Savings Rate for October 2014

Build your piggy bank by saving

Are you ready to find out how much I managed to save in October? I sure am! Last month topped all my expectations of how far I could push living frugaly, so it’s unlikely that every month will be as great. Guess what? October turned out to be excellent too.

As most of you have noticed my blog has been much more quiet than usual the past few weeks. I explained in the last weekly round-up that work has been crazy busy. A nice bonus effect is that doing lots of overtime makes living a frugal lifestyle a whole lot easier. If you’re often busy at work you’re happy to enjoy a nice and inexpensive meal at home in the evening before relaxing on the couch.

Here’s October’s income and expenses.

Paycheck € 2,013 As expected
Dividends € 18 More dividends, awesome!
Other € 100 Side hustlin'
€ 2,131

Income-wise there’s nothing special to report. The salary from my day-job is in line with previous months. On top of that there’s some income from a side hustle I’ve been enjoying over the past few months. I’m also quite happy with the passive dividend income this month since it’s almost at 1% of my normal paycheck. Only 99% more to go! At this rate I definitely won’t have to retire at 67 like almost everyone else in Belgium in the future.

Rent € 350 As expected
Utilities € 70 As expected
Telecom € 18 As expected
Groceries € 85 Even less than last month
Restaurant € 17 Sushi and fries (multiple times)
Healthcare € 16 Haircut, etc.
Holidays € 41 Cheap-o plane ticket to Ireland for December
Subscriptions € 8 Google Play Music
Entertainment € 22 Beers with friends
Gifts € 11
€ 638

Look at that! Only €42 more than last month, which could be attributed to buying a two-way ticket to Ireland to visit my best friend in December. Flying in Europe from one major city to another never has been cheaper though at these crazy low prices.

Discretionary spending still is at an all-time low. Only €39 was spent on entertainment and eating out, even though a quick glance at October’s calendar shows there were at least eleven fun evenings with good friends. That’s an average of €3.5 per evening. Who ever said that having fun is expensive?

October’s savings rate comes out at a nice and round 70%, awesome! That’s only a tad lower than the 72.3% I managed to save last month, so I’m extremely happy with that result, especially when considering that 70% is right on target to reach my 2014 savings goal.

Almost all my savings were immediately invested in a tax-optimized pension fund (€95 monthly) and three dividend growth stocks. With the low oil prices I thought it was a good time to stock up on some more integrated oil and gas companies. After already owning Total and Royal Dutch Shell, the third oil giant in my portfolio is British Petroleum (LON:BP). I’ve furthermore initiated a position in mining company BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) and insurer Aflac (NYSE:AFL).

Considering the amount of money I manage to save each month after moving out on my own, it might be a good idea to bump up 2015’s goal to 60%, like I mentioned last month. After October’s kick-ass results I definitely think that’s the route to go. For 2014, I’ll keep my savings target at 70%, however. Here are my savings rates so far this year:

  • January: N/A
  • February: N/A
  • March: 87.4%
  • April: 65.3%
  • May: 78.6%
  • June: 72.9%
  • July: 76.7%
  • August: 65.3%
  • September: 72.3%

I’m not counting January and February because of a stupid mistake I made in my Excel spreadsheet back then, even though it’s likely that those months were in line with the rest of the year. From March onwards I did manage to save 73.5% on average. For motivation’s sake we’ll round that number up to 74%, which is unchanged from last month. Success!

After you have all recovered from your Halloween hangovers, be sure to put up your income and expenses reports on your blogs so I can fuel my savings rate voyeurism. Motivating each other to stay the course really helps pushing that savings rate higher and higher each month. If you’re not a blogger let me know in the comments if you’re happy with your savings.

Enjoy your Halloween weekend.


    1. Ha, I wish I could eat a waffle every day! 🙂

      The reason why my cost of living is so low is mainly due to not owning a car and planning my meals. That way I can buy in bulk and store a lot of food in the freezer. The low rent doesn’t hurt too, of course.


    1. Zero comfort, but extremely cheap: just the way I like it! 🙂

      Seriously though, is flying inside the US so expensive? Even when you book your tickets way in advance?

    1. MDP,

      Thanks, I appreciate it!

      BHP is a great buy in my opinion. Solid business with an excellent long-term outlook, even though it’s experiencing some short-term troubles. Glad to be a fellow shareholder!

      Best wishes,

  1. Great savings rate as usual NMW- well done!

    I went out for sushi too this month, only it cost me £17 for just the one outing…and that was with a discount voucher! Not cheap to have here, which is a shame because I love it.

    1. Weenie,

      Thanks for the encouragement! Just read you had a great month too!

      Sushi is one of my favourite things to eat, which is weird considering I’m usually big on (red) meat. It’s not cheap here either, except the new place I found a while back. For some reason they’re ridiculously inexpensive, especially when you have take-away. I hope you find a frugal sushi place nearby soon!


    1. Clay,

      From what I’ve read on your blog you’re doing pretty good yourself! Everyone has different needs and wants… Financial independence is about reaching financial security on your own terms.

