November 2019 – Flights to China

By Baptiste Wicht | Updated: | Updates

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

In November 2019, we did very few special things. It was a quiet month. But it was still a good month. And it was a great month for our finances.

I spent a few days in Berlin for work for a conference. It was a good conference. Since it was paid by my company, it did not make big differences in our budget.

We still spent more than 5000 CHF this month. But we managed to save more than 50% of our income anyway. So this is not a bad month!

So, let’s see what happened to us during the month of November 2019.

November 2019

Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland

In November 2019, I spent 5 days in Berlin, Germany. I was there for a conference for my work. It was a great conference. I did not have much time for sightseeing. But I was there already several times for the same conference, so I have seen enough.

A relative of Mrs. The Poor Swiss also spent some days in our home. And they took the opportunity to go see Lucerne and Zurich. They had a great time. It cost a little on our budget. But nothing too serious.

We had several parties with friends and family. It is quite usual for us.

We are planning our annual trip to China next year. We are going to go there at the end of January. So we had to reserve the flights. We found pretty affordable flights. Given the unrest in Hong Kong, the prices are getting much cheaper.

Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland

I wanted to take direct flights to Hong Kong. But Mrs. The Poor Swiss wanted to save some money. So we took a flight with a stop in London. In total, we spent less than 1000 CHF.

I also had to renew my passport. It cost me about 160 CHF. This is not bad considering that it will last for 10 years. I also directly renewed my identity card in the lot.

I decided to start paying for a full year of my Chinese course at FluentU. Until now, I was paying by the month. But I can save some money by paying at once. And I plan to continue learning Chinese next year. So this is another 240 CHF that we spent.

Overall, it was a great month for our savings. We saved 51% of our income this month. We finally reached a 50% average savings rate for the last 12 months!

Now, we need to work on bringing our average to a 55% savings rate!


Here are the details of our expenses for November 2019:

  • Insurances: 790.05 CHF. Average. This includes health insurance for both of us.
  • Transportation: 174.00 CHF. Average. Gas and some public transportation.
  • Communications: 162.81 CHF. Above average. I had to pay for one year of newsgroup plan.
  • Personal: 1706.70 CHF. Well above average. The two flights to China, my Chinese course for 12 months and the renewal of my passport are the big expenses.
  • Food: 552.55 CHF. Well Above average. A few lunches out for my wife and acquaintance. And some extra groceries. And I also bought some local beer for the holiday season.
  • Apartment: 1247 CHF. Average. Only our rent.
  • Taxes: 765.80 CHF. Average. Taxes for the state and the county.

Overall, we spent 5411 CHF this month. It is not really good.

We spent a bit too much on food this month. We did some larger groceries for several large meals with more people than usual. And we also spent money on eating out when my wife and her family member were in Zurich and Lucerne. And I bought for more than 50 CHF of beer. There is also the fact that I did groceries on the last day of the month too. But it is not really bad either.

We are used to it by now, but we failed short of our goal to spend less than 5000 CHF in a month. But we are not much higher than that and we spent 1000 CHF on flights. So, I am not unhappy about this result.

And regarding our savings rate, this is still more than 50%.

2019 Goals

Let’s take a look at how our goals look like after November 2019:

Goals of November 2019
Goals of November 2019

We only have one month left until the end of the year now. I expect that we will reach all our goals but three:

  • Average monthly expenses below 5000 CHF. I did not do enough to reduce our expenses for this goal. We will probably spend less than last year. But this will be very close.
  • Build 3 DIY projects. I will definitely not do one more now that the weather has turned cold.
  • Get rid of my army equipment. I already discussed this goal in the past. It was just a bad goal because it did not depend on me. There is nothing I can do to do this goal.

I will have to improve my goals next year. There is still some area for improvement. But I will also have to improve the way I focus on some of my goals. I should have worked more on reducing our expenses this year.

But overall, our goals are going great!

Net Worth

Let’s see what happened to our net worth during November 2019:

Net Worth as of November 2019
Net Worth as of November 2019

This was a really good month for our net worth. Our net worth grew more than 8000 CHF this month. And there was no special income. Next month will probably be in the same ballpark.

We passed the 225K CHF net worth! I think the 250K line will be passed in March with my bonus.

The Blog

November 2019 was a slow month for the blog. Traffic increased by about 5%. This is slow progress but this is still progress!

I was expecting some more traction on some of my posts. Especially when I released my FIRE Calculator. But hopefully, this will pay in the long-term. I am quite happy I have been able to release that to everybody. I am planning a few improvements to the calculator.

Since this is the first calculator I ever release on the internet, it is quite possible that some things are not great with it. Let me know if you have ideas for improvements!

I have finally created a Facebook Group: Personal Finance in Switzerland. This is something that I considered doing for a long time. It is now time! Let’s hope we can build a community around this and save money together!

