Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

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Monthly expense report: January

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

Income: 2 512 euro

Expenses: 1 505,90 euro

Savings : 1 006,10 euro or 40%

Income

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

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

Expenses

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

So close

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 full year recap

With the end of Januari being here I realised I had not yet done the full year recap of 2019.

And then digging through my archive I realised I never did one for 2018 either.

Oops

And let there never be any doubt about my laziness!

Doing a 2018 recap a year too late seems a bit silly to me but with three full years under my belt a small three year overview might be interesting.

So before diving into 2019 here is that recap:

Three year recap

2017201820192019 corrected
Income30 862 27 76539 22134 221
Expenses20 71920 04728 32020 207
Savings10 1437 71810 90114 014
SR32,9%27,8%27,8%40,9%

2017 had on the income side a 5000 euro gift from the parents

2017 I went on a holiday and bought the vespa for 3 000 euro

2018 income was just my wages at the current employer. It was my first full year of working at my employer so I didn’t really get any profit bonus as those are calculated on the previous year. Holiday money also is a complicated mess (due to 2017 being in part unemployed and the other part filled with interim work) with me actually having to pay some back.

2018 expenses had nothing exceptional either.

2019 on the income side once again had a 5 000 euro gift from my parents to our new car purchase.

This off course means I had a 8 113 euro expense for said car also. If you correct the car purchase from 2019 I feel those corrected numbers reflect my spending a lot better.

three year recap conclusions

Two broad conclusion can be taken from the above:

* my annual spending is slightly above 20 000 euro

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

The second point is proven by 2018. This was a low year on the income side because no gift from the parents and the first year at the new employer (so no profit bonus, no holiday money that year) but my spending remained pretty much the same.

Logic then dictates that as my income goes up so should my saving and especially my savings rate. The 2019 corrected numbers clearly demonstrates this. Hell even with the car purchase I saved more in 2019 than 2017 or 201! The conclusion is I need to boost my income with some type of sidegig.

Lets dive a little bit more into the numbers of 2019

2019 numbers

Income

Income was 39 221 euro.

Main part of the income was work: 33 510,27 euro

Gifts stand at 5 345 euro. The main one being 5 000 euro from the parents for the car and the remainder being the normal birthday, christmas gifts and such

My litle experiment with buying and selling tickets did bring in 135,40 euro but it is clear that as a side gig I need something better (and also more legal in Belgium).

And I also got 130 euro back from our health insurer

Expenses

The bulk of my 28 320,21 euro spnding went to our joint account:

13 800 euro. Understandable as this money pays our mortgage, all house related costs (like heating, electricity) and the food for both of us.

The new car purchase was 8 113 euro

The Vespa cost me 1 649,20 euro (as I showed in this post)

Extra food 1 311,5 euro. This is a bad expense!! It annoys me in particular as it was just too many sandwiches, pizza and candy bought. Add it all up for an entire year and it is a pretty decent amount. And + it made me fat again! This category needs to be lower in 2020 and thus far Januari has been good in this regard. 11 more months to go!

Gifts stand at 1 226,5 euro (with 826 euro being for the girlfriend)

Hobbies 593 euro

Random fun: 614 euro

Restaurant: 300 euro

sports: 120 euro

Buried in telecom was a 350 euro smartphone and Clothing : 114 euro

I include these last two because of this: of the 28 320,21 euro I spend in 2019 I only spend 4 629 euro on what can be considered ‘fun’ stuff. The remaining 24 000 ish euro are fixed expenses I had to do (one could discuss the car purchase ..). En out of the 4 629 euro 1 226 euro was gifts, or stuff not for me! On myself I only spend 3 400 euro on stuff I liked spending money on (well, I liked buying the gifts but you get what I mean). And that includes 1 311 euro extra food I should not have bought.

Bottom line: I only spend 2 019 euro on stuff for me I liked buying and was actually good for me. That amount is the sum of the hobbies, random fun, restaurants and sport categories! It is around 10% of my expenses. It is also scary realising how low this number actually is!

