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Jean tracks his spendings

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I'm still on the fence on that one and trying to prioritize my options:


Killing the Student Loan

+ can be done as I see there's spare money to throw at it;

+ displays progress as it goes (the debt diminishes every time I throw something at it);

+ is still available in case of a real emergency (though I must watch that one, taking money out of it is the opposite of where I want to go);

+ frees a lot of monthly money in the end (700 CHF/month);

+ is the lower debt to tackle;

- has pretty low rates of return (2.5% when all is said and done).


Maxing the retirement savings

+ is a personal goal I want to reach and will feel like an achievement;

+ will be available for some important projects, like freelancing (freedom from standard work) or building a house;

+ has awesome rates of return (tax deduction, so roughly 25% before any interest is calculated. It's taxed on withdrawal though only at a 6% rate so a pretty good deal all in all);

+ can be done as I see there's spare money to throw at it;

- doesn't tackle my debt, so doesn't free more money to invest with time (flat progression);

- is pretty stuck until it's really needed (freelancing) and won't help much if there's not enough (needs a few years to grow, during wich I'd be pretty vulnerable).


Getting rid of the Car Loan

+ would free a good amount of monthly money (500 CHF/month);

+ would allow me to reduce my insurance coverage, sparing an aditionnal 700 CHF/year;

- has low rates of return (the insurance gain is pretty much the only gain I'd be expecting since the interests are calculated on the whole total by contract - does someone here know how early payment of the whole works in this situation?);

 - needs to be done all at once (money must be saved to accrue to the right amount and stays vulnerable - I could use it on something else - all the while);

 - doesn't feel like progress on the way but will be a huge breakthrough in the end;

 - is the higher debt to tackle.


The safest way seems to me to go the retirement savings route and to throw any additional savings toward the student loan. It'd mean I'd be stuck at it for two years, though, while tackling the debt first would give me hope of an earlier repayment, which would be a huge motivation to squeeze in everything I can.


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Ladies and gentlemen, the data are out!


Discover the updated plan few posts above (and the updated data in the first post).



Sacrifices had to be made (taxes not fully paid this year, though I'm reducing my debt in that regard).

Priorities had to be set (retirement before debt repayment).

Bets are closed and

here. we. go!


The balance is way lower than where I would like it but this isn't made to make me feel safe, this is made to make me save as fuck until I'm finally free of the inheritance of my past situation.


"But... where's the tracking? There's no tracking in your damn thread! You've lied to us!?" You ask? Well, that is the cornerstone of it all. If I can fit every all-day-life bill into 40 CHF/day, this works. If I stay at my current 60 CHF/day, I'm toast (and not the good kind of toast). So I'm going to track my spendings every day, starting January 1st, update my personal tracking sheet once a week and review it all here once a month.


We're gonna track the shit out of the fat on my budget and we're going to eat it out. If you want to join me on this hunt, I'll be more than happy to have you.




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So week 1 check in:




Elective expenses are a premade pizza and some potato chips that I craved but could have cooked myself (well, not the chips but they're never a necessary expense anyway).

Life Projects expenses are needles and thread that I need to craft the belt of preparedness that I have in store and should now be able to complete thanks to a girdle I received at Christmas.


Big expenses because I've taken a subscription for home delivered veggies that should last me for 6 months. If I take into account only a 1 week part of it, I'd be at 14.50 CHF/day. It was the holidays, though, so I've spent less than I usually do and there are several big expenses still to come (medical bills, gas and a physics book) so we'll see how that goes the next weeks.

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Week 2:




Car expenses were gas, gifts are coffees I paid for my colleagues.


I must still watch out for the medical and book expenses. Onward to week 3!

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I am posting week 3 early, since there should be no purchase tomorrow and there are quite a few things on my mind, now that I've finished logging it all in my spreadsheet that I'd rather express while it's still fresh.


