DutchGirl's journal

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

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:53 am

May income was 4160 euros, due to getting the vacation money. I've spent roughly 1700 euros in May, of which 800 to rent&food, almost 600 euros on charity (the contribution for one full year to one charity, plus a few other small monthly donations - amounts will be lower for the rest of the year), 130 euros to travel/transport, close to a 100 euros for the annual fee for a term life insurance, and 70 euros or so on fun.

My total savings rate for this year isn't were I want it to be, yet: 10,300 euros spent of 15,100 euros of income, so a savings rate of only 32%. However, these numbers should go up in the rest of the year as I've done most of my planned charitable giving for this year.

I'm happy with "only" spending 70 euros of fun/unexpected expenses, as it will help me get my average budget on that below 200 euros/month. I'm trying to keep spending down again in June, so far so good.

My mother-in-law is recovering nicely at home. She has always loved the summer and sitting outside in the shade, and the last 10 days or so she had recovered enough to be able to do that again. She'll have to build up some stamina to walk to closeby shops and stuff like that, but it'll come. We have a bit more worries about my boyfriend's father and mother these days, but it is true, they are really getting older and you know that things can happen then. I'm glad that my father and mother (still in their late 60s) have been doing fine these last couple of months. We've been visiting the in-laws a couple of times these lasts months, and will do so again tomorrow. Last week we were there on a Monday to go to the doctor's appointment with my mother-in-law; it's really nice that my parttime work (28 hours/week) and my boyfriend's business allowed us to be flexible like that.

We have been looking at possible houses to live in. But the boyfriend won't budge on his long list of requirements, and the housing market is growing more and more expensive every month. So for the time being we'll just stay where we are and I'm definitely enjoying living here and having relatively low housing costs (400 euros/month including utilities). Maybe we can buy during the next house market crash :lol: . By that time the boyfriend and I will be able to pay for a house in cash :roll: .

Cornerman
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:31 am

400 euro's including utilities a month is very cheap , considering social housing nowadays starts around 650 - max 710 euro's a month without utilities.
Funny how our society works. Hopefully your in laws keep their health. After all that's the most important.

Any luck on the career change ?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:17 pm

We found a new house! And signed the buying contract! The house is NOT in the countryside, but does have easy access to public transport, a small garden, and a garage for the BF's car. It costs 300k euros, and I'll be responsible for half of that. It looks like housing costs will actually only increase a little bit for me, due to the very low interest rates these days. (My estimate: per month 200 euros of mortgage interest (after tax cuts and going down over time as I pay down the mortgage), 150 euros of potential repair costs on average, 75 euros of utilities, 40 euros of home insurance + life insurance, 50 euros of local taxes (for each of these that would be my half). That would be 515 euros/month compared to 425 euros now.

Right now, there are a lot of one-time costs as well, such as for the paperwork, the buying tax, and the necessary repairs. Of course, I should add those to the costs as well (my share would be roughly 5000 euros), but if you do spread them out over many years to come, it won't add too much to the average monthly costs.

The house will actually be transferred to us at the beginning of October, and we hope to move in in November or so. The boyfriend is going to sell our current house in September/October probably, with a move-out date of November or December. Busy times, but fun (mostly).

One thing that worries me a little is that the boyfriend wants to buy a lot of new furniture, while we still have furniture that isn't falling apart yet. (Also, he wants to leave behind the two tables that I just repainted this year - my blood, sweat and tears are in those tables!). However, over the last 9 years that I've lived with him, we have only bought one piece of furniture: one office chair, so my guess is that we will buy some new stuff now and then keep it for many years to come.

Noedig
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Noedig » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:37 pm

Super news, Dutch!

I have slowly learned from making budgets, is that there is often a big difference between all the things you can anticipate, and what happens in reality.

Life is full of one-off costs, unexpected events and opportunities. Roofs must be fixed, weddings attended, medical expenses found, family members and friends helped, it goes on.

You seem to have factored that in, and still be saving at ERE levels. Good for you!

Glad you will have a garden. Exciting times ahead, an adventure in making a home. Best wishes with all that, and with selling your current home.

rube
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by rube » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:10 am

Congrats DG!
300K might sound a lot for ERE style but I think for the current situation in the netherlands and your situation it is pretty good.
Is it in the region where you are living now?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:28 pm

Hi Rube, it's indeed only a few miles from where I live now. These last few days have been a whirlwind of making sure all the different parts will fall into place: money/mortgage, renting a bigger car to move stuff, finding people who will come and work on the roof of the new house, a photographer to make pictures of the old house, etc. Even though we can't start moving before the end of September, lots of stuff already needs to start happening. I hope we won't forget anything major, but I guess we can just do our best and we'll see.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:13 am

Today I transferred 29.800 euros to the notary as a 10% downpayment on the house. I think it is the largest transaction that I ever made in one go, and I let my boyfriend check all the details before I pressed "send" on the order.

