I would like to say that thanks to my cunning saving plans I managed to get a nice savings rate, and while I can say that my expenses are actually the lowest in over a year, I could not have done it without also having a boosted income in April! Read on and find out how I managed to get such a high savings rate. Everything will be reveled!
Lets compare April with March and see what moved exactly:
- Living costs remained at 645 EUR
- Restaurants costs dropped to 0 for the first time ever!!! I did not go on a restaurant once, and I had no take away food either! Such a huge saving here!
- Grocery Shopping dropped to 156. It’s much lower then I usually have, but if you recall it was a bit higher in April when I bought some extra supplies, and now I was able to live off those supplies for a part. All things considering its actually still quite high!
- Health: apart from my yearly health insurance contribution I also had some doctor visits for my back. This resulted in medicines and some tools to help me out, leading to probably the highest health expense I had in a year in one month. But my back allows me to do sports so its important that it gets the best possible care. I also should get some money back from insurance.
- Shopping was my guilty pleasure this month. I spend about 300 EUR on clothing (I had not bought any in a few months) and also bought some new furniture for 300 EUR. That’s the thing with spending a lot of time at home, you start noticing what furniture you are missing
For income this is my favorite time of the year. In March we find out if we get a raise, and in April we find out how much our bonus is for the year. My yearly bonus came in May last year, but this year I was lucky and we got it in May.
I made almost all my taxes last year and even outperformed. If me and my department made all our targets I would get 25% of my usual wage in a bonus. Almost all of them were met and I got a 24.3% bonus!
Now cash bonuses are heavily taxed in Belgium. Actually you would only get 46% of your bonus after taxes. For the first time my company gave us the choice to choose warrants instead.
What is the difference between warrants and cash? Well to start with, neither the company or the employee pay social security on warrants. That alone saves you 28% in taxes. However the personal income tax is slightly higher, but not high enough to be as high as social security. So whats the catch? The catch is that warrants are listed on the stock market. And in these very uncertain times there is a Risk. For some of our company this risk was the reason they did go for the cash bonus.
But I know the market well, and I realized you could sell the warrants already the next day. So the market risk is only one day! In times we saw the market drop 10% in one day there is a still a risk, but the risk is so small that I decided to take it. The market decided to go up about 1% that day and I ended up with an about 30% higher bonus then I would have if I took the bonus in cash, and ended up paying “only” about 40% of taxes.
As travel is still suspended I am afraid my daily bonuses I get when travelling are still reduced to 0. My company still has all travels grounded until June, so for the time being this will not change. At the same time I do enjoy spending time in Belgium and I am not that eager to go back on the road.
I am also getting meal cheques, this month is was 168 EUR. I forgot to actually add these to my income while I believe they should be part of it. I have corrected it for all of 2020, so my saving rate for 2020 is slightly higher.
So despite of the loss of income from business trips and mainly thanks to a small cut back on expenses and my yearly bonus I managed to get a 85.71% saving rate, outperforming any previously recorded savings rate!
I have a competition with myself that I need to do 5% better then last year and this is the first time I actually see some improvement, but I do see a difficult month ahead with some housing expenses coming up in May that I will need to tend to.
2019 saving rate: 45.8%
2020 average (so far): 46.4%
I will continue to do sports (running / cycling is almost free), watch my grocery expenses and try harder to control my shopping urges!
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