Trips Down Memory Lane

Does anyone remember the first stock they ever purchased? I do! It was Sobeys (SBY). I went to university in Nova Scotia from 1996 to 2000. There was a Sobeys right across the street from my apartment building so that was where I did most of my grocery shopping.

Five years after graduating, I was back living in Ottawa and I had just opened my first investment account. I was reminiscing about my time out east, and I was feeling a little “homesick” for Halifax. So I decided to buy some Sobeys stock. In hindsight, it was a pretty good stock pick. It was a stable company that even paid a quarterly dividend. I was pretty paranoid about the stock market-everybody says it’s such a scary thing!-that I only bought about $200 worth of shares and paid a $30 commission fee in the process.

A year later, SBY was still the only stock I owned. I wanted to get rid of it but my average cost per share was pretty high because of that commission fee. And to sell it I would have to pay another $30! So I decided to put in some more money instead. I added a couple thousand, then added another thousand about a month later.

I started getting a little frustrated with the stock because it wasn’t going up enough that I could sell it and make a profit, and it wasn’t going down enough that I could justify buying more. I finally dumped it for around $30 a share and pretty much just broke even. The funny thing is that, a few months later, Sobeys announced that they were going private. The share price shot up to $58!

January 2018 Expenses and Earnings

Time for another spending/earnings report! My net income in January 2018 was $3656.26. My paychecks are always a little higher in November, December and January because we get lots of overtime around Christmas. I’m guilty of a little bit of lifestyle inflation in January as a result of this. I treated myself to some stuff from Amazon, and downloaded plenty of music on iTunes. Fortunately, I’ve finally downloaded all the songs that I really wanted and I probably won’t buy many more, if any. I also had to buy new earbuds for my ipod because the old ones finally stopped working, two years after I bought them. It looks like I spent more than last month on eating out and using the vending machine at work. I’m not sure why that is. Lifestyle inflation again? Probably. My local Subway now closes at the same time I get off work, so I will no longer be able to go there on Thursdays (the last day of my work week ) as I had been doing. What I really need to do is find some healthy, tasty recipes that I can make and take to work with me. I usually go out at lunch time because the food I put in my lunch bag is so boring! So here is the breakdown of my expenses:

Rent:  $752.34
Cell Phone:  $22.60
Internet:  $102.25
Service charges:  $4.95
Netflix:  $8.99
iTunes:   $37.50
Gym membership:  $11.30
Amazon:  $85.36
Earbuds:  $45.19
Baby shower gift: $45.15
Eating Out:  $82.38
Vending Machine:   $42.20
Other food & Misc. expenses:  $359.08

TOTAL: $1599.29

January 2018 Dividends

It just hit me that we’re into February now, which means that it’s time to post my monthly dividend summary! I just barely passed the $900 mark which seems a little low for me. I think it’s because I always get taxed on my distribution from HOT.UN, which means that my yield on that stock is not quite as high as it seems. I’ll give you the amount I received after taxes. Most likely I’ll sell that stock and put the money into a REIT that pays out in Canadian dollars. So here is the breakdown of the dividends I received in January 2018.

TFSA:

American Hotel REIT (HOT.UN)…..29.73
Artis REIT (AX.UN)…..34.29
Northview REIT (NVU.UN)…..23.36
Northwest Healthcare REIT (NWH.UN)…..56.74

Taxable Account:

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)…..33.97
CIBC (CM)…..120.90
TD Bank (TD)…..24.60

Algonquin Power (AQN)…..30.14
Altagas (ALA)…..56.03
Enbridge Income Fund (ENF)…..30.46
Inter Pipeline (IPL)…..43.55
Keyera (KEY)…..18.34
Northland Power (NPI)…..12.40
Pembina Pipeline (PPL)…..10.80
Transcanada Corp. (TRP)…..36.25

Crombie REIT (CRR.UN)…..19.21
Dream Global REIT (DRG.UN)……0.13
Pure Industrial REIT (AAR.UN)…..7.25
H&R REIT (HR.UN)…..38.41
Northwest Healthcare REIT (HR.UN)…..0.33
Riocan REIT (REI.UN)…..50.88
Slate REIT (SRT.UN)…..24.98

Bell (BCE)…..63.86
Telus (T)…..43.94

Extendicare (EXE)…..14.40

Rogers Sugar (RSI)…..79.65

TOTAL: $904.60

My projected annual dividend income for March 2018-February 2019 is $11,467.

December 2017 Dividends

Now that the mess with my TFSA is all sorted out, I can finally post my December dividend income! It was a pretty good month, and once again my dividend income was over $900 which is not too shabby!  It looks like Cominar paid me twice this month, so that helped. Here are the companies that paid me in December.

