Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

2020 full year recap

It is starting to become somewhat of a habit to do these full year recaps on the first of February.

Which immediately anwsers the first question: yes I am still as lazy as I was back in 2019.

Since I liked the overview I did last year I will be continuing it this year. This is going to just be a financial recap of 2020. I am saving the whole covid stuff for a ‘1 year working from home recap’ which I will try to do on time . On time being 15 march 2021 as that was the start of the first lockdown in Belgium and since that date I have perhaps been to the office a grand total of 20 days.

4 year recap

2017201820192019 corrected2020
Income30 86227 76539 22134 22132 064
Expenses20 71920 04728 32020 20720 228
Savings10 1437 71810 90114 01411 836
SR32,9%27,8%27,8%40,9%36,9%

Recap conclusions

The trend from the last years seem to continue:

* my annual spending is slightly above 20 000 euro

* that spending is pretty much irrelevant from how much income I make

The sidegig did not materialize in 2020. Let’s hope I have some better lucki in 2021 on that front.

2020 numbers

Income

Income was 32 064 euro.

Working for the Boss man brought in 31 441,67 euro. The reason this is lower than 2019 is because I did not get a double bonus this year. My company has no ‘double bonus’ policy. It was very exceptional for me to get one last year. So this year is actualy a return to normal.

Gifts were 530 euro. With no new car to buy my parents didn’t see any reason to give me any extra gift except for the normal birthday, christmas and such gifts.

Covid did bring my little experiment with ticket arbitrage to a screeching halt.

I also got 89 euro back from my health insurer.

Expenses

Expenses totaled 20 228 euro.

Predictably most went to our joint account since we use that to pay our mortgage, utilities, food .. My half of all these bare necessities has cost me 13 400 euro in 2020.

Theoretically I could live on this amount. It wouldn’t be any fun at all, but I could, well exist on it.

The Vespa cost me 1 367,15 euro. Honestely I thought this was going to be a lot lower since I have barely used it since March when the pandemic hit and I started working form home. But I was close to needing some maintenance when the pandemic hit. So I didn’t really save that much on maintenance (890 euro) this year. I only saved on fuel and that isn’t the main cost of having the Vespa. Not needing any maintenance in 2021 will be the big savings consequence of working from home.

Extra food was 1005,55 euro. I am going to be honest, the only reason this is lower than last year is because of the pandemic and working from home. Working from home means the shop is further away. So just external circumstances, not an improvement in my discipline.

Gifts were 264 euro. Hey, the girlfirend doesn’t get a shiny gift every year.

Hobbies: 449 euro. Most is actualy trying to get a side gig off the ground but since it is not bringing in any money at all I have put these expenses under hobby.

Random fun: 1 019 euro. With nowhere to go I bought several games on steam. But also a laser and fog machine to be able to have the club experience at home (no lockdown parties here but I do hope social restrictions can be lifted somewhat so I can put this equipment to use again).

Restaurant: 145 euro. This is one restaurant visit with the parents because hello Covid.

Sports: 174 euro. This was 64 euro for swimming until the pandemic shut this down and then 110 euro for extra weights for my home gym

Telecom: 150 euro because I have a very cheap mobile viking subscription.

Health spending was 60,5 euro at the doctor/dentist and then another 164 euro at the pharmacy (mainly glasses for 147 euro). Not getting sick turns out to be cheap.

Hobbies: 449 euro Most of this expense is actualy trying to get a side gig off the ground but since it is not bringing in any money at all I have put these expenses under hobby.

Clothing: 92 euro

Travel: 1 220 euro. This amount covers our 10 day holiday to Portugal.

If I repeat the exercise of last year and look at the money i spend on stuff for me I liked buying I end up with 2 333 euro. A little bit up from last year but not by that much. Most of the up can actually be explained by games on steam and one could argue if these are that good for me. On of my goals last year was to spend more on funn stuff for myself but I honestely struggeld with this one. It seems I just don’t need more stuff.

