Saving for the future: April 2017

Author: Mr and Mrs DDU.

We are big believers in living below our means; spending less than we earn. We try to only spend money on what is essential or makes us happy. Nearly everything society spends money is fleeting: food, holidays, a movie ticket etc. Most of it is forgotten about by the next day and we look to the next thing to keep us entertained.

Every month we track our income and expenses to see how much we’ve saved/not spent. This helps us to see how we’re going, as well as motivate us to continue saving. Hopefully over time, our savings rate will increase allowing us to invest even more.

We want to show that even on a modest income, it is possible to save hard, invest and become financially independent. We post any articles about our money savings choices or habits here.

April 2017 Savings Update

Dividend Income: $194.99

Regular Income: $6,208

Total Income: $6,403

Expenses: $5,713

Savings Rate: $690

Savings Percentage: 10.8%

During April we invested a total of $1,177 of our savings into shares, which we will post about next.

Savings rate including Superannuation: 10.8%, this is the net amount after the superannuation contribution tax of 15%.

(We count superannuation savings when a payment is actually made, usually every 3 months).

Oh dear! It seems that we decided to spend all of our money last month (more on that below). Let’s compare to last year:

April 2016 rate: 15.2%

April 2017 rate: 10.8%

Improvement: -4.4%

Well, we had a lower savings rate than last year for the first time since we’ve been comparing.

Even though our savings rate was lower, the dollar amount we saved increased. Last year we saved $469.52 in April

and this year we saved $689.65 thanks to the higher income.

Income

Dividend income – A new record for us, nearly $200. All of this went into more shares.

Regular income – This is the after-tax figure if you’re wondering. We’re very happy with this figure and we’ll be receiving around this amount each month and more when there are three payments for Mr DDU (he is paid fortnightly, so 2 months of the year have 3 payments).

Blog income – We have crossed the $100 barrier again with Google Adsense, so we should get a payment during May! Thanks for reading our blog!

So where did all the money go?

Expenses

Here we go, non-regular expenses that happened this month:

Babymoon – With the baby coming along we decided to go on a little trip to our city’s most luxurious hotel and we had a great time! In total, we spent $720 on accommodation and food over 2 days.

Washing machine – Our washing machine decided to break down after 3 ½ years of use, so we had to get a new one. We got an LG one for $519, which was well and truly the best price we could find for this model – Mrs DDU also found a coupon online to take a further $20 off the original price.

Ultrasound – We have reached the 20-week stage with our baby girl, which is when you have an ultrasound. This one cost us $335.

Mattress – When we first moved out we got the cheapest mattress that we could find for a few hundred dollars. It really wasn’t suiting us well, particularly with Mrs DDU being pregnant and Mr DDU sitting for large parts of the day which was bad for his back. Having a bad mattress wasn’t helping either of us recover each day. We spent $999 on an amazing 5-zone pocketspring mattress – it is truly amazing. Mrs DDU managed to get $200 off the price by asking not to have the “free items” included (a pillow and mattress protector – we already have those) and got discount instead! It never hurts to ask. Our new mattress feels as good as the luxury hotel’s one we slept on for our babymoon and we are sleeping so much better. We spend around a third of our life in bed, so it’s important to have a comfortable one.

Final thoughts

An expensive month, but we really enjoyed each thing we spent our money on. Not every month can be amazing, but we have a good feeling that May could be our biggest savings rate yet (hopefully!) because it’s a 3-payday month for Mr DDU.

The 3 key factors for us to become wealthy are:
– How much we earn
– How much of our earnings we save
– How hard we can make our savings/investments work

These monthly savings posts will track how good we’re doing with the first 2 factors.

What were your April finances like?

Thanks for reading this article about our financial journey Down Under.

Onwards and upwards!

26 thoughts on “Saving for the future: April 2017

  1. Divnomics

    With all those heavy expenses, I think you’ve still hit a very good result in the end. Never heard of a babymoon before, but think you both really deserved it!

