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My monthly Savings Rate report: July 2021

Last Updated on August 8, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

Wow, July really became an expensive month. I honestly never would have thought that July would net me 0 euros! It’s one of those months where many things happen and causes a significant shift in income and expenses.

First of all, we have the income side. Instead of my usual €3,200 salary, I now had to get around with €1,000 less. This is for one reason only: paternity leave. In Belgium, partners of the mother get 15 days extra paid holidays. However, there is one big caveat to these additional holidays: the pay is capped to 82% of your gross salary with a max of  €120,52/day. Since I earn quite a bit above average, I get a reduced salary.

Second, I had a couple of unexpected expenses, which added up to a hefty bill. Our fridge started acting up and didn’t cool properly anymore. Next to that, we had a couple over and had a BBQ. I bought some tools for this small gathering but mainly a lot of meat resulting in an inflated grocery bill this month.

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

Income

As mentioned, income was reduced due to additional less paid holidays. Of course, the major upside was that I got to be there for my daughter. At €2,111.25 I had to part with about €1,000. Luckily the many gifts from family and friends helped reduce the pain. We received €527,92  from them. This is on top of the money/goods gifted by my wife’s side of the family the past few months.

Finally, I received a whopping €34.95 in interest from Beobank and MeDirect.

All together our income was €2674.12. Luckily, it’s going to be the last month on just one salary.

A first job!

After more than 3 years, my wife finally found a job!

It’s not an open-ended contract but we really couldn’t be picky so she accepted it. It pays about €2,500 gross which should be about €1,750 – €1,800 net. As it’s interim we don’t know how long she’ll have it and whether or not she can get an open-ended contract after a couple of months, but it’s a start!

Dividends

I received €32,02 in dividends this month:

1 July 2021 NVIDIA 2.03 EUR
15 July 2021 TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR-SP ADR 3.78 EUR
29 July 2021 ISHARES S&P SMALL CAP 600 26.22 EUR

Expenses

Luxury

What?! Another month where groceries or home isn’t the biggest expense?

Yep, this time it’s the luxury category. As I explained earlier, we needed a new fridge.

Dead body smell

It became obvious after we took 1 kg of chicken out of the fridge, and a stench wafted into our nostrils the instant we opened the package. Shortly after, we discovered that the premade lasagna we bought also suffered the same decomposing fate.

With a fridge being an essentials household item, there wasn’t much time to deliberate our options. After an afternoon of Googleing, I stumbled upon a young second-hand fridge on offer on Coolblue, their so-called ‘second chance’. Instead of €900, I only paid €534 for my nearly-new fridge!

 Delhaize JBL deal

Another (semi-)unforeseen expense was the purchase of JBL wireless earbuds (€69.99) for my wife. Our local Delhaize had a promotion where you could collect stickers to get a JBL product at a discounted price.

I didn’t just blindly get it. I first checked the new price online. Luckily, the promotional price was €20 – €30 cheaper than online.

Finally, I also got an extra super-fast charger (€7.14) for at home since we have a lot of devices that need charging (our phones, a tablet we use as a white noise device, the baby monitor, my on-call phone, etc.).

With just these three products, my July Savings Rate received a major blow. I spend €750.09 after including the remaining amount of a coupon I purchased at a discount through my employer (€15.54).

Food and supplies

In my introduction, I mentioned we held a BBQ for a befriended couple and what would a BBQ be without some meat?

Purchasing BBQ meat and some additional desserts and snacks comes at a price; €513.49 to be exact. Add one too many snacks (€69.21) during excursions with my daughter and wife on top of some special sushi (€107) and a Burger King visit (€15.50), and you got yourself an expensive month for food (€705.20).

Savings Rate July 2021
My Income and Expenses for July 2021.

Home management and ownership

Another month, another downpayment, and interest payment for the apartment. €818.33 in principal and €194.18 in interest.

Another part of a good BBQ is having the right tools to handle the meat (€56.21) and an IKEA garden table to sit together around (€148.99). In case my guests have to use the toilet I also got some scented sticks from Action (€6.25) and stocked up on TP and other smaller stuff (€37.09).

The small garden party isn’t the only thing that I had to get. Since we work on a gas stove I got 2 cylinders of cooking gas (€56).

Thanks to a successful garden BBQ, this month’s home management jumped to €498.72.

Kids

With a newborn, you’d think I wouldn’t need much stuff. Think again.

First of all, I got the warranty of the rental breast pump back (+€75). Since we were convinced we would use an electric pump we got one ourselves for €153.66. The next gadget we bought was a baby monitor (€251.24). Spending a bit more to make sure your baby is safe and sound is worth it to me. To store the milk we also purchased a cool bag for bottles (€31.96).

Other than these devices, some additional towels, wet wipes, and a pacifier were needed (€82.30).

Putting these expenses together gives me €486.27 spend on our daughter.

Person

For once ‘Person’ is a  cheap category thanks to a lot of refunds we received. Eventhough I had to pay a €397 bill for the last month of checks plus our daughter’s first shots, I ended up paying only €1.16 in medical expenses.

No, the biggest expense for me was the purchase of three chino pants for the coming winter (€132.55) through Zalando.

I did end up buying some smaller stuff from Gamma to temporarily fix some things around the house. This expense was limited to €42.04.

All in all, I spend €175.75 here.

Banking and insurance

Finally, we have banking and insurance. No surprises here. €42.39 for:

  • Family insurance: €7.69
  • Health insurance work and NHS: €40.44
  • Some cashback: €5.74 (covering my yearly CC fee of €5)

All the expenses

  • Luxury
  • Food and supplies
  • Home management and ownership
  • Kids
  • Person
  • Banking & insurance

The bottom line

Due to a reduced income of €2,674.12 and higher than expected expenses, my remaining net income in April was a paltry €15.70. This gives me a Savings Rate of €15.70/€2,674.12/ = 0.59%.

My lowest SR to date if I remember correctly.

Unlike me, my Belgian friend Roadtrip to FIRE had more than enough time to write, which he did! Take a special look at his latest portfolio update.

oneyTalks talked about how to “5 Tips for Guilt-Free Spending on the Things You Want” and “Are you School Smart or Street Smart? Which is Best?“, amongst many other podcasts.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Mr. FightToFIRE

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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22. My monthly Savings Rate report: July 2021
23. My monthly Savings Rate report: August 2021
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