And we are back to “just above normal” with out October 2017 Savings Rate. After the unreal savings rate of September, we were bound to get off our new record high. But we did surprisingly better than I thought. So let’s look at the month of October form a household finances perspective.

Savings Rate Update

Savings Rate Update

October Finances

October was a very good month. Here is a short financial overview:

  • We received our regular incomes this month, the expense claim up to September was also recieved. We also received the quarterly childcare benefits (~€200). Still, the October income was slightly below the YTD average monthly income;
  • The crowdfunding income was back to normal with €207 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare catogery was about €737 in total. This includes costs for mortgage interest, home insurance, healthcare premiums, utilities and home maintenance. November will be expensive as we have roof improvement work planned (totalling €1200); 
  • The transport costs were about average with €295 spent;
  • Grocery costs were again well above normal this month with a total of about €405. This included some shopping from the holiday in Germany that was booked in October;
  • The kid category is now at the “new” normal with about €570, which is primarily after school care (4 days per week) and some randon items for Miss CF;
  • Travel and Leisure was about €115. This included costs for a hotel we used on the last day of our holiday and a few outings for the remainder of the month; and,
  • The other category was about €260. This was very high due to a €95 restaurant bill (which was so worth it after 4 years of not going out to dinner with the two of us). Other expenses include a gym membership, some cash purchases and shoe repairs.

October 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for October was a very good 68.2%. The year-to-date savings rate is now up to 63,6%. We are not going to make platinum for 2017, but we remain solidly in the badass gold saver catergory. 

Here are the stats:

October 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

October 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

October 2017 Savings Rate - Expenses

October 2017 Savings Rate – Expenses

 

Did you also have a great October? If you did, what made it a success? If not, what went wrong?

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Savings Rate Update

I’m going to keep the posts short in the coming while to continue my reduction in RSI symptoms. That being said, our September 2017 Savings Rate was insane, despite our Holiday in Germany!

September Finances

September was a great month, both financially as well as personally  (the holiday helped big time). Here is a short financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes this month. Mrs CF’s large expense claim was delayed to October, so overall income from labour was slightly lower than normal;
  • We finally received Mrs CF’s 2015 tax return! Glad to have this sorted and the extra almost €1600 was a very nice to have;
  • The crowdfunding income was a whopping €515 in deposits (combined interest and principle), which is way above normal. This is due to a repayment of a one year loan + interest;
  • Living and healthcare was uhm, negative this month (i.e. we “got money” instead of paying). Main reason is the repayment of surplus paid money for gas and electricity for the last year (got almost €900, despite having lowered payments twice last year). The repayment combined with low expense led to a expense of €-314 this month; 
  • The transport costs were well above average with just under €300 spent. But this was purely due to the holiday travels;
  • Grocery costs were also above normal this month with a total of about €400. Also the result of the luxury holiday shopping;
  • The kid category was very low this month due to the switch to going to school and after school care. We also to a bit too much reimbursement from the government, this will be corrected for October. Total costs were under €200;
  • Travel and Leisure was only about €110. The main costs were covered last month and some will fall into October. Costs for fuel and food have been covered above; and,
  • The other category was about €125. This was mainly expense for a gift, workout costs and some minor random expenses.

September 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for September was an insane 90,0% (no this is not a calculation error!). The year-to-date savings rate is now up to 63,0%. We are now solidly in the badass gold saver catergory. 

Here are the stats:

September 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

September 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

September 2017 Savings Rate - Expenses

September 2017 Savings Rate – Expenses

Please note the negative percentage for living and healthcare, this is caused by the major return for G/W/E. Won’t happen again 😉

 

How did you do in September? Any unusual numbers for you too?

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Savings Rate Update

As noted last month, the July 2017 Savings Rate was bound to be significantly lower. Still, kind of (positively) surprised about the final result 🙂