It's been a strange week. Good news:

  • There's an income I didn't put in my planning because I had no idea how much it would be that I've received, so that is great. Went straight to my savings account ;
  • I've found an old lottery ticket laying between papers, so those 10 CHF went straight to the savings account too (yay for decluttering!) ;
  • I seem to be able to consistently hold my objectives. I could give myself some more leeway or use it to be out of debt more quickly. I'm maintaining the pressure for now and we'll see how it goes.

Bad news:

  • I've received one of the new mandatory bills (the TV production one) and they've got some weird accounting process (which I totally get but doesn't fit my planning) that makes it so that I'll have to pay it almost twice this year, then once every year. I'll have to make provisions for that (out of the money I don't spend on my allowance - no way I'm sacrificing the out-of-planning incomes on that) ;
  • My professional expenses will only get paid at the end of the year so gas expenses are higher than they should. The good news is I can expect some huge income at the end of the year. The bad news is it will be too late to put it into my retirement account and have it count for this year.

Anyway, on to this week:



Elective groceries were craving sauerkraut and chips.

Gifts are mainly treats for my coworkers (I'm changing desk and won't be in the same building anymore starting next week so I thought I'd try to leave a good impression before I'd go).


The home delivered veggies are enough for my needs and I seem to have already absorbed that expense so, this is good. Groceries should be mainly meat, cheese, eggs, milk, pasta, rice and essentials like olive oil, spices with dashes of coffee, tea, bread and sweets.

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So, we are nearing the end of the month and things are pretty much on target. This week has seen personal expenses for a physics book I wanted to buy, the gas expenses are higher due to an old purchase on December through the credit card that is hitting now (there is a discount when I use the card but it's less than the fees they take so... I'm not using it anymore) and some socializing (restaurant bill). The phone situation is not yet sorted out but is on good way so I should end up being able to cut some of it (plus, I'm aiming to switch subscription at the end of June to save a bit more on it for the same service).


I'll be more thorough with the end of month feedback but I'm not being as good as I'd want to and yet, It'd probably be a good idea to put in some more leeway. My current plan is to hound my home liability insurance until they give me an answer at last and make them pay for the bill I have at my last home that I have provisioned for. If this works, I'm rewarding myself by starting investing in stocks.



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Leaving it here for later:


From past you to present you: this is you hesitating before the jump, right after you've done everything to plan it too. You are searching for ways that would make you feel more free and in control, thing is: there ain't no way around it. When everything is planned for and you stand there before the wall, all there is to it is grab your pick and break'em rocks.


Working with a safer environment is out of the parameters. The current environment is pretty safe too, all things taken into account.

Getting yourself happier with more money requires you to know what you want to do with that money:

 - big investments are out of the parameters;

 - food treats are not out of the table, you just make a conscious choice not to buy them whenever you balance it with saving more money. If you want to change that, it's all in your hands;

 - small life tweaks are investments. You don't have to worry about the numbers, they'll balance out. Go for it!


From past you to you from Monday: go buy that kettle. It's not a fad, it's something you don't have and which would reduce the cost of coffees at work so, an investment. It's not over-budget, it's just something that'll prevent you from saving 20 bloody francs because of an arbitrary deadline. Buying it today or in a week won't change a damn thing about your financial situation, except that you'll have saved 6 francs of coffee in the mean time...

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One month in!


Things are looking decent. I should be able to get something back from the insurance, so that's a good chunk of money that I should be able to add to my savings. I've spent more than planned this month but part of it were the vegetables for 6 months and the physics book, which mean I can allow to buy something for myself once in a while but still have to keep it in check. Now is the part of the journey that will start to look scary, because I'm working with low cash and most everything that gets in will be immediately eaten away. I'll have to take care that I am mentally up for it and, if I'm not, to take preventive steps to up the thin monetary cushion on which I'm sitting so that I can think of it with more peace of mind.








