Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Page 2 of 10

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.

The health report – August

Last month I relaxed a bit on the diet front, feeling I deserved a bit of a break and I wanted to enjoy the summer a bit. I’ll go into the details below. But all in all I am feeling pretty good!

Fase 1: Swimming

All good here. Didn’t miss a single session in the last month. I am also swimming a bit faster than I was a few months ago. Progress, yeah!

Next month is going to be a tough as I have 2 festivals and 1 party planned. Getting to the pool on Sunday is going to be a challenge. Perhaps I’ll just party hard till 8 AM and then go straight to the pool? Also, my pool is closed for 10 days for cleaning. I’ll look into Leuven to perhaps go swimming there. But those are worries for next month. Swim wise, the past month was great! Also starting the really like my shoulders! Nothing like swimming 3 times a week 2 km to build some nice shoulders!

Fase 2: a very strict diet

I was at 101 kg last month. Then I buckled down, smashed through the 100 kg all the way to 97 kg. Then I had three weeks of hard core dieting interchanged with eating a lot. A lot like in the extra large dominos pizza all on my own, burp!. I finished at 99 kg.

It was by choice as I realized that even by sticking to the very strict diet I would only reach my weight goal somewhere in November. That is the middle of winter. And reaching it in November, December or even January doesn’t really make any difference to me. There is some stuff I look forward to doing when I am at my ideal weight. Like buying some cool t-shirts. But none of it is in the winter. Winter for us is huddling down at the farm. We are half in hibernation during those months. And now it is still summer. With places to visit and stuff to do. I want to cut loose a bit for the month of August. So I am.

I am also, finally, loosing belly fat again. On of the most frustrating things is you do not get to chose where your body loses fat. I want to get rid of the belly. So what does my body do? Add fat first and foremost to the belly but only burn it the last! Looks like my body is finally running out of others places to burn fat and is dipping into the belly stash once again!

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-10-2017 114 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm
15-5-2018 104 kg 42 cm 115 cm 114,5 cm 38 cm
17-6-2018 104 kg 42 cm 118 cm 115 cm 38 cm
15-7-2018 101 kg 41 cm 118 cm 115 cm 38 cm
15-8-2018 99 kg 41 cm 118 cm 113 cm 38 cm

Yes, I know. I still need to work on viewing eating lots of greasy food as a reward. But I am more confident that I am going to keep it up. Even if, occasionally, I am less strict. I definitely noticed the extra large pizza went I went swimming 2 days later! So I have a correction mechanism in place to prevent me to pig out all the time. Especially now that I started with the fitness again.

Fase 3: fitness

I started with the 7 weeks to 100 push-ups. It is slow going.

Doing the beginner approach because being a couch potato for over a decade really killed my strength and I am still carrying around 15 kg of fat. I am also concentrating on getting my form right. So I am now doing week 2 for a second time. I am currently at 3 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 6. I’ll probably do week 2 on more time next week. But I can definitely see the progress. I also noticed the huge difference with the last time I tried this. I still was 115 kg heavy then and boy that was a disaster! So it is going a lot better minus the 15 kg of fat I have now. That really motivates me to keep going!

Like I mentioned above, the next month is pretty party heavy. So I am limiting the fitness to the push-ups. After the next update on 15 September I’ll add sit-ups to it. And after that, I’ll see when I can get my fitness equipment in our utility room. Slow and steady progress! It is the way of the sloth after all!

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.

The job evolution

So I noticed I didn’t post anything about my job situation since August last year. Which is a bit of a shame because a lot changed since then! All for the better. There even is some juice stuff to tell!

Now I wasn’t really exhuming a lot of enthusiasm for that job in this three month recap. Hell, I even ended the post saying I was actually looking for a new job again.

Guess what? My employer at the time noticed it too. And do you know what a company does with a guy working interim that does an ok’ish job but isn’t really motivated? They don’t give him a full time contract!

My contract was up for renewal the end of September and well, that didn’t happen.

We will not extend your contract with us

I saw it coming so when called into my supervisors office it was no surprise. But my supervisor was in for a surprise! You see, she was nervous as hell because:

  1. she was going on holiday for two weeks and I left on holiday the last week of September. So there she was, having to tell a guy in early September that his contract is not going to get renewed but could you please continue to work here for two more weeks? Without any boss being present?
  2. I transferred millions of euro on a weekly basis as part of my job and
  3. the last guy she let go was so pissed at her that he threatened her outside the office and cops actually showed up at our office to take her statement about the whole incident. I think her being nervous is actually an understatement. There were visible tension lines on her face and on the face of the interim office representant (the last one definitely was not present when they ‘terminated’ the last employee).