Taxable Account:

  • Sunlife (SLF)…..$60.97
  • Canadian National Railway (CNR)…..$7.01
  • Power Corp (POW)…..$86.76
  • Brookfield Renewable (BEP.UN)…..$64.47
  • Cominar REIT (CUF.UN)…..$19.62
  • Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP.UN)…..$19.62
  • H&R REIT (HR.UN)…..$38.41
  • Keyera (KEY)…..$18.34
  • Altagas (ALA)…..$55.30
  • Northland Power (NPI)…..$11.16
  • Pembina Pipeline (PPL)…..$10.80
  • Inter Pipeline (IPL)…..$42.98
  • Extendicare (EXE)…..$14.36
  • Enbridge Income Fund (ENF)…..$30.28
  • Slate REIT (SRT.UN)…..$25.44
  • Crombie REIT (CRR.UN)…..$19.14
  • Dream Global REIT (DRG.UN)…..$31.27
  • Killam REIT (KMP.UN)…..$10.49
  • Pure Industrial REIT (AAR.UN)…..$7.25
  • Cominar REIT (CUF.UN)…..$37.15
  • Northwest Healthcare REIT (NWH.UN)…..$0.33
  • Riocan REIT (REI.UN)…..$50.88
  • Fortis (FTS)…..$15.30
  • Enbridge (ENB)…..$95.77
  • Canadian Utilities (CU)…..$16.09

TFSA:

  • Artis REIT (AX.UN)…..$34.11
  • American Hotels REIT (HOT.UN)…..$30.23
  • Northview REIT (NVU.UN)…..$23.36
  • Northwest Healthcare REIT (NWH.UN)…..$56.40

TOTAL: $933.29

My projected annual dividend income is $11,467. This is up almost two hundred dollars from last month. I think that is mainly due to dividend increases and capital gains from the sales of some stocks. At this rate, I should definitely reach my goal of $12,000 by the end of August!

Three Decluttering Goals

One of my main goals for 2018 is to declutter my apartment. I aim to do that partly by looking for things to give away, and partly by not buying things in the first place. Here are three things I need to focus on.

1. Books

This picture should be self-explanatory:

When I first moved to London, one of the first things I did was go downtown and sign up at the main library. I’ve always been a big reader. I mentioned this to a co-worker, and he told me about a used bookstore downtown. So every weekend, I’d go to the library and then check out the used bookstore. I’d arrive home with 3-4 library books, and at least a couple of used books. I had to read the library books first because they were due back in three weeks, so the other books got put aside. Then I discovered another used bookstore downtown. With one of those twenty-five cent bins out front. Those things are deadly. A couple of months later, I discovered a thrift shop nearby. Books are $3 apiece, and the fifth book is free. So I kept buying more books, and putting them aside because I kept going to the library. But the good news is that I’ve finally gotten bored with the library, so it’s time to tackle my to-read pile at home. After I’ve read a book, I’ll most likely give it away. I’ll only hang on to my absolute favourite books.

2. Candles

Whenever I donate a bag of stuff to the local thrift shop, I usually go inside. I try hard not to buy things that will only create more clutter. So in order to keep myself out of the book section, I distract myself with the candle section. Candles will eventually get used up and they come in handy when there’s a power outage. I learned that a couple of months ago when I got home from work and the lights were out. I’ll be sure to keep a couple of candles to use if that happens again, but otherwise I will not buy any more candles until most of the ones in this picture are gone.

3. Writing Instruments

I’m not sure how I ended up with so many coloured pencils, gel pens, highlighters and regular pens. I will definitely not be buying any more until most of these are gone! I may donate the highlighters because I can’t see myself ever needing them. I’ll have to find a college student to give them to. (See what a good frugal person I am? I re-used drink containers and ice cream cartons, haha).

So these are three areas that I will try to work on this year. If I remember, I will post before/after pictures at the end of the year to compare! Now I just need to find time to read all those books…

December 2017 Expenses and Earnings

I love doing summaries of my monthly spending, mainly because I get exasperated with myself for spending too much! It’s fun to look at the breakdown and say to myself “Really? You had to buy that?” One of these days I’ll remember to say that to myself when I’m in the store, before I actually buy something. Then I’ll turn around and put it back on the shelf. Anyhow, my net income last month was $3286.06. Of that, I spent $1498.77. That means that I saved about 54% of my income, which is pretty good, although I’m going to try to get it up to 60%. Here is the breakdown of my expenses:

  • Rent: $752.34
  • Gym Membership: $11.30
  • Service charges: $8.20
  • Cell Phone: $22.60
  • Internet: $102.25
  • iTunes: $12.87
  • Netflix: $8.99
  • Baby shower gift: $63.81
  • New printer: $34.48
  • Food & Misc.: $481.93

A brief note about the service charges: it’s pretty funny, actually. I went to Subway and their machine froze up so I couldn’t pay with my credit card. I had no choice but to run to the ATM in the convenience store next door. It charged me $1.75 and then my bank dinged me another $1.50. The reason this is funny is because the cashier had decided-before she discovered that the machine was frozen-to give me a 10% discount. That would have saved me about fifty cents, but the meal ended up costing me about $2.75 more than it normally would have.

