Another month gone by, just like that! According to popular wisdom, both November and December are traditionally more expensive months. After seeing some of the insane Black Friday footage from across the big ol’ pond we call the Atlantic Ocean, I’m inclined to agree with that statement. As a result, I’m excited to read everyone’s income and expenses report. Of course, I’ll also share mine.
The mere fact that there are a lot of sales going on is obviously no reason to spend money like crazy, especially for us seasoned frugalists and financial independence seekers. There are, nevertheless, some good reasons why most folks spend more in November, if only because they have to turn up the heat to ward off winter’s cold. With King Winter making his first stop of the year in Belgium, I had to do just that.
To get me through the cold winter months I found nothing better than to buy a brand-new graphics card – these things not only provide great performance, but also put out a lot of heat. Yes, I splurged. Like most of your comments indicated, however, splurging on something that brings you joy and happiness is sometimes warranted.
Let’s measure how much havoc my favourite past-time wreaked on my November budget.
|Paycheck||€ 2,019||As expected|
|Dividends||€ 13||Dividends from DE, T and PG|
|Other||€ 460||Sold some stuff and side hustlin'|
Big increase from last month income-wise! Even though my paycheck remained the same and my passive income through dividend investing wasn’t anything too special, my side hustles really payed off in November. On top of that, I sold my old graphics card to a friend since there’s no reason to keep it around and have it gathering dust.
|Rent||€ 350||As expected|
|Utilities||€ 70||As expected|
|Telecom||€ 20||As expected|
|Groceries||€ 94||Still less than my goal of €100 a month|
|Restaurant||€ 20||Friend's birthday|
|Healthcare||€ 16||Haircut, etc.|
|Games / PC||€ 370||GTX 970 and Steam sales|
|Subscriptions||€ 23||Google Play Music|
|Entertainment||€ 11||Beers with friends|
|Gifts||€ 20||Mom's birthday present|
Expenses were much higher than usual, but that’s no surprise given that my new GTX 970 costs 350 Euros. What’s more, November’s increase measured up to almost exactly the price of my new toy. All things considered that makes November a pretty decent month, especially since my income is up from October.
The more math savvy among your already figured out that I managed to save 60% of November’s incoming cash. That’s lower than my goal for 2014, but I’m still on track to save 70% on average. Because my side hustles also payed off this month, I managed to save more in absolute terms than in October, when I managed to keep 70% of my after-tax income in my pocket.
The €1,498 left in my bank account was immediately transferred to my pension fund (€95) and my brokerage account. I quickly deployed most of the fresh cash in dividend growth stocks Qualcomm Inc. (NYSE:QCOM) and Vodafone Group (LON:VOD) right before their respective ex-dividend dates. With my free transactions running out at the end of this month, it’ll probably be one of the last times I’ll initiate small positions like nine shares of QCOM and 188 shares of VOD.
If you’re interested in knowing my past performance, look no further. I’m happy to say that I’m doing much better than I’d hoped when I started living on my own in August.
- 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%
- October: 70.0%
Following November’s savings rate, I’m now standing at 72% on average for the entire year, which is slightly down from last month’s 73.5%. If nothing unexpected happens in December it’ll be smooth sailing to reach my 70% savings rate goal for 2014. Even if I eat out more than usual while on a short vacation in Ireland next month, those expenses will be offset by my year-end bonus.
How was your November? Did Thanksgiving and Black Friday leave deep cuts in your budget? Or are you more worried about your heating costs now that it’s getting colder and colder each day? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading and for your support.
Thats a fantastic savings rate, NMW. I cant even dream of achieving that kind of a savigns rate. Kudos to you for achieving that. Thanks for sharing your finances.
Thanks for stopping by again, much appreciated.
A good savings rate is only one part of the equasion. You’re doing much better on building your passive income. In the end, we’ll both be better for it because we can learn from one another.
lololololol I kid! Good job keeping it high! Was the birthday present for that girl who owns the teddy bear you had in your sink???
I know, Will! I’ve only saved 45% more than the average Belgian… Oh wait! 😀
Ha, the birthday present was for my mother! And the restaurant costs were for my room mate. Keep trying, pal. 😉
Hope your November was great too,
Outstanding effort on the saving % rate. I know first hand how difficult it is to have a saving rate over 70%. You have a little buffer to cover December too, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you hitting your 2014 Goal.
November expenses were pretty low overall, but it means I have more to spend in December for Christmas mainly. I have a wedding, 2 x Christmas parties and general socialising to do this month, so I think Dec will be a big spending months.
