Ed in Lausanne in Kanton Waadt personal numbers

I guess I don’t spend more than you on anything except food. 300 per month is really unimaginable for me.

I spend like 20 * 10 CHF in the office canteen per month. On the weekends some nice restaurant, let’s make it 8 * 50 CHF. And I visit Coop daily to buy some dinner (often ready-made, I only cook if I don’t mind wasting time), that’s 30 * 20 CHF. That’s 1200 CHF just for food each month. 1000 if I take it easy on restaurants.

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Yes. Unfortunately I’ve even contacted the ASLOCA (Western Switzerland equivalent of the Mieterverband). I only have the link in French but they say:

Tous les loyers ne peuvent pas être baissés selon la méthode expliquée ci-dessus. Il existe des exceptions. Ainsi, notamment les loyers qui sont indexés à l’inflation (évolution de l’indice suisse des prix à la consommation) ne sont pas sensibles aux baisses du taux hypothécaire pendant la durée du contrat, mais seulement à leur échéance: pour qu’un loyer puisse être indexé à l’inflation, il faut qu’il soit d’une durée minimum de cinq ans. Ce n’est qu’à l’expiration de cette durée que l’on pourra éventuellement faire valoir une baisse du taux hypothécaire depuis le début du contrat.

Which means that if your contract is indexed to the CPI (instead of the mortgage rate) then you can request a rent reduction only at the end of the contract. And since these contracts are renewed every 5 years, that effectively means that you can only request the reduction once every 5 years.

It’s kind of a new fashion here in Suisse Romande to make this kind of contracts. Fixed-term CPI-indexed for 5 years. You still can ask for an adjustment once a year if the CPI goes down, which fortunately has happened but without significant effects to my rent.

And of course I already missed my once-every-five-years window of opportunity. Oh yeah I’m such an idiot. :frowning:

Another perk of Suisse Romande :money_mouth_face:

The reference rate change still applies in principle, it’s just that the reduction begins at the next possible ordinary contract cancellation date - which seems to be every five years in your case.

On typical open ended rental contracts as we have in ZH you have usually 2-3 cancellation dates per year so that’s how fast you’d get the reduction here

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That should be encouraging for you! You’re pretty much optimized then. But it also means that I’m doing worse than you are, and that without kids.

Good, good, this is motivating me :wink:

Almost. The reduction begins at the beginning of the next contract. Since CPI-index rental contracts last for at least 5 years, that indeed means every five years.

However, I still get one cancellation date a year with a 3-month notice. One cannot use this date to take into account the mortgage index rate, only CPI (see my post from ASLOCA above). CPI has been favorable lately, but it’s almost flat anyway.

Did you try to contract your landlord about this?
If you make it clear to them, that you jnderstand they don’t have to adjust the rent but that you’re likely to move if the rent stays the same, they would maybe adjust it even now?
Finding new tenants is costly for them and if you always paid on time without issues they probably would also dislike losing you as a customer.

No. Unfortunately it is not a human landlord but rather a management company that manages many properties for the owners. The owner of my building is also a company that owns 4 other buildings in the same street. They have a pretty aggresive and well thought out tone so I need good arguments whenever I need something from them.

Since my last post on the matter I went to see the ASLOCA here and they told me that it was regrettable but that I missed my window and that I can only try again in 4 years. God knows where the interest rate will be then .

But thanks for the thought, I appreciate it. I’m just utterly frustrated… But hey, I have a job!

Hi Ed!

It’s nice reading your thoughts and numbers. It looks to me that you’re doing good. I’d not beat myself up too much about the rent (though I’m going through a similar endeavour). You are a couple and have a (more?) cat, living in a place where you can feel at home is important. Lausanne is known for its high rents and your localisation is part of the reason why you have low transportation costs so I’d mainly stay on the look-out for a better, cheaper place to live in but not jump horses until you’ve found a place where you are willing to spend your time.

I don’t know how much of this is still up to date but apart from the rent, electricity and your internet plan look expensive to me (assuming you’re paying 50% of them). Apart from your electronics purchases, everything else seems mainly in line (and, as mentioned before, your transportation costs are rather low).

There’s unfortunately nothing you can do in regards to your health costs (hope you’re doing fine enough! Wishing you well on that front) and travel is a choice that goes beyond the pure financial aspects of it so it may very well be completely worth it.

Out of curiosity, what is a mustachian savings rate for you?

And out of even more curiosity, how’s your asset allocation doing these days (have you “got it under control” in 2019 as you planned)? [Strike]Nothing wrong with single stocks in my book as long as you keep yourself diversified and avoid paying too many fees on them[/Strike] (edit: nevermind, I see that you’re not happy with their performance. Indexes all the way, then!).

Hope you’re keeping well and doing good.

Edit: typo.

Hi there!

Thanks for your nice words, it’s always encouraging.

Spot on. The rent is one of the rare luxuries that we allow ourselves. I try to go everywhere on foot or by bike (electric here with the hills…). We’re always scanning all the typical sites, but decent apartments are way too expensive or would require we buy a car and that’s a big no-no. Still, it’s expensive so we might need to focus on earning more rather than spending 200-400 less on rent.

