March 2017 Savings Rate

I’m an idiot, as I don’t seem to be able to properly add and subtract numbers. Sigh. What’s happened? Well, I had made an attempt a while back to automate part of our finances for tracking and blogging purposes. Turns out that this was not going entirely perfect. The short version of this story is that charges to the credit card of Mrs CF were not properly transferred into the budget. She uses this credit card primarily for business purposes and gets reimbursed by her employer. So for certain months we over estimated the total income and thus savings rates (we use net income corrected for business expenses).

Why did I not spot this sooner? Because the month for which I had set this up originally had no credit card charges, so the totals matched. But I got weary lately due to the series of exceptionally high savings rates. Most are easy to explain due to high incomes/bonusses and no crazy expenses. But I could not explain all of them. Some financial forensic digging this weekend found the issue, and it has now been corrected all the way back to last year August when the problem started.

The effects were not too drastic, but still noticeable. The overall savings rate for 2016 dropped from 61.4% to 60.6% (but we are still a Gold Badass Saver!). Not the end of the world, but still sloppy. The savings rate for January and February of this year also dropped by a about 5% percent each! Our savings rate is still pretty darn good, so we are not worried. The errors also don’t affect the Cheesy Index, as this is a summation of all month end account totals, which I do seem to be able to calculate correctly……

March Finances

Ok, back to the March 2017 savings rate, which is actually (I double checked!) rather spectacular. We ended the month at a savings rate of 74.4%. Almost a record high. A financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes and a major expenses claim (for which the expense are now properly included in January and February);
  • The crowdfunding was normal with nearly €200 in deposits;
  • Living and healthcare spending was a record low this month due to no major (maintenance) bills, insurance or taxes to be paid (total expenses were about €650). This expense category will go up significantly in April and May due to a series of bills to be paid as well as major maintenance scheduled for late April (window replacement);
  • The transport costs are in line with expectations at about €200. Fuel is by far the largest expense with a total of €172;
  • Grocery costs were back to normal this month with a total of just about €290;
  • The kid category was again stable, we only paid for day-care fees (net fees are about €953!);
  • Travel and Leisure for this month was nil. We had several birthdays and events, but all were paid for by grandparents and/or friends. However as part of the credit card mishap, the €400 bill for our planned holiday in Belgium (April) is now properly entered into February (therefore also the massive drop in the February savings rate); and,
  • The other category included some negative expenses for sales of stuff on Marktplaats (local eBay), but also some expenses for birthday gits and minor items for around the house.

March 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for the month of March thus end up being 74.4%. This is obviously a ridiculous savings rate and won’t happen again for the coming months due to pending expenses. None-the-less, we are very happy to see that our frugal habits are definitely paying off. There does not seem to be much lifestyle inflation despite the growing income in the last year. The correct savings rates for 2017 look like this, note that our year to date savings rate is now 65.1%:

March 2017 Savings Rate
March 2017 Savings Rate

If you breakdown our expenses for the month, the distribution looks like this:

March 2017 Expenses Breakdown
March 2017 Expenses Breakdown

How was your Savings Rate for March? Did you have a good month too? Do you incidentally also suffer from momentary lapse in IQ and forget how to add and subtract?

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  1. Despite the credit card issue, that’s one hell of a savings rate TeamCF! I’ve only just started tracking mine and it’s poultry in comparison, but I’ve come to realise it’s a pretty important metric.

    PS. re. ATL comment, when you reach FIRE, I’m hoping you might change your name to Team Fondue Finance!?

    1. Good for you knowing your number, but actually it’s not that important of a metric. The philosophy behind it is far more important, that is what virtually guarantees succes 🙂
      As to your PS, might I say brilliant thought and very funny! Not a bad suggestion actually 😉

    1. Hey DD, mistakes are indeed a part of life. I’ll get over it 🙂 Just glad to see the numbers are really good and we are headed in the right direction, and full steam at that!

