Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Category: monthly expense report (page 1 of 2)

Monthly expense report: February

A short month which unfortunately didn’t translate in low expenses.

Income: 2 180 euro

Expenses: 1 671,60 euro

Savings: 508,40 euro

No more gifts this month so back down to the normal income of the job. As predicted last month I now ‘earn’ about 50 euro more per month thanks to the tax reform that took effect.

Expenses were 1 670 euro or 170 euro above the goal of 1 500 euro. But as also mentionned last month one of my hard drives failed in my Synology NAS. Replacement cost was 200 euro. Without this I would have reached the 1 500 euro goal.

Another goal was spending less money on unhealthy sandwiches at work. This month was a low for me at only 53 euro! This was due to february being a short month, me taking some holidays and eating the seaweed bread I mentionned last month. I did need to buy more seaweed but for 85 euro I think I got enough to cover the whole year.

I also became the godfather to a friends baby. So a 100 euro gift there. This will probably become a recurring item as, finance wise, I have big plans for the little rascal.

I did have a 50 euro pure ‘fun’ expense and we also had carnaval in my home town. It’s free to go, we have a chest full of outfits from previous years  and since we usually buy in bulk we didn’t even have to buy any beer for it this year!

All in all I could see myself coming pretty close to the 1 500 euro goal this year with only two exceptions. First is: going on holiday. What we are planning would cost less than the holiday money I will receive but it would still push my budget above 1 500 euro. Second: a new PC. Knowing me, that would cost more than the holiday and kill any change I have got in coming close to my goal. Not sure what I will do there. For the moment I just keep using the old PC which is getting slower by the month (also hoping for a price drop in graphic cards, damn you crypto mining fools!).

In the joint account we did keep our self imposed limit of only going to the fries shop once a month (yeah for ourselfs!) and groceries were just under 300 euro (mainly due to February being a short month). Everything else was pretty standard.

So from an income and expense view February was a pretty good month. Investment wise, not so much ….

Monthly expense report: January

This year I am going to try to focus more on the expenses. So no more joint account overviews or savings rate. Savings rate was pretty useless in my case anyway as I was not saving to put into the stash but am saving to finish our home renovations. We estimate to have another 50.000 euro renovations to do before the house is finished. We will not count the big renovations to our expenses as we want them done before we stop working. We will keep count of normal maintenance costs as that is something that will happen during our ‘retirement’.

Income: 2 354,55 euro

Expenses: 1 496,45 euro

Savings: 858,10 euro

The income is wage and 230 euro in new year gifts. Good news for next month as the tax reform came into effect and I will be receiving around 50 euro more net wages! Yeah, something to look forward to!!

Expenses were just, barely, under 1.500 euro! Yes!! The first month is in the bag. Next month will not be that good as one of my hard drives in my Synology NAS died and replacing it will cost 200 euro. D’oh!

But this month I limited my spending to 1.500 euro so for the moment I am going to enjoy this good feeling of a mission accomplished!

The bulk of my spending goes to the joint account. 1.100 euro that serves to pay for our mortgage, electricity and gas, fuel for the car and food for our bellies.

So that is 400 euro left for real ‘personal spending.

I did still spend 145 euro on food for myself. But half of it is for protein bars as most mornings I am in too much a rush to get a proper breakfast so I just grab a proteine bar which I then munch down at my desk. Not the most unhealthy choice but it isn’t particualry healthy either. I should make it a project to build up a healthy morning routine. In all honesty: at the moment I am too lazy to do it …

I have made some progress as the girlfriend makes me a healthy seaweed bread once a week. That covers breakfast and lunch at work for three days. It is both healthier and cheaper than the two sandwiches I normally order at work. So that is about half the week taken care of. And it did limit my work food expenses to 70 euro this month. Now I just need to find something to cover the other half of the week. We are looking for something healthy, cheapisch (anything under 5 euro a day is a winner) and quick to do.