July Finances

July was a fun and surprisingly busy month, both at work as well as socially. A financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes this month and the expense claims and costs cancelled each other out.  Nothing more, northing less;
  • The crowdfunding income was €196 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare spending was (very) high this month due to the payment of the €977 deductible for the storm damage to our roof. Take this one expense out of the equation and we only had a slightly above “normal” month;
  • The transport costs were also well above average with over €630 spent. The primary cause was obviously the major maintenance service done on our practical family car. There was a “positive” note side to this bill, as it came in lower than expected. Primarily caused by the fact that there was nothing found during the maintenance. We like that!;
  • Grocery costs were also above below normal this month with a total of about €382. Not sure where this came from, as we did not do any special grocery shopping. Probably just how the weekends fell this month;
  • The kid category was, as per usual, fairly stable. We only paid for day-care fees (net fees are about €953). We cancelled the day-care per the third week of September. As of October school and after school care will commence for Miss CF. We therefore have one more (higher) day-care bill and than it should drop significantly (albeit we don’t know by how much, still need to get the new prices);
  • Travel and Leisure was about €122. Amongst others we took Mrs CF’s dad out for bowling and a pancake dinner (Miss CF loved it too), but there were many daytrips (think Amsterdam) and small (and frugal) events; and,
  • The other category was about €184 (think cash, gym, computer related expenses, birthdays, etc.).

July 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for July ended up being 42,0%…ouch. The year to date savings rate is now 58,6% Still a badass gold saver

Here are the stats:

July 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

July 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

July 2017 Savings Rate - Expenses

July 2017 Savings Rate – Expenses

August will again be relatively uneventful from a financial viewpoint. The only exception might be that we will make reservation for accomodatoin for a holiday at the end of September. We will likely go to Germany by car (perhaps it will also turn into a business trip too to check out Real Estate…but that’s not the primary plan!).

 

Did you also have a tough(er) month? Share your story!

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Savings Rate Update

Wow, the June 2017 Savings Rate is a complete turn around from a month ago. Low expenses and high income (we received a tax return, which is probably the last one we will ever get!) made this month a winner. We actually got the highest savings rate for the year, which was a bit unexpected but very welcome.

June Finances

For June 2017 we ended the month at a savings rate of 75.7%. This is insanely good and primarily the results of a perfect storm of high income and low expenses. 

A financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes and the tax return for 2016. The  anticipated expense claim got moved to July. We had no major business expense this month either;
  • The crowdfunding income was €196 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare spending was very low this month with just over €700. No maintenance works, no taxes and no insurance payments, makes for a cheap month;
  • The transport costs were well above average with over €300. The main reason was the maintenance on Mr. CF’s road bike, which got a new chain and cassette. Fuel was also low for the month (one fuel up only) due to the amount of cycling done;
  • Grocery costs were just below normal this month with a total of about €290. Did well on frugal shopping I guess;
  • The kid category was again fairly stable, we only paid for day-care fees (net fees are about €953);
  • Travel and Leisure for this month was nil. We still had a lot of things going on (including the Meetup in Antwerp – costs are in the Other Category), but apparently this was not very expensive :-). We are however planning a weekend get away in July and another holiday in October if possible ; and,
  • The other category was just under €70, guess we had nothing important to spend money on.

June 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for the month of June was thus 75.7%. Resulting in an overall savings rate for YTD 2017 of 61.1%.

Fun facts for the month, our Living and Healthcare expense for the month were a fifth compared to May. Primary is of course the absence of any maintenance items, taxes or insurance. Resulting in the daycare being the single largest expense for the month, at 40% of the total expenses. Just 3 months left before Miss CF goes to school, yay!

Here are the stats:

June 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

June 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

June 2017 Savings Rate - Expenses

June 2017 Savings Rate – Expenses

July won’t be nearly as good as June. The taxes return is one reason obviously, but we also received the bill for the roof repairs of the storm damage. The “damage” was actually €977 for one roof tile! Insane…..but accessibility was indeed an issue and the specific tile was very hard to reach.  The car is also due for a large maintenance service, costing around €550-ish and includes a airco clean (gosh it smells). But more on this next month.

 

How about you, how was your month? Did you get a tax refund too, did it help your savings rate?

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Savings Rate Update

The horror! The pain! May was a brutal month from a Savings Rate perspective. It’s one of those months where all the bills come in at once. But whom am I kidding, we should still be happy with the results as we are still in the black this month. We probably still beat about 95% of the country too (completely pulled that stat out of my a$$). Gotten curious? Let’s have a look at the May 2017 Savings Rate!

May Finances

For May 2017 we ended the month at a savings rate of 29.7%. Really not happy with these results, but you cannot win them all! 

A financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes and the holiday allowance for Mr CF (at 8.33% of gross income). Mrs CF gets hers paid every month in her salary. We also made a payment for Mrs. CF professional registration fees and costs for a business trip. Reimbursement is scheduled for June;
  • The crowdfunding is now down to just €190 in deposits (we currently have had 4 out of 33 projects with some sort of issue, 2 resulted in a complete loss of payment other are delayed or paid off completely);
  • Living and healthcare spending was insanely high this month due property taxes and waste/sewage fees (~€1000) and the bill for the new windows and associated works (~€1630). Other costs include a new Grohe tap and showerhead for the shower (both broke within just 3 years!) – cost €225. We decided to spend some extra money here in the hopes that it will last longer in our hard water area;
  • The transport costs were above average with about €210. One fuel-up from the holiday was included here. Besides this charge, the overall fuel consumption was pretty low due to all the cycling to work in May;
  • Grocery costs were above normal this month with a total of about €322. Not sure about the reasons actually, did not do anything special, albeit we did by lots of nuts, dates and figs at the market a couple weeks back;
  • The kid category was again fairly stable, we paid for day-care fees (net fees are about €953) and some clothing again (kid is growing fast!);
  • Travel and Leisure for this month was about €110. Had a few day trips and some charges from the holiday in Belgium; and,
  • The other category was about €336 with some cash withdrawals, charges for the gym for Mrs CF, and costs for the reservation of the Meetup room in Utrecht!.

May 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for the month of May was thus 29.7%. The overall savings rate for YTD 2017 is now 57.5%, but we are trending towards losing the “Gold Badass Saver” status this way. Are we worried? Not really :-). We have no major plans for the rest of the year, albeit we are still awaiting the deductible for the work done of the roof earlier this year. This could be up to a €1000 bill (no news yet). We are planning for another vacation, which could be a bit more than the €642 we spend in Belgium. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much.

Fun fact for the month, the expenses in May were bigger than that for March and April COMBINED! The only reason why the Saving Rate is still pretty good is because of the Holiday allowance that was paid to Mr CF (in the Netherlands this is a mandatory 8% of income!).

Here are the stats:

May 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

May 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

May 2017 Savings Rate - Expenses

May 2017 Savings Rate – Expenses

How was your Savings Rate? Did you have a bad month too? Was it for similar reasons?

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Savings Rate Update

I’m happy to report no calculation errors this time around for the savings rate 😉 That being said, we did have another pretty good month on the savings side. We are therefore very happy to present to you the April 2017 Savings Rate.

April Finances

For April 2017 we ended the month at a savings rate of 62.4%, pretty satisfied with this result (as we should be!). A financial overview of the month:

  • We received our regular incomes and there were no major expense claim deposits;
  • The crowdfunding was normal with just €200 in deposits (that being said, two more project appear to be in trouble and missed payments are starting to go up!);
  • Living and healthcare spending was relatively high this month due sewage fees (€301). May is going to really painful as property taxes are due, and we are expecting the bill for the renovation works done on the windows (see below). But that last bill is one that I’ll be happy to see, as the result is a newly placed and well insulated window unit;
  • The transport costs were below average about €136. Main reason is that I only worked half the month, so less fuel consumption. The car is coming up for major service in June or July (mental note, make an appointment….);
  • Grocery costs were way above normal this month with a total of just about €365. The main reason of course is the holiday in Belgium;
  • The kid category was again fairly stable, we paid for day-care fees (net fees are about €953) and some clothing;
  • Travel and Leisure for this month was €57.5. The main bill for the holiday accommodation (€400) was already paid in February. We also had some spare cash we used for the holiday and some other charge shifted into May. Overall a low spend for actually being on holidays; and,
  • The other category was about €139 with some cash withdrawals (which were subsequently used for the holiday), tools for our record player (actual vinyl records), some dining out and bank fees.

April 2017 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for the month of April was thus 62.4%. The overall savings rates for 2017 is now 64.5%. That being said, expect a plunge in both the monthly and overall savings rate in May. Main reason, as also mentioned above, is several pending bills and stable income (perhaps except for the May vacation money payment for me).

April 2017 Savings Rate - Overview

April 2017 Savings Rate – Overview

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

April 2017 Expenses Overview

April 2017 Expenses Overview

How was your Savings Rate? Was it all pretty basic for you too, or did you have some interesting items?

