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February 2023 – Expensive

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

February 2023 was a month with a high income but high expenses. Ultimately, we reached an average savings rate, saving slightly more than half of our income.

Overall, our finances were good during the month, with some extraordinary expenses and extra income.

So, here is everything that happened in February 2023.

February 2023

February was tiring, with some good moments and some bad moments. Overall, it’s probably an average month for us.

Financially, we had some extra income as RSUs from my employer that vested this month. These shares brought almost 9’000 CHF to our income this month, but this is a one-off event.

We also had to pay the remaining bill for the windows, for about 7000 CHF. We are still quite happy about the windows, but this makes a significant dent in our savings.

We also had to pay the stupid Serafe bill for several years. For some reason, Serafe could not bill most people living in our village, so many received a hefty bill for multiple years. This was even in the newspaper. This shows once again the incompetence of Serafe.

Overall, we saved slightly, about 48% of our income. Considering the extra expenses, this result is good even though we would have preferred a higher number.


Here are the details of our expenses in February 2023:

Category Total Status Details
Insurances 762 CHF Average Health insurance for three
Transportation 127 CHF Above average More buses than usual and more parking
Communications 99 CHF Average Phone and internet
Blog 421 Above average Usual monthly bills and an extra one
Personal 2149 Above average Large Serage bill, many small standard bills
Food 572 Above average More groceries than usual, some snacks
Housing 7864 Well above average Windows, firewood, and regular bills
Taxes 1565 Well below average Only the municipality taxes and garbage bill

In total, we spent 13563 CHF in February 2023. Without taxes, this amounts to 11997 CHF. And without the windows, this amounts to 5258 CHF. Unfortunately, this is still higher than our monthly goal of spending 5000 CHF.

We spent 600 CHF on firewood to refill our reserves of hardwood which were almost depleted. This should suffice for this winter and the next one normally.

We also spent almost 7000 CHF on the windows. This was the rest of the bill after the installation. And I already mentioned the stupid Serafe bill for three years.

Without these three expenses, our expenses would have been reasonable this month. Overall, I am still quite satisfied with this level of expenses.

2023 Goals

Here is the status of our goals by the end of February 2023:

Our goals as of February 2023
Our goals as of February 2023

Overall, our goals are going well.

Our financial goals are going very well. The significant expenses this month were balanced with the low costs of last month, and we are still below 5000 CHF. Unfortunately, this will be challenged in March because plenty of small expenses are planned. Our income and savings rates are also well on track.

We reduced one bill this month by canceling accident insurance for my wife. Indeed, she started working as a day mom, and since she works more than 8 hours a week, she is covered against accidents. As a result, we will save 21.80 CHF each month.

We also reduced a second bill by reducing the size of one online server I had. I looked at the usage statistics on this server and saw that it was under-utilized. So, I resized it to a smaller instance and will now save 10 USD monthly.

My health goals did not go well this month. I was sick for about a week and then got a lingering headache that prevented me from working out, and I also did fewer walks.

As for energy, we used slightly less energy this month. We need to keep this level of energy consumption and still be careful.

So, overall, I am pretty satisfied with the progress on our goals after two months.

FI ratio

Here is the progress on our FI ratio until the end of February 2023:

Our FI Ratio as of February 2023
Our FI Ratio as of February 2023

Our FI ratio went up this month. We went to a 14.62% FI ratio. This is about a 0.6 increase, which is relatively good in a month.

The stock market recovered some of its losses during the early days of the month and then fell back again. Overall, it was quite flat. Nevertheless, we had enough savings this month to tip the balance in our favor and increase our net worth.

Also, our expenses were high, but our taxes were low, so our average costs did not move much. It is a good thing. Otherwise, our FI ratio would have gone down. Our fixed FI ratio (with 100’000 CHF expenses) is significantly higher than our current FI Ratio (average current expenditures).

Overall, this is a good result.

The Blog

I managed to do more tasks than I thought this month on the blog.

I have finished the rewrite of the theme I discussed last month. The new theme is now live. The differences are minor, but the code itself is much better. This will allow me to make changes much easier in the future.

This new theme was also the occasion to get a new logo. Let me know what you think about this logo.

I am also experimenting with a new server for the blog. Since most requests will be cached before my server, it should not make much difference for users. But it should make my life much better when editing articles. And it should save me about 5 EUR per month.

I am still keeping both hosts to switch back if the new server does not perform as well as I thought. But it seems to be holding up nicely so far. I will soon cancel the old host, but I have several months paid off already.

I have also reorganized the categories of the articles and made proper category pages. This should help to navigate the website.

Let me know what you think about these changes.

Next month – March 2023

In March 2023, we already have several events planned, and my wife will pass her HR exam. This will mean a return to normal with much less studying for her and a little more time for me.

March 2023 should be financially excellent because it is the bonus month. March is usually our highest income month. We will see if this year, it is still true.

What about you? How was February 2023 for you?

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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20 thoughts on “February 2023 – Expensive”

  1. Hi Baptste,
    To which catgory of expenses do you place social deductions from salary? This are contribution to AHV, ALV, sick pay and non-industial insurence, pension fund (2ns pillar) contributions and costs?
    Could you please also expand Personal caegory? What do you place there? Thanks for your ansers and inspiration!

