January 2018 Income & Expenses

3 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: December 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.


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

Monthly Income Streams
October November December January
CVS Stock    $9.62    
KR Stock      $5.05  
WPC REIT  $97.91      $99.82
OHI REIT    $85.59    
JCAP REIT  $52.50      $53.37
LADR REIT      $94.50
VDC Fund  $13.16    $51.96  
VYM Fund      $15.65  
Ally Bank Interest  $4.42  $5.27  $5.98  $4.11
Side Hustle
Blog Income $526 $338 $207  $37
9-5 Income
Data Analyst $4,528 $7,419 $4,715  $4,827
Total Monthly
$5,222 $7,858* $5,001  $5,116
  October November December January

*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 January income according to type:



Here are my January expenses:

Monthly Expenses
Expense Amount
Rent $611
Groceries $196
Entertainment $105
Vitamins $100
Gas $77
Dining out $73
Utilities $55
Miscellaneous $42
Internet $25
Phone $25
Gifts $24
Coffee $9
Total $1,343*

*This number is eerily close to my total of $1,346 from last month.

The Net

Here’s a visual look at my total income, expenses, and net savings in January:


January Savings Rate: 73%


This month my blog income dipped to the lowest it has been in six months because I switched Ad Networks in the first week of January. I left MyFinance to join MediaVine, which means I have to wait two months until I can cash in on my first monthly earnings. While this looks like a short-term hiccup in income, I know it will lead to an overall increase in the long-run.

It’s all about long-term vision, baby.

On a positive note, my dividend income was the highest it has ever been, with around $250 in dividends landing in my brokerage account. This dividend income was solely from individual REIT’s I own, which tend to pay higher dividend yields (5 – 7%) than stocks.

As an asset class, REIT’s have performed quite well over time. They’re also fairly uncorrelated with stocks, which provides some nice diversification. While there are many ways to get real estate exposure in your portfolio like owning rental property, or investing in crowdfunded real estate deals, I prefer to stick with REIT’s because it provides such a hands-off approach.

By clicking a button I can own a share in a company that leases property out to thousands of tenants across the U.S. Personally, this approach to real estate investing suits my interests.

My 9-5 income was pretty ordinary at $4,800 this month. Not much to say there.

My expenses were slightly above $1,300, just like in December. The only oddity in spending was the fact that I only bought one Chipotle burrito this month, which is why I didn’t give “Chipotle” a category of it’s own. 

Looking Ahead

My financial plan for 2018 is straightforward. I still plan on sticking it out at my 9-5 job as a data analyst over the coming months, saving at least 70% of my monthly income, and slowly marching towards my first $100,000.

My monthly dividend income will continue to grow as well as I add more cash to funds like VYM (Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF), receive dividends, reinvest them, and earn increased dividend payouts. 

I’m confident that my blog income will pick back up as well after this short-term December/January drop. 

My financial situation will start to become quite interesting once I get closer to the $100k point and my dividends/side hustle income begin to account for more of my income. Once my income outside of my 9-5 job begins to cover a good chunk of my monthly expenses, I’ll consider ditching my day job.

Until then, I’ll continue to embrace minimalism, diligently save most of my paychecks, and enjoy the slow but steady climb to a higher net worth.

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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12 Replies to “January 2018 Income & Expenses”

  1. Hi Zach, I have saved 67% of my pay check and am happy about it, waiting for months to push my savings further. Its going to take me years to be FI but am ok with progress.

    1. Hey Mike,

      You’re right, they are expensive and I have only just recently started buying a specific supplement called Host Defense My Community. It’s for immune system support. Each winter I always get sick once or twice, but since I have started taking this supplement I haven’t come down with anything at all this winter. It could be the placebo effect, but I have done some research on it and the reviews are outstanding. I actually first heard about it on a Tim Ferriss podcast. I’d be interested to hear your take on it since you’re a pharmacist, if you have heard of it. Thanks!

      1. So much could be said here. I try to get patients off drugs if possible. Ideally diet and activity would be our path to health. In this case the supplement you mentioned appears to be mushroom extracts. The company does not provide evidence. The dietary supplement category was created decades ago by Senator Hatch of Utah. It allows these products to mention body parts but not make medical claims. If they follow those rules, the FDA doesn’t get involved. So you see them mention vitality or that mushrooms (mycelium) have been studied for all kinds of things. But they will never make a medical claim that they will decrease your chance or cure _____. When I search for studies on these extracts, I see some studies in fish and rats. I don’t see compelling studies in humans. And that is where dietary supplements fail in my mind. They are often a concoction of a bunch of stuff with vague or nonexistent evidence.

        Then I think of dose. How do you know the right dose or safe dose? Fentanyl is 1000 times more potent than morphine. It is dosed in micrograms. Morphine is in milligrams. Dilaudid is in milligrams but only 6 times as potent as morphine. Do you want to guess the dose? That’s what is being done with your product.

        I evaluate drugs in my hospital for the formulary. We look at safety, effectiveness, and cost. Your product fails all three.

        As for Tim Ferris, he is already financially independent. He can afford this. His 4 Hour Body also showed me he does not align with my value placed on safety and effectiveness. He experiments on himself. That is his choice. He is a smart guy, but I won’t be asking him to dose fentanyl in my hospital. He should not be giving advice in certain areas. And if I went back to his website or book he probably has a disclaimer that it is not advice.

        But I feel like most of these dietary supplements are someone’s “side hustle” to become FIRE. You could become FIRE earlier and stop helping them. Don’t be someone’s side hustle. As a percentage of spending, you are spending a lot.

        I can’t speak for your diet, but Blue Apron would cost the same and help your health (not that I subscribe to meal plans). I just like to buck the accusations that pharmacists push medications.

        By the way – love your analyses.

        1. I appreciate all the valuable feedback, Mike. You make a lot of great points about how Tim Ferriss is quite unqualified to be making supplement recommendations and how the supplement itself fails the safety, effectiveness, and cost categories. I’ll have to carefully reconsider this expense. Thanks for such an in-depth response.

  2. Thanks for sharing your monthly update, Zach! I always find a lot of insight from these types of posts as well. Congrats on your dividend income and your 73% savings rate! Very impressive. Just out of curiosity, why did you make the switch from MyFinance to MediaVine? Mainly for income? And what was your experience with MyFinance like? I’ve only experienced Google Adsense and have earned some income through sponsored posts. Looking forward to any feedback and future posts!

    1. Hey Graham,

      I switched from MyFinance to MediaVine because MediaVine caters to sites with higher traffic and offers higher income in general on ads. I had a great experience with MyFinance, no complaints at all on my end. Their ads were all personal finance related and their customer service was always able to answer questions I had. I’d recommend them if you’re looking for an ad partner, I’ve seen quite a few personal finance blogs using them lately.

    1. My water is included in my rent price and the electricity/heating is fairly low simply because I live in a smallish apartment with a roommate, so we split the costs. My only pointer would be to live simple and small, especially while you’re young and have no reason to upgrade your lifestyle 🙂

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