Speaking of Subway, food is definitely my worst category when it comes to spending. I love my chocolate bars, I usually pop into Starbucks on the weekend, and I just can’t seem to stay away from the vending machine at work. I used the ATM a lot this past month and I haven’t been tracking my cash spending so I don’t know exactly how much I’ve been spending on food outside of the grocery store. But here are the amounts that I spent on my credit card alone.

Subway: $23.36
Pizza place: $25.50
Dollarama: $43.80
Vending Machine: $12.80
Starbucks: $10.50

I’m blown away by how much I spent at Dollarama. Especially when you consider how often I pop in there on my way to work to pick up a couple of chocolate bars that I buy with whatever change I have lying around at home. The total spending at Dollarama is probably much more than $43.80. I can remember buying a new computer mouse and some printer paper there last month, but mostly I think it was chocolate and various unhealthy foods. That’s definitely something I’ll have to work on.

I go to Subway about once a week. It’s usually after my last shift of the week, just as a way to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. But I’m usually not hungry when I get it. I just buy it because it tastes good. So I could probably cut that out of my routine. Fortunately the current weather will help me out with that. As I write this, it’s -17 outside with a -25 windchill so that should deter me from the 15-minute walk to Subway and the 15-minute walk home

I’m not sure what to think of my trips to the pizza place. I go there during my lunch break. I know that bringing food from home is supposed to be cheaper than eating out, but the pizza place only charges $5.10 for two slices and a can of Coke so it’s a pretty good deal. And I have to eat something at lunch, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting money like I do when I go to Subway. I think I’ll just try to limit the pizza to once a week because there are healthier options.

The vending machine is another thing I need to give up. If you pay with your credit card, they charge you an extra fifteen cents. That means paying $1.90 for a chocolate bar, which is highway robbery. I definitely need to avoid that.

And as for Starbucks…well, I got a gift card for Christmas so I shouldn’t be spending any of my own money there for the next month or so.

So in summary, I will be focusing on (a) avoiding Dollarama, (b) avoiding Subway and (c) avoiding vending machines.

P.S. I will post my December dividends report as soon as possible. My TFSA is currently being held hostage by Scotiabank until they receive/process the documentation I have mailed in. So I am unable to see how much income I made on the stocks that I had transferred in! It should be around $900 total, but I’ll give you the exact number as soon as I can.

Financial Summary for 2017

Well, the holidays are over so it’s time to get back to my blog! I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. I thought it would be fun to post an annual summary of my investments so that I can see how they grow from one year to the next. I also thought it might be a good idea to make this post in order to give you the whole picture. I’ve mentioned my dividend income plenty of times, but I’ve never talked about my mutual funds or GICs, or about my peer-to-peer lending account.  I’ll try to give you book values when I can, but in the case of my mutual funds I only know their current market value.

1. RRSP. In my RRSP, I have mutual funds and a GIC. Most of my mutual fund money is in Scotiabank’s Canadian Bond Index Fund. The GIC will mature at the end of 2020, at which point I will take the cash and buy stocks with it. The current values of my investments in my RRSP are:

GIC: $1336.90

Mutual Funds : $37,556.26

  1. Taxable investment account. This is where all of my stocks are at the moment. I will be transferring some of them into tax-free accounts when I get them set up. In 2017, I earned $9923 in dividends. Based on today’s exchange rate, my projected income for the next twelve months is $11,126.

Book value: $208,456.05

  1. Non-registered GICs. I have no idea why I bought these GICs, but they’re right there on my account page. They’re locked into five-year terms, but I won’t renew them. I’ll take the cash and use it to buy more dividend-growth stocks. One GIC will mature at the end of 2018, the other at the end of 2019.

Current value: $1596.89

  1. Peer-to-peer lending. At the suggestion of a co-worker (who is a pretty savvy investor), I signed up on Lending Loop in April. (You get $25 for each person that you refer, so I’ve used an affiliate link). I’ve decided that I’m not a huge fan of peer-to-peer lending. But most of my money is locked into three-year loans, so in 2018 I’ll reinvest my payments into two-year loans. In 2019 I’ll only reinvest into one-year loans, and then I hope to close the entire account down in 2020. I have earned $95.26 in interest since April.

Principal invested: $2500

Based on all of the numbers above, my current net worth is $251,446.10.

