DutchGirl's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
m741
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by m741 »

If you're paying down $5k of principal on the mortgage, that doesn't seem like an expense.

herp
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp »

I agree, I would equate it to investing, since you're essentially taking a guaranteed return.

DutchGirl
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

I'll do that, then. So that's closer to a 40% saving rate and that's of course a bit better than what I was afraid of.

DutchGirl
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

November's savings rate was ... pretty much negative. Sigh. But we did get a new garden for that, so there's that.

I think at the end of December I'm going to show costs for the complete year, and calculate a savings rate (after tax deductions and including paying down the mortgage debt etc etc). It's going to be a year with high expenses, I know that already. Some related to moving into this house and paying for things like the garden and furniture and stuff like that. Hopefully those bills will be much lower to absent next year. We are done with the major upgrades, of course it's impossible to predict when the first repair arrives. But there also definitely has been some lifestyle inflation since moving into this new place, and I'll need to work on that.

I've just had a week off, and this time it was good to have that. I was battling a cold and it wasn't going away, so a few days of rest helped. Plus I got to clean up the study room and shred some paperwork from 2012 and before. So I feel like everything's tidy again. Onwards to the next three months or so of creating a new mess :D .

Unfortunately I won't have a week off from Christmas to New Year, so my next holiday is coming up in March. Still not too bad, of course!

From January onwards my company offers to pay the holiday money and the end-of-year bonus (a fixed percentage of your salary) every month. So instead of getting a bigger paycheck in May and December I can choose to have 1/12th of these amounts paid to me every month. You may guess once who will be the first one to fill in the form so that you get your money sooner... Looking forward to that!

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

So, for all of 2018...

Income after income-taxes 41.000 euros. 38.000 from my main job, 3000 euros side-income.

EDIT: May be useful to add an image?

Image

Expenses (category) & total amount in euros:
Household expenses (groceries, cleaner, electricity&water, but also some shared trips/movies etc) 6575
Charitable donations (tax deduction already taken into account) 4018
The "whatever" category, consisting of gifts, sweets, fun things for myself 3961
House mortgage (only mortgage interest, and tax deduction already taken into account) 3129
House furniture/decoration 2773
Transport (mostly train, some bike repair costs) 2006
Health insurance & health care costs 1567
Monetary gifts to nieces&nephews for their studies 1450
Asset tax 600
House tax / local community tax 410
Clothes & hairdresser 409
Life insurances 303
Subscriptions (work union & political party) 231
Cellphone costs 187
Banking costs (fees for checking account, credit card, investing) 167

Total roughly 28.000 euros of expenses. So a 2018 savings rate of 32% (13k euros).


I'm mostly unhappy about the amounts spend on household expenses, the "whatever" category and the house furniture/decoration . The "whatever" category was supposed to be 200 euros per month at most, so I went over by more than 50%. It's mostly treating myself and treating others... just a bit too much. For 2019 I hope to do better in these categories.

I'm okay with the other expenses. I've recently looked at my planned expenses for 2019 and after cancelling just the one subscription to a specific website I'm now happy about all other planned expenses. Key word being planned... I am still planning for 200 euros of "whatever"-expenses per month, but hopefully in the next year I can actually stick to that. It's quite the generous amount, goddammit, I should be able to stick to that.

My net worth hasn't gone up much over the year. No surprise with the recent market downturns, I guess. Over the year I did invest roughly 8k euros that I didn't spend, the other 5k going to paying down the mortgage. So hopefully I will see my networth rise again next year and when the markets recover.

Otherwise it has been quite a good year for me. I lost some weight. I regained some fitness (in those expenses is a 150 euro hometrainer for me that is actually being used). I have enjoyed living in our new house. I have learned some more about myself. I did some volunteer work that was interesting and heartwarming. Or maybe this is the chocolates talking that I had today, on Boxing Day :lol: .
Last edited by DutchGirl on Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Forskaren
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Forskaren »

The savings rate is probably better than most people.


You probably have to be a bit careful about lifestyle inflation when owning a house. I noticed that many people I know, overspend both time and money on their houses. Some repairs are of course critical so that the house does not get damaged. But my general impression is that a lot of money and time is spent on things that will have lost almost all value if the house would be sold in 20 years or so. Replacing the kitchen every 5 years instead of every 30 years burns money that is not coming back. Money paid for cleaning, maintaining and heating a too big house is not coming back, unless the extraordinary increase in housing prices is continuing and make up for the costs.