2021 goals

Making goals for the new year is pretty futile since Covid is making a lot of things uncertain. Main things are still that I need to lose weight and get a somewhat interesting, fun side gig.

Monthly expense report: December

With no more expenses for the side gig and my end of year work bonus being paid, December should be a great month for savings. Let’s have a look.

Income: 3 729,15 euro

Expenses: 1 505,90 euro

Savings : 2 223,25 euro or 59,62%

Income:

Woohoo for the income!

Most of it, 3 679,15 euro was work income. My regular mothly wages + the end of month bonus. The remaining 150 euro was from christmas gifts from the parents and my mother-in-law.

Expenses:

I may, or may not have come in under budget this month depending on how you look at one particular expense this month. Mor e on that at the end of this post.

As I do every month I transferred 1 100 euro to our joint account to pay the mortgage, utilities and our joint grocery shopping.


Extra food was 100 euro. Being home helps me not buyng extra food to eat during lunch. Especially because I now do my fitness during lunch break which just dossn’t leave me with any time to speed of to the nearest shop and buy some chips. I spend 60 euro on these extra snacks and then another 40 euro on pizza form me and a co-worker as the co-worker is leaving the compagny and pizza together was a bit our thing … Since he is leaving I paid for his pizza too.


Gas for the Vespa was 0 euro this month as I only drove it one time to work (and one trip to the shop to get some extra chips …). Which reminds me I need to take it for a spin in January and pump up the tires.


Mobile phone subscription for a bizare reason was only 2,5 euro. I have no idea why it was not it’s regular 12 euro and I am too lazy to find out.

Miscelanious expenses are a shampoo for 17 euro and a game on steam for 12 euro.

And then we come to the gift’s section where accounting my expenses has a tricky part.


The non tricky part is the 10 euro I chipped in for the goodbye gift for the co-worker keaving. And 130 euro I spend for end of year gifts for the family.


The tricky – acconting wise – part is the 100 euro I spend on buying Bitcoins. This because for a certain gift I needed bitcoins to pay for it. So I spend 100 euro buying bitcoins on Coinbase. But Coinbase also gives you a sign up bonus and allows you to ear some alt coins by watching some instructional videos (alt coins I off course exchanged into bitcoin the moment I received them). And then there was the incredibale value rise of Bitcoins in the second half of December… Long story short is that I bought the gift (which was 45 euro) but my balance on Coinbase is now close to 200 euro …

So did I just buy a 45 euro gift? Because, then I stayed below my 1 500 euro budget this year… or did I invest a 100 euro, bought the gift with part of my profits and still have another 100 euro in profit I should book? Since it’s a low amount. And since I am still not a fan of this whole crypto craze and will probaby use up the remaining balance in the future for other gifts, I just decided to book the 100 euro as an expense in the ‘random fun’ category.

Monthly expense report: November

November is the month I really tried to get my side gig off the ground. This effort was reflected in my spending. But since I was busy with that project I couldn’t spend a lot of money on other things. So my monthly numbers aren’t that bad.

Income: 2 287,35 euro

Expenses: 1 625,02 euro

Savings : 662,33 euro or 29%

Income:

Income was my regular paycheck from work plus a gift from the parents. Nothing exiting to report here.

Expenses

As I do every month I transferred 1 100 euro to our joint account to pay the mortgage, utilities and grocery shopping.

Extra food was 71,80 euro because I eat too much pizza. And even eating from home does not eliminate this expense completely it seems.

Gas for the Vespa was once again 8,40 euro. Standing still for too long isn’t good so I on occasion use the Vespa to go somewhere (like to go get exta food at the supermarket, I know, I know …).

Mobile phone was 12 euro, because no calls out of bundle.