2020 goals

So my goals for 2020 are finding a decend side gig that can push my savings rate higher, drastically lower the extra food purchases (idealy some of these expenses are shifted to the sports category) and spend more money on fun stuff for myself! And all the while stay below 20,000 euro in total spending.

The cost of owning a Vespa 125cc

I have now owned and used – intensifily – my Vespa scooter for 2 full years and with all the articles about the cost of owning a car I found it intersting to see how much the Vespa has set me back these last two years.

When adding all the costs a few things became clear. Fuel costs me around 45 euro a month with me filling up about 5 times a month with a 9 euro refill each. I also seem to have a trafic ticket once per year but wiht the fine increasing each year. 2018 was the cheapest at 50 euro, 2019 came and I got a 75 euro ticket and for 2020 I already am at 130 euro.

* gulp *

I bought the Vespa back in 2017 for 2 750 euro and I tought the I made a semi frugal choice. More expensive than continuing to use the electircal bicycle we allready had but definitely a lot cheaper (and more practical) than a second car. This recap was somewhat of an eye opener concerning the semi-frugal part of that statement.

Fun, practical choice or not ?

Let me start by saying I still really, really enjoy using the Vespa to go to work (see also the speeding tickets).

It is fun and it is the fasted most practical way of getting to work. Last May my work moved to very near the Leuven train station. For me this move had zero impact but a lot of my co-workers had to stop using their car and switch to public transport via train.

Nine years of commuting to Brussels has instilled me with an all consuming hate for the Belgian railway company.

With the move of our company, many co-workers made the switch to the train because getting to the building means facing a huge traffic jam and there are only six available parking spaces in the building itself. And those parking spaces are for the management. The rest of us got parking space a10 min walk away from the building.

So using a car is out.

Using the train is also out because, well I hate them! But it would also mean driving to the train station (10 min), waiting for the train (5min on a good day), riding on the train (10 min, also on a good day) and then a 5 min walk to the office. All in all 30 min which is the same time I need now. Except I am completely flexible when I leave and do not get frustrated on an almost daily basis by the Belgian rail company and there frequent delays (did I tell you I hate them?)

No, the best way to get to Leuven is by bicycle or scooter for me. And I really enjoy using the scooter so to answer the question. Yes the Scooter, for me, was a fun, practical choice.

Frugal choice or not?

Now the good part! The numbers.

This is using the Scooter every working day for a total distance of 40 kms per day, and a few more when i go swimming. So around 10,000 km a year. That’s a lot of km’s to do on a Scooter

In 2018 I spend on the Vespa 2 456,40 euro on maintenance and gas. Then I need to add a 95 euro insurance cost and let’s put amortisation at 275 euro a year.

Grand total cost for 2018: 2 826,40 euro

yes that number gave me sticker schock as well. With an annual cost for a car being estimated to be between 3 000 and 4 000 the Vespa was barely cheaper than a car. In that big amount was a 1 000 euro of extra maintenance because of a faulty cylinder head which should not have happend. But it did happen.

But without eh unforseen big maintenance and average year of using a Vespa scooter should cost around 1 800 euro right? Let’s take a look at 2019 wher eno unforseen maintenance costs happened.

In 2019 I spend for maintenance and gas (and the speeding ticket, didn’t forget that one) 1 279,20 euro. Insurance was again 95 euro and let’ keep amortisation at 275 euro for the year.

That brings the grand total cost for 2019 to: 1 649,20 euro

Whoow, I need to say I am reliefed at that number. It makes a scooter about half the price of a modest car. So not that bad after all. Add in the fact that I kinda, maybe negotiated a tax free bicycle remuneration of 160 euro a month and my home – work transport is basically free.

On the other hand: I spend 1 650 euro a year on getting to work!!

An electrical bicycle would cost almost nothing and take only a little bit longer. And I could use the exercise, just ask my wasteline!

So is the Vespa scooter a frugal choice or not? Compared to a second car? Yes it is. But compared to a decent electrical bicycle with roughly the same purchase price? Nope. Even with amortisation and maintenance a decend electrical bicycle would only cost you around 400 euro a year. So I am spending 1,200 euro more a year.

