Savings Rate for September 2014

Build your piggy bank by saving

Another savings rate report, the fourth one already! I’m excited to once again share how I’ve done over the past month in honing my frugal skills. Ever since moving out on my own I’ve experienced first-hand how much saving a bit here and there help out in the end.

Before going through September’s numbers and determining my savings rate, I’d like to thank you guys for being such an awesome audience. Even though I’ve been busy as all hell the past few weeks, your support and feedback kept me going to be an active member of the personal finance community. I didn’t write as much as I’d like though, but I hope to have a productive upcoming weekend.

So, without any further ado, my income and expenses!

Income
Paycheck € 1,960 As expected
Dividends € 12 My very first dividends from MCD and FP
Other € 180 Side hustlin'
€ 2,152

Overall, September was a good month income-wise. The salary from my full-time job was as I expected, while I also made a significant portion of money on the side. I furthermore received my very first dividend payments from McDonald’s and Total! How crazy is it that I had to do nothing at all for 0.56% of this month’s income?

Expenses
Rent € 350 As expected
Utilities € 62 As expected
Telecom € 13 As expected
Groceries € 91 Failed at trying to beat Will
Restaurant € 26 Sushi and fries (multiple times)
Games/PC € 15 Humble Bundle and longer DVI cable
Subscriptions € 8 Google Play Music
Entertainment € 16 Beers with friends
Gifts € 15
€596

Here you can see the upside to being busy at the office most of your time: almost no expenses whatsoever apart from a monthly rent payment and a utilities bill. Discretionary spending hit an all-time low, which is nice from a financial standpoint, but next month I hope that it’s not just because of a lack of free time.

Still, I’m truly happy my waffle diet helped me to save 72.3% of my income! That’s almost as much as when I was still living with my parents! Had you told me that I would keep so much of my paycheck in my pocket two months ago, I’d have shrugged that off as being impossible.

How wrong I was.

Almost all of my September savings are now invested in dividend growth stocks, one of which is GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company I looked at last month. Another €95 again went to my personal tax-optimized pension fund since it provides me an immediate 30% return through a tax break.

Last month I wondered whether I should adjust my goal for 2015 to 60% on average instead of 50%. Considering this month’s savings rate it seems that might actually be a good idea. In 2014, however, I’m still aiming to save over 70% because I stayed at my parents’ until July. Here are my savings rate for 2014 so far:

  • January: N/A
  • February: N/A
  • March: 87.4%
  • April: 65.3%
  • May: 78.6%
  • June: 72.9%
  • July: 76.7%
  • August: 65.3%

I’ve omitted January and February because of a silly tracking error in my budget spreadsheet, even though those months are in line with the rest of the year. From March onwards I’ve saved 74% on average, which is exactly the same as last month. Great!

Now I’m off to all your blogs to check out how you’ve done over the past month – I really love reading other people’s income and expenses reports. If you’re not a blogger yourself, let me know in the comments how your September was!

Thanks for reading.

48 Comments

  1. Hi NMW, saving 72.3% when you have only just moved out of home is an awesome achievement – well done! It looks like you have a good balance, still able to socialise and eat out while maintaining a great savings rate! I’ve never bought a Humble Bundle of games before but have bought a couple of bundles of ebooks/comics. They are great value!

    1. Weenie,

      Thank you for the encouragement, it really helps!

      Usually I find a nice balance between socialising and saving, but this month the scales tipped a bit too much to the saving side for my taste. That’s mainly because of a crazy busy period at the office, rather than me trying to save more. Most weeks I have friends over during the evenings, which is always cheap, but that’s hardly been the case the past month. I hope to change that in October.

      Humble Bundles are awesome! And I like the fact that a part of your contribution goes to charity. I’ve never bought any e-books, but the deals always seem nice too, just like the video games.

      Best wishes,
      NMW

  2. Wow, NMW,

    That’s quite the savings rate! Marie and I are calculating our spending for our first budget and income posts this week!

