Monthly expense report: May

I have several months of catching up to do and these monthly reports are pretty easy to write, thus ideal to get in the wing of things again! Expect some more of them …

Income: 5 858,10 euro

Expenses: 1 533,50 euro

Savings: 4 324,60 euro or 73,82%

Yes, the income needs some explaining …

Income

No gift or lottery winnings in May. The high income was 100% me having worked my ass of in previous months. When I told you guys I had to work really hard at my job I wasn’t lying. I also wasn’t lying when I said my boss and the management appreciated all my efforts. The month of May is bonus month at my job so the 5 858,10 euro is my normal wages of 2 298 euro + my normal annual bonus of 1 581,40 euro. And then to top it of an extra second bonus of 1 978,70 euro just for me! I didn’t ask for it but management wanted to do something extra because they did realise I had been working for crazy for several months so they did. I have to say, it is nice to be appreciated!! I also really like the high savings rate and the fact that it put me right on track to achieve my savings goal for the year!

Expenses

Just a little bit over my own 1 500 euro mark.

Not bad especially because this month I had to increase my contribution to the joint account because funds were running a bit low there with the new car related expenses + taking the nephew to the efteling.

And off course I spend to much money on food, further increasing the waste line …

Monthly expense report: April

Wow! 7 months of zero posts. I have to say: those months just flew by.

What happened is that the job remained very busy but not as insanely busy as before. You would think that once the pressure got less I would find the energy and time to write/post more. That’s the theory. But in practice, with the pressure gone, the thing proppelling me forward was also gone and I just got lazy. Not at work, work is still pretty busy, but manageable busy. But on all other fronts activity went to zero, zilch, nothing. I didn’t even read other blogs anyore. I guess my mental energy was zero and I needed time to recharge. I am not saying the fuel tank is now full again but I did feel like posting again. And since I have some catching up to do, here are my expenses for April.

Income: 2 302 euro

Expeses: 1 490,50 euro

Savings: 811,50 euro or 35,25%

April was a good month numbers wise. After buying the new car I was motivated to get my savings back up. 35,25% savings rate was the highest for the year but due to buying a car in March the savings rate for the whole year still is negative at the end of April.

Income

Not a lot to say here, standard income from working + 100 euro gift from my parents (probably for easter).

Expenses

Expenses, although low, were not all good during the month of April.

I had to pay a 75 euro speeding ticket (still driving the Vespa too fast all of the time) and spend way too much money on food. The latter is not only bad money wise but an utter disaster for the waste line. This does merit it’s own dedicated post. I have to say, not looking forward to it.

Monthly Expense report: February and March

I normally can sit behind a computer for hours, and hours and hours. February was the exception to this rule. Between work and having more sick than healthy days in March. I had during the evening zero inclination to spend any more time behind the PC. Which explains the zero posts in all of March. So I’ll just put both the February and March expense report in this one post.

February

Income: 2 247,60 euro

Expenses: 1 764,30 euro

Savings: 483,30 or 21,50%

Income was a little bit higher as I am still experimenting with a side gig which made me an extra 53 euro. More on the side gig in a later post.

Expenses in February were also higher. But the 1 764 euro does include 331 euro for a Festival in Amsterdam in August, 26 euro a doctor’s visit. The only expense I really do not like is the 55 euro I spend on sandwiches at work. It’s a waste of money and mad for my weight (and thus my health). I really need to stop it! Anyway, 1 500 euro a month definitely is doable, I just do not seem to be able to get there!

March

Income: 7 280,70 euro

Expenses: 9 474,41 euro

Savings: -2 193,72

Yep, March is where I have some explaining to do.

If you want the short and fast version: I bought a car, paid cash for it and my parents gave me money.

On the income side I had:

2 218,20 euro from my pay check

5 050 euro gift from my parents

12,50 euro income from the side gig

On the expense side I had all the normal expenses.

And then I had 8 113 euro for the car. The car will get his own post but we bought a brand new Dacia Logan for almost 11 250 euro. Deduct the 5,000 euro my parents insistent of giving me to help buy the car left almost 6 250 euro. My half of this came to 3 113 euro. I could have put the 5,000 in our joint account but since I no longer report in detail on that one it wouldn’t have shown up anywhere so I put it here. Basically I out 3 113 euro out of pocket but now have a brand new car which should last us for another 12 to 14 years. Thank you mom and dad.