There is not much we can do with electricity. We use LED bulbs and try to turn electronics completely off when not used (not in stand-by mode). We cook a lot and use the oven quite often. That’s maybe why?

The Internet plan was indeed expensive and we have recently switched to one where we pay less that 10.- each.

I would say at least 40% after taxes.

Well, yes and no. I found myself obsessing too much about numbers and net worth which is why I simplified (and still am) simplifying my asset allocation by putting almost everything in indices. That said, I like to play my “views” and even though I only know the basics of equity valuation I take that small part of the portfolio as a game.

My performance is not great I’m -11.16% overall all time right now as computed by GNUCash. I’m exploring and migrating to other tools so that I can compute annual time-weighted performance. My figure is -4.30% annualized returns right now including funds, indices and stock-picking but excluding some fixed-income investments.

I know I owe you all the 2019 figures but I’m ashamed as I was preparing for an exam and I indulged a bit too much. Now in 2020 I’m preparing a personal project and my computer broke so the “software and electronics” is bad again. I will let you know soon :slight_smile:

Feeling in your shoes a lot! Starting my investment career, getting a hold of my fixed expenses, dealing with debt (quickly but it still takes time) and almost ready to go, here. The 40% mustachian savings rate seems achievable.

Don’t let shame get in the way, we’re here for improvement, you’d laugh at my food spending (used to be 500.-/mo before the Corona crisis, single, includes groceries and restaurants). How did the exam go?

Is your electricity accounted separately than the other apartments? Are you heated eletrically? Do you use a lot of hot water (the water heater is what cost me a lot in my former place)? You’ve mentioned that your régie hasn’t given you any money back on heating in 2018, is it because you’ve heated a lot or may it be that they don’t account for it adequately?

Thinking of it, I’m comparing apples to oranges: my landlord hasn’t set different water heaters for the two apartments in the house (one is his) so he’s paying the full electricity bill coming with it. My numbers are probably on the low side of things (heating on the other hand…).

Edit: typo.

So I actually got some money back from the régie which is why the costs are down in 2019 (see below). Electricity is just for my appartment but it does not include heating costs. However when it gets really hot in the summer we use portable air conditioning units that are quite power hungry. If this is not the source maybe some other appliance like the old oven or the old fridge may be the culprits. I would be interested to know where you live and how much you pay (or how many kWh you use).

I guess it’s time. May I present you 2019:

Actually doing worse than in 2018! But I got a salary increase so overall my savings rate has improved.

Or not. If I add my coffee, groceries, lunch at work and restaurants categories up I get an unhealthy 499.79/mo in my case.

I passed. Thanks for asking!

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You guys are exaggerating with these attributes IMO. :slight_smile:

My groceries + work lunch (and snacks) + restaurants (and drinks) amount to approx. 250+300+200 per normal non-corona month, and I don’t think that’s overly excessive or “unhealthy”.

4-5 bigger visits to the grocery shop (in CH) each month, 20ish days at work, dining out & drinks with friends once or twice a week - and the above numbers seem realistic; and nothing I wish to cut further on.

But of course, as usual, to each their own (perspective). :slight_smile:
It’s commendable to try and optimize as much as possible.
I just don’t personally see the value in “overdoing” it after some point.

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Agreed!

One has to enjoy life and as you can see I’m quite generous with gifts and friends, no regrets there! Even if I went +1700% up with alcohol or +200% with gifts (including charities) I would do that again no wonder.

What I’d like to optimize are those expenses that are useless (like paying for an expensive provider when an equivalent one is cheaper or buying electronics I don’t really need) or that stem from laziness (like ordering in just because without really enjoying the meal).

Thanks guys for your input, sharing this here helps.

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Small comment to add here - our food vice is pizza.

We recently purchased a pizza stone (30ish chf) for the oven, and after a few weeks experimenting with dough recipes and topping combinations have a fantastic takeaway pizza replacement.

The homemade version really rivals the 25chf equivalent, but with a price point of a couple (max) chf per pizza. We’ve reduced the takeaways considerably as a result, and now favor the home version (less greasy cheese… etc)

Plus, it’s quite fun to spend time learning and crafting a new skill with your S.O.

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Kuddos on the exams and the salary increase!

Soooo, there is a fun thing about being over-excited and interpolating yearly data from only a 6 months serie… I failed to account for months without electricity bills at the end of last year. My bill for 2019 was roughly 550.- (46.-/mo Wallis, Romande Energie, roughly 2000 kWh). That’s more aligned with my actual consumption so I should have been more cautious regarding my previous numbers.

Yeah, my coffee bill is around 40.-/mo too. :wink: Got a rough year? (I’ve got the very unhealthy habit to drink coffee whenever I need to get in any kind of efficiency zone.)

