Hinder or Help (Me) Expenses?

Welcome to The Dividend Dudes Blog,

As we begin this journey together, we can share life experiences that will enrich our minds while we work together to achieve financial independence one cent at a time! Sit back, grab a Coca-Cola, relax, and enjoy this post! 

First, let me ask you a question. How many “Hinder me” expenses do you have? How many “Help me” expenses do you have? If you don’t know the answer to these simple questions, I need your undivided attention before you descend into a financial spiral.

Let’s begin by defining each expense category.

“Hinder Me” Expenses: These are expenses that hinder “or hold you back” from your financial goals. These make your journey to financial freedom much more strenuous and stressful. You may be asking yourself what an example of a “hinder me” expense is? It is as simple as “an expense that you can eliminate/lower and maintain the same relative lifestyle.” 

Let’s dive right into what a “hinder me” expense is… It’s a very complicated answer. There is no Merriam Webster dictionary definition for “Hinder me” expense. Go ahead, check, and see. I’ll wait… However, you will find a definition of Hinder and Expense. 

Hinder: To make difficult, resulting in delay or obstruction.

Me: refer to him/herself. 

Expense: the cost for something, the money spent on something 

Now let’s combine these terms and get our definition…

It costs you money (monthly, daily, yearly, etc.), making your journey to financial freedom (more) complicated. These expenses are sucking fresh capital away from your investments (like a sponge). Most costs that fall into this category can be eliminated or decreased without disruption to everyday life, health, and well-being. Like I said before, remember this…Any bill that you can stop/lower without disruption in everyday life is a “Hinder me” expense. 

Some examples: 

Example 1: Eating out every day for lunch instead of bringing your bag lunch. On average, eating out for lunch will cost between 8-20 dollars compared to 2-5 dollars when you get your lunch (soup/sandwich/frozen dinners) from home. A whopping savings of 6-15 dollars daily!!  

Example 2: Buying soft drinks/coffee instead of drinking water or making your coffee. At most restaurants, water is free of charge or at-most 50 cents, when comparing with Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, coffee, etc. ($1.50- $3.00) A healthy savings of 1-2 dollars per drink. 

Example 3: Expensive cable tv packages (100-300 dollars monthly) Try Netflix, Hulu, etc. 

Example 4: Expensive phone plans (when a prepaid phone may be a better option or a lower data plan) Don’t forget about financing those fancy phones…

Example 5: Expensive organic foods (when compared to non-organic foods)

Example 6: Alcohol/drugs  

Example 7: Expensive cars (BMW, Mercedes, etc.) compared to Honda, Toyota, etc.

Example 8: Credit card (debts)

Example 9: Excessive spending on clothes/shoes etc. 

Example 10: Unneeded vacations (close and far)  

Example 11: Haircuts, nails, etc. (personal appearance) 

“Help Me” Expenses: These are expenses that help you achieve your financial goals. These make your journey to financial freedom much easier. You may be asking yourself…What is an example of a “help me” expense? 

Let’s dive right into what a “Help me” expense is… It’s a very complicated answer. There is no Merriam Webster dictionary definition for a “Help me” expense. Go ahead, check, and see. Like before, you will find a definition for Help and Expense. 

Help: To make it easier for someone to do something (For us Financial Freedom) 

Me: refer to him/herself 

Expense: the cost for something, the money spent on something 

Let’s combine these terms with seeing what a “Help me” expense is. It costs you money (monthly, daily, yearly, etc.), making your journey to financial freedom easier. Most expenses that fall into this category can not be eliminated or decreased without disruption to everyday life, health, and well-being.  

Some examples: 

Example 1: Grocery Bill 

Example 2: Student loan debt (Only if you are using your degree to earn money) 

Example 3: Cell phone (cheapest phone plan as possible) 

Example 4: Electric bill 

Example 5: Car payment 

Example 6: Gasoline (within reason)

As you can see, there is a delicate balance between “Hinder and Help” me expenses. 