To see if I'm doing real progress, the "Cash" balance should be positive. It's not, so I have spent more than I had originally planned for. Since my start of the year numbers weren't 100% accurate, the Balance evolution is a good measure too: if everything goes well (I'm saving more than planned for), it should go up from month to month, which is logically not the case either this month. I'm expecting it to change for the next months, provided I watch what I spend.


EDIT: Forgot to take note:

  • gas expenses have been high because of job related trips that will cash back in only at the end of the year.
  • phone expenses are absurdly high because of a lot of job related communications and me not being ready for it (we tend to act rashly at work but I should not accept to be paying costs for that - so I should stand against acting rashly, which would be a very good thing to begin with, and take the time to organise my own life - because I can't blame others when there's so much I can do on my part).

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I'll be back for some tracking but, in the mean time, I want to reasses what I'll be doing with extra savings.


As of now, the plan was to put it all into my retirement account. I feel like I should have other priorities as well:

  • Peace of mind 1: increase the base level of my checking account to avoid dropping too low by the end of the month;
  • Peace of mind 2: increase my daily amount available for spendings as to reach back CHF 60 some time in the future. This shouldn't change much the way I'm spending (so, much of it should still end up as savings) but it would help easing my mind toward doing the necessary expenses.
  • Get ready for surprises: increase my safety fund (recent events have shown me that I could need it sooner rather than later);
  • Feel progress: invest in my retirement account (that's my main measure of progress);
  • Invest in myself: save up for a full dental treatment which has been sorely needed for 6 years now.

So, this year is an annus horribilis. I'm working under student debt, car lease, taxes over repayments, psychological and dental costs but this is needed and it can hold water.


For the time being, my asset allocation will be:

  • Increasing checking account level: 0%
  • Increasing my daily available spendings amount: 0%
  • Increasing my safety fund: 0% past the first CHF 1,000
  • Retirement savings: 30%
  • Dental fund: 70%

The assets I can allocate are the amount I can save at the end of the month while still sticking to the plan. I should be able to reach the CHF 1,000 safety fund milestone by the end of the week. I'll make an appointment with a dentist whenever there's CHF 1,000 on my dental fund.


Prioritizing is fun, seing progress is too. I'm just hoping I'm not flailing at air and actually working in a sustainable direction here (it does seem like I'm tackling a bit too much at once but it all does feel necessary too).

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So, first, the good news: I could get rid of my student debt this year.


Now, I won't. There are two priorities I'll take care of first:

  • my dental problem (meaning big dentist fees to come) ;
  • getting more security (meaning maxing my retirement savings, which can be used to launch an independant business if needs be).


Anyway. February has seen the start of my counselling sessions, which means some of the fees paid will be repaid by my insurance at a later stage. Like in January, I've had professional expenses that will be repaid in December (or when they fire me). So, I'm actually in a better shape than it shows. March is brace-yourself month: more counselling sessions and some big car bills due to some stupid driving adventure that ended with half my car in a big plant pot and the bottom rear of it crushed by a rock on a steep bank. Lesson learned: don't enter a driveway when you know before entering that it is a bad idea, even if you really, really want to go there.


Let's see how I'll handle it! :D

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I'm starting the evening with a little treat to myself by updating this thread.


As expected, March has been a difficult month but April has had good surprises. My insurance has finally paid for the damages my last appartment incurred so, as promised to myself, part of the money has been dedicated to starting on the investment track. The Swiss market looks like kind of a funky family affair... small and revolving around itself, I'm sure there's a ton of fun to have in it.


The unexpected gains are kind of overshadowing the basic plan, so this starts to feel like unwarranted showing off. I'll probably put an end to this thread past this post, things are going well and, as far as showing anything about it, I'll live it at that.


I'm also going for a less monitored style of life. My purpose is to simply not think about money, so no daily tracking. My style of life means there'll usually be savings at the end of the month, I'll be happy with that and put my focus on other aspects of my life. Logging everything in is an enlightening experience, though. When done for a short time, to sort things out, I highly recommend it.


So, the story so far:






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