Income/Expenses For July 2013

Each month I will post my income/expenses for the previous month. I track every dollar in and out, so what you see is exactly what I earned and spent (rounded to the nearest dollar).

Income from July 2013:

$4,389–Regular Paycheck
$1,150–Online Income/Bonus
$182–Dividend Income

Total Income: $5,719

Expenses from July 2013:

$523–Rent & Utilities
$189–Student Loans
$128–Fast Food/Pizza/Takeout
$40–Mobile Phone
$35–Public Transportation
$197–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $1,634

*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. This month, it was $81 in rental car fees, as my girlfriend and I found a couple of cheap plane tickets to fly to Michigan to see family for a wedding reception event, but the flight was based out of Tampa. A rental car was the only realistic transportation option to get to and from that airport. I also spent $60 on gifts, primarily for the aforementioned wedding reception. I also had to replace my electric razor, which ran $46, as well as a lost umbrella ($10).

Income was fantastic this month. Typically, in my industry (automotive) and in my area (Sarasota, FL), the summer is a slow time of year as most of the residents here are snowbirds and live up north this time of year. Surprisingly, we’ve been busier than anticipated and my income this summer has been much higher than it was during this time last year. The dividend income last month was another great month of passive income, and that helped out as well.

However, the online income was the big story here. Although I cashed out some credit card reward dollars this month ($25), most of the income you see above was as a direct result of this blog. Most of the income was due to payments from passive contextual advertising displays here on the site, but $500 was due to some information on this blog being syndicated somewhere else. This month’s income was way out of the norm, but I do hope I can achieve income on the order of $300 or more every single month.

Expenses were a bit higher than I would have liked them to be this month. This was primarily driven by a wonderful trip to Michigan where I visited my second youngest sister. She got married earlier this year in Jamaica and held a reception party in my parent’s front yard. There was a big tent, lots of food, games, alcohol, and music. It was a really great time!

The Health category was higher than what I’ve recorded in prior months due to the addition of a dental insurance policy. This policy has a $12.99 monthly premium, but also has a one-time $35 start-up fee.

Food was a bit high as I continue to eat a little healthier and also due to the aforementioned travel. Eating on the go isn’t cheap. I’d like to keep all food costs under $280/mo over the long haul, but this is the one budget category that I don’t mind too much if I go a little over on. Fuel was also high this month due to having to put gas in the rental cars to and from the airport.

I managed to save 71.4% of my net income this month. Any time I can hit a savings rate over 70% I’m very happy. I know how tough it is to do this on a regular basis, so I’m aware that I can’t do it every month. But achieving a savings rate this high is quite an accomplishment when it does happen.

My goal is to average a 60% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I’ve hit rates of:

75.7% – January
48.3% – February
57% – March
71.4% – April
64.2% – May
64.6% – June
71.4% – July

I’m now at an average of 64.7% for the year so far. That’s above my goal and I think there’s a great chance I’ll exceed my goal by the end of the year.

How did your July budget turn out? Did you hit a great savings rate? 

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Edit: Corrected amount of online income from syndication.


  1. Scoonie says

    Nice job this month! Even when you do retire, I bet you will continue to expand this blog and maybe ever write a book. $1,150 in online income is awesome. Is there any individual/independent Dividend Growth investor who gets more page views than you?

    By the way, what program do you use for tracking income/expenses? I just start using Personal Capital two weeks ago. I like it so far, I’m mainly using it to track how much I’m spending and where my money is going. It also keeps track of my net worth (which I’ve already done for years using Excel).

    • says


      Thanks! I appreciate the support.

      I’d love to write a book someday. It would be great to have a collection of everything I’ve experienced and believe in all in one source. Of course, this blog is a bit of that in itself as an anthology.

      I’m not quite sure how many pageviews other blogs out there get, so it’s tough for me to compare my blog to others in that respect. I’m a bit more public about a lot of this stuff. I would suspect I’m probably one of the more popular, overall.

      As far as tracking my income and expenses goes, I use Mint. I’ve had a great experience with it so far, but I’ve also heard great things about Personal Capital. If I’m not mistaken, PC is a bit more advanced than Mint. I use Mint as my budgeting tool only.

      The tool doesn’t matter so much as long as you’re tracking every penny in and out. You won’t have any leaks in the ship that way! :)

      Keep up the great work.