Gas for the Vespa was 40 euro. That is about 10 euro a week. This gets me to work every day and to the swimming pool 2 to 3 times a week. I could eliminate soemof this cost by biking more to work. It would take longer but give some more exercise which I do need. But once again my lazy side wins out and I have used the vespa all the time.

A cinema visit + some snacks costed me 33 euro + 17 euro for the train to get me to Ghent. This was to meet up with a friend and I always enjoy my time with him so money well spend in my book.

The remainder of the money (all 147 euro) was spend on an excellent bottle of Whisky. That stuff has gotten expensive! Last time I bought it I think it was around 94 euro. But winning some prices and nicer packaging apparently made it a lot more expensive!! Still, we quit enjoy it and usually it lasts us a long time (last time I bought this bottle was over 8 years ago, so there is that …)

To keep our cost down, this is are go to whisky, very nice and a lot more affordable.

To be honest, the 150 euro spend on the Whisky is realisticly the only real wiggle room I have in my personal budget. I could get my food budget down a little bit. And the gas cost for the Vespa by biking more. But we are talking 20 or 30 euro a month here.

At 1.100 euro the joint account gets most of my spending and htere is definitely some savings possible there but even if i realize some savings there they will go to home renovations and I will not feel it in my personal spending.

But there are some expences I really want to get lower.

We spend 20 euro at the fries shop. That is two visits. Since I really need to lose some weight I am going to limit this to 1 visit a month.

Groceries for us two came to 525 euro. Which is too high. I think we should be able to reduce this with at least a 100 euro. Big part of it is not enough planning.

Wen we purchased the chest fridge the plan was to do some more food planning, cooking bigger batches and reducing the grocery shopping. And we did do it. For a while. Now we have reverted back to old habits. Shopping two or three times a week and not always at the cheapest place but at the most convenient place. Our grocery bill reflects this.

So things to improve upon are:

– on occasion bike to work (weather will need to be nicer for this)

– limit fries to 1 x month

– improve our meal planning/grocery shopping

Monthly expense report: December

The last month I report my monthly expenses in this format. As of next month I will exclusively focus on my personal spending in that month and try to get a better view on what I spend exactely (meal vouchers and tax refunds are a bit tricky). For this last month the world seemed hell bend on giving me more money. I didn’t put up much of a fight …

Personal account:

Income: 3 660 euro

Expenses: 1 521,10 euro

Savings: 2 138,90 euro or 58,44%

The higher income is from my first full month of employement at the new job. They could not meet my gross wages demand but countered with a multitude of net expense compensations. The big question was then how much all of it together would amount to. Well, I was pleasantely surprised …

I also seem to have worked enough interim work last year to qualify for a end of year premium this year. Didn’t even know that existed but not going to say no at an extra 1 500 euro!

Expenses were 1 521,10 euro. Just above the goal of 1 500 euro. I did buy presents for the parents. The girlfriend and I also had a date night which costed 40 euro. And I also spend another 100 euro for another raspberry pi. So core expenses would have been around 1 300 euro once again. And no fear, I have all I need on the raspberry pi front, so no more expenses there.

The joint bank account

Income: 4 624,40 euro

Expenses: 2 151,80 euro

Savings: 2 472,60 euro

Adding my half of the joint savings to my personal savings and my total savings are 3 375,20 euro or 92,22% of my income!

The higher joint income is because the Belgian government was quick with the refund (normally we only get it in March). An extra 2 000 which I rather have in my account than in the governments account. We also got a refund of the water company of 262 euro. Like I said, the world was really hell bend on giving us money!

Expenses were fairly low.

All in all we ended the year with healthy buffers in the checking and savings account. The year has been good for us as the full year recap will show.

Monthly expense report: November

Another strange month for the expens report. I really need to rethink the way I report this.

