Author Topic: Case study: Budget in review  (Read 2555 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Case study: Budget in review
« on: July 23, 2014, 02:10:29 PM »
Shortly after I started work in 2013, I posted my proposed budget here. (I have no idea how to make proper links with the forum software, sorry, but if you're looking for it, it's here.

I was planning to save 1000 per month, or 42 % of my net income. After a couple months, I looked back and realized that really wasn't happening, so I started actually tracking my expenses in 2014. Now that 6 months have passed, I thought I'd look back, see what happened, and get my motivational face-punches here. (Spoilers: I totally failed at my savings goal.) All amounts in Euro.

Net income: 2,783 / month

[Budgeted expenses] / [actual expenses]:

Rent:          400 / 400
Groceries:       150 / 156
Gas:          200 / 113
Other car costs:    108 / 76
Cats:          100 / 55
Entertainment/Misc:    100 / 149
Gifts:          50 / 63
Insurance:       15 / 132
Cell phone/internet:    50 / 53
Medical:       10 / 180
Vacation:       105 / 524
Clothes:       25 / 127
Work lunch:       48 / 26
Hair and cosmetics:    5 / 7

Total expenses / month: 2061
Savings / month: 722
Savings rate: 26 % (Ugh. Shameful fail.)

So what happened here, and what am I planning to do about it:

Rent: 400 / 400
This is a total steal for my area, and only possible because my boyfriend partly inherited a house.

Groceries: 150 / 156
Yeah, this is face-punch area number one. I could totally get this down if I did more of the shopping and cooking myself, but it's so convenient to just send my boyfriend a set amount of money per month and let him take care of it. :(

Gas: 200 / 113
Found work closer to home. Gas costs went way down. I don't think I can get this down much further without moving somewhere else and causing my rent to go up instead.

Other car costs: 108 / 76
Some minor repairs, thankfully nothing major so far this year.

Cats: 100 / 55
Only one sick old cat to take on expensive vet visits now, instead of two. Will presumably go down to zero much too soon. :(

Entertainment/Misc: 100 / 149
Covers everything from video games and eating out to misc. purchases like a new non-stick pan. Not much wiggle room here, but I'd still like to shoot for the 100 target.

Gifts: 50 / 63
Man, we sure did spoil my mom this year. Not that she doesn't deserve it, but this needs to go down.

Insurance: 15 / 132
Mostly disability insurance and liability insurance. I resent the hell out of these costs but have grudgingly been talked into accepting them as necessary for now.

Cell phone/internet: 50 / 53
Will hopefully go down to 35 once I get our horrible mess of an internet situation sorted out.

Medical: 10 / 180
Now this one came as a shock. German insurance usually covers you on anything but birth control pills, so I REALLY wasn't expecting any additional costs here. And then I contracted a stupid rare eye disease that isn't covered because the treatment is still considered "experimental" for insurance purposes, despite being well-established and my only hope of escaping a dual corneal transplant (which, hilariously, would cost ten times as much and be covered by insurance. You'd think they'd realize the cost-saving potential here.) One more eye operation to go, and then probably a super expensive pair of contact lenses, but should go down after that.

Vacation: 105 / 524
Shit. Face punches go here. We're pretty much done with out vacation plans or the year, so this should average out to a little more than half that over the rest of the year, but still. Unfortunately, a lot of the vacation bucket list can't be deferred till after FI - who knows what shape my mom will be in by then, and we can't exactly do the Vietnam mountains motorcycle tour with a kid, either.

Clothes: 25 / 127
This is actually almost entirely due to a totally Mustachian bulk purchase of insanely cheap tailored clothing in Vietnam. I fucking hate clothes shopping, haven't done it for a year, and will now be spared for at least another year, plus am not going to work in rags anymore. This ought to average back down to the budgeted amount over the next months.

Work lunch: 48 / 26
New workplace cafeteria is both cheaper and slightly less crap than the old one. Yay!

Hair and cosmetics: 5 / 7

Upcoming this winter: Utilities. Probably about 40 / month for the next year.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Case study: Budget in review
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 02:18:33 PM »
You list your net income and not your gross income, but I assume you are putting a portion of that gross into a tax advantaged account like a 401k or an IRA.  That counts as savings too.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Case study: Budget in review
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 02:52:52 PM »
No, there's sadly no such things as IRAs and 401ks in Germany. There's a few tax-advantaged investment options, but the one thing all of them seem to have in common is that you can't get your money out until you're 63 or even older, which is fairly useless to someone aiming for early retirement. There's the legally mandated amount of money withdrawn from my gross income for a pension, but God only knows if I'll ever see that money again, and if so at what rate of return.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Case study: Budget in review
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 02:57:06 PM »

Sorry, i'm unfamiliar with the rules and regs outside of my country.   There is no way to back door the money out of a tax advantaged account early like there is in the usa?