Annoyingly I am negative for the year by about a 1,000 euro and it will take me till May to get positive for the year. It is one of the reasons I would have preffered the 0% financing but that clusterfuck of a tale is also for another post.

On the buying sandwiches at work front I did not improve and spend 78 euro! Yes, I definitely went off the rails here and my wasteline is paying the price. No more in April!

Monthly Expense report: January

Nothing broke in January! After December, where almost everything broke I count this as a success! January, in my book, is the month where we, slowly, start to rebuild.

Income: 2 202,60 euro

Expenses: 1 661,30 euro

Savings: 541,30 euro or 24,6%

Income

The bonus unfortunately only comes once twice a year so it is back to the ‘normal’ income of around 2 200 euro. I have come to realize that getting to a higher savings rate is only acivable for me if I would increase my income. Then again, I usually am pretty close to savings 25% of my income which actual means I am allready financial free for 25% of my time without taking the stash into account since I only need to work three weeks to earn enought money to live four weeks. I find that a very comforting thought!

Expenses

Expenses stood at 1 660 euro. Part of me wants to say this is pretty good since it also covers 320 euro for a new motor vest and all weather motor pants. For the last year I have been making due with what I had but the broken zipper on my winter vest in December forced my hand and I finally purchased a decent motor vest. When (and that is a definite when, not if) I ever kiss the ground while going 90 km/h I will be very gratefull for the purchase. Meanwhile I am enjoying the added comfort during these winter months! The 1 660 euro also covers 100 euro in birthday gift for the godchild. Something I am happy to give and once our house is renovated am planning to greatly increase.

So that was the good part. The bad part is 128 euro spend on sandwiches at work and snacks for in the evening. The relaunch of the diet is not going all that well. I kind of crash and burned in this regard. I need to write about it. But a big part is the work situation. Which I also need to write about. But actually, the work situation is also THE reason why I have been blogging a lot less the last months because I come home exhausted and have 0 interested in sitting behind a PC at home as well. I will dive deeper into it in the next post I promise.

I actually have a few intersting tid bits to post about:

The work situation.

Buying a car.

Not getting a loan for the car because some credit organization somehow decided I am no good for a 7,000 euro loan. Even if my net worth is close to 350,000 euro and I save 500 euro a month!

And the really interesting one: how last year I lost 90,000 euro in the stock market. I’ll give you a very short recap of that one: leverage can be a bitch and yes it really hurts. Keep your questions for the actual post, even though most of it happened in February last year the wound is still a open hole of pain and misery. But also do not worry, I am fine!

Monthly expense report: December

Stuff broke in December. Actually a lot of stuff broke in December. Like our PC, our car, the zipper on my coat and part of my sanity … For the moment this has had little repercussions on my spending but the big ticket item
(a new car) is coming …

Income: 3 489,83 euro

Expenses: 1 551,50 euro

Savings: 1 938,33 euro of a whopping 55,5%

Income

The much higher income is due to my job paying a Christmas bonus or 13th month as it is often referred to in Belgium.

In April/May we are also eligible for a bonus if we meet certain goals (we will) which will also be close to an extra month of wages. And since I have worked all off 2018 for this company I will have 30 holiday days that year. So in 2019 I will get paid close to 14 months of wages for 10,5 months of work. Ok, why the hell am I striving for early retirment again? O right, I am a lazy weirdo.,,

Expenses

Expenses are 1 551,50 euro and I am particulary proud of this as they also entail 300 euro I personally chipped in to but the new computer. The rest of the purchase is paid from our joint account but I wanted a decent graphics card the gilfriend has absolutely no need for so I paid it myself. So minus this purchase I only spend 250 euro and 45 euro of those went to excellent videosoftware via a humble bundle (25 euro for Movie studio 15 is a steal! ) and a game I have been drooling over for a year but couldn’t play on the old computer. PC gaming wise I am set for the next year as i have some older games on Steam I haven’t played in the last year or two because the old computer was getting so slow …

All in all we end the year with good buffers in the checking and savings account. The car purchase will oblitarate those in the new year and the full year recap for 2018 will tell you how my stash was decimated during 2018. It’s a tale of overleverage and greed that left me battered and bruised at the side of the road but I will try to make it a fun read for you my loyal followers!

