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December 2012 Monthly Expenses

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December 2012

December is now in the books, and my first year of dividend investing (and intense savings) has come to a finish! Prior to 2012, the path to early financial independence was not really on mind, so I did not have any real financial goals, other than “save a bit more than I spend.”


However, in late 2011, I started to think, “what do I ultimately want to do with my life?” I had finished school, had a good career, and wanted to know what was in stored for the future. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I really didn’t like working. When I envisioned what life might be like in my 40’s and 50’s, images of working in a cubicle or lab environment were enough to make me sick to my stomach. I knew I needed a way out, so I formulated a plan for 2012. As part of the plan, I needed to make sure that my savings rate >>>>> expenses.


So, how did I do? In December, my savings rate was 72.47% of net income. I did a rather poor job of saving in November, so it’s nice to be back in the 70% savings range. In a way, I feel like I was able to redeem myself for last month. It is a little more difficult to save during the holiday season, so I’m glad that I was able to stick to the gameplan and close the year off on a high note. 😉

For the year, my average savings rate came in at 68.96%. August was my worst performing month, when I dipped below 50%, and managed to only save 42.93%. A lot of expenses were due to rental repair work (which I will reimburse during tax season). My highest savings rate happened in October, when I was able to save 84.04%. Again, this abnormal rate was made possible due to a yearly bonus that I received (which I used to load up on dividend stocks). I didn’t quite make it to 70% for the year, but I came close. For 2013, my goal is to save 80% of my net income. Let’s keep on striving to do better!

Rental Property

I paid off the first installment of property tax on my rental unit, so I’m back to generating a profit this month. After accounting for all the expenses, I was able to pocket $644.43.

The trash and recycling seems to be an erratic bill. Last time around, they build me for a 3 month cycle. This time, they decided to bill me for a 2 month cycle, ending in December.

Net profit also takes into account the $100 gift card that I decided to give to my tenant as a Christmas present. The gift was my way of saying “thank you” for being such a good sport after we had to deal with the whole satellite dish fiasco back in November. Who says all landlords are heartless? 😉


28 shares of The Southern Company (SO)
61 shares of LinnCo (LNCO)


December was a great month for dividends! 14 companies paid out and I was able to eclipse $300/month in dividends for the first time. This was a nice milestone to reach, as it was only 3 months ago when I reached $200/month for the first time.


Here are the dividend payouts for the month:


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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • MartinNo Gravatar January 6, 2013, 9:43 pm

    I work as a mechanical engineer for 16 years and although I love my job, I hate it at the same time. I completely understand that frustration of going to work every day. Unfortunately I am not able to save 70% of my income. Family, house, and other expenses are larger than I would wish.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:07 pm


      I started off as a mechanical engineer working at a HVAC company upon graduation. Engineering in general is very rewarding, but also very demanding. After 16 years, I’m sure you can attest to that!

      Yeah, I totally hear you on the savings rate. 70% or so is reachable for me right now b/c I’m single and don’t have a family to feed. I can only imagine how much more difficult things must be for anyone who has dependents. I do hope to start a family one day, which is another reason I’m trying to “take care of business now.”

      Best wishes!

  • PKNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 7:00 am

    69%? That’s pretty epic for a year, and more than 2x our savings rate (and your lowest month looks good compared to us, heh).

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:09 pm


      I take it that you have a family to support, which would undoubtedly make it much harder to save. Still, you are doing far superior than the average American family, which can’t even reach the mainstream 10% savings rate.

      Take care!

  • Progress TrapNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 8:09 am

    Wow, your numbers are so close to mine. My average for 2012 was 68.88% and my best for the year was 82.56%. You beat me on both! Do you have any specific steps you’re going to take to shoot for the glorious 80% goal? I had considered making 80% my goal too, but I just don’t think I can do it without adding another income stream. The only reason I broke 80% in December was a bonus and my end of year dividend payouts.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:11 pm


      Awesome year you had there yourself! That’s kind of neat that our savings rate, and peak rate are roughly the same. Then again, we are also in the same line of work 😉

      Yep! In order to reach 80%, I will need a combination of things, namely: pay raise, bonuses, stocks + RSU’s, another rental property, dividend growth, etc.