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve found I’m more conscious of my spending when I know I’m going to be broadcasting it online. I’m not saving particularly HARDER than before, but it just makes me ask–would I be proud to say I blew $8.00 on soda at work this month? etc.

    1. Charles,

      I’m really looking forward to reading your first budget post! I think I’ve said it before on Debt Debs’ blog, but I like those kind of articles way too much – to the point I consider myself a budget voyeur.

      You are totally right about being more conscious about your spending because you have to publish it online! Even though I’ve always been frugal, the fact that you guys hold me accountable really helps sometimes to not spend a Euro here and there.

      Thanks for the support,
      NMW

    1. Thank you, Nicola! Can’t stay away from fries and a good bear once in a while, it’s my kryptonite.

      Hope you had a great month too,
      NMW

  3. Wow, congratulations! A solid month and the first dividends! Pretty awesome to see that level of saving while living out on your own. Keep this up and FI will be closer than you think.

    1. Thank you, W2R! September was a solid month indeed; I think it’ll be hard to top in the future. Receiving my first dividends also felt great.

      I’ll try to keep it up. Thanks for your support,
      NMW

    1. Haha, Will, you crack me up! I wish that were true because that would mean I visited Ireland, which sadly isn’t the case.

      According to my budget spreadsheet it’s a truckload of booze for a friend’s housewarming party, whoops! 🙂

  4. NMW,

    Awesome savings rate! I’ve hit 70%+ quite a few times on a monthly scale, but never consistently enough to average it out for a year. Looks like you’re doing awesome in this regard.

    Keep up the great work.

    Best wishes!

    1. Jason,

      Thank you! 70% truly is a lot, so I don’t think it’s sustainable over the long-run for me. Still, even if my savings rate were 10% lower on average I’d be a really happy camper.

      Cheers and thank you for regularly stopping by,
      NMW

    1. Thank you, Kassandra!

      Zero in social expenses would be worrisome indeed! Luckily I did find some time to enjoy my friends’ company. Wouldn’t give that up for anything in this world!

    1. Haha, that would be awesome, MDP! 😀

      Thank you for stopping by and for your support, it really helps!
      NMW

  5. Great job! I like how simple your breakdown is. I’m jealous of your savings rate! September was just okay for us. Now that FinCon/traveling is over with, I’m hoping these next three months won’t be too hard on us.

    1. Thank you, Erin!

      If my categories were too complicated I’d probably give up keeping track after a couple of weeks, so I decided to keep them as simple as possible.

      Your FinCon report sounded awesome! I’m sure it was expensive, but you had so many great moments that it must’ve been totally worth it.

      Here’s to three more frugal months this year!
      NMW

    1. Thanks, Tawcan!

      Groceries were low this month because I bought a lot of stuff in bulk and because I had quite a lot of lunch and dinner at the office (long hours), which were free.

      Eating only waffles would be way more expensive! 🙂

      Cheers,
      NMW

  6. 70% is super impressive! Haha my going to Tofino for the surfing trip was probably the cost of your entire rent – but I have no regrets of going! 😀

    1. I’d much rather have your trip than being stuck at the office! 😀 It sounded like you were living the dream on Twitter: doing whatever you liked, no pressure.

    1. Thanks, Jay!

      I think MCD will definitely turn the current spell of bad news around. They’ve shown in the past that they can adapt when necessary, which is what I think has to happen here. Even last month they increased their dividend payment with 5%, which shows that management is confident the company will remain profitable in both the short- and long-term

      Best wishes,
      NMW

  7. Another awesome month! Great job 🙂 You might not have beaten Will, but you’re definitely in the same ball-park! 91 euros – I’m too lazy to find out how to make the symbol on my North American keyboard 🙂 – that’s a pretty awesome grocery bill!

    1. Thanks, Alicia!

      Beating Will requires some serious dedication, I’m still not sure it’s manageable for me. He’s the master of coupons and finding deals!