So what happens when you say to a guy with a sizable stash who really doesn’t like the current job that you will not be renewing his contract?

Well, in my case, said guy is actually pretty fucking happy. I literally could not hold in a big fucking smile when she told me! I was, ‘Oof, yes, I am out of here!!’

I should have filmed their face! It was priceless!

They went from all tensed up to wary: is this guy for real, is he actually happy to be let go?!

And then they relaxed and started smiling themselves (probably thinking: this is going SO MUCH BETTER!). I think we were the happiest people to ever leave a meeting like that. We all left with smiles on our faxes and everybody visibly relaxed. Half the meeting was my boss saying to the interim representant that she was happy with the quality of my work and the interim representant almost apologizing to me for finding me a job that did not meet my expectations. And assuring me that they would find a better job after this one ended …

Time to party

Honestly, I was looking forward to some quality time at home. Did I say I really enjoy relaxing at home?! Alas I wasn’t that lucky …

I had already starting looking for work beforehand and one of those applications was successful. And they wanted me to start as soon as possible. I did manage to push back my start date a bit but alas, on 15 November I was back at work. Only 1,5 months of being a lazy bum. Sigh, I guess you can’t have everything in life.

Scoring a hatrick

In that 3 month recap I posted what I was looking for in a new job:

1)      Closer to home (30 min by Vespa of 1 hour by decent e-bike). Basically Leuven.

2)      About the same wage as my current wage

3)      In a field that actually interests me (finance, IT, entertainment)

4)      Hopefully also a job I could transform into ‘less than part time’ once I have achieved financial freedom and I only need to earn the tax free sum of 7.400 euro.

So how did I do?

  • The job is near Leuven. Check!
  • My net wage is a bit higher than before (long live the Belgian Bicycle to work compensation! Tax free compensation is the best kind of compensation!). Check!
  • I now work in the Fintech sector, combining Finance and IT. Check!
  • Not possible in my current job. But things are moving and changing fast here so who knows in a few more years?

And then the most important part: do I like the new job?

Big check there!

The company is in the scale up phase at the moment. So insanely busy on all accounts. Part of me doing less posts here is because I am tired in the evening folks. And I really do not want to sit any more time behind the PC in the evening. But it is a good kind of tired. And the atmosphere is very much still start up rock and roll.

I knew I would be a good fit when  the CTO during my interview showed up and his wardrobe was even worse then mine is. I had dressed up but he showed up to the interview dressed as a street bum. I knew I was going to like this place immediately!

It wasn’t a typical interview either.

Some of the questions and my answers.

Q: How much importance do you attach to your job title?

A: zero

Q: What do you do when there is an insane amount of work to be done?

A: I work like a crazy person

Q: What do you do when there is no work to be done?

A: I get lazy. I work best under pressure. His reply: good, we’ve got heaps of pressure here.

Q: do you find it important to get credit for improving stuff

A: If it makes my work easier I don’t care who gets the credit. I have even in the past made sure my Boss got the credit so I could finally get my hands on that shiny new application that made my day to day work a lot easier!

Those answers got me hired! Which really shows the culture of this place. Also, the CTO left a month ago without any new job lined up. His plan: bum around in Portugal for a few months and then see what he feels like doing. I guess I got hired by a Moustachian!

Also, our CEO is transitioning into a new position at the big finance company that bought us and is on holiday now. So we are flying without a CEO or CTO at the moment. Rock and roll, baby!

It probably won’t last because, as a big finance corporation bought us. Some corporate stuff is already starting to seep in! But that is a gradual process. So by the time our atmosphere gets all corporate and stuffy I won’t be needing a job anymore … But for the time being, I do not mind working all that much!


The health report – July

Back on track and things are starting to get weird.

