dividend payouts for this month: