Stonage journal

Where are you and where are you going?
stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

IF you haven't done so, I invite you to check my introduction in the dedicated area.

Here I will try to keep track of expenses and savings monthly.

George the original one
Posts: 5359
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Stonage journal

Post by George the original one »

Waiting for your posts :-)

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

September

Note that I am starting my ERE "plan", so consider this as the "Before" picture in a bad diet commercial.

Here's for september :

Expenses :
Housing : 506 €
Food : 625 €
Car+insurance : 289 €
Diner Out : 75 €
Health : 86 €
Kid (Ju-jitsu/1Year):114 €
-----------------------
Total 1,661 €

Income :
Salaries 2,281 €
Healthcare 158 €
-----------------------
Total 2,439 €

Net Saving : 778 € (31% rate)

Net worth 2013/10/10 : 236 736 €

This is a creepy low saving rate, considering next month there will be the nanny salary (~500€) to substract from this total. Hopefully, this is the last year we need her.

Considering the things we can improve :

- Housing : This hopefully will somehow get smaller since we are supposed to enter our new home in november. Then 2013/2014 will see all expenses for home improvement.

- The food expense is on the high side to me (150 € / 4 pers / week), but we buy good meat, unprocessed food and vegetables from the market.

- Car and insurance won't go away, since my wife work is a 20min drive away. I for one consider renting a car for my business, avoiding the 2nd car related insurance and repair. I would free up cash I could invest somewhere else.

- On the Income, my wife's salary isn't skyrocketting anytime soon. Mine however is on the low-- side. If business is going on at this rate, I will consider a pay raise in early 2014.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Went back on the things that may help to get a better saving ratio.

Here's my shot at it:
1. I definitely need to increase my income.
500 € to 1000 € more would be great and definitely feasible with reasonnable efforts. I need time to get more contracts, and I need to invest to get more productive. The investment part is what kills me, since a single piece of software goes up to 10K€ in my field. It is a 10-20 months ROI time, provided I get enough deals. This seems risky to me considering how poorly established I am today. I am (kind of) lost right now.

2. I might consider leasing a car on my business expenses. That would actually be cheaper than having a 2nd car, and we'll only need one car on week-ends. I'll work on that.

3. Food. Since I am quite picky on food, cutting costs is difficult. I saved maybe 6-8 € this week by not buying all things organic, making our own yogurts and cookies (for the kids), but I am not sure it is worth the effort. That is a ~364€ yearly saving, so I should probably consider it.

4. Housing. We are a month from being home owners without mortgage !

I'll keep you posted, bring on the comments please.

theanimal
Posts: 1598
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Stonage journal

Post by theanimal »

You've got some good ideas so far, congrats on paying off the mortgage! I've got some tips, take what'd you like.
Food- As you know this is pretty high. I think you could get it down to 400 a month (100 per person). Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Buy grains, meat and whatever in bulk. Eat all meals at home. This results in some big savings!

Do you absolutely need a car? Could you use a bike instead? Could you sell your current car and buy a lesser priced used car that has lower insurance?

With a few changes plus no more mortgage payments you can more than double your savings rate! Good luck!

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

theanimal wrote:You've got some good ideas so far, congrats on paying off the mortgage!
thanks, but I've never had a mortgage, I'm just going from being a tenant to being a home owner by paying cash. That is the result of 10 years of planning, And I am pretty happy with that.

..........................


Now from what is worth I just estimated our vacation trip yesterday (I never did before).
From my last estimate, we'll just burn 1000 € in a week.
That is expensive !!!!

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

After talking about how expensive our next holidays will be, I decided to try something else. The link to Alaisair Humphreys Microadventures somehow sparked the will to attempt a bit more unplanned trips.

The first shot at it was a complete success :
Last friday evening, we went with kids and DW on a "sleeping on top of a hill" microadventure. We basically started the road trip with car and then walked into the forest. We ate on site without being able to light a fire (that was funny though..), then went back to sleep in the car (kids are 2 and 4 YO..and we had no sleeping bag !).
We woke up with the perfect sunrise (clear sky, great view), then went hiking on the top of the hill to eat breakfast.

All in all we had a great time, and were at home at 10am, 'a bit crumpled', but full of joy.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Alrrrrrrright ! This one is creepy :

OCTOBER

Expenses :
Housing : 506 €
Food : 397 €
Car+insurance : 279 €
Holidays + Sport ..: 887 € (more to come)
Health : 7 €
Kid 1 :330 € (clothes + shoes + activities)
Kid 2 : 480 € (nanny)
Taxes : 453 €
Heating : 1,172 €
Others (phone, internet, electricity) : 279 €
-----------------------
Total 4,790.