ItsALongStory
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:50 am

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by ItsALongStory »

Always amazing to see folks save quite a bit of cash despite the very high tax rates in Western Europe, don't get caught up in what can be saved in the US since those tax rates are not even close to being comparable.

It's been a few weeks that you've posted, how has 2019 started?

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

We're on a much-needed holiday these weeks, to Portugal. We drove here, mostly because I dislike flying, but also because my boyfriend likes driving (and I don't mind it that much). We took three days to get here, and we will take three days driving back home. The total trip is 2,200 kilometers, so 1367 miles. With some road work etc, on the trip to Portugal we drove roughly 8 hours per day.

We're staying in Portugal for two full weeks. My total holiday is 3.5 weeks, and so I have had a few days before leaving, and will have another few days of holiday when arriving back home to adjust and do the laundry and stuff like that.

It's lovely to be here. The weather is nice, on average it gets up to 22 degrees Celcius (72 F) during the day, while cooling down a bit at night. So for me this is perfect: not too hot, not too cold. For me, it's a good time of the year to be here. I hear it's going to be much hotter in summer. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, after a nice early spring week halfway through February that we enjoyed, the weather turned cold and rainy again, so we're escaping that for a few weeks.

Finances
A first-quarter update on my finances: income 9.500 euros for the three months, with starting in February finally the option to have my bonus and my vacation money/bonus paid to me every month instead of in December and May in one go. I love that; the money's mine (it builds up by 1/12th every month, and if you quit you get the amount that build up so far), so I want to be able to use it or invest it right away!

These months, I spent it... Much of it was planned/expected spending, so that's good. Some things to mention are that I have overspent my "fun" budget by 40 euros/month so far, so I need to catch up 120 euros now. I also spend 500 euros on city taxes this month, but this is for all of 2019, so I won't see this expense again for the rest of the year. Finally, the holiday looks like it's cost 1500 euros total (per person), so that's another expense that I hope to not have for the rest of the year. Total spending came out to 10.000 euros, so my savings account is a little bit lower than it was three months ago.

My net worth increased, mostly due to the markets recovering. Inching closer to 150k euros every month. I hope to reach it next month when my monthly paycheck hits. Or maybe before if the markets leap upwards.

When I'm back home, I'll need to gather all tax paperwork so that the accountant can file our taxes for us. I should see a nice refund, but probably won't know how much until May and won't get it until June or July or so.

Work/planning

I'm going to reduce my working hours to 28/week in May. This is from a temporary increase to 32 last summer. It's just not working for me, 32 hours/week when also working a flexible schedule and having all these little tasks at work that need to be done. With the holiday in March I hope that I can work my 32 hours/week as planned in April, and then from May onwards the pressure will go down a bit. A nice prospect.

I am considering quitting my current job or reducing the hours to, I don't know, 16/week or so, when I reach 200k net worth. That's a nice prospect, but it's going to take a couple of years, still.

My boyfriend quite likes our current holiday. He is an independent contractor in IT and his net worth is higher than mine, and much closer to a safe retirement amount. My estimate would be that he will have enough money in just two years time to safely retire and have a safe withdrawal rate of just 3%. He needed this holiday as much as I did, so maybe it's no surprise that we've talked a bit about retirement or about him reducing his work hours as well. Right now, he's on the couch working on the Busy Beaver problem (some kind of IT problem as I understand it). So it's not like he has started to hate all of IT. Just the working M-F for someone else-part of it. (And yes, he's an independent contractor but he still has a responsibility towards his client). After his current project is finished (which may be anything from 1 month to 36 months from now) he vowes that he will take some months off to recover and only do fun stuff. The last time he did that, five years ago or so, he became antsy after a month or 3 and did find a new project half a month later, so I'm not too worried about him doing that again some time in the future. He'll be fine even if he never gets another project anyway.

With our net worths combined, it's true that one of us could already comfortably retire right now, and the other would have to continue working for a little while longer. I sometimes dream of that (imagine coming home to a happy boyfriend, a clean house and a cooked meal every evening!) but yeah, it's just not our style. So at least for now, we'll both continue working at least until one of us is confident in being FI. Still, it's rather nice to know that work is kind of optional, in case of things like illness or job loss.

