The Frugal Canadian

A frugal spender seeks to find new ways to save money and increase her net worth.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

1st Quarter 2006 Report Card

My portfolio had a return of $1,039 in the first quarter of 2006 or an annualized return of 7.48%. This is a combination of price appreciation of $811 and dividends of $227.

Holdings in natural gas dropped nearly $500 this quarter. It still has a good dividend yield 3.7% and the drop in market value is largely a reversal of prior period gains. I continue to reinvest the dividends and I am sitting on a sizeable capital gain since I bought the stock. I believe it is still a good long term hold but will monitor it closely.

My telecom holding remains largely unchanged, however a record dividend has been announced and I will receive the annual distribution in Q2. The dividend yield of 4.75% was the primary reason I originally purchased the stock. The stock is sitting at a loss but the dividend will bring it back up to it's original cost base(essentially I'll have a 0% return on the year for this one)

The real estate trust unit continues to perform well. I receive one additional unit per month from reinvesting distributions and while I had expected the price to remain stable since I bought it, the trust has also had some decent price appreciation.

I have a high allocation to cash and equivalents which is sacrificing my overall return. Unfortunately this is a necessity to meet some liquidity needs over the next year. I will continue to keep it invested in a 3% interest savings account.

I'm looking to make a small investment($3,000) into international equity. In most of the funds I've seen so far, Japan seems to have a heavier weight than I would like. I'd specifically like to find a ETF or index fund investing a high percentage in China.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

March Update

It has been a long time since my last post. I've been working far too much lately and with what little spare time I've had left I've spent it shopping for a wedding venue. With such little spare time, I was scared to look at my budget this month and how things ended up. The less time I have, the more I indulge in convenience purchases. Luckily my tax refund came through just before the month closed to offset some of my overspending.

Entertainment includes a $280 gift for my mother's upcoming birthday. This is a group gift and I'll be reimbursed $185 of this which leaves me at overspending of $345 which is still really bad compared to prior months. I looked back through the category using MS Money which was quite helfpul. It's my first full month of using MS Money and it made reporting on my monthly results very easy. Money revealed that I went out for dinner with friends quite a bit this month which is the main contributor to the overage. Groceries were lower as a result, but it's a clear indication that eating out will kill my budget pretty quickly.

On a positive note, this month was my first month of a reduce cable bill which saved me $43. The credit applied to my account included 1.7 months of service. A normal month should total $150 which includes cable, internet and my phone bill. I recently bought a new cellphone which I haven't yet sent in the rebate, so next month this cost will increase.

April is going to be a challenging month for me. Next week, we're putting a deposit on a hall for the wedding. I'll have a little bit of extra income from doing extra tax returns on the side and will submit a mileage claim at work, but this will not entirely offset the cost. I think I'll go grocery shopping now and stock up on frozen convenience foods. While these will cost more than fresh groceries, they are still far cheaper than eating out.