Looking back at 2017 I can only conclude it was a pretty good year. Financially we made great strides and got a lot closer to our Financial freedom (more about that below).
On the overal happiness front it is a bit of a mixed year.
I bought a Vespa and riding it does make me happy.
I didn’t lose any weight. My current condition is not good and being 25 kg overweight can not be healthy. Should make it a priority for 2018.
I did find a pretty cool new workplace but I actually enjoyed being at home a lot more. I came to the realization that for the last three years I actually only worked 8 months (or less) every year. The realization that having found a cool new work place also means working full time for the next three years (at the least) makes me a bit sad to be honest. What can I say? I really enjoy being lazy at home …
The girlfriends job started to suck this year. Which had it’s impact. She is at the moment finishing the last days of a six week medical leave, it wasn’t enough … . Work should improve again as of April. Should … . We are not getting our hopes up as for the last few years when things for one of us started to look up, things for the other person turned to shit. A kind of perverted back and forth game of job related misery. Quiet frankly and honestely, we are both a bit sick of it. Come April – May I should be a lot more secure in the cool new workplace (only started mid November) so if things are still crap at the girlfriends workplace we will use the stash as fuck you money and either greatly reduce her working hours or just have her quit all together. A shame because we always thought she could keep her job even after fire. It is possible at her work place to only work a couple of hours a week or replace people during a few months in the year, thus making it a perfect post-fire workplace. So we always thought the girlfriend was set for post-fire and it was me that would be looking for the odd job each year. Enter idiotic managment … Sigh.
But onto the financial recap of the year!
My personal income in 2017 was 30 862.70 euro.
Work: 17 084,62 euro. I was a bit surprised at the low number but I shouldn’t have been as I only worked 7,5 months this year.
Unemployment benefits: 6 452,83 euro. I collected 4,5 months of unemployment benefits in between jobs.
Gifts: 5 405 euro. Thanks mom and dad! On the other hand, their portfolio increased 14% in 2017. Their default option is to keep the money sitting in a savings account (way, way to much cash in savings accounts!) or some crap product of the bank. On their own, they maybe would earn 2% on it. Looking it from that way, I am making them money! And quit a bit more than 5 405 euro at that! Hmm, perhaps I should let them pay for our remaining home renovations …
Withdrawal from the stash: 1 750 euro. I took some daytrading profits from the table. I had planned to take all daytrading profits to hurry along our home renovations. But UVXY puts have such juicy returns I am plowing all off the available cash into that. I still need to break the news to the girlfriend. She will not be happy …
The remaining 170 euro was refunds of health care costs and such.
Of course, my stash increased in 2017 with 42.000 euro. Which is a cool 11.000 euro more than what I had as income and about 2,5 times what I earned by working.
If I take the stash into account (I usually ignore it) total income would come to 72 862,70 euro! And only 23,45% of it came from work!! If I consider the unemployment benefits as a kind of tax refund (and in a way it is) well, then my taxes for 2017 have to be in the low digits category. Ten, perhaps 15%? I ma too lazy to calculate it in detail but with all gains in the stash being untaxed, gifts untaxed and only work being taxed. Yep, didn’t pay a lot of taxes this year … At least, when I hear a politician saying something stupid again I can find solace in the fact that I didn’t pay for it this year …
Personal expenses came to 20 718,93 euro. That gave me an average savings rate of 32,87%! (ignoring the stash earnings here, otherwise I would be at a crazy 71,56% savings rate). This is an average spending of 1 726,58 euro a month. Not that close to my 1 500 euro goal.
But I should deduct 1 500 euro for the Vespa (I used a tax refund to pay for the other half, yes I know, I made a bit of a mess of it …). So deducting that and I am at 1 600 euro average per month. That amount does include some fun:
I have Hobbies for 941 euro (mainly swimming , graphic novels and the raspberry pi) and a random fun category for 390 euro (carnival, cinema tickets, drinks with friends …).
My holiday in lazarote cost me 1 208,50 euro
If I deduct all these ‘fun’ lines my personal spend was 16 680 euro or 1 390 euro a month! But what is life without some fun in it?
On the basic expenses front, the main cost was towards our joint account: 6 800 euro. This is my half for our mortgage, utilities and food for the both of us. if it seems low, well we had a tax refund which we used to cover those expenses for some months. (Yes, I know, I made a bit of a mess of it, will do better this year, I promise).
Clothing came at 333 euro. I bought some pants and shoes. This year: shirts!
Here is a fun fact for my American readers. Health costs in 2017 were 116 euro!
I did spend 1 355 euro for food on myself. This is mainly food bought at work (i.e. sandwiches). I feel bad about it because A)bringing my own food should have been cheaper, B)bringing my own food should have been healthier. See the above mentioning of not having lost any weight. So I was actually spending money to remain unhealthy. Yeah, not happy about it!
If I look at our joint acount. The big categories are the mortgage ( 11 213,76 euro) and utilities 3 678,63 euro (electricity, gas and water) and then the car (2 110 euro). Bicycles, or a Vespa, really are a lot cheaper! Groceries (both food and cleaning stuff) for the two of us was 5 151 euro. That is around 430 a month. Ok, but not that great. There is definitely some fat to trim here.
Insurances set us back 1 508 euro. But that covers the house, car, Vespa and personal liability. I need to have a look into our insurances and see if a cheaper alternative can be found but I also would like to include a general insurance for legal counsel (as attorneys can become expensive fast) so I do not think any savings will be found in this category this year.
Food for our animals: 851 euro. But we love our animals so this went under hobbies.
Restaurant was 818 euro and my personal account had another 100 euro or so in this category. Some restaurants were fancy (like 280 euro for four people) but we also put our local fries shop here. health, and money wise, we go a bit too much to the fries shop.
Even in our joint account we have a random fun line, which was mostly fun, for 486 euro.
If you do not buy a Vespa I think you can have a nice and even fun life with about 1 600 euro a month. I ‘think’ because this was the first year of budgeting and I definitely made some mistakes.The division between personal and joint account does not always make it easy and then there is the question how to tackle tax refunds or the meal vouchers I get from work … For next year I am going to focus more on the spending part and skip the savings rate completely. Also trying to get it as close as I can to how it would be when we would be FIRE. Still learning. Hopefully still improving …