      Congrats on the 80% in December. Gotta love bonuses!

      I’ll write in more details once I start the Goals for 2013.

      Best wishes!

  • JC @ PassiveIncomePursuitNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:40 am

    Congrats on a great month and year! What’s your plan to increase that savings rate? It doesn’t look like your expenses can come down too much more so I’m guessing some kind of increase in income? My goal is also to average 80% for the year, but that’s not going to be quite as big of a jump as you. My plan is to increase my income from work and hopefully monetize the blog a bit. I’m not expecting anything huge but any bit will help. Best wishes in 2013!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:14 pm


      Thanks! To increase my savings, I’m planning on relying on more offense (e.g. pay raise, bonuses, second rental property, online income stream?, etc.).

      Like you said, at this point, it’s rather difficult to cut down on spending since I’m already making such a conscious effort to keep this low. I think this is a problem all of us early FI folks inevitably run into. There will come a point when you can’t really improve your defense any further.

      Best of luck in reaching your goal of 80%. That will be an amazing accomplishment, but you’re already doing a spectacular job, regardless. If anyone can pull it off, it’s you 😉

      Best wishes in 2013!

  • Dividend MantraNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 5:37 pm

    FI Fighter,

    Fantastic savings rate. That’s the kind of rate that probably seems pretty normal around us investors shooting for financial independence, but that’s positively otherworldly compared to most of society. Keep up the great work.

    That rental property is really giving you a big boost. That’s fantastic.

    If you can have an equally good year in 2013 as you did in 2012 I think you’d be just about all set!

    Best wishes.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 9:49 pm


      Thanks! Yeah, 70% probably wouldn’t be comprehensible to most everyday folks, but it’s along the lines of normal for those seeking early FI. After following so many other bloggers who are doing such a phenomenal job of saving, I start to believe that I can keep doing better. So, the target is set for 80% in 2013!

      The rental property has been a solid investment thus far. The passive income is great, and the price appreciation is just an added bonus. Real estate is just white hot in my area right now, so I’m glad I was able to get in when I did. It’s an absolutely brutal market right now, with too many buyers competing with all cash.

      Best wishes in 2013!

  • LeighNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 8:47 pm

    I love your savings rate! I calculated and my overall savings rate if you took out bonuses for 2012 was 54%, which I think isn’t bad for all the moving I did 🙂 I think I can beat that in 2013!

    I’ve started to hate working too, but I’m trying to keep an open mind with the new job and I hope things will improve. I’m still ~10 years out from FI, which is a long time to hate my job. I’m super jealous of your $750/month in rent… Those irregular trash bills would drive me crazy! Thankfully all of my bills are regular in appearance.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 10:00 pm


      54% is a fantastic savings rate. Now that you’re done moving around, situated, and have the new job settled, I’m sure you’ll do even better in 2013!

      Yeah, working is something that unfortunately loses its novelty after not very long. For me, even with a new job, I usually find myself bored after 6 months or so. Maybe it’s just my personality, but early FI is definitely in the cards for me.

      Hopefully things get better for you soon! 😉 If not, you can always try and bounce around and find another gig. Maybe spend like 2-3 years at each place. I’ve always liked moving around, as it helps keep things fresh and more interesting.

      Take care!

  • SubaNo Gravatar January 7, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Impressive savings rate! And that dividend income is an awesome finish to a great year!

    We might have pulled it off when we were two income family. Now that I have quit my job I was hoping to (re)start at 30% (certainly doable) to 50% (stretch but what is life without challenge).

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 10, 2013, 8:19 pm


      Thanks! Yup, gotta love the December payouts. They sure do allow a person to close the year out with a BANG!

      I can understand how much more difficult it must be to save and support a family. 30% to 50% is still a substantial savings rate, and one you should be most proud of.

      Best wishes in 2013!

  • Brick By Brick Investing | MarvinNo Gravatar January 8, 2013, 11:02 am

    Impressive savings rate!!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 10, 2013, 8:19 pm


      As always, thanks for the continued support!


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