Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Category: monthly expense report (page 1 of 2)

Monthly expense report: July

Not all months can be good months. July proofed this as it was an expensive month and not on fun stuff!

Income: 2 188,44 euro

Expenses: 1 963,50 euro

Savings: 224,94 euro

Almost no savings this month! The main culprit behind this, once again: the Vespa. The water pomp decided to stop working so I had another 600+ euro maintenance bill. I think driving through some mud floods a few months back didn’t do it any good. But we can also safely conclude that a Vespa isn’t the cheapest way to get to your work. It isn’t the cheapest brand (so parts are more expensive) and I do add an impressive amount of distance to it every week: 200+ km in total, each work week. Keeping a budget really confronts you with the cost of stuff so I have been thinking about the cheapest way to limit the wear and tear on the Vespa. The cheapest way is to work more from home. My new work accepts this and I just did a test last Friday. Don’t know if I will make it a regular thing. It was OK now because we have a bit of a slower workload at the moment but when it is busy again I think I would prefer to just go to work. An old time motorcycle where I could do the maintenance myself is a possibility but I think that electric is going to be the way forward for motorcycles (might even happen faster than for cars as very nice electric motorcycles are coming to market at reasonable prices). And if I am going to learn new skills I prefer them to be future proof. So I think I’ll start with building my own electric bicycle. Since anything self-build above 25 km/h isn’t street legal in Belgium I am just going to ignore the 45km/h speed limit as well and build me a real speed monster.  Let’s be honest here, if you are going to do something illegal better be fast enough so they can’t catch you … I am still busy till September so I’ll have my dad on the lookout for a suitable  mountain bike as of October and then do the build during the winter months so I am ready by next spring to bicycle to work 1 or 2 times a week. Knowing myself, the faster the bike is, the more I will do it.

Anyway, without the Vespa maintenance cost I would have stayed well within budget! And the budget even allowed for a good amount of fun. In July I visited some pop up stuff in the nearest city with a friend. Went one day to Dour festival for only 10 euro (yeah for work paying for the VIP tickets and most of the drinks/food!). And visited the Gentse feesten with some other friends.

August also looks promising on the entertainment front with a techno gig in our town, the Leuven free city festival next Sunday and a Goa festival (already pre-payed). So curious if I can stay within budget the next month …

The joint account also was pretty expensive with our fire insurance (I definitely need to look for a better insurance next year) and our grocery shopping which came in at 730 euro! We need to pay closer attention to this one and really, really need to start with the meal planning/prepping. Going to be honest, that too is something we are hopeful to start in October.

Monthly expense report: June

The half year mark. So time for a round up and see where I am at budget wise. But first the numbers for the month of June.

Income:  2 168 euro

Expenses: 1 520 euro

Savings: 648 euro

income bounced back to it’s normal number of around 2 160 euro since the weird holiday money from last year thing is now passed me. Since I have been on a fixed contract since november last year (which remind me that I really need to do an update on my work situation) there will be no repeat of that next year! Hooray for not having to deal with one of the most complex pieces of legislation in Belgium (holiday money, and number of holidays are really, really complex. Especially if you transition from unemployment/interim work to fixed contract).

Expenses are just above my self imposed  1500 euro mark. But an anniversary gift for a friend turned out more expensive than anticipated because the Belgian post office is a den of thieves! (A USA order clearly marked as costing 24 USD  got magically priced at 64 euro with the import taxes to match it! Thieves I tell you!). I also pre-paid a festival for early September and had an honest to god restaurant visit. A motor shop had a sale out so I also paid 36 euro for so high quality gloves. I only need some descend rain resisted trousers now and I am all set for the next winter on the Vespa. Since I planned on starting fitness in July I also bought some sporting stuff: 70 euro for 4 work out t-shirts (a bit of a shame as I have plenty of work out t-shirts but for the moment they all fall in the ‘good to wear if I lose another 8 kg’ category. Sigh, on the other hand, if I do lose those kg’s t-shirt wise I am good for the next decade). Also got decent sport shoes for 40 euro and spend 40 euro on swimming stuff. So all good there. Listing it all up like that and I come to the conclusion I bought a lot for only 400 euro’s!

The joint account also came in under budget again. But everything left over there goes to the home renovations we are doing this year. But still, under budget for the core expenses is always a good thing.