    • says


      Thanks so much! It was another good month where a lot of things clicked just right. Expenses were, overall, a little higher than I’d like them to be but the travel and gift expenses aren’t regular expenditures.

      The online income definitely helped out a lot. Without that I would have had a much lower savings rate. It’s tough to account for the income as net income, but it’ll reconcile itself during tax season as my savings rate will go way down during February or March to account for all of this new income.

      Keep up the great work on your end too. You’re doing very well with the online income too via SA.

      Best wishes!

  2. Anonymous says

    are you wearing your helmet everyday? Don’t leave home with out it. We want you to see the fruits of all this labor on that day you turn 40

    • says


      I do wear my helmet every time I ride my scooter. I don’t ride it every day, and actually am quite content just to ride the bus. It’s safe and I can either just think in peace or, if it’s in the morning, take a little nap.

      Thanks for looking out! I do appreciate it. :)

      Best regards.

  3. Spoonman says

    Another solid month. I love the fact that you are honest and transparent about your “Everything Else” category. I’m taking notes because it’s those out of the ordinary expenses that may complicate things in retirement. That could be the topic of another post =), an examination of your Everything Else category over the course of the last couple of years.

    Your blog income is phenomenal, I remember the days when you were quoting 6 or 7 dollars per month. When you say “…$300 was due to some information on this blog being syndicated somewhere else”, are those royalties of some sort that someone else is paying you?

    Congrats on achieving over 70% savings rate!

    • says


      You know, you’re right. Those unplanned expenses really creep up and can make up a good portion of the overall expenses, even if you’re careful. For instance, I had to use a rental car this month and I was more than happy to give some gifts. It’s not housing or food, but these expenses can be more recurring than we’d like to admit if we don’t diligently account for them on a regular basis.

      I like to account for the ‘Everything Else’ category in great detail because I’ll need to account for this stuff once I’m financially independent. Ignoring these expenses and planning on just being able to pay for the basics would be ignorant on my part. I would say the only expense I’m really not planning for is the student loan repayments. I should have all of that taken care of by the time I’m 40 and FI. That will free up about $200/mo, but by then other expenses might come into view and make up the gap. We’ll see.

      The blog income was spectacular this month. It took me all of 2012 to make that much last year, so obviously this was pretty huge. Unfortunately, it’s also fairly abnormal. I’ll have a big August as well because Google pays a month behind, but September is tracking back to normal. As far as the $300 goes, yes it’s royalties of sorts.

      Thanks for the support. It’s readers like you and many others here that allow me to continue writing and inspiring, and also know make a nice little side income from it. I’m eternally grateful!

      Have you thought about starting a blog? I know we have similar ambitions and investing styles, and your plans to travel seem really interesting! I’d be a reader if you did.

      Best wishes!

    • Spoonman says

      I’ve thought about starting a blog, I may end up doing that one of these days. You’ll be the first to know if I get one going.

    • says


      That would be awesome. It’s a ton of work, much more so than it seems. But it can also be incredibly rewarding.

      I corrected the royalty income for syndication that we were talking about earlier. As I was responding to you I realized the $300 couldn’t have possibly been right due to the amount of money I received from Google. I corrected that. I didn’t look at my Mint account close enough when I was writing this post. Sorry about that.

      Best wishes!

  4. says


    Two things. First off, great job income. And second, great online income. I’m jealous of that insane progress. Keep up the good work. I know it’s draining, but you’ll making insane amounts of progress.

    Looking forward to catching up later this week.

    Take care,

    • says


      Thanks so much. I’m really lucky with the online income. I have very little impact on it when it’s all said and done, so when the dust settles and I actually see a pretty decent part-time job income from it I’m very excited. It’s great to be remunerated in some fashion for the hard work. I really do appreciate it.

      And the job income was nice too. We’re extremely seasonal down here, so it’s been a surprise to be as busy as we have been this summer. I’m not complaining, though!

      Looking forward to catching up as well! I’m excited to see what happens with some of these ideas! :)

      Take care.

    • says

      Teach Me To Invest,


      I think transparency is rare in the personal finance world, and I wanted to change that a bit when I first started this blog. How can we really learn from each other, and our own mistakes, if we’re not being completely honest and forthright?

      Thanks for the support. This blog wouldn’t exist without you readers, so thanks to you.


