Dividend and Expense Updates

Dividend and Expense Review – July 2019 – Growing Side Income

Side income was the name of the game this month. My post about beer money spoke about how I was starting to try to make money online. July was the first month when that side income started being visible.

In fact, 9.1% of my income came from side hustles this month. The majority of that was from Amazon Turk. However, I also got received $133 from one study on Respondent. I’ll write more about this in a separate post.

However, it’s clear that making side income online is doable. I did spend more time in July doing these things as part of my beer money post. That means I don’t expect the side income to be that high every month. However, it’s great that it’s there when I want to focus on it.

I think any month where you can get additional income will be a good one for the savings rate. After all, I didn’t really go crazy on expenses this month so I’m not expecting bad results this month. My recent halfway point review showed I was doing well so far so it’d be nice to continue that into July.

I do have a vacation planned soon so my expenses will grow in those months. The airplane tickets were just booked so August might be a bit ugly. After that, the trip itself in October means heightened expenses in that month. I plan to eat my way through Atlanta and there’s a lot of expensive places I want to visit there!

On the dividend side, July is a slower month. It’s mainly bonds as most of my ETFs or mutual funds don’t pay in these months. However, my M1 Finance account is growing in size so that helps.

Still, it’s a very small % of my overall portfolio so it won’t be a game changer yet. I think that account will help grow these smaller months in the long term as my high savings rate this year has meant a decent amount of additional money flowing into that account. It’s only $100 here and there but it helps.

So far, I’ve grown each month this year by a significant amount so I’m hoping that’s the case in July as well. I know that going forward, the recently lowered interest rates might impact my bond and cash payments slightly but hopefully the impact isn’t huge.

Last year’s July came in at $160.65 so let’s see where it is now.

July Dividends

July clocks in at $240.76! That’s a 49.87% bump over last year.

It’s awesome to see this type of growth rate continue even in these off months. I’m also glad to see the $200+ months continue.

The combination of money flowing into the market and compound growth is really amazing. I barely saw growth in the first two years but since then, that growth has exploded.

It’s a small number but $240.76 reinvested will improve my annual income by $5.54. Every little bit counts!

July brings the total for the year to $5,682.22, a 35.37% growth rate versus this time last year.

Steve, my dependable dividend employee brought in $1.44/hr this month. It’s far from a living wage but it’s growing! For the year, his hourly wage is now $4.87 and growing at a good clip each year.

The great thing is that Steve’s best months, September and December are ahead. You can see that in the graph below.

August won’t be anything exciting. However, September is ahead and then we’ve got the king of all months, December! It’s possible December will be my first $4,000 month.

That certainly gives me a lot of motivation to get there. I’ll certainly keep saving and trying to get my savings rate as high as possible each month. The extra side income that I’ve started to earn should help with that. I do have some more expensive months coming up but I’ll still try my best to save some money there.

July Total : $240.76
2019 Total : $5,682.22
Portfolio monthly hourly wage : $1.44/hr
Portfolio annual hourly wage : $4.87/hr

Side Income and Savings Rate

Last year’s July savings rate was 33.45% as wedding expenses started to ramp up. I still had my car payment at that point too. One of the key drivers of the savings rate improvement this year is losing that as well as not having a wedding or honeymoon to spike up my expenses.

Let’s see where I am this July.

Side Income helps drive savings rate

My savings rate came in at 56.8%! Adding in employer contributions brings that number up to 63.21%.

On a gross income basis, I saved 44.4% of my income with 49.4% after employer contributions.

2019 is a great year so far when it comes to savings. July is my 6th month out of 7 where I saved 50% or more of my income! My side income helped a lot with this as it offset some expenses that don’t generally appear. One of those is my car taxes which spiked my car expenses this month.

Extra income is helpful but it’s mostly just the removal of certain expenses that has grown my savings rate this year.

I mean imagine a month like July. It’s the month when my car taxes are due so last year, I was paying taxes PLUS a car payment. Next month, it’d be a car payment PLUS my insurance payment. It’s much easier to handle car expenses when the car payment is done.

Beyond the car, health expenses were up this month as well. I had some back pain that required a doctor visit and some x-rays that impacted that area of the chart.

It’s crazy how despite paying so much for health insurance, I still have to pay 100% of the costs of my expenses until I hit my deductible. I truly don’t understand how people can afford healthcare in this country anymore.

I pay $400+ a month for insurance for my wife and I(and part of that is subsidized by my company) for a plan that has a $5000+ family deductible. Beyond that, I get partial coverage until a $10,000+ out of pocket max. It’s ludicrous that so much of my income goes to healthcare expenses.

The other thing I hate is the complete lack of transparency around healthcare costs. I have ZERO idea what a doctor visit will cost me or what my X-Rays will cost me until I get my bill. I also can’t compare or shop around for these services since I have no ideas if other doctors are more or less expensive.

Most times, I only have a small selection of doctors anyway. All in all, it’s a real crap system we got going on over here.

Beyond that, I had some expenses for birthday gifts and went out to eat a few times; nothing crazy.

We do have a vacation planned for October. I booked the flights recently which will show up in the August numbers and plan to spend quite a bit eating at overly fancy places in Atlanta when we get there. It’ll be nice to take some time off work and spend some time in a new city.

We’re not doing anything huge like Hawaii last year but travel expenses add up really quickly.

Overall, this year has been great. You can see the progression of my savings rates below.

Most months this year have been above 50% which is amazing. On top of that, most of the purple months are better than the prior months.

The side income I’ve brought in recently has helped but so has my ability to cut back on spending. It’s really a combination of things. More money is good when it comes to savings rate but so is controlling expenses. I think the big one there is not having a car payment.

That has been absolutely huge and can’t be discounted. I love having that extra cash each month to invest and that shows in my results. I know my numbers will drop in the next few months due to my vacation.

However, I’m hoping I can earn some extra side income to buffer those months. That’d be neat to see! Hope your month was great as well and I’ll see you again in next month’s post. You know what they say, gotta track to stay on track(I don’t know if anyone says that).


  • Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE

    Healthcare is the single largest line item in our budget, and we don’t consume nearly the equivalent amount of services b/c we prefer natural cures and wellness, and these aren’t covered! So I empathize with your frustration. Congrats on the savings rate! While you mention that it’s expense reduction that’s helping more than side hustles, there’s a cap to how much you can do with expense reduction but no cap to side income if you build it right. So I think it’s great that you’re doing things on the side. I find the most helpful thing about side income is that it gives you a safe space to experiment on money-making ventures without being too disruptive to the rest of your life.

  • Th Money Hobo

    This is really interesting! I’m having some surgery done over the next few months so my healthcare spend is sky rocketing and killing my budget for the next few months, so I definitely empathise with you! Congrats on getting the savings rate above 50%! It’s definitely still a target for me, but I’m getting closer

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