Income :
Salaries 2,282 €
Others 544 €
-----------------------
Total 2,826 €

Exceptionnal spending : House 206,600 €

Net Saving : -1,964 € (ouch !)

Net worth (cash) 2013/10/10 : 49 930 € (Wife had apparently money I did not know of)
Net worth (House) 2013/11/06 : 185,000 € (Yes ! govt and intermediaries took 30,000 €...)

Net worth total : 234 900 €

Comments welcome !

5to9
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:32 pm

Re: Stonage journal

Post by 5to9 »

It is nice to see others with young kids on here (mine are 2.5 and 6 months, so we're about a year and a half behind you). I missed it previously, but your microadventure sounds awesome, can't wait to do one with my boys.

On the numbers, why is heating so high?

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

@ 5to9
on heating :
Heating is high because we filled up the gas tank for the year, and the place is an insultation disaster.
Last winter lasted up until end of may in France, so that explains some of it.

on microadventure : definitely something I will do again, the whole family liked it, and it creates memories for the kids.

5to9
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:32 pm

Re: Stonage journal

Post by 5to9 »

Ah, that number makes much more sense as a yearly number :)

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Alright,

One of my relatives just learned he has some serious health problems. As I understand it, his life expectancy is short (like months or a few years at best).

3 kids under 5 yo, a loving wife, he is expected to celebrate is 40th birthday in august.

I will not be talking about my feelings right here, this is bad news, and I've shared my pain already with familly and close friends.

This event and reading the 4 Hour Workweek recently made me think again about how I should live my life.

Is retirement my goal ?

Not quite.

What then ?

I'm happy with my life. Although I am not FI, I enjoy life and living frugally is more or less a fun hobby.

So be it : I shall make only sound efforts to get closer to FI or retirement. This means choosing my clients, maximizing return on effort, and living fully present life.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Back on tracks...
October through march was hectic : Hardwork (which will pay off in a few months), personnal problems, I had a difficult time to follow our expenses.

Anyway, here it is :
APRIL

Expenses :
Homesteading / Equipment = 0 €
Food : 483 € (+100 € vs October ?!)
Car+insurance : 1027 € (huge car repairs needed to get it rollin, since I drive a lot for my business)
Holidays + Sport ..: 0 €(more to come)
Health : 0 €
Kid 1 :0 € (clothes + shoes + activities)
Kid 2 : 427 € € (nanny)
Taxes : 0 €
Heating : 0 €(included in electricity bill)
Others (phone, internet, electricity, water) : 207 €
-----------------------
Total 2,218.79 €

Income :
Salaries 2,275 €
Others 302 €
-----------------------
Total 2,826 €


Net Saving : +608 € (21% saving rate - not too bad considering car expenses)

Net worth (cash) 2013/10/10 : 52,607 €
Net worth (House) 2013/11/06 : 185,000 €

Net worth total : 237 607 €

Comments welcome !

I think the next months will see more conversion from cash to homesteading.
Amongst other things : home office and kids room renewal. Since my house is approx 200 years old, these rooms will be insulated, electrified, doors and windows will be changed, stone walls will receive a new plaster work. Our budget is around 5-7K €, since we won't do everything ourselves. I'll share some about this too.

About food expenses : Since we moved to our new house, shopping is more expensive, DW admitted she got more into buying unnecessary stuff, which does not necessarily equals better eating experience or nutrition.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Stoneage (almost) yearly update...

Still around here.

On a personnal level :
I've started a Bd in Architecture in sept. This has put my family under a lot of stress lately : I spend 2 days a week at uni, and it is a 2hr trip, so I stay at my mum's place (or dad's). DW and kids miss my presence and my business suffers from it too.
I'm really into architecture so this is a tough call for me : shall I stop or continue and try to make things easier for everybody ?
I've no answer for the time being.

On a financial level :
After months of spending because of the Bd (books, weekly trip, nights out with other students) and home "improvement", we're back on track. Basically our net balance was almost always negative, and we were living paycheck to paycheck. If I'm correct, february will be the first month since 6 to 7 months we'll end in positive territory. I'm now reducing all lines of spending so as to go net positive every month.

My business has had a awesome year in terms of revenue. I've ended the accounting year with an EBITDA > 30% of my sales. So if this goes well at least some of this money will help tremendously our saving rate.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

HELP NEEDED !

