Mara (35) and Rico (34) both work at the hospital and have a good income. They save €750 every month, pay extra on the mortgage, save up for their children and like to give money for joy. We can take a look at their cash book.
What do you think when you look at your cash register like this?
“Rico and I are real lifers. I think you’ll see that reflected in our cash book. We both work hard and make good money. In other industries, I might make $1,000 more for the same work. But I don’t work in health care for the big bucks. And this income is more than enough for a nice life. We can eat out regularly and treat ourselves to a touch of luxury like a cleaning lady. We really see that as a gift to ourselves. I think so too , that we have roughly ‘average’ fixed costs. And that we might spend a bit more on groceries and enjoyment of life than the average Dutch person. But when I look at it that way, I’m certainly not unhappy.”
Do you always keep your own cash book, or do you have to dig deep into the accounts?
“We’ve been doing that for a year or two now. At the beginning of the corona crisis, we bought the PorteRenee course ‘How to get rich’. We learned a lot from that and it gave us a lot of insight. For example where our biggest ‘leaks’ were. Although we no longer keep track of it in such detail every month, you know. I secretly thought it was an assignment. Now we continuously check whether things have changed. Then we check our wages, housing costs and energy bills and puzzle over what to keep.”
And? Which items were the biggest leaks?
“Unnoticed at the start of the pandemic, we incurred quite a lot of costs for groceries and home delivery. The piggy banks grew less quickly than hoped. The course made that very clear. We took a critical look at our expenses and were able to save quite a bit on a number of items. They weekly messages for example. We now do that twice a week at most. Also we stopped using HelloFresh. And as far as saving goes, we now have different pools and we automatically save fixed amounts. Funny how things become self-evident when you book the tasks permanently. It really helps us.”
Why is the €20,000 student debt ‘on hold’?
“First we started paying extra. The interest on student debt is zero. On our mortgage it’s three percent. We realized we were crazy to pay that student loan first. We now use this €150 for the interest-on-interest effect . This ultimately results in lower monthly costs, which means we can save more. Rico will earn more when he graduates. Then we’ll pay off that student debt as quickly as possible.”
Why the €30 bike insurance?
“We have an electric cargo bike that we sometimes jokingly refer to as ‘our second car’. We paid over €5,000 for it two years ago. Nothing, but we are very happy with it and use it extensively. Such an Urban Arrow is not only a favorite bike for parents, but also for thieves. They are regularly stolen in the area. A case Better to be on the safe side.”
Do you give €250 to charities every month?
“Almost, yes. Anyway, a large part of that amount goes to the church every month. In addition, we have donated €35 every month to a sponsor child through Compassion for ten years now. And to Tearfund, an organization that fights poverty, gives we €50 a month. We are happy to share with people who are less fortunate.”
I am curious about the €700 ‘living money’. Tell!
“We transfer €350 each to our own accounts every month. A kind of pocket money, meant for sports subscriptions, phone bills, clothes and drinks in town. And we also buy each other a present every now and then. So stupid when you see what you get for birthday on the debit of the joint account haha. With that money I also go on ‘city trips’ with friends. Rico buys a new racing bike from it. This way we both have the freedom to make more expensive purchases without the other lifting the eyebrows. Not that it’s happening, though. But it feels good to us. And we’re married in community of property, so basically we pay for everything anyway.”
Do you have a big savings goal?
“We are currently saving up for the renovation of the attic. We are expecting our second in about three months. Then we will create an extra room. We want to have at least €20,000 separately for both children when they are 18. We have also started investing for two years now. Every month we set aside €200 at Meesman. By paying off our mortgage faster, saving up and investing, we hope to be able to stop working a few years earlier.”
Can we also look in your cash book?
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