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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

(Boltzmann's brain's journal doesn't ring well, so...)


I am pretty sure I don't want to retire (extremely) early, but I really do like the idea of financial independence - for me, this means "I can stop whenever I want so I'm not gonna take any of your BS!"

However, I'm attracted to the idea of frugal living and thought it would be a good idea to keep a journal here - to measure my progress and get feedback from you guys.


Some info: In my early twenties, living in Europe, returning to university next year to get my engineering degree (the first 3 years are done, 2 more years to go). Working full-time at the moment.

I have a bit over $60000 saved up, most in "high interest rate" bank accounts (2 pct., but I can withdraw the money whenever I want unlike other accounts with higher rates) and a loan to a family member (3 pct., will get the money in ~2 years) and some in high risk stocks for fun. I'm currently trying to figure out what kind of investment options I have and I'm reading about the stock market.


Following Jacob's 21 day makeover, these are some of my thoughts:


Housing: I live in a shared apartment with three others and pay $450/mo for this including utilities and internet. This is extremely cheap compared to other housing possibilities in the city I live in - typically rent like this is only available for students. I'm still trying to figure out if it would pay off to buy something of my own, but housing is very expensive in this city (often ranked in the top 15 most expensive cities in the world to live in) and I would hate to maintain it. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my current housing situation, but I know I have to move eventually.


Decluttering: My room is about 18 m^2 (194 square feet), I have half a fridge, half of a tiny freezer and two cabinets in the kitchen. So I don't have room for that much stuff anyways. Most of my unnecessary things are clothes and shoes. I've put stuff I don't use on sale for a website similar to eBay.


Grocery shopping: I use $125-160/mo on groceries, $135-200/mo on restaurants/take away and $50/mo on lunch at work. This can be cut significantly, I think. I used to buy organic veggies from a local food co-op which I'll start again soon. You get 4-10 kg local seasonal organic veggies for $18 on a weekly basis, but you can decide whenever you want it. In return, you have to work there 4 hours/mo. I'll buy a bag of veggies every 2-3 week, some grains (lentils, quinoa and amaranth are great, they have a lot of proteins and dietary fibre), eggs and a bit of meat when it's on sale. I'll also start to pack my own lunch.

I get organic fruit from work, because we often have some left in the end of the week. I cut and freeze them for smoothies (used to add protein powder, psyllium seed husk, flax seed oil and rosehip powder to this, it constitutes as a full meal. Might do this again, the supplements are kind of expensive though). I do like the occasional restaurant meal/take away, but I'll try to minimise the spontaneous visits and plan for it instead.


Cell phone: I pay $9/mo for free sms and data (500 mb) and an extra $9/mo for calls, so about $20/mo. This is the cheapest option, I think. I am allowed to use my work phone for private use*, but I like to keep it seperate.

(*I have worked there for 3 years now and could have saved ~$650 on phone bills...)


Transport: I don't have a driver's license and cars are prohibitely expensive in this country (180% tax when buying cars and gas is $2/liter). Also, since I live in the city, parking would be impossible.

The public transportation system is extensive, but still pretty expensive. Like the majority of the rest of the city, I use my bike to get around - 7.5 km to work and when I start studying, it's 10 km. There are bicycle lanes everywhere, but the weather tends to get icy and snowy in the winter.


Other expenses: Healtcare and education is free. Insurance is $230/year and also covers travelling abroad. Dentistry have been expensive in the last year, about $700-800. This is mostly my own fault, the yearly check-ups are only $30. Clothes is probably $18/mo, but I don't really need it anymore and will hopefully cut this.


All in all, I like to live frugal, but since I started working full-time, I estimate I use $180-250 more a month. I would like to cut down.




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:18 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

February (in USD)


Income (after tax): 2730


Expenses:

Groceries: 130

Restaurants/take-away: 150

Clothes and shoes: 70

Lunch at work: 65

Rent incl. utilities and internet: 450

Cell phone: 54 (I pay this amount about 4 times a year)


TOTAL: 918


66 pct. of income saved, but I used $345 on food alone. Way too much! I'm pretty sure it is possible to live on $180/mo if I really cut it to the bone, or $220/mo if I allow some room. $250 will be my goal for April.