    Reply
  2. Brian

    Sometimes you need to step back and actually enjoy your life. Sounds like the money was well spent. Congrats on the record passive income, keep reinvesting !
    -Brian

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      I really like the way you worded that “sometimes you need to step back and actually enjoy your life”. We really did enjoy ourselves, it made it even more special and enjoyable because it isn’t something we typically spend money on.

      Thanks for your support Brian 🙂

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  3. Buy, Hold Long

    Fantastic guys, although it isn’t an amazing month you still were able to buy things and enjoy yourself, on top of that even save some money. I agree with the mattress, one of the first things I bought when I got my first full time job, going from a hard single bed to a “cloud” pillow mattress top was simply amazing, still a great investment for me!
    I hope May brings good things, it is a 3 pay-day for me too. I really hope I can save heaps!

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      The mattress is amazing, I can’t believe we put up with a cheapie one for so long! There are definitely a few things in life worth splurging (investing) the money into for comfort, enjoyment or convenience – mattress is now firmly on that list for us!

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  4. Jax

    That’s amazing that you were able to take a babymoon and replace both a washer AND mattress and not have to dip into savings! Well done you, guys.

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Thank you Jax! I feel very lucky that our financial position allows us to do that, it’s mind boggling, especially when I think back to not that long ago when that level of expenses in one month would have really crippled our emergency fund. It’s fantastic to see hard work paying off – I’m so grateful for the hard work Mr DDU does to keep us on our path (and I guess I play a part too – teamwork afterall).

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  5. Jamie

    3.5 years for your washing machine! That would upset me so much! What was wrong with it? Our washing machine was a wedding present. We’ve had it for 15 years now, including three children using cloth nappies. I’ve done a few repairs on it (new pump, new solenoids/water inlet valves). They were honestly easy fixes. I’m just a woman with no background at being handy. Next time look into repair videos and parts. 🙂

    Did you try calling your local public hospital for the ultrasound? Unless they are having an extremely busy period the hospital will book you in as an outpatient and do it for free. Just call their xray/radiology department. And don’t be fooled by a request form that lists a specific radiology practice – they give the doctors free letterhead to print on to get more patients. You can take your referral anywhere, even to the public hospital.

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Thanks for commenting Jamie :).

      I was quite disappointed with that washing machine! But really, I had never picked one out myself before and wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted out of a washer.. It had many problems before it officially died – it never cleared lint properly even with a lint filter that would get full each wash, I had to “melt” the washing detergent with water before putting it in the machine because it didn’t have a detergent dispenser and would gloop up on the clothes if I didn’t pre-mix it before adding to the wash… Our cat managed to crack the lid completely in half from loving sitting ontop of it (very flimsy plastic) and I put ugly double sided tape on it to stop the cat damaging it even further..

      Even with all these issues, I really didn’t want to have to go through the hassle of replacing it – trust me, we did look up what was wrong with it, looked up videos, took the machine a part.. but ultimately we couldn’t figure it out without investing a lot of effort/potentially money, and it was such a cheap crappy machine that it wasn’t worth investing in the parts for it, or for a repair man to come (was one of the cheapest washing machines we could find when we first bought it).

      I would definitely advise you to hold onto your rock-solid old machine – when I was heavily researching to buy this new one I came across so many posts of people saying that they just don’t make machines like they used to, and the manufacturers actually build them now with them only designed to last a few years. At least our new one has a very solid lid – fingers crossed for no cracks from our cat! I really don’t want to put double sided tape on it again to deter him (although I think he mostly has gotten the message that he isn’t welcome to sit there).

      Thanks for the tips on ultrasounds, maybe someone else scrolling through the comments might find that info useful :). We are aware of bulk-billed ultrasound options and using referral forms for any company – for various reasons we went down the route we did and are very happy with the choice, even if it wasn’t the most frugal.

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  6. wealth from thirty

    Nice work with the YOY increase and massive dividend cheque for the month.

    Sometimes expenses are good – I think a decent mattress is essential, especially with one of you pregnant and the other in an office job! And besides, what’s the point of being financially responsible all the time if you no longer enjoy the present. Keep it up and hope you three (2.5?!) have an excellent May.

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Thanks WFT. Absolutely no regrets on the new mattress – it’s amazing! Hope winter isn’t treating you too badly and that you have a great mattress to snuggle into at the end of the day.

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Bit of a delayed response – we were very happy for a 3 pay month, although with our inflated expenses recently it wasn’t quite as amazing of a rate as we hoped.. but still good!

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  7. ambertree

    The babymoon is a good idea. Some time with the 2 of you while you still can.

    My wife and I have 2 kids free weekends per year. We need that.

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      2 kid-free weekends a year sounds good, you must have some family that you really trust to look after your little ones. We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it, at this stage I really couldn’t imagine leaving our baby with anyone else else, maybe when she gets older it’ll be easier. Right now I can’t even imagine her not inside my stomach!

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  8. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    I love that you took the babymoon and enjoyed yourselves! 🙂 Definitely worth it, in my opinion. And it sounds like the mattress was a great investment. We have an extra payday coming in June – looking forward to that one!

    Reply
  9. Undergrad Investing

    Despite all those expenses you still managed a great month of savings! To put it in perspective I’m sure there millions of people out there who didn’t save a cent last month and that was without buying a new washer. Keep up the good work guys!

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Thanks Undergrad. It’s very easy to compare/put it into perspective with people who don’t aim for these goals, but I think you can easily get trapped into setting the bar too low if comparing to the “average person” – not to say we are special or anything! The best comparison and bar to measure to is yourself I think :). But you’re right, we should be proud.

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  10. Adventures with Poopsie

    The baby moon sounds nice! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    I agree about anything to do with sleeping, frugal is not the way to go! I spent a pretty penny on pillows, but have never regretted it. I sleep so much better now!

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      We bought some new pillows recently too, so much better! They are so supportive that we only have 1 pillow each now (instead of 2 like we used to).

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  11. Graham @ Reverse The Crush

    Thanks for sharing your savings update! It’s awesome that your savings amount was still higher than 2016 because of the increase in income. Also, congrats on nearly $200 in dividend income in a month! As far as my finances go, I saved roughly 13% of my overall income in February. Keep it up!

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      Thanks Graham, we are seeing that hard work pay off and getting to reap some of the benefits :).

      Great to hear you’re still on track with your savings too, you are your own benchmark and we are all working towards different lives – no one savings rate is perfect for everyone!

      Mrs DDU

      Reply
  12. Troy @ Market History

    Can you explain something to me? I’m not from Australia, but this is just what I’ve observed. It seems as though Australians (Sydney-siders in particular) are really PROUD of paying extra! I.e. they’ll go buy a $5 stick of ice cream from the local store when they can get an entire tub of ice cream at Coles/Woollies right next door!

    Reply
    1. Dividends Down Under Post author

      I’m not sure if we can explain this one! We are definitely not like that, I feel proud when I get a good deal! Although sometimes it’s a nice indulgence to buy an icecream cones with the special flavours you can get.. Sadly, things are often just expensive, sometimes you just don’t feel like going the “frugal” route and want a little indulgence. I have to say that most people don’t seem to be making the choice out of “indulgence vs frugal” though, I really couldn’t say what the motivation is..

      I’m sure it’s fairly wide-spread that in western culture your career is your “purpose” in life, a lot of people seem to think they deserve to treat themselves because they work hard for the money, continuing the perpetual cycle of always needing to work. Saving towards a life of not having to work is such a foreign idea to a lot of people that I’ve even heard people say in conversations “X person earns so much that they have to find things to spend it on!” or… they could stop being so extravagant, invest and stop having to work ever again? it’s always a status thing in the end, those Joneses.

      Mrs DDU

      Reply

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