Monday, March 17, 2014

A Penny Saved is a Fistfull of Dollars Earned


Hello again, it's been an extremely hectic week.  Work has intensified immensely and I now find myself working 72+ hour weeks.  While this is great for the pocket book (hello overtime!) my time available to manage Dividendasaur has suffered.  I also recently made on offer on a house.  This offer was accepted by the owners of the house but now awaits final acceptance by their bank (short sale).  Even through all of this madness I have still found a way to increase my invest-able income in the long run.

When I consider monthly spending, one of my favorite things to do is convert that monthly bill into an equivalent lifetime dividend income to see how much the service is actually costing me.  I use a simple conversion (no tax included) to see just how much money I would need to save in order to cover that bill for the rest of my life.  One example of this is my monthly phone bill which I have recently attacked.

Currently I pay $54 per month for a Verizon service which provides me with 1000 texts, 400 minutes and extremely limited data.  I have paid this bill monthly since 2008 and while I have no problem with the service, I know that I can do better.  To analyze this monthly payment I make the assumption that the average dividend paying stock I purchase will provide me with a 3.5% return yearly.  Here is the calculation:

12 months * 54 (dollars/month)  / 0.035 = $18,514

This means that to cover my $54 phone bill for the rest of my life I would need to have $18,514 invested in my portfolio earning a yearly 3.5%.  Well that just isn't very good when my goal is to cover my total monthly spending each month with just my dividend income.

To address this problem I went shopping.  For the cost of ~300 dollars to buy a new smart phone I have decided to try out service with Republic Wireless.  This will provide me with a smartphone for the first time in my life, unlimited talk and text, and data when I am within range of WiFi.  Most importantly it should lower my monthly bill by ~ $44 each month.  This savings requires me to invest  $15,086 LESS money in my portfolio to cover my total phone bill. Now instead of having to earn that extra $44 monthly I have an extra $44  to help the dividend snowball grow.

While I do not recommend Republic Wireless at this time I will be evaluating the service over the next month or two to see if it is satisfactory.  If I am impressed with the service I will likely write a followup post about them as I like to promote frugal services that I personally enjoy/use.

  

13 comments:

  1. Hey Dividendasaur,

    Good exercice that calculating how much you would need invested to cover your bill.

    Keep the good job,
    Guillaume

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    1. I find that calculating the actual cost of something really keeps me honest when I think about adding a new subscription or service. When I see the huge bill I usually realize that I can do without whatever I am looking at buying. It's also pretty motivational to see how much we can save in the long run by reducing an unnecessary monthly bill. Thanks for stopping in Guillaume.

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  2. Yo Dividendasaur,

    Sorry to hear you been working so much but the good thing is you get more money to invest and get you closer to financial independence.

    My wife and I have a cell phone bill of $145. Assuming the 3.5% yield, I would need a portfolio of almost $50k to pay for my cell phone bill. Wow that's crazy.However, I'm not looking to reduce my cell phone bill since AT&T is the only carrier that works where we live and all the other bells and whistles, unlimited data, unlimited texting, etc are important to us. I'll have to cut corners somewhere else and I have identified the cable bill when my two-year plan is up next year. Looking forward to downgrading my service to minimum cable as we don't watch tv as much as we used to.

    Way to go on reducing your cell phone bill. Good luck with the new carrier.

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    1. I don't mind the long hours so much although I am the only one in the office on night shift out of about 50 engineers in my department so it can get a bit lonely, lol. I do the same exercise in reverse for my earnings to convert my overtime into how much of a monthly salary it will provide. I'm not yet decided if it is depressing or not but each 2 hours of overtime worked convert into a shiny new quarter each month for the rest of my life.

      That is an expensive bill but I can understand paying for a service that is necessary for you. I am lucky to have good sprint coverage in my area which opens up a-lot of alternative cell phone companies that piggyback off of sprint's network. I am not sure if there is an at&t alternative that uses their network. I think downgrading the cable is a great idea and could save you a significant amount of money. I don't watch a-lot of TV but when I do I am fully satisfied between Netflix/Amazon Prime streaming.

      Thanks Richie good to hear from you!

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  3. Dividendasaur,

    Your post is timely. I also recently switched services.

    I looked strongly at Republic, but I decided against the company in the end. I've done VoIP before, and it generally sucks. Especially as the phone call drags on...the quality goes way down. Plus I hear that the "seamless" switch from VoIP to cell usually involves hanging up. Not so seamless. Also, their phones are quite expensive.

    Best of luck, however. I'd be interested to know how it works out for you!

    I went with a competitor that I don't hear many people talking about. I'll be discussing that tomorrow. :)

    Best wishes!

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    1. Hi Jason,

      I look forward to seeing which service you switched to, there seems to be many possibilities that fall in the very frugal zone these days. I have heard that they have been successful in the switch-over process between VOIP to the network but only time will tell. I look forward to reviewing their service and providing a firsthand account of how well they follow up on their claims.

      You are right the phone was a bit excessive (over 300 after tax) I look forward to reviewing the phone as well but must admit I have never owned a smartphone so I don't have much experience for a basis of comparison.

      Thanks for stopping in!

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  4. Overall, the biggest take away is the realization that every dollar spent to day is magnified over the course of a lifetime, and the effort required to invest and save enough to compensate for those expense are tremendous.

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head perfectly there W2R. It is easy to overlook a monthly expense but when you go to earn dividends to cover that expense it becomes obvious that we should reduce them wherever we can (as long as it does not ruin your quality of life) By "investing" 400 dollars in a new phone I was able to save the massive investment required to pay the extra $42 per month required to cover my old phone while hopefully receiving a better service.

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  5. I like the way you're looking at numbers of expenses in such a long term way. Way to go! I can definitely relate with long hours and hope it eases up for you soon :) Keep it up here and great job saving those pennies!

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    1. I hope so too Ryan! I am missing writing more often. At least it's only for a few months! The nice thing about long hours is that you know in the end you will have that much more to invest. Thanks for the kind words.

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  6. I like this technique! I first read about it on Dividend Mantra, and like yourself I've used it as a tool to justify if I should continue spending money on something. It puts things in perspective!
    I used it for Sky TV (Premium Satellite TV in UK), and I needed to have over £16k in investments (paying out at 4%). I've now ditched it.
    I'm glad you've been able to cut your total spend, and I hope the new phone works out for you. Cheers.
    Huw

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    1. So far so good with the new phone, I realize now how much I have been missing out on not having a smart phone. Good work on cutting the premium TV costs down, that is a huge chunk of money to save for something that can be easily replaced with cheaper alternatives. Thank you for stopping in Huw!

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  7. Guys, it's time we stood together and took action! I got sick of feeding my money to telecom giants and decided to go with a telecom startup that's revolutionizing the space: Ciao Telecom. Ciao actually cares about their customers, and operates with low margins to give their users the best prices. We're talking $55 for an unlimited, month-by-month plan... I got a great deal and feel great about supporting a company that bends over backwards to make their customers happy.

    WE HAVE A CHOICE! Stop giving your money away to companies you hate. I really believe in Ciao, and don't you ultimately want your dollars going towards a company that you trust and love? They have a great deal going on right now; check them out: Ciaotelecom.com/cloudpbx/freemonth

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