Best platform to start a blog

SiteGround is a great hosting provider, with very low fees. It has one of the best user ratings of all hosting providers.

I did my first ever appearance on a podcast: Financial Independence Podcast 73. I think it turned out pretty nicely!

I am also happy about my interview series turned out! I interviewed Janet, another blogger. It is really impressive how much she can save! This motivates me to try to spend less money next year. I am starting to have a few ideas as to how to do that.

As usual, here are the three most viewed posts of November 2019:

What about you? What was your favorite post of the month?

In December 2019, I do not expect any big changes on the blog. I am still planning some small changes.

I will not post on the blog the last week of December and the first week of January. It will give me time to work on other things and go through my backlog. And I do not think people read blogs that much during these times anyway.

Next Month – December 2019

I cannot believe that next month is already December! This year went by so fast!

Next month will be quiet except for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We will have parties with friends and families. We will probably eat and drink too much!

This year, the holidays are during the week, so I will have some days. This is fortunate since because of our trip to China, I cannot take any days off during the official holidays.

From a financial point of view. I do not plan anything special next month. There will be the usual end of year bills of course. We should probably be in the same ballpark as this month.

What about you? How was November 2019 for you? What do you have planned for December?

Baptiste Wicht is the author behind In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on 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.

14 thoughts on “November 2019 – Flights to China”

  1. Hi Mr. Poorswiss,
    First thx a lot for your blog and details this really helps me as I have just moved here (Nov 1st). Do you have any good plan for food? I have tried to navigate your site but cannot find any tips related to this. According to me, the cost of food is my major issue in Switzerland. Considering lunch and dinners, I spent about CHF 300 in a 10-day period, having lunch outside of work during week days, and cooking/sharing the evening costs with my room mate at home. I feel I would be min at CHF 1200 a month, yet buying most of my meat reduced…. I don’t get your CHF 500 budget a month on food that impossible?! Any good suggestion/blog page you may have on this already? Cheers

    1. Hi Vic,

      Sure thing, I have a post all about saving money on food.
      In 2018, we spent about 3600 CHF on Groceries. This year is definitely worse. We will be around 4300 I think. But we are still below 400 CHF per month on Groceries. On top of that, we spent about 700 CHF on eating out.

      As you can see, most of our spending is on groceries. We cook 95% of the time at least. And we eat a lot of meat but most of the meat comes from Lidl. We used to buy even cheaper meat at Aligro, but Mrs. The Poor Swiss does not want to freeze meat anymore.

      For 2019, that’s for two people. In 2018, that was for 1 and a half (two persons for 6 months).

      Let me know if you have more questions :)

    1. Hi Ginkgo,


      This year, we are taking British Airways. But these are not the best flights. Swiss flights to Hong Kong are much better.
      And Hainan Airlines have direct flights to Shenzen from Zurich. But we have never tried them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Your post on the online shopping does well because it’s one on the first google results when one is looking for info on the topic. You may want to look on how your blog is placing in Google searches and optimize that to get more traffic. Good luck

    1. Hi Trippi,

      Yes, it’s ranking well. But it is not new. It did not get much traffic before. I am guessing that people are looking more for online shopping now that the holidays are upon and with Black Friday during the month.
      I am tracking some of my rankings but not all because all SEO tools are way too expensive for such a small blog.
      For Swiss topics, I am ranking reasonably well. But I am almost not ranking in the U.S. I am working on improve both sides.

      Thanks for stopping by!

        1. Hi Mama Bear,

          The cheapest way to check rankings is to search yourself in Google (with an incognito) window.
          For instance, for “online shopping Switzerland”, I rank second with this post.
          But for “second pillar Switzerland”, I only rank 7. I need to work on that.

          I do not know any free tools to track them. But there are plenty of paid tools for that. The cheapest I found was about 29$ per month. Which is already too much for me at this stage of my blog.

          I hope that helps :)

          1. Yes this helps! Thanks! I’m learning a lot about SEO but it’s all very overwhelming with so many tricks and tips to follow. It sometimes gave me writer’s block just to think about what I want to write PLUS all the SEO stuff, so I decided to just let go of the ladder and focus solely on writing quality contents that would deliver value to my audience and just to write consistently and post once a week. Turns out, that’s also a SEO tactic, and that’s all I’ll follow for now. :)

          2. I think that’s a great strategy.

            I mostly write what I would like to read. I do some SEO updates on some of my posts, but I never did any keyword research.
            It seems to be working until now, so I will keep it up :)

            Good luck with your blog!

  3. Cool, I like the idea of a personal finance group in Switzerland! I’m in!

    And wish you a good trip to China, hopefully there’s no major delays if you stop by HK due to the ongoing protest.

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