    1. Thanks Tristan. I can tell you that the Cheesy Index did amazingly well this quarter, amongst others because of the great savings rate. Think we can be satisfied with results, just got to keep pushing to get to the finish line!

  2. I don’t really have a savings rate. Running my own business, I pay myself the minimum and the rest goes back into the business. Although we didn’t make much headway in March, we did hire another analyst, so things should go faster in the next few months.

    1. Good for you, well done on running your own business and expanding it!
      You could still do a savings rate though using the income you provide yourself. Even though you pay yourself the minimum, and your resulting savings rate will likely be low, it will force you to look at your personal expenses. That is always useful.

  3. Wow, excellent savings rate! Even stronger knowing that day care costs pretty much. The rental income starts to yield too I’ve read. Happy for you! The snowball is really starting to roll at the Cheesy family 🙂

    My march month was also extremely profitable. I welcomed my long overdue paycheck rise, got reimbursed for the differences of the last 6-7 months and received a promotion bonus. This skyrocketed my job income and thus the savings rate. However I did spend quite a lot on leisure & travel this month (around €250- €300 max), the impact is still minimal. Including dividends and side hustlin’ I ended up around 93% savings rate. I wonder how it will evolve once I graduate.

    Keep up the good work,


    1. 93% is ridiculous! But we love it 🙂 You should sign up with Mustachian Post for his blogger savings rate index. You’d be a platinum badass saver! Hope you had fun with your travels.
      Best of luck to you too, keep this going!

  4. Hey, kicking ass!! It’s so funny you wrote about the mess up…I did the SAME thing last month. I wondered why my savings rate was a little screwey and I realized I had added a few lines to the spreadsheet that weren’t being calculated. Math was never my strong suit!

    1. Glad to read I’m not the only idiot :-p
      Funny how that works eh? Think you did everything right, but somehow forget to check that one line item/cell. Ah well, such is life.
      How was your March? Did you also have a stellar savings rate?

  5. Nice savings! I make mistakes al the time, so pleased to see I am not alone in this 🙂
    I am still struggling whether or not to include income from investments in my savings rate…
    But, only based on income from work, my savings rate for March is 60%

    1. Good point Mr. FOB. I still don’t include income from investments in my savings rate myself. Your comment made me think. Somehow I feel that the savings rate should be calculated only from money that I actually ‘worked for’. But I cannot yet give a rational explanation for that.

      1. We feel the same actually. That being said, a “investment index” or “passive income rate” would be interesting. Could give you a hint on how close you are in having your investments cover your (core) expenses.

    2. A savings rate of 60% is awesome! Well done Mr FOB, you are on a roll 🙂
      As to the investment comments, I would look at it separately. Just as a ratio with your expenses; to see how much of your expenses you got covered with investment income only.

    3. If I would look at investment income/expenses, I would be way in FI for the first quarter of 2017. But that is only because of very high capital gains + dividends.
      If I would look at it over a longer period of time, I just might want to use the SWR. Then I am not there yet.
      But I only need to cover ±20 years till pension/AOW, so SWR only is way on the safe side. Hmm, not trivial when to pull the trigger 😉

  6. I am still surprised that the MR is doing the numbers in a household where the MRS has the financial background. Just to prove the point, I guess… Still a spectacular Savings Rate, though, even after corrections. Still, I was rather proud of my own

    1. She would be much better at this financial thing….no debate there. The savings rate is very good, especially for a family of 3 with daycare. That being said we re-engineered our life to make this possible. It does take a lot of effort and dedication. The ultimate goal is worth it though!
      That being said, 45% is nothing to sneeze at either!

  7. You are saving like a rocket! Cheese on fire…! Well done.

    Being g open and honest on mistakes is a great plus! We all make mistakes.

    That being said, not sure i keep reading the blog of a looser and an idiot.
    Just joking, till next post!

    1. Making mistakes is not a bad thing, as long as you learn and correct for them. Your response to a mistake is far more important than making it in the first place!
      See you next time, despite me being a loser and an idiot

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