Alright, i've been converting yearly expenses in a monthly budget. DW sucks at frugality, but is willing to help. So we decided we could plan better our expenses. Here we are :

****************************
fixed expenses
****************************

Electricity : 168 €
car insurance : 73 €
Nanny : 281 €
Internet/Phone/Mobile : 65 €
Water : 35 €
Life ins. : 19 €
Bank fees : 7 €
House ins. : 21 €
----------------------------
TOTAL 669 €

****************************
Food/ Gas
****************************

Food : 400 €
Gas : 100 €
kids bus/lunch : 50 €
----------------------------
TOTAL 550 €

****************************
Monthly budget for yearly expenses
****************************
Taxes : 207 € approx 2 484 €/yr
Train : 100 € approx 1 200 €/yr
Clothing : 50 € approx 600 €/yr
Gifts : 50 € approx 600 €/yr
Holidays : 350 € approx 4 200 €/yr
Cars : 200 € approx 2 400 €/yr
Health : 50 € approx 600 €/yr
----------------------------
TOTAL 1 007 €

*****************************
Grand Total 2 226 €

Ideally, I would like to be able to cut spending to 1 800€ /month without compromising too much on quality of life. Where do you think I should cut expenses first ?

So far I've been concentrating on fixed expenses :
- My electricity bill is too high, mainly due to electric heating. I've been able to diminish greatly our monthly consumption during winter, so I can probably cut 40€/month.
- Our internet/phone plan can really be reduced, and I can probably gain 30 €/month by changing internet and mobile phone plans.
- Car insurance can be maybe 10 €/month lower.

On yearly expenses : Our income tax will be much lower next year (down 100 € probably), so that's good news, but it is next year, and I need to cut expenses now.

Any ideas ? what numbers do you consider too high ?

(PS : and by the way, am I missing something ?)

reepicheep
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:45 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by reepicheep »

This isn't exactly low hanging fruit, nor do I know if there are any better options available to you, but 7/month in bank fees? What are you paying for? There are a lot of free online checking/savings accounts.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Yep, this isn't probably the cheapest account on the market.
It is a joint acount for me and DW, we pay for 1 credit card, and common bank services. I may check what other options are available to us.

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Budget change log :
Went for a cheaper internet / mobile / VOIP plan : 65€ => 38€
We keep basically the same functionnality for internet and VOIP.
My mobile phone went from unlimited hours + 2Go data to 2hrs + 50Mo data, which is in line with what I really use.

I realized the bus/lunch budget for kids is not enough : went from 50 € to 90 €

our global SR is 24%

Goal to go up to 50%

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

Good news ahead.

I've been tracking my electricity consumption weekly since mid january now.
This lead to some drastic improvement in house insulation. I checked every room to see what wasn't air tight. It appeared that basically every window or door wasn't (and even some walls).

This and some temperature adjustments made our electricity bill fall by 25%, this is saving us ~500€/ year (and I didn't even start in october).

I've been tracking down other expenses, and it appears we might as well get rid of the nanny in june. that's is a 1500 € saving per year.

/////////
There is one specific thing to france : some expenses are subsidized, so you think it doesn't cost you much.
However, expenses are still expenses, even if they are subsidized.

example : nanny is 3372€ / year. Nearly half of it can be converted to tax allowance.
However, since our income tax will be low (close to 0 this year), the tax allowance won't change much...

So

False premise : subsidies = money.
Reality : Subsidies = less expenses (+ requirements)

I should consider the necessity of the expense before considering the allowance...

stoneage
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:24 am

Re: Stonage journal

Post by stoneage »

MONTHLY BUDGET v1.10

****************************
fixed expenses
****************************

Electricity : 168 €
car insurance : 73 €
Nanny : 281 €
Internet/Phone/Mobile : 36 €
Water : 35 €
Life ins. : 19 €
Bank fees : 7 €
House ins. : 21 €
----------------------------
TOTAL 640 €

****************************
Food/ Gas
****************************

Food : 400 €
Gas : 100 €
kids bus/lunch : 120 €
----------------------------
TOTAL 620 €

****************************
Monthly budget for yearly expenses
****************************
Taxes : 50 € approx 600 €/yr
Train : 100 € approx 1 200 €/yr
Clothing : 50 € approx 600 €/yr
Gifts : 30 € approx 360 €/yr
Holidays : 350 € approx 4 200 €/yr
Cars : 200 € approx 2 400 €/yr
Health : 30 € approx 360 €/yr
----------------------------
TOTAL 810 €

*****************************
'Grand Total' 2 070 €

Goal : under 1 800 €

We are not far from it, though, But now is ccompromising what DW considers "quality of life" : travels, gifts.
I'm considering getting rid of one car, which would be a great idea : less insurance, less maintenance, and even less gas.
This would take me close to my goal.
Next year will be the year.

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