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:
- Child allowance
- My wife’s share of the expenses (a bit extra!)
January Income — €4,238.00
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.
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.
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!
My wife continues to invest. Just deposited another 5k. She now has 10k. Heading towards FIRE together. She also got a major raise. She now gets paid a fair salary for her experience and her hard work.
So proud of her🥰
— fightToFIRE (@fightToFIRE1) January 19, 2022
But for now, she transferred €123.98.
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 ;).
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
|26 Jan. 2022
ISHARES S&P SMALL CAP 600
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:
- 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.
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
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
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.