I’m also thrilled to find someone with as big gifting expenses as myself. :smiley:

I agree with you on the principle, it’s just that I’m a rather social averse person so I was pretty amazed by the expenses once I’ve started tracking them. The ideal way to handle it is to balance the spent amount with the pleasure/joy received, discounting any amount of joy decrease we may feel by overtracking these amounts instead of simply living. I’m an Excel nerd so over gathering data and comparing it to everything I can, thrice, each time with a different model, actually increases the amount of joy I get. ^^

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Haha, okay. So this is reassuring. We’re at abut 2000 kWh/year.

(Btw, now that I know that you’re in Valais/Walllis I understand why you say everything in French/German)

Exams…

Kudos for this mustachian, life hacking and partnership strengthening approach !! Now I want some pizza… Where do you live ? :smiley:

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Here I am again. Encouraged by the other topic, here’s my detail for 2020:

Interestingly enough, even though the pandemic has changed my habits and you can see that in many of the categories, all in all I stay stable at 50kCHF expenses + taxes which come at around 30k.

In 2021 I’ll be moving to a more expensive apartment (I know…) and will be commuting a lot more because I got a new job, so we’ll see next year how that worked out.

I feel slightly guilty that you’ve spend a lot of energy giving me feedback last year and I’m doing exactly the same, if not worse in 2021. Shame on me.

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Looks like you didn‘t get rid of PF. why not switch to IB and save those 500 CHF?
Why is fitness such a high number? 1950 CHF sounds like gym, spa and regular massages?
7k for a PC and audio equipment sounds a bit crazy too. What did you get? some Alienware machine and Piega speakers?
Why do you keep the foreign phone number? 45 CHf for phone sounds a lot.

Hope you don’t mind my pointed questions.

On the contrary! If I’m posting my expenses it is because I need for you to challenge my expending. It’s good that I feel accountable about this. Also, coming from someone with your kind of income it’s nice to see that you keep a frugal yet reasonable take on things.

Hope you don’t mind the lengthy answer!

I still have PF for investing, yes, but only the minimum requirements in a 3a fund so that I get all the accounts for free. For me it’s worth it because I have 3 CHF accounts, 2 EUR accounts and free unlimited cash withdrawals worldwise. While there is still the FX rate, withdrawing EUR from the EUR account from a Eurozone ATM is completely free. I value that. Also, I love PostFinance’s ebankin, I’m like that.

The rest I have at my employer’s brokerage account. I’m one of those fortunate ones who must trade at their employer’s because of compliance regulations, even though I do not work in finance but in IT. I’ve been simplifying my portfolio, hence the high turnover and high fees.

Also, I’m switching employers in 2021 and my new one is also a financial institution with even higher fees for employees (!), so I needed a simpler set-up. Also because I will have to pay for the transfer costs out of my own pocket and these are per position.

I had been putting fitness off for many years. So I hired a personal coach. No spa, no massages. If only! I know, rich-person way of doing, but it really helped me. As you can see, I’ve needed him much less in 2020 than in 2019 as I do a lot at home by myself now. I consider this an investment in my health, physical but also mental!

I do like audio, also producing it myself. Here are my excuses:

  • First I got a fixed PC with a big processor and a lot of ram (CHF 1’200) so that I could be more productive when rendering audio and honestly, I’m happy with the results. It’s not a gaming PC since I don’t render video, only audio.
  • Then my portable PC broke down and I ended buying an ultrabook to replace it, also at around 1’100 CHF. I don’t regret this as I use it very often and I’m more productive than from the iPad I had been using in mobility. Did I mention I also enjoy writing?
  • As many have done during the soft confinement, I have made some home improvement work. In my case this included finally installing an audio system in the dining room which we have used extensively ourselves and when having people over. Amplifier and speakers set me back around 1’000 CHF.
  • As I was enjoying my hobby more often at home, I also spent about 2’500 CHF in new recording equipment including pre-amplifiers, an audio interface and a couple of new microphones.
  • The part I regret: I upgraded my home cinema speakers. Never Piega! Just some Dali, but still, this was completely unnecessary as the only improvement that is noticeable is when listening to stereo music, and that doesn’t require a new centra channel speaker.

I know…

I need it for online banking, stupid banks. It only costs me 2 EUR/month so that’s okay. The real expense comes from my Sunrise 42.-/month plan. It’s unlimited everything including calls to/from Europe/US/Canada and unlimited roaming. I consider this a bit of a luxury, but any year other than 2020 I would travel a lot and I also call my family on the phone because they are not tech-savvy. For me this is a confort choice cheaper than eating out.

In 2021 I expect transportations costs to go up, rent costs to go up and also educations costs. I will also need new furniture. But electronics, fitness should decrease dramatically. I have also made the choice to clean my apartment myself, so no more help. And online services should cost have as I will be billed correctly.

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Electronics clarifications sound fair.

Hehe, indeed not the most frugal way but probably worthwhile in relation to the health issues/spending.

Fun fact, I haven’t paid for a mobile phone plan since 2006 because all my employers ended up paying it. Might be worthwhile to check with the new employer if they cover phone costs.

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