December 2017 Income & Expenses

waterfallRocks
4 min read

At the end of each month I provide a recap of all the income I earned from dividends (brokerage account only), blogging, and working at my good ol’ 9-5 as a data analyst.

Related: November 2017 Income & Expenses

The reason I share my raw monthly income and expenses is because I have always found it insightful to see the real numbers behind a blogger’s financial journey. I love talking about how to earn more and save more, but it’s helpful to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how I’m actually managing my own money.

Income

Here’s what my income looked like in December along with the previous three months. All numbers are post-tax.

Monthly Income Streams
September October November December
Passive
Income
CVS Stock      $9.62  
KR Stock  $5.02      $5.05
WPC REIT    $97.91    
OHI REIT      $85.59  
JCAP REIT    $52.50    
VDC Fund    $13.16    $51.96
VYM Fund  $14.54      $15.65
Ally Bank Interest  $6.37  $4.42  $5.27  $5.98
Side Hustle
Income
Blog Income $359 $526 $338 $207
9-5 Income
Data Analyst $4,334 $4,528 $7,419 $4,715
Total Monthly
Income
$5,313 $5,222 $7,858* $5,001
  September October November December

*I received one extra paycheck in November and also worked overtime the weekend before Thanksgiving, which explains why my 9-5 income was much higher than usual.

Here’s my December income according to type:

incomeDecember2017.PNG

Expenses

Here are my December expenses:

Monthly Expenses
Expense Amount
Rent $611
2018 Fincon Ticket* $249                   🙂
Gas $128
Gifts $107
Groceries $81
Dining out $50
Utilities $42
Internet $25
Phone $23
Coffee** $20
Chipotle** $9
Total $1,346

*The only time I have been happy about spending nearly $250.

**This number is artificially low because Christmas gift cards covered the majority of my Chipotle expenses this month. Fear not, I’m still an addict.

The Net

Here’s what my total income, expenses, and net savings looked like in December:

incomeExpDecember2017.PNG

December Savings Rate: 73%


Recap

My savings rate dipped slightly this month (73%) compared to last month (80%) mostly because my day job income was lower. Unfortunately, I’m a contractor at my company and I don’t receive any paid leave for the first six months so I didn’t get paid for holidays. 

My expenses were typical at $1300 this month. I spent less on groceries because I stayed with my parents and brother for a couple weeks this month for the holidays. I also spent $249 on my first ever Fincon ticket, which I’m pumped about. I can’t wait to meet everyone who I have had extensive conversations with online, but have never met in person. This is something I’ll be looking forward to all year.

This was a low month for dividends ($72) from stocks, REIT’s, and index funds in my brokerage account this month, but January should be a massive month to make up for it. 

My blog income ($207) also dropped this month compared to previous months. December is notorious for low traffic and low earnings in the blogging world, so I’m not worried at all about those numbers. Blogging income ebbs and flows, it’s just the nature of the game.

Looking Ahead

My financial plan for 2018 is fairly simple. I’ll continue to bring in my steady 9-5 income, invest in dividend-paying companies to grow my passive income, and continue blogging to grow some side hustle income.

I’m also looking to dip my toes into the freelance writing world in 2018. I think it could be a great way to earn some extra money doing something I enjoy. (If you have any advice on freelancing, any connections, or recommendations, feel free to shoot me an email at fourpillarfreedom@gmail.com)

My short-term net worth goal is still to reach $100k by summer. With a consistent monthly savings rate of 70 – 80%, I see no reason why I shouldn’t hit this target.

One of the most important lessons I learned in 2017 is that having goals is wonderful, but real growth comes from daily habits. I have a vision of where I want to be financially in the next 3-5 years, but the majority of my energy is focused on just doing the little things right each day.

Consistent investing, cooking meals at home, writing blog posts, practicing daily gratitude, reading each day, listening to podcasts – these are the little things and they make all the difference. If I can do these things right, my long-term goals will take care of themselves. 

If there’s any reasons to believe I might succeed, it’s that I enjoy the process of getting better each day and I have no interest in competing with anyone my age on social media. I’m more concerned with actually making progress than convincing people that I’m making progress.

That’s all for this month, thanks for reading 🙂


My favorite free financial tool I use is Personal Capital. I use it to track my net worth, manage my spending, and keep an eye on my monthly cash flow. It only takes a few minutes to set up and it makes tracking your finances simple and easy. I recommend trying it out.

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Disclaimer: I am NOT a registered investment adviser, investment professional, brokerage firm or investment company. Readers are advised that information on the website is issued solely for information purposes and not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy, hold, or sell any securities. All information, opinions, and analyses included are based on sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty is made concerning accuracy, correctness, timeliness, or appropriateness. Please consult with an investment professional before investing any of your money.

8 Replies to “December 2017 Income & Expenses”

    1. Thanks, Mark! Glad you found this interesting. I monetize the blog through ads, affiliate links, and occasionally sponsored posts/links. It’s certainly not as easy to earn money from blogging as most people think, but it is a nice source of side income each month.

    1. Fortunately I’m still on my parent’s insurance plan so I don’t have to worry about paying for that just yet. My contracting group does offer medical coverage, though, which is a nice benefit if I did need it.

      Thanks for following my journey and best of luck to you in 2018, Mike!

  1. Great job keeping your expense low. That will serve you well as your income increase. Good luck making it to $100k before summer. Very nice saving rate too.

    1. Thanks, Joe! Keeping expenses low is definitely crucial. Luckily, it feels natural for me since most of my friends are living in apartments too / still in college. Certainly helps that I don’t feel like I have to compete with anyone in terms of my lifestyle. I appreciate the kind words, best of luck to you in 2018!

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