Living on one salary

2019 was a transition year for me. A lot of things were done for the first time in another setting than before, the divorce got its formal court approval and the last transfers took place.

I decided at the start of 2019 to put myself again on a budget. From September 2018 till december 2018, I just did not care at all what happend with my budget. I am happy I got my act together for 2019 and I am back with my frugal habits, in line with myself.

Since January 2019, for the first time since long, I track every EUR that I spend. I use an app for that. The habit is now well embedded in my system. I do it now in a natural way. I allows me to see where I am with my discretionary budget for the month.

For the year 2019, I managed to stay within my budget. I was even 365€ below my self imposed budget, across all categories (excluding travel)

How did I compose my budget?

Based on year long tracking of expenses before, I had a quite good view on what living in the house would cost. I also had a good view on what a family of 2 adults and 2 kids spend on food and other. This allowed me to compose a budget for a half time dad. I also added extra expenses that this new way of living bring, like extra baby sit costs and extra fun money for the week where I have no kids.

I have a budget for house (insurance, heating, water,…), divorce related (I pay my pro rata share for the kids) and living (grocery, restaurant, entertainment,…) expenses

Where does my living money go?

The app allows to analyse data. It took me some time to get the categories right. This is where I spend my money

Budget 2019

I seem to spend a quarter of my budget on restaurants and drinks. Is that not a contradiction with Frugal living and a FIRE pursuit? Not for me. More on that later.

Clothing had a low spending this year. This has 2 reasons

  • My budget is not extravagant big. And at the end of the month, I have not a lot of money left to spend here.
  • I have a lot of clothes gathered over the past year. I want to minimalize what I own. So, I wear those clothes now. No stress, I dress decent, I wear shirts and suits when needed for work
  • Working in a start up has a perk – twice per year, we get a t-shirt or sweater when we have a celebration or a lot of new joiners. And is is totally acceptable to wear these to work 🙂

Entertainment is needed. You need to have fun. This includes visits to theme parks, laser shooting, going to festivals and dancing bars and even a disco.

What, no holiday?

I did have a lot of holidays this year.

Partly they are hidden in entertainment. Short in country weekend outs with my girlfriend tend to be covered by my monthly budget. We had one in a an old trailer with a hot tub, one in a cabin with great field view, a weekend camping and a city trip to Namen. Not too bad at all.

I also allow me an holiday budget. 2019 was over the top extarvagant. I spend almost 10K here. The plan is to spend less in 2020. Where did that money go?

Inari temple Kyoto
  • 6.6K per family to go with my kids, my girlfriend and her kids to Japan for 16 days. I will do a deep dive on that later. I came back being a big fan of Matcha tea
  • A city trip to London and Bristol with my girlfriend
  • Some personal development holidays

No regrets at all!

I plan to keep the same budget for 2020 as this budget allows me to live the life I want now and still is living below my means. Travel will be put on a lower budget this year.

How was your 2019?


8 thoughts on “Living on one salary

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