Things are progressing nicely with the house. We'll meet the notary next week to discuss all the details. We are cleaning our current house, donating stuff, packing up stuff, etc. My boyfriend wants the old house on the market by half September, so it needs to be clean and minimalistic by then. My collection of elephants has to be packed away for example, and the realtor also suggested that we should get rid of some of the books. Blasphemy!

But anyway...

Moneywise, July was a pretty good month. Income was quite reasonable at 3000 euros posttax, and expenses were 1670 euros, of which a bit over 300 euros is the new annual term life insurance premium that I already got to cover the risks while I have a mortgage. (If I were to die, this money could completely pay off my half of the mortgage, and then some). 400 euros went to charitable donations, but that's the last time this year that this amount is so high. I spent very little on "fun", and now finally I'm back in the green there for this year; I overspent a lot at the beginning of the year. Also my travel costs went down sharply, with only 40 euros spent on public transport. The one-week holiday and the nice weather (biking!) helped me. Hopefully August will be the same.

So a nice savings rate of 44% this month, and the average total for the year is 37% so far...

Rouva
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Rouva » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:10 am

Congratulations on finding a house!

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:17 am

Geez, it's been a while. We have spent lots of money on renovating the new house. It's going to cost roughly 25k euros by the time we're finished. I think it has also improved the value of the house a bit, but probably not by 25k. The rest of the expenses will count as "fun" money, ha. I've seriously battled with my boyfriend and with myself about the money that we have spent. It's hard to let go of frugal habits. I hate to see the money leave my purse. But this is what it is, for now. I'm looking forward to the less spendy years that will also come.

We still haven't moved ( I see now that my original prediction was October... Nope. Our winter clothes are in boxes somewhere because of this, too). Unfortunately. The 1st floor still needs a floor. It's going to arrive on Dec 13. After that, we can move.

There may be a buyer for the old house, but the deal hasn't been sealed, yet.

Renovating & moving is an exhausting thing to do, to us. It makes us a bit unhappy, too. But I hope the result will be worth it. So far, my boyfriend has been very happy on several occassions with the fact that we now have a garden. It's definitely not a big one (8 meters by 5 or so), but it is frequented by birds and that is fun. We are planning to make it a bit greener, too. Right now, most of it is paved. This is a project for spring, by the way, not for right now :-)

The savings rate for 2017 will be slightly negative because of this move. Again, I hope that 2018 etc will be better.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:49 pm

2018 ... We've moved into the new house, and that's a very nice development. At the moment, we're unpacking. Bed room and kitchen are already done by the way; the most important areas. It feels more and more like a functional house, and that's nice after so long that we weren't fully living at the old address, nor already at the new one.

The old house hasn't sold yet. The deal fell through, which was really annoying at the time. But now it's easier for us, as we're not living in the house anymore, so now if there's a potential buyer who wants to see the place, it doesn't mean anymore that we're running around the old house like crazy to tidy it up. It's tidy. We just have to go there every now and then to vacuum and mop.

Moneywise, I'm halfway to how much I need to consider myself FI . The second half generally is faster, due to the fact that you've got some money already which gives dividends, gains, interest. And also often (and also in my case) because you have developed your career and have a bit higher salary. So I hope that I'm over half of my journey, timewise. I hope to arrive within the next five years or so.

At my work, I feel more free to speak my mind. After all, I've got quite the safety net. If they were to fire me (unlikely), I could get whatever job that would bring in like 1000 euros per month posttax and it would be more than enough to cover expenses and to let my stash grow until I can even stop earning that 1k euros/month. That's a really nice feeling and it does make me feel safer to just give my opinion on some issue, at work. Perhaps truly courageous people also give their opinion when they don't have that safety net, but yeah, that's just not me.

I used to get depressed if I had a lot of stress. Moving has been a lot of stress, but I'm not depressed. I think that that has to do with the fact that the new house is so nice (mind you, it's nothing special, really). There is a reward for all of this stress. Or maybe I've grown a bit older and wiser, and just know that sometimes I have to stop pushing myself and relax for a day or so... or else...