      Also, love your laziness! Euro sign is right alt + e on my keyboard, maybe that works for you too! 😀

      Enjoy your weekend,
      NMW

    1. Thanks, man! September’s savings are already earning me money thanks to the stock market bump yesterday.

    1. Thanks, DD! You did great too last month, saving 50% of your income! And you had an insane trip to surprise visit your girlfriend. 🙂

      Let’s hope October is as great for the both of us as September was,
      NMW

      1. My savings rate wasn’t high this month, only 25% since I paid my propertytaxes. But 25% is still better then most people in belgium.

        But the good thing is I good dividends from Umicore and I surpassed the 5 000 EUR mark of annual dividend. My dividends can almost pay my mortgage

        Cheers,
        G

        1. Awesome! €5,000 is a lot already! How great is it to know that you’ll have a roof over your head no matter what happens because of the dividend income?

          Have a great weekend,
          NMW

  8. Impressive savings rate! If you can keep that going for a while it will really reduce the amount of years till FI.
    Also great that you got your first dividends :). I rember my very first dividends and its a great moment, like the first step on an exciting journey.

    You’ve got some nice companies that will form the backbone of your portfolio.
    I enjoy your perspective on that side of the world.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, AlphaTarget, much appreciated!

      The first dividends were awesome. Turns out it’s truly addicting to receive money for just waking up in the morning! 🙂

      I just saw you had a great dividend month again. Almost over $3,000 for this year will really get your dividend snowball going.

      Cheers,
      NMW

      PS: I’d love to comment on your blog, but don’t have any of the accounts needed. Maybe you could turn anonymous comments on?

      1. In my own spreadsheets I’ve calculated my forward yearly, monthly and daily income. Daily sounds a bit stupid really, but it is like you say ‘it’s truly addictive to receive money for just waking up in the morning!’ and having a number ties it in with my reality in regards to what that daily amount could pay for (food / drinks / transportation / entertainment).

        — And in the reverse it makes me aware that spending $20 on a dinner costs me $8000 in investments if I want to continue doing this on a monthly basis in perpetuity. ($20 / 0.03 = $666 => $666 * 12 = $8000 ).

        I tend to use my blog more for my own record keeping and less for posting, I did enable the anonymous comments as you suggested (hopefully this won’t cause a lot of spam). I like accumulating the historical data and seeing the evolution and trajectory whilst at the same time planning forward and planning for future investments.

        I had a look back and remember writing this about my first dividend:
        *************************
        April 2013 Dividends Received:
        Kansas City Southern Inc (KSU) – $2.15
        Total dividends received during the month of April 2013: $2.15

        This is the first dividend I ever received in my life. All things have small beginnings, this is where my dividend journey begins. $2.15 seems small, but it is the first time this got added to my account and I noticed it. I will remember this as the first seed that will grow my dividend tree.
        *************************

        The interesting thing I find is that in my forward projections that extra dividend income is like an extra paycheck and then a year further, it turns into two extra paychecks, etc… It has been a solid 1.5 years of saving and investing. I’ve only recently started tracking income and expenses and my savingsrate currently lies somewhere between the 50%-70% range. There are only so much expenses to cut, but there is plenty more income to be made – side hustles included!

    1. Thank you, Stef!

      You’re totally right that I should be able to retire early in about eight to ten years at this savings rate. At the moment it still sounds like a far-away dream, but every passing month my confidence grows I can actually make it.

      Thank you for stopping by,
      NMW

  9. Oh wow, fellow 25 year old here. Between you and Will, it looks like I’ve got some serious work cut out for me on my savings rate! I’ve been operating around 50% thinking that was good… but 72.3%!? Stellar job dude!

    1. Clay,

      50% is awesome! I dare you to find two other people you know who save as much as you do. I think 50% is the sweet spot for many financial independence seekers.

      Glad to have you here! I’m definitely going to check out your blog. Always fun to find like-minded people of the same age group.

      Cheers,
      NMW

    1. Thanks, Sindre! September was an extra-ordinary month, I doubt I’ll top it again any time soon.

      Hope you’re doing great over there in Norway,
      NMW

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