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Savings Rate October 2020: gaining momentum at 37.92%

Time again for my favorite post. As much as its fun to see the monthly numbers of my portfolio go up, I like this post because I feel I have more control over it.

At least up to a certain extend. I do have trouble to keep expenses in check sometimes. I recently had an idea. I noticed that the last week of the month I spend a lot less, because I know I almost need to record my saving rate. So what if I tried to do only purchases the first 7 days of the month? Something to try in November and see if it will help to cut on spendings. I do expect I will then spend more in the first 7 days, but at least I will have thought a long time about what I am spending it on.

I can’t wait for November. As much as I hate lockdowns, I do think it can have a positive impact on my savings rate.

Expenses

Lets go over the different expenses for this month and compare with last month

September
October

The highlights

  • Housing: costs have dropped to 593 EUR, which is perfectly normal, it includes mainly my loan, electricity/internet/heating/Tv
  • Costs: this one always seems to surprise me. My yearly taxes on my apartment. It was a little over 400 EUR this year. I thought I was going to have a pretty good month until I ran into this.
  • Hobby’s: I purchased a second hand bicycle for 250 EUR. its full carbon so I think I got a really good bargain. Its not end of season so I thought it was a good time to buy this now in preparation for next year.
  • Groceries: I continued to shop in the Aldi, with one small difference: I stopped buying microwaved food. As you can see my Grocery bill dropped from 245 EUR to 222 EUR. So only a very minor drop, and hardly worth the effort of cooking. However cooking is also much healthier, so I think I will continue to cook most of the time.
  • Restaurants: 112 EUR, I usually aim at 100 EUR per month for this so this is fine. Its mostly getting quick snacks or drinks after sports
  • I also got 300 EUR of taxes I had to pay additionally, but I didn’t count that in, because they need to do a recalculation and I expect to actually get back 1500 EUR of taxes back in November instead

Expenses overview for 2020

Total Expenses for September = 2218 EUR

Total Expenses for October = 1904 EUR

2020 average = 2134 EUR (-25)

Income

My income rose slightly because I managed to book in some overtime. This month it was 3067 EUR, including wage, meal allowances and overtime.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 37.92 % is quite good

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 39.33%

What’s next

  • The lockdown will lower my sport and restaurant expenses, so I should have a 100-200 EUR less expenses / month at least (tennis / gym subscription /..)
  • I just heard that the 670 EUR syndic cost I pay quarterly will be lowered to 520 EUR quarterly in the upcoming year. It will drop even more in 2022 so I’m really happy that I’m able to save an additional 150 EUR every quarter
  • At the same time the garage gate needs to be replaced which would set me back 250 EUR

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Savings Rate September 2020: slowly gaining momentum at 26.67%

I really enjoy to write this post. It forces me to do some self reflection on the past month, and hopefully it makes me think about the next one. But most of all I just enjoy to play with numbers.

Unfortunately some urgent repairs at my house took a big bite of my budget. My washing machine had been leaking for over a year. I finally decided that it was not a good idea to let it go on. The whole venture to get a new washing machine costed me about 600 EUR, so a big bite from my budget. You can read more about that bellow.

Expenses

Lets go over the different expenses for this month

Recurring costs

I decided to look at the recurring costs every month to see if I could do anything about them:

  • Loan 1: 547 EUR. This actually will end by September 2021, so only 11 payments left! Unless I find a house to live in first of course, then it might even go up…
  • Syndic Costs: 647 EUR every 3 months. This will drop to 400-500 EUR by May next year. Currently it means 215 EUR / month recurring costs
  • Gym subscription: 59 EUR: its actually the most expensive in my region, but they give a lot of personal guidance and have an egym which is what I need to stay motivated
  • Tennis: I play tennis 2 hours weekly, this costs me about 15 EUR/hour (average) so 60 EUR per month
  • Gass & Electricity: 54 EUR atm, I will try not to turn on the heating at home yet since I work a lot from home now I fear this could go up
  • Internet: 27 EUR for 100 GB with Proximus. The 100 GB is not enough now that I work from home, at one point I might need to take a different subscription
  • Netflix: 6.59 EUR, which is bellow the minimum in Belgium of 7.99 EUR. How did this happen? I used to live in London and paid it there. When I moved back to Belgium the pound collapsed because of the Brexit and I kept the subscription