      Best wishes,

  2. Wow NMW, that’s an amazing savings rate, and your YTD results are looking incredible!! My savings rate has been measly over the past year – in fact, its only really thanks to a bonus at work that I managed to save much at all! Housing takes up more than half of my income, and as the sole income earner for our family there tends to not be much left over. I have some serious work to do to get back to a non-embarrassing savings rate! Thanks for the inspiration here!

    1. Jason,

      Thanks, man! Really appreciate it!

      You say housing takes up more than half of your income. I’m not sure if your paying off a mortgage or renting a place, but if you’re paying off your own house I’d consider that saving money too as you’re actually building equity.

      You also shouldn’t compare my single life with yours. You have to support an entire family! It’s much more commendable to try and save as much as possible while taking care of others than being all on your own.

      I hope you get to boost your savings soon, keep us posted.

      Best wishes,

  3. NMW,

    Wow! Cheap sushi AND cheap flights? You get to live like a rock star at a fraction of what we spend. I couldn’t fly in my same state for that cheap. Awesome. 🙂

    Great savings rate. That puts you on track for FI in a decade or less. Keep it up!

    Best regards.

    1. Jason,

      Haha, I often tell other people we get to live like a king over here. So much exotic food and travel oportunities for everyone!

      I didn’t know flying in the US was so expensive, especially since oil is a lot cheaper over there. You should write the CEO of Ryan Air a letter asking him to expand his business inside Florida! 😉

      Thanks for your support and showing the way,

  4. € 41 for a plane ticket is almost unheard of in Canada lol. That sounds like a great deal. 🙂 I wonder if people in Belgium celebrate Halloween the same way as Americans.

    1. Liquid,

      Ryan Air is a Godsend sometimes. Horrible service, but you can’t beat flying anywhere in Europe for €41 (that’s two ways btw). 🙂

      Halloween is definitely not as big over here as in North-America. We have a completely different tradition in which we visit deceased relatives at the graveyards, clean their graves and put down some flowers. The younger generation often has some kind of Halloween party like you guys have over there, but mostly without the costume madness.


  5. Very impressive saving rate! Did I hear that there’s cheap sushi in Europe? Odd I’ve never been able to find a cheap sushi place anywhere in Europe.

    Man I love those cheap flights in Europe. I flew on those a lot when I was living in Europe years ago… certainly allowed me to see Europe on a budget. Such cheap flight option is unheard of here in Canada as Liquid pointed out above.

    1. Tawcan,

      Sushi is more often than not quite expensive, but recently there’s been a boom of sushi places and some of them have really competitive prices. As a consumer I’ve been taking advantage of that by shopping around! 🙂

      Cheap flights really allow me to visit a lot of great cities without having to sell of a kidney. Because I have friends all over Europe I can stay at there places for a couple of days, so I don’t have to pay for hotels or hostels too.

      Let’s hope some Northern American air companies soon discover how lucrative low-budget flight could be!


    1. Thanks, Henry!

      Don’t forget prices differ by region. I don’t think we can compare Belgium to California. 😉 That’s why I like comparing savings rates… It tells much more than just an absolute number.

      Good luck cutting back,

  6. For a change, a Belgian here, no Canadian 🙂
    I have been looking for a while for information on “financial indepence”. Information tailored to Belgium is not easy to find. Immediately added this blog to my blog reader!

    I checked your income statements. Wow, earning €2000+ as a 25y old … – working at a governmental agency clearly helps! Together with the low rent and the frugal lifestyle you should have a lot of money to invest. Interested to see what you’ll do in the future.

    1. Hey Marian,

      Glad to hear from another Belgian! There aren’t too many in our community. I hope you find some useful information on my blog. If you have any further questions, don’t be afraid to ask them or send me an e-mail.

      I’m happy with my monthly salary, it’s what I consider the right price for my skill set, the effort/hours I put in and my age. (It’s actually about 1850 + meal vouchers.) You can check (Flemish) government salaries on if you’re interested.

      The low rent definitely helps. Having a roommate is one of the best decisions I ever made. Combine that with overall frugality and you’ll be able to save quite a lot of money each month.

      Good luck on your own financial independence journey! Be sure to check in regularly, I’d love to know how others are doing in Belgium.

      Best wishes,

      1. Haha, I’m well aware of the governmental wages.
        But hey, you mentioned a cheap take away sushi place… can you share these?

  7. Dude, this is amazing! Being able to live on 1/3 of your salary is an incredible feat! I know very few people making $300k+ who are able to do this. Keep that up and I have no doubt that you’ll be able to retire in no time at all. Looking forward to your future success!

    1. Robert,

      Thanks, man! Really appreciate it! I wish I earned over $300k, I’d retire in three years tops.

      I didn’t bump into your blog yet, so I’ll definitely be checking it out later today.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  8. NMW,
    sounds like you had pretty epic month! Congrats on the high savings rate, maybe one day i can get on the level! As for the sushi boom you mentions earlier, I think there are places in Canada that experiencing the same thing, i know when i left Saskatchewan several years back sushi joints where being established left right and center! Anyways thanks for sharing bud!