I paid for Netflix (Belgium is once a gain in a semi lockdown) this month: 16 euro

Expenses for the side gig : 411,82 euro

The side gig is why I went over budget this month. The amount isn’t only for the side gig. As explained last month I put all of my online – let’s call it experiments – at one place. So 166,82 euro of hosting costs also cover this site. And the domain name fees for a year also cover financialfreedomsloth. But 153 euro was all for the side gig as it was one year of use for Buddyboss. I am really impressed by their offering. A bit of money and a few days of work and you can have your own litle community up and running without knowing any coda. I first tried it with buddypress, bbpress and a 62 euro thema that should tie all of it together but couldn’t really make it work. So that was 62 euro spend to learn what didn’t work for me. Honestely, the stuff you can do online for 500 euro a year baffles me!

Monthly expense report: October

I am pretty happy with my expenses for October. Not because how much I spend but on what I spend it. Below are the general numbers and then let’s dive in the details of my spending.

Income : 2 225,80 euro

Expenses : 1 531,70 euro

Savings : 694,10 euro or 31,18%

Income

Income was my regular paycheck from work. With the exception of my end of year bonus income will remain like this for at least a couple of months. But, and this is the exciting step, I did finally started ( a little bit) on the side gig. It only took me almost a full year. Sometimes I am really not happy with my own lazyness …

Expenses

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first.

I had my fixed amount of 1 100 euro  to deposit in our joint account as I do each month.

Food during working days was 81 euro. And I am really annoyed about it because I could have stayed below budget If I just had controlled my appetit a bit more.

Mobile phone cost me 14,20 euro because I made a few calls out of my bundle. I currently pay 12 euro a month for 2 giga of data and 150 min calling time. There is a 10 euro one which gives you 1 GB of data and with working form home and using Wi-FI a lot this should probably cover my data use. But with the 2 GB I know I will not run out and frankly that piece of mind is worth the 2 euro for me. Since we in Belgium have entered a new lockdown it might be smart for some of you to check if your mobile phone subscription still matches with your changed needs …

Gas for the Vespa was 8,5 euro because working from home most days …

I spend 44 euro on 2 t-shirts. Because sometimes I push my hobo dress style a bit too much and my girlfriends patience with it runs out.

A grand total of 8 euro was spend sending a registered letter to the Belgian tax office as we are in dispute over some income. Once resolved it will make for an interesting blog post. For now I try to not be annoyed by it. Even with fines the max they can charge me is around 400 euro. My aim is to not have to pay this. But if I do have to pay them I am making sure it will have cost them more in man hours. Victory by attrition!

And then, finally, the fun stuff!

I spend 25 euro to go see Robert Henk’s CBM 8032 AV show and some drinks afterwards. With the new lockdown now in effect I am really happy with this spending. Some entertainment out of the house! Seeing people! Yeah!!

Live music and old computers! What more does a person want?

110 euro was spend on some extra weights. And with weights I mean these kind of weights:

Yeah, weights!

I finally was able to buy some extra weights for my exercise equipment! I had been looking since mid August. I also bought extra 1,25 kg and 0,5 kg weights and those were actually the hardest to find. With the gyms having closed in March – April and afterwards all kind off restictions it seems quit a lot of people have started working out at home. My health/exercises deserve their own post but here to I have been a bit too lazy. I used the not having weights as an excuse where I could have ramped up the repetitions more. But now that I have the weights I either increase the weight or add a few more repetitions to at least 1 exercise. That way I make some progress every week. It may not be a lot but just as with savings, over several months all those little improvements start adding up!

Another 106 euro was spend on various little things that should make this second lockdown a bit more bearable. I promise, none of it was spend on steam games!

And then, 37 euro was spend on hosting and domain name transfer. My side gig will be an online gig. And a first step was to get the necessary web space.

The enthusiast package over at one.com gets me 200 GB of space and as an extra bonus the possibility to have 5 seperate websites. This means I can put this blog, my girlfriends DJ site and my project all at the same spot which is cheaper than having it all on seperate accounts. And for me as an European one.com is easier to use than my previuos USA hosting of this blog (tech suport in dutch, whoop, whoop!). So the 37 euro is a small amount but it got me really excited as it is the first step in getting my side project started!

