Monthly expense report: April

Let’s have a look at how much a person can actually spend during a full month of lock down.

Income: 2 258,38 euro

Expenses: 1 624,32 euro

Savings: 634,06 euro or 28%

Income

Once again income consists just of my work income + a small reïmbursement from my health insurace. Work income is declining slightly as I work from home and am no longer eligible for the bicycle compensation I used to receive.

Expenses

These are mostly the matras I bought at Ikea in March just days before all shops in Belgium closed. Using my debit card the expense showed up on my bank account only in April. A good nights rest is important so I spend 450 euro on the matras. Unfortunately the lockdwon came into effect the day of delivery and I am still awaiting delivery.

The other expenses were a doctor’s visit. This was not for Covid-19. I have been having an issue with the right leg after a bad movement while swimming and since the swimming pool is closed due to the lockdown this seemed as a good time as any to have it checked out. Treatement will be for after this pandemic as non-essential health care has not yet started up again in Belgium.

USA readers prepare for a shock: doctor’s visit + photos of the leg came to a grand total of 47 euro. My health insurer reimbursed me 23 euro so the actual out of pocket cost was 24 euro.

There was my usual cellphone bill of 12 euro’s.

O, and I bought a game at discount on steam for 17 euro. As a side note, Total war: shogun two is free to own at the moment on steam! Go pick it up if strategy games are your thing.

And that is it! A lockdown really lowers your spending even for a frugal sloth like me! Without the matras I would have only spend 75 euro! Well, 75 euro and the 1 100 euro I transfer to our joint checking account for stuff like our mortgage, utility bills and food.

My job has already informed me we will continue to work from home till the 8th of June at the very least. Shops in Belgium will be re-opening 11 May but I don’t really need anything. With the swimmng pool still closed and social interaction with family and friend still a no go it looks like I have another month of lockdown to look forward to. Who know, perhaps I will spend even less than 75 euro in May?

Monthly expense report: March

Ouch, April has already passed us by and I haven’t even posted my March report! The reason is simple: the Covid-19 lockdown in Belgium has me working from home. And after working 8 hours behind my desk at home I just don’t feel like sitting more time behind that same desk!

On all other accounts the lockdown doesn’t post any problems for me. I have never been a ‘people’ or ‘shopping’ person. So no big changes for me on that front.

The weather in March was not all that good either so I didn’t really miss being able to go somewhere or invite friends over.

Health wise I definitely ate way too much crap during the first weeks of the lockdown (which started the second half of March in Belgium).

But this is the financial report. So how are my numbers for being half a month in lockdown? Pretty good!

Income : 2 385,20 euro

Expenses: 1 433,45 euro

Savings: 951,75 euro or 40%

Income

Income is once again very boring. Just my wages from work + 66 euro from my health insurer.

Expenses

Wohoo, inside of the budget of 1 500 euro!

But I have to admit, I did cheat a bit. I bought a 400+ euro matras at Ikea that I put on my debet card and that cost will be coming in April. The reason is mostly smoothing out spending. With the lockdown approaching I knew I wasn’t going to be spending a lot in April. So instead of having a big bump in March and then a big drop in April I used the debit card to even that out.

Anyway, enough talk about my cheating ways: I only spend 333 euro above my fixed 1 100 euro contribution to our joint account!

And I even had about 120 euro health insurance costs (53 euro for a forced government plan and the rest for my personal insurance).

Not good was my increased spending on bad food once again. I really went all out on that front and I am really happy I was succesful in turning this around in April. But that’s a story for next months expense report.

Monthly expense report: February

A short month should mean a cheap month, right? Let’s see if the numbers reflect this as well.

Income : 2 355 euro

Expenses: 1 509,12 euro

Savings: 845,88 euro or 36%

Income

If my January income was boring, February income is even more boring! Only my wage from working, that’s it! It can not get any more simple than this. I am still hoping to be able to unsimplify my income by adding a side hustle. I have a few ideas …

Expenses

Oh damn, just outside the budget of 1 500 euro! Well, not really …

I actually did better than the numbers show. Knowing I was going to be pretty close within my budget I went on a little shopping spree.

I stocked up on some anti-abrasive gel for all the swimming I am doing again. 3 times a week in the water for 45 minutes + and skin starts to hurt in some places. I stoked up not only because of the left-over budget but also to avoid any delivery fees so I am now good for close to a year.