Health

I bought myself a hometrainer in December, as I already mentioned before. I have been considering this for years, but the rather large one-time expense kind of stopped me before. Imagine that you buy such a thing and then only use it five times or so! However, I'm happy to report that I've been using it on average 5 times per week since I bought it. With the exception of these weeks in Portugal of course, so when I get back home, I'll have to get back in the saddle, pronto. But still, it's working. I've calculated that costs have now come down to roughly 3 euros per use, so that's already pretty good. Hopefully in the coming quarter I can work on halving that cost-per-use! It's also pretty obvious that my physical health improved because of it. I lost a few more kilos and while in the beginning I had to stop sometimes because of being out of breath, in the meantime I've chosen more challenging programs on the hometrainer and increased resistance, without too much trouble. I'll probably have to rebuild some of that fitness once the holiday is over. I've been watching my weight here to keep it steady (I don't want to re-lose 3-5 kilos just because of a holiday!), but I haven't exercised as much.

RIght, how's that for a quarterly update? I'm off to sit in the sun some more; cheerio!
Last edited by DutchGirl on Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

herp
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp »

Thanks for the update, DutchGirl!

What a great idea to travel to Portugal at this time of the year. The weather sounds absolutely perfect. I hope your remaining holiday will be as enjoyable as it has been so far.

I can relate to the working hours part. Right now I'm working relatively few hours but am gradually scaling up. I think I have a plan to land around 30 hours when I'm done scaling up, as I think that's going to be a reasonable balance between time spent at work and the ability to save.

Can I ask what hometrainer you bought? I've sometimes considered getting one, but the idea of just being able to go for a long walk, a run, or a bicycle ride always put me off the idea.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

Hi herp, I bought the Tunturi FitCycle 50i Ergometer Bike. It costs 300 euros but my boyfriend and I shared those costs.

I think it's a decent one.

For me also, thinking about paying money to exercise was rather painful. I would also always think: oh, but I can just bike outside or exercise outside. It's just that I wouldn't always do it. Especially in winter. And while I do walk to my work sometimes or bike to it, I noticed when biking on this hometrainer that apparently biking to work isn't very strenuous to me, probably because you're in traffic so you can't go as fast as you can, and also there aren't many hills in my area of the country. So biking on the hometrainer was actually more of a challenge anyway.

I put it together myself, two things to watch out for with that:

1. Don't lose the screws inside the body of the bike. I lost one screw that way. I don't think it matters that much (there's still 5 screws left to keep the tube or column that the handles sit on upright, should be enough), but it was a bit of a dumb moment.
2. You need the electricity/data cables to go all the way up to the handlebars and computer, BUT at the same time, when the length of cable is still too great when you've put the bike together and only need to connect them to the computer, then you find yourself stuffing those cables inside the tube/column and that's probably not very good for those cables. So keep some length of cables while you're building up the bike, but not too much.

prognastat
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by prognastat »

Nice, what all did you do in Portugal? See any sights/do anything fun?

Congrats on the health improvements too.

DutchGirl
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

We took it relatively easy, prognastat. Half of the days we did nothing, except going to the supermarket, the other half of the days we did a small outing. We saw a lot of the countryside, and we went to the seaside several times. We went to the city of Sintra, en to the city of Obidos. That's about it :-) . We are planning to come back some other time and do some more sightseeiing.

prognastat
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by prognastat »

Nice, taking it easy on a vacation is always nice to get away from the bustle of daily life.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

Yeah, I passed the 150k euros mark. Hurrah!

My savings rate for 2019 so far is truly abysmal. It's around 10%; which is positive, that's the only good thing about it. Things should get a bit better in May and from July onwards, too.

But still, I'm a bit mad at myself. Just the other day, I've given over $100 to friends who are poor and who want to pay for their wedding at the city hall. They're just paying the fees for a cheapest-day-wedding, nothing expensive at all. Or rather: I am paying the fees. I feel that a marriage is in their best interest (and in that of their kids - NB although in the Netherlands for lots of legal stuff and tax stuff when you have kids together it doesn't matter so much whether you're married or not - but there are a few cases where marriage is better), so when they came to me and told me that they couldn't pay for their planned wedding, I paid the fee for them. On the one hand I feel good about this, and they were really happy, on the other hand that's another $100+ down the drain for me. Plus they really really should have been able to save up this money by themselves. Sigh.

Emotions all over the map, because on the other hand I'm considering buying a secondhand car. Ha. I have no car now, and travel to work by public transport or bike, depending on where I'm working and what the weather is like, and it does get tiring every now and then. Preliminary calculations tell me that getting such a car is going to cost at least 150 euros/month more than my current travel costs. And then I feel like: okay, I can do this for a year or so and see whether I like it. If I don't like it (much) more, I'd sell the car again.

