In order to reduce my monthly expenses, I am trying to optimize each of my recurring expenses. After saving on my car insurance and reducing my rent, I decided to see if I could save money on my mobile plan. And it turned out I could save a lot as well!
Before I started searching, 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 am very rarely using mobile data on my phone. I have WiFi at work, WiFi at home and WiFi at the gym.
Moreover, I do not use my phone a lot. To be honest, I do not really like smartphones. Even though they are sometimes practical, they are mostly a burden and are destroying social life for a lot of people.
Moreover, some public places such as restaurants are starting to offer free WiFi for their guests. However, there is not that many public WiFi access in Switzerland. Especially when you compare with countries such as China and the United States where you can find free WiFi almost anywhere.
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Here is another book review of an investing book. This is the second book I read in my way to personal finance enlightenment: The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf.
This book is a complete guide about personal investing, how to save money and how to invest it. I think it is a really good book, well-written and full of very good advice. The book is full of quotes from other financial figures and uses facts to support every argument. It is not perfect. It is very well suited to U.S. investor, less practical for international investors. But it still is a book I would recommend to anyone serious about investing.
Continue reading “The Bogleheads Guide to Investing – Book Review”
For the first year in my life, I am gonna try to set clear goals for this year! I have set up a nice spreadsheet for my goals for this year (credits to retirebyforty for the spreadsheets idea):
I have tried to not set goals that are too high but still strive for better than this year. Since it is the first year I am setting goals like this, I do not want to be over-optimistic. This is my first attempt at setting yearly goals, so maybe I will add new goals during the year, but I will not remove any goal nor downsize any goal.
Continue reading “Goals for 2018”
Since I started to pay closer attention to my finance, I have read a few books about investing and finance. I am going to review them on this blog. I am going to explain what the book is about and also what I liked about the book. And of course, what I did not like about it.
The first book I have read is “The little book of Common Sense Investing”, by John C. Bogle. It is coming from the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group. John Bogle is a great man and the creator of the first index fund. A lot of people in the Bogleheads community are recommending this book, so I decided to give it a try.
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Happy new year to you all! Now that we started in 2018, it is time for the last monthly update of 2017. After a rather poor November 2017, December 2017 is significantly better. I have been able to keep my spendings lower than usual. It was not a very eventful month. Except of course for the usual Christmas celebrations. I always spend Christmas with my family and it was great :)
Continue reading “December 2017 Update + 2018 perspectives”
November 2017 is over, it is time for another monthly update. After a bad October 2017, I have seen some improvements.
November 2017 was not bad in terms of savings, but it was a bit lower than I was expecting. The savings rate for the month is 14.25%. It is not perfect, but still better than last month. My goal is to go to 25%. But I probably will need a salary raise to go there (I am still gonna try without the raise).
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After having opened my DEGIRO account recently, it was time to use my DEGIRO account. My first deposit reached my DEGIRO broker account! Let’s start with the good, there is no fee for transfer! I have transferred 1000 CHF and exactly 1000 CHF arrived in my account. I was afraid of a hidden fee or transfer fee. But there are no fees!
With the bad now: The transfer took 8 days. I sent the transfer Friday 17th, the bank debited it from my account Monday 20th. It only arrived today, Tuesday 28th on my broker account. I have contacted DEGIRO several times in the meantime to ask about the whereabouts of my money. They did have an issue with their bank (CIC Bank, Basel). The bank was not transferring the money statements to them for about a week. So, normally, this should not be so slow. I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt for this one. I will see what happens to my second transfer. I sent it yesterday and it should arrive tomorrow on my DEGIRO account. If this issue is something that happens regularly, this is a really bad thing for DEGIRO. But we will see.
Update (6 months later): I have not had any more issue of that sort with DEGIRO :)
My first investment at DEGIRO
With some part of this money, I bought 13 shares of Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) at 73.16 USD. This ETF is a passive fund that holds 8109 stocks in the entire world, weighted by capitalization. It contains around 50% of the stocks from the United States and the rest is from the entire world. The fund contains 2.5% of stocks from Switzerland. It has a very low Total Expense Ratio (TER) is 0.09%, which is very low and absolutely fine for me.
Since this ETF is in the list of free ETF offered by DEGIRO, I did not pay any fee to buy the shares. Nevertheless, I paid a small fee for currency conversion. I paid 0.19CHF on an order of 936.80 CHF, which means a fee of 0.02%. This is pretty good since I was paying around 0.5% fee for funds on PostFinance :)
The buy was pretty easy to do on DEGIRO, no issues here. At first, not very clear, but it turned out quite OK. I will post more information on the future on how to use DEGIRO. I received a mail notification for both the deposit and the trading transactions. Everything seems fine.
I am not yet totally sure on my final portfolio. But VT will definitely be a part of it and probably a large part at that. I will keep you up to date as soon as I update my portfolio.
I just got confirmation from my building manager that they accepted the reduction of rent that I asked for. I am quite satisfied with the answer. However, they have been incredibly slow in answering me. They answered more than two months after my request… In Switzerland, most building managers are getting worse and worse.
With this reduction, my base rent goes from 1175 CHF to 1122 CHF. This will only start at the next term of my lease, on April 1st. But this means that next year, I will save 53 CHF * 9 = 477 CHF. And I will save even more the following year since all months will be lower :)
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I decided to check all my recurring expenses and see if I could save something on at least some of them. Turns out I can! I was able to change my car insurance to save over 350 CHF per year on it.
It is very important to regularly check if there are better deals on your insurance. Even though an insurance could be the cheapest at some point, it may not be the case a few years later.
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After reading a lot about funds and low-cost index funds in particular and the inefficiency of most actively managed funds, I decided I will stop giving my money to fund managers. Therefore, I decided to start investing in passive index funds and not active funds. Moreover, I also decided to only focus on no-load funds. Currently, I was investing with PostFinance funds, but the Total Expense Ratio (TER) of these funds is high and PostFinance is charging a 0.5% percent load on each buy of funds.
Since we do not have access to excellent mutual funds such as Vanguard funds here, I decided to invest in Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) versions of the funds. This means I need a broker to invest. I looked at the trading offer of PostFinance but it is insanely expensive. Therefore I decided to find a new broker with significantly lower fees.
The links to DEGIRO are affiliate links. If you use them to create an account, you will receive 20 CHF in transaction credits and I will also receive 20 CHF.
Continue reading “Opened a broker account on DEGIRO”