October 2021 – Tiring but rewarding

By Baptiste Wicht | Updated: | Updates

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

October is now over. It is time for another monthly update. This month has been very different from the months we were used to. We have to adapt to life with our baby. And every day is different.

We are still not sleeping well and have very little free time at this point. So, we are in survival mode, and we only do the things we deem necessary.

Fortunately, the baby grows well. The only issue is that he still has strong problems with digestion during the nights.

Financially, it has been a good month with reasonable expenses and a good income. So, let’s see in detail what happened.

October 2021

October was a weird month for us, the first entire month with our baby.

Our son is growing quickly and already changing. We have seen the first smiles, and he has started cooing, which is extremely cute. And he also started reacting to our voice a little more.

Unfortunately, the nights have not gone better. We still rarely sleep more than 2 hours in a row. And his digestion issues during the nights have not been getting better. Some mornings are tough. It has been tough getting concentrated at works, and the interruptions do not help. But we are looking forward to better sleep in the next six months or so.

Because babies have fragile immune systems, we have started thinking about COVID again. We had to refuse some invitations this month because of that. Many people we know are not vaccinated, and we do not feel comfortable spending many hours with the baby.

I am not criticizing the fact that they are not vaccinated since we are not either. If it were only us, we would not care that much. But we are careful now that we can bring COVID home to the baby. But it sucks to miss family events again because of that damn virus.

Because of the sleep issues, we get tired very early in the night, generally around 8 pm. It also means that we do not have much time for ourselves (not a surprise!). We have seriously limited what we do to the strict minimum. For now, I consider the blog in the strict minimum to do. But I am thinking of going back to some hobbies.

But overall, I would say it was a good yet tiring month. Financially, it was a good month. We did not do anything, so expenses are relatively low even though we are a little on some things. But we managed to save 54% of our income this month.

Expenses

Let’s see the details of our expenses in October 2021:

Category Total Status Details
Insurances 1255 Above average Health insurance and house insurance
Transportation 38 Average One time gas and some parking
Communications 70 Average Internet and one server
Personal 1324 Above average Several health bills, some medicine, some blog bills, some small house fees
Food 480 Above average Some unusual groceries and some restocking
Housing 505 Average Heating and mortgage
Taxes 3832 Average County, Canton, and Federal taxes

In total, we spent 7504 CHF during this month. Without taxes, we spent 3672 CHF, an excellent result. We try to spend less than 4500 CHF per month without taxes.

We have reached a good level of expenses. We cannot spend that little every month, but we now have a good average. There is not much we could optimize. Next year, we will improve all our complimentary insurances by moving them to Assura (and removing some of them).

We want to optimize our taxes, but we live in a bad canton for taxes (Fribourg), and our county is relatively expensive. The only thing I could do was put money in my second pillar. Unfortunately, this does not work since I first have to put back the 50’000 CHF I took out for my house. So, I am out of options for reducing our taxes.

Some of our expenses were above average this month. We had some health bills for my wife and son, some of which will be reimbursed by our insurance. And we also ordered a fruit tree for our garden and had to fix some electric blinds in our house.

But overall, we can not complain much about this level of expenses. I want to bring our food budget back somewhere in the low 400s, but we take some shortcuts with our food these days.

2021 Goals

Let’s take a look at our goals by the end of October 2021:

Our goals as of October 2021
Our goals as of October 2021

Our financial goals are doing exceptionally well. Unless we have significant unplanned expenses next two months, we should be able to meet all our financial goals with flying colors.

For the blog goals, the page views goal already failed in September. And the updating and translating goals are doing very well.

The personal goals are not moving much. I have started my morning walks before work again, but I have done only a few of them. And I have not done my workout at all. I do not have the energy (an excuse, I know).

Overall, given the current situation, I feel like our goals are in a good place.

FI Ratio

Instead of looking at our net worth, we are going to look at our FI Ratio. The number of our net worth itself is irrelevant because it is only one factor towards early retirement. On the other hand, our FI Ratio is more relevant because we based it on our FI Net worth and expenses.

Since it is the first time I share this graph, I am going to share the full-time chart directly instead of the YTD graph:

Our FI Ratio as of October 2021
Our FI Ratio as of October 2021

I think this graph deserves some explanation. Until May 2020, our FI ratio has been climbing up regularly. However, after this, it has been dropping significantly.

The considerable drop just before January 2021 is because we purchased our house. It means we transferred money from cash (part of our FI Net worth) to real estate (not part of our FI net worth). This transfer made no difference in our net worth but significantly reduced our FI Net worth.