Some limitations: 

1.) A bill that commonly categorizes in your “help me” expense column can quickly become a “hinder me” expense without proper discipline. Example: A gasoline bill can quickly help or hinder you. It depends on how much you drive. If you drive to work, it will be a “help me” expense because it helps you earn more money. On the flip side, If you drive to the beach on an “unneeded” vacation, it is a hindrance (not to mention the vacation costs itself). 

2.) Every person has different “hinder or help me” bills. Example: Cell phone bill may be a “hinder me” expense if this person never uses it, whereas someone with children, elderly parents, etc. may find this bill as a “help me” expense. 

3.) Some bills may be both “a help and hinder me” expense. Example: Vacation may be a stress reliever but may hinder your financial journey.  

4.) Some “hinder me” bills can become “help me” as circumstances change and vice-versa. Example: A medical condition may require certain drugs to be consumed to help a particular medical condition, which was a waste of money beforehand (Mary-Jane). 


Thanks for reading this post. The purpose of this post is to make you aware of your expenses. To control your financial freedom, it all begins with recognizing your expenses, creating a budget, and adhering to it. I challenge you to grab a piece of paper and jot down your expenses. Then, categorize these expenses into “Help me vs. Hinder me” expenses. Once you have identified those “hinder me” expenses, try to eliminate them. If you cannot come to terms with elimination, then deviation (decreasing) is the next step. For example, if you determine that your 175 dollar cable package with sports add-on features is a “hinder me” expense, but you cannot eliminate it to maintain your sanity (joke). Maybe reduce the package (i.e., eliminate some sports) to cut the cost. Trust me when I say this, I can say this with 100 percent certainty…No-one has ever died from not watching sports or cable TV. 

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for my next post, where I will break down my budget. Subscribe, share, and comment below. 

Re-examination of the “Ole Money Pit”

Hello fellow bloggers and subscribers,

Thanks again for stopping by The Dividend Dudes Blog. I recently discussed homeownership with my neighbor and told him about the mathematical analysis I found when crunching numbers associated with homeownership. It was astounding. My last post demonstrated how much I lost personally by purchasing my home for just three short years. Now let’s examine how much the prior owner lost or gained during his stay at the “Ole Money Pit” for 24 years! Without a doubt, I should prove if owning this home was a good investment from the previous owner? Some people call home an investment? Let’s see. I understand that geographical location has a lot to do with price appreciation. Still, this home’s location is actually in the top real estate markets in the state of North Carolina. Just imagine homes in rural areas with negative appreciation. 

The background of this home: 

· Single Family Home in an upscale neighborhood in Cary, NC. 

·         Year built: 1993

·         Heating: Forced Air, Gas

·         Cooling: Central

·         Parking: 2 spaces

·         Lot: 0.56 Acres

·         Price/sq. ft: $184

The previous owner built it in 1993 on a lovely spacious ½ acre lot. The home and lot were purchased for $278,500 in 1993 and sold for 475,500 in 2017. That is 24 years on this “so-called investment.” Let’s say the previous owner put down 20 percent ($55,700) and financed the remaining balance of $222,800. Now let’s take a look at the interest rates below.

Interest Rates in the 1990s: Average 8 percent

Interest Rates 2000-2005: Average 7 percent

Interest Rates: 2005-2010: Average 5 percent

Interest Rates: 2010-2015: Average 4 percent

Let’s take the lowest of these interest rates (4 percent) for a 25-year mortgage. Interest Paid =$130,006

Homeowners Insurance: $28,000

Average Maintenance/Repair Percentage on Home is 1-4 percent of Total Value (let’s use a conservative 2 percent) =$113,040. This equals 4,710 dollars annually for repairs and maintenance, including grass.