Monthly expense report: September

While I paid the air travel and AirB&B part of our Holiday in August, September was actually the month we went on Holiday. We stayed 10 days in the Algarve region of Portugal. So how much did we actually spend during this ‘holiday’ month? The numbers are below.

Income : 2 246 euro

Expenses : 1 7325,50 euro

Savings : 510,50 euro or 22,73%

Income

Income was my regular paycheck from work and a small anniversy gift . Income will remain around this level until I get a side gig of the ground. And since I want to build something of my own and not just work a few additional hours left and right, the side gig is going to take some time.

Sun and empty beaches!

Expenses

Yes! Back to positive savings numbers! And actually not bad for a month with a 10 day holiday abroad in it.

I had my fixed amount of 1 100 euro to deposit in our joint account to pay for boring stuff like our mortgage, utilities, food and such.

I also bought (my final, I promise it!) game on steam for 18 euro.

I did spend 70 euro on food during work days. I shouldn’t have because diet, but at the very least it is on a downward spiral. Not working for 2 weeks did help off course.

When shopping for some extra holdiay clothes for myself I saw a nice summer dress (for the girlfriend) which I bought her. We do not do the regular gifts for birthdays, new year and such but occasionaly we spot something we think our partner would like and then we buy it. In this case it was 50 euro well spend.

During the holiday I spend 490 euro. 50 euro was uber rides and the rest grocerie shopping, visiting restaurants and the ferry to a nearby island. I was on a holiday and didn’t really want to keep track of all my spending in detail so I just kept track of the cash I withdrew from the local ATM. I off course only withdrew two big amounts to limit withdrawal costs to a minimum. I do not mind spending money on a good meal (or a really big chocolat croissant) or leaving a nice tip. But even in a holiday mood I seem to hate paying banking fees.

This is not a croissant, this LE CROISSANT

In the name of full transparacy. I did forget to include my mobile phone subscription in the September expense report. But I am too lazy to go dig it up. So yeah, this report is off by 12 to 15 euro. If their is a battle between lazy and accurate, lazy is going to win each and every time. This is after all, Financial Freedom Sloth,

Monthly expense report: August

August was the first month since March 2019 where I didn’t save any money. In 2019 the reason was me buying a new car. In August a holiday was the rason for the negative savings rate. Below are the numbers:

Income : 2 212 euro

Expenses : 2 465,90 euro

Savings : -253,90 euro or – 11,48%

Income

Income was my regular paycheck from work and a small anniversy gift from my parents. Small gift because they also helpt with some home renovation costs so I am not complaining.

Expenses

2 465,90 euro is a big number but I packed a lot of fun in that amount.

I had my fixed amount of 1 100 euro to deposit in our joint account to pay for boring stuff like our mortgage, utilities, food and such. Mid month I had to deposit an additional 200 euro into the joint account because she was running low. We are in the midst of renovation our office room and usually do not keep a big balance on our joint account. I prefer saving on my personal account andmaking additional paiments to the joint account when necessary as opposed to a higher monthly contribution and saving on the joint account directly.

Another purely practical expanes was 36 euro for gasoline for the Vespa and a bit for the car (the car is usually paid from the joint account).

A bad expense was again extra food bought for 76,7 euro. You would think my monthly – shameful – confessions of my overeating would have me quiet this bad habit, apparently not …

A bit more joyeus was the 15 euro gift for a co-worker who had a baby!

And then the really fun stuff for me personally:

83 euro for a sauna visit (and lunch at the restaurant)

58 euro for the truss for my laser and smoke machine (shown in this picture)

22,50 euro for a game on steam

145 euro for a restaurant visit with the parents and the girlfriend

And finally: 730 euro for my holiday in Portugal. This amount covers my half of the plain ticket and our airb&b rental.