March is more expensive, since I've paid for the yearly insurance, a new bicycle and gifts. The budget will follow shortly.




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am
Posts: 265

Thats quite impressive. Have you looked for higher interest rate options on your savings?


Which country?




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

I'm in the process of doing just that. We don't have the same number of options here as you do in USA. Inflation is 2,7 pct., the highest interest rate I've been able to find is 3,75% and then you bind the money for three years. You also have to make the account before a set date.

Stocks or investment in buildings are the two main options, I think.


I live in one of the Scandinavian countries, so we pay high taxes, but get stuff like healthcare and education for free.




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am
Posts: 265

If you haven't already, check out the following entries in the 21 Day Makeover:


http://earlyretirementextreme.com/2009/01/day-14-investing-for-early-retiremen.html


http://earlyretirementextreme.com/2009/12/day-21-investing-for-early-retirement.html




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:01 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

March (in USD)


Income (after tax): 5155


Expenses: 1366

Rent incl. utilities and internet: 450

Insurance: 244

Groceries: 195

Restaurants/take-away: 96

Lunch at work: 47

Protein powder: 59

Clothes and shoes: 31

Bicycle: 245

Transport: 26

Misc: 62


Savings rate: 74 pct.


A pretty expensive month. My bicycle got stolen so I had to buy a new one. Insurance is once a year. I pay the "expensive" package right now because I'm travelling to Asia later this year, after that I'll downgrade to the basic package of $116 (note: This is still very low since I'm a student in their systems).

I used $307 this month on food, including the protein powder which I buy in bulk and will last me 57 smoothies. This comes out at $1/smoothie and since the fruit is free, I think this is okay - still more expensive than buying normal food, though.

My food expenses are still too high. We've moved to a new location at work without a "cheap-ish" cantine ($5/meal - not really that cheap!), so I'll start packing lunch. The restaurant expense should also be lower.

The misc category consists of a gift, the ERE book and kitchen stuff.


On the bright side, my income for March is doubled compared to normal. $2740 is my monthly salary and the rest is tax refunds (1030), "vacation money" (415), owed money (54), sold stuff (31) and pay from a medical experiment (873) about seasonal affective disorder (personality tests, MRI and PET).

(I used to participate in these medical experiments, it's easy money, I find the procedures kind of interesting and of course, I would never do something that has lasting negative effect. It is somewhat an acceptable way to earn money as a student.)


Goals for April:

- Investigate investment possibilities: Something that doesn't bind the money for too long since I may buy an apartment in the next 5 years.

- Food expenses at $250: This is set high and if I avoid buying lunch out, I should definitely be able to meet this goal. Groceries at $200, eating out at $50.

- Do not buy any clothes! I really don't need anymore.

- Overall expenses at $850: Assuming no sudden unforseen expense, this should be possible. As a side note, you get $860 from the goverment when you are studying at university, an amount considered to be impossible to live on when you live in the capital as I do. I'm going back to university in September, the following months could be excellent practice...




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:18 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

Another thing:

My parents have actually offered for me to live with them, when I return to university in Sept. The live 7 km (I live 10 km) from the university and is offering me to stay with them for free - no rent, food or insurance expenses (their insurance covers everybody living in the household)! I have to do some choirs around the house, of course, but it would be far less than what I do now when I live on my own.

While my saving rate would skyrocket to ~95% - my income would be $850 from the government + estimated $700 (and this is on the low side) from a student job, my expenses would be $100 on cellphone, text books and fun stuff - I would have to live together with the parents. At. Home. With. The. Parents. Like I was still a high school student.


It really is a generous offer from their side, but I think I'll pass. What do you guys think?




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:02 pm
Posts: 288

I'd strongly consider moving in with your parents. The numbers are attractive. It really depends on your relationship with them though. I know living with my mom would drive me nuts, but moving in with my dad would be fine, for example. You could always try it and if things aren't working out go back to renting elsewhere.




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Location: Chicago, IL

It also depends on your relations with other people/fellow students/social life/hanging out drinking beer/etc. Would that change?


Note that living at home with your parents until you're close to 30 (specifically until you're getting married) is quite normal in southern Europe. The age of moving out is completely and utterly a cultural thing.




