Here we are again! The year 2021 draws to an end, and that is a perfect time for some critical self-reflection between your never-ending Christmas dinners with the family. While you are digesting your fourth refill of the evening, take a moment to look back on your past 12 months. Did you get where you want to be financially? What did go to plan, and what didn’t? I’ll go first.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned: the negatives

I will start with the brutal observation that I did not save as much as I had planned, at all. In my case, the reasons are quite easy to find:

  1. I spent a large amount of money on sports. I’ve picked up cycling in my spare time and got quite fond of it, meaning I bought a new bike, a smart trainer and a lot of expensive equipment (total worth of about 2.500 euros). That is a lot of money I could have saved, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like thrown away since I use it frequently and for a good cause.
  2. A lack of discipline: not at all comparable to something in the price range as the above, but I’ll give some examples:
    1. My Cake connection which provides me a very modesy but very easy passive income. I’ve neglected to extend this for a couple of months.
    1. I’ve written a lot on subscriptions in the past, yet my costs of subscriptions has risen (to my frustration). Luckily, I’ve managed to share the cost of this among a few people, but still it is something I would like to cut down further.

The way is up: the positives

It was not all doom & gloom. There were also quite some positives to take away:

  1. Income was boosted significantly. I received a 7% salary increase and expect approximately the same in January 2022. That of my girlfriend was even boosted a lot more (around 30%). To give an insight what that means for our budgeting: we bought our home a bit more than a year ago. The increase in salary we now got covers about 70% of our mortgage payment. That is a blessing and should boost our savings rate significantly in the year to come. All of these things were quite recent so I’m expecting them to fully make an impact in next year. These numbers should also be seen in light of the current high ongoing inflation.
  2. Continuing the topic of our mortgage: it feels quite good to say that we’ve ‘paid off’ our first year! A long while to go still, but we were a bit afraid of the high mortgage to begin with, but that worry has proven to be unfounded.
  3. Employee benefits at my company: due to a program to boost employee ownership at my firm, a (very) beneficial program has been ongoing for several years where your down payment in this program gets boosted significantly. This has resulted in my payment of ~4K now being worth about 4 times that. I can make the first withdrawal in 2 years, so of course it is still subject to change, but things are looking good.
  4. A lot of ‘one of’-costs due to the moving to the new house (furniture and so on) that should not be there in the year to come.

Looking ahead

So, that leaves 2022 in sights! I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been slacking a bit on the blog, but I’m very motivated to be more active again (as I have been this month). I have a lot of topics on my to-do list that I still want to share. What about you? How has your month been? Feel free to get in touch!

2 thoughts on “2021: a wrap-up”

  1. Thanks for your email through my website. Interesting blog you have here, you’ve got a new follower!

    I’m a bit confused about this part of your year review “The increase in salary we now got covers about 70% of our mortgage payment.” Does that mean you are short on money every month or am I reading it wrong?

    1. Fruits of Frugality

      Thanks for reaching out! I indeed should have phrased it a bit differently, because (luckily) that is not what it means. What I meant is that, when compared to when we closed our mortgage (1 year ago), our salary has grown with a value worth 70% of our monthly mortgage payment, meaning it actually became a lot more tolerable.

      To illustrate it with an example:
      Suppose our monthly mortgage payment is 1000 euros (it is unfortunately more). Then, in the span of a year, our combined income has actually risen with 700 euros. This makes significantly reduces our ‘leftover income’ after each month. Hope this clarifies it!

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