Moving forward

For me, all this made it once more abundantely clear I need to get my ass moving on the electrical bicycle front. The girlfriend has one I can use, I just want it to go a bit faster. So I need to do this ASAP! Even if I only use the bicycle for half of my workweek I should still be able to save around 500 euro a year.

Monthly expense report: December

Income: 3 790 euro

Expenses: 1 625 euro

Savings : 2 165 euro or 57%

Income

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

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

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

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

Expenses

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

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

Monthly expense report: November

Happy holiday greetings to all my readers!

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

Income: 2 387,10 euro

Expenses: 1 622 euro

Savings : 765 euro or 32%

Income

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

Expenses

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

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

* sigh *

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

* hangs head in shame *

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

* hangs head in double shame *

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

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

Monthly expense report: October

October was a pretty average month with one exception. Read below to find out.

Income: 2 320 euro

Expenses: 1 822 euro

Savings: 497,80 euro or 21,46%

Income

This was pretty simple this month: only my wages from working.

Expenses

Once again I spend ot much on food at work. November was better in this regard so I am hoping this was the last really bad month I had food wise.

We also wend to a decent restaurant with me picking up the check for the girlfriend. This is a food expense I do not regret as the food there was excellent and the friends accompagnying us there will soon be leaving for Portugal. As of next year we will have friends living in Protugal, Japan, Thailand, Dubai and Israel. So we are not lacking travel options for the future. We will off course be travelling to Menorca next year . Menorca, where we know nobody …

The last main expense which I do kind of mind is the one that pushed me over my budget for the month. The Vespa needed maintenance again. This came in at 470 euro. The simple fact is i am driving using it for about 11,000 km a year which means stuff will need replacing every year to keep it purring happily. This time it was the drive belt, next time probably a tire. I kind of blame myself. The plan for October last year was to have a fast electrical bicycle so I could cut my use of the Vespa in half. This would also double the time inbetween big maintenance jobs, effectively cutting that maintenance cost in half as well. Did I do this? No I did not! Why you might ask? Probably because I am a lazy sloth.

The search for a side gig

The last year I have been thinking about and searching for a side gig. I have two main reason for this: my savings rate and life post retirement.

Savings rate

I now have pratically three full years of a more or less detailed overview of my income, expenes ad savings rate. I will dig more into that with my full year recap but with regards to the savings rate the picture is pretty clear:

In 2017 the savings rate was 32,87%

In 2018 it was 27,80%

And in 2019 it will be somewhere between 28% and 30%

So my savings rate hovers between 28% and 32%. Comparing this to the average Belgian this puts me in the top 20% of savers (the articles do not mention a savings rate but do mention saving amounts and I am consistenly over 500 eur per month). But in FIRE circles this is a pretty low rate.

As Mr Money Mustache demonstrates in his shockingly simple math behind early retirement post: with a savings rate of around 30% it takes 28 years to achieve financial independence.

No my aim is an average expense per month of 1 500 euro. But over the last 3 years I was closer to 1 700 euro. Achieving my goal here would bring me closer to a 40% savings rate. But I have been trying to lower my expenses for three years and not getting very far. Perhaps I am more set in my ways then I thought. It might be time to start looking at the income side of the equation.

Life post retirment

As I explained in this post way back my life post retirement working a little bit each year was always my plan. In my exit strategy post I already mentionned a side gig might be the best way to earn the 7500 euro tax free money each year.

My conclusion from that post still stands. If you want a somewhat interesting side gig you will need to work at it regulary so during the year it needs to be something location independent and also somewhat time flexible.

The search so far

One path for a side gig we are exploring is the possibiliy for the girlfriend to make some extra money as a DJ. The gift I got here back in July was not just a gift but also – in part – an investment in a possible side gig for her. The main reason for this is that she is music crazy and at the very least she will have a hobby she likes. With some luck this hobby will get her some paying gigs. Since flexi jobs have been created mainly for pubs and events we are hoping she could get paid as a flexi job which would permit her to earn an additional tax free amount of 6,000 euro per year. If not, there is always the self-employered as secondary activity route. From friends we know it still is a sector with a lot of payments under the table so the effective tax rate for this route should remain pretty close to zero. It is a somewhat location independent side gig since techno has now become a global phenomenon (a former co-worker of me is now earning his living as a DJ in Thailand) and it has some time flexibility because your gig times might be fixed, but you have some flexibilty when you do the preparation of your crates, cues, loops and samples (yes, I am picking up the lingo as well). Well, flexibility as long as your preparations are done before the gig off course. We’ll see how it goes.