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:48 am
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I too would strongly consider moving in with your parents (will they have me?). You have a timeline for how long you'll "need" to be there, so it's not as if you'd be stuck with no end in sight, and it would be a fantastic opportunity to save money.


Saving as much as you think you'll be able to will give you a significant advantage when it comes to holding out for the right job or moving to a new city.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:39 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Posts: 2705
Location: Orygun

Living at home doesn't mean you have to be at home. It can be just the place you sleep and perform chores.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:17 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
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Thanks for your input. I've been giving it some thought now and have decided to not move home. I probably knew this already... but it's great with some input.


My parents are refugees and it is common for the children to live at home until they are married - usually in their mid-twenties. Fortunately, my parents are not traditional, so us children were allowed to move out of home when we felt like it. It certainly helps that all family on my mother's side live within a 20 km radius from me.


For me, moving home with the parents would be a major setback in my "personal development". All my friends live in the city, I can't do anything spontaneous with them, I would live with my parents (!!! - just can't seem to overcome that thought) and I would be socially isolated.

My relationship with my parents is great now, but it definitely didn't used to be like this.


@George: Good point, but I'm introvert and my personal space means a lot to me - somewhere I can go and relax. Living at home wouldn't just be somewhere to sleep and perform chores for me.


Also, I wouldn't want to live with them when I am done with my studies (in 2½ years) and my current living situation is very comfortable - I don't know if I'd be able to find something like this in 2½ years.


-------------------------------------------------


On another note... I have decided to track all of my food expenses this month to really stamp out my consumption - for the sake of both my money (less important) and health/enjoyment (more important).


I've divided the spreadsheet into "Purchased" ("quantities", "price", "price/kg" etc.), "Made" (short quantitative recipes, servings, cost etc.) and "Food diary" (what I eat at each meal). If I manage follow through, I'll post it here.




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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
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It is pretty expensive to live where I live. On one hand, it's really nice to travel and have everything be very cheap, all of a sudden. Forget about those $10 draft beers, you can live on $10 for a week in most Asian countries.

On the other hand, it's expensive here - and that where I'm spending the majority of my time anyways.


I've looked into different indexes that quantify cost of living.


One of the best known and most easily understood is the Big Mac Index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index), i.e. "an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries."

I live in one of the top five most expensive places according to that index. Thankfully, I never eat at McDonalds anyways.


Another interesting site is http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings.jsp where all countries are ranked based on six different parameters. This time, top 10. The same website has made a more precise list based on cities: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp - top 15 on this list. The most expensive American city is Boston, clocking in at about 20 rankings behind the city where I live.

I hope to go on exchange in Zurich, Switzerland within 2 years - Zurich is the third most expensive city in the world! It'll be interesting to live frugal there, my money will simply be worth less. On that note, think about how fast one could obtain financial independence by simply moving to another country!




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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
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The harddisk on my computer crashed and with it, the document I was using to track my daily food expenses. So I figure I'll just stop the tracking now. Based on the first 17 days of April, my average daily food expense is $4.4. However, I did get a lot of meals for free - approx. 10 meals - so if I ignore those, my average lands at $5.3. Still quite okay. I did eat restaurant food twice, but one of them was prepaid last month.


At $5 a day, I'll use $150 a month which is pretty awesome. However, this is only if I don't use any money on eating out. A more realistic amount is probably $185. I've realised how much nice food I can get for the same money I use on eating out. I'll work on buying more expensive food items - like shrimp, fish, meat, fresh herbs - instead of eating out, you get so much more value for money that way.


I've eaten a lot of lentil salads (lentils with fresh veggies like arugula, broccoli, red onions, tomatoes, mushrooms etc.), cottage cheese, homemade hummus (also ridicously cheap, filling and delicious), ajvar, eggs, smoothies and so many vegetables. I've also made a giant pot of sauce bolognese (with about five times the amount of veggies to meat). All in all, I'm really happy with my new eating habits, I rarely impulse-buy in the supermarket or at restaurants, and have a lot of healthy ready-to-eat food in my fridge and freezer. Just got a giant bag of pungent ramsons from my mother, she picked it herself from a forest nearby her place. So good!


