Uncategorized

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

Interested to follow me? Then subscribe and join me on my Roadtrip to Financial independence!

Uncategorized

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

Interested to follow me? Then subscribe and join me on my Roadtrip to Financial independence!

Uncategorized

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!

Interested to follow me? Then subscribe and join me on my Roadtrip to Financial independence!

Uncategorized

Savings rate June 2020: drop to 24.45%

Finally the drop of income due to no travelling for work is starting to become clear. Travel will probably only pick up again near the end of the year so until then I will need to accept a lower income.

Additionally I had a few expenses that came unexpectedly..

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare May and June

[visualizer id=”2827″] 

 [visualizer id=”3031″] 

Of course I only have high housing expenses every 3 months, so that means in June and July they will be low. On the other hand all my other costs did go up. While some are unexpected, some I will just need to keep a closer eye on.

The highlights

  • Living costs are stable at 640 EUR which is normal for June
  • Hobbys grew very high due to the following reasons: I started kiting, and as it is with all sports there is a start up cost. For kiting this is 450 EUR which will get you the initial lessons package. I paid a part of this already in June and will pay another part of this in July. A second sport I started was a rather expensive gym that gives a lot of personal guidance. There was a startup cost here of 120 EUR. This number will drop in half every month after that. Lastly I also spend 130 EUR on 12 spinning classes. I plan to go every 2 weeks or so, so I will be able to last for 6 months with this card.
  • Groceries was quite high as well. I started buying more microwave meals again and healthy salads. I can see this very fast on my expenses, so I decided to stop buying prepared – meals for the future. Its good I track these things or I would not have noticed it!
  • I took a short holiday, this costed me 186 EUR for 3 days. This will probably be my only holiday abroad this summer.
  • There was a 167 cost to be part of a class action law suit against Grupeer
  • Shopping remained stable (although I did send some items back, but I am still waiting for a refund) and health costs dropped a bit

Expenses overview for 2020

My total expenses for June were 2064, which is not that much higher then other months really, but I do feel there is areas I will be able to cut back on more.

Income

The extra income stream I got from travelling in Q1 has now officially ended, so I need to accept that for a few more months I will be on a lower income. But hey, its not such a bad income, even on a month I spend 400-500 EUR on sports I am able to save 24% and that’s not bad at all.

The good thing is this is giving me insight on my spending patterns without travelling, and it can help with my decision to just stop travelling for work at one point.

Saving Rate

With a saving rate of 24.45% I am at one of the worst months this year, but that’s ok. It does mean my goal of saving 5% more then last year is not yet lost, but it is at high risk of failure.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 46.99%

Whats next

I will need to budget another 250 EUR for kiting lessons in July, and 60-80 EUR for fitness (depending of the subscription I choose), but I do think with no more holidays planned and no unexpected costs (law suits and such) I will be doing better next month.

Interested to follow me? Then subscribe and join me on my Roadtrip to Financial independence!

Uncategorized

Savings rate May 2020 at 71.89%

May was a stable month, while I have managed to get my expenses in check, I must say that it is mainly thanks to my income that I managed to get this savings rate. One very fun surprise this month was that I was allowed to go shopping for a new company car!

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare April with May

[visualizer id=”2634″] 

[visualizer id=”2827″] 

We can clearly see that while I managed to cut down on most of my costs, my housing expenses pretty much became my main expense. May was still a month that I spend largely in lockdown and that made it easy to keep my expenses low.

The highlights

  • Living costs increased to 1312 EUR, this includes my loan (about 550 EUR), electricity/gas (50 EUR) and my quarterly syndicate cost (+-700 EUR)
  • Its because of those quarterly syndicate costs that I decided to calm down and not buy much other things. The month went by quickly and it was surprisingly easy. For the first time ever my groceries where my second expense at 177 EUR.
  • Shopping came in a tie at 100 EUR with health. This included a pair of shoes of 80 EUR that fit me well!
  • Health: still quite high at 100, but it included one doctor visit of 70 EUR of which I should get a large part back from the insurance

Expenses overview for 2020

I decided to keep a more in detail track of my expenses this year. I found that I do have a general downwards trend so far this year. One thing I noticed is it remains hard to have low expenses in the four months/year that I need to pay my syndic. Lucky from May next year one of the loans we had to take on the roof will finally be paid off and those quarterly payments will be significantly lower.

Income

I got a high income this month, mainly because I got my quarterly bonus for travelling. This was still due from my travelling in Q1 2020. Additionally I got my holiday money, something we get in Belgium in June.

I also was quite happy to find out it was time for me to select a new company car! In Belgium many companies (especially in IT) give company cars to their employees. I will write a more detailed blog later to show you how I came to a decision and how it works these days.

Saving Rate

Even though the lockdown and some bonusses made things much easier for me, I am still happy to have gotten a 71.89% savings rate this month!

I have a competition with myself that I need to do 5% better then last year and right now I am wining that competition, but of course there is 7 more months to go!

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 51.5%

Whats next

I will continue to do sports (cycling is almost free), watch my grocery expenses and try harder to control my shopping urges!

Since I stopped running I need to find another sport to supplement cycling and I decided to try out the gym. I doubted between the cheapest gym I could find or one of the more expensive ones. Surprisingly I decided to go for one of the more expensive ones. I always had a hard time to keep up with the gym and I feel if I will be surrounded by more high tech and luxury it will make it easier for me to go.

Interested to follow me? Then subscribe and join me on my Roadtrip to Financial independence!