Dividend and Expense Updates

The Time in the Market expense and savings report – December 2017 – the uncle Dave told me to save edition

It’s savings rate time and this one is the final update for 2017. MLK day means I have the day off and spent the time writing a silly intro to this post. After all, what else would I do with this post series?

You’re probably asking yourself “who this uncle Dave is and why is he telling him to save?”

I answer, “I know right. mind your own damn business uncle Dave. It’s colder than Hoth out here and you’re busting me about savings.”

I’ve already talked about getting my butt in gear when I did my Q3 review. It was clear from that that I was behind my goals so I don’t need uncle Dave all up in my grill!

“I already know I need to save Uncle Dave!”

Now you’re probably thinking, “this is a weird start to a post about savings rates and expenses.

You’re right and also, I was kidding about being mad about uncle Dave’s comments.

He’s totally right, I should save a lot – well at least he would be if he existed because the plot twist here is that I made him up. There is no uncle Dave and he certainly didn’t tell me to save.

Now you’re probably thinking(if you haven’t closed the page yet because you think I’m an idiot), “holy crap, what a plot twist, I didn’t see that coming”.

Or maybe you did, you’re a smart cookie after all. I was just testing you to make sure you don’t trust everything you read on the internet. People do lie on the internet or so I’ve been told.

Now that the test is over, it’s time to see if I rocked it as well. I’m talking about hitting my savings rate goals in the last month of the year. Since I did my Q3 review and saw that I was a few % below my 40% goal, I have hit 39.8% in October and 54.6% in November. That means that 40% goal is within reach if I can do well here so let’s see how the cookie crumbled. 

Gross Income Savings Rate

On a gross income basis, I saved 36.9% of my income. This is the 3rd best month I had all year. I’m pretty dang excited about that, so much so that I used the word dang. This was a three paycheck month so I did have high hopes for it. I’m glad I did well even with the holidays and some unexpected expenses cropping up.

The addition of employer contributions brings that rate up to 41.92% which is pretty dang nice too; double dang excitement!

The 2017 bronze goal in this category was 30% so I’ve smashed it two months in a row. I was at 28.1% after Q3 and the stellar results in the last three months have catapulted me to 31.3% which means I hit my bronze goal! I’ll do a full detailed post about that in my goal review later on but I’ll allow myself a small celebration right now.

The solid results here mean good things for my savings rate  and for my chances to hit the yearly target there too.

Savings Rate

My savings for the month is 51.24%. That brings my yearly savings rate from 37.5% after Q3 all the way up to 42.18%. This means a bronze medal for me here as well!

If you’re not familiar with my medal based goals then take a look at my 2018 goals for an explanation. It’s like the Olympics except without any fans or athletic talent.

I’ve already celebrated enough for weeks in this post so I won’t do it again. I’m psyched to see how well I was able to close that gap after Q3 with three strong months in a row.

The savings rate for the month jumps to 58.16% when I add in employer contributions.

It’s always awesome to save more than 50% of your disposable income and it’s even better to do it two months in a row!

Last month I used a Sankey graph to illustrate my expenses and I liked the way it looked. I think I’ll continue with that format going forward. I’ll show my income and expenses in percentages instead of actual dollars to maintain some privacy. I don’t want you guys knowing all of my secrets!


First of all, my self-published book income is HUGE making up 0.48% of my income this month. It was so huge it covered both my health insurance and electronics purchases.

The health insurance is heavily subsidized by a wellness credit I got towards the end of the year. It’s typically spread out through the whole year but I earned it a few months ago so it’s hitting pretty hard now. The electronics purchase was a crappy pair of $7 JVC earphones on Amazon. If my book income continues at this pace then I can have a new pair of JVC headphones each month for life! I’ll soon be on the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

The Sankey looks pretty good this month with the biggest “expense” being my savings. It’s always awesome to see that kind of skewed graph and I aim to make it look like that as often as possible.

Rent is up next and makes up 11.6% of my spend. That’s lower than usual due to this being a three paycheck month.

