2016-10-gifts-02It was the birthday of Miss CF a while ago, the little bugger already turned 3 years old. We had a great birthday party with lots of family. Little Miss CF had a blast and enjoyed all the attention and gifts. Which brings us to the topic of today’s post, what is a “normal” birthday gift for a small child and how much do/should you spend on this as parents? Do you buy new of used (or both)?

I realize that this will depend on your financial position and financial mind-set. As our financial position is solid (we are very fortunate and realize this frequently) but our financial mind-set is frugal, this provides a bit of a conflict.

This year we spend €54 for Miss CF. As we don’t have much references, we are not sure if this is very little, “normal” or a lot (or all of the above). For this amount of money we got her the following:

  • Small kitchenette (€50);
  • Inflatable donut for swimming (€1.0);
  • Large toy flower (€1.0);
  • Pink hair band (€0.75);
  • 6 magnetic butterflies for on the fridge/whiteboard (€0.75); and,
  • 6 party whistles (€0.50).

The kitchenette we bought used off Marktplaats (local ebay, kijiji, etc.) and doubted a while before buying this one as it was one of the more expensive ones available, but it looked amazing and was in a very good scape. When the time comes Miss CF is outgrown the Kitchenette, we will likely be able to sell it again for anywhere between €25 and €40 (based on current prices). So in reality it may only cost us anywhere between €10 and €25, which is not a lot of money.

The other 5 items we bought at a thrift store. We let Miss CF pick out her own gifts, which is always a winner. We also made sure she got some extra attention and time from us that weekend, which resulted in an overall very happy kid.

And you guessed correctly, the six party whistles were the greatest thing in her mind. She played with them for hours, lots of giggles and laughs (and driving us crazy), and was very protective of them during the birthday party. Go figure. 2016-10-gift

But it comes to show that she favour the little things as much (or more) as the bigger ones (at least for now), however the thing she favours most is attention/experiences. Hope she can keep doing this for many more years to come, would make her a great candidate to become FI early on in her life (which would make us a couple of very proud parents ;-).

What do you think? How much do you pay for gifts for your kids (or how much would you be willing to pay)? Do you feel cheap if you buy something small or cheap?

P.s. sorry for the crummy photo of the kitchenette, got to love the quality of camera’s on most phones 😉

As already hinted on a couple of times, the Cheesy Index got a bit of an overhaul in September due to the post of this article and associated comments from you readers. We found that we had not incorporated the tax benefit called the “heffingskorting” correctly into our FI/Cheesy Index calculations. An updated assessment showed that we needed a solid €83K less Net Worth in order to become FI. That is great news, as it turns out that we just crossed the 50% mark! Seriously good news in our ears, as you can well imagine.

We also updated the yearly Cheesy Index as can be seen here. With this increased piece of knowledge about the heffingskorting, we realized what we could shift our FI date forward by about 18 months! Nice, eh? Based on the various assumptions and ROI’s, we should be ready to FI by about mid 2024. To continue with the good news run, we are now only 0.2% from the Cheesy Index target for 2016. There is a good chance that we will beat our forecast this year (assuming Mr. Market does not do anything crazy).

The Cheesy Index up to September 2016 is estimated at 53.1%.


How was your months of September, did you see your porfolio increase? Did you get closer to FI? Let us know!

2016-10-tap-2You might have encountered this discussion yourself as well….. Mr. CF: why is it so cold in the house? Mrs. CF: I don’t know I have not touched the thermostat. Mr CF goes to up the temperature to find that the thermostat has crapped out (we checked, it weren’t the batteries). This all happened on Friday night at 20:00……crap stores are closed.

So the next (very cold) morning, the search begins for a new thermostat. Two questions that come up: what is available and how much do we want to spend on it? To answer the first question is: many! There is a large selection of thermostats, the basic ones have just a temperature gauge and two buttons, the fancy ones have 4 sensors for different areas of the house. These fanct systems are wireless/remotely operated, can be programmed with an app, are highly flexible (and so on and so forth). The first options costs a very reasonable €20,95, the second type up to a whopping €499, with the majority of them around the €100-180 mark. That is quite the price difference!

