Over the years, I’ve made many budgeting mistakes. In this post, I’ll try to list a few of the big mistakes I’ve made. I’m talking here about mistakes in the way I did my budget. And also spending mistakes. Some of the mistakes are not a big deal but some of the others made me spend too much. Overall, I would be better off if I had known this a few years ago.
Find out how I fixed my budgeting mistakes. I’ve learned a lot from my budgeting mistakes and I hope you can learn a lot from them too! The idea is of course to avoid them now that you of them 😉
When I was young, I was gardening with my father in our house. And before that, my grandfather was often taking me to his big garden. I always enjoyed it. However, since I moved into my current apartment, I never took the time to start a vegetable garden. Now that my girlfriend moved in with me, we decided it was time to start a garden again. The idea was to grow some of our own vegetables.
With our apartment, we have a large lawn, filled with grass and a few trees. We asked the owner if we could remove the grass to start a garden. Since she accepted, we started our garden.
I’m going to present all we did with our garden in this post. Neither of us are any gardening expert. We maybe did some mistakes, but we are having fun 🙂 And I wanted to share this project. Also my English gardening vocabulary may not be great. So, gardening experts, don’t get offended 😉 I’d be glad to hear all your tips!
Although I had some significant expenses this month, the savings were great. This is partly thanks to the gifts I received this month for my 30 years birthday! I also managed to keep my expenses quite low. And my net worth made a very nice jump. Overall, a great month 🙂
I bought my Amazon Kindle more than 6 years ago. First I bought the original Kindle. A few years later, I bought the Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve been very happy with both. It’s such a fantastic thing to travel with all my ebooks in my pocket and not have five, or more, heavy books in my luggage.
Over the years, I bought and read over 120 books on my Kindle. At the time, I was thinking it was very cheap. And indeed, I was saving money compared to print books. I realize now that this may not have been the case.
For frugal people, there is one big issue with Kindle books: You can’t buy used books. In the last two years, I almost haven’t bought any Kindle ebook. Instead, I bought many used books. There is a second-hand shop, near my current job. I probably bought over 40 books in this time. I bought them for less than 2 CHF on average. And I only bought books in very good state. The problem is the room they take! My bookshelf is full and books are piling up! I’m going to build a new one. But after some time, the new one will be full too. The other problem is traveling. If I need several books, it’s a pain to carry them.
I’ve been looking for ways to find cheap Kindle books. Here are 7 tricks to find really cheap ebooks for Kindle.
Yesterday, the Swiss people were voting on several objects. The No-Billag initiative was one of them, as I mentioned earlier. This initiative wanted to remove the Billag tax. This tax supports the Swiss TV and Radio services. This tax is currently around 450 CHF. But the government will reduce the tax next year to 365 CHF. Unfortunately, the Swiss citizens strongly refused the initiative 🙁 I have to say that I’m quite disappointed in my fellow citizens today. It seems like people like to pay inconsiderate taxes. Thus, we’ll still have to pay this tax.
There is a BIG problem with this tax. There are two parts to the tax, one part for the radio and one part for the television. If you have a car, you need to pay the radio tax even if you never listen to radio. I never listen to the radio. If you have a television or internet, you need to pay the TV tax even if you never watch TV. Again, I never watch TV. Moreover, this tax is only to pay for Swiss radio and TV services. So if you have a TV and only watch foreign TV network, you still have to pay the tax to finance Swiss TV networks. This makes no sense at all and the Swiss should have refused the initiative yesterday. Now, we need to pay this tax for a long time again with no reason.
To sum up, I will have to pay 365 CHF each year for Radio and TV services that I never use.
There is one slight possibility that I recently came across. When I first registered to this terrible tax, they told me that having internet was enough to need to pay the tax. But, looking at the official conditions, you need to have an account on an online TV service to pay the tax. Thus, I’m going to ask them to remove me from the TV tax and pay only for the radio tax. This should at least save me some money. I’m even inclined to remove my radio from my car to not pay anymore, but that’s a bit extreme.
What do you think about this ? What did you vote ?
After saving on my car insurance and reducing my rent, I decided to see if I could save money on my phone plan. Before I already had a very cheap mobile plan for my mobile phone. I was using M-Budget Maxi One with 2GB of data per month for 29 CHF per month. This is pretty cheap as Switzerland goes. However, I’m very rarely using mobile data on my phone. I’ve got WiFi at work, WiFi at home and WiFi at the gym. Some restaurants are also starting to have WiFi. But this is not a lot in Switzerland, compared to countries like China and the United States.
So I decided to switch to the M-Budget Mini One plan with 600 MB of data per month for 19 CHF per month. This will save me 10 CHF per month (120 CHF per year). It’s not a big saving but it’s a correct one and an easy one. I’ll have to be a bit careful about using my phone when going out, but it should be fine. Since there are no delays, I can also switch back to Maxi One if I cannot keep below the limit. But this should be fine. This month, I’ve use less than 60 MB on my phone.
So, if you pay a lot for your phone plan, be sure to check if there are no alternatives that could be more frugal and try to save some money! Even if your mobile plan is a small part of your budget, you should still pay only for what you need!
What about you ? How are you saving money ? Do you have a better option for mobile plan ?
I just got confirmation from my building manager that they accepted the reduction of rent that I asked for. They answered more than two months after my request… My base rent goes from 1175 to 1122. This will only start at the next term of my lease, on April 1st. But this means that next year, I’ll save 53 CHF * 9 = 477 CHF.
In Switzerland, rent prices are indexed on a reference interest rate. When the interest rate goes down, you can ask for a reduction of your rent. Unfortunately, this is not an automatic process. You have to ask yourself to your house owner or building managers. On the other hand, you can be sure that if the interest rate rises, it will be an “automatic” process… Switzerland is very good to the rich. It makes it easier for them to stay richer 😉
Don’t forget to check if the interest rate decreased since you signed your lease. If you haven’t asked for a reduction in many years, this could be a large reduction! There are lots of models online for this, such as the calculator from ASLOCA or the one from Comparis.ch. You should really not hesitate doing this, it’s in your rights. They cannot refuse to reduce the rent, it’s in the law. The only reason they would have to refuse would be if they had made improvements to your apartment that would raise its value.
You can find the most recent reference interest rate on the admin.ch website (in French/German/Italian).
Overall, I’m still quite happy, this is more than 50 CHF per month saved next year! The rent is often the biggest item in a budget. At least, it is the case in my budget. Therefore, it can be very interesting to reduce it. But, it’s not always possible. If the reference index rate decreases, it is a nice opportunity to cut this large expense!
What about you ? Do you have any saving tip ? Did you find a way to save on your rent ?