Let’s do the weird first. These reports are actually inspiring people?! After Hot and lekkerlevenmetminder, geldnerd also got on board. As I commented on Geldnerd’s post, this is feeling pretty strange to me. I usually do NOT inspire people. What I usually get are strange looks when trying to explain things to people (like why it is no coincidence the biggest derivative exchanges are in protestant countries …). The last time I inspired some people was in the early 2000’s when I got two co-workers to buy Berkshire Hathaway shares. That didn’t feel weird because, well investing is kind of my thing. Health isn’t. Hell, I am the opposite of a good health/sport example. My blog is financial freedom SLOTH for crying out loud! I am lazy! I do not like sports. I don’t even like moving in general. And my approach isn’t even sane (hence why I do not go into details). So for me to inspire other people to live healthier?! We are living in strange days indeed …

And now for the back on track part.

Fase 1: Swimming

Still going strong. I only skipped 1 mainly because I have had an insane busy last two weeks. I had to drop off the Girlfriend in Gent at 15h on Sunday which meant I couldn’t go at my normal 12:30 time. I could, and should have gone at 09:00 am in the morning (have done it a few times in the past). But I have been sleeping less (the heat mainly) so I woke up at 08:00, then thought fuck it and went back to sleeping. Also not helping in the sleeping department is too much screen time in bed. So I am going on a smartphone ban while in bed. I developed a bad habit there and should stop. After all, health is more than just your weight and general fitness level.

But all in all a good swimming month. The rest actually felt great as I was flying through the water after having skipped one session. The rest did my body some good.

Fase 2: a very strict diet

Here is the back on track part people. An almost laser focus.

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-10-2017 114 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm
15-5-2018 104 kg 42 cm 115 cm 114,5 cm 38 cm
17-6-2018 104 kg 42 cm 118 cm 115 cm 38 cm
15-7-2018 101 kg 41 cm 118 cm 115 cm 38 cm

101 kg! Or very close to the half way mark of losing 15kg!

Actually, those numbers are from 15/07 (I have been so busy I didn’t even get to do this post for the last 5 days, also I am lazy) and have reached the 100 kg mark in the last days. Woot woot and big congratulations to myselfI

I did come to the conclusion I still do not have a good relationship with the snacks. I still view chips and chocolate as a ‘reward’ for being a good little sloth. And while I now have it under control and only very, very, occasionally indulge I need to continue to work on it. Not on indulging less but on changing my attitude towards it.

I have done it for coca cola where I was a real coke addict (at least three cans a day, every day). I stopped (cold Turkey style) and a hard time doing it. I even instituted a coca cola ban in the house. When we bought a few for visitors I got the girlfriend to hide them out of fear of a relapse.

Now we have had a few cans in the refrigerator for a week and zero temptation.

What changed is that at first it was a rational decision and only a rational decision. I knew the coca cola was bad for me (little side notes: Berkshire Hathaway owns a lot of KO shares so the rest of you should definitely not follow my example and stop buying their products, think of my dividends!!) so I made the effort to stop! But every other part of me except my rational part still wanted coca cola. And then, somehow, I made a switch. It was as I finally, fundamentally, one every level of my being now understand that Coca cola was bad for me (again: you all keep buying their products! They have a wide range of healthy drinks too!!). So I think I can finally say: ‘Hello, I am financialfreedom sloth and I am a recovered Coke addict!’

So I need to achieve a similar switch for those unhealthy snack. I also did it for carbs, almost effortless but those snacks … If I am honest, I think it is because a big part of me doesn’t want to. I want to keep those rewards you know. I mean, I am doing good, no? And If I am slim and fit (well getting there), shouldn’t I get to have some M&M’s or Lays chips on occasion? But on the other hand, I usually am an all or nothing guy. It would remain a big weak point and a risk of relapse. It is this internal struggling that, I think, is holding me back from making the switch. It really is a difficult point for me. Honestly, I do not know how or when I will resolve this. Or how buying a bag of M&M’s can lead to some deep soul searching … Fuck, this stuff isn’t easy.

Fase three: fitness

Haven’t started yet. I told you in my last update I didn’t want to!

I actually need to correct that. I went to the local gym to get information and when I was there I realized that what I really do not want to is have to go to the Gym three times a week. See what I wrote there: ‘have to go’. That is not a good way to look at it. That is not the way I view my swimming. Sure, part of me feels like I have to go swimming but I also want to go swimming. I do not want to go to the Gym. So I am not going.

But I also realized I want to do fitness. What I really want to do is train on the Kettler fitness bench that is standing on my parent’s attic. That was always my final goal, the Gym part was to bridge the gap between wanting to exercise now and having our attic finished (two, three years?).