So, that's it for now. I've created my budget for 2018. Due to a very nice mortgage interest rate, my expenses per month could be lower than what they were before (although we spent a lot of money to get the house updated and upgraded). I hope to get a savings rate of 40% on average for 2018, at least. Let's see what happens.

herp
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:16 pm

Congrats on moving into the new house!

Too bad that the deal fell through, but hopefully you will have a new buyer very soon.

Here's to a prosperous 2018 with a high savings rate :geek:

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:51 pm

New buyer of the old house has ... arrived. And will be actually buying with currently 99%-like certainty. That last 1 percent is the bank loan falling through or the buyer, I don't know, dying or falling terribly ill before they actually fork over the cash.
So, let's focus on the 99% chance and say that it's looking pretty good.

These last few months, I've spent all of my income on average, due to the move. Net worth is standing still, more or less. I am itching to see some progress again, but this should start happening with the next paycheck coming in, as all the bills have arrived and have been paid, even the city taxes have now already been paid for the year 2018.

I've also bought an electric bike by the way, which, come to think of it now, I'll use for the first time tomorrow instead of the train. The bike cost 800 euros after tax benefits, an average train trip I'm hoping to replace by biking costs 3-4 euros for the return ticket. So I'll break even after 200-250 workdays... Plus the bike does have the added benefit of leaving whenever I want it to leave. (But the disadvantage that it isn't guaranteed to be warm nor dry, but oh well, we've got clothes for that).
I'm hoping that it was a good decision. We'll see.

The stress from moving is slowly disappearing. But now at work people are ill with the flu all the time, and I'm taking on some of their shifts (which earns me more money, but costs time ) . Plus my in-laws are suffering from health problems. They're now age 78 and 80, so it's not a big surprise. But that's another cause of sorrow and stress.

Income January: 3400, expenses 2590 (ouch).

figmenter
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by figmenter » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:52 am

I'm interest to hear the specifics on the tax benefits wrt electric bike. GF is looking for options to tackle a longer commute. Any insights you can offer we greatly appreciate.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:20 pm

Figmenter, this is a typically Dutch thing. One's workplace can offer a "bikeplan" as extra benefit, and then it's allowed to be a tax-free benefit. So as an employee, you can choose a bike to your liking, and your boss can give it to you (pay the bike for you) instead of pre-tax salary.

radamfi
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by radamfi » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:47 am

Could I ask what bike you have bought? I bought a Batavus electric bike 5 years ago from a British bike shop that specialises in Dutch bikes. It was the cheapest Batavus one available and would have cost about 1600 euros new in a Dutch bike shop, but more for me as it was imported. The range was not as good as I had hoped so I bought a spare battery from a bike shop in Rotterdam. After about a year, the range of the original battery started to fall dramatically. The British bike shop wanted to sell me a new battery so I found a company in Utrecht that refurbishes batteries to slightly better than its old range for about half price, which has been good up to now, but the range from new battery I bought in Rotterdam is now very low. I now have to decide whether to refurbish that battery or get a new bike.

Have you considered what you will do when the battery range goes down?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:46 am

The Dutch Consumentenbond (consumers union) had the "Batavus Stream" as best performing bike for 2017. So the brand you have is still doing some good stuff.

They recommended a Stella bike as "highest value to money ratio" - so that's what I bought.

And so far so good, but of course I only bought it a few weeks ago, and have been sick this last week, so have not been biking at all. I'm hardly an expert :-)

I did get a three-year guarantee on the battery; if it fails before the three years are up, I'll get a new one. If it fails after, I'll probably buy a new one, myself. Who knows how much improvement we'll see in batteries over the next three years, again.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:57 am

Income February: 4300, expenses 2500. So that's a pretty nice savings rate of 42%, even though the expenses are still pretty high.

The income was high due to some work I did in 2017 that got paid only now; that's roughly 1300 of the total income. It won't happen every month...

The expenses in January and February are actually a bit inflated due to me now paying a mortgage, but not yet receiving the tax compensation for paying mortgage interest. So I expect a nice tax refund every year from now on due to this. I could ask for a monthly prepayment of this refund, but I also have other income and other expenses that make the estimation of the total tax refund hard, so to play it safe I'm not going to ask for this monthly prepayment, and instead will take the refund once per year.

Due to the stock market taking a small tumble, networth is actually slightly below January's, but yeah, that happens...

Suzanne
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Suzanne » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:56 am

Haven't read in a while, but wow you've made nice progress in the last years!

