achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Category: full year recap

2019 full year recap

With the end of Januari being here I realised I had not yet done the full year recap of 2019.

And then digging through my archive I realised I never did one for 2018 either.

Oops

And let there never be any doubt about my laziness!

Doing a 2018 recap a year too late seems a bit silly to me but with three full years under my belt a small three year overview might be interesting.

So before diving into 2019 here is that recap:

Three year recap

2017201820192019 corrected
Income30 862 27 76539 22134 221
Expenses20 71920 04728 32020 207
Savings10 1437 71810 90114 014
SR32,9%27,8%27,8%40,9%

2017 had on the income side a 5000 euro gift from the parents

2017 I went on a holiday and bought the vespa for 3 000 euro

2018 income was just my wages at the current employer. It was my first full year of working at my employer so I didn’t really get any profit bonus as those are calculated on the previous year. Holiday money also is a complicated mess (due to 2017 being in part unemployed and the other part filled with interim work) with me actually having to pay some back.

2018 expenses had nothing exceptional either.

2019 on the income side once again had a 5 000 euro gift from my parents to our new car purchase.

This off course means I had a 8 113 euro expense for said car also. If you correct the car purchase from 2019 I feel those corrected numbers reflect my spending a lot better.

three year recap conclusions

Two broad conclusion can be taken from the above:

* my annual spending is slightly above 20 000 euro

* that spending is pretty much irrelevant from how much income I make.

The second point is proven by 2018. This was a low year on the income side because no gift from the parents and the first year at the new employer (so no profit bonus, no holiday money that year) but my spending remained pretty much the same.

Logic then dictates that as my income goes up so should my saving and especially my savings rate. The 2019 corrected numbers clearly demonstrates this. Hell even with the car purchase I saved more in 2019 than 2017 or 201! The conclusion is I need to boost my income with some type of sidegig.

Lets dive a little bit more into the numbers of 2019

2019 numbers

Income

Income was 39 221 euro.

Main part of the income was work: 33 510,27 euro

Gifts stand at 5 345 euro. The main one being 5 000 euro from the parents for the car and the remainder being the normal birthday, christmas gifts and such

My litle experiment with buying and selling tickets did bring in 135,40 euro but it is clear that as a side gig I need something better (and also more legal in Belgium).

And I also got 130 euro back from our health insurer

Expenses

The bulk of my 28 320,21 euro spnding went to our joint account:

13 800 euro. Understandable as this money pays our mortgage, all house related costs (like heating, electricity) and the food for both of us.

The new car purchase was 8 113 euro

The Vespa cost me 1 649,20 euro (as I showed in this post)

Extra food 1 311,5 euro. This is a bad expense!! It annoys me in particular as it was just too many sandwiches, pizza and candy bought. Add it all up for an entire year and it is a pretty decent amount. And + it made me fat again! This category needs to be lower in 2020 and thus far Januari has been good in this regard. 11 more months to go!

Gifts stand at 1 226,5 euro (with 826 euro being for the girlfriend)

Hobbies 593 euro

Random fun: 614 euro

Restaurant: 300 euro

sports: 120 euro

Buried in telecom was a 350 euro smartphone and Clothing : 114 euro

I include these last two because of this: of the 28 320,21 euro I spend in 2019 I only spend 4 629 euro on what can be considered ‘fun’ stuff. The remaining 24 000 ish euro are fixed expenses I had to do (one could discuss the car purchase ..). En out of the 4 629 euro 1 226 euro was gifts, or stuff not for me! On myself I only spend 3 400 euro on stuff I liked spending money on (well, I liked buying the gifts but you get what I mean). And that includes 1 311 euro extra food I should not have bought.

Bottom line: I only spend 2 019 euro on stuff for me I liked buying and was actually good for me. That amount is the sum of the hobbies, random fun, restaurants and sport categories! It is around 10% of my expenses. It is also scary realising how low this number actually is!

2020 goals

So my goals for 2020 are finding a decend side gig that can push my savings rate higher, drastically lower the extra food purchases (idealy some of these expenses are shifted to the sports category) and spend more money on fun stuff for myself! And all the while stay below 20,000 euro in total spending.

2017 full year recap

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!

Personal spending

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!

Joint spending

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.

Conclusion:

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 …