I think I can squeeze the Kettler bench in our utility room once that is finished (October?) and while waiting for that I am going to start with push ups and sit ups. Getting to a hundred will probably take me till October anyway …

Coming up in August are some nice Techno parties, so the health focus might be a little less the coming month. But not going to lie people, looking forward to it with the new slimmer body …

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.

The health report – June

In dieting there is always a moment where you hit a plateau en June was that month for me. I feel I need to remind my readers that although my first post about it was in May, I actually started in February with the swimming and on the 1st of April with the very strict diet. I just didn’t get round to posting about it before the 15th of May. So I have been at it for a bit longer than this blogs reflects.

And I didn’t do that bad, it’s just that my body appears to not be very standard but then again, neither am I as a person.

Fase 1: swimming

Still going strong here. Didn’t skip one! Had a visitor last weekend and left the visitor to fend for herself for two hours in my home as I HAD TO GO swimming, lol. I know, very hospitable off me …

Even adjusted my schedule one week because the pool was closed one friday and I normally go Wednesday – Friday – Sunday. Changed it to Tuesday – Thursday – Sunday.

So 4 weeks of solid swimming, three times a week, 2 km each time. For those interested in the details. I do 500 m as warm up, then some stretching and then another 1500 m and then some more stretching. All of it breaststroke. I learned this weekend that breaststroke is more demanding than crawl! I always thought it to be the other way around because you go faster with crawl but that is apparently mainly due to better aerodynamics (hydrodynamics?) of that style. Yay for me. And yes, the most demanding is the butterfly stroke but let’s be honest, that style is nuts and would only result in me swallowing mouthful’s of chloride water with each and every stroke. I also tend to get lots of water up the nose with crawl (free style), hence my preference for the breast stroke.

Fase 2: a very strict diet

well, I wasn’t all that strict this month. Well, I wasn’t all that strict in the evening to be more precise. Breakfast and work day were still very good but I did falter a bit in the evening. This wasn’t helped by the fact the girlfriend went to Porto for the music festival for one week leaving me unsupervised.

Even with the bad evenings I must have been below 2000 kcal because I was at 680 kcal before coming home. And I didn’t pig out that much once home! It’s just well, my body doesn’t do moderation very well.

Here are the stats:

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-10-2017 114 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm
15-5-2018 104 kg 42 cm 115 cm 114,5 cm 38 cm
17-6-2018 104 kg 42 cm 118 cm 115 cm 38cm


You’ll notice almost no change except the chest. Might be an error in measurement or me breathing but I have to say, I do feel more muscular. And all the swimming (24 km in the last month) must have had an impact somewhere. I have been known to bulk up pretty fast (fat when not exercising and muscle when exercising). So I might have lost some fat but more or less added the same weight in muscles with the eating more in the evening (my body reacting to finally getting some more building materials to work with). I do now need a size XL t-shirt and not only because of the belly but also because of my shoulders. Hell, an XL is actually a snug fit around the shoulders now and there is definitely not a whole lot of fat on those!

This is one of the shortcomings of only being able to being able to measure your weight. In an ideal world you should be able to measure fat and muscles. But no cheap, accurate way exists (or I haven’t found it). I’ll know more when I get a full body scan at 95 kg. One thing I cannot deny is I am still carrying around way to much fat.

Fase three: fitness

The old, strict-goals-me would have lost motivation with a zero progress month. This would probably lead to quitting the effort all together and then starting to add weight again.

Now I focus on the good:

– I still feel a whole lot better at 104 kg than I did at 115kg

– I still went swimming and I am faster/in better shape than I was one month ago

– I actually did okay diet wise until the evening

So lessons from this that I need to be very strict on the diet. My body demands it. Some people can quit drinking soda’s and lose 5kg because of that one change. Some can skip a few bags of chips and lose kg’s from that. But the sad truth is, not me. I just can’t eat a bit less and exercise a bit more and expect results.


I need to put my body on a below 1000 kcal a day diet

I need to swim 3x week for 2km

And in need to add fitness to it. I knew this a month ago. The last month has proven beyond any doubt I need to do it!

I have said it before and I meant it. I do not look forward to adding 3 x of fitness a week to my schedule. I am lazy, I like being lazy. A little part of me was still thinking that the diet and the swimming was enough. That the fitness was a corner I could cut. That I could get away with half assing this. A little bit less effort but still most of the benefits! O, how I would love that!

But nope, when it comes to weight loss I cannot cut any corners.

