November was a unique month in so many ways. To begin, I made close to double (in terms of income) than what I typically make in a given month. There were a couple of reasons for this: an extra paycheque, a work related bonus, a few gifts for my birthday (half way to forty baby!) and my annual credit-card cash-back deposit (say that ten times fast). I also had a couple expenses that weren’t typical. For one, having your birthday in Quebec typically means that you have to pay your annual driver’s license fees (around $90); I also started to get some of my x-mas shopping done (about half way there). But strangest of all was the fact that I tried to buy another house, only to have the proposal fall through.. again (more on that later).

Oh and of course Trump won the election… I mean wow… just… wow… but I won’t say anything about that, since I don’t want this blog to be political. So to all of you Trump fans out there, congrats. And to you Hillary fans, my sincere condolences. What a surprise though.

So let’s move onto the figures…

Income

Salary $ 5,157.17
Cash Back $ 437.27
Dividend Income $ 61.76
Interest Income $ 20.05
Total Income: $ 5,676.25

Expenses

Food ($ 798.58)
Rent ($ 475.00)
Car Related ($ 410.03)
Household Goods ($ 197.67)
Health ($ 182.90)
Entertainment ($ 138.69)
Utilities ($ 116.60)
Bus Pass ($ 93.00)
Personal ($ 74.71)
Xmas Gifts ($ 300.00)
Total Expenses: ($ 2,787.18)

Income / Expenses Analysis

Percentage of my income saved: 50.9%
Percentage of income earned from passive sources: 1.44%
Percentage of expenses covered by passive sources: 2.94%
Total Money Saved: $ 2,889.07
Note: The last two figures do not take into account unrealized gains/losses.

Portfolio Analysis

Value at the beginning of month: $ 26,505.67
Add: Additional investments: $ 0.00
Total Starting value: $ 26,505.67
Value at the end of the month: $ 26,692.29
Total Portfolio Gain/Loss: $ 186.62

Dividend Analysis

Previous Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 1,091.29
Current Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 1,093.25
Dividend Increase/Decrease: $ 1.96 (0.18%)
Avg. Monthly Dividend: $ 91.10

Savings

First, let’s address the elephant in the room (hi there) — my food expense. Holy crap! I really need to get this food thing under control. I honestly don’t know how I do it, but I always end up going way over the amount that I budget. Ideally I’d like to spend around $300/month on food. Last month, however, I spent a supersized $800 on going out to restaurants and buying groceries (I think some cat food may be included in that amount, but I digress). My point is that this is absolutely crazy and totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, Christmas being what it is, I doubt December will be any better. But I solemnly swear – and feel free to hold me to this — that my new years resolution will be to get my food budget under control. I honestly don’t know how I can spend that much money on food. It’s not like vegetables and pasta are that expensive (I’m vegetarian, borderline vegan).

One thing that I am proud of, however, was that I resisted buying a new Apple-anything last month. I quite like Apple products a lot. I have two Mac minis, an iPad, an iPhone, and a couple Apple TVs… to say that Apple rules my digital world would be a clichéd understatement. I also have a MacBook Air that, despite being over four years old, is perfectly functional… which is why I don’t understand this constant, unnatural desire that I have to want to replace it. This is especially hard when it’s around my birthday, since I often fall prey to the mind-trick of wanting to spoil myself with a gift to moi. Anyway, truth be told, I came this close to buying either a new MacBook or MacBook Pro last month. But I was strong and I resisted the dark side. In a way I’m thankful that Darth Cook hasn’t been very steadfast in updating the Mac lineup lately (honestly, what is going on over there in Cupertino?)

So after all was said and done, I managed to save just over 50% of my income in November. This was true despite spending as much money as the previous month (when I didn’t manage to save anything at all). So while I’m happy with the end result, I know deep down that I could have done a lot better. But it was my birthday, so I won’t be too hard on myself.

House Buying Fiasco

To the surprise of many in my family, I was once again precipitously close to buying a house last month. Had everything gone through as planned, I’d actually be there right now gutting it and probably crying to myself, wondering what I’d gotten myself into. You see the house itself was a total write off — at least for most people. If you can, try to imagine a tiny 800 sq/ft home with such luxuries as a kicked in front door and an overflowing (not with water) toilet. It also came with a bunch of drug paraphernalia left behind by squatters, and a pile of porn DVDs. The floors were crooked, and some of the windows were cracked… A real dream home, and yet I loved the place. I saw so much potential… a blank cavans for me to renovate. Even better was the fact that the sellers were motivated and were asking only a third of the city’s property tax evaluation (which are usually under evaluated to begin with). The property also came with a considerable amount of land, with just over 3 acres. It was also surrounded by forest, and had no neighbours — it was pretty much my dream come true.

Unfortunately there were fishy aspects about the sale, that I won’t go into here, which made me reconsider my plans. Thankfully the sellers refused my original offer and made a counter offer which only a moron would have signed… so I had to walk away. I still wonder if this was the right decision… but everyone in my immediate circle seems to think so. They pretty much thought I was crazy for even considering it to begin with. Either way, I guess I’ll never know.

So if you’ve been following me all this time, you probably know that this is the THIRD time I’ve put an offer on a house, only to have the whole thing fall through at the finish line. And while I’ve said this before, I think I’m going to take this third failure as an omen from Zeus himself and proclaim that house ownership is probably not going to happen anytime soon in the ongoing saga of my convoluted life. I think I’m ok with that — although it would have been fun to own some land. One day Zeus! One day!

Investments

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot to say on this front. Say what you want about Trump, however, he’s been good for the market up until now. Although my portfolio hasn’t exactly surged, it’s gone up quite a bit (around $200 I think) since the election. Those of us who own Caterpillar stocks should be pleased, given that they’ve gone up $12 during the same time… it’s pretty great! And with new corporate tax cuts more or less guaranteed, things are looking positive from an investors point of view. I’m not sure how I feel about Trump’s decision to antagonize China over Twitter,  but I don’t want this to become political, so I’ll just leave it at that. A trade war would be bad news though. I also don’t want to get too excited, since the market is already at an all time high, and that generally doesn’t bode very well. Only time will tell.

Dividends

I honestly have almost nothing to say here. The figures in the chart, unfortunately, aren’t exactly accurate because Yahoo.com (where my site pulls it’s stock market info from) is giving incorrect information with respect to one of the companies I own stocks in. The reality is that my average monthly dividend income is probably off by 3 or 4 dollars and should be lower. I also haven’t bought any new stocks in a while, which I’m hoping will change soon. Consequently, my dividend income has remained pretty stable, with the exception of regular dividend increases. Zzzzz.

Conclusions

So that’s pretty much my November in a nutshell: a little more money meant I was able to save a little more than I would have otherwise. Everything else stayed more or less the same — except the whole unexpected Trump surprise… but we’ll see how that goes. It could be a gong show, or it could be a really good thing. Nobody knows. I’m hoping cooler heads will prevail and the world won’t blow up. If not, I might consider moving deep into the forest somewhere in the Yukon. Now that would be an adventure.

That’s it’s for now. As always, thanks for reading!

André