Tuesday, 12 January 2016

December 2015: Income & Expenses

    Wow the New Year is already starting to get into gear and pass us by! It has already been a full week since we said goodbye to 2015. And while financial markets may be doing their thing, going up and down, although mostly down for the moment. The part of my finances that I do control however went quite well in December. Those being my income from work, and my spending, trying to keep expenses down as much as possible, especially considering the usual surge in spending that comes with Christmas and other holiday festivities.


     As I mentioned, income this month was great all round. December just so happened to be a triple pay month for my new job. I also received a small residual payment from my previous job at Starbuck's, combined those paychecks helped drive my income up quite a bit higher than normal.

    Adding to my regular pay, Decembers dividends were the highest yet that I have received for a third month of a quarter! Which is always excellent to see even my 'lighter' months contribute nicely. It was not uncommon for my dividend income to contribute 5-10% of my total monthly income, however this month it 'only' made up 2.7%.

    My bonus income, which I also relate to unexpected sources of income this month was also unusually high for me. Comprised of Government payments, and albeit not completely unexpected the selling of and cashing out of my restricted stock units of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)from my previous employer. I had 18 shares which sold at approximately US$62, half of the proceeds were held for US withholding taxes at 50%, and I am looking forward to doing my taxes this year to reclaim as much as I can! The sale also benefited significantly from the US to CAD exchange rate.


    My expenses this month were the highest of all 2015, which is not actually all that unusual as the holidays generally 'encourage' more spending on gifts, food and entertainment. December 2015 was certainly no exception, although it did have the benefit of not having an expensive (although amazing) winter vacation in the sun charged to it like in 2014.

    Compared to last month, I actually managed to keep segments of my expenses down. My eating out at restaurants/fast food was down, and my travel costs were only higher because I bought a large batch of transit tokens ahead of a New Year rate hike. And considering the holidays, my entertainment and 'Other' costs, which mainly comprised of gifts were not all that much higher. Although as mentioned in my last months post, the 'Other' cost then was inflated due to buying a new suit jacket, so perhaps its not the best month to compare itself to. I also did not have to 'pay' my phone bill this month, and wont have to next month as well, due to having built up a pool of bonus credit for having had automatic top-ups on my pay as you go plan for the past year and a half. So that is a nice amount of money saved to end and start the new year on.

    Overall, I managed to save 48% of my income in spend heavy December. While dividend income only contributed to 2.7% of my income this month, it did manage to cover about 5.2% of my expenses.

    And for the year 2015, my average monthly expenses were $1,285, with average monthly income of $1,778. In the coming year I am aiming on improving on the income front, and will be continuing to try to keep my expenses in check. The only difficulty I see on that end is the rising prices of food as winter rolls around and we Canadian depend more on imported U.S. produce, and with the Canadian dollar sinking, grocery store prices rise.

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