I've used $112 so far in expenses this month, excluding the $450 I use on rent/internet/utilities. The best part is, I haven't really missed anything. The semi-vegetarian diet is great, I just got a bunch of clothes from a sibling and I'm carefully considering every buy I make. For instance, I've found a pair of good quality jeans I would like to buy (the pair I own from the same brand have lasted about 300 wears so far and didn't rip when I fell on my bike and scrapped my leg), but I've decided to give it a month of consideration before I buy it. Also, they are marked down from $105 to $35.


Other expense cuts:

- I've found a new place to live - not with my parents, but at a friend's new place downtown. This is a much better place, both location- and apartment-wise, and I'll pay 355-370$/month for this. Win/win/win! I'll move within 6 months.

- I've asked to get the number from my private phone transferred to my work phone, so the company will pay my phone bill. It is acceptable to use my work phone for private use, so that's another $20/month I'll save.


Just a brainfarty mid-monthly update. I'm enjoying the frugal life so far. Hopefully, by still allowing some luxuries, I'll not get frugality fatigue like some of the other posters have experienced. One of the main factors is probably that all of my friends are still studying and living on a tight budget, so I don't feel like I'm missing anything when I compare myself to my social circle. We'll see in a couple of years. Lifestyle inflation is dangerous!




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:04 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:33 pm
Posts: 116

Congrats on finding the new place. You've been mulling over this one a long time. Good you finally closed it with a decision. Sounds like a nice win all around.


Curious, how did you use the ramson? Does one cook it? Or are they generally eaten in salads? I had to look up ajvar. It sounds delicious. I am going to have to try it soon. Did you cook it yourself? Recipe?


Good going on the healthy frugal diet. Sounds like another win-win-win.




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:51 am 

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Thank you!


The ramsons taste like a mix of chives and garlic, but the flavour fades when it's cooked. I mostly just chiffonade it (fancy word for cutting it in strips) and use it in salads, on eggs, in oil-based dressings, with cottage cheese etc., basically anywhere you would use chives. It's also pretty good in hummus instead of garlic or blended together with creme fraiche or feta cheese to make a creamy dressing or spread. I haven't tried using it in pesto yet, but it should be really good.

Here's a photo of what it looks like in the forest: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uo3-MEjLLY4/Ta6MOQgE7PI/AAAAAAAAJrU/LyPv8Q6yAZ4/s1600/IMG_0983.JPG. They should be picked before they blossom, after that the taste becomes bitter.

And the best part? They're sold for like $3/80 g in the expensive "Whole Foods"-like supermarket...


I buy the ajvar in ethnic supermarkets, it's about $5 for a jar of 900 g. However, you can definitely make it yourself. Here's a recipe that mimics the ingredient list on my jar: http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2011/10/avjar.html

If you buy it, make sure to check the ingredients for sugar, a lot of brands put way too much of sugar in their products. I use ajvar as a condiment, it's more filling/healthier than ketchup. It's usually available in a spicy or sweet version.




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:44 am 
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great! i want a forest like that!




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:16 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:33 pm
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Thanks for the lovely pic. That helped. You know I have seen these grow all over and never once stopped to consider that they may be edible. I've got to go looking for them this spring. I especially like the idea of using them in hummus in place of garlic. I am also definitely going to get me some ajvar next time I am in the ethnic part of town.


BTW, you sound like quite the chef. I am impressed!




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:47 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:17 am
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Very nice to read, Boltzie.


I am actually quite piqued by the home-made hummus...I inspired my married sister to be more frugal, and she made homemade hummus, and it was awesome. So I need to try to make it. Good to see you've done it successfully. I have a magic bullet blender that should work.




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:20 am 

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@ktn

Beware that they look a lot like other plants that are poisonous - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsons, the test they mention is all you need. When ramsons bloom, the whole forest floor smell like somebody poured blended leeks everywhere.

And yes, food is one of my hobbies! I find it pretty meditative.


@Joe

Yeah, pre-made hummus is really, really expensive. Maybe $4 for a small container of 250 g. 1/2 kg dried chickpeas (imo better and also cheaper than the canned ones) are like $1.75 where I live and you get a liter full when they are boiled (save the boiling water to thin your hummus or use it in soups, it is very savory). The most expensive part is the tahini (sesame paste) which is maybe $5 for a jar of 400 g, but you only use a couple of tablespoons anyway.

