Intro

So April wasn’t exactly stellar in terms of saving money or investing, but I’ve been putting my money to good use. The only real blip I can see is my monthly food bill, which was higher than what I’ve been posting lately. I thought I had this food budget thing under control, but it turns out that I’m still struggling. I just hate cooking so much! That being said, I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my newly adopted vegan diet. I never thought I’d be able to do it, despite having been a vegetarian for more than two years. All it really took was the movie “Earthlings“, which I mentioned last month, and the other documentary “Cowspiracy” which you can watch on Netflix. I don’t miss eggs all that much, but giving up cheese has been a challenge (although not as hard as I thought it would be).

Another big expense this month has been the yurt, which has been coming along nicely. The frame is done. All that’s left is to build a door and the fabric shell that covers it. My dad (a woodworker) has offered to build the door out of recovered pine boards, and I’ve already started to buy the material for the cover. When all is said and done, I expect to to have a fully finished yurt for less than $700! Of course, that doesn’t include things like solar panels and what not, which will likely be much more expense, but I plan to take my time and to ease into the whole thing slowly. Come summer I should be out of my apartment and living rent free.

Finally, I had some pretty hefty medical bills this month. For you Americans, this probably comes as a surprise, since I’m sure you’ve been told about Canada’s single payer system (socialized medical care). But these expenses are mostly due to an elective surgery I’ve decided to have which I’m going to be spreading out over 6 payments — most elective surgeries (i.e. non-essential operations) aren’t covered by our system. I also had to pay for a doctor’s visit in Ontario, which should be partially reimbursed to me once I get around to claiming it on the Quebec side. If you’re confused, that’s ok. The system can be confusing when you essentially live on a border between two provinces.

On to the actual numbers!

Income

Salary $ 3,011.62
Dividends $ 83.42
Interest $ 33.22
Total Income: $ 3,128.26

Expenses

Rent ($ 300.00)
Household Goods ($ 144.92)
Cellphone ($ 57.95)
Internet ($ 41.34)
Home Insurance ($ 29.43)
Gas ($ 128.16)
Car Insurance ($ 57.36)
Car Repair/Service ($ 229.17)
Food ($ 457.14)
Entertainment ($ 70.98)
Pet Related ($ 44.82)
Health* ($ 551.21)
Yurt ($ 354.56)
Electronics (Amortized)** ($ 200.00)
Total Expenses: ($ 2,667.04)

Income / Expenses Analysis

Percentage of my income saved: 14.74%
Percentage of income earned from passive sources: 3.73%
Percentage of expenses covered by passive sources: 4.37%
Total Money Saved: $ 461.22
Note: The last two figures do not take into account unrealized gains/losses.

Portfolio Analysis

Value at the beginning of month: $ 20,346.25
Add: Additional investments: $ 0.00
Total Starting value: $ 20,346.25
Value at the end of the month: $ 20,291.73
Total Portfolio Gain/Loss: ($ 54.52)

Dividend Analysis

Previous Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 863.53
Current Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 858.85
Dividend Increase/Decrease: ($ 4.68) (-0.54%)
Avg. Monthly Dividend: $ 71.57

Portfolio & Dividends

If I had little to say about my portfolio’s performance in March, I have even less to say about it in April! The reason being is that I decided to put off buying any new stock last month because I didn’t get around to saving enough money. I usually like to buy $2000 in stocks at a time, and I was just shy of my typical threshold by a couple hundred dollars. Also if you’re confused as to why my dividends went down, despite no actual dividend-related announcements, it’s because the Canadian dollar increased a little bit. This brought down the relative value of my American dividends. C’est la vie! As for gains and losses, it looks like my portfolio took a small hit, but only around $50, which is negligible at worst.

Conclusion

If you take into consideration my various amortized costs, I managed to save just under 15% of my monthly income. If you remove my elective surgery, the yurt and the aforementioned amortized expenses, my saving rate skyrockets to around 45%. So despite my higher than normal food expense, I’ve managed to keep my spending low (i.e. no frivolous spending). The surgery was something that I’ve been wanting for years, and the yurt should actually save me money over the long term, since It’ll save me from having to pay for rent. Hopefully everything works out on that end — if not I’ll have to find some other kind of living alternative.

Just a couple notes about what’s coming in May:

The Yurt is going to continue to cost me quite a bit of money (relatively speaking). Although most of the materials are bought, I still have about $150 worth of fabric to buy to fully cover the frame. I’ll also need some rope to secure the walls so that my new home doesn’t fly away in the wind. Another thing I’ll need to buy is a sewing machine to put everything together. My hope is that I’ll be able to find an inexpensive machine on Kijiji.

Transportation wise, the warmer weather means that I’ll be able to ride my bike to work. In fact, I’ve already started riding to work, which means that I didn’t have to buy a bus pass for the month of May (which is why the expense doesn’t appear in this instalment of my monthly expenses).

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

André

* Includes an elective procedure which I’ve decided to amortize over 6 payments (although the entire amount was paid in full)
** I bought a projector in October 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 ($200 left for the projector, and $400 left for the computer)