Historical Savings Rates

It is history week at Cheesy Finance, with two posts this week about our historical financial affairs. Today we will focus on our historical Savings Rates. Later this week we will look at historical Return on Investment and income asset allocations.

Our Historical Savings Rates

We kept detailed records of our spending since about mid-2010. But we had some partial household overviews from 2006-2008, plus bank statements, pay checks and receipts from (large) expenses to puzzle together the remaining years. Everything up to and including 2010 is therefore our best guess, everything from 2011 is pretty accurate.

An overview of our savings rates for the period from 2006 to 2016 (and the average to date) is shown in the figure below:

Historical Savings Rates
Historical Savings Rates from Team CF between 2006 and 2016

A Bit of Team CF Life History

Mrs CF started her career in about 2004, Mr CF started his in 2006. Both of us graduated with MSc degrees in our fields. When we met in 2004, Mrs CF had just about paid off here student loans. Mr CF (thanks many as three side jobs at one time and his parents) was able to graduate without any student loans at all.

Before we started living together in the same home in 2007, we still each had a student accommodation (costing about €275-350/month). When we moved in together we rented a small place for about €600/month (including heating, excluding electricity/water/internet). This place was a lot bigger than our student accommodations but overall costed about the same.

At this time Mrs. CF has a pretty good job as an accountant, Mr CF had a job which included extended travel outside the country. In short, we were (still) living like students and had good pay-checks. Because we were somewhat frugal by nature, our savings rate started out really good in the beginning. But then Mr CF got restless……and consumerism/”keeping up with the joneses” started to take hold.

Saving Rate Developments over the Years

As noted and shown in the previous paragraphs, the savings rates between 2006 and 2008 were pretty good as we kept our life simple and only had a small apartment. Then we moved to Canada in 2009, this obviously was not cheap as you have to start your life again (although the visa’s and move were paid for by the company). For most of 2009 only Mr. CF had a job and Mrs. CF did lots of job interviews (bad timing with the crisis ongoing), studying and volunteer work. However, we bought a new car and motorcycle that same year.

As of 2010 we both had full time employment and life was good. We did lots of hiking, travelling but still kept our budget in check. We had also purchased a home in 2010 (reasonable timing as far a purchase price, but it was a massive 280 square metre (3000sf) McMansion!), a second car and upsized the motorcycle. We actually sunk virtually all our savings from 2006-2009 into the house, cars and motorcycles. Consumerism at its finest.

In 2011 and 2013 our incomes kept getting bigger, but our expenses stayed about the same. In short, pretty good savings rates for those years. It’s interesting to see the good saving rates despite getting married, doing a 20-day Hawaii honeymoon and Miss CF being born in those years.

The Transition Years

As of 2014 the effects of Miss CF being with us, and associated parental leave, are becoming visible. The lack of income, some extended travel and daycare costs start to have a big effect on the savings rate. However, 2014 was also the year that the FIRE principles started to take shape. The parental leave gave us insight into living with all the time in the world on a modest income. Then Mrs CF discovered ERE and things rapidly progressed from there with the purchase of our first two rentals.

2015, which was a massive transition year, was pretty “bad” from a savings perspective. We emigrated back from Canada to the Netherlands, but this time we had to pay for the international move ourselves. We also were unemployed for about 3-5 months that year, and we did a bit of travelling as well. It was a great year, just not from a savings perspective πŸ™‚

Last year (2016) was a turn-around year, for the better. We both were employed for the whole year, had good incomes, our investments did well and we managed to add 2 properties and one workshop (as well as one property for ourselves) to our portfolio. The savings rate is back into the right territory, despite the massive costs of day-care for Miss CF (about 30% of our total expenses). We did not travel much last year either, which is not necessarily a bad thing as we did quite a bit of travelling over the years. But it obviously had a big positive impact on the savings rate.

The Future?

For 2017 we hope to keep this momentum going! But there are many developments and ideas we are working on, we don’t know yet how the year is going to turn out. If we keep our employment as it is now, we hope to remain around the 50% mark. This is driven by day-care costs and renovation works scheduled, plus catching up on travelling.

How about you, do you know how your savings rates developed over the years?


  1. Decent savings rates, even in the more spendy years!
    Makes me wish i had been a bit more diligent in keeping records, alas, my sloth side prevented that!
    What do you guys do with investment income? Personally I just pile it up and only look at what I can save from my work income but some seem to add it to calculate their savings rate.

  2. Nice to have tracked it back for such a long period! I didn’t track numbers carefully until only recently, so would have to guess the development of my savings rate

    1. What can I say, I’m an engineer with a love for excel sheets. Albeit, not as much in love with them as geldnerd….. It was a bit of a patch job though, so the years between 2006 and 2010 could be off be 5% or so. But the trend is very much visible. If we only would have invested from 2006…..

  3. I have just one word for your savingsrates: impressive! No wonder the Cheesy index is soaring. Keep up the good work.

    1. Funny you mention that, if we would have invested everything we saved we probably would be about FI by now….too bad we did not see the light until 2014. Young folks out there, take note!

  4. Those are awesome saving rates. I don’t know if we would ever be able to achieve that. We have a lot of travel expenses and this limits our saving rate around 25-30% maximum. Plus this year our daughter will start kindergarten, so it won’t help either.
    In terms of your rentals, have you bought them for a mortgage or you managed to save enough for them? I’m looking for investment mortgage options for a rental and seems like it’s quite difficult to get.

    1. Have you seen our travel post? We’ve done quite a bit of travelling too (albeit compared to some of our friends, it’s very modest…) and were still able to keep the savings rate up. Guess we did travel hacking without knowing we did πŸ˜‰
      As to the rentals, the first two we saved for (within our own house/mortgage). The others we financed with a mortgage. It’s possible with investment mortgage, but it does take efforts and a good pile of money to start with (financing is limited to about 60-70% of the value in rented condition). Perhaps a personal loan and some of your own money will help you get started on a small apartment. Otherwise, just go for some REIT’s. Slightly lower ROI, but no hassle! And you can start small. You can also buy a house that you can sub-divide. In that case you can get a “normal” mortgage, just don’t tell the bank you are renting out a portion (they will likely say no if you ask). This is technically not legal under the terms of your mortgage, but it’s done by very many people to get started in real estate (as alternatives are difficult or even impossible for some).
      There are many options.

  5. I have seen the “keeping up with the Joneses” happen in my own life. When I first got my decent paying job, I spent a lot of money which was ok at the time, I spoilt myself. Overall, now I am a lot more Frugal and definitely am a lot smarter with my money. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wisdom comes with age, right? We treated ourselves really well for years, good paychecks do help. That’s our blessing in disguise to keep our savings rates high.

    1. All things considered, it is pretty good for sure. We did select the McMansion and the cars/motorcyles within reason, and we alwasy have been reasonably frugal. But the last few years things have really been improved.

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