Hummus freezes well if you add the garlic after it has been thawed, and a bit of extra olive oil. I only have a cheap (~$10) immersion blender, it does a remarkably good job - also with frozen fruit in smoothies - and is so easy to clean.




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:01 am 
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Now it's my time to help: tahine is very easy to make at home from sesame seed with a handmill. We make a lot of it. Take the sesame to a pot in low fire and use a wood spoon to keep mixing it. You will know it's ready when you press a seed between your fingers and you can easily crush it. Take care not to burn, and put small quantities on the fire so have an homogeneusly prepared. Also, mix all the time. When it is ready, pass it through the mill adjusted to the finest milling.


Someone would like to post the tahine and the hummus receipts to the wiki? I'm on the cellphone now.




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:06 pm 

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@bigato

Added to the wiki! I also created a page for lentils: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/wiki/index.php?title=Lentils - maybe a better idea would be to make a legume page?


Interesting, I often make roasted sesame and sunflower seeds to sprinkle on salads, but haven't considered making my own nut pastes and butters. I don't think making my own tahini paste would justify the money and space for a handmill, but maybe I can borrow one from my grandparents, they use a coffee grinder to make soy milk.




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:24 pm 
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The handmill i have is also a cofee grinder. I also use it to make tofu.




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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:18 pm 

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Finding myself in a contemplative mood, so I thought I would jot down some words.


I've found that my overall life philosophy has changed during the last year where I've worked full-time for the first time. The ultimate goal would be to leave no physical imprint on the earth at all, but a giant impact on humanity. Parafrased: Assume an earth with no people. This earth shouldn't be any different when I die (think hunter-gatherer time age). And assume humanity represented as a huge collection of thoughts, ideas, concepts, scientific discoveries, arts etc. When I die, I would like to have impacted this some way, even if it's just a tiny fraction (this illustrated guide to what a phd really describes it well: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/) Yesyes, very idealistic, I'm still young :)


I also made some lists over random stuff:


Stuff I don't pay for


- Largest single sum: $7500 for Femto-LASIK on both eyes. Paid for by the state (gotta love that Scandinavian welfare system) since I had more than +/- 6 dioptres. It's really great, would have done it even if I had to pay for it myself.

- Education: Also free, plus you get about $820/m while studying. You have an extra year of support for each education you take, so 4 years for a BA and 3 years for a MA. However, you only get the money if you are actually studying. It is very common for people to get delayed - a lot are not done studying until their late twenties or early thirties. It's also common to work on the side with something relatind to your studies.

- Healthcare: Partly. Dentistry is not free. Prescription medicine cost money up until a certain spending maximum where you get a large reimbursement from the state if you have to buy more. I'm currently getting a vaccine for pollen allergies. The medicine costs about $1200 over five years, but the injections done by a nurse and all associated care are free. My mother work for the company making these vaccines, and they are reimbursing the medicine cost, so this is also free for me. I still have expenses for allergy medicine though, it is difficult to get rid of completely.

- Haircuts! This seems a bit trivial compared to the other points. I've never been to a hairdresser where I paid. There is a hairdresser school here where you can get your hair cut for free, or almost free (depending on who's cutting you). I've only been cut by the hairdresser teachers and is quite satisfied with the result.

- TV-related stuff: No need it, internet is just fine.

- Telecommunication: My employer actually pays for mobile internet (fast enough to stream something in 1024p or download a torrent with ~500 mb/s) and cellphone for private use. I pay for internet through my rent (forced, but it's split between four and only $13/person) and I've been reluctant to use the work phone for private use. I have requested to get my private phone number ported now though, so I should be saving the $20/m I used to use on mobile phone.


Of course, I pay for the first three points through taxes. Nonetheless, it feels like free stuff to me :)

I'm fond of the system as it is now - this sentiment might reverse when I get older and get to pay 60% in taxes... To combat this, I've begun to ignore salaries pre-tax and I only consider actual take home-salary now. It helps.


Stuff I do pay for


- Food

- Rent

- Personal care products: Shampoo, a multi-purpose cream (fat content 63%), toothpaste. Toilet paper. Medicine.

- Clothes

- Travel

- Insurance

- Transport


I figure Travel and Transport can be minimised a lot.