Keeping my sloth skin baby soft …

With still some money left over I also purchase a fine single malt whisky. The Glenlivet 15 years, french oak reserve is worth every eurocent it cost me. And it did cost me 5 350 eurocent. I do not drink a lot of whiskey, but when I do I like it to be of excellent quality. And over the past years my stock has been slowly dwindeling down. If I keep staying within budget as I have been for the last two months I will use those opportunities to replenish my supply …

Sweet, sweet nectar of the gods …

Also in the fun category was carnival which set me back 68 euro. Which does proof that you can be both frugal AND anti-semitic 😉

I also paid the last part of the glasses I bought in January: this cost me 47 euro but I will be getting a 60 euro refund from my health insurance. This refund unfortunately was not paid into my account in February.

In the bad category: I did spend 67 euro on food I shouldn’t have bought. I really need to remind myself that this could have gone to another bottle of fine whisky 😉

Concerning the drop in stock values which, by a wild guess off me, had my net worth drop by around 25,000 euro in less then a week I refer to this great post of JL Collins.

Bottom line is I really don’t care and neither should you,

Monthly expense report: January

With Februari half gone, and me finally being caught up, I better hurry up with the my January expense report before I fall behind again. Especially because January was pretty good.

Income: 2 512 euro

Expenses: 1 505,90 euro

Savings : 1 006,10 euro or 40%

Income

January income was pretty simple. My normal wage from working and a 200 euro end of year gift I got on the 1st of January.

January is boring in this regard. But if boring means a 40% savings rate boring is good!

Expenses

In January I was almost within my self imposed budget of 1 500 euro.

So close

It is especially impressive if you know that I had to pay a 130 euro speeding ticket. I blame the Vespa, the Vesap blames me. What can I say, we have a toxic relationship in this regard.,,

Remember kids, in real life speed does not lead to fun adventures. It does lead to expensive tickets!

I also paid 100 euro for new glasses because well, I am getting old.

A dentist visit cost me 13,50 eur (did I mention am getting old?)

13,5 eur for a smile like this is? That’s a steal!

On the fun side, I visited a friend in Ghent and went to see the latest Star Wars at the Cinema. The grand cost for all this fun was 30 euro.

And then the expenses I am most proud off: 32 euro for our locale swimming pool as I have been ramping up my swimming (I do not trust myself enough to pay for a yearly subscription – yet). And only 45 euro spend on food stuff I shouldn’t have bought. The diet is going more or less well. Not perfect but I have let go of ‘perfect’ in this regard. ‘Good enough’ will do. If I keep up the ‘good enough’ food wise and ramp up my swimming I should – eventually – be alright weight and health wise.

Which reminds me that I own you guys a health report …

Monthly expense report: December

Income: 3 790 euro

Expenses: 1 625 euro

Savings : 2 165 euro or 57%

Income

Income stood pretty high in December mainly because of work. There was the normal wage of 2288 euro but in December we also get our end of year bonus. The bonus amounts to 1 426 euro.

This end of year bonus is in many compagnies, mine included, described as a 13th month of pay. Personaly I really like this description! It is a bit like being paid extra work time without needing to do the extra work! I have even started to look at our performance bonus and holiday money in that way. The nice thing about loking at it from that perspective is that it makes me realise I am actualy paid for 14,5 months of work but I only need to do 10,5 months of work (I have 30 days of holiday at my workplace).

Profit from ticket arbitrage and a small christmas gift make up the difference. When I was writing the post about my search for a side gig and how I tried my hand at ticket arbitrage I noticed a good opportunity. So I decided to give it one last spin and pocketed a quick 60 euro profit.

The higher income did push my savings above 50% for the third time this year. It just reinforced my decision to find a money making side gig (perhaps one which some of my readers will not hate) in 2020.

Expenses

Expenses this month are all boring. There was some gift buying for people. A health insurance thing that needed to be paid (Americans will get a laugh out of it: it was 46 euro and covers 6 months). A visit to an eye doctor which thanks to the health insurance only cost me 20 euro and I bought new shoes (30 euro).

And yes, I once again spend to much money buying food at work. This is bad financially and health wise. One the plus side, in the last week of Decembre I finally seemd to have relaunched myself into the diet and swimming. Only two weeks in so we will see what the future will bring for my big butt belly, but it is going smooth for the moment.

Monthly expense report: November

Happy holiday greetings to all my readers!

I had all intention to be all caught up with these monthly expense reports by the beginning of the year but that turned out to be a very nice theory. I used decembre mainly to relax and charge my batteries so I could finally restart the diet and swimming. A more disciplined healthy life style will actually be beneficial to my finances both in the short term as the long term. So it is really something I need to tackle. But more on that in the December expense report. Let’s get the November one done first.

Income: 2 387,10 euro

Expenses: 1 622 euro

Savings : 765 euro or 32%

Income

Not a lot to say about the income of November, just my normal wage + a 100 euro gift from the parents.

