January last year, I wrote my financial targets. I stated clearly how much should I have in my Swiss account, Philippine Account and stock market portfolio. I also made a budget for each expenses that I am responsible of in our household. I am able to foresee a year’s worth of expenses based on my previous year data. (I have been listing my expenses the past 5 years deligently.
I only work part time so I do not have a lot of salary. However, I am responsible for the grocery, both our insurance premiums, house bills like power, water, and TV license, my part of our travel/vacations (last year I actually paid more than him), the remittances that I send back to the Philippines as well as my own transportation and any other personal expenses that I do. Basically, my husband just pays for the rent, house telephone and his car expenses. All the other expenses falls on me. So this is really a challenge because I only work part time and at the moment could not find a full time work.
However, because I have clear plans and targets, I am able to be conscious with what I do with my salary. I honestly do not want to just work to cover the bills and become old with nothing.
So from the beginning of the year, I work out my plan. I trimmed the expenses that are otherwise unnecessary like roaming Switzerland for a day. The past years I liked to go out for an ausflug within Switzerland and the neighboring countries and although it is fun, I realize that I do not really need it. We go on 3 vacations per year, my husband and I go out to Germany on a regular basis and we eat out /sight see there. I also meet my friends ocassionally for a chat and so I thought it was really enough for my ‘social life’.
Another thing I did was cut on my transportation. It has been a blessing that I was able to find work near our home so I could walk rather than take the bus. I walk 35 minutes per way to work and although I find it sometimes agravating (fog and so cold in the winter, too hot in the summer). The previous year I spent 2800 chf for transportation when I was still working at Zürich Airport but this year I just spent 259. This includes my half tax card wherein I could use public transportation for half price and some times when I was lazy / late for work and I did take the bus.
From January to May I had less work so I was only able to cover the basic expenses like grocery, insurance premiums, and monthly remittance. There was not much left from the salary but in these months, the tax bill and TV licence bill comes plus we had our first vacation. I paid these bills using the last years’ saving but in my spreadsheet, these months were negative on my book. (screenshot below)
I was only able to start saving after these bills were paid off.
Every year in facebook, I have been seeing IPON Challenge on my newsfeed and I was interested. So I said I would also try. I did try and was successful from January to May. I set aside 300 chf or 15,000 pesos per month but come June I lost the desire. The reason being (I think) was because I just deposit these monthly but I can still see how much /or little it was through online banking. I wanted to save blindly, meaning that I should not be able to see this money for the surprise factor at the end of the year.
So I had the idea of withdrawing set amount of money every month and store it in a jar. This way, I do not SEE this when I log online and thus I see I have too little on my account and will encourage me to be careful with spending. So this I did and in the end I was able to save 7000 chf more. 😛
So now that I have this extra, I do not fret a lot with the coming year’s expenses. We plan to do big vacations this year like the 3 weeks Philippine vacation and a Europe and a Caribbean vacation. So in this way, saving gives me peace of mind and I am able to enjoy the time because everything is accounted for.
I could not really say that I earn a lot here in Switzerland to be able to save a lot. Expenses have skyrocketed since I first arrived here and as I mentioned, I just work part time. But my husband and I want to retire early so we do agressive saving to be able to afford it. We do not buy unnecessary things because we would like to buy our freedom from work slavery 😛
Now that 2020 comes, I have again started my financial targets and IPON jar. I am optimistic and happy to have set goals and looking forward to reaching them.