Having a baby has counter-intuitively meant that I have saved more money than previously! At least for now....
August 2018 savings rate review
Why review now?
I typically don’t review my savings rate as I optimised my spending a while ago and now I hardly spend any money at all. It’s not that I’m depriving myself, it’s simply that my hobbies and lifestyle are either cheap or free.
Major recent changes have been:
Moving in with my girlfriend: this cut our rent and utility costs drastically. It also created some savings in food costs. We previously both cooked, but now we food shop together and as my girlfriend shops in France (whereas I shopped in Switzerland) this in itself cut my food bill by more than 50%. Sadly, living further out means I no longer cook lunch at home, this offsets the food savings above.
Birth of our child: Counter-intuitively, this has not led to a substantial increase in costs – yet – but this will change when the baby gets older. Currently, I spend more due to baby supplies, but conversely I save as now I have less free time to go out and spend money! I used to eat out at least once a week and this has reduced drastically due to the deterrent of additional logistics of eating out with a baby.
The baby also has meant that I saved money on alcohol! I’m more or less teetotal now. I already started to drink less, but now that sleep is in short supply with the baby around, I try to avoid damaging what little sleep I have by drinking alcohol!
This temporary reduction in spending will stop once the baby goes into daycare as that will be eye-wateringly expensive. Also costs will increase if we move to a larger property to have more space for the baby.
Percentage of net salary
Rent and utilities
Food and baby shopping
Sport and leisure
Transport and other
As you can see, costs are pretty low. My hobbies are running, cycling and swimming and they are all free. Swimming is free when I swim in the lakes and rivers, but I also pay for an indoor pool in winter. This may change if I decide to take up swimming in the river during winter too.
My mobile costs are 30 CHF per month due to finding a good deal a while ago and sticking to it. I could save more by going to PAYG as I typically use my phone very little where I don’t already have WIFI. The savings are probalby not worthwhile for me.
I may also get rid of my internet subscription at home. Cablecom have been quite unreliable and I could save >70 CHF per month by using my mobile phone as a modem.
I could probably cancel my SBB half-card. I used to travel mainly by bike and train, but now with the baby, car is the main mode of transport if we go somewhere further than biking allows.
So my savings rate is 72%. It’s high and achievable due to high salaries in Switzerland coupled with a frugal lifestyle and exploiting cross-border shopping opportunities. While further savings are possible, it is not a focus for me and has not been for a while as once you have a frugal mindset and you have optimised your costs in a set-it-and-forget-it way, the focus should switch to increasing your income which should yield far greater returns.