    Have a great day!


    1. Ace,

      October was awesome indeed! Really happy about the outcome. Don’t give up, 70% is manageable and I’m sure you’re able to make it.

      It seems sushi is booming in a lot of places, I wonder why. Maybe because there’s a lot of TV shows depicting people having take-away sushi? And then word-of-mouth of course, since sushsi is simply really good.

      Thanks again for your support, pal!

  9. Hey,

    From another Belgian to another, great job! I’m also 25, but I’m still studying. I do have managed to fix a job already, but that’ll start only in september next year.

    1. Willie,

      Glad to hear from another Belgian! It’s a great time to be 25 years old in Belgium, isn’t it?

      How cool is it that you already have a job straight out of university? Not many people are able to say that these days. What field do you graduate in? My guess would be civil engineering!

      Hope to hear again from you,

  10. Wow. Your saving rate is impressive and looks like you have been able to sustain it. I haven’t calculated mine but can tell you it is not even close to 70%. It might be 20! So good on you. Nice to see that other Belgians have found your blog and are interested in your journey.

    1. May,

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m really glad that I’ve been able to keep my momentum after moving out of my parent’s home.

      Don’t feel bad about saving 20% of your income. That’s way more than 99% of the population! I’m sure you’ll be able to boost your savings rate if you wished!

      Good luck,

  11. NMW,

    I wish I could save 70% of my income one month out the year at this point in life. Your are doing it every month. Good for you. FI will be on your horizon before you know it. Good luck.

    Keep cranking,

    Robert the DividendDreamer

    1. Robert,

      Never forget that I only have to take care of myself, so that makes saving 70% much easier. And you’re not doing too bad yourself either! 😉

      Keep up the good work over there,

  12. Oh my. I’m salivating at your rent…

    But that savings rate is fantastic. With contributions that aggressive, you can expect great things 🙂

    1. Mario,

      I’m glad you found this blog, welcome!

      Ha, my rent is low indeed thanks to a landlord who is willing to trade off some extra monthly rental income for decent tenants. Having a roommate really helps out too, of course.

      Even though literature and maths shows me what aggresive saving and investing should do over the long run, I really can’t wait to see my effort materialize in a passive income stream.

      Thanks for the kind words and hope to hear from you again soon,

  13. Hi NMW

    Greetings from Singapore 😉

    Is it just me or does everyone in america seeking financial independence has such a high savings rate!!! Thats awesome.

    With those savings rate I think you’ll be amazed at how your graph will fly through the ceiling. Im exaggerating a little bit but you know youre going to be up there one day.

    Ahh so nice being so young with high savings rate like yours. I envy.


    1. B,

      Welcome, glad you found your way here! 🙂

      I’m actually quite happy to show that having a high savings rate isn’t just for Americans, but can be done in Europe as well. Hopefully saving a large portion of your salary is also possible in Singapore?

      Hopefully you’re right about my net worth graph going through the ceiling!

      Cheers and good luck on your own FI journey,

  14. Your savings rate is one of the highest I have ever seen. I know many people strive for 50% and want to achieve 60% but yours is literally through the roof. Thanks for sharing this amazing stat.

    1. DivHut,

      Thank you for you encouraging comment, means a lot coming from you.

      I believe 50% is the sweet spot for a lot of people. It’s the right balance between enjoying life to the fullest and saving. I’m not sure I’ll be able or even want to maintain about 70% forever. It’s just that I want to take advantage of starting early and amassing as much wealth as possible asap.

      We’ll see where we end up, for now I’m enjoying myself!

      Thanks for stopping by,

  15. Good savings! I get my fill of sushi at this buffet by my house. All you can eat sushi and hot buffet for $7 at lunch. Lunches are where I hang out with friends the most (and it costs less). Evenings are at home with the family and a nice meal (that I usually prepare.)

    1. DFG,

      Thanks for checking in again!

      All you can eat sushi and buffet for $7? Sign me up! That’s an even better deal than what I’m getting.

      Making home meals really cuts back expenses and often is a fun thing to do, in my opinion. And it’s a good opportunity to bond as a family over dinner, which is happening less and less these days with every family member eating whenever it’s convenient.

      Best wishes,

    1. Dan,

      That’s insane! I know €41 isn’t much for a flight to Ireland, but I never imagined Canada and the US being much more expensive for short flights. Thankfully you guys can take advantage of rewards points on credit cards! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by,

  16. Hey NMW,

    I’m just *jealous*!
    Like seriously, 70% of savings rate while I reach hardly the 30% every month! OK there might be a difference of two young kids between us 😉 But still! Congrats man! Keep going!

    Also, just *jealous* seeing how many comments you get! Enjoy 😉


    1. MP,

      30% is excellent considering you’re taking care of an entire family! I think my savings rate would plummet if I had to take care of two little NMWers. You should be proud of achieving 30%!

      Receiving comments on these kind of posts really encourages me to keep on going. You guys are the reason why I’m keeping this all up! Your blog will definitely receive its fair share of replies when it starts to grow, don’t worry.

      Best wishes,

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