6 month recap

Total income: 13 077 euro

Total expenses: 9 675 euro

total saved: 3 402 euro

Average income was 2 180 euro a month and average spending 1 613 euro. That is more than 100 euro above my 1 500 euro. The reason is simple: the Vespa. The 600 euro maintenance fee (and my monthly 40 euro gas bill) pushed my expenses higher. If I subtract all Vespa related expenses from my total I had an average spend of 1 455 euro! But I like riding the Vespa. I really, really like it! I even dare to say that most of the time it makes me happy (especially with the current weather). So I am definitely going to keep driving it. It does show that Mr Money mustache was right: riding a bicycle can help a lot to achieve a frugal live!

I did go with a fine comb through my expenses of the last 6 months and eliminating stupid expenses like sandwiches at work (which I no longer due to the diet but that only started in April) and the traffic ticket (stupid, stupid) would have brought my average spending to  1 545 euro. So on average I spend 60 euro a month on stuff that did not increase my happiness (or was downright bad for my health). I’ll try to do better on that front the next 6 months.

But hey, I am well on my way to save over 6 000 euro this year. So saving wise still good. Even after paying for the renovations on our house I should end the year with more savings than I started the year.

Monthly expense report: May

Well focusing on my health also helped financially as June seems to consists of working, dieting and exercising and not much else. And since I already paid for a full year subscription for the swimming pool I didn’t spend much on either!

Income: 1 834,53 eur

Expenses: 1 335,90 eur

Savings: 734,53

Income was a bit lower because of the difference how holiday money works if you work interim or fix contract. It’s a boring and very complex subject so I will not bother you with the explication. I actually forgot about it until a few days before I got paid. Then thought I would only get a few 100 euro in holiday money and then when paid I realized I actually got a few 100 euro’s less! Disappointed!! But it is what it is and completely out of my control.

on the bright side, spending was also low so I actually still ended up with a very nice savings amount!

Expenses are low because I hardly bought anything. 1 100 euro went to the joint account and then, well almost nothing! The usual stuff like gas for the Vespa and my cell phone bill. Gifts for mother day and the upcoming birthday of a friend and a new ID-card which cost me 24 euro to get. Like I said, working, dieting and exercising and not much else. But working is going pretty good (even if insanely busy) and I enjoy the exercise so I am actually feeling pretty fine! It just goes to show you do not need to spend a lot of money to feel happy.

May was actually the second lowest spending month for me personally. The lowest month? May 2017! I guess May is a cheap month for us.

I did shift some diet purchases to the joint account. Frankly because my girlfriend insisted on it since she was starting to feel pretty guilty with the grocery spending being 95% for her alone. But this had a very small impact as in the joint account May was actually our least expensive month since I started keeping a detailed budget! Burning fat saves money!!

Monthly expense report: April

I both spend very little and a lot in April. I’ll explain below …

Income: 2 188 euro

Expenses: 1 970 euro

Savings: 218 euro

Income wise a very normal month. No holidays, no gifts. So just the normal job income. Job still going good: the work itself is ok and the co-workers and general atmosphere really good. I always knew I would do a lot better in a start up environment (technically we are in the scale-up phase) than the big giant corporation. Point in fact: I was allready asked to transition into another position (perhaps I should have asked for a raise when accepting it?).

Expenses are a lot higher. What happened? The Vespa happened. Well maintenance on the Vespa happened. After driving it for 5000 km it was due for a big maintenance. In needed a new drive belt and rear tire. Also decided to have a small windscreen installed on it (I actually used this as an argument to knock off 250 euro of my purchasing price when buying the Vespa). The bill came to 600 euro. About half of it labor. Which leaves me wondering? Do I learn to do my own maintenance on the Vespa or not? It would require some up front cost in equipment but should be profitable in the long run. And I do really love riding the Vespa. It could even become a way to make some money after retirment because at 60 euro an hour mechanics do not come cheap …

Except an Easter gift for the godchild, gasoline for the Vespa and protein powder (I am on a diet, it deserves its own post. Here is a hint: it’s going great) I actually didn’t buy anything. Hence the ‘I spend very little’ in April. Without the Vespa maintenance this would have been my cheapest month since December 2016! And May is going pretty well also. But I did have the maintenance so it was my most expensive month since keeping a detailed track of my budget (hence the ‘spending a lot’ part). And I still managed to save some money! That’s the advantage of having a decent savings rate. Even when a sizable expense comes up, the only impact is on your savings rate!