Health is next in line and included paying for an expensive test I had done around a month ago. The test put me up to $2598 spend against a deductible of $2600 for the year. That bill was processed right at the end of December. That means the insurance company pretty much nailed me perfectly. I was right near the deductible, 2 freaking dollars away. That means I got no benefit from the insurance this year and they got all my premium. Well done, insurance guys, way to keep that profit!

As far as the test went, the results were good.  That means I can continue writing ridiculous intros to these expense reports for at least another six decades.

Pets showed up next and that was drive by a visit to the vet. My precious pooch had a tough ear infection that required some medication. She’s also been suffering with some allergies lately so we had some tests done. All that cost a pretty penny as vet visits usually do.

We are also trying out some prescription food to help with the allergies. The food is a bit more expensive than what we used before but she seems to be reacting to it well. To save some cash, I found a better deal online versus going through the vet so that was nice.

The vet visit was an unexpected expense for the month but I certainly don’t mind and am glad to spend the money if it helps my dog feel better as she’s a big part of my life.

The rest of the items are your typical expenses. Gifts are a bit higher than usual and include some holiday presents. My family isn’t huge and we don’t do gifts for adults on our side of the family which I appreciate. My fiancee’s side does do gifts and I chipped in on that end with some additional costs on that front falling into January.

I made no additional payments on my car loan in order to maximize my savings rate. I also spent a bit less on restaurants and ate in more for the same reason and I found that I didn’t miss it that much. The fact that it’s ultra cold also makes it a lot easier to stay out than head out to the restaurants.

That’s it for this update and I’m glad to see that the changes I made after my Q3 update paid off. The results here are awesome and I was glad to be able to hit my bronze medal goal for 2017. The holidays were great and I got to spend time with friends and family. The best part was that I didn’t feel limited at all by my quest to hit my goal.

Thanks for reading and let me know how your savings journey went this December. Hopefully it went as well as mine!


  • Mike @ Balanced Dividends

    That’s a terrific savings rate. The Sankey is also helpful to see.

    Similarly, I’m also going to consider using the Sankey graph to demonstrate income vs. expenses. It seems to be a useful tool.

    Congrats on your continued progress. – Mike

    • TimeintheMarket

      Thanks Mike, pretty excited about the last few months. I do like how the Sankey looks since it makes everything clear!

  • Bob

    Good job on the savings rate, I think we are pretty close to that, maybe a little higher last year. It is amazing that pets and health are that high. We have been pretty lucky in both of those categories and our home is paid for, heck I guess everything is paid for so really our savings rate should be higher. But right now we are helping our daughter with some of her school expenses and also her daycare so that is affecting our rate considerably.

    Keep up the good work!

    • TimeintheMarket

      Yea Pets can get pretty expensive as can healthcare expenses if you need a few tests done and/or have a chronic condition. It’s definitely worth it though since having a pet is awesome and your health is important.

      I can’t wait for the time when I don’t have a mortgage or rent payment. I’m probably pretty far away from that but my car loan should be gone within the next 12 months so that’ll be great.

  • HP

    Hey there – I like how that Sankey looks. GJ on your book…that’s great!

    Curious – I scrolled down to read your welcome message. What nationality are you? Just asking bc I’m a first generation citizen as well. Also made me chuckle that you said that you love to eat. I’ve probably said that a few too many times in my articles.

    Catch ya later.

  • Dividend Portfolio

    Sorry, I accidentally hit enter prematurely. So, congrats on the huge savings rate. I think knowing your savings rate is an important metric to track, and one I am actively thinking about. I recently calculated my net worth (haven’t decided to post that yet), but haven’t yet sat down and do the math on the savings rate. Here’s hoping you can achieve your saving rate goals in 2018.

    By the way, I love the olympic medal approach to your goals.

    • TimeintheMarket

      I got rid of the other message for you. I’m eager to see if I can hit more than bronze in 2018. I think it’ll be tough with my wedding and honeymoon expenses but we’ll see. I’ll definitely make 2019 higher than that since those two expenses will be gone!

    • TimeintheMarket

      Thanks Caroline! Some of us start later than others and I’m sure you have plenty to catch up if you’re a bit behind!

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