What do you “need”, well you certainly need a thermostat as it won’t be very comfortable or practical to live without heating. But it is more the want’s that come into play with the thermostat. The options start with do you want to be able to program (e.g. daily on/off cycles, temperature ranges, etc.), do you want to be able to remotely turn on/off the heating of the house, or whatever else you can think of related to heating the house.

After some debate, we opted for the basic €20,95 thermostat option. Why? We noticed that our living schedule changes significantly from day to day. We don’t always come home at the same time (subject to work, Miss CF plans to play outside after day-care or desire to what’s some Roger Rabbit, spontaneous weekend plans or other reasons), so programming does not really work that well. Which means the heating is either on or off at the wrong time (which is uncomfortable or a waste of money/energy). The remotely (app) operated would be a welcome features, but just not at the price of €150-499.2016-10-tap-3

Our home these days in not too big anymore (~125m2 or about 1350sf) with lots of smaller living areas and rooms, so it heats up rather quickly; therefore increasing the temperature when coming home is not a noticeable problem for us. To keep things simple and frugal, we bought the cheapest option that does only one thing: keep us comfortable. We keep the temperature on about 17-18 degrees Celcius when we are not there and increase to around 20-20.5 degrees Celcius when we get home or if we feel cold. We have the advantage that we have large south/southwest facing windows, so the house heats up nicely during the sunny days. And with the about €130 we saved, we can also buy some sweaters 😉 Oh, and additionally we lowered the temperature of the boiler system to 65 degrees  Celcius (down from 80 degrees Celcius), this means lower gas use while still limiting the risk of nasty organisms in the water lines.

Also, on the same cold Saturday morning, we deviced a simple plan to keep warm (at least around the stove) and enjoy a good solid breakfast at the same time: Pancakes!

Because we try to eat as healthy as we can, we prefer a plant based whole foods lifestyle. But that means that pancakes are not really the heathiest way to eat. However, we found a decent recipe to eat semi-healthy pancakes without the milk and eggs:

  • 700ml soy milk
  • 300 grams whole grain flour
  • Baking powder
  • Couple of apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
  • Real Canadian Maple syrup (skip this is you want to stick to the really healthy, but you have to enjoy life as well!)
  • Bit of oil for baking (we actually used olive oil for this)

Mix soy milk and flour, add backing power. Mix thoroughly. Heat pan, add some oil, and pour in batter. Add apple slices. Turn once half way and bake pancakes until golden brown. The end result looked like this:

Bon appetite!

September was a steady month on the dividend front, no purchases but lots of free money. However, an interesting trend developed over the last few months due to the steady increase in many stock prices. We generally had picked the number of stocks such that they would trigger automatic purchases each time dividend was paid. But as certain stocks have increase in value by more than 30% since we purchased them, this does not happen anymore. In short, we receive more and more cash into the account and we anticipate that by the end of the year we will have another €500-700 to buy a few more dividend shares (fees are about €7 per transaction).

September yielded a very nice €573 in dividends, yeah! Very exited about this. It actually is a YOY return of about 740%. But as noted last month, this is mainly due to a large amount of cash that we reinvested over the last 15 months and not “organic” dividend growth (that would have been really spectacular! But we are not magicians).


We currently own a total of 42 stocks, but due to the sale of RDSA shares after the dividend (in an attempt to make some capital gains and buy them back at a lower price, which by the way has backfired so far due to the OPEC agreed production level….) we now also dropped back below the “magic” number of 10.000 shares… bummer (just kidding).


When you dump everything into a pie chart, based on the sectors the shares represent, you find the below overview. It’s not very well managed at this point as we would like less exposure to financial services stock and more to energy and consumer defence stocks (i.e. we have to buy some RDSA, UNA and AH in the next months).


How was your September? Did you get some money for doing absolutely nothing too?

