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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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?

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As expected, July was a “horrible” month from a Savings Rate perspective (compared to our previous months, all is relative of course), but still a good one considering all that happened in July! This months was rather expensive for several reasons:

  • We moved so had moving expenses and costs associated with the new home (think paint, supplies, etc.);
  • We bought a new washing machine (we borrowed one up till now). We bought it refurbished for 50% of the retail value (yes, it has scratches but also 2 year warranty) for €544 (it can load 12kg!);
  • Maintenance and road tax for our car; and,
  • We had double day care costs (due to the move and associated timing of payments) and also had to pay funds back to the government for benefits received that were slightly too high.

On the upside, we got double expense claims and income from our new rental property! Yay. The SR for the month ended up being 39.6%

201607 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. As noted prior, transport is low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card. However as noted above, this month we had some additional expenses for gas, maintenance and road tax, therefore the relatively high number. The “Kid” category was very high this month due to aforementioned reasons. The other category includes the washing machine and a spare bed. Groceries were slightly higher due to some inefficiencies with cooking during the move.

201607 Expenses

No leisure this month, had to work hard to get our stuff setup on the new house 😉

How did you do this month??

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Despite the (for us) relatively low Savings Rate for June, it still was a vey good month at 52.4%. The main reason for this below average month is the fact that an anticipated expense claim from Mrs. CF’s work has not arrived yet (looking forward to next month, were we will have two!). However, if we look at the core expenses and incomes, it actually was a very good month, so we are happy campers!

201606 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. As noted prior, transport is low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card), this month we some expenses for gas. A small service is scheduled for next month. The “Kid” category was normal this month with both expenses and the refunds/benefits form the government.

201606 Expenses

Similar to last months, most of the leisure events for this month were “free” with the exception of a bachelor party in Utrecht and the following Wedding. Fortunately, costs were offset by the same of a few items on marktplaats.

How did you do this month??

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We have a winner! Due to the payment of the Mr. CF’s “holiday allowance” (aka vakantiegeld), we had a very high income this month and with slightly lower than normal expenses we ended up with a Savings Rate of almost 65%! This feels really good.

201605 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. As noted prior, transport is low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card), and this month we had no expenses at all actually (next month will be much higher due to the need to get gas and an oil change). The “Kid” category was normal this month with both expenses and the refunds/benefits form the government. The other category is also pretty low as we did not do many cash purchases and were even able to sell some stuff we no longer need on Marktplaats (the Dutch version of “craigslist”, “kijiji” or equivalents in your country).

201605 Expenses

Similar to last month, all leisure events for this month were (virtually) “free”. There were a couple of minor costs associated with parking and ice-cream, but nothing major. We did a lot of animal/farm related outings this month, think Miss CF kind of knows her way around cows, pigs, sheep and horses for now.

How did you do this month??

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Guess this is the first month with a “normal” Savings Rate, and reason why is very simply: this month there were no extra/unexpected incomes from benefits or bonuses/holiday allowances, and no major expenses. In short a very “boring” month. So without further delay, here is the overview of our Savings Rate this month, and including all previous in 2016:

201604 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. As noted earlier, transport remains low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card), however we did have to pay road tax for the car for the coming quarter. The “Kid” category is finally “normal” this month as the catch up in daycare benefits has been completed and we now get the same monthly benefits going forward.

All leisure events for this month were “free”. There were some expenses but those were food related and are thus included in the Groceries and Grooming category. Had a great birthday party at friends yesterday actually. The expenses in the Other category were some cash expenses on “Kings Day” (bought some shoes for Miss CF and some DVD’s for ourselves)” and did an online donation.

201604 Expenses

How did you do this month??

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Although we did not think we were going to beat February, we did! It was the result of careful spending and a bit of “luck” regarding the timing of payments/benefits. This month we managed to obtain a Savings Rate of 61.2%! It was a basic month in terms of expenses and income, with no major expenses outside the normal housing costs and daycare costs.

The main reason why this month is so good is because we received the second set of benefits for daycare expenses came in for the period January to April 2016, which was €1056! This is considered as a negative daycare expense and reduced the total daycare costs to just €470. Nice, but this also means that the next couple of months, the daycare costs will be back to normal. Furthermore, child care benefits also arrived in the chequing account as well as several expense payments from Mrs. CF’s work. See below for the Savings Rates of the last few months including March 2016

201603 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. Transport remains low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card). The “Kid” category is thus extremely low this month due to the received daycare benefits. This months we did a couple of day trips, one of which was to the Dutch Comic Con in Utrecht, one to the beach (free), couple family visits, and a Musical Show in Amsterdam (we got free tickets form our landlord, so only parking fees).

201603 Expenses

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The February 2016 was amazing, but not for the “right” reasons of spending very little. This month we managed to obtain a Savings Rate of 58.3%! It was a basic month in terms of expenses and income, with no major expenses outside the normal housing costs and daycare costs.