Without all the fun stuff i would have actually remained under budget for the month and I definitely prefer spending my money on all of this than on anther maintenance bill for the Vespa!

Monthly expense report: July

After a pretty expensive month of June I was happy to have July return to a more normal level of expenses.

Income : 2 167,40 euro

Expenses : 1 559,90 euro

Savings : 607,50 euro or 28%

Income

July income can be summed up in one sentence: just my normal wages from work.

Expenses

A return to normal and actually almost within budget! Besides the 1100 euro I tranfer into our joint accounts (and which co-pays for our mortgage, food and utilisty bills) I only spend 460 euro:

70 euro on food I should not have bought: shame, shame on me!

33 euro on some health supplements: this actually makes the 70 euro on food from the previous line even worse! The best I can and should do for my health is lose weight. But this is something deserving of its own post. Supplement wise I am actually pretty frugal as I buy powder and fill my own capsules. This comes to about 1/3th the cost of buying pills in a bottle (packaging seems to be the main cost of most generic available supplements).

20 euro on cheap games on steam. People spend more on games during this lockdown apparently. I know I am!

20 euro on my cell phone plan

231 euro on a brand new laser and smoke machine! Yes I caved and bought myself a new laser. I went for the Laserworld EL-230RGB and the Ayra WSM black 01 smoke machine.

I am pretty happy both of them. Covid 19 has closed down all clubs in Belgium. These two turn our living room in our own private little club. In July you could see up to 15 people so we had a small 11 people party (no photo’s of that to protect the not so innocent grin) and the laser was a big hit.

I did have to improvise with the placement of everything. So I wasn’t a 100% happy and in August I also bought a truss to add to our set-up and that does add a little professional feel to the whole set-up. Me happy!

Laser and smoke machine on the truss, behind the truss the DJ gear of the lady of the house

We are currently finishing the renovation of our office room. Once the office is finished we will finally be able to move the last of our boxes out of the living room and finish the living room (the wire sticking out of the wall). And this in turn will give me the space to turn that corner of our living room into our own small club. Off course, once we have replaced our roof I will have an entire 90 square metre attic to play with. But for the time being this will do .. .

Frugal living doesn’t mean living a miserable life but instead spending your money on what is important to you. it’s why I am not happy with the 70 euro spend on food I shoudl not have eaten in the first place but also why I am very happy spending the 230 euro on the laser and smoke machine.

Monthly expense report: June

June expenses really, really, annoyed me. Which is probably why I didn’t do this expense report sooner. The numbers below may look good but it is what behind the (expense) number that annoys me.

Income : 3 623,74 euro

Expenses : 2 423,50 euro

Savings: 1 200,24 euro of 33,12%

Income

June income consists of my normal wages + my holiday money. The total is 3 623,74 euro and this will be the last time work is giving me anything extra for the remainder of the year. The higher income is alos the only reason why I was able to save at all. My normal income of around 2 160 euro would have not covered my expenses.

Expenses

Those expenses were 2 423,50 euro. The main culprit for this high amount is the Vespa.

Due to working form home most of the days I do not use the Vespa all that much anymore. This is the reason why maintenance only happened in June. In my mind this was going to be a ‘cheap’ maintenance. New tires and some other stuff decided otherwise and left me with a maintenance bill of 890 euro. Driving the Vespa too fast even added another speeding ticket of 108 euro. Add in some gasoline for the Vespa and I spend just over a 1000 euro on the Vespa this month. In other words, I would have remained firmly within my budget this month without the Vespa related costs.

I blame in part my garage, and in part myself.

Blaming the garage is the easy part. They maintain the Vespa too well. Honestely they do! They do the maintenance by the book which means they replace stuff when the maitnenance book says it is time to replace it. Thing is that those maintenance books err on the safe side. Big advantage is that your Vespa is always purring like a happy little kitten. Downside is that it increases the maintenance costs. Those new tires? Yes they could use replacing. On the other hand, I am sure they would have survived another 2 to 3,000 km’s, probably … So a bit more flexibility with the ‘recommended’ maitnenance guidelines could save me a couple of bucks left an right. But I think we all knwo who is the main culprit here. Yep, it is me.