Right now there is not one of these costs that I would want to touch right now. That leaves me with a total recurring costs of 968.59 EUR

The highlights

  • Housing: costs have dropped to 799 EUR
  • Hobbys: again most of it is sport related. I don’t like to save on sport because my physical and emotional health is important to me. Of course there is a recurring cost of 120 EUR for tennis and Gym, but I also spend some in the Decathlon to get some extra gear for kiting, and went sailing a few times (10-20 EUR per time).
  • Groceries: I wanted to shop an entire month in the Aldi and I have. I can see a clear difference in cost: 314 EUR last month vs 245 EUR this month. So clearly worth it to shop in the Aldi, by now I also know where to find most items, so I actually start to enjoy to go there. The biggest downside I found was that I bought mostly I bought unhealthy microwave based food. So a point for October: cook more and try to eat more healthy. I wonder if cooking more will also lower my grocery bill. Let’s find out next month!
  • Shopping: I had to buy a new Washing Machine that set me back about 540 EUR. A few days after I bought it Mediamarkt lowered the price by 19%. They were so kind to give me a 93 EUR coupon I could use later. I ordered it online which was a big mistake. Delivery was a disaster. They needed to plan in 4 deliveries to finally get it to me. I will never order from Mediamarkt online again.
  • Restaurant costs are at about 139 EUR, the highest since the lockdown! So I will be watching this expense and try to get it back under 100 EUR next month.

Expenses overview for 2020

Total Expenses for August = 2289 EUR

Total Expenses for September = 2218 EUR

2020 average = 2159 EUR (+7)

Income

My income rose slightly because I managed to book in some overtime. This month it was 2848 EUR, including wage, meal allowances and overtime.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 26.76% is ok. This month it was mainly higher

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 39.49%

What’s next

  • I will try to shop 1 month at the Aldi and cook more (at least 60% of the time), and see how this will impact my Groceries bill
  • I need to get my restaurant expenses under 100 EUR / month again

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Savings Rate August 2020: drop to 11%

I had two weeks of holiday in August, and I managed to spend them actually fairly cheap:

  • I got to stay at a chalet in the ardennes for free of someone I know. I went their for just 3 days but I loved it there, I spend most of my time out in nature with my mountainbike. I got a flat tire in the middle of the forest, but managed to replace it on the spot! I might use this place more often (if possible), when I have another holiday.
  • The rest I spend at the sea, since its only one hour drive by (company) car, I didn’t feel the need to rent anything there

I would really want to go to Thailand in winter (January / February), which I know is less cheap, but right now there is still a travel ban for Thailand and its impossible to say how things will develop.

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare July and August

[visualizer id=”3178″ lazy=”no” class=””]

[visualizer id=”3032″ lazy=”no” class=””]

The highlights

  • Housing costs have increased to 1384, as I had my quarterly payment this month for the syndic of my apartment. In my yearly overview page you can see I currently have three loans onthere, the first will expire in May, so only three more payments there!
  • Hobbys dropped slightly but remain steady, I had to purchase some extra triathlon gear (about 200 EUR), and I spend 60 EUR on Tennis, and 80 EUR on fitness (will be 60 EUR from next month).
  • Groceries have dropped. I had a whole month of cooked gear last month and this allowed me to drop my grocery expenses. However I noticed that its really hard to cook every day, so I decided to mix Microwave food with cooked food. In order to keep my expenses down I will be shopping only in the Aldi in September. Let’s see how this will affect my expenses!
  • Shopping for clothes remains low, no new gear needed so far (unless you would count the sport gear I bought). I don’t expect anything new needed for September either
  • Restaurant costs are at about 115 EUR, so I am happy I manage to keep it low, although ideally I want to keep it bellow 100 EUR

