Apologies for the late update. I was enjoying the transition from old to new in a different country 😉 (more on that on that later). December was a busy and expensive month. I’m surprised I was able to squeeze out a saving of ~100 EUR. Time to take a deeper look into the expenses that cost me all of my income and what my 2019 average savings rate is!
My income for December is straight forward as always; though with a little extra thanks to my grandparents. Besides my regular income from my day job of 2837.00 EUR, I received 75 EUR extra from my grandparents, and rectification from my bank (1.94 EUR). All of this gives me a total income of 2913.94 EUR for December.
Unlike last month, I expected my expenses to be ridiculous in December. One reason is the holiday period, but a quick rundown of the events that took place in December per category reveals there is more to it than that.
One category more expensive than usual was restaurant visits. There were multiple reasons for that:
Celebrating our anniversary at the restaurant of our first date: 34.30 EUR
Lazy Sunday: 4.75 EUR
Ramen: 25.50 EUR
Drinks with friends of GF: 12.80 EUR
Double date day trip to Bruges with friends: 14.30 EUR
For 91.65 EUR. Going out to eat is easy and fun but it can go up quick. I and my GF already agreed to keep it much simpler in 2020. These visits were not even related to Christmas or New Year’s for that we have to look at my groceries.
I spend 38% more in December in this category compared to November. This is because I ordered delicacies from my GF’s home country for us and my parents. On top of that, we made our own Christmas dinner with Turkey and had friends over. All of this caused me to spend 312.26 EUR.
Food ends up costing me 458.70 EUR.
Spending time with friends or just the two of us at home is made possible because we have a place of our own that we rent. This was for once a normal month. A few utensils were still missing but besides that I only had rent. As a result, housing was only 363.70 EUR. Not that we spend a lot of time at home during the holiday season.
New Year’s was spent in… Istanbul! It was a mesmerising and wonderful time. Being able to welcome 2020 with my GF on top of a Balcony in Sultanahmet and seeing all the surrounding fireworks was beautiful. I will provide a detailed account of our trip soon. While it didn’t help my Savings Rate, this wasn’t the main culprit for the huge expense in this category. My trip to my GF’s home country is. The plane tickets for me and GF -which she pays back partially- was. A solid 1300 EUR!
These trips added to the total expense that was already higher because of various gifts that I bought (241.70 EUR). In total, I spend 1789.85 EUR this month.
This trip was our first trip together, just the two of us. Discovering a new city with my GF was a delight that I had never felt before. Talking about expenses can make it seem like it’s a burden, but these past days is why I do this. It helps me align my thoughts and keeps me focussed on what I need in life.
Talking about health, I’d like to drop in this expense. Attentive readers might notice this was always 3 EUR with the quarterly 25 EUR for the mandatory health insurance and the special “zorgkaspremie” of 52 EUR. This has changed. Since September, my GF is now part of my employers’ hospitalisation plan. As of September, I now pay roughly 10 EUR/month, so 7 EUR more, for not only me but my GF as well. In December I thus paid for the previous months that weren’t charged yet to bring the total to 86.36 EUR.
All the expenses
As you can see, December was a busy month. Not only did we go to Istanbul for New Year’s, but we also purchased tickets and some hotels for a visit to my GF’s home country at the end of January. I also added my GF to my employer’s hospitalisation plan.
It all comes together for a whopping 2801.18 EUR for December.
Lowest Savings Rate ever! I shouldn’t beat around the bush as it is clear as day that I wasn’t able to reach my target average SR for 2019.
With two extremely low SR’s this year I reached an average SR of 54.93%. While this is still above 50% so still solid, it’s without a doubt below my orginal target of 75%. A couple of weeks ago I estimated 57% so I really spend a ton of money in December.
This has numerous repercussions for 2020. Most obvious is the lower target SR for 2020. It’s not realistic to expect 70% when I wasn’t able to reach it this year. A realistic number is going to be 55% to 60%. This breakdown is for later though.
With my last SR calculated I can close 2019.
How was 2019 for you when it comes to saving? Were you able to reach the target you set for yourself or did life come in between you and your target,
I'm the owner and the main writer of FightToFIRE, a personal finance blog focussing on Financial Independence and Retiring Early. During the regular working hours, I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium. During my off-hours, I write. do some weight lifting and other stuff to keep me healthy and fit.