The problem is I took the budget spreadsheet from Nomorewaffles . It is a very nice spreadsheet but made for people who are in the build up phase of their stash and want to track their savings rate. For me this is not so useful as all my savings will be used for home renovations and are not going to the stash. The reason I keep a budget is to see if I can have a fun life on 1,500 euro a month or if I need more, and thus need to adjust the exact size of the stash.

So I’ll keep this format for the rest of 2017 but as of January 2018 I’ll be only focussing on my expenses and no longer report my saving rate or the joint bank account.

Personal account:

Income: 5 125 euro

Expenses: 1 590 euro

Savings: 3 535 euro or 68,97%

The higher income is not another withdrawal from my investment account but actually a gift from my parents. To be more precise, the full 5 125 euro is a gift from my parents.

Splitting it up there is 125 euro for Sint Maarten (Sint Maarten is like Sint Niklaas but limited to region around the river the Dender where I was born. A different Christian saint on a different date, 11 november, but everyhing else more or less like Sint Niklaas) and 5 000 euro because my parents want to pay for some of our home renovations. I have resisted this so far because well, I am stubborn, and on track to have a bigger stash then my parents. So my parents first resorted to giving money guerrilla style. Whenever there is an excuse, any excuse: birthdays, Eastern, New year, us going on a holiday … they would give me and the girlfriend some money. Now they have decided this approach isn’t going to cut it so they just tranferred 5 000 euro to my account. I know, it is good problem to have.

I will book my wages of November in December which is also the month they actually are deposited in my account so that is a bit easier to keep track of.

Expenses were 1 590 euro. Only 90 euro higher than the 1 500 euro goal and that includes almost 200 euro for the purchase of a raspberry pi and stuff. A raspberry pi is one of those things I want to play around with once I reach FIRE. Because of the low cost I have decided not to wait until retirement to start. More about this in a future post. But core spending was actually below 1 300 euro for the month.

The joint bank account

Income: 2 200 euro

Expenses: 2 441 euro

Savings: – 241 euro

An expensive month but mainly because we had to pay our property taxes this month. A full 380 euro just because we own a house. On the other hand, 380 euro for a large garden and big 4 bedroom house isn’t a lot. There are some advantages to buying an old farmhouse.

We also had veterinary bills for a total of 100 euro and took my parents out for dinner for 140 euro (this was actually to thank them for the house and pet sitting during our holiday, so before the 5 000 euro gift).

Anyway, with the overspend in the joint account my savings rate drops to 66,6%. But like I said at the start of this post, as of next year I am going to drop the savings rate and focus exclusively on my spending in every month.

Monthly expense report: October

October was challenging. Some high expenses but also the first serious withdrawal from my investment account. Full details below

Personal account:

Income: 3 551,63 euro

Expenses: 3 447,70 euro

Savings: 103,93 euro or 2,93%

First off the higher income: 3 550 euro as this was the month I did my first serious withdrawal from my investment account. I transferred 1 500 euro from my investment account. Total day trading profits are at 5 865 USD and I was planning on transferring these in full this year. The idea being to accelerate my savings, thus finish renovating the house quicker and being able to stop working one year earlier. I do not know if I will go through with this plan. Returns on UVXY puts are healthy so at the moment I want to plow as much money as possible into that. I will withdraw another 250 euro next month, bringing my withdrawal to an even 2 000 euro for the year. But above that, not sure what I am going to do yet.

Expenses are high because the extra 1 500 euro was immediately transferred to the girlfriends account. You see, back in March when I bought the Vespa we paid it 50/50 the idea being the girlfriend would also use it to go to work and such. Turns out it is too heavy for her to use (heavy as in weight, not horsepower) and she doesn’t use it at all. But I love the Vespa! I actually prefer to use the Vespa than our car. With this payment it is now completely mine. Trying to convince her to buy a lighter, 50 cc scooter with the money but no success so far …

Another big expense was the year subscription I bought for our local swimming pool. This will reduce my cost per swim from 3 euro to 2 euro and some change so it should save me money over the next year but I had to book the full expense now.