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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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February Finances

It is Savings Rate time! We love the month end overviews, great to see how our finances are shaped by life (the good and the bad). For February our finances were affected by:

  • We received our regular incomes, but Mrs CF also received her year-end bonus and salary raise (retroactive from January 1). In short, it was a stellar month from an income perspective, almost as good as the November and December income!;
  • The crowdfunding income was back to “normal”, after last month’s surprise income, with about €188 in deposits;
  • Living and healthcare spending was low this month due to no major (maintenance) bills, insurance or taxes to be paid (total expenses were about €800). That being said, there is a €1600+ bill waiting for May with property tax, waste removal an sewage for our unit and two rental units. But we will delay paying until the last moment (May is also vacation allowance payment month, so that will help pay this massive bill);
  • The “new” transport costs are in line with expectations. But fuel still hurts with a total expense of €175.51 (fuelling up three times);
  • Grocery costs were again lower than normal this month, but this is partially the result of Miss CF being potty trained. Saves a lot in wipes and diapers! Total spend was about €257;
  • The kid category was also stable, we paid for daycare fees (net fees are €950!) and some arts and crafts supplies (read paper and pencils);
  • Travel and Leisure included some activities with Miss CF (more skating ) in combination with a birthday gift; and,
  • Other items included new work shoes for Mrs CF (€55), cost for the Meetup in Antwerp (€50) and about €90 in expenses for various small items including new printer cartridges.

February Savings Rate 

The savings rate for the month of February end up being 72.8%, that’s an insane month! Thank you employer for that nice bonus. We will put it to good use (read: it will be invested wisely). We are a very happy family 🙂

February 2017 Savings Rate

February 2017 Savings Rate

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

 

February 2017 Expenses Breakdown

February 2017 Expenses Breakdown

 

How was your Savings Rate for February? Any uncommon/surprising expenses or incomes?

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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.

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 🙂

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?

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Antwerp Meetup

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the Saving Rate for the Month of January, let’s review our Meetup on Antwerp last Saturday (February 4). We personally had a great time, we enjoyed the presentations, discussions and the great open atmosphere in the room. We had over 20 people show up for this event, some bloggers, some not, some for a second time, some new, some young, some “not so young anymore”. In short, it was a very fun very interesting day. Thank you everyone for attending and your inputs, it was awesome!

We are seriously looking forward to the next event and have a long list of ideas that we want to pass by you all for some feedback and inputs! So keep eye on your mail box (for those whom attended one of the last two events), this blog or that of  Amber Tree Leaves.

January Finances

Ok, back to the financial stuff again: The Savings Rate. January was again a “normal” month (after the really spectacular November and December months of last year) from a saving rate perspective. Let’s have a quick look at what happened:

  • Regular (so one each) incomes from Mr. and Mrs. CF where deposited in the checking account;
  • There was a surprise in crowdfunding income. One project actually went bankrupt (second issue out of 34 projects) but was bought out by another party! We suddenly got paid out the total remainig loan! Lovely, 7.5% interest on 13 months and full investment back. Bring on more of those! Total “income” (interest and principal payments) from crowdfunding was €355;
  • No surprises on the living side of things. But we did finally get the bill for the roof replacement and repair work done in 2016. This was a rather “pleasant” surprise (for as far as a bill is pleasant), as it was a couple hundred lower than we expected and came in at just over 513 (it also helped that Mr. CF assisted to contractor in his work). No complaining at all!
  • Other costs in the Living and Healthcare category included some sewage taxes (€109), quarterly water bill (€41) and insurance premiums (€182);
  • Transport costs are increasing due to using our car again to get to work (company car is gone). Total costs for the month included about €336, which is primarily fuel (€112), road tax (€179) and insurance (€25);
  • Grocery costs were lower than normal this month, as we are still partially living off the large shopping spree from last December. Total spend was about €266;
  • The kid category was pretty stable too, not much more spend than the day care fees (net fees are about €950 – looking forward to Miss CF going to school by the end of this year, should cut the costs down to about 1/3rd or less!);
  • Travel and Leisure included some activities with Miss CF (skating on a market square). We also had tons of birthdays in January, so lot’s of “free” entertainment (gifts, if any, are covered in the “other” category); and,
  • Other items included a replacement charger for the our camera battery (€23) and a transformer (58) for the PS3 we brought back from Canada.

January Savings Rate 

All the above boiled down to a savings rate of 55.8%, we are pretty happy with that, because this is about as good as it gets for us! 

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

How was your Savings Rate for January? Where you happy with the results, if not, why?

