Intro

February was a stellar month in terms of savings — I’m actually kind of surprised about it. Even with my amortized expenses from the previous year, I saved just under 50% of my monthly income. If I don’t include those expenses, my saving rate increases  to almost 60%.  The two biggest differences between this month and the last (other than not going on a vacation) were my rent and food expenses. Now that I’ve taken on a roommate, my rent has more than halved, which is making a huge difference towards my bottom line. Granted, it’s not always easy living with another person, but it hasn’t been terrible either. In some ways it’s actually kind of nice having someone around to talk to other than my cat.

The best part about February, however, was finally reducing my food costs to something more manageable. If you read my statement from January, you might remember that I ended it by challenging myself to not go to any restaurants during the entire month of February. To be honest, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this since I really enjoy eating out — but low and behold, I didn’t give in a single time! Consequently, I was able to reduce my food bill by almost $200! This might sound stupid, but I honestly had no idea that I could save that much money simply by making my own food. I’m pretty sure I ate healthier too — which is an added bonus. Hopefully I can keep this up during the month of March.

Now for the actual numbers…

Income

Salary $ 3,007.57
Dividends $ 17.91
Interest $ 23.12
Total Income: $ 3,048.60

Expenses

Rent ($ 300.00)
Home Insurance ($ 29.43)
Household Goods ($ 144.28)
Food ($ 350.56)
Bus Pass ($ 93.00)
Utilities ($ 37.89)
Cellphone ($ 53.68)
Health Related ($ 15.93)
Entertainment ($ 97.70)
Pet Food ($ 33.63)
Electronics (Amortized)* ($ 300.00)
Gas ($ 30.01)
Car Insurance ($ 57.36)
Other ($ 20.64)
Total Expenses: ($ 1,564.11)

Income / Expenses Analysis

Percentage of my income saved: 48.69%
Percentage of income earned from passive sources: 1.35%
Percentage of expenses covered by passive sources: 2.62%
Total Money Saved: $ 1,484.49
Note: The last two figures do not take into account unrealized gains/losses.

Portfolio Analysis

Value at the beginning of month: $ 15,741.59
Add: Additional investments: $ 2,048.39
Total Starting value: $ 17,789.98
Value at the end of the month: $ 17,388.41
Total Portfolio Gain/Loss: ($ 401.57)

Dividend Analysis

Previous Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 684.88
Current Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 791.56
Dividend Increase/Decrease: $ 106.68 (15.58%)
Avg. Monthly Dividend: $ 65.96

Portfolio

Sadly I don’t have a lot to say on this front. As you probably already know, the market was all over the map for pretty much all of February. This was in large part because of the continued oil glut and a plethora of other economic uncertainties (was there any good news?). As a result of all this turmoil, my portfolio is currently around $500 in the red — value wise. Nevertheless, I’m totally OK with this. A lot can change over the long term — so why worry about short term dips? Besides, lower prices means cheaper stocks, which means deals can be found. Regardless of how you look at it, it’s definitely been an interesting start to 2016.

As far as new stocks go, I managed to add 160 shares of Pizza Pizza Royalty Corp (pza.to) to my portfolio this month. Admittedly, Pizza Pizza was an a-typical choice, but I enjoy trying unconventional stocks from time to time. If you want to read about this addition to my portfolio in more detail, check out my post here.

Dividends

I was hoping to make a little more in terms of dividends this month. Originally I thought I was going to be making around $65, but I missed the cutoff date for my two latest stock purchases by a week or so, which meant that I missed out on about $40 of easy money. Newbie mistake I guess. That being said, I’ve increased my yearly dividend intake by roughly $110 this month, which is better than a kick in the butt.

February was also a month where I saw two dividend increases. Bell Communications increased their dividend by %5, which is about twice the rate of inflation here in Canada. RBC, on the other hand, only increased theirs by about 2.5%, which would be disappointing if it weren’t for the fact that RBC has a history of increasing their dividends twice a year. Hopefully that’ll be the case again in 2016. Should that prove true, then 2.5% wouldn’t be so bad.

Right now, my avg. monthly dividend income sits at roughly $66 per month.

Conclusion

Other than my portfolio being slightly in the red, things seem to be going pretty smoothly. It was a great month in terms of saving money, although I still see some room for improvement. One of the bigger things I’m considering (to save money) is to ditch my apartment and to live full time in a camping trailer. I’ve already convinced my parents to let me park it on their acreage, which means I could have a place of my own for next to nothing (once I get past the initial cost). I’m actually super excited to share this new idea with you, but I’m still in the planning phase — if that. I’ll write more once I have a better idea of what it is I want to do. As for dividends, $66 a month may not seem like a lot, but if I can get my expenses down to less than $1000 a month, it’ll mean I’m already close to 1/15 of my way to becoming FI.

As always, thanks for reading. Also feel free to comment below and share what your February was like (or include a link to your own monthly statement on your blog). It would be awesome to read about it.

André

** I bought a projector in October, a sound system in November and a computer in December. I figured it didn’t make sense to expense all of these at once since they would last me much longer than one month. So instead I decided to amortize them over 9 months ($400 left for the projector, $100 left for the stereo and $600 left for the computer)