Expenses overview for 2020

Total Expenses for July= 1909 EUR

Total Expenses for August = 2289 EUR

2020 average = 2152 EUR

Income

Nothing special on the income side, I got my usual monthly wage.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 11% is not terrible. Of course its much lower then last year, but last year I did get a travel bonus as well. What is mainly suffering due to the lower income I have since travels stopped is extra investments in my financial independence. But that’s ok for now we just carry on, I do have some options to change that in the future if need be.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 41.09%

Whats next

  • I will try to shop 1 month at the Aldi and see what affect it has on my monthly expenses, otherwise I actually expect September to be a less expensive month
  • I have a few repairs that need to be done in the home, I have no idea yet how expensive they will be but in the worst case I will need to buy a few new devices
  • I currently pay 300 EUR per year for wordpress, but I am considering to step down a notch to 100 EUR subscription. I will be losing plugins then, but I am not sure its worth it right now to spend so much if I can’t blog as much as I would like to

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August 2020 Portfolio update: the stock market is waking up

Investment update in August 2020

Most of August was incredibly slow, it was like all traders left for a holiday. The market was just sitting there, not going up or down at all. But for some reason the very last week of August the market woke up and stocks took a steady rise! More about that bellow!

On peer to peer investments progress at Grupeers side all progress has come to a halt, no more blog updates or anything. They do still reply to mails, but where I was still somewhat hopeful 2 months ago, now its looking more and more every day that I will be dependent of the law suit to get my investment back.

The triathlon I subscribed in was canceled due to Corona, however a new one was organised for September and will go trough. I will start with a 1/8 triathlon the 6th of September and do a 1/4th triathlon the 20th of September. For those who are interested, a 1/4th triathlon is 1,5km swimming, 42km cycling and 10km running. I’m nervous as hell, I can do these distances all separate, but can I do them all at once? In total it would be about 4,5 hours of sport.

Alright enough stuff about my life lets go and check how much my portfolio dropped or increased.

Image result for I am not a financial advisor

My Portfolio

My Portfolio has risen slightly to 67438 EUR (+1513) however this was with no additional investments, infact I pulled out 500 EUR of my startups (one of my startups that will be moved to ETFs in September. This is now the fourth month in a row that my investments are going up again. Slowly but certain a recovery is on its way.

So this months rise was only because of a huge increase on the stock market. Its been booming incredibly the last months! I’m not yet back at the rate I was at before the peer to peer market crashed (February) on me 😦 But I am getting pretty damn close.

Lets look into more detail for each of these investment types shall we.

ETFs

It seems the stock market is rising slowly but steadily and gave me a nice profit of 929 EUR this month lowering my loss on my ETFs from -2440 last month to only -626 EUR this month. Keep it up!

Inception DateTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% P/L
SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)31/01/2020355741749-561-1.55%
IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU)28/02/2020238265-65-2.69%
Total ETF Portfolio30/09/2019379561814-626

At this point I am really happy I limited my portfolio to just two ETFs, it makes it so much easier to track! And I keep finding it very easy to invest with DEGIRO, I am really happy I chose DEGIRO as broker!

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made a huge profit this month, lets hope they can keep it up for another 1-2 months so I break even YTD!

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITSTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% P&L
31/01/202025160.4100
28/02/202023674-3852-3852
03/31/202022851-3362-7214
30/04/2020290343627-3587
31/05/202029590556-3031
30/06/202031411-95-3126
31/07/202033825816-2310
31/07/2020355741749-561-1.55%

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

With a 113 EUR profit it was a pretty good month for this ETF

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L% gain this month
31/01/2020244800
29/02/20202249-205-205
31/03/20201918.38-331-536
31/04/20202099182-354
31/05/20202064-36-390
30/06/20202211147-243
31/07/20202318113-130
31/08/2020238265-65-2.69%

Peer to Peer

I could not withdraw anything from peer to peer this month, but if everything goes as planned then next month I should be able to withdraw my last principal from TFGCrowd, leaving me with only 4 peer to peer investments: 1 active peer to peer investment (Crowdestor), 1 with 100% of the funds in recovery (Mintos) and 2 where I am trying to recover some funds trough legal action.