The only reason why this month is so good is because we received the benefits for daycare expenses of the last 4 months in one payment. That was €1008! Yay. This is considered as a negative daycare expense and reduced the total daycare costs to just €350.

201602 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. Transport remains low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card). We only did visits with friends and family, so no separate travel & leisure costs this month. The “Kid” category is thus extremely low this month due to the received daycare benefits.

201602 Expenses

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January 2016 started off rather good, we managed to obtain a Savings Rate of 48.9%. Not bad! It could have been over 50% if not for a couple of vandals that thrashed one of our bikes causing €115 in damage (parts only!). Other than this little setback, expenses for food, day care, leisure, housing, and such were all inline with targets.

Unfortunatly, we still have not received our daycare credits from the government, which should be in the order of €200-300 per month, so it would be nice if that finally starts arriving in the checking account (expected to start Febuary or March).

201601 Savings Rates

Below you can find an overview of our expenses in percentage. Transport is low for us as both Mr. and Mrs. CF have their commutes paid for (one company car and one public transportation card). This expenses for this month include those for our personal vehicle and bicycles.

201601 Expenses

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The savings rate for December was amazing, mainly because of the total income, which surpassed all expectations. We had a small Christmas bonus, a massive payment of interest on a business loan (which we did not expect as it was supposed to have been reinvested into the existing load, but it will give us some extra cash to buy dividend stocks!) and various crowdfunding income.

201512 Savings Rates

The expenses where actually pretty stable, no major expenses for Sinterklaas (“St. Nicolas”) or Christmas. No other unexpected cost either. The main expense was daycare at a whopping ~€1600 before government benefits (the benefits have still not started arrived into our bank account….), but this was as expected.

201512 Expenses

 

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The savings rate for November is finally in line with what should be the new “normal”. After we moved and settled down in our current (temporary) rental place in late August of 2015, Team CF started looking for new jobs.

Mr. CF found a job starting early September and Mrs. CF found a new job starting early November. As a result little Miss CF stared with fulltime daycare in early November. Due to the timing of paychecks and daycare payments (and associated benefits) we still have not had a complete month with all incomes and expenses, but November 2015 should be a reasonable representation of the future months.

The savings rates up to and including November 2015 are:

2015 Savings Rates

The savings rate for July and August are 0% because we did not have any income for these months. With the first partial payment coming in late September. However, due to some expenses related to our move and our car, the actual savings rate was negative for the month (i.e. we spend more than we earned). Not good, but an unavoidable result of our new circumstances.

We already faired a bit better in October, but had one large and very expensive birthday present in the form of a kitchen machine (a magimix 5200XL for those cooking enthusiasts). We do a lot of cooking at home and needed a good machine that would last a very long time. We did a lot of research and after thinking about it for nearly two months (it certainly was not an impulse purchase), we bought one. After having used it extensively over the last two months, we are confident we made the right decision (should be a frugal one for that matter as well). But it’s still a bloody expensive piece of kit!

The savings rate for November is not bad, but certainly not as good as we would like it (the target is 50% and up). The main culprit for the “low” saving rate is: daycare. We are currently spending more on full time daycare than on the combined living and healthcare expenses! For a breakdown on expenses, see here.

There are a couple of reasons for this, which include the fact that our daycare benefits (the Dutch government provides benefits to partially cover daycare costs, the amount is subject to your income) have not started to come in yet. None of the grandparents are able to help out (as most still work), so we need full time daycare. We have also opted for a daycare facility rather than a dayhome (which is cheaper), due to the very good facilities and recommendations from friends and family. However, considering the massive costs, we will be looking for alternatives that provide equally good services and education for a smaller fee. But the kid comes first, as any parent would agree.

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We don’t feel comfortable (yet) to post our actual income and expenses, so we will provide our savings rates and our expenses ratio’s in percentage to give a bit of insight into our finances.

A percentage split of the expenses for November 2015 is provided below:

2015 Nov Expenses

Here are some details on the expense categories.

Living Expenses and Healthcare:

  • Rent
  • Water/Gas/Electricity
  • Insurance
  • Home Maintenance
  • Phones/Internet/Netflix
  • Property Tax
  • Healthcare Premiums & Expenses

Transport (car and bicycle – fixed and variable cost):

  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Road Tax

Groceries & Grooming:

  • Food and beverages
  • Barber/hairstylist visits
  • Diapers & assorted items
  • Kitchen supplies (paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies

Kid:

  • Daycare cost/benefits
  • Clothing
  • Toys/gifts/educational materials
  • Other essentials

Travel & Leisure:

  • Holidays (including weekend trips)
  • Day trips
  • Entertainment (excluding restaurant visits)

Other:

  • Everything else (e.g. restaurants, cash, various fees, gifts, etc.)
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