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Savings Rate December 2016

December, and for that matter the whole of 2016, was fantastic from a savings rate perspective. We had a record month from the income side of things, and an average month in terms of expenses. This is a recipe for a winner. We ended up at a Savings Rate of 75.9% for December!

The summary for December is as follows:

  • Incomes from Mr .CF (one sign-on bonus and one pay check), Mrs. CF (two pay checks) and an expense claim hit the checking account. Life was very good!;
  • Income (principal and interest payments) from crowdfunding loans is now exceeding €180/month, this is a high as it is going to get and will stay this way for the coming 2-3 years (“hopefully”, see post on crowdfunding on details);
  • Transportation was just above normal due to the many family trips and that fact that we are now using our own car again to get to work, in short the current expenses are likely the new normal for the coming year;
  • Living expenses were below average this month, no surprises like unexpected maintenance and no property taxes or similar expenses either. This is the way we like it;
  • Groceries & grooming hit a record high in December, mainly because we did some massive shopping. Normally we take the bikes for the grocery trips, but this time we actually drove the car to the grocery store (we do this once every one-two months). To be honest, we actually needed to go elsewhere and were driving by the grocery store on the way back, talk about efficient use of the car :-). We used the opportunity to stock up on necessities;
  • Pretty much all social events were free, or virtually free. So again nothing interesting to report here. Had great fun with the various Christmas lunch and dinners, plus enjoyed some family time together over the holiday break. Most expenses associated with social activities are actually included in the groceries category this time around;
  • Costs for day-care and kid related expenses below normal as the benefits for 2017 have increased and the first payment arrived in December. Daycare will now “only” set us back about €955 per month for 4 days per week. But there are obviously also some other costs in this Kid category, such as cloths, toys, etc.; and,
  • The “Other” category was higher this month as Mrs. CF needed some new work clothing and a new jacket (she really got her money’s worth out of the old one).

The Overviews

For the year we actually did really good , if you don’t mind us saying. We ended the year with a overall savings rate of well over 60%. See below for the details (YTD totals on the left side):

2016 Savings Rate

2016 Savings Rate

The expense breakdown looks like this:

For 2017 we are not expecting such a high yearly savings rate, as we have some reno works still pending (as well as a bill for work done in 2016). Furthermore, we did not go on a holiday in 2016 due to job changes and moving to our new house. We do plan to go once, maybe even twice in 2017, so set aside a larger budget for this. We hope to still keep it above 50%.

Did  you do OK in December too? Was it also because of extra income, or were you able to limit the holiday expenses (or both!)?

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November was an amazing month from a savings rate perspective. Mainly because of the 4 week payment period in combination with the final payment of Mr. CF previous employer. Because of this we actually had a record month when looking at income. Our expenses were generally in line with the normal numbers, but there is one notable exception: transportation. More on that later (no, we did not have an accident or major maintenance issue, fortunately).

A brief overview for November:

  • Incomes from both Mr and Mrs CF were exceptional: 3 pay checks and a massive expense claim hitting the accounts. Seriously stoked!
  • Income (principal and interest payments) from crowdfunding loans is now exceeding €165/month, but we have put investments in this system on hold for now. So payments should be steady going forward (more details on why we stopped later this month in a post on Crowdfunding);
  • Transportation was ridiculous this month, but is mainly driven by an investment. How can you have an investment in transport I hear you think, well let’s put it this way. Mr. CF bought a tricycle for adults, curious? You got to wait for later this months to hear the story and see the calculations on why this is an investment and not really an expense. Sorry for the cliff-hanger ;-);
  • Living expenses were relatively low this month, no quarterly insurance bills or any other taxes this month;
  • Groceries & grooming a well below average at around €250, not totally sure why (albeit we did clean out the fridge completely and got a 3 weeks supply in apples from the yard, but this cannot have been causing such a low month);
  • Pretty much all social events were free, or virtually free. So nothing to report here (but we are looking forward to having a holiday again, job shifts, moving house, and bad timing with work has prevented us from taking a family holiday this year….gearing up to make plans for next year!);
  • Costs for day-care and kid related expenses where normal (~€1020, including benefits).
  • Nothing special to report in the “Other” section either.

For those curious how we calculate our savings rate, please see this page for more details.

The saving rate for November ended up being well above average, despite the large purchase on the transportation front . We ended the month with a nice savings rate of 62,3%. See below for the usual graphs.