During the last year I also tried my hand at what I would call ticket arbitrage.

A lot of venues now sell their tickets in waves, ranging from 5 to 25 euro. I saw an arbitrage possibility. Where this used to be an activity limit to somebody living in a big city and with local connections, internet has changed the game completely. You can now buy tickets online and thanks to the ticketswap site you now have a safe and secure way of selling them online as well. I had a bit of a learning curve and did it more out of curiosity as doing this in a structured way in Belgium is illegal (legal in Netherland apparently). But my little experiment did show that yes, you could make some money from it.

My profit was 107 euro on an invested capital of 559 euro or a 19% return in six months! And invested capital was actually lower as I reinvested previously earned profits again. One of my high earners (high earner is relative, we are talking 50 euro profit here) was a Laurent Garnier gig where I almost double my money in less than one month. Selecting events that will completely sell out is key.

It was also a learning stage where I mainly only paid attention to the line up of 1 club. One hour of searching resulted in 6 more clubs who offered tickets in waves (and that was me only looking at the Netherlands and the UK). Ticketswap operates in 29 countries. The United States being among those countries! Of course the more countries you start working on and the more clubs/events you add the more work this becomes. Scale this up and you will need to have soms sort of administrative tool to keep track of everything (although google agenda and google sheets will get you pretty far). It will be ‘work’ to earn a decent amount with this. But with this kind of return a capital of 25,000 euro could get you a 5,000 euro return every 6 months!

It is a location independent gig and somewhat time flexible. Buying the tickets is the only fixed time you have and is something that can be done from your mobile as well. Actually, all of it could be done from your mobile. I kind of liked it but as said, unfortunately illegal in Belgium to do and the present job doesn’t leave me with enough free mental energy to make a serious go at it. I might snipe a few events right and left to make a quick buck in the future and the girlfriend will use it to lower her cost of going out herself (buy 6 tickets, sell 5 at a profit and go for free yourself!). But I continue looking for something that scales easier and takes less effort (I am a sloth after all).

Monthly expense report: September

Income: 2 388 euro

Expenses: 1 590 euro

Savings: 798 euro or 33,42%

Income

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

Expenses

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

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

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

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

About smartphones, and memory lanes and such

Smartphones are great! Betraying my age I would even say mobile phones are great! Being able to make calls on the go! And sending texts! My 20 year olds mind was blown away.

Let us not forget where we come from and take a little trip down memory lane with me.

Memory lane

I bought my first mobile phone when I was still a student because being a student in Belgium meant you had to go out in the rain and from a payhone call your mom at least once a week. Since all students had to do this this usually also meant waiting in line (did I mention the rain?) for other students to finish their call home. This at least gave you the excuse to keep the call short. After two years of this I was tired of the whole process and as the first one among my friends I bought a mobiel phone. Students didn’t have mobile phones in 1998! Hell, most students didn’t have a laptop back then. Some lucky ducks got an older model laptop from their father if that father was lucky enough to buy his own laptop from his work when that work upgraded to a new model. For all your computer needs the university had computer rooms.

I didn’t used that cellphone (a nokia 5110 which for the life of me I can not remember how much I paid for it) a lot because phone calls and texts were prety expensive back then. So I stil had an excuse to keep those calls to home short!

build as a brick and with great battery life this phone survives everything!

That Nokia 5110 lasted me until I went to work for a mobile network operator. Let me tell you, having access to free handsets an virtually unlimited network acces was a pretty nice company perk back in the early 2000’s! I stayed with that mobiel operator till 2006 and they did try to expand the capabilities of the phones/network but with very limited success. It just was all so cluncky… And then came the Iphone in 2007.

