Intro

March was a strange month — on the positive side I got my tax refund, which was around $500. I actually prefer getting refunds instead of owing taxes, even though “the experts” say you should prefer owing taxes. I guess I’m strange.

I also got some of my previous medical expenses refunded by the provincial government. The problem with living in Gatineau (which is in Quebec) is that we have no doctors here — if you want to see a doctor without a rendezvous, you either have to go to the emergency room and wait 20 hours or cross the river into Ottawa and see a doctor there. Ottawa being in a different province means you have to pay for the doctor’s services out of pocket and then ask for your own province to reimburse you. Anyway, long story short, I finally got my reimbursement (even though it’s only 2/3 of what I actually paid). Sometimes I really miss the health services back in Calgary — but nowhere is perfect right?

On the negative side (monetarily speaking) I went on a short car trip to New Brunswick during the Easter long weekend to visit some family and friends. Consequently some of my expenses are a little higher this month, especially my food and gas bills. Nevertheless I didn’t go out to a single restaurant except while I was out on the road — so had I not gone to Moncton, my food and gas expenses would have been considerably lower! Hopefully I can keep this up and keep them low for the month of April.

Actually, as far as food is concerned, I watched the documentary  “Earthlings” on Youtube the other day (watch at your own peril!!!), which was enough to finally make me go vegan. This probably won’t be too hard for me since I’ve been a vegetarian for over 2 years now. Financially speaking, I expect becoming vegan will save me a lot of money since a big chunk of my food bill was to pay for things like cheese and small tubs of greek yogurt — which have become ridiculously expensive over the years. Now that I won’t be eating eggs and milk products anymore, I expect my food bill will go down even more. To give you an example, last week I bought a week’s worth of produce and some tortillas for only $40!

If only I could find a way to make vegan meals a little less bland.

But enough about becoming a vegan, now for the actual numbers…

Income

Salary $ 3,011.62
Tax Refund $ 445.95
Health Refund $ 80.00
Dividend Income $ 49.40
Interest Income $ 24.73
Total Income: $ 3,611.70

Expenses

Rent ($ 300.00)
Household Goods ($ 166.46)
Home Insurance ($ 29.43)
Food ($ 489.18)
Entertainment ($ 186.93)
Bus Pass ($ 93.00)
Pet ($ 42.16)
Utilities (Cell + Internet) ($ 99.29)
Gas ($ 329.58)
Car Insurance ($ 57.36)
Gifts ($ 90.59)
Misc ($ 8.25)
Electronics (Amortized)* ($ 300.00)
Total Expenses: ($ 2,192.23)

Income / Expenses Analysis

Percentage of my income saved: 39.3%
Percentage of income earned from passive sources: 2.05%
Percentage of expenses covered by passive sources: 3.38%
Total Money Saved: $ 1,419.47
Note: The last two figures do not take into account unrealized gains/losses.

Portfolio Analysis

Value at the beginning of month: $ 17,388.41
Add: Additional investments: $ 2,007.09
Total Starting value: $ 19,395.50
Value at the end of the month: $ 20,346.25
Total Portfolio Gain/Loss: $ 950.75

Dividend Analysis

Previous Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 791.56
Current Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 863.53
Dividend Increase/Decrease: $ 71.97 (9.09%)
Avg. Monthly Dividend: $ 71.96

Portfolio & Dividends

There isn’t a lot to say here (which is a good thing, because I’m in a bit of a rush tonight). Thankfully, there are really only positives to announce here. First, my portfolio is back in the black overall. In fact, my tiny portfolio grew by $950 since the end of February. This despite the Canadian dollar experiencing a rebound of sorts, which brought the value of my American stocks down (from a Canadian perspective). Although I don’t really care one way or the other, since I don’t plan on cashing in any of my positions any time soon, it’s nice to know that if I wanted to quit the market today, I wouldn’t have lost anything as a result.

As for dividends, I bought a hundred or so stocks of Manulife Financial Corp in March, which consequently increased my yearly dividend intake by about $70. This translate into a %9 jump overall. In monthly terms, it means I’ll be making $70 dollars a month in dividends alone, which I’m obviously really happy about!

(If you’re unfamiliar with this Manulife, it’s primarily an insurance company based out of Canada that offers various financial services around the world. In fact Manulife is currently experiencing most of its growth in the Asian market. You can read more about this purchase here.)

Conclusion

Despite a few increased expenses (as a result of my aforementioned trip), things seem to be going pretty smoothly in GoGoAssets-land. Obviously getting a tax refund helped this month’s bottom line, but any net benefit from this was largely cancelled out as a result of my trip to New Brunswick. Nevertheless March was a great month in terms of saving money — with a savings rate that was just shy of 40%. This would have been higher if it weren’t for my amortized expenses from a few months ago. As for the rest, the value of my portfolio is up, as are my dividends, so I really have nothing to complain about.

Just a couple notes about what’s coming in April: I decided to get an elective medical procedure done which isn’t covered by our universal health care services here in Canada. I’ve been wanting to get this procedure for over 10 years now and finally decided to bite the bullet. Unfortunately, while not prohibitively expensive, it wasn’t exactly cheap either. But since it’s a long term thing, I’ll likely amortize it over a period of 6 months or so to make my monthly expenses more realistic. I’ve also decided NOT to move into a trailer, opting to build myself a Yurt instead. I’ll post more about this in the next couple weeks, since I plan on starting the construction phase this week!

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

André

** I bought a projector in October, a stereo 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 ($300 left for the projector, and $500 left for the computer)