September was a good month from a social perspective. We had a great weekend getaway in Centreparcs with lots of family (the grandparents rented 3 cottages for 3 nights). Miss CF greatly enjoyed the waterpark and slept like a baby (again) in the hours afterwards. Lot of fun with the big diners and lunches, as well as the mini golf and petting zoo. Both of us also had some time to relax, life was good!

Another fun event was a local flower parade/carnival parade in the town where Mrs. CF grow up (totally free to visit). This year did not disappoint either! Great laughs all around.

As to the financial side of September, here is a quick overview:

  • Mr. CF officially changed companies (still the same work/position with the same company, but now it’s no longer a secondment). This had a big effect on the income as the payment schedule changed from a once per month to a once per 4 weeks. In short, income for Mr. CF was considerably lower this period (only got about 55% of what normally comes in);
  • Mrs. CF did not have her expense claims paid before the end of this month, resulting in a reduction in income for the month of September;
  • Income (principal and interest payments) from crowdfunding loans is now starting to exceed €150/month;
  • Income from the new rental units is now starting to come in, but we should receive the first full payments as per late October/early November;
  • We purchased glass and paint for the new windows, which will replace the old ones (~€350);
  • Groceries & grooming a bit above normal at around €425 (partially caused by the B-day party for Miss CF);
  • So were costs for day-care and kids related expenses (~€1100, including benefits);
  • The weekend getaway was completely paid for (except some food and fuel), the parade was free too and the fairground rides for Miss CF were paid for by grandma, so no travel & leisure costs this month;
  • We sold an double bed that we had purchased for friends whom were staying over in August, made €30 of the resale! We were initially wanted to keep it for ourselves, but decided not to as our own bed was still good enough. Smart move, as we made some money on selling it. This is also causing the negative percentage on the other category (it’s an negative expense); and,
  • The invoice for the webhosting and domain name for Cheesy Finance pas also paid this month (~€84)

So the saving rate for September ended up being relatively low due to the temporary lack of income and expense payments, which will correct itself in future months when there will be a double income in the same month due to the new 4 week pay periods and the expenses will be received. Still we ended the month with a respectable savings rate of 43.4%. See below for the usual graphs.



How was your month? Did you do well on you savings rate for September?


(If you have read this post before, it is important to note that updates were made on October 10, 2016 as a result of various comments on this post. The main updates include the assumption that the heffingskorting will only apply once, not twice, as the least earning of the couple will not longer get heffingskorting as of 2024. In short, we have assumed €2242 heffingskorting for all scenarios)

In the previous two posts on the topic “How Much Do You Need To Become Financially Independent in the Netherlands”, we looked at three scenarios (the “poverty” option, “base case” option and the “luxury” option) and taxation for these scenarios.

In light of recent discoveries and online discussions with various other bloggers (Financieel Vrij en Mr. FOB, both in Dutch), an update of the last post is required, and for a good and very positive reason: lower taxes! Albeit not incorrect as a ballpark calculation, the previously mentioned net worth requirements can be considered as too conservative.coin5

We therefore recalculated the total asset value required to provide your household (in this case defined as two adults and one/two children) with a net “base case” income of €25,000 per year (in 2016 Euros). The assumption remains that you make an average return on your investment (ROI) of 4% after correction for inflation/escalation, but before taxes (unless noted otherwise).

For this analysis we assumed 4 (updated) scenario’s (see link below for details):

1)      All your income falls under Box 1

2)      All your income falls under Box 2

3)      All your income falls under Box 3

4)      Your net income has a 40 – 60 percentage split between income in Box 1 and Box 3

For the original post with further details on when the scenarios would apply and how this would work in the real world, see here.

The major difference with the previously performed analyses is that we now also correctly incorporate the heffingskorting (aka “a general tax refund”) for scenarios 2, 3 and 4. Furthermore, we now also assume the new 2017 tax rates on wealth in Box 3. Finally, a few more minor calculation errors were corrected and assumptions changed to better reflect reality.

