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December is over, and so is 2023. These last few months flew by quickly! It is hard to believe the year is already over.
December 2023 was an excellent month, with a few family parties. On the financial side, it was a costly month because we paid for our boiler, replaced two months ago.
In this article, we go into the details of everything that happened to us in December 2023.
December 2023 was a nice month. We had significantly fewer events during the weekend than the previous month, which allowed us to rest and enjoy time as a family.
My wife and son went on a four-day trip to Malaga. They had a lot of fun, and I could rest and get a head start on many projects. This was great.
Christmas was kept to a minimum this year, with a party with my dad and another with my mom. Both events were significant, and this was the perfect amount of parties, mainly since we spread them around this year.
Financially, it was pretty expensive because we paid for the new boiler. On top of that, several bills are due at the end of the year. But we still managed to save a tiny amount of money (less than 2% of our income).
Here are the details of our expenses in December 2023:
|Our three health insurance policies
|Fuel once, some parking, many buses and trains, and the car insurance
|Phone plan and a yearly subscription
|Many small expenses, some holiday shopping, Christmas gifts, …
|Well above average
|Very expensive groceries, Aligro, some lunches out
|Well above average
|Usual expenses and the new heat pump boiler
|The usual taxes
In total, we spent 19261 CHF. Without taxes, this amounts to 13233 CHF, which is a very expensive month. Removing the blog and the boiler boils down to 5522 CHF, which is not great.
This is the most expensive month of the year. The main difference from the previous months is that we paid for the boiler and its installation. This costs us a total of about 6800 CHF this month. The price seems reasonable since the old one was over 25 years old, and we got a heat pump this time. This should save us a little money in power bills over the years.
Our food expenses are entirely out of control this month. On the grocery side, we had to return to Aligro to restock. We almost finished the meat from the pig we bought. We also had quite a few meals out. And on top of that, our standard groceries are more expensive every week. We need to be much more careful about that next month.
By switching over from Assura to Concordia, we have paid only 12 CHF more per month than last year. If we had stayed with Assura, we would have spent about 50 CHF per month more. Fribourg was one of the cantons with the highest increase in premiums. We still have some complementary insurance policies at Assura, which we may move or cancel later, but that will have to wait until the middle of next year.
We also have some yearly bills like the car insurance or the firefighter’s bill that popped up this month. More of these bills will arrive next month.
Our personal category is a classic example of small expenses piling up to a considerable amount. There is nothing really significant on our list, but all the small expenses are piling up quickly.
Overall, it is not the end of the world since we still finish with a tiny savings rate. But it is something we should not reproduce. And it is not the greatest way to end the year.
Here is the status of our goals by the end of December 2023:
Overall, we did really well on our goals in 2023. And December was alright.
While I thought we could improve our average expenses, the opposite happened, and we spent even more than the year’s average.
This also caused our average savings rate to go down significantly, but with 49.93%, I still feel we passed the goal.
My workouts were below average this month, but my steps were above average. So, overall, for December month, I did not do too badly.
Looking at the picture, we can still see that we did pretty well during this year. We only failed two goals this year. I am not too disappointed about the steps goal because I still walked more than last year, which is a nice improvement. On the other hand, we spent significantly more each month than last year, which is not great.
I am pleased about our power consumption reduction this year. We reduced our power consumption by 28% in a year! This is a very good result.
I do not want to delve too much into our goals because I will soon write a full review of the year. I will also soon release our 2024 goals. Stay tuned if you are interested!
Here is the progress of our FI Ratio as of December 2023:
Our progress toward financial independence is mixed this month.
- Our stocks increased significantly in value, but only in USD. The Swiss franc became even stronger this month, making us lose money.
- On top of that, we almost did not save money this month.
- Finally, we spent too much, making our average expense go up and thus our target go up as well.
So, overall, we lost 1% during this month. However, we still ended the year with 7% more than in 2022. At this rate, we would need about 12 more years to be financially independent, which is on target with my goal of being FI by age 50.
So, while it was not a great month for our FI ratio, it was a great year!
Not much happened on the blog this month. I had a guest post by Dror Allouche, which was nice because I had not had one in a long time.
I was also part of a podcast with Rigby: Setting up your finances in Switzerland, with The Poor Swiss
It had been a while since I did any podcast so it was interesting to do one again. I like the end result, and I think that the focus on expats was quite good. Let me know what you think if you go through it.
I had more time than usual this month. I have been able to write a few articles in advance for January, so I should be good for a few months now.
After a conversation with a reader, the idea of building an online forum popped up again. Do you think there is value in having a Poor Swiss forum? Or maybe even a Poor Swiss community?
Next Month – January 2024
In January 2024, we do not have much planned. It should be a fairly standard month.
Financially, it should also be pretty standard. We will start filling our third pillar accounts as usual. And then, we will continue with the next round of second pillar investment.
What about you? How was December 2023 for you?
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