October 2017 Income & Expenses


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

I also provide a summary of my monthly expenses and visualize them using the free financial app Wovelo

Related: September 2017 Income Update

The reason I share my raw monthly income and expenses is because I have always found it beneficial (and inspiring) to see the real numbers behind a blogger’s financial journey. I love talking about how to get better with money, but it’s helpful to show a behind-the-scenes look at how I’m actually managing my own money.


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

Monthly Income Streams
  July August September October
CVS Stock    $9.56    
KR Stock      $5.02
WPC REIT $96.00     $97.91
OHI REIT    $82.56  
JCAP REIT      $52.50
VDC Fund  $10.37      $13.16
VYM Fund      $14.54
Ally Bank Interest  $2.07  $3.94 $6.37 $4.42
Blog Income  $291.91  $644.74 $359.81 $526.10
Side Hustle
$490 $45 $0 $0
9-5 Income
Data Analyst $3,995 $4,528 $4,334 $4,528
Total Monthly
$4,080 $4,808 $5,313 $5,222
  July August September October

Here’s my October income broken down by type:



Here’s are my October expenses:

Monthly Expenses
Expense Amount
Rent $611
Groceries $176
Dining Out $118
Entertainment $85
Gas $75
Other $44
Utilities $43
Phone $25
Internet $25
Total $1,202

Plugging these numbers into Wovelo I can see that my rent (the big green circle) takes up about half of my monthly spending, my food expenses are another 1/4 of my overall spending, and every other expense is fairly small in comparison:


The Net

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


October Savings Rate: 77%


My 77% savings rate this month slightly topped my 73% savings rate from last month. Overall this was a great month with predictable income from my 9-5 job, over $500 in blog income, and over $160 in dividends from stocks and REIT’s.

I have taken a brake from statistics tutoring because I’ve been spending more time blogging and doing other activities in the evenings, but it’s a side hustle I can easily pick back up if I choose.

By far the most exciting part of this update is my passive income, which totaled $694 this month. My rent, utilities, and internet combined were only $679 in October, which meant I could have paid my core bills purely with passive income. That’s honestly an incredible feeling.

As the blog continues to grow and I invest more of my earnings into dividend-paying assets, my passive income will continue to ramp up over time.

My expenses were slightly above $1k this month again, which I’m perfectly content with. When my core bills are less than $700 it’s ridiculously easy to have a high savings rate. Through sharing an apartment, embracing minimalism, and cooking most of my meals at home, it feels completely natural to have nearly an 80% savings rate. I don’t feel like I have to deprive myself at all to save a majority of my income, which is a great feeling.

Looking ahead, I plan on continuing to save around 80% of my monthly income, growing my passive income, saving up $100k by next summer, and potentially reaching my financial launching point.

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 “October 2017 Income & Expenses”

  1. Good stuff Zack.
    Noticed that your savings interest went down – did a rate change?

    I entice you to check out $PSEC, they pay a monthly dividend of around 1% and are trading around the 52 week low now. I’ve traded them for years, making 35% return in 6 months. I just reinvest the dividend but would think you might see value as a cash flow stock.

    I know how much you love others advice ; ) Interested in your thoughts with your background.

  2. Hey Zach,

    Nice post.

    I was wondering, why do you put your Blog Income in the Passive Income category?

    All those nice blog post you write every week doesn’t quite seem passive to me! 😉

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Julien! I have actually been debating on putting blog income under “Side Hustle Income” since it does require active work…I think I’ll make this change for next month’s update. Thanks for the suggestion and the encouragement 🙂

  3. Excellent savings rate, Zach! Saving nearly 80% will get you to your launching point fast. It’s great that your blog income has been keeping steady over the last 4 months as well. Your ability to keep your expenses low is also super impressive. My rent, groceries, and dining out costs are similar to yours. But I’ve got a student loan that’s taking up $240 a month. I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned in a previous post, but it looks like you have no student debt or debt in general? Also, do you have any car insurance costs? The other impressive categories are phone and internet. I guess it’s due to where I live, but I’m on a corporate cell phone plan and it’s still $75 per month. It’s also difficult to find home internet for less than $100. This motivates me to want to save and cut expenses more. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Graham,

      Yes I’m fortunate to have no student loan debt as I paid my way through college myself with a combination of retail jobs and scholarships. My car situation is a bit odd. I am currently leasing a Honda Civic but I plan on buying it with cash in about 7 months. I paid the car insurance and monthly payments for the next 7 months with one bulk payment so I won’t have any car insurance/leasing costs until the lease is up.

      My internet is $50 per month in the Cincinnati area and I split it with my roommate so I only pay $25. It’s the most basic internet plan as well. For my cellphone I use TING, which makes my monthly bills super low.

      Thanks for the feedback and best of luck with your own savings 🙂

  4. 77% rate…great work! And it’s great to take the income and use it for dividend investments as to keep reusing it. The circles are an impactful visualization tool that provides motivation to continue with progress. 🙂

  5. Amazing savings rate and I can’t believe that you are so consistent! I usually get some “consequences” and spend more than planned but I guess I just choose that… You’re a great example of where I should be headed! Thanks for your great posts!

    1. Thanks so much! It’s perfectly normal to have off months, no worries. I find it helps to have a long-term focus – it’s okay to have some bad spending/earning months but as long as you’re saving consistently over time that’s all that matters. Best of luck with your own personal finance journey and be sure to stay in touch 🙂

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