Scenario Assumptions

We have assumed the following for each scenario (including updates from the previous assessment):

Scenario 1:

  • Taxation is based on 2016 rates
  • It assumes income is from labour (Box 1, but only assumes you get the “heffingskorting” (no other benefits for sake of simplicity).
  • No income from other benefits or government/private pension
  • You are younger than 67 years
  • No special tax arrangements or benefits (e.g. no company car, you rent a house, no special life insurance or other policies, etc.), just to keep it simple.

Scenario 2:

  • Taxation is based on 2016 rates
  • There is only income in Box 2 from special interests in a company (paid in dividends)
  • Inclusion of “heffingskorting” for two adults (i.e. €4484 2242 in general tax reductions)

Scenario 3:euro-note3

  • Taxation is based on 2017 rates
  • Inclusion of “heffingskorting” for two adults (i.e. €4484 in general tax reductions)
  • Assumed net ROI of 2%, 4% and 7% (to show taxation effects).

Scenario 4:

  • Taxation is based on 2016 rates (Box 1) and 2017 (Box 3)
  • Total yearly net income of €10.000 from labour (or other Box 1 income forms)
  • Inclusion of “heffingskorting” for two adults (i.e. €4484 2242 in general tax reductions)
  • No income from benefits or pension
  • You are younger than 67 years (calculation uses a person of 35 years)
  • No special tax arrangements or benefits (e.g. no company car, you rent a house, no special life insurance or other policies, etc.)
  • Assumed net ROI’s of 4% and 7%.

The Results

For details on the taxation amounts, please see Box 1, Box 2 and Box 3 (and check the website of the Belastingdienst for the latest and greatest). Please keep in mind that taxation between box 1, 2 and 3 is not interchangeable (i.e. taxation credits cannot be switch between boxes)!

Based on our assessments, you get the following taxation amounts and effective tax rates based on the above noted assumptions. The required amount of assets are based on the noted returns on investments.


New Observations and Conclusions

Based on the updated calculations (with hopefully the correct tax interpretations) there are a couple of interesting developments compared to the previous analyses (as shown here):

  • Scenario 1: pretty much the same with no major changes.
  • Scenario 2: you need considerably less gross income to the make the €25k net income thanks to the heffingskorting. However, it remains unknown how many assets you need, as this scenario covers dividend payments by your own company or company in which you have a majority share of at least 5%.
  • Scenario 3a: Significant change of €55k, as with the heffingskorting you now need fewer assets and can actually end up paying very little taxes. However, this means you do actually make more than 7% net ROI, every year (possible, but not very likely if you are invested in the stock market). The sobering thought is that you still need more than 7% ROI to become FI in the netherlands without having to pay taxes.
  • Scenario 3b: Double whammy here due to the heffingskorting, you need fewer assets to get a net €25k income, however fewer assets is less wealth tax. End result, a drop of about €119.000 in required assets. Hmmm.. we were a bit too conservative on the last assessment (What we had actually calculated, without realizing it, was almost the “Luxury” income scenario).
  • Scenario 3C: now this one is interesting. Due to the new progressive tax regime for Box 3 wealth, it has now become impossible to get €25k net income if you only have a ROI of 2%. In short, you will always need to sell assets in this year (or years) to cover expenses (irrespective of the total amount of assets, even if you have €2.000.000 or more!), assuming you have no emergency cash, obviously.
  • Scenario 4a/4B: as expected you need fewer assets due to the heffingskorting to be able to partially become financially independent. If you like to work part of the time (say 1-2 days per week), you need anywhere between €202k and €435k to live comfortably with your family (subject to your actual ROI).

A general comment is that whichever option you choose to financially retire (assuming passive income in box 2 or 3), effective taxation is (much) lower than that on income (see Scenario 1 – Box 1) when you return on investement is above the 4%. If your ROI is around the 4%, taxation on wealth or income is about the same in percentage (due to all kinds of tax benefits received from performing work).

