Journal From A Dane

Where are you and where are you going?
herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:42 am

Inspired by Forskaren, I'm going to keep a relatively simple journal of my income and expenses this year. As I find it tricky to manage income from investments and as these are all re-invested, I will only track my salary as income. All expenses will be tracked, though. I will also not track retirement contributions, as these happen automatically through my job and are on a pre-tax basis, making the comparison to after-tax savings tricky.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:44 am

January:

Report USD

Earned income 2844

Expenses
Rent (incl. heating + cable) 878
Transportation 80
Food 200
Entertainment 5
Phone 8
Union + unemployment insurance 122 (tax deductible)
Health insurance 199 (only paid once a year)
Other 410 (annual subscription to a website)

Savings 942

Savings rate 33%

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:32 am

February:

Report USD

Earned income 2844

Expenses
Rent (incl. heating + cable) 878
Transportation 80
Food 213
Entertainment 27
Phone 8
Union + unemployment insurance 122
Other 78
Drugs 28 (insurance reimburses some)

Savings 1467

Savings rate 49%

wolf
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by wolf » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:41 pm

Hi Herp,
you successfully increased your savings rate. :-)

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:51 pm

Hi MDFIIRE20242,

On a month to month basis, my savings rate is going to fluctuate quite a bit due to not smoothing out expenses that only happen annually or quarterly. I suspect I'll be able to estimate it better by the end of the year.
Last edited by herp on Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:41 pm

March:

Report USD

Earned income 2843

Expenses
Rent (incl. heating + cable) 943
Transportation 80
Food 178
Entertainment 25
Phone 8
Union + unemployment insurance 122
Extra taxes 158

Savings 1329

Savings rate 46%

Forskaren
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by Forskaren » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:04 pm

Welcome, good luck with your journal.

Is there any specifik reason why your rent is relative high? So far that seem to be your major expense, unless you got a lot of those expenses you pay once a year.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:18 pm

Hi Forskaren

True, my rent is by far my largest expense, but I live in a HCOL city and a lot of family lives here as well. My rent is actually on the low side for this area. It's the one thing I would love to knock down, but there's really not many cheaper options available.

If I bought an apartment with 20% down, my remaining 80% mortgage wouldn't be much different in terms of monthly expenses than what I rent for at the moment, so I'm hesitant to do that in the current environment (I do realize I would build equity).

For now, I'd rather invest the savings differently.

Thanks for inspiring me to keep a simple journal! I think I'm really going to enjoy doing it.

Forskaren
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by Forskaren » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:29 pm

It can be a good motivator to keep a journal.

I can see how the scale is tipped at staying. So then perhaps you can work on income and investment.

Maybe one day finding a new job or forming your own family would require you to move to a low cost area.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:46 am

Here's the preliminary report for April. I don't expect any major changes before the month is over, but I may make a slight adjustment in the coming days and I will edit this post to reflect it.

April:

Report USD

Earned income 3128
Tax refund 6

Expenses
Rent (incl. heating + cable) 38
Water as utility 35
Transportation 80
Food 217
Entertainment 13
Phone 8
Union + unemployment insurance 122
Other 30

Savings 2591

Savings rate 82%

Rent was tiny because I got a large refund on my utilities bill (I pay for heating on an account basis and it's way higher than my actual consumption). This refund only happens once a year, so next month my rent will be back to normal.

My savings rate was thus extraordinarily high this month, but I expect the coming months to be much closer to Jan-Mar.

EDIT: No further expenses in April, so this entry has been finalized.
Last edited by herp on Wed May 03, 2017 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

JollyScot
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by JollyScot » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:11 am

82% is a nice big number though so congrats, most people will never do anything close to that in their life.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:50 am

Hi JollyScot

Cheers. I do consider it kind of cheating for April, since it's merely a refund of bills that I've already paid.

If I paid for my actual consumption on a monthly basis, the average savings rate would obviously be the same over the timespan of a year, but Jan-Mar would have a slightly higher savings rate.

At any rate, it doesn't really matter.

