1000000CHF's Journal


#1

Hello Ladies & Gents!

I already made on that forum a significant number of comments (mostly questions) and I guess it’s high time to introduce myself. My name is Tomasz. I’m a Polish Fi-seeker living in beautiful Zug. I work as a, so called, “DevOps Engineer” in a, so called, “FinTech” startup (we’re developing a pretty cool wealth management app that I’d love to use for my own investments, but I can’t afford it :stuck_out_tongue: ). Before that I worked for a year on the Genevian-French border for CERN. (So after spending one year in la Suisse romande and on year in der Zentralschweiz, I still can’t speak neither French, nor German - and my English also sucks badly.) Before CERN, I have worked for various IT companies in Warsaw for about 5 years.

My FI obsession started with reading Mr. @_MP’s blog (and from his website, I followed MMM and other FI blogs) end of the last year. I already knew for quite a long time that there are better options than keeping savings in the bank, but just didn’t know how to start. From first readings, I’ve figured out that I need a retirement account and then I’ve learnt that in Switzerland you can actually cash out your account when you’re leaving the country (I still don’t know how long I’ll stay here). I’ve opened 3a account at UBS and starting reading up on UBS investments funds. That research led me to Mustachian Post blog where I’ve discovered that UBS actively-managed funds are ridiculously expensive. I’ve asked them if they have low-cost passive funds and they said “no”. Thus following MP’s advice, I’ve moved my 3a account to LUKB and started investing into Swisscanto passive fund.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that I have really smart guys in my company. Two the guys responsible for investment strategies in my company are former institutional brokers and finance professors at University of Zurich. They’re also fans of ETFs, so I’ve gained a lot of confidence from them that MP’s strategy makes sense. This really motivated me to open a CT account and start investing. I’ve simplified our company model to group of 4 ETFs (bonds, developed markets stocks, EM stocks, small cap stocks), but under influence of this forum (thanks again @hedgehog!), I’ve decided to move to IB and start investing into VT ETF (today I’m making second transfer to the account and tomorrow I’ll buy VT’s shares).

During my work career (that started on 3rd year of studies), I’ve moved from a savings rate of about -20% (reckless spending and calling my parents and asking for money) to about +50% this month. That’s a quite significant difference. I started saving a bit about 3 years ago, last year I saved about 20%. This year I really started living frugal (no snacks, no dining out, thinking twice before buying anything, planning expenditures, groceries in Lidl + in Germany, etc.). We didn’t really inflate our lifestyles, so we still were able to save, as we lived mostly the same standard during these years. I was lucky that my wife is a natural saver and she liked a lot my metamorphosis (although she gets annoyed when I keep talking about investments, ETFs, brokers, TER and so on). I’m planning now to invest in VT every month half of my salary.

As I already mentioned in another thread, my wife is pregnant and in about three weeks our baby will be delivered in Kantonsspital Zug. We’re planning to save up and invest an amount that would enable us to travel on a round world trip (I’m thinking mostly about South America and Asia to keep it low-cost), a year before our kid will go to school. After that trip we will stick to the plan of achieving FI in about 10-15 years here in Switzerland or back in Poland or in some other place in Europe (we want to be close to our family and friends in Poland).

That’s it. I am really grateful that I discovered that forum and had an opportunity to learn so much from you! Thank you very much and I’m looking forward to meet you all guys on some Swiss FI meetup!

Cheers,
Tomasz


Semi-retired by working less
Mustachian library
Budget optimisations
#2

Hey Tomasz,

So good to read you’re on your way to FI.
Congrats on your baby (soon to be born) that’s an amazing experience and great motivator to move forward faster and achieve FI sooner so you’ll have more time with family.

Keep it up!
Erik


#3

Thanks Erik! I am sure our baby will give us even more motivation to organize a fun, frugal and meaningful family life on our way to FI. :slight_smile:

I wish I know some Spanish, I’d love to read your blog. It looks really awesome! Your photos are absolutely amazing!

Cheers,
Tomasz


#4

Hello Mustachians!

Here is my budget with comments for last month. It’s pretty high as I live in pretty expensive place - Zug. I wonder if you can spot some space for optimisations or if you have any recommendations.