So fitness it is as of the 1st of July.

Thing is, when I do it my body really, really likes it! My mind is shouting that this is the most boring, stupid thing one can spend an hour doing But my body. O my body loves it. My body is shouting more! More! More! Guess it’s time to start listening to my body and give it what it wants.

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!!

The health report – May

You often hear people say that your health is the most important thing in life.

And guess what? They are right!

Without health, a big pile of money will not do you a lot of good. And with both my mother and the girlfriend working at an institution for people with disabilities I really, REALLY know that being born with full physical and mental capabilities is a great gift.

Knowing this you would think I would have taken better care of my health but as those who have met me in real life can attest, I didn’t.

Squandering a great gift

Actually, I have really squandered this gift. First off: the last time I was somewhat serious about exercising was in my university years. Since I spend my working hours behind a desk that was not a good move. Second, I got fat. This too started after my university years. A sedentairy life style + eating large quantities of food (because moderation doesn’t really fit my personality) resulted in weight gain. Adding a few kilo’s every year which seems OKish. But fast forward 20 years and I ended up at 115 kg. With a height of 1m78 I had firmly nestled myself in the obese category. Health wise not good.

I also take some other measurements so here is a full overview of my starting point:

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-03-2018 115 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm

Financial freedom wise this was also not good. There are only two ways to increase the number of freedom years you have. Either you retire earlier or you add more healthy years after you retire. And if there is a sure way to reduce your healthy years in life it is being overweight (well that and being homeless or develop a bad drug habit, neither of which is going to happen).

So one of my big goals apart from achieving financial freedom is getting my weight down to a healthy level and start exercising. It was actually goal number two in my mission statement way back in December 2016.

The lazy side is strong in this one! After formulating the goal it actually took me until march 2018 to really start. I do have a few excuses, most of them crap. So let’s just skip them and get to the positive!

Learning from the past

I did learn from my past mistake of losing weight but never starting to exercise (because I am lazy that way) and also putting up strict goals which I then didn’t achieve. This failure then lead to losing motivation which in turn lead to me abandoning the effort all together. And then gaining back the weight… it was a very bad feedback loop of my own creation.

So this time I would exercise and I would make my goals less specific.

I went for a three fase approach.

Fase 1: swimming 2 km 3 times a week

During my last bout of unemployment I had actually achieved this but my back aching up plus starting a new job had me falter again. So I started it back up again in February. Old habits die hard so I did have the occasional thought crop up in my head that I should reach that goal by the first of April. Luckily it was only an occasional thought and I immediately squashed it by reaffirming to myself that every week I went swimming was a good week. That was a good mindset since it actually took me till the second half of April to get there.

Fase 2: a very strict diet

Originally I wanted to have completed fase 1 before starting this but that was taking a bit longer than anticipated (and I was fine with that, honestly I was!). I also was being pretty fed up with being overweight. Being fine with a not so strict time table is one thing but the weather is improving and I have a few cool t-shirts I’d like to be able to wear this summer! So I started the strict diet on the first of April. How strict? Remember the bit about me not really being a fan of moderation? Well, I hover around a 1.000 kcal a day for the moment. Probably a not too healthy  approach, definitely not very sane. But it is working for me.

On the 15th April I stood at:

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-10-2017 114 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm
15-5-2018 104 kg 42 cm 115 cm 114,5 cm 38 cm

(No update from today since part of my new approach is not weighing myself too often.)

Fase 3 will be the addition of fitness/weight training 3 times a week. I will probably start with this on the 1st of July for no other reason that the Gym has a 6 months subscription for a 100 euro’s.

I will then exercise 6 times a week for 1 hour. This should get me in a reasonable shape and hopefully prevent me from gaining back my weight once I stop with the strict diet. Well, I’ll probably need to start eating healthier also. Not looking forward to that, let me tell you …

I should end up around 90 kg, depending on how much muscle the weigh training adds. Somewhere around 95 kg I am planning on spending some money to get a full body scan to determine my fat percentage and muscle ratio so I can fine tune the work-out regime. If I would have to guess I think that at present I still need to lose between 13 to 15 kg of fat and add somewhere between 3 to 5 kg of muscle to be in a decent shape. The body scan will give the hard data I need.

I’ll try to make this a monthly series but no promises (after all I am a lazy sloth and I have discovered that I am not a big fan of self-imposed deadlines).

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!

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