Property Taxes (estimated): $73,407 

HOA dues (estimated): $15,000

Purchase Price278,500
Property Taxes-73,407
Loan Interest-130,006
Repair/Maintenance -113,040
Home Owners Ins. -28,000
Sold Price475,500
Purchase down payment55,700
Sale Proceeds141,300
Gross Expenses:-359,453
Total Loss: -218,153

I classify all expenses into two categories:

1.)    Help me expenses (Help build wealth) 

2.)    Hinder me expenses (Hold you back from wealth) 

Help Me expenses of a home would be renovations (only if they increase resale value), principal payments on loans, etc. These are actual expenses that help you get ahead with a home appreciation known as equity (in this case). 

Hinder Me expenses are most of the costs above in the chart (property taxes, loan interest, Repairs/maintenance, HOA, etc.) These don’t help with home appreciation and are dead weight in your budget. 

Now, let’s determine the home appreciation average from 1993-2017.  

The home appreciated roughly 2.2 percent annually ($6127 per year), although it cost the previous owner approximately 14,977 dollars annually to live in the house just in “Hinder-me” expenses, as shown above in the chart. 

With each passing year, $8,850 or $737.51 monthly was not in Dave’s pocket living in this home (just paying hinder-me expenses). Those unsettling expenses were never recovered even when sold, resulting in a loss of over 200K in 24 years. It is safe to say; most home ownerships are negative investments. You may ask yourself, why would someone invest in a negative investment? Are they listening to society? Have emotional attachments to their home? Some want a piece of land and home paid in full, so they can sleep better while losing their asses. Some gauge financial success by having a home that is paid off!

How much would the previous owner have if he rented and invested for 24 years (assuming an average 10 percent return)?

If he rented instead of buying, he would have had the down payment of $55,700 to invest instantly in 1993. That sum of money would have turned into approximately 600,000 thousand dollars by 2017! Wow! Just imagine, this isn’t even considering fresh money that would have been invested monthly by not having to pay all of those “Hinder me” expenses. Instead, he lost approximately $218,000 (which would have been even more if that would have compounded). 


After reviewing this home’s average market appreciation percentage of 2.2 and comparing it to the S&P 500 index of almost 10 percent over the last 30 years, there is no doubt that it would have been a smarter move to rent and invest the remainder into index funds, etc. Before purchasing a home, examine the real deal intrinsically and extrinsically. If any purchase (house, car, etc.) has more “hinder me” expenses than “help me” costs, the purchase probably isn’t the best financial move. Besides, who wants an aging home that is only gaining 2.2 percent annually, meanwhile property taxes, repairs, etc. are increasing at unimaginable levels; meanwhile, the S&P 500 index is averaged at 10 percent consistently even through recessions. Remember, the average repair costs range from 1-4 percent of the total value of the home annually. Where do you think a 20+ year-old house will fall in this range with repair/maintenance? My guess is on the higher end (closer to 3-4 percent). Remember investing involves consistency, and many home-related expenses are inconsistent from month to month. My personal opinion is owning a home is only a good investment option if you are not diligent enough to save monthly; otherwise, homes aren’t good investments due to multiple reasons described above. 

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Getting Rid of the “Ole Money Pit”

Hello fellow bloggers and followers, 

I want to begin by saying thanks for coming to check out The Dividend Dude’s Blog! Please subscribe if you haven’t already! Recently I made a big move toward financial independence, and it didn’t involve moving in with my parents!! Not at all. It involved eliminating a “money pit.”
When I told my dearest friends, I was selling my home or The “Money Pit” to supercharge my Journey to financial independence; I was met with stark resistance. I’m sure you have heard by now that renting is “paying off someone else’s mortgage” or, even worse, “throwing your hard-earned dollars down the drain.” Is this true?… Or is this a statement blown out of mythical proportions? Let’s put those emotions aside and let the mathematical equations tell us the truth.

