DutchGirl's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
DutchGirl
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:27 pm

Yup, it would. A new part of life opening up for both of us, where work is just optional. I'm curious what it'll look like.

Today I told someone about my plans to quit work in 2-3 years time; or at the very least to reduce the workload a lot. Perhaps do some parttime or seasonal work. It was weird to tell someone other than my BF about this. It was hard to come clean about my plans, I was scared for criticism and disbelief. But it was funny, he was quite enthusiastic about it and congratulated me. This is someone who is in no way related to my workplace, so hopefully they don't hear about it until I'm ready to tell them about it (will probably be around half a year before I actually make a change; that's okay in my field of work and in the NL - plus by that time getting fired would just be a minor inconvenience and not a disaster).

So, that was something fun and different.

Moneywise, September was a pretty good month. My tax refund from 2017 arrived. (It was 1000 euros roughly; do I go back to 2017 and recalculate my savings rate? Or do I use this as "income" for 2018?). My paycheck was also a bit bigger than usual due to a refund of some business expenses.

September results: income 3100 (excluding the tax refund), expenses 2790 euros.
Total income after taxes for 2018 so far 32,800 euros. Total expenses so far 23,920 euros, so a savings rate for the year of 27%.

We each put 400 euros extra towards the household expenses due to buying (admittedly, nice) rugs for the living room. I pay almost a 1000 euros/month on the mortgage, however, around 400 euros/month is for paying down the principal so you could see this as (forced) savings.

The ceiling guy has promised to come next Wednesday... Fingers crossed.... This is becoming a saga. Or maybe a bit more boring than that, like a bible story like the ones where they start by listing someone's heritage until the 30th parent-of-parent.

herp
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:38 pm

DutchGirl wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:27 pm
Yup, it would. A new part of life opening up for both of us, where work is just optional. I'm curious what it'll look like.

Today I told someone about my plans to quit work in 2-3 years time; or at the very least to reduce the workload a lot. Perhaps do some parttime or seasonal work. It was weird to tell someone other than my BF about this. It was hard to come clean about my plans, I was scared for criticism and disbelief. But it was funny, he was quite enthusiastic about it and congratulated me. This is someone who is in no way related to my workplace, so hopefully they don't hear about it until I'm ready to tell them about it (will probably be around half a year before I actually make a change; that's okay in my field of work and in the NL - plus by that time getting fired would just be a minor inconvenience and not a disaster).

So, that was something fun and different.
Very interesting! I've actually never told anyone IRL about my plans, I suppose partly because I have decades to go (planning for FI rather than ERE). I definitely share the expectation about pushback if one were to voice their plans.
DutchGirl wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:27 pm
Moneywise, September was a pretty good month. My tax refund from 2017 arrived. (It was 1000 euros roughly; do I go back to 2017 and recalculate my savings rate? Or do I use this as "income" for 2018?). My paycheck was also a bit bigger than usual due to a refund of some business expenses.
I personally view income and expenses on a transaction basis. So I would treat the tax refund as income in September this year, as that's when the transaction took place. Keeps things simple.

Good luck with the ceiling! Don't forget to nag ;)

DutchGirl
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:10 am

Well. Currently I'm working. I'm at home and I'm on call, and when the phone rings I have to pick up and give answers or advice. But in the meantime, I'm lying here on our bed, listening to the washing machine in the next room cleaning some of our clothes, and enjoying the autumn sun streaming inside. So I really should not complain too much about that job of mine, even though sometimes I do.

Still, of course not being on call and being able to be out and about would be even more awesome.

Ah, phone call.

The ceiling has been repaired now. It needed to dry (almost done now), and now it only needs to be painted again, which will happen some time this week or next week by the company, and then we can put the furniture and the stuff back. I am looking forward to that. Progress.

Netflix here has an English series on getting rid of your mortgage. I watched the first episode this morning, and it was fun. People finding creative solutions to not having to get a mortgage at all, or to pay it off quickly. And some gorgeous alternative living arrangements like a boat or a tiny house or a converted church. I wouldn't want to live myself in each and every one of the options presented, but I can recognize that some options can be ideal for others even when they aren't for me.

I've paid down my own mortgage this year from 150k to 145k. Hurray! :lol: But as said before, my situation is special in that I'm borrowing from my parents. They get a good interest rate from me, much better than from the bank, and I still get tax deductions for having a mortgage. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm keeping this mortgage for as long as I can (it'll be 19 more years according to our plan), and my parents will enjoy a steady stream of "income" over the next 19 years as I pay interest & principal, and I will enjoy a steady stream of tax benefits over that same time period. (And if the tax system is going to change radically in that time period, I also have options to for example pay the mortgage off).

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:05 am

The ceiling's back in place and the furniture too. Only issue is that I still need to unpack some boxes with documents, but they can wait a bit.

October went okay. Income 3100 euros, expenses 2640 euros.
Total income after taxes for 2018 so far 35,900 euros. Total expenses so far 26,560 euros, so a savings rate for the year of 26%. (This is pretty baaaad... damn).

Oh, PS, a bit of a saving grace might be that I also paid down my mortgage by roughly 5k - and that 5k is included in my expenses which it perhaps shouldn't be. Then we get to expenses of "only" 21,560 so far, and a savings rate of 40%. Hmm, that's a bit better...

Net worth went down by a few thousand euros due to the stock market correction. I was inching closer to 150k euros, but that'll be postponed a bit, perhaps.

marcdemar
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by marcdemar » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:13 am

That's a long running journal you have there @DutchGirl! I still have 26 pages to go before reaching your level ;)

I'm new to the forum, late starter as far as FIRE is concerned, but committed and dedicated nonetheless. And..oh yes... Dutch as well. But left the country during the previous century.

m741
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by m741 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:31 pm

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

herp
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:36 pm

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

DutchGirl
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:00 am

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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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:30 am

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
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:59 pm

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
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Forskaren » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:22 am

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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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by ItsALongStory » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:45 pm

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
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:07 am

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
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by herp » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:36 am

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
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:28 am

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 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:43 am

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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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:44 am

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 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:57 am

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

DutchGirl
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon May 06, 2019 4:33 am

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
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Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:27 am

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!

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