The person I really need to blame is myself! I know the maintenance is expensive. Hell, I did an entire post about it back in January. What was the conclusion again of that post?

Right, I need to move my ass on the electrical bicycle front. Did I do it?

Nope. I didn’t do it in June when I was really annoyed at the high maintenance cost.

And I haven’t done it now, almost 2 months later. People, really, if I tell you guys I am a lazy SOB, believe me, I am!! So yeah, I still need to do this.

And since I am being critical about myself. The second largest expense in June after the Vespa was, drum roll … Food! 133 euro worht of extra food I purchased.

Might not be a big amount but I am supposed to be trying to lose weight! It is my eternal struggle and this 133 euro just represants too many instances where i didn’t follow my food regime. I am definitely being to lazy there.

The othere expenses were a 50 euro gift, a visit too Pairi Daisa (we visited shortly after it reopened during the week so almost no people!). My cell phone bill (13 euro this month) and a game on steam for 17 euro. All very reasonable, normal expenses. If it wasn’t for the damn Vespa and all my eating June would have been a very good month …

Monthly expense report: May

Another full month off lockdown has past. In May lockdown measures in Belgium were relaxed. But since we are not big on shopping and my work continued his work from home policy the relaxed measure didn’t really have a big impact on either off us. The only real difference was that we did get to see our family, once.

As of 8 June measures will further be relaxed with pub and restaurant visit becoming possible. And also meeting with up to 10 friends. As of Monday I will also be able to go back to work if I choose to so we will finaly see a real impact on our lives as off Monday.

Last month I only really spend 75 euro due to the lock down. In May I did spend a bit more.

Income : 4 062,45 euro

Expenses : 1 307,70 euro

Savings: 2 754,75 euro of 67,81%

Income

May income consists off my normal wages + my anual bonus. Add in 100 euro from a late easter gift from the parents and in April i saw over 4,000 euro flowing into my checking account.

Expenses

Expenses were pretty low again. And most of it was even on fun stuff.

I spend 36 euro on 3 steam games. I went once again bargain hunting in the steam promotions and now really have enough games to last me for months and months of play time.

Another luxury spend for me was 35 euro for a nice black metal jerrycan. I have jerrycans but all are of the cheap plastic version. And ever since buying the Vespa I have wanted a nice, quality metal jerrycan. Yes I am weird that way.

I off course had to fill up the Jerrycan (and also did a fill up of the Vespa zel) so I did spend 19 euro on gasoline as well.

In May we would have normaly visited Extrema outdoor but since that got cancelled and did want something of a festival vibe I decided to buy a T-shirt from one of my favorite techno labels. I consider it a little gift back for all the excellent stremas DJ’s have been doing online over the last month. And I could use a new t-shirt anyway.

On the practical side I had my cell phone bill of 12 euro. This might go even lower in the next few months as Mobiel vikings reshaped their formulas and is now offering 1 GB and 150 min call time for 10 euro. Mobile subscriptions (and technology in general) is one of the areas that firmly remains deflatory: year after year you get more for the same money.

On the bad side: I did spend 45 euro on grocery shopping I should not have spend. I continue to struggle with my weight and diet regime. Hence also the reason why I still haven’t done a health reports.

But all in all May saw me going considerably below budget. It was even enough to push my monthly average for the year below my self imposed budget. On average I have now spend only 1480 euro/month!

June will probably screw this up since the relaxation of the Covid measures will enable us to catch up on several social obligations. After 3 months of being cooped up in our house we also want to go somewhere. So, weather permitting we will probably do some day trips in Belgium.

Monthly expense report: April

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

Income: 2 258,38 euro

Expenses: 1 624,32 euro

Savings: 634,06 euro or 28%

Income

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

Expenses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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