Expenses

Expenses would have stayed below the 1 500 euro mark were it not for black Friday at the end of the month. But I feel I got some nice frugal purchases, so no regrets there.

For the royal sum of 28 euro I got three steam games at black Friday and a fitbit charge 3 set me back 89 euro thanks to the black Friday promotion. The fitbit is off course a desperate attempt to try and get a bit more discipline health wise. Buying food at work was improving in November but the transition to full on diet was not yet made.

* sigh *

Another health expense was 30 euro for a 10 turns card for the swimming pool. Swimming is still too infrequent to justify an annual subscription.

* hangs head in shame *

Also in the fun part of the budget: a cinema visit (the joker) with the girlfriend for a total cost of 34 euro. Yes, expensive candy was purchased at the movie theatre …

* hangs head in double shame *

More practical expenses were website hosting costs (150 euro) and 2 sweaters (61 euro). When three female co-workers gang up on you and demand you start wearing better clothes at work you know it really is time to update the wardrobe a bit. Dress code might be nearly non existing at my work place but I was apparently pushing the hobo look a bit too much…

That is it for November, one more of these for December and we can get to the full year recap which I personaly always find the most interesting to read from other bloggers.

Monthly expense report: September

Income: 2 388 euro

Expenses: 1 590 euro

Savings: 798 euro or 33,42%

Income

Income for September was my normal wage of 2 258 euro + a few reimbursments of previous medical costs for a total of 130 euro. The 130 euro was mainly from a dentist visit. After more than 10 years I finally got around to visiting a dentist once more. New photos and some serious cleaning needed to be done but most of the cost was luckily reimbursed. Also happy to report I still have all my remaning teeth and remain filling free. Yeah for good genes!

Expenses

Expenses stayed low in September. There was a local music thing but with free entrance and only 10 euro spend on food and drinks it was a very inexpensive afternoon.

We also went to Draaimolen festival in Tilburg. At 65 euro a lot cheaper than going to Amsterdam for Dekmantel. And what a setting! And some great sets! Choises had to be made. With Ki/Ki I can add another name to my ever increasing list of top DJ’s.

Me and the girlfriend were somewhere among the people here, a little bit more to the right. For those wanting more of Ki/Ki than this short snippit, below you is a full hour for your enjoyment.

Even with expenses low I am not happy with the month as I once again spend too much on food at work. I could actually have remained below 1 500 euro this month if I hadn’t ordered all those pizza’s at work!!

Monthly expense report: August

In august I took two weeks of holiday, relaxed and went to a festival in Amsterdam. Let’s see the impact of all of this on my finances,

Income: 2 421,43 euro

expenses: 1 894,60 euro

Savings : 526,83 euro or 21,76%

Income

Income was a somewhat average 2 421,43 euro. This was my normal wage + a birthday gift from the parents. I gave to say that the Belgian system isn’t all that badly organized for your holidays once you are in a fixed contract with a company. You use your official holidays and you don’t even notice it in your paycheck! And on top of that they even pay you some extra holiday money in June!

Expenses

Festivals are expensive! Dekmantel festival cost me 150 euro. And that was only food, drinks and uber to and from the venue. Not included are the actual tickets and our stay in a AIRb&b in Amsterdam. Those two items were another 330 euro. So all in total this festival cost me close to 500 euro. Now I could see it as a remplacement holiday since I didn’t have a real holiday this year. And from that viewpoint it is not that expensive. But if you look at it as just ‘going to a festival’ it is definitely expensive. The main reason for this was the fact that festival was near Amsterdam. Staying in Amsterdam is expensive. And then using an Uber to and from the festival (too far to just walk and no convenient public transport) also added to the cost (damn those surge pricing!).

The festival was fun and it’s a good thing to know one can still properly rave hard at age 45 but Amsterdam is just a too expensive city to visit frequently. Especially because that same weekend there is a cheap techno event in our own town (less than 1km from our door actually).

In august we went to see Once upon a time in Hollywood in the cinema. The tickets were free but a cinema visit always triggers me into buying way too much junkfood at way to high prices. Sigh, not good for the wallet and not good for the wasteline.

And since I was on holiday we also squeezed in a restaurant visit. A Belgian classic: fries and mossels.

Yuo have not lived until you have eaten Belgian Fries with mossels and a good beer

All of the above actually barely broke my budget for the month. It was the purchase of a smartphone that pushed me way over budget this month. For 353 euro I bought a Xiaomi Mi 9t but I’ll give that it’s own post.

To sum it up: Dekmantel festival, a cinema and restaurant visit and a new smarthpone and I still saved 526 euro in August! I really can’t understand how other people succeed in spending all of their money every single month.