Finally…an Update!

Well, I finally have time for an update! I’ve been busy at work, doing a few hours of overtime this week as well as an extra shift today. I’ve also been helping Santa answer his mail! But now I have four days off so that gives me a little more time for blogging.

I sold all of my shares of KMP.UN and DRG.UN. I took a bit of a capital gain, and I used all of the money to buy additional shares of EMA and BMO. I cancelled the DRIPs on all of my REITs, but I guess I didn’t do it soon enough so I am now the proud owner of two whole shares of DRG.UN. My projected annual income has dropped a bit because of these sales/purchases but it’s still over $11,000 so I’m not bothered by it.

I’m making progress on setting up my TFSA. I applied online and I thought I had sent in all the required documentation but my account was still suspended. They finally sent me an email telling me exactly which form I was missing, and even attached it to the email. That was nice to see after getting 2-3 generic emails from them saying “your application is incomplete!” without giving me any clues as to what was missing. I’m a little disappointed with them, actually, because of the lack of communication. Anyhow, I’ll be sending the form off tomorrow and I should be all set after that.

My first financial goal for 2018 is to make an appointment to set up an iTrade account in my RRSP. I haven’t touched my RRSP in years, and my contribution limit is up to about $19,000. I’ll probably transfer in about $10,000 this year and top it up next year. I also plan to cash out the mutual funds that are in my RRSP (market value is about $37,000) and put that into stocks in the new iTrade account.

November 2017 Expenses and Earnings

It’s time for another summary of my monthly earnings and expenses! My net earnings in November 2017 were $5235.34. I love three-payday months! I also did a pretty good amount of overtime so each paycheck was higher than it would normally have been.

My total expenses were $1711.33. This is higher than usual because I renewed my passport and signed up with Bluehost in order to create this blog. The breakdown of my expenses is:

  • Rent: $752.34
  • Gym Membership: $11.30
  • Laundry card top-up: $30
  • Service charges: $4.95
  • Cell Phone: $22.60
  • Internet: $102.25
  • iTunes: $1.29
  • Netflix: $8.99
  • Food & Misc.: $446.93
  • Passport Renewal: $160
  • Passport Photo $22.59
  • Bluehost: $148.09

I had my usual problems this month when it comes to spending: too many trips to the vending machine at work, and too many chocolate bars from Dollarama! Otherwise I think it was a pretty good month. If I wanted to, I could save even more money by hand-washing my laundry (which I did for years) and ditching my Netflix membership. But I’ve reached the point where I have enough money saved and enough dividends coming in that I can afford to splurge a bit. And as far as a frugal person is concerned, $8.99 on Netflix and $2.25 per load of laundry is a splurge!

November 2017 Dividends

My dividend income in November was a little higher than I’d expected. But I can’t complain about that! I  think it’s because I recently sold a stock that pays a quarterly dividend and replaced it with a stock that has a monthly distribution. So I ended up getting two payments for the price of one! Here are the companies that paid me in November:

  • H&R REIT (HR.UN)…..$38.30
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)…..$48.60
  • Royal Bank (RY)…..$54.60
  • Emera (EMA)…..$31.08
  • Keyera (KEY)…..$18.34
  • AltaGas (ALA)…..$52.85
  • Northland Power (NPI)…..$11.16
  • Pembina Pipeline (PPL)…..$10.80
  • Inter Pipeline (IPL)…..$41.31
  • Extendicare (EXE)…..$14.32
  • Enbridge Income Fund (ENF)…..$18.82
  • Slate REIT (SRT.UN)…..$24.38
  • Crombie REIT (CRR.UN)…..$19.06
  • Artis REIT (AX.UN)…..$33.93
  • Dream Global REIT (DRG.UN)…..$31.13
  • Killam REIT (KMP.UN)…..$10.49
  • Pure Industrial REIT (AAR.UN)…..$7.23
  • American Hotel REIT (HOT.UN)…..$35.17
  • Cominar REIT (CUF.UN)…..$36.96
  • Northview REIT (NVU.UN)…..$23.36
  • Northwest Healthcare REIT (NWH.UN)…..$56.40
  • Riocan REIT (REI.UN)…..$50.64
  • Power Financial (PWF)…..$117.56
  • National Bank (NA)…..$95.12
  • Laurentian Bank (LB)…..$112.84

TOTAL: $994.45

My projected annual dividend income is $11,292. That is partly due to some recent distribution/dividend increases: REI.UN, NA, NPI, SRT.UN, ENB and maybe some more that I’ve forgotten. It took me so long to get to $10,000 and suddenly I’m well on my way to $12,000! I’m looking forward to getting a four-digit monthly dividend income, and I should be there by the end of next summer!