Without these two large expenses I would have been at 1 677 euro. But two visits to Ghent to catch up with some friends explain that overspend. Trying to be a bit less of a hermit and it is an expense that will probably be higher once I no longer work full time.

The joint bank account

Income: 2 312 euro

Expenses: 1 589,38

Savings: 722,62 euro

Lowest we ever spend in our joint account. Again due to our holiday . We didn’t spend a euro in our joint account the first 9 days of October! (we should go on holiday more often 😉
Adding half of these savings to my own meager savings and I come to savings of 465,24 euro or 13%. Not too bad for a month where I essentially bought half a Vespa.

We also received some good news from the government. Our tax refund will hit our account at the end of this year.  This would mean we will start next year with a healthy balance in the joint account!

Monthly expense report: September

Wauw, already half way octobre and I still need to post my September expense report. I am really doing my sloth reputation honor this month.

Personal account:

Income: 2 036,42 euro

Expenses: 1 578,72 euro

Savings: 457,70 euro or 22,48%

Again a bit over 1 500 euro in spending. The overspend had one and only one reason: our holiday in lanzarote. Let me tell you, Lanzarote is not the cheapest place to go on holiday to. Could we have made it a more frugal holiday: definitely yes (think 55 euro submarine trip). Did I feel like it: nope! Honestly, I go on holiday so infrequently (this was my second holiday in 8 years) that being frugal while on holiday just isn’t very high on my to do list. It is at home, in Belgium that the biggest gains are to be made. And since I am lazy it is best to concentrate the few efforts I do there. Maximum gain for minimal effort is my motto.

The joint bank account:

Income: 2 608 euro

Expenses: 2 149 euro

Savings: 459 euro

We didn’t use the joint account to pay for anything during our holiday. It didn’t make that much of an impact on our joint spending as all fix costs off course remained.

Meal tickets only for the one month were 112 euro.

So total income 2 036,42 + 56 euro = 2 092,42
Total savings 457,70 + 229,50 euro= 687,20 euro which gives me a total savings rate of 32,8%

Monthly expense report: August

August has been a busy month. Working, swimming, day trading, job hunting, birthday, preparations for a 20+ persons BBQ in our orchard … Let’s see the impact on our finances.

Personal account:

Income: 2 320,29 euro

Expenses:  1 557,35 euro

Savings: 762,94 or 32,8%

A bit higher income as it was my birthday. Since I am not accepting any financial help from the parents in the home renovations (I would find it a bit strange since I have a stash of over 250.000 euro)  my parents have resorted to a guerilla-style of money giving. Any time they have an excuse to give me (or the girlfriend!) money they do it. And they have been increasing the amounts too! Sooner or later I will need to have a talk with the parents about this and either let them pay for the remaining renovations or put a stop to this monetary guerilla-warfare. It’s starting to get a bit ridiculous!

I only count day trading income when I actually transfer it to my personal account so that explains why my day trading profits of 800 USD do not show up here.

Just a little bit over the 1 500 euro mark on the expenses. I have only myself to blame as I spend 93 euro buying graphic novels. Back when I was a student I used to be a pretty big graphic novel fan. One of my favorite pass times was browsing the new arrivals in different comic book shops. I still enjoy it and had a few new issues on my wish list for some time now. First time ordering it on line as I just didn’t have the time to go visit a shop. And isn’t that a sad statement?

The joint bank account

Income: 2 672 euro

Expenses: 2 752,66 euro

Savings: -80,66 euro

An expensive month due to one reason: home and fire insurance of 854 euro. Yes, I need to look into it. But first I need to still check if we can transfer/renegotiate our mortgage. And then afterwards go shop around for better insurance. On the other hand, we do have a big house and those things apparently take square meters into account …

We also had one restaurant visit to enjoy one of Belgium’s best national dishes: mussels and fries with a cold beer!