Total Expenses 4096.95

Living 1638

  • Rent 1480 – I’m really lucky that it’s so cheap! In Zug it starts from 2000!
  • Electricity / Gas / Water 88
  • Internet 70 – this is for two months (2 * CHF 35)

Household 717.2

  • Groceries 574.6 – normally, I spend around 350-400 on groceries, but I had lots of guests this month
  • Cosmetics 10
  • Household articles 7
  • Equipment / Furnitures 44.6 – we bought some equipment in Zuger Ökihof
  • Baby stuff 71 – diapers and other stuff are also included in groceries (as we bought it in Aldi in Germany)
  • Household Miscellaneous 10

Personal 652.5

  • Clothing 10
  • Snacks & Drinks 146.5 – I normally don’t spend so much on that, but I had lots of guests
  • Restaurants / Bars 106 – the same as above
  • Gifts 155 – in May in Poland there are first communions
  • Mobile (wife) 10 – my wife has a Lyca prepaid
  • Mobile (me) 30 – I have Swisscom prepaid
  • Education 235 – German learning on Skype

Health 782.25

  • Health Insurance 383.6 – for both me & my wife at CSS (I have to check if there are better options)
  • Doctors & Treatment 0 – luckily during pregnancy everything is covered by insurer

Traffic 247

  • Public transport tickets 37 – sometimes I have to take the train (e.g. Zurich rush hours)
  • Car/Insurance/Taxes/Maintaince 0
  • Traffic fines 0
  • Fuel 73 – I did ~800 km with that
  • Other Parking 29 – this is what I pay on parking houses when visit Luzern/Zurich (I haven’t figure yet how to park for free or cheaper)
  • Home Parking 108 – this is the chepest parking lot I found in Zug (ridiculous)

Leisure, sport & hobby 60

  • Culture/Cinema/Museum/Events 0
  • Books 60 – I’m addicted to book collecting
  • Sports activities 0
  • Sports equipment 0

Additionally to this list, I have few annual costs:

  • car insurance ~500
  • new winter tires + changing them ~379
  • last months I got two fines (speeding + parking for too long) 100
  • PostFinance credit card 40
  • Vacations ~1000
  • Christmas/Easter trip to Poland (including gifts) ~2000
  • Winter sports trips ~1000
  • weekend trips ~1000

Pants down: yearly spending!
Dr Quasar journey to FIRE
#5

Hi, I saw a few things that you might want to consider - I also lived in Zug so know how pricey it can be!

For health insurance, I’d really recommend Swica. I pay 287 CHF per month for basic, supplementary and global private cover with a 2000 CHF franchise. They are fantastic - very responsive, they pay the bills in advance and all communication (including policies) is in English. Also, really look at what you’re paying for, for example I found out I pay 144 CHF per year for an additional supplementary insurance I never use. You have until Sept 30 to notify them of any reductions or if you wish to cancel (I think that’s the process and until December if you just want to add/increase your insurance).

Annnd, make sure you’re being billed correctly and that you’re not paying for treatment which should be covered- I found out I’m owed about 500 CHF because the doctor didn’t tick the right box on the invoice. Turns out it pays to really know your policies and check your bills :sweat_smile:

Another thing, depending on how long until you potty train your baby and if you want to have more children, you could maybe look into reusable diapers. I’ve estimated I’ll save anywhere from 1-2’000 CHF in diapers by buying reusable. Although you have the cost of the washing, you don’t have the cost of the rubbish bags, which are of course pretty pricey themselves. At 600CHF for a full supply, they also are an investment if you plan to have more children as you can reuse them. Another idea could be to reduce the number of reusable wipes, which can also add to the monthly costs, by cleaning baby’s butt with good ol’ fashioned water and soap in the sink (more rubbish bags saved too :wink: )

Hope that helps!


#6

Oh! And a Migros Cumulus credit card. 0 CHF annual fee and extra Cumulus points so you save on your monthly shopping. I’m a huge fan of it.