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:33 am

Thanks, Suzanne. Always nice to know that people read this :-D

Income March: 2900, expenses 2150. So a savings rate of 26% for the month, which is low. However, I spent almost 700 euros on an annual contribution to a charity (and will get a refund for 40% of that at tax time), the mortgage interest compensation hasn't arrived yet, plus I heard we're going to get a small raise at work which will mean recalculations of our salaries from January 1st.
I guess I'll have to calculate a "true" savings rate for 2018 at the end of the year, when all the tax refunds etc are known.

The old house has finally sold - including the transfer of money and keys and what-have-you. So it's done. Which is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. No more trips to the old house to make sure nothing's leaking, the central heating is still working, the flowering plants near the window look healthy, etc. That's really a load of my mind, so I'm very happy with that. The proceeds will go to my boyfriend as it was his house. And I do hope the new owner will enjoy it as much as we did (or more).

At our new house, I'd say the first two floors are starting to look nice, now. Things are settling down in designated areas, most boxes are unpacked. And after a bit of confusion, we now also know of most items where we put them. The third floor is still a bit chaotic, but we're working on that. So I feel like I'm settling down, too. Less tasks on the to do-list, and the tasks on the list aren't urgent or important. We can live well with the house as it is now.

This week I had the week off, but I spent most of it on administrative tasks, so it wasn't a lot of fun. On the other hand, better to do them now than to have to do them in between work, right? Also, some of the administrative tasks I'll be paid for, so I can't complain about that. Yesterday and today I've been working on the income tax paperwork for 2017. It looks like I'll get a small refund for 2017. I hadn't prepaid taxes for my side-income (this is allowed in the NL as long as you don't owe large amounts come tax time), but then again I also had deductible charitable expenses and the mortgage interest that I paid in the last quarter of 2017. So I think it'll total up to a small refund for 2017 of 500 euros or so.

My net worth is around 145k euros now. In three years time, this could be around 240k euros (me adding 20k/year plus some gains) - on top of that I have a pension plan that would start paying out at age 70 for more than what I'd need (even taking some cuts into account). So when I have 240k euros or so, I could quit my current job and withdraw 10k/year plus supplement with side income of roughly 5k/year or so. Alternatively, I could at that point go "extremely" parttime at my current workplace, work 20 hours per week for a few years, which would mean I'd still earn more than what I'd spend, allowing for an undisturbed further increase of my net worth.

I'm thinking about these options. I'm also, again, realizing that doing "nothing" won't really be my thing. I think I'd go crazy if I didn't talk to other people and didn't feel useful and appreciated in some way. Then again, right now I don't have the right work/life balance just yet, so I'll definitely work less when I have reached that 240k (ish). I still have plenty of time to think about these plans and also perhaps to start working on some of them.

I also realize that I'm already very fortunate to have this much in savings and investments. Most people here don't. Most of my colleagues don't, and thus I see some of them struggling with health problems and general exhaustion to make it to age 68, which is the official retirement age here right now. They were born in 1950 and are thus part of the babyboom generation - and the "early" babyboomers from 1945 to 1947 or so were allowed to retire at age 63 or so, or sometimes even years earlier with some "early retirement" offer, but the later ones aren't allowed to do so by the government. (If you retire earlier, it's on your own dime). I'm happy that this won't be me; and I'm always happy when one of these colleagues does reach age 68 and can leave. It helps them (and they're dear colleagues), but it also helps with productivity at work...

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed May 02, 2018 2:17 am

Income April: 3100 euros, expenses 3400 ... so a negative savings rate. 1000 euros went to charities, 1000 euros went to paying down the mortgage. I somehow spent roughly 100 euros cash that I can't think of anymore what I spent it on. That's why personally I like paying by card better - I can at least see WHERE I spent something, which might give a hint as to what I spent it on.

I've clustered the charitable expenses during the first half of each year. I've committed to these over the years and I'm happy to contribute to these causes. Plus, I'm getting roughly 40% back at tax time - at least, I'm getting 40% of 2017's charitable expenses back come tax time 2018, so in a few weeks... But it does have an impact on my savings rate during the first six months of the year.

Total income after taxes for 2018 so far 13,700. Total expenses so far 10,640, so a savings rate of 22%...

I'm looking forward to May's paycheck, as it will almost be the double amount due to the "vacation money" that we always get in May. This is of course part of my total compensation, so I'm glad to report that from 2019 onwards I can choose to have this "vacation money" paid to me in 12 equal shares over the months. Currently the company keeps it all until May. I'd rather have it right away! Same willl be true for the extra Christmas paycheck, which you can then also choose to have paid to you in 12 equal payments over the years. I think I can handle that responsibility...

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