Income was also higher due to finally getting the meal ticket situation sorted out. Finally got my hands on the card where three months of accumulated meal tickets was waiting: 472 euro of extra disposable money!! (In Belgium companies can give their employees meal tickets. A fiscally interesting way since this is not taxed or something. But my present company worked with a provider of which I no longer had a card. They first send the card to their office in Ghent , then to their office in Antwerp and finally to the Brussels office. I then needed to find the time to go get the card because it is a form of compensation so papers needed to be signed and identity verified, sigh!).

The meal vouchers also present me with a bit of a problem. How do I count it? I get them as income but they go directly to our joint expenses as a bit of an extra. We both pay 1 200 euro into the joint account, I give whatever meal voucher I get and the girlfriend pays for the cat food. We try to divide stuff 50/50 but neither of us want to start calculating it down to the last euro so we just agreed upon this (the girlfriend did get the better part of the deal, damn her and her womanly ways!! 😉 )But it is income that we do spend.

I think I will add half of it to my income. So doing that and adding half of the 80,66 euro deficit to my expenses gives me a savings rate of 28%.

Monthly expense report: July

I can’t believe another month has gone by. Been busy with fun and work. My to do list of things to read, watch, listen to, or just plain do (garden, house, car stuff) is getting longer by the week! Finance wise things are on track.

Personal account:

Income: 2 226,31 eur

Expenses: 1 490,40 eur

Savings: 735,91 euro or 33%

Once again below 1 500 euro, woohoo! Let’s hope I can keep it that way for the rest of the year. And it hasn’t been an uber frugal month either. Went to a festival and spend 40 euro there. Prepaid 15 euro for a ticket for another little festival and went to the Gentse feesten. So fun is definitely possible on this budget.

We even visited a restaurant for my mother’s birthday but that came out of the joint account. Let’s see how we did on that account.

The joint bank account:

Income: 2 631,13 euro

Expenses: 2 286,01 euro

Savings: 345,12 euro

A bit higher income here as I appear to have paid our road tax twice and we got a refund this month.

Adding half of that road tax return to my income, then adding half of the savings to my own savings and I get a savings rate of 35,6%!

All in all a good month. next month will be a bit more challenging as the home insurance of 850 euro landed on the 1st of august. And some more fun is planned as well. We’ll see how it turns out

Monthly expense report: June

June has come and gone already. Times sure flies when one is working! Second month of being back to work again and things are starting to fall into place.

Personal account:

Income: 2 037,74 euro

Expenses: 1 670,36 euro

Savings: 367,38 euro or 18%

Things are back to normal with a 1.200 euro contribution to the joint checking account to cover mortgage, electricity, gas and food. I did spend a bit more but I had maintenance done on the girlfriends electric bike I used for 10 months (I did do some maintenance myself but since we are thinking about selling it I wanted it in perfect condition). Then there was the road tax for the Vespa (61.5 euro, about one fourth of our car!), a modest restaurant visit in Leuven at 40 euro and my dad’s birthday. The swimming pool is costing me some money and I could lower this cost by getting a year subscription. No I pay 3 euro per visit, with subscription it would be around 2 euro. Main question is if I will keep it up for an entire year? I have a history of quitting things like this. I’ll make a decision after the summer.

I also made 300 USD in day trading profits but for the moment I leave them at my broker. When I transfer them to my checking account I will count them as income. I’ll keep them to smooth out any bumps in income when I take my two week holiday or make the transition from interim to fix contract (and from being paid weekly to being paid monthly).

The joint bank account

Income: 2 440,59 euro

Expenses: 2 128,91 euro

Savings: 311,68 euro

We each transferred 1 200 euro to the joint account and got a 40,59 refund form our electricity and gas provider. The month proved to be a bit expensive as we got the bill for the road tax for our car (231,13 euro) and our water bill which is only every three months (143 euro) and hopefully the last veterinary visit (another 79 euro).