The other drops are all happening at the end of the month. These drops are due to our expenses increasing. Indeed, I use our 12-months running expenses for this graph. And our 12-months expenses have been growing significantly because of taxes. Next year, it will stabilize a little, and we hope that our savings will compensate for the further increase in expenses.

So, overall, our FI ratio is pretty bad at this stage, barely over 10%. However, the growth during the month has been pretty good. Last month, the stocks declined a little. But they have mostly recovered this month. On top of that, we had good savings that contributed to more than half of our net worth increase.

Normally, our average expenses should not increase like this anymore, so our growth should increase in the coming months.

What do you think of our FI Ratio? Do you prefer to see our net worth or our FI Ratio? Or you don’t care?

The Blog

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Not much happened on the blog this month. I am managing to keep it going with the same posting schedule. And I am also able to continue translating articles. At least I can write on my wife’s laptop from the living room and still be able to help when necessary.

As for traffic, I have no idea how it is going. I have switched to Google Analytics 4, so I no longer have a point of comparison with previous months. I think it is still going down, but at this point, I do not mind it.

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Except for that, nothing special happened. I have accelerated my translation effort this month, and I plan to finish translation next year to translate new articles as they come.

Funny enough, I forgot that this month was the fourth anniversary of the blog! I usually write a retrospective article in October. But this year, this will have to wait until November.

Next Month – November 2021

Overall, October 2021 was a good month but very tiring for us. We are looking forward to sleeping more again and being able to see more people.

Next month, we do not expect much difference. Financially, it should be a standard month, with lower income than this month (no birth allocation), but standard expenses (hopefully). I hope that the COVID cases will not go back up again (but not very optimistic).

What about you? How was October 2021 for you?

Baptiste Wicht is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. 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.

19 thoughts on “October 2021 – Tiring but rewarding”

  1. Hi,
    I recommend to think twice about Assura. Yes, they are cheap but their processes are so inefficient that you will pay with your time and basically work for them. Especially with a baby because doctor visits will be something common during the next time.

    I don’t recommend Assura and had horrible experiences but I am looking forward to hear/read about your experience.

  2. Hi!
    Thanks for your content aaand congratulations to your little boy! I find it interesting from an investor’s perspective that you are not vaccinated. How do you see the impact of prolonging Covid from an investing perspective?
    Looking forward to your insight!
    Best regards :)

    1. Hi Jane,

      I actually just got my second dose a few days ago now :)
      We are still considering it for my wife given breastfeeding and the novelty of the vaccine, but this will happen eventually.
      In the short team, I see a small correction coming mostly due to the supply chain issues. In the long term, I see no impact.

  3. Congratulations on your baby boy. The newborn phase is definitely tiring but it goes by so fast (thinking back being a mother of three boys). Enjoy this very special time with your baby. :)

    I look forward to the printing version of your book because your blog is so helpful.

    1. Hi Lila,

      Thanks!
      Congratulations on your three children! I don’t know how you did it a second time after going trough the first one :P

      Thanks, hardcover should happen soon now.

  4. Hi Poor Swiss!
    I’m reading your blog for a long time already, but it’s my first comment. Congratulations on the baby boy! Our little man is one month older than yours, so I think I can relate to your current situation a lot ;)
    I’m sorry to hear that you are both sleep deprived, but let me give you a little optimization tricks that could change this issue. How we solved it, is that me (mummy) sleeps with the baby in the baby room (on our guest mattress on the floor – we’re frugal and simple!) and daddy sleeps alone in our bedroom. I’m doing the ‘night shift’ alone, so that my husband gets his sleep. He goes to work, plus we figured it’s important that at least one of us is always well-rested for general safety reasons. In the evening we also do the ‘daddy’s chest’ time – baby falls asleep on daddy, who sits on a rocking chair and is still able to use his computer/read/play. Luckily to us, this lasts up to 3 to 4 hours – precious time for mummy to sleep alone and gather some energy before the night shift. Overall, our experience is that baby sleeps longer/better with the bodily contact – on daddy, or next to mummy (co-sleeping). Since a couple of weeks, the daddy’s chest has been successfully replaced with baby’s bed, so that daddy is no longer chained to the chair for the most of the evening.
    I’m no expert, but perhaps some of these tricks would be useful for you! We are optimisation freaks, and I think so are you after all ;) Wishing you all the best!