  5. says

    I have a question about dividend taxation. according to wikipedia a qualified divdend must:

    meet holding period requirements: You must have held the stock for more than 60 days during the 121-day period that begins 60 days before the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is the first date following the declaration of a dividend on which the buyer of a stock is not entitled to receive the next dividend payment. For calculation purposes, the number of days of ownership includes the day of disposition but not the day of acquisition.

    My question in relation to that is how are subsequent investments in a stock you own considered. Say you own $10,000 of PM and then 3 years later buy another $50,000 of PM 1 week before the ex dividend. According to the top quote the additional $50,000 would not meet the holding period requirement, but would the initial $10,000 qualify any additional investments you make?

    Having a tough time finding an answer on this after doing research.

    • says


      As far as your question goes, the $10,000 initial investment would meet the qualified dividend taxation due to the holding period meeting the 61 days in 121 days rule (beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date) By owning for three years, you’re good.

      The second investment will all depend on how long you hold it. If you buy 1 week before the ex-dividend date and then hold it for another 60 days (for instance) then you will meet the holding period, as you’ll be holding it for more than 61 days, beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date.

      For another explanation, Fidelity does the math with a couple examples:

      I hope that helps. Of course, as a disclaimer, you’ll probably want to talk to a qualified tax professional for further clarification for your individual situation as taxes vary from situation to situation.

      Furthermore, I think your confusion arises from when you purchase. You don’t have to buy 60 days before the ex-dividend date. That’s only when the holding period “window” starts. You have to hold 61 days in that 121-day period. That can start 1 day before the ex-dividend date.

      Best wishes!

    • says


      Thanks a lot! It was a great month for me. I’m really blessed to make a pretty solid income.

      The blogging income was a very nice surprise. This is very abnormal, but I do hope to make $300 or more per month. That would be fantastic.

      Thanks for the support!

      Best wishes.

    • says


      Glad you like the monthly budget reports. I think this is where theory meets application. You can talk and blog about living frugally all day long, but if you’re not walking the walk it’s all just hot air. I’d like to think I do a fairly decent job of not being a hypocrite. :)


    • says


      Thanks so much. My recurring expenses are mostly fairly low. It’s the one-time expenses that seem to get me a lot of the time. These non-recurring expenses, usually in my ‘Everything Else’ category tend to add up a lot more than I’d like to think. This keeps me honest.

      Food was a tad high. However, this isn’t just for me. I pay for takeout and restaurant visits almost 100% of the time. This is due to me making more money than my girlfriend. We split household expenses, but I think it’s fair to remain chivalric about dates.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best regards.

  6. Chris A. says

    Hey DM,

    Just curious, how much more do you have left of your student loan? Imagine the day when you can put an extra $189/month into your investment account!

    • says

      Chris A.,

      I have about $19,000 in student loans remaining. I started this journey with somewhere around $26,000. I’m paying off slowly due to the low interest rate (a little under 3%) and the fact that the interest is tax-deductible.

      I do quite look forward to the day when I can invest that money. If I could go back in time to my college days and refrain from ever taking out student loans, I would. But I can’t.

      I don’t plan on still having this as an expense once I’m financially independent, so that will lighten the budget a bit.

      Take care!

  7. Anonymous says

    Mantra, can you please tell me how you have 3% student loan? mine is 7% and anywhere I look to refinance lower rate the lowest I can find is also about 7%.

    Thank you

    • says


      Who is your lender? Are your loans private?

      Mine are owned and serviced by the Department of Education.

      I just double checked my interest rate, and my loans are broken up into four separate loans. Two have an interest rate of 2.350 and two have an interest rate of 3.125. And, of course, they are tax-deductible.

      If I had a rate of 7%, I would be pumping everything I had at them. I’d want to get rid of them as soon as possible.

      Do you have a large balance? Is it possible to transfer these to a 0% credit card and pay them off before the 0% intro period ends?

      Good luck!

      Best wishes.

  8. says

    Hey there DM!
    I was curious about something being a beginner and all (not sure if you have answered this but excuse me if you already have). What were some good investing books/resources that helped you at the beginning of your journey? Thanks for your time and keep up the great work. Ive been a avid (daily) reader of your site for the last few months now and it is extremely inspiring and already has changed my life for the better. Take care!


  9. Anonymous says

    Great job again, we reached 70% in July with an avarage of 72% in the first half of the year driven by good income and cost control. The rest of the year will be more in the 63-65% range with the wife on maternity leave but we are hopeful of getting to 70% overall for the full year.

    Free at 42

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