As you can imagine we also recalculated our new own target for our FIRE required Net Worth. We won’t make this number public, but it should be obvious that our target dropped considerably. We are therefore much further ahead on the Cheesy Index than previously calculated. Keep an eye out for the next Cheesy Index update!

How about you, have you determined your number? Did you calculate it right the first time around? Are we still missing anything? Let us know!

Wow, this went by fast, but we (well, the blog anyway) actually exist now for 365 days, today! It was a fun year, we learned a lot and had lots of fun with you guys out there on the interweb.

It all started with this first post, and we went on to (re)discover Dutch taxes, figured out how much we need to become financially independent in the Netherlands. Only to find out in the last few weeks that we overestimated the taxes and therefore the required net worth. We are still in the process to re-assess the situation according to the new data. So updates are to follow in the coming time.


We were kind of curious to see our web traffic after the first year, see below for some graphs.


You guys stay around surprisingly long at around 250-280s for each visit, thank you! Guess we should see this as a sign that the posts are interesting. We currently have between 150-200 17-42* unique visitors per day (and slowly increasing), as noted above the total visits per day are a bit higher. Since inception we had about 150.000 80.000* page views. However, some blogs get close to this in just a few days! Ok, they needed some unwanted Yahoo exposure for this…..but still.

However, as you can see below, we are not going to become rich doing this (nor was this the original intend for placing ads). We just paid the web domain and hosting fees again, they came in at around €84. Which means we are far from breaking even at this time. If you want to help, please do by clicking on any of the very annoying ads! If you do, we may ultimately be able to take them down.


Some other random stats:

  • 60 posts (we are aiming for about 1 per week)
  • 507 comments (including ours)
  • Most page views are from the USA (followed by the Netherlands)
  • Sunday is the busiest day of the week
  • Most popular post is the running challenge with Amber Tree leaves (1677 views)
  • Most popular page is the Blogroll (2531 views in 2016)
  • Most referrers come from http://www.meneerenmevrouw.com/blogroll/ at 149 (thanks!)

The Future

As you can perhaps imagine, with two full time jobs and a kid, time is valuable and we don’t have as much time for this blog as we would like. That being said, we will continue to post dividend income (of which the last full year of investing brought us a very nice €4708). Also the Cheesy Index, Frugal-licious and Tax series are poised to get additions and updates.

Furthermore, Mr. CF would love to start doing (free) one-on-one (or one-on-two) sessions with people ready to start their journey to FIRE or folks whom just wanting to discuss their savings and/or investment ideas. If you are interested, drop me an email at info @ cheesyfinance(dot)nl (without the (), “dot” and spaces obviously 😉 ). In this world of hard working people, it would be nice to actually talk to few as well about getting out early. This is also why we are looking forward to the FIRED Meetup on October 15, 2016!



ok, after reading up more on internet and website statistics, the above stats are correct but not correct (you keep learning!). They also include non-viewed traffic which is generated by websites/spambots/etc. For the new and improved stats (read: correct stats) I needed to use a different graph, which is shown below (could only show 2015 or 2016 and not the whole previous year unfortunately). We had ~7.000 page view for 2015 and ~71.500 this year: 78.500 in the last 365 days. But is also means that we have far fewer daily unique visitors than initially believed at anywhere between 17 and 42 for 2016. Would be cool to see if we can grow to over 100 per day maybe by 2017??


The Cheesy Index made a remarkable recovery in August. This was primarily due to the amazing Savings Rate that we were able to obtain, for details see here. But also due to a very happy Mr. Market.

However, we discovered two things this week and both have a major impact on the Cheesy Index. The main reason is as follows, thanks to a post by Financieel Vrij, (sorry in Dutch only) we discovered that we overestimated the amount of taxes that we have to pay during FI. This to the amount of up to €4500 per year, as we were of the impression that the general tax break did not apply to Box 3 income (details to follows in a later post). Apparently, it does and will provide us with a massive tax savings. The result is that our previously calculated target net worth, can be significantly lowered (by as much as €100.000 or more!).