    1. Hi Rabbit,

      Thanks :)

      We are considering that option indeed. This was recommended by the midwife. I personally don’t like it, because I feel like I get preferential treatment. And we both have to work during the day, my wife with the baby and me with my computer.
      So, far, I am trying to avoid this. But if it gets really worse, we will definitely go that route. Thanks for the advice.

      The daddy chest time used to work before. But now, as soon as I put the baby on my chest, he tries to eat :P And then he gets angry because there is nothing :) I really wish we could use this, especially for 3 to 4 hours!
      Our son also sleeps better with body contact, but it does not work great with me. On the other hand, I can easily quiet him down, just by holding him. However, I have to move, otherwise he’s not liking it more than a minute.

      To give time to mummy, I generally resort to a stroll outside. He is generally quiet while on the stroller.

      I also like optimization yes :)

      Thanks a lot for the advice and congratulations on replacing daddy’s chest by baby’s bed, that’s a good optimization too ;)

      P.S. Our son slept for more than 4 hours in a row yesterday night! That was a win.

      1. awww, thank you for sharing a few glimpses into the life of your family! I immediately can see a little baby trying to eat on your chest :) Just too adorable :)
        And this is unbelievably sweet of you when you mention this ‘preferential treatment’. Your wife is sooo lucky to have such a partner:) As a mummy myself, I’m perfectly fine with my husband sleeping more than me. The time spent with the baby and this special bond that is forming is so precious that you guys can sleep as long as you want ;)
        Wishing you all the happiness with your family and many, many thanks for your great blog!
        Rabbit from Aargau

        1. Haha, yes, it’s quite funny to see :)

          That’s a good point, with the bond forming. It’s true that whatever fathers do, there is something special between a mother and her child!

          Thanks for all the wishes!

  5. Hi,
    I agree on the comments that are suggesting to slow down a bit when kids need time and you don’t sleep. Your results are excellent given the period
    Give me a bit more time and I will send a feedback on the book.
    Thanks
    Wishing a long sleep

  6. Good evening,

    Love the blog, thank you for all the useful info. Do you by any chance plan to make a expense forecast for the time when baby goes to creche? We are soon moving to Switzerland, Vaud, with our daughter of 15 months, and trying to wrap our head around all the expenses and creches prices are really quite something.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Igor,

      You are welcome :)

      At this point, we do not know when/if the baby is going to go to the creche (childcare). The prices are indeed very high.
      Most creches have the prices on their website. For, here is one set of prices from a creche in Fribourg (https://www.ville-fribourg.ch/sites/default/files/inline-files/Grille%20tarifaire_cr%C3%A8ches_0.pdf). I took this one at random, don’t know if it’s average or not.
      The prices will depend on your income (your and your spouse together). If you are both working, you can deduct a part of it from your taxes.

  7. Nice post as usual.

    I am just wondering, how the house is just 500chf? For me it’s the most expensive bill. I am paying 1500chf alone.

    I am fighting to decrease this over time but it’s not that easy.

    1. Hi,

      Keep in mind that this is my mortgage, not rent. And I am not counting amortization as an expense since this just moves my money from cash to real estate.
      Renting in Switzerland is quite expensive.

  8. Hi there! New to your site. I am a father as well and I clearly remember the early days of child raising. It is tough! And it seems like you are doing a lot. I’m not sure if you retired already since you wrote the book, or whether you are working. But I would definitely try not to do too much the first six months of life. The lack of sleep is tough!

    I’m going to try and re-retire in 2022 as things get back to normal and as more kids ages 5 to 12 get vaccinated. But we have a little one that won’t be here. So we do have to continuously take precautions.

    Google is a tough nut to crack. I just wrote whatever I’m feeling and whatever is interesting at the time. Enjoy the process!

    Sam

    1. Hi Sam,

      No, I am very far from retiring, unfortunately, at least 15 years. I would have loved to retire before having kids. We need to take it easy indeed, good point :)
      Yes, you think a lot about COVID with kids.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Hey, listen, babies are a tremendous blessing but they are also a crazy amount of work! None of our three ever slept well as babies so neither did my wife nor I. Add all the extra duties a baby demands to sleep deprivation and it makes for some really exhausted parents. Don’t feel bad if you have to back off some on exercise and a lot of other things you used to do. Its seems like forever but its a very short season when they are so dependent on you. You will look back on it and miss that tiny human sleeping nestled against your chest. You will forget the pure exhaustion and remember only the cuddles, and it is so worth it!

    1. Hi steveark,

      Yes, it’s crazy how much work such a little guy needs :)
      Thanks for the kind words! It seems that parents are good at remembering mostly the good things after a few years :)

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