Adding half of these savings to my own savings gets me a savings rate of 25,7%. I should continue to hover around this rate for the rest of the year. This means that working three weeks a month covers all of my spending and I can save the 4th weeks wages.

All in all this was what should be a typical month of earnings and savings.

More important than the savings rate (as all savings will be spend on home renovations eventually) for me is if I can indeed survive on a 1.500 euro a month budget AND enjoy it.

I always thought my spending was around 1.500 euro and these six months of using a budget did proof that. Average spending the first 6 months of 2017 was 1 576,46 euro. Pretty close for what was essentially a guess.

We did have the onetime tax refund of around 3.000 euro but we also had the onetime expense of buying a Vespa scooter.

In my first six months of expenses is also the holiday in September which I prepaid in full. And a few other onetime costs because we both have been re-examining our live, what makes us truly happy. And as a result we have been somewhat re-orienting our life. I also had some costs linked to looking for a new job. With those costs gone, no more other one-time expenses in view (well, I could use some accessories for the Vespa …) I should be able to get my spending down to 1.500 euro in the second half of the year.

Have I been enjoying the last 6 months? Hell yes!

There was the mini-retirement for three months, the Vespa and a rediscovery of lots of old school kick-ass trance classics.

Monthly expense report: May

Things start to smooth out again. One full month off working again under the belt. Interim at the moment and the weekly payments are a bit annoying for the budgeting (there is some  delay). But this should sort itself out over time. And I still have around 2.000 euro in day trading profits to smooth things out.

Personal account:

Income: 2 090,59 euro
Expenses: 1 145,99 euro
Savings: 944,60 euro or 45,2%

Since my contract started on 2 may (1 may being an official holiday) I got 52.86 euro of unemployment. This will be the last payment and as of next week I will be officially full time employed in the eyes of the government.
Day trading was almost non existing as I just do not feel like it after work. Just did it one evening for a grand total of 20 USD! More on that in my special circumstance investing post.
The high savings rate is because payments to the joint bank account were low: only 750 euro this month so the last of the big tax refund is used up. I did spend 60 euro to go swimming, 58 euro on a really, really heavy duty lock for the Vespa (using the to go the train station now and do not want it to get stolen. The lock will probably survive me and any of your grandchildren as it is top quality) and 20 euro on a diet/eath healthy eating book as I am feeling motivated to tackle my weight. The girlfriend is going to a music festival in Portugal this week so dieting will start after that (I really need to do a health post). All other spending was pretty normal.

The joint bank account

Income: 1 500 euro

Expenses: 2 344 euro

Savings: – 844 euro

As stated above, we only contributed 750 euro each so the last of the big tax refund was used up in May. As of next month contributions will return to their normal 1.100 a 1.200 euro level.

Expenses are pretty normal. We did get our water bill which lands only every three months (143 euro), there was the vet visit for our cat and the insurance for the Vespa. 93 euro for a full year of insurance is pretty cheap. So I had no financial reason whatsoever to drive around on the Vespa uninsured for almost 2 months, just me being lazy …

Anyway, subtracting my half of this overspending in the joint bank account form my savings and I end up with a savings rate of 25%. Not bad!

This is also the first month I could transfer money from my checking account to my savings account. Victory! You see, I used to feel comfortable having 2.000 euro in my checking account and 10.000 euro in the savings account. I managed to keep those numbers for most of our home renovations and then we did the kitchen and bathroom renovation last year and when all was said and done I was left with only 300 euro in cash on my checking account and 0 on the savings account (talk about being asset rich and cash poor). I was close to transferring something to the savings account when I decided to buy the Vespa. So I am glad I could transfer 500 euro this month and that I am back around the 2.000 euro mark on the checking account! I would like to get to 5.000 euro on the savings account (mainly because our car is old) and then we start renovating again …

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