Considering the projected income and expenses for December (another record month on the income front expected, even better than this record month), we should be able to close out the year with an yearly savings rate of above 60% (we are now at 60.3%, see bar on the far left in the plot below), that is seriously awesome!

201611-savings-rates

The expense breakdown looks like this:

201611-expenses

How was  your November? Did you also have such a good much as we did? Of was there something else that affected your savings rate. Let us know!

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We (Mr. and Mrs. CF) just finished our discussions and thoughts on how to calculate our Savings Rate going forward (and correct some older results). The outcome of how we calculate our Savings Rate is added in this new page on our blog, it may explain a few things you are wondering about, and perhaps could help you too with determining your Savings Rates.

The reason we had some discussions is because of our latest Real Estate venture. We have successfully rented out the two units and commercial workshop in our new property to some lovely people. All associated funds are coming in and are going out of our checking account. Because it’s one property, expenses for mortgage, maintenance and operating costs are shared between our personal use and our Real Estate venture. These can sometimes be hard to split, but we decided to give it a go anyways.

What does this have to do with our Savings Rate? Well, because we were not sure how everything was going to work out we added everything into our Savings Rate calculations (incomes and expenses). Now that we have completed our review of the assessed values of the properties (i.e. the “WOZ waarde” and the “Marktwaarde Taxaties”), we now have decided how to split the expenses like mortgage interest, insurance and maintenance. This is very important as it will affect how we will submit our taxes for 2016.

We have now completely pulled out and split the investment income and expenses related to real estate from our personal Saving Rate calculations. The corrected version, with changes starting from July 2016, is shown in the new overview below. If you are curious about the changes, you can also look at the one originally prepared for the Saving Rate October 2016 post. However, it pretty much boils down to the fact that we actually have had a slightly higher YTD Savings Rate than initially thought. Now that is always very good news! This actually also makes sense, as we moved to a smaller house as of July and anticipated our housing cost to go down. The data is now somewhat distorted because of the moving costs, refund of the rental deposit (see low rate in July and peak in August) and initial maintenance/decorating costs, but we might be able to achieve a 60% Savings Rate next year because of downsizing our home (fingers crossed).

201610-2-savings-rates

Going forward, we will use the (in our opinion) correct personal Savings Rate. But as a bonus we will also start reporting our monthly Real Estate income and expenses (for those of you whom are interested in this investment opportunity). More details to follow in December.

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A new month, a new Saving Rate overview! We’ve now already closed the 10th month of 2016. Time flies when your having fun! I’m actually secretly very curious how the total finances for 2016 are going to look. But let’s not get ahead of myself here.

October was another good month from a social perspective. We had a blast at the FIRED-UP meeting in Breda with fellow FIRE enthousiasts, which was awesome. Thanks again for everyone that attended, we are planning another one for January 2017, more details to follow this month (so keep an eye out for that).

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

  • Incomes from both Mr and Mrs CF were normal, and we finally got the long awaited expense claim back;
  • Income (principal and interest payments) from crowdfunding loans is now exceeding €155/month;
  • We received full income from our two new rental properties and the commercial unit, adding a very nice €1400+ to our income (if you think this is nice, wait until you see next month….. details to follow);
  • Living expenses were high this month due to the quarterly payments for insurances and some maintenance related expenses. We also had to pay sewage fees and property taxes that were incorrectly allocated during the sale of property to us (~€80);
  • Groceries & grooming a bit below average at around €338;
  • Transport costs were higher this month due to quarterly road tax (€179), fuel (€55) and insurance expenses;
  • Costs for day-care and kid related expenses where slightly higher (~€1220, including benefits) due to an outstanding day care payment and the costs of the birthday gifts for Miss CF;
  • The cost for the FIRED-UP meeting was €66 and is covered under the leisure section of the budget;
  • Gifts came in at €32 this month (all experiences, no stuff);
  • Finally, we Mr CF bought new winter cycling clothing, which came in at a whopping €205. But it is money well spend as the last two trips were very comfortable and I was not cold at all, a major win here!

The saving rate for October ended up being just below average due to various higher quarterly expenses and some expensive purchases like the cycle clothing. We ended the month with a nice savings rate of 53.1%. See below for the usual graphs. Considering the projected income and expenses, we should be albe to close out the year about 57-58%. That would be seriously nice!

201610-savings-rates

201610-expenses

How did you do this month? Any large expenses, or bonus incomes? Let us know how you did!!

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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.

201609-savings-rates

201609-expenses

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

 

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