So on the one hand I try to spend less, and on the other I would turn right around and spend more. Don't worry, I haven't bought the car just yet.

It's fun to have an actual garden now. It's nice to look out and see green grass instead of stone. Okay; I'm going to go outside now and do some garden work :-)

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

Still no car and I probably won't get one. The garden's in full bloom now, which is really nice.

In May my savings rate was 19% (meh), but this was due to receiving a higher salary than normal due to vacation money. June is looking good, though, with again a nice income (this time from a job-on-the-side) and lower planned expenses.

I have to get back to being serious about this ERE-thing. The fact that I already have 150k makes me a bit lazy, perhaps. So here's to a better rest-of-2019!

Berninger
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:20 am

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Berninger »

Nice to read your progress.

I had the same thoughts about getting a second car for my work. I chose for a fast ebike (goes 27km/h). Very happy with it (my work is 22km). Plus it saves me travel costs.
Now considering a speed pedelec (goes up to 45km/h). This way i will be quicker at my work (now it takes me 1 hour).
Maybe that's something for you as well? You can get anywhere up to 90km within 2.5 hours.

How much k do you need to get to FIRE?

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

I'm aiming for 300k euros to call myself FI. However, I am considering quitting my current job when I have 200k. 200k euros is such a nice cushion that it may allow me to explore other options for income. I could potentially withdraw 5% (higher withdrawal rate because the 200k only needs to last until official retirement) and need to supplement with like another 2000 to 5000 euros of income from another source... well, that should be doable somehow; I actually already have 2k of side-income that I could continue doing. Or, if I find a different job that brings in more than 5k/year, then of course that would allow me to leave the 200k be and allow it to grow some more. We'll see.

In the end I'm not buying a car now. There are initiatives in the Netherlands where you can borrow someone else's car for say 30 euros per day plus gas; I might want to look into that some more; for the rare occasions where a car is really useful to me.

niemand
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Location: Woop Woop, Australia

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by niemand »

Quitting at 200k and supplementing with 2-5k pa sounds like a good option.

Maybe you could scale up your side income? Or do something fun that brings in a little money as well. Or something not fun but well-paid that doesn’t take too much time and has lots of flexibility.

Myself, I tried out freelance content-writing (in the investing click-bait space) a couple years ago just to see if it could provide a decent side income. They pay $100 per article. I am now able to produce a publishable article in 2-3 hours. Not quite fun, not too ethical, but very easy money. Taxes aside, if I needed $2-5k a year I’d just have to write one article a week.

Based in my own experience (n=1), I’d say go for it at 200k.

Will
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:23 am

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Will »

DutchGirl wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:33 am
In the end I'm not buying a car now. There are initiatives in the Netherlands where you can borrow someone else's car for say 30 euros per day plus gas; I might want to look into that some more; for the rare occasions where a car is really useful to me.
Good to hear you didn't buy a car, I do own a car but we frequently rent it out on Snappcar, it's a nice alternative.
If you're really longing to be more free I think it's a good idea to call it quits at 200K, though I'm not sure if I would do so myself, I would opt for a bit more safety margin I think.

On the other hand, in these good economic times it's not hard to create a nice side income. I write for seeking alpha ($50-100+ per article depending on the number of clicks) and deliver food by bike (mostly as hobbies), but it still brings in 2-4k per year without much effort.
@ Niemand: for which website do you write? I might be interested in it as well. You can also PM me.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1258
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

One week of holiday coming up this week! It will however be filled with all kinds of house maintenance. (Or actually, me opening the door and providing coffee for all kinds of professionals who will come and maintain/repair/fix/change something about our house. Biggest issue: changing the windows for more isolating ones (HR++ in Dutch; meaning less heat loss in winter). I am hoping that this will make sleeping in the bedroom more comfortable in winter. So we're doing this now, but I won't be able to tell how much it worked until December or so :D It will also probably come with a bit of savings on gas, but the savings probably won't be huge.

The replacement of the windows was the last big issue that needed to be fixed according to the inspection report when we bought the house almost two years ago now. Oh, no, wait, the painting of the outside of the house. But that will be done in August after the new windows have been placed (and the stuff keeping them in their place has dried/settled).

PS June came with losses instead of savings due to prepaying for those windows. It was a task that was on the to do-list, but I suddenly started really doing it; and then yes, it also costs money.

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