But not sure if you know, they (and all other banks/credit cards EXCEPT for Postfinance) are charging 1.5-1.75% on any transactions made to companies who are based outside of CH, regardless of whether you pay in CHF or not. Check out this link. I don’t think it’ll be long before Postfinance does the same IMO.

The 40 CHF saving might be worth it depending on how/where you shop.


#7

Thank you @mia for your comments and recommendations. That’s super helpful!

I’ll look into Swica - maybe they could offer me a better deal if I’d move my entire family there. Regarding the invoices, I have a feeling that I sent to CSS some invoices that they didn’t pay me back, but I’m not really sure. I have to finally sit down, create a spreadsheet and calculate and check that.

I discussed with my wife the reusable diapers, but we don’t know yet which option we will use. We will buy some for testing. Probably we’ll use both, I’m not sure. We gonna potty train our baby as soon as possible. :slight_smile: Not sure yet, but we most probably we’ll have two kids. We’ve learned from our midwife that cleaning baby’s butt with good ol’ fashioned water and soap is the best (and the cheapest) option.

I was today in Migros and forgot again about the credit card! I have to finally get one. I don’t have though any credit history in Switzerland and I don’t know if it’s not an obstacle for them. I also have pretty short Permit (to the end of the year), as I sublet the apartment. My salary shouldn’t be big concern for them, but there will be now two dependents. This might be another issue for them. I have no clue what are the requirements to obtain this card.

Actually, I can use quite cheaply my Polish debit card (or even PostFinance debit card in some ATMs) abroad. I want a Swiss credit card only for buying stuff online and buying air tickets. Probably Migros Cumulus card should be good enough for that.

Thanks for help!

Cheers,
Tomasz


#8

I would suggest the CoopMobile Prepaid - I pay 99.- per year for unlimited internet. The plan includes free calls to other CoopMobile + Salt customers. I almost don’t make normal phone calls, and use WhatsApp instead, so I hardly ever recharge my SIM.


#9

Sounds like a good deal. Do you have good coverage? One of the reasons why I haven’t moved to Lyca (like my wife) is that we use Google Maps as our car GPS and if I don’t have good 3G on our way, then it doesn’t work very well.


#10

Can’t really complain. I live in the smallest city in Switzerland and have good 4G. The only places I’ve noticed very low coverage is when I’m out skiing, in the valleys (some at least). You can test it for free for the first month, so not much to lose.


#11

Thanks @Mobius! On Tuesday I’ll move our numbers to CoopMobile. :slight_smile:


#12

Great to see your motivation to optimize your budget!

One thing I also started doing soon after arriving in Switzerland was to store and change my own tires, after my local tire shop made a mistake putting on the winter tires and acted too casual about it (I figured I could do it more responsibly than them, and for a lower price). I just bought a very comfortable jack for 65.- in ricardo.ch, as well as a dynamometric wrench for around 35.- (to make sure I didn’t put too much pressure). Now for the foreseeable future I’ll recoup those costs and much more - takes me now around 30 minutes to switch the tires.


#13

If you do it until July, 21st you get an extra 3000 Cumulus points.


#14

Thanks @Erma for the info!


#15

Thanks for another great advice @Mobius. I’m not bold enough to change my tires alone, but friend of mine is a professional driver - maybe he could help me with that. That’s pretty good idea. Car is definitely one of the biggest expenses in my budget and I have to figure out how to minimise these costs.


#16

Welcome in Zug :slight_smile: We can consider to found a Zuger Mustachians club here soon :))))))))


#17

Cool idea! Maybe we should start regular meetups at metup.com? We could invite here for a meetup Zuricher Mustachians (for instance @Julianek is living not far from us). :slight_smile:


#18

I’m in :slight_smile: I like the idea :slight_smile:


#19

Cool! I’d vote then for next Saturday evening as a first meeting. Do you have any good ideas on where we could orgnise this? The only two pubs I know in Zug are Bären and Mr. Pickwick (the second one though might be pretty crowdy).

@Julianek would you like to join? Do you know if anyone else from Zurich/Zentralschweiz who could join us?


#20

I’m in as well :slight_smile:
I think the best was to find out who might be interested is to create a dedicated topic in the “meetup” section of the forum :wink: