Monday, April 2, 2012

3/31/2012 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. This past month was Ok ....Lets see how it went. How much is Van dwelling in my VW Westfalia saving or costing me?

Previous Monthly Financial post here

If I sum up total expenses from 3/1/2012 through 3/31/2012 I get -$927
A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $11,130. So close...
lets take a closer look.

*Note: I had to pay my taxes, cost of $920 which I did not include in the expense analysis because if I was living off of my budget goal I would be paying a lot less if not zero taxes.

Regular Food costs: -$125 or -$31 per week (Normal)
Fun Food Costs:  -$167 or -$42 per week (Normal)
Fuel: -$113 or -$28 per week (Normal to Low)
Van: -$104 (New coolant tanks, belts, and propane)
Travel: -$310 (Flight to CO and hotel for marathon)
Insurance: -$50 per month   (I pay in 6mo intervals to reduce the premium but still counted as monthly)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in March)
Misc: -$58 (Running Gels, Sports Drink formula, and cord for my camera's remote flash system )
Storage:  -$32 (plus a sunk cost of 15 per month for mailbox)
Gifts: -$15 (One wedding gift)

Things that were not necessary this past month: Travel and fun food,
The fun food expenses were eating out with friends and solo burritos, I am tempted to not put my solo burrito meals in the fun food. The new coolant tank was not needed but I did not trust the old plastic tank to keep working forever.  This brings my luxury expenses to $477 and necessary to $450 Yikes!! Without the luxury, my yearly is at $5400... :)

Ok, clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Regular Food and fuel: -$400 (Seems my food and fuel costs have been slightly higher then estimated)
Storage and box:  -$47
Insurance: -$50 
Clothes: -$0
Van:  -$100 (I don't anticipate any large projects for next month)
Fun: -$300 (I need to watch my fun costs)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $10764

Just under my 11k mark again but still disturbed by fun expenses. Food with friends and Travel are what killed this month's budget but I can hardly be angry about it because it was really fun. 

I am optimistic about next month's expense sheet, should be interesting to see exactly what another almost normal month will look like.

Note: Gave away/donated many items. Still have mattress, vacuum, van parts, and lots of clothes

Here is the status of my dividend income:
I have a running total of yearly expenses which I base my numbers off of so if my monthly goes up my dividend income against it decreases in value.
Since I re-aligned my investment strategy I've been putting extra cash into dividend paying stocks and other investment opportunities.

 Last post it was at 17.97%. Previous Monthly Financial post here

Current level is now estimated at 23.5%
Note: I did receive a bonus this year and the whole thing went toward purchasing more stock which accounts for the significant increase in my dividend level vs last month. 

Progress at a snail's pace but improving, My plan for April and the rest of the year is to push hard on dividend stocks and trim expenses.


  1. What does the dividend percentage mean?

    1. it is the amount of cash I receive in dividends divided by my yearly expenses. i.e. if my yearly expenses were $100 and my dividend in come was $23 then the dividend percent is 23%

  2. I just found your blog tonight, and have been reading for several hours. You touch on so many frustrations that I've been having with paying rent, living simply, and so many others. I find your posts inspiring, and have decided to save for a Westy. I plan to have one by years end, if i can. Thank you.

    1. Glad that my blog has been useful for you. I try to tell my experiences exactly how they are. It has been a struggle but one that is well worth the effort.

      I wouldn't consider having a Westy if you aren't mechanically inclined. They can be temperamental at times and they cost a lot to buy. The benefit is that it is a useful house ready to use however I believe that there are other vehicles that are even better for urban van dwelling. I consider Cargo Vans to be the ultimate urban vandwelling vehicle. They are so common that no one would remember it if they saw it repeatedly. The westy is too unusual so people (hotel managers, home owners, etc...) remember it. I would also consider a truck with a cargo shell or an SUV with the interior removed to be useful too.