In the joint account nothing unusual. No visiting Brussels or going clubbing. We did do quit a bit of home entertainment having friends over for three consecutive weeks (even 1 BBQ for 11 people). So that did costs us a little in the way of food and drinks but the budget didn’t really suffer because of it. Home entertainment definitely is a lot cheaper than going out.

I did put my find of this site to good use and we have now switched energy provider. We should start seeing the impact of this in the coming months. I even made a note in my calendar to do a new check-up next year! Look at me being all organized and shit!

Monthly expense report: March

Things are chugging along nicely. 4,5 Months into my new job I am once more used to the regular pay check and socking away 500 euro’s each and every month. Not going to lie, it is a nice feeling to see the savings account go up, up and up. After a year of not renovationg we are now looking around to have some more work done in our house.

Income: 2 356 euro

Expenses: 1 673,06 euro

Savings: 682,94 euro

Income is a bit higher than usual because easter came early this year! We visited my parents a week before easter so we got our present a week early as well. My parents continu their guerrilla tactics of using every excuse in the book to give us money. They even invent a few of their own. For instance: they give us money when they go on holiday because we told them a few years ago we preferred them not to buy us any local ‘trinkets’. I do prefer the money above some useless crap that will end up on a landfill eventually but really? Giving us money because they went on a holiday? It’s ridiculous and I can not explain it to a sane person. On the other hand, I also have no sane explication why I just do not relent and let them pay for our last home renovations …

Expenses are more or less the same as last month. But this month I did not have a faulty hard drive to replace. So where did the money go to?

Well, 50 euro went to a very stupid thing. I got a traffic ticket for the Vespa. Remember when I bought the Vespa I said it made me feel like a 16 year old again?

Well, I am riding it like a 16 year old as well. Difference is I now have a plate (50cc motorcycles did not use to have a number plate when I was young). Police is also a lot more active in trying to issues speeding tickets. It is a stupid waste of money. It also highlited the difference between me and not so furgal ffriends. When I told a friend about it she just shoughed her shoulders and was like, ‘yeah speeding tickets happen, just pay it’. Because she looks at it as 50 euro expense on a 2 350 euro income. That is only 2,2% of the monthly income. Not worth to overthink.

But I have a (self imposed) budget of 1 500 euro AND 1 100 euro of those are going to the joint account to pay for life necessities (house, heating, food …). So in my mind, my monthly budget is only 400 euro. And wasting 12,5% of it on a speeding ticket sucks big time.

There was the Flemish health premium to be paid (51 euro) and the mutuality (86 euro). Ridiculous low amounts compared to health premiums in the USA but I am not too happy with them anyway (there is a lot that could be improved upon in our health system). They are also expenses you can not do anything about …

In the fun category we went to Brussel and visited a few multimillion homes like villa Empain. They are great to visit and look at but I rather not own one of them (the parents of friends of us used to own a country estate in every sense of the word. The heating bill alone was above my total annual budget and that was 15 years ago when they finally came to their senses and sold the money pit). But we drank and ate our way through Brussels so it was not a cheap day. But 60 euro’s well spend!

We also went clubbing. Usually not a big fan of it. But some friends roped me into it and the girlfriend definitely needed some good fun so we went. At 120 euro for the both of us not exactly a cheap evening. But great fun. Still, I prefer the home approach as my drinks selection puts most clubs selection to shame (no, in my world Bacardi is not an A label Rum) …

In the joint account we got hit by insurance costs (all of them at once even) and we also paid a visit to Ghent (and pizza) form the joint account. But previous months had us well under budget there so we are still good for the year.

All in all I had a fun filled month for a 1 700 euro budget. 1 500 euro definitely is a stretch as the first three months (and last year) show but 1 700 euro I find very comfortable. And the goal of all this bookkeeping isn’t actually to see how low I can go but to determine at what level of spending I achieve optimal happiness. After one year and 4 months of budget keeping the amount appears to be around 1 650 euro a month. I’ll see if I can lower it a bit in the next 16 months …

On the topic of lowering the expenses. My inner sloth was pretty happy with discovering this site. It provides a very easy and lazy way to switch energy supplier! An estimated 250 euro savings for 5 minutes of work? I’ll take it!

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!

Older posts