Furthermore, we are in the process of a property swap from our company to us personally. The lawyer (aka the “Notaris”) actually pointed us in the direction of a tax law that also applies to real estate which is held personally and declared in Box 3 . The good thing here is that the value of the property, when used as a rental, is assigned a lower value for taxation. How much lower actually depends on the assessment value (or “WOZ” value as determined by the local municipality) and the yearly rental income. We found that for us it can be lower by as much as 15 to 38%. Why is this a good thing? Because our wealth tax in Box 3 is based on this corrected property value (and not the actual market value), which will result in lower overall taxes.

In short, we have over estimated our taxes now and during FI. We therefore have to redo some calculations, update our new target net worth and associated Cheesy Index. Expect a higher Cheesy Index next month!

The Cheesy Index up to August 2016 is as follows (still a solid, albeit significantly under estimated, 48.1% complete):


It’s official, we have no more cash to re-invest into dividend stocks from the original sale of our mutual funds. The plan is to keep on buying dividend stocks through DRIP’s and a few more when the market has a bad day and we have cash available. As of September, all newly purchased shares should start to provide dividends. So we are hoping for a record month….. will see (have not done the calculations just yet).

This is also the first month that we can report the YOY increase in dividends received, which is a whopping 690%. Unfortunately, this is not a reflection of our ability to invest, rather the result of a large cash pile being invested into dividend paying stocks over the period of about 12 months. Oh, and another record, we now officially own more than 10,000 shares in companies (fun record if you are a numbers geek, but does not mean a thing, really).

Here is an overview of our dividend stocks (we currently have 43 different stocks):

20160801 Dividend Overview

If you group the above dividend stocks by sector, the distribution of our portfolio is as follows (based on market value at close of markets on August 31, 2016):

20160801 Dividend Stock by Sector

Purchases for August include RDSA, BPY.UN and DRG.UN (the latter two are REIT’s).

How was your Month of August?

August was a bit of a “mess” from a Savings Rate perspective, but this was far from a bad thing. Let us explain:

  • We finally received the final tax refund for Mr. CF, which came in at just above €2000! Yeah, nice extra income.
  • Other income was normal and we even got all expense claims paid on time, lovely.
  • Now that Miss CF started daycare again, we also reapplied for the daycare benefits, and we got the payment for both August and September in once go: €640 in reduced expenses
  • We also received (finally) the deposit for our previous rental back on our account: €1770 in reduced expenses for the “living category” (we had previously entered this as an expense in 2015)
  • We got a €400 bill for assessments completed on our two new rentals (these are mandatory if you want to rent units and include the so called “energy index” and point score = maximum rental price)
  • We had the first fill month of interest charges on the mortgage (at around €820).
  • We received a refund of €515 on our gas and electricity bill of the previous home we were living in. This is very welcome obviously, but it also meant that we overpaid for the last year and had higher out of pocket expenses than we should. We will try to do this better in our new home, which should be possible as we now have remote meters that are downloaded every two months. Should be albe to lower the cashflow costs a bit this way.
  • We bought some new tires and tubes for the road bike and our regular commuting bike for Mrs. CF (the valve snapped off: loud bang and scared the crap out of Miss CF, whom was riding on the back) at €85.
  • Sold various items on Marktplaats (local ebay, kijiji, etc.) and cashed about €90.

All other expenses were pretty normal (e.g. food, utilities, insurance, car, etc.), so no surprises here. But due to all the significant transfers in and out of the checking account, the Savings Rate for August is a bit strange. According to the numbers we had negative expenses in the Living and Healthcare category (caused by the refund of the rental deposit). But we ended up with a savings rate of nearly 87.6%, which is really good! It nicely compensates the savings rate of July, which was only 32.0% (corrected from 39.6% due to a charge that had a shift in settlement date from August into July). The very good news is that our yearly overall SR is now back over 55% again! See below for the various graphs.

201608 Savings Rates

201608 Expenses

How was your August? Got hit by holiday expenses, or did you also receive final tax refunds?