I wish I could start this differently, but September was a really shitty month. Not because I didn’t manage to save any money, but because someone in my immediate family was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before. Thankfully this person is still alive (after a scary couple of days), but the prognosis is not good — although it’s not terrible either (it’s not curable, but we’re talking years instead of months). Again, other than my grandparents, this is the first time I’ve had to deal with a loved one being diagnosed with cancer. Of course with grandparents you half expect this sort of thing, but not with someone still in their early 50s. The whole experience so far has really thrown my perspective into a paper shredder and has forced me to look at things a little differently. I mean, you sort of expect everyone to live to 85, but the truth is that anyone can go at any time. Everyone knows this, obviously, but it’s different when the truth is right there in front of you — challenging you.

But we’re not here to discuss the rollercoaster that is life, so let’s move onto the figures…

Income

Salary $ 3,041.63
Dividend Income $ 102.01
Interest Income $ 30.08
Total Income: $ 3,173.72

Expenses

Rent ($ 474.22)
Food ($ 623.30)
Car Related ($ 221.28)
Utilities ($ 129.19)
Entertainment ($ 86.22)
Clothing ($ 80.47)
Gifts ($ 91.75)
Health Related ($ 74.51)
Travel ($ 1,372.22)
Other ($ 27.54)
Total Expenses: ($ 3,180.70)

Income / Expenses Analysis

Percentage of my income saved: -0.22%
Percentage of income earned from passive sources: 4.16%
Percentage of expenses covered by passive sources: 4.15%
Total Money Saved: ($ 6.98)
Note: The last two figures do not take into account unrealized gains/losses.

Portfolio Analysis

Value at the beginning of month: $ 26,311.85
Add: Additional investments: $ 170.00
Total Starting value: $ 26,481.85
Value at the end of the month: $ 26,505.67
Total Portfolio Gain/Loss: $ 23.82

Dividend Analysis

Previous Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 1,064.14
Current Anticipated Yearly Dividend Income: $ 1,091.29
Dividend Increase/Decrease: $ 27.15 (2.55%)
Avg. Monthly Dividend: $ 90.94

Savings

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I didn’t manage to save any money this month. My biggest expense by far was my last minute flight to Vancouver in order to be with the aforementioned family member. I spent a week in Vancouver as a result, which also forced me to incur extra expenses that I would not have had otherwise: mostly parking fees at the hospital, and daily meals at various local restaurants. I also went to Stanley Park to ride the Halloween Train with my half sister (see photo above). I’m not complaining about these family related expenses. I only mention them here because I want to explain how I spent my monthly income. I don’t regret spending that money at all, and would have spent more if necessary. Actually, I’m actually surprised I managed to stay within $10 of my monthly income. Had it not been for this last minute trip, I would have saved almost 50% of my salary! I guess that’s one other positive aspect to living below your means: unexpected emergencies don’t break your bank.

Investments

Although I wasn’t able to infuse any new capital into my investments accounts* (again), I did decide to replace one position in my portfolio with another. You can read a more in-depth analysis of the sale here and my buying of new stocks here. But the TL/DR version of this epic saga is that the WSP stocks that I owned didn’t have a history of dividend growth. So instead of keeping, I decided the best thing to do would be to sell them and use the resulting freed-up capital to buy stocks in a new company that did have such a history.

In terms of gains, my portfolio went up a whopping $23.82! While this is obviously not a lot, it’s still better than nothing at all, or worse, a loss. Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to say on the investment front.

*Under “additional investments” in the table above it says I put in an additional $170 into my portfolio; however, this is really just dividend income that had been sitting in my account waiting to be re-invested.

Dividends

If I’m not mistaken, October 2016 is the second time my total monthly dividends payout has broken the $100 threshold. The first time this happened was back in July — less than three months ago! Of course the same companies that were paying then are the same ones that paid in October, so this shouldn’t be too surprising. Next month, however, promises to be a good month as well, since I should be making around $90. Unfortunately the dividend information for “The Northwest Company” that’s currently being displayed on my “dividends” page is incorrect; my blog automatically pulls it’s market information from the Yahoo Finance database every day, and there’s no way for me to really correct this without going into the code and reprogramming it. I’m hoping Yahoo fixes this error soon, since the 30% dividend growth that it’s currently giving is (sadly) completely false.

Conclusions

October was a crappy month (for obvious reasons), but in terms of finances, all considering it wasn’t that bad. I could have easily spent way more, which would have put a serious damper on my average savings rate. Instead I broke at around even, which I can attribute to my strict(er) spending habits. The coming months, however, probably won’t be much better (although I’m going to seriously try). This is because I finally decided to put an offer on a house which will necessitate quite a few big expenses. That being said, the house (if I can get it) fits perfectly into my long term plans, so I think it’ll be worth it.It should also save me a lot of money (hopefully) in the long run, since the house itself is really not that expensive. Expect to hear more about this in the weeks to come.

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

André