Forskaren
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by Forskaren » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:08 pm

Impressively low expenses. What kind of hobbies do you have to keep the expenses low?

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:35 pm

No hobbies to bring expenses down.

As I mentioned above, the very low expenses for April was a result of getting a large refund on my utilities bill, cutting my rent to a miniscule amount.

Forskaren
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by Forskaren » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:52 pm

I meant that you keep entertainment low. You got some very cheap hobbies?

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:04 pm

Oh, right! I see.

I do a lot of reading during my spare time, either online or by borrowing books at the library (which is essentially free since it's already paid for by taxes). I also indulge in video games, mostly old ones that I already own or something that I get on a fire sale.

I want to work on going out more, since I've really been neglecting it for a long time, but it seems everyone wants to go to expensive bars.

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Wed May 31, 2017 7:54 am

May:

Report USD

Earned income 2890

Expenses
Rent (incl. heating + cable) 923
Transportation 80
Food 168
Entertainment 22
Phone 8
Union + unemployment insurance 129
Other 39

Savings 1369

Savings rate 47%

No surprises here. Savings rate is back in line with February and March which were closer to being normal months from an expenses perspective.

On a somewhat random note, I got a new water efficient showerhead this month for ~14 USD which should pay for itself fairly quickly. I was surprised to see how much water can be saved with such a small expense.

I'm also coming closer to finalizing my decision to find a new job. Never really enjoyed my current one for very long at a time and over the past year I've felt a lot more stressed out. At least it has been an experience and a decent place for advancement in terms of future career path. Long term, I'm coming to the conclusion that I'd rather work full time a bit longer at lower pay if it meant having a less stressful job.

FWIW, I'm somewhere between 15-20% on the way to becoming FI on a net-worth basis. At 5x my current net-worth, I'd be able to live reasonably, but I think I'd feel more comfortable aiming for a larger nest egg. Long way to go, though, so time will tell!

herp
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by herp » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:24 am

Well, a couple of things have happened since my last report.

First, I decided to sign up for an archery club. My membership starts in just over a month. It's going to raise my expenses very slightly due to membership fees, but the annual cost is 720 DKK (~108 USD atm), which I consider very reasonable. In addition to that, I'll either have to rent or buy a bow plus some extra equipment, but that's a bit longer down the road. Overall, I think this could be a fun hobby and a way to meet new people. It's actually something that I've considered for years but I just haven't gotten around to taking action.

Second, my father has been offering me his family vacation home as a gift for quite a few years now. I've been hesitant about accepting due to having to pay property taxes and taking on the responsibility of maintaining it. The place hasn't really been used for many years and it's just sitting idle, receiving the bare minimum in maintenance. If it were to be made livable, it would require a lot of work.

I haven't done the exact math, but worst case the property taxes would run just over 24000 DKK a year (~ 3600 USD), which would hurt my savings rate quite a lot. Additionally, I'd have to take care of repairs and pay for utilities, further cutting into my savings rate. On the flip side I would own the property and have the option of selling it, which is something that I'm also considering. The proceeds from a sale would be a huge step towards FI. I typically only visit the place a handful of days a year. I have some awesome memories from there while growing up and I still enjoy the area a lot, but I just can't see myself using and maintaining it on a regular basis.

Finally, there's a good chance that the vacation home might be turned into an urban area in the near future, meaning that property values could rise quite a bit. At the moment, you're only allowed to stay half of the year. That's also the reason he's offering it to me as a gift - if it were gifted now, there would be less of a tax basis.

At any rate, there's definitely something to think about. We will probably seek advice from an independent advisor.

wood
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:53 am

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by wood » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:14 am

Hi!
Nice dad you have:)

Does he or anyone else in the family have any expectations as to what to do with the vacation home? I'm pretty sure that if I found myself in the same scenario, there would be expectations from family that I maintain it and offer it as a guesthouse.

Have you done the math on outsourcing all the upgrade work and then renting it out?

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singvestor
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:48 am

Re: Journal From A Dane

Post by singvestor » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:24 pm

How about using a portal like airbnb to monetise the vacation home?

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