Monthly expense report: July

After two incredible months with a 73% and 54% savings rate I spend decided to spend a lot of money in July which had my savings rate drop to 8,8%. Here are the numbers.

Income: 2 382 euro

Expenses: 2 171,80 euro

Savings: 210,20 euro or a measely 8,8%

Income

Not much to tell about the income in July. Only the normal monthly salary this month. Bonusses, unfortunately do not come every month 🙁

Expenses

Personal spending was pretty normal. I did spend 50 euro visiting the festivities at Ghent. Since we used to live in Ghent their annual festivities is always a good excuse to meet up with old friends. The girlfriend usually stays with some of those friends as there are many, many parties to attend during these 10 days.

So where did I do spend all the extra money on? Simple, on a gift for the girlfriend.

Our gift policy as a couple is pretty basic: we don’t exchange gifts. Both of us prefer to have less stuff than more stuff. And if we want something it is usually something pretty specific. Which means you better ask us exactly what we want instead of just buying it. Also, if we want a specific something we, after carefull considering if we really want it, most of the time we buy it. Which means that when a birthday or holiday comes around there is nothing we want. So we stopped exchanging gifts a long time ago. We do try, and do not save, on trying to spend quality time with each other. But that is usually a joint expense.

Why the gift now?

Because the girfriend on occasion often doubts herself too much. She has been a big music/techno fan since her youth. But this was always passive: listening to music, going to parties. Which had me often wondering why she never did anything with it as it cleary did bring her much joy. Now I know, it is not because you like something you need to actively do something with it but we are speaking about a pretty obsessive passion here. It also became clear that she didn’t do something with it, not because she didn’t want to but because of to much self-doubt. The ‘what if I suck at it’ fear. I don’t think our talking resolved the self doubt, but she did come to the conclusion that the only real downside of trying was some wasted time (not that big a deal since we would otherwise spend it watch TV shows, nothing wrong with netflix by the way 😉 and a couple of hundred euro’s on DJ gear. Most of it we probably could recuperate by selling the gear. Or we could just keep it and really improve the sound quality of our little home parties.

So once convinced she would try her hand at Dj’ing another difference between our personalities showed itself. The girlfriend is, in my mind, slow to act. Now I am a big fan of taking once time to gather all the relevant inforation and such but for me, once the decision is taken you go for it. No more waiting, no more delays, no more what ifs but go, go, go. And the girlfriend was taking her goddamn sweet time! Talking about december where she and a few friends might take some DJ lessons and then only buying the equipment after…. Given the avalanche of youtube clips that can show you everything you ever wanted to know about DJ’ing and the fact we actually have two DJ’ing friends I found all her justifications for not diving in complete nonsens. So I did a deep dive into the world of DJ gear and emerged a week later with a big order at the bax music shop and 826 euro less in my account.

What 826 euro gets you is this:

1 Denon DJ MC4000 DJ-controller, 2 KRK RP5 G3 active studiomonitors, 1 Audio Technica ATH-M40x headphone

She did wait to buy a laptop and first hooked the set-up to our desktop computer. Something which made for a very full desk. Once she discovered she actually liked dJ’ing she did buy a laptop and I spend a Saturday afternoon constructing a somewhat rude but perfectly usable DJ table. Which now makes for a pretty full living room …

Monthly expense report: June

After the stellar income month of May (where I almost cracked the 6.000 euro income from work) June was a slow transition back to a more normal income.

Income: 3 641,14 euro

Expenses: 1 670,50 euro

Savings: 1 970,64 euro or 54,12%

Yes June was the second month this year of me saving more than 50% of my income. It just shows I need to work on my income side to push the savings rate higher.

Income

Income for the month was my normal wages + the holiday money from work. We didn’t go on a real holiday this year so the holiday money all went straight to my savings account. The bulk of my savings this year actually come from the big pay out last month and this month. The savings account was quicker than I thought back in shape after the big expense of paying for the new car in March.

Expenses

June expenses were pretty average. I did go bowling with friends but at 20 euro that was a pretty cheap night out. I also purchased a house warming gift for friends who bought a house with pool (they are not the frugal kind). I did think the house warming party would turn into a gay orgy near the end of the evening but that did not materialise so with hindssight I definitely should have gone for a different house warming gift 😉

With the first heat wave we also visited a local swimming pond. Not too many people, decent food and a low entrance fee means I didn’t break the bank for this either.

Expect for the holiday money June was a pretty average month. With me still spending too much money on food at work. My wasteline continued to suffer (which perhaps explains why the orgy never materialised .. Surely they didn’t wait till we left … did they?!!)