The birth of the smartphone era

The Iphone made a big splash believe me. Not immediately available in Belgium people asked other people going to the USA to bring them back one. I had a friend goind to the USA and she had like 6 orders for Iphones on her first trip and 8 or so on her second trip.

You might think I was among those ordering but no. I was actually pretty late to the whole smartphone revolution. One reason was that smartphones were really expensive back then (around 500 euro) another was that I really didn’t see the use. At home I had a desktop with a nice big screen which gave me access to the internet at ADSL speed. At work I had a desktop with a nice big screen which gave me access to the internet at even faster speeds. A smartphone had a small screen and the mobile network speeds were very slow then.

My first smartphone would be a refurbished Samsung Note 2 because it had a really big screen size and with edge/3g the mobile networks finally offered a somewhat decent speed. I think that phone cost me around 300 euro way back. Loved the big screen, never used the stylus.

I was hooked! I mean, I was already hooked to the internet and finally a truly mobile way to access the internet was available. I was so hooked that for my next smartphone I even bought a brand new flagship phone in the form of Nexus 6 from google and the price of 600 euro

It was a great phone and I enjoyed it a lot. When the battery started to falter I even thought about replacing the battery myself and coaxing another year out of the phone. But the headphone jack was already broken for a few months, the charging connexion only half worked and the volume button was starting to become pretty loose. It was time to look for a new phone. And altough the Nexus had been a great phone I felt 600 euro to expensive for a piece of tech that you will only use for 3 to 4 years.

Inflated flagship phones

The phone landscape had changed over those last few years. Where flagship phones used to be 600 euro, they had jumped up to 800 euro end then, finally topped the 1,000 euro! Honest to god, these are crazy prices! Especially because there are now a whole range of mid prized phones (and with mid-prized I mean around 300 euro, the Moto G range comes to mind) that are more than adequate for most peoples needs. Most people use their phone still for calling, texting (via whatsapp now, no more SMS,) some facebook and instagram and that is it! Most 150 euro smartphones are great for that. The 300+ euro smartphones are already hugely over spec’ed for most peoples uses.

And if you do need heavy duty spec’s beacuse you use your phone for a lot of stuff there are a lot brands challeging those flagship phones in spec’s at a lot lower price. Thing is, they do not advertise them all that much.

No advertising

Huawei for example has a subbrand Honor that is a lot more affordable but is hardly advertised in Europe, although it is easily available in Europe.

You have to remember advertising is something compagnies do for the things they make the most money on. Which is never the thing that will give you the best value for your money. So look at the stuff they are not advertising. Like the Huawei honor series.

Now I am a pretty heavy user of my phone: listing to music via soundcloud or plex, managing my synology Nas from the phone, keeping tabs on our finances, reading books … So I had my eye on the pocophone 1 when it appeared on the smartphone scene because it offered incredible technical spec’s at a pretty low price. So I was on the look out for either the pocophone 2 or an even lower priced pocophone 1 because of the launch of the 2.

The Xiaomi Mi 9, it has a periscope selfie camera!

But Xiaomi decided to kill off the pocophone subbranded and released it as the Xiaomi Mi9 (named Redmi K20 in the rest of the world I think). Luckily for me they also launched a slightly cheaper version with the Xiaomi Mi 9t (I really couldn’t justify the pro version even if it was only 50 euro more expensive).That is what I ended up buying for 353 euro. With a great battery life, brillant screen and already three camera’s on the back I really can not think of anything more I would want from a phone. Yes, perhaps an even bigger screen. But if I need a bigger screen it usually means I am going to do some work and then I still rather use the desktop than my phone.

Different levels of frugal

All of this goes to show there are a lot off different levels of frugal. For me, with all the use I get from my smartphone a 350 euro phone is pretty frugal. Especially compaired to the current 1,200 euro flagships out there. Others will consider this still an extravagance and stick with more basic smartphones for a 150 euro’s. And then you have the true weirdo’s who will go without a smartphone completely! But that’s just crazy 😉

Monthly expense report: August

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

Income: 2 421,43 euro

expenses: 1 894,60 euro

Savings : 526,83 euro or 21,76%

Income

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

Expenses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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