In 2017, I purchased a 24-year-old home for $475,500 with a $52,000 down payment in an upscale neighborhood where the Tesla, Volvo, and Mercedes Benz drivers zipped around in their shiny cars flaunting to others how much money they have, and the occasional sighting of a Range Rover or Jaguar speeding to the grocery store or the local school. The sidewalks were crowded with stay-at-home and work from home parents exercising most hours of the workday. The sound of mowers and edgers from landscaping companies trimming the grass and bushes of adjacent homes, I would only catch a glimpse when rushing home to take a 10-minute lunch break before busting ass back to work to make another payment on the “ole money pit.”
Who has the best yard, home, car, clothes, extracurricular activities? Who gives a shit? I sure don’t! Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like most middle-class suburban neighborhoods?

In 2020, just three short years later, after a new divorce, home repairs, and minor verbal altercations with neighbors, I was able to sell the home for $545,000. To the unskilled investor or conventional thinker (those who think a home is a good investment), they may say, wow!!!! You profited 70,000 dollars, Not a bad score considering it was only three years!

Let’s take a step back and see the breakdown.

That’s a savings of $3208 per month by getting rid of that “money pit” or annually $38,497.33. Now, do you still think homeownership is a significant investment? I believe that homeownership can be a good investment in certain instances, but only when you follow the takeaways below.

With each passing month, I will invest this cash into dividend-paying stocks that will generate passive cash flow and should propel me to financial independence in a few years. As you can see, you may be paying for someone else’s mortgage by renting. Still, in specific scenarios (if renting is cheaper than buying (20x) rule), it allows you to allocate more free cash into other investment vehicles that will yield a more astounding return year over year. Thoughts? Comment below.

My take-aways about purchasing a home…

1.) Use The 20x rule–Take your annual rent and multiple by 20 to find out what home price you should buy (to save money instead of renting).

Example: My annual rent is $7200 a year x 20–I should keep renting until I find a home for $144,000 (which isn’t happening in this shitty city area)

2.) Don’t buy a home until you are certain you will be there for at least 10 years.

3.) Avoid PMI insurance (if at all possible)

4.) Buying isn’t always better than renting (as you just seen above).

5.) Consider the age of a home (homes older than 10 years old will require costly repairs at some point).

6.) Do what’s best for you and don’t listen to other people (especially if they still keep their life savings socked away in savings accounts yielding less than 1 percent a year).

7.) Never buy a home larger than you will need. Actually, a family of four only needs a home less than 1800 square feet.

Just for shit and giggles, Let’s play this last scenario out. Let’s pretend it’s 2017 once again, and instead of buying my home and losing over $40,000, I would have rented with the same living situation. Let’s assume 7% returns based on the historic S &P 500. Wow! I would have invested over 196,000 dollars in just three short years, which would yield approximately $650 per month in dividends (assuming a 4% average dividend yield).

Image credit: Money Chimp http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm

Subscribe and follow me along my journey. Take care and happy investing!

New Beginnings…

Welcome to my blog! Here at The Dividend Dudes blog will be geared toward financial independence through the passive income of dividends. Over the last year, I have endured many life-changing experiences. Let’s jump right into the meat and potatoes…What were the steps I took toward financial independence in the year 2020 at 33 years old? What could that be? Hmmm…Did I get rid of my gold digger wife (Que Gold Digger by Kayne West), get rid of my three thousand square foot home in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood near the capital city of North Carolina, or eliminating my fervent in-laws offering broken promises and overzealous spending habits that would have sequestered myself to a life of hard work until at least 65 years old or older…. Wow, I’m exhausted, just saying all of that! It was all of the above.
Over the last year, I have got a fresh new start on life hence the title. I am recently divorced, sold my home, and got rid of those nagging in-laws. Moreover, I have decided to take drastic measures shaping and shaving my finances to become financially free at the ripe ole’ age of 45. Time is not on my side, but I have 12 years to get my shit together while squirreling away a nest egg of over 1 million dollars, that should theoretically cover all of my expenses through dividends. My blog will be geared toward sharing my life experiences as a mid 30s dude starting over. I will share stock and investment strategies, frugal lifestyle measures, and anything about finances. With only 12 years remaining on this plan, Let’s take this exciting journey together and get the ball rolling!