Also, some of the jobs I've had:


- Tutor: I was paid $18/hour, but a couple of my friends are doing it now and say the rate is $25/hour now. You have to pay $45/yr to advertise on the website though, I did it through a free service at my university. The level is typically late grade school to high school (age range 15-19) and sometimes university students. This is taxfree money - well, legally you are required to report it, but nobody does. Also, it's not that much in the long run, maybe 3-10 hours/week.

- Medical experiments: Sell your body to science. There is also a website for this where they advertise the experiments, the pay varies a lot. I made most money with the SAD experiment ($873), but it was also the most time-consuming. Other stuff I've done: Vaccines (added bonus: Don't have to pay for these when I travelled abroad the next 10 years, stuff like tetanus, diphtheria and one more I forgot), pain experiments (! - exposure to electricity, heat and ice, nothing was forced, it was to test the pain threshold with and without painkillers) and a couple of bloodsugar experiments (fast for 24 hours and then get a giant sugar boost. Scary stuff!). I never picked the ones with lasting effect on the body ("worst" for me was PET where you get injected with a radioactive tracker. I have like a 0,2% higher risk of getting some kind of cancer or something, as all PET patients do) and as an added bonus, you get to know a lot about your body (coolest thing? The fMRI machine + picture of my brain!) and how it reacts in stress situations. I liked this a lot and it's really great when you're studying and setting your own schedule.

- (Summer) jobs at laboratories: Academic education that somebody pays for, essentially. Looks great on CV :)

- Writer at a media surveillance company: Working mornings before going to lectures is tough (more than a fair share of quantum mechanics lecture was taken in while sleeping that semester...). Pay was per piece you wrote, I was one of the fastest with a average salary of $25-30/hour. Peaked one hour at $62 - I was very proud :) Luckily I am a morning person and it was absolutely beautiful to bike through the city while everybody still slept, especially when it was still dark - saw loads of constellations.

- Blogger: Wrote about tech, IT and stuff like this. Possibly the best job ever. Worked from home and had one obligatory meeting day at the office (flexible, often just half a day or none), got paid $1400/month (pretax - $800 after) for writing an entry of about ½ page five times a week + blogging from some of their events. I work in the same company now full-time. Can't really complain, my work is pretty chill.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
Posts: 25

April (in USD)


Total take home salary: 2719+32=2751


Expenses:

Rent incl. utilities and internet: 449

Groceries: 139

Restaurants/take-away: 63

Clothes: 36

Medicine: 15

Drinking: 11

Misc: 16

TOTAL: 728


Savings rate: 73%


A good month. I've finally tackled the food expenses. I used to buy lunch at work, now I bring my own food (included in the groceries post). I just make a large portion of something Sunday and then it's easy and cheap to bring lunch the rest of the week. I still use a bit too much on restaurant food, but $50 of the $63 this month are coupons I've bought for later use. Eating out is expensive, less so if you actually plan for it.


The least necessary buy was probably the $14 I paid for an emergency fix on my flat bicycle tire. Sigh. The guy did it in less than 10 min (doh) and I had to be somewhere within 30 min. Of course, the weekend after I finally learnt how to patch the damn bike tire. I also "inherited" my father's old racerbike. It needed some work, probably $70 in total, but it works perfectly now. I can't wait to ride it when I start at university again, it's a lot faster than my other "city bike".


Did I reach my goals for April?

- Investigate investment possibilities: Nope, not really... Had a brief encounter with some apartment buy, but decided against it since I got a nice offer from a friend - rent a room for $373/mo incl. utilities and internet at a much nicer place than where I live now.

- Food expenses at $250, groceries at $200, eating out at $50: Yes! Total expenses at $202 and I didn't even have to try that hard. I'm actually enjoying it, it's great to put some effort and thought into what you're eating.

- Do not buy any clothes: Nope. Bought a pair of very nice jeans and shorts used for a good price. Next month... (and probably not, because I need socks)

- Overall expenses at $850: Yes. And it was pretty effortless. However, the expenses don't take cell phone and insurance into account (payments every 3 or 12 months), this is another $40/mo. Still, my total expenses are less than $850. In conclusion, it is quite possible to live on the $860 you get from the state - this will be handy when I start studying again in September.




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