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My monthly Savings Rate report: January 2022

Last Updated on March 16, 2022 by Mr. FightToFIRE

January, the first month of a new year. A fresh start, and what a start? There were some surprises this month I didn’t foresee. Some with a positive, some with a negative impact on my portfolio.

When it comes to a positive impact, it’s not a stretch to summarize I’m talking about the income side of this month’s overview. I received multiple income streams this time:

  • Salary
    • Extras
  • Child allowance
  • My wife’s share of the expenses (a bit extra!)
  • Parents

This page can contain affiliate partner links to products that I purchased this month.

January Income — €4,238.00

Savings Rate January 2022
My Income and Expenses for January 2022.

Salary

Like every month, I receive my salary at the end. This time my monthly salary got a little extra in tax benefits thanks to my daughter depending on me. To top it off, I got some on-call goodness. Adding it all up gives a solid €3,571,77 in salary. 

Child allowance

Next up, child allowance: €169.79 two times because I forgot to count one last month.

Per child, you receive government support through what’s called ‘kindergeld’ or child allowance.

This is fixed per child instead of going up for each child, like in the past.

It can increase depending on specific criteria, such as single-parent or special needs.

My wife’s share

This might seem strange, but ‘my wife’s share’ means that we divide each other’s share through the amount our salaries contribute to the combined income for the expenses we share. In our case, it’s a 35/65 split, with my wife covering 35%. This split will change in February as she got a promotion!

But for now, she transferred €123.98.

Parents

This one was a pleasant surprise. In April, my parents will join us on our second trip to my wife’s home country. For obvious reasons, such as having a 1-year-old, and my parents with us, we won’t be staying with the in-laws anymore but get an Airbnb.

I booked it well in advance, so I got a fantastic deal on a penthouse in a trendy neighborhood. It still comes at a premium (€1,578), but my parents volunteered to pay this as they would otherwise spend just as much, if not more, on a hotel.
As an extra gesture, they transferred €2,000. This results in a wee bit more than €200 in extra “income.”

More money now, less later

Worth pointing out is that I only transferred half of said Airbnb booking. The second half is only due the week before we arrive. As a result, I have extra income, but under the category holidays, we are less in red than expected but still deep in the red. I can hear you thinking: “but if you just got back and the next trip is only in April, how come you are deep in red?” Well, Keep reading on or jump to the expenses to find out ;).

Others

This income category is special because I received some extras in January that don’t merit their own section.

I received interest from my savings account (€2.58 + €0.24) and rectified a long-standing negative miscalculation of €0.15.

Not included: Dividends

I received a bit of dividend this month which helps reduce my margin ever so slightly:

3 Jan. 2022
SPDR US DIV ARISTOCRATS
24.97 EUR
26 Jan. 2022
ISHARES S&P SMALL CAP 600
51.65 EUR

January Expenses — €2,867.40

Luxury — €1590.79

Let’s start with a bang. In my November overview, I explained how we booked an extra trip in April to go back to the in-laws. This was before we went on our first plane ride with our daughter, so we didn’t know what to expect. Well, now we do and after discussing it, we decided to… Fly business class coming April!

Nuts I know. It immediately explains the massive increase in this category while the trip was only till the 14th and I received 2,000 from my parents to cover the Airbnb and then some. The upgrade itself costs an extra €2,096.65.

Given that we travel to celebrate three things:

  • Baptism
  • Marriage anniversary
  • Wedding party

We wanted to make it special from the start (and easier with our daughter) and enjoy the full trip, start to finish, hence the upgrade. What also pushed us towards this decision was the ongoing promo deals of KLM that sliced the price of the tickets by €1,000.

No way home

Besides the plane tickets, I also spend money on a new subscription. Disney+ is the newest one to join the list. Together with Netflix and Spotify, I pay €29.33 in monthly subscriptions. Disney+ is the monthly payment type, though. We will most likely cancel it after two months.

Notwithstanding these subscriptions, I also entertained myself with a bit of gambling.

Scratching away €50 worth of Win For Life is one of my bi-monthly little sins. While I won a couple of times, it was never more than €20. In other words, I haven’t won for life (yet). Besides the lottery, I and my wife also went to see Spiderman and this set us back 24 in cozy seats in an IMAX theater. But it was so worth it.

Finally, I gifted my mother-in-law a vacuum cleaner (€126.96). Hold up! Before you go saying I’m sexist. She really likes it as they don’t have one in their house and they could really use one for the carpets and sofas they have. It’s powerful yet convenient because it’s bagless.
Karcher is also a household brand and one of the few vacuum cleaner brands available in their country.

Home management and ownership — €408.12

Another month, another downpayment, and interest payment for the apartment. €825.33 in principal and €313.57 in interest. But like always, I don’t subtract the principal payment from my savings rate.

Our daughter this month got some extra pillows. Not for her crib but for her playmat. She is starting to crawl and to somewhat reduce her racing speed we put down two long pillows to slow her down a little bit. Together with the pillows we also got covers for them. I put them under home management because once she starts walking we can still use the pillows for other places or in bed.

Before our arrival back home, we ordered some FFP2/KN95 masks (21.80) because we started to get used to them and they also got recommended in Belgium due to the more infectious Omicron variant.
It’s very important to stay safe while this variant is making the round so I recommend stocking up on some of these as well:

Kids — €250.68

While she is shifting into higher gear while crawling around, she still needs breast milk for fuel so we got some extra milk bags (€11.38) as well.
Next to this stuff we also got more clothes (€130) for her as she is growing at a neck-breaking speed.
My wife and I are trying to raise our daughter following the Montessori methodology and to that end we subscribed to one month of Lovevery. It was expensive at €83/month but the toys are very useful and our daughter really likes them.

Food & supplies — €211.71

It’s not hard to get low spending on food if half of the month was spent abroad. We did do the first groceries (€146.05) once we got back from our trip.

Next to that, I did spend a considerable amount on snacking (€65.66). Though I place a sandwich at noon while we work from home also under this category.

Person — €180.17

Like every month since the birth of our daughter, we have some medical bills to pay (€76.73). Though this time I also have the quarterly CM contributions (€24.99).

It’s not all serious though, I also bought matching GAP T-shirts for me, my wife, and our daughter (€53.25).

Finally, I also spend €24.70 on snacks at Kinepolis when we went to watch Spider-man.

Sports — €113.86

Only one thing makes up this category: a new Heartrate monitor due to the tearing of the chest strap while running in South America in December and January.

If you have a Garmin watch, I highly recommend getting the HRM Pro. I got mine through Amazon together with a watch mount for just €113.86:

Government (taxes) — €109.98

A first for me personally, my first manual payment of the Belgian Tax on transactions aka TOB. It’s not overly complex and after the first time and with the help of an excel it only takes 5 minutes.

The tax is for the three stocks (DDOG, NVDA, MSFT) I have with Interactive Brokers after I sold my beobank investment portfolio.

Banking and insurance — €26.09

Finally, we have banking and insurance. This category is back to normal:

  • Family insurance: €7.69
  • Cashback: +€2.68
  • Beobank yearly card fee: €5
  • Health insurance: €16.08

All the expenses

The bottom line for January 2022

With a good income providing €4,238.00 but also high expenses, €2,862.20, my Savings Rate in January dipped below 50% like every year:  €4,238.00/€2,862.20 = 32.50%.

Honestly, the only reason it’s this high is that my wife send her share of the travel expenses, such as the plane tickets, the luggage, and the gifts she got us for her family.

My Belgian friend Roadtrip to FIRE had a calm month but still shared his latest portfolio update. He reached 200K!

JoneyTalks asked the question If you Can Really Reach Financial Independence in Europe? with Mathias amongst many other podcasts.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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12. My monthly Savings Rate report: September 2020
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14. My monthly Savings Rate report: November 2020
15. My monthly Savings Rate report: December 2020
16. My monthly Savings Rate report: January 2021
17. My monthly Savings Rate report: February 2021
18. My monthly Savings Rate report: March 2021
19. My monthly Savings Rate report: April 2021
20. My monthly Savings Rate report: May 2021
21. My monthly Savings Rate report: June 2021
22. My monthly Savings Rate report: July 2021
23. My monthly Savings Rate report: August 2021
24. My monthly Savings Rate report: September 2021
25. My monthly Savings Rate report: October 2021
26. My monthly Savings Rate report: November 2021
27. My monthly Savings Rate report: December 2021
28. My monthly Savings Rate report: January 2022
29. My monthly Savings Rate report: February 2022
30. My monthly Savings Rate report: March 2022
31. My monthly Savings Rate report: April 2022
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Good job!
Hope to see a portfolio update too

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