I hope you’re enjoying your new graphics card too!
Thanks for sharing your info. Keep up the good work my friend!
Thanks for your encouraging and kind words, buddy! 70% without any additional income definitely is my limit, so it makes sense I won’t be able to maintain it every single month. I am, however, pretty sure that I’ll make the 70% on average this year.
I fear December will be an expensive month for most people with all the holidays and gift giving. On top of that you ‘have’ to attend a wedding and socialise more than usual, but I’m sure you’ll do great nonetheless.
The new graphics card is awesome! Been having a lot of fun with it.
Well done on another excellent savings rate, NMW! I am hoping to save 60% at least once next year but you make it look so easy! It’s Dec 1st and already, I have spent far too much on gifts etc. This Christmas, I will also be making a trip to Hong Kong so even more expenses. However, a lot of the expenses will be paid out of my emergency funds, which I will then have to ‘repay’ over the coming months – in January, I think I’m going to hide at home and not go anywhere (apart from work!) so as not to spend any money!
I have the utmost confidence that you will hit your 70% average but the best of luck anyway!
Thank you, Weenie! Congrats on your great month too!
Don’t worry, 60% this month definitely wasn’t easy. My side hustles were quite lucrative and I was lucky to be able to sell my old video card so fast.
Christmas gifts and a Hong Kong trip definitely aren’t the worst things to be spending your money on. At least they’re not recurring expenses like expensive cable.
Don’t worry too much about the money and enjoy your vacation!
Best of luck to you too,
Good job on the side hustles man and another solid month in the books.
Good Day and Grind On!
Thanks for the suppor, AG! Means a lot coming from you.
You are an absolute savings rate superstar NMW! And even with a splurge you’re producing numbers like this!
My savings rate for November has been steady, although our electricity bill will start getting higher as we’ve started using the air-conditioning, and with the typical very hot summers down here it will probably be getting a bit of a workout as usual (I’ll use my wife and daughter as the excuse for needing it on – I’m of course a bit more hardcore 🙂 ).
The challenge for me is going to come early next year when we move into our new home, when my goal is to try and break even, and not draw down on savings too much :S But one day, one month when I hit a 70% savings rate, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!
Great job as always NMW!
Sweet, where are my roadies and tons of drugs now that I’m a superstar? 😉
Ha, look at my writing about winter… Totally forgot that down South it’s almost summer. I’m pretty resistant to heat, but I can imagine why you would turn on the AC in Australia’s warm summers.
I read that you bought a new home! It will indeed be quite the challenge to maintain a decent savings rate, but on the flipside you’re also building equity in the new home. At least you’re not throwing away your money on quickly depreciating assets like tech gadgets and sports cars.
Hopefully you’ll feel right at home in the new house!
Good luck and don’t give up,
Great work. Excellent savings rate. It’s difficult to nail 70% routinely, but you are doing it fairly effortlessly. The future you will be very thankful for this. Keep it up! 🙂
Thanks for the support, buddy! Really means a lot to me coming from you. Hitting 70% each and every month isn’t easy, but once more and more dividends start rolling in I should be nailing it quite regularly and without any troubles at all.
I’m looking forward to your own income and expenses report!
NMW, you’re on your way good sir! With a savings rate like that, you’ll be FI in no time. I have yet to capture my savings rate, but off the top of my head I’d say it’s at least 60%. Thanks for giving me something to calculate and another great metric to take not of! I’ve spent here and there, but still managed to save a ton and buy more stocks. Cheers!
That’s a mighty impressive savings rate considering that you’re not even tracking it, well done! You should definitely post about your income and expenses on your blog. I love reading those type of articles.
Future HMB will be happy for your frugality and investments!
Keep it up,
Wow, great savings rate. Especially for someone who doesn’t live at home! Keep up the good work!
It’s much easier than I thought it would be to save lots when I moved out of my parents’ home, although I completely understand why you still live at home.
Another impressive savings rate. Your annual average is looking great. If you can achieve over 70% for your annual average you should totally have a small celebration!
I’m really happy about the annual average. Next year I’ll probably up my goal to 60 or 65% for the entire year considering that I’ll be living on my own for the entire year then.
When the year is over I’ll definitely have a small celebration!
OMG that is a fantastic savings rate! If you continue doing that, I can only imagine how well off you will be! Way to go!
Let’s hope my investments will be kind to my future self so that my current saving efforts pay off!
Thanks for the support and for stopping by,
Excellent month, NMW! It’s great to see such a high savings rate at such a young age. I’m hoping you’ll see a nice big unexpected raise at the job next year too to keep the portfolio marching strongly upwards. I’m also a fan of keeping a beast computer up to date as a video editor (and gamer), way to splurge! Cheers to a great December!