    1. Hi Martin,

      I only count my net salary as income, so no deductions are visible here.
      Personal is basically everything that does not fit on the other categories:
      * Health costs
      * Gifts
      * Shopping of clothes, books, computers, …
      * Toys
      * Holidays
      * Events
      * …

      1. Thanks for clarification, however the salary part leads me to confusion. If you count net salary as an income, I don’t get why taxes are treated as expenses, because net salary is after taxes, right? Or is this related to fact that you aren’t taxed at source and taxes aren’t deducted for you every month automatically?

      2. Hi martin

        That’s a good point. For me, taxes can be optimized, but we can do nothing about the social deductions. That’s how I see it.
        There is nothing wrong with using gross income and then deducting expenses. It’s just a different way of doing that.

        And yes, I am not taxed at source. If I were taxed at sources, I would indeed using my final net salary (net of social deductions and net of taxes) as my base salary for my savings rate, just because this is much simpler.

  2. Hi poor Swiss thank you for the response. I will then do the same thing add them as income. Always a pleasure to learn from you! :) Another qtn just popped in my head. Is the RSU income only taxed At AHV level (the social deductions) or do you also estimate an amount of it to be taxed at Kanton and federal level. I have just recently started submitting my own taxes so wondering if i should put aside more towards taxes in the month the RSUs appear on my pay slip! Thanks

  3. Hi Poor Swiss, thanks for the prompt answer. That’s interesting to know that the proceedings once sold are not further taxed.
    One last question please. So since you have not yet sold the shares how come you are considering the value income of these RSUs in Feb ? Shouldn’t they only be realised or recorded in your net worth section when you are recording your shares and stocks? Thanks for your feedback on this.

    1. Hi Jay,

      Good question. Since they are taxed and added as income the month I receive them, I also add them as income on the same month. Then, they are on my net worth as shares and their value is tracked as such.

  4. hi Poor swiss, thanks alot for sharing you feb break down. I share the same sentiment with the silly serafe bill! i dont even watch tv but oh well! My questions is regarding your RSU income. i get the same around this time of the year. for me this is the value of my company shares that get unblocked after 3 years.E.g in 2022 the amount of RSU showed up on my payslip so that the social deductions of the AHV can be deducted. However that RSU incoome did not get on onto my bank account in my net salary of that month simply i guess because I have not sold those shares yet. But what i dont understand is why it is showing on my 2022 salary certificate as part of my gross salary of the year? as I dont have it physically on my account to spend or save. Wondering in your case if you received the actual income of the RSU in your accounts and if so if you had to sell those previously restricted shares to get that income? Thank you

    1. Hi Jay,

      I am glad you share the same sentiment about them :( I don’t watch TV nor listen to radio and I still have to pay it…

      It’s the same for me. As soon as the shares vest (they arrive in a broker account in the US), I am being taxed with social deductions and this is added to my gross income. The reason is that any advantage from your company should be taxed, so they have to end up in your payslips.

      Once I sell these shares, the capital gains (or losses) are not taxed.

  5. Hi Baptiste
    Thanks for these transparent monthly updates, it always motivates me to check how I’m doing! I also use your spreadsheet, which I’ve tweaked a bit, super useful, thank you! I never received the Serafe bill for the 1.5 years I lived in Zurich and now I have moved away to a different Canton. Fingers crossed it never reaches me… They really do seem to be completely incompetent!

  6. Hi Baptiste, thanks for the article.

    A little question, what do you expect to be your monthly spending when leaving your child in the nursery?


  7. Hello Baptiste,
    Like your posts and your humble and pragmatical approach.
    Quick question, why is your FI expense so high with 100k expense if your objective is to spend 5k/m, 60k/year?
    Without income the tax part will drastically reduce.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Stephane,

      Excellent question :)
      A few reasons:
      * We currently fail to spend 60k per year
      * I won’t retire before 10-15 years, our expenses may have doubled by this time

      Therefore, I want to take it easy at this point. I will refine our estimations over time :)

  8. Hi Baptiste,
    Thank you for sharing your Feb update.
    I use your simple budget excel was fun and interesting to look a the analytics on the yearly page and how I faired and where I need to watch out for this year to improve. I am using it this year too. Feb was a tight one for me with a savings rate down to 18% but due to one off big spend that went out in Feb but I hope to do go back up on the coming months.
    You mentioned your taxes were lower? I was imagining they would go higher since now you got extra income from your released RSUs or is this income not taxed?

    1. Hi Jay,

      Thanks for sharing your details and I am glad my spreadsheet is useful :)

      My taxes will indeed increase with my RSUs and my increased income this year, but I am talking about the tax installments that are still from last year. And these installments are not due each month. I get 6 bills from the country, 9 from the canton and 10 from the commune. So once we reach February, I run out of invoices. In February, I only paid the county taxes and in March I will pay no taxes.

      1. Thanks for clarification, however the salary part leads me to confusion. If you count net salary as an income, I don’t get why taxes are treated as expenses, because net salary is after taxes, right? Or is this related to fact that you aren’t taxed at source and taxes aren’t deducted for you every month automatically?

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