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end date
Crowdestor30/09/20192974297907/02/2022
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Mintos30/09/2019998286501/06/2021
TFGCrowd30/09/2019143421017/09/2020
Total30/09/2019269331404905/09/2022

I only show withdrawals here. So far I withdrew about 49% of the funds I had invested in peer to peer.

CrowdEstor

  • From October I will finally start to withdraw principal from Crowdestor, as you can see above it will take me 1,5 years before all principal is returned and re-invested.

Grupeer

While Grupeer is still answering emails, my hope that they will give back any money out of their own free will is getting smaller each day.

My main method to recover funds is legal action. I can say that its moving but very slowly, it will take at least a year before anything is recovered, and probably much longer to recover a bigger amount of funds.

Kuetzal

I am in a legal procedure with Kuetzal and cannot comment on any non-public information, I wanted to share more this month but I still can’t. Perhaps in september.

Mintos

Mintos has created something new namely Funds in recovery. Pretty much all of the remaining 874 EUR is stuck in Capital service.

TFGCrowd

Right now I am waiting for the last 200 EUR of principal to be finished in TFGCrowd. After that I will be fully out of this investment. This will happen in September.

Startups

One of my startups WeGroup got bought out, and this for the amount of 505 EUR (164% of the value I bought it for). As a recall I paid about 315 EUR for this, and I got to withdraw some amount of my taxes because of this.

I still have now 3200 EUR in startups invested, I have every intention to withdraw this whenever possible.

Retirement funds

I decided not to update my retirement funds all the time since for most of the funds I get an update just once a year, so I will update it also just once a year. This is from end of 2019. I will update it again in December 2020.

November 2019Current Value
KBC Pension funds7999
First job Pension plan1467
Second job Pension plan592
Third job Pension plan12084

Wins / losses this month

  • My ETF Portfolio made an amazing 1840 EUR profit!
  • Slowly but certainly I am moving out of peer to peer

What is next?

  • I will be doing a 1/8 Triathlon next week so right now Im training a lot to make that!
  • And in three weeks Im doing a 1/4 Triathlon!
  • My secret project is still ongoing. I will probably not be able to share any info about this until January 2021 😦

I will also post a savings rate update soon! Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss any of my monthly portfolio updates!

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Savings rate July 2020: slight increase to 33.99%

July was a fairly good month, one the one hand my expenses for “hobby’s” (mainly sports), rose rather high, on the other hand I was able to keep most of my other expenses in check.

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare June and July

[visualizer id=”3132″ lazy=”no” class=””]

[visualizer id=”3031″ lazy=”no” class=””]

The highlights

  • Housing costs have slightly increased to 826 EUR since I had my EPC measured of my apartment. It was almost 10 years old and I am considering to sell my apartment to have a bigger budget to buy a house
  • Hobbys remain high, mainly due to kite lessons, but I expect a drop for this in August
  • Groceries have dropped. I wrote last month that I had an increase because of microwave food. This month I cooked 90% of the meals myself, and it shows on my grocery bill, I spend 100 EUR less, this is a wise lesson for me!
  • Shopping has dropped a lot, I already got my summer outfit now, and I have no need for anything new
  • Restaurant costs are at about 100 EUR, which is quite an accomplishment for me 😉

Expenses overview for 2020

My total expenses for July were 1909, slightly lower then the previous month

Income

Nothing special on the income side, I got my usual monthly wage. I just heard I will be working from home until January, so there will be no chance to earn any additional bonusses.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 34.99% is not bad. Of course its much lower then last year, but last year I did get a travel bonus as well.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 45.28%

Whats next

Next month I have my quarterly syndic costs coming up at 670 EUR. I still need to pay this 3 more times after that and then it will finally drop to around 400 EUR with one of the loans on this paid off!

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