Thanks for the support, buddy!
My first raise is scheduled for some time in february. Even though it’s quite small, it should allow me to increase my savings rate with at least 2% on a monthly basis. (As a civil servant I actually know the increases to my salary for the next twenty to thirty years already, which is a really weird way of doing things, but it is what it is.)
Keeping my PC up-to-date is something I gladly spend money on. Years ago I had to update my CPU and RAM almost every year, but since a couple of years advancements in that area have slowed down, so now it comes down to keeping up with performance gains in graphics cards. As a video editor I can imagine you needing to upgrade quite regularly too!
Good luck to you too next month,
Awesome job especially with the ‘big’ purchase. Hopefully you will enjoy many games with it.
My savings rate was a staggering 79%, I did some volunteer jobs but I got paid for them in the end so it boosted my savings rate to new heights ( just like my stock portfolio this month).
I’ve been enjoying my new graphics card immensely already, don’t you worry. Finished some games I had lying around for quite a while but wasn’t able to properly play.
79%! I think that has got to be a record in Belgium, well done! Once more and more dividends start rolling in, you’ll probably be able to hit such a high rate on a monthly basis.
Keep it up over there,
Nice savings rate! Keep it up!
Mine was around 68% in November. Shoes, birthday gifts and my quarterly electricity bill pulled it down a bit.
The dividend income is growing nicely and helps my saving rate as my expenses don’t grow as fast as my dividends. December is going to be big on dividend income. And all those dividends get reinvested for more shares, more income and a better saving rate.
I’ve only been tracking my saving rate since June and I’m probably going to finish with a saving rate of around 63% on average for the past 7 months. Depends a little on how expensive December will be.
Good luck to you too in December!
Well done saving over 68% of your income! Great job considering the birthday gifts and electricity bill. Likewise for the 63% for the past seven months.
Your dividends are definitely starting to show their real power. Being able to count on an extra $500 on average every month must feel exceptionally good! In my case they would bump up my savings rate by 10-15% easily.
Let’s hope December won’t be too expensive for us both!
Best of luck,
Awesome job! Your average savings rate is killing it especially after moving out on your own. My savings rate fluctuates between 40-60%. I’d like to get it consistently closer to 60%.
It seems we’re both quite good at saving and well on our way to establish financial independence! I hope you can reach 60% on a regular basis soon rather than later.
Awesome saving rate NMW!
I live at home with my parents and I don’t even manage to save that much! Maybe it’s time I start keeping track of my expenses as well. : )
Definitely not a bad idea to start tracking your income and expenses. You’ll be surprised to find how much you spend on some things. Cutting them out is essential to reaching a high savings rate.
Thanks for stopping by again,
You still managed to save 60% despite indulging in your penchant for performance technology! I am thinking of perhaps inching up our usual 50% savings rate in 2015 but I haven’t decided yet. Your actions are definitely inspiring though!
I’m really happy about finding a happy medium between my hobbies and my financial independence and early retirement goals. What’s the point of saving all this money if I can’t spend it on things I really love?
You should definitely try to increase the ante in 2015, even though a savings rate of 50% already is quite impressive. Let me know what you decide to do!
Nicely done, NMW! I’m super impressed with your sub-100 euro groceries—that’s awesome! Your savings rate is mighty fine, my friend. Have fun in Ireland–I went a few years ago and loved it, such a beautiful place!
Thank you for the kind words. Means a lot to me coming from one of the most frugal couples out there! 🙂
I’ll let you know if I enjoyed Ireland as much as you did, but I have no doubts I will.
Have a great weekend,
You’re putting together an amazing 2014 NMW! Keep it up!
Thanks, Noonan! Just a few more weeks and we’ll know how many of my 2014 goals I’ll have crushed.
Wow, 60% is a great rate! Re, Vodafone: Did you mean NASDAQ:VOD? LON:VOD is $223/share and 188 shares wouldn’t be a small position at all 😉
ps: Yay, fellow VOD shareholder!
I’m sorry for the late reply! Your sneaky comment completely slipped through the cracks while I was on vacation.
I do mean the Vodafone shares on the LSE. British stocks are denominated in pence, not in whole pounds. As such, it’s not £223, but £2.23… Big difference. I wouldn’t say no to 188 shares worth over 200 a piece though! 🙂 You can see the same thing with BP or Unilever, for example.
Glad to be a fellow shareholder!
Thanks for stopping by,