Monthly expense report: November

Income:  2 167 euro

Expenses:  1 583,50 euro

Savings:  583,50 euro

November was a pretty standard month form an income and expense point of view.

Income was only the job income. November 15 I was one year at the current company so an update is needed on that front but work has been so insanely busy the last weeks that I really didn’t feel like starting up the old desktop at home. It also explains the lack of posts over the last month. This sloth is tired in the evening.

Expenses

Didn’t buy a new laser, still want to! I did buy some new graphic novels so the itch to buy something ‘fun’ is satisfied for the time being. The graphic novels came to 88 euro.

We also visited a friend in Brussels, The friend is a big Asia nut so we visited a -cheap- Japanese restaurant. I went to talk about an online side gig idea I have tumbling around in my head for some time now. Turns out the friend is even more skilled than I thought! I tried to nudge him into starting his own thing as he could do all the work himself and he does like to travel Asia for months on end. I wasn’t really successful as he has witnessed in his immediately family the high price that comes with building out a business empire. He is part too smart and part too lazy (there is a reason I get along with him!) to go down that rabbit hole …I would still over to convince him that there is a middle ground. Anyway, the visit did cost me 43 euro but was money well spend.

On a more practical front I also spend 72 for some new underwear and 21 euro on new swimshorts. Both things desperately needed. Well, desperately needed according to the misses, a sloth knows no shame …

On the’ bad’front: also spend some money on sandwiches at work. The diet is still not going that good. I actually even started skipping some of my swimming!! It merits its own post. But I am a stress eater and did I mention that work has been insanely busy? I am recognizing the signs from my time at the back office for the trading floor of the big bank. Luckily management is aware that there is a ‘support-situation’ at the moment. Management also knows that I have been putting the pedal to the metal for the last couple of months. So I have told them that this will only last until after new year. And to not take my current productivity as something to count on long term. I’ll see how it goes.

I do not envy them as some tough decisions will need to be made. I also need to bite the bullet and not only keep up the insane work volume at work but in my free time actually start working on one of those ‘fun-to me’ work projects that needs to be done but nobody at work has the time to do. For once in my life I want to be strategic about it and leverage my current strong position into something that has long term benefits for me. Fortune favors the well prepared…

On a totally unrelated note. Cheesy finance and geldnerd have a very different definition of a backyard. To parafrase an old australian saying: that’s not a backyard, this is a backyard …

Our backyard, and yes that is a pig on the right …

Monthly expense report: October

Income: 2 195 euro

Expenses: 1 656,50 euro

Savings:  535,50 euro

With no more birthday presents and tickets to sell, income fell back to the usual amount earned by working. This might drop a little bit going forward as from 1 November we got hospitalization insurance via work! This will cost us around 12 euro a month but will cover any costs above 250 euro if we end up in a hospital for any reason. Yes, the girlfriend is also covered with those 12 euro! So we are pretty happy with it as work from the girlfriend does not offer any and we didn’t have this insurance since I got fired at the big bank in March 2016.

I do -finally- have an idea for a website/on line community that might  be profitable to run. We’ll see but hopefully it is successful and I can boost the income a bit next year. At the very least I’ll pick up some new skills in building it.

Expenses

The problems with the Vespa seem to be in the past! Joehoe! And very glad this money drain finally ended.

The 1 656 euro spending is actually pretty good when you take into account the fact that this month I needed to pay for my swimming pool subscription for the next year. Going swimming costs me 270 euro. This comes down to around 2 euro per swim. Which is pretty reasonable. Even if it wasn’t, there is no other way to swim cheaper than this. And it is the exercise I enjoy doing the most. I view it as a small price to pay for a better health.

I did spend a bit to much for sandwiches at work. It is not really a big amount but since it is bad for the diet any euro spend on it is not good. I need to step up my game in that area but I’ll go deeper into it in the upcoming health report.

Curious thing also happened. I felt to need to spend money on fun thing. I still have it actually. After the Vespa soaking up money, and now the swimming abonnement. Plus a decent amount spend on renovation the utility room I just want to spend money on something frivolous. Like another party laser for in our house. Or these music reactive lights. You now, completely useless crap. It has been a pretty long while since I had this urge. At the moment I can still fight it back but if I am below my 1 500 euro spending goal at the end of November I might just give in .. Because, well, shiny lights and such. …

Monthly expense report: September

Finally a good month, saving wise! This good luck will however be short lived as the Vespa is in the shop again! But that are worries for later. Here are the numbers for September:

Income: 2 258,43 euro

Expenses: 1 601,20 euro

Savings:  657,23 euro

Income again a bit higher because I got another birthday present in September. But also because I sold some festival tickets I previously bought but ended up not being able to attend. Made a 10 euro profit on a 30 euro investment in 3 months time. In absolute numbers this is very small but return on investment wise this was a great return. This got us thinking so the girlfriend (because she is the big ‘going to parties’ person in our relationship) decided to run a little experiment and see if you can actually make some decent profits by buying tickets in the first – cheap – wave and selling them when it hits the second (or third) more expensive wave. More on this when the experiment is finished in December/ January.

Expenses

Those are reasonable for the month. With no Vespa expenses 1 600 euro is actually pretty high for me. But there is a lot of fun in those 1 600 euro expenses.

  • There was a private party with some friends at the beginning of the month
  • We went to The world of Tim Burton and ate an unbelievable delicious pizza afterwards. The World of Tim Burton was pretty cheap because you got a free ticket if you bought the weekend edition of De standaard. We finished that evening by rewatching Beetlejuice. You gotta love the old classics!
  • There was a 50th birthday gift for a friend (talk about an old classic;-) of ours.
  • I went to the theater and ate another pizza. Pizzahut this time, sometimes I like my pizza’s greasy and unhealthy. For those of you wondering about my diet, sue me modderfokker!
  • And the last weekend, the girlfriend and I went to another restaurant (the diet is fine, honesty!!) and out clubbing.

What can I say? We work hard, we play hard 😉

Without that last weekend extravaganza I would have actually stayed in my 1 500 euro budget. But this retro techno phase isn’t going to last. So we will enjoy this opportunity to listen to the old school classics the way they were intended: in a busy nightclub full with sweaty, half naked people (mental note: I really need to focus on the diet again).

 

 

As a little bonus for your viewing pleasure, a documentary I really enjoyed:

Thrive With Less from Thrive With Less on Vimeo.

Monthly expense report: August

If I had to sum up my expenses for August in one sentence it would be: the bloody Vespa again! Here are the -ugly- numbers.

 

Income: 2 338,44 euro

Expenses: 2 016,10 euro

Savings: 322,34 euro

 

Income is a bit higher because I had my birthday which means presents! Well actually only one from the parents as we have all but eliminated the back and forward giving of presents. I have all that I need and if I – rarely – want something I usually buy it.

Expenses blew up to the highest of the year. Above 2.000 euro thanks to …

Yep, the Vespa.

Last time the shop apparently did not solve the root cause of the coolant problem. So three weeks later the issue reared it’s ugly head once more and back to the shop it was. For another 620 euro bill. Most of it work time. I can’t say I am overjoyed with this as they should have found the issue the first time around. There is the possibility that the second issue developed after them fixing the water pomp but the Vespa made the same ticking sound it did after the first maintenance than it did before the maintenance. So I really think they missed the root cause, fixed the water pomp which was probably a symptom of the underlying issue (a crack in cylinder housing) and this time had to do a lot of the work again to fix the real problem. With me paying twice!

And a skilled mechanic appears not to come cheap.

Honestly, these maintenance bills have taken a bit away of the joy of driving the Vespa. But only a bit. Here is hoping for many carefree months of riding it and getting my joy back!

The lessons I take away from this are:

In the short time I am going to look for a ‘guy’ who not only will work on the Vespa at a lower hourly rate I am paying now but is also willing to teach me how to do most of the work myself. Thus, hopefully avoiding other big maintenance bills in the future.

Long term I will most definitely build myself an electrical speed monster of a bicycle! Building it myself will insure I know every little detail of it and be capable of doing all the maintenance myself. It is going to cost me time off course (most things are a trade off between money and time + effort) but I should pick up some valuable skills that will also serve me well after FIRE.

Now some people claim that a 13,7% savings rate is still descend but let’s be honest, this is the FIRE crowd. Even my usual 25% savings rate is at the low end of the spectrum. So high time for me to return to more acceptable savings. Half September I will have my partying behind me and then it will be a 100% focus on finance and health for the rest of the year.

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.