Here in the Netherlands there’s a thing called Restaurant Week. During that week (actually, about ten days) certain restaurants offer a night out with a three-course menu for only €27.50. We received a special invitation from this company to subscribe earlier. Officially people can subscribe as of tomorrow. Restaurants do this in order to have people discover their restaurant and gain publicity that way. We made a short list of nice restaurants in our town by reading lots of reviews. In the end we picked an Italian restaurant and a trendy one.
We decided to treat ourselves and we’ve signed up for two Friday nights. We’re going to visit two restaurants we’ve never been before. It’s a sort of nice treat at the end of summer since it’s during the last week of August. Plus, we hardly ever go to restaurants anymore. Normally we’d spend at least €50 to €60 per person on a night out and that’s just not worth it. For €55 for the two of us we’d like to give it another go. Drinks are not included, but as I’m pregnant that won’t be too expensive either! I’m very curious as to whether I’ll enjoy the experience. I was really fed up with going to restaurants at one point…
Would you do such a thing?
Even though I’m only about 7.5 weeks pregnant I have already started looking into the cost of day care. This frugality and managing your money is all about planning and looking ahead, isn’t it? Bloody hell! The costs are ridiculous!
We’d have to pay €310 a month for one day of professional child care a week. We can drop our kid from 07.30 till 18.30 and we’d be paying all those hours. Even though I’d drop it at 08.00 and pick it up at 17.00. It’s the rules or whatever. They charge €6.77 an hour. That’s €3720 a year. You pay this amount every month, whether you’re on holiday or not. Since I have 12 weeks a year off (ah, the joy of working for the Dutch government!) and would be able to take care of the child myself during those three months we’d still be paying that amount. Yikes! That’s almost a thousand euros down the drain!
We don’t qualify for subsidies of any kind, so this is the price we’ll pay. My husband works 4 days a week and so do I. I’ll take care of the little one on Mondays and he’ll be doing that on Fridays. The two grandmothers insist on taking care of the little one a full day each (YAY!). So this leaves us with only one day in paid for child care.
There is a neighbour who is currently minding two kids for another neighbour. I’ve heard she would be interested in taking on more kids. I don’t know her rate, but according to the internet that should be about €4.5 to €5. I also expect her to not mind me taking care of our kid(s) myself during the school holidays. She has the same arrangement with the other neighbour.
Okay, time for some maths. Let’s say she charges €5 an hour and we drop the kid off once a week from 07.30 till 18.00 (let’s assume things take more time a day than I am anticipating now) for 40 days a year in total. That would be €42.5 a day and for forty weeks a year that would total €1700. Wow, a €2.000 difference!
I guess we’re going to have to talk to her when we go public with this whole pregnancy thing?! And we need to think of a good way to properly thank the grandmothers too!
The other option would be for me to work three days a week instead of four.
How have you arranged child care?
According to this article the Dutch are economizing on clothing expenses. They’re spending €53 a month LESS on clothing. The article doesn’t state how much people spend on clothes each month on average. Jeez,
I had a look at my excel sheet and it turns out that on average we spent about €45 each on clothing per month during the first six months of this year. Mind you, this is including sports gear, undies, shoes, second-hand clothing…the whole shebang. That’s €8 less than what “regular people” have cut back on their spending! How much was the original number? Probably more than €100 per person.
This year my husband bought a new snowboard jacket which he also uses as his winter coat. It was on sale for €119 and he bought a new pair of snowboard pants at €99. That’s already a big chunk of our total clothing expense this year which is €540.48 up till now between the two of us! I think we’re doing a rather good job in this department.
New clothes are rather expensive here in The Netherlands compared to some countries outside Europe. We usually shop for new clothes in January and August when everything’s on sale. My husband isn’t into second-hand, however I am.
How much do you spend on clothing?
Ah, the last Sunday of the month! I just love that day. It’s the day we always send our newsletter. The side business generates the most on a day like this. People have their paycheck and don’t have much do to on Sundays except shopping for stuff on the internet, I guess?
It feels more and more weird to be thinking like this in order to have people spend their money on my products. I am trying to live frugally myself and would not budge for my own offers. Strange, hey? I started the side business over six years ago…I was a spendalot then myself.
I planned to make “the phone call” next week Monday, but I just couldn’t wait. So I phoned the bank and asked them whether they received our second last mortgage payment. They did! So I asked for a repayment check. The employee was very interested in why I was paying off the mortgage so aggressively, so I explained. Yadayada, early retirement, yadayada, financial independence, yadayada being free. He sincerely congratulated me and will take care of the repayment check.
This felt sooooooo good! Such a pity I couldn’t drink a nice glass of Prosecco ;-). I love to celebrate with cheap bubbles!
The procedure is as follows. The bank will send us a repayment check within five days. By August 9th we’ll have to pay the remaining amount. They will have calculated the exact amount including interest. Then, our interest-only mortgage will be history! It will say zero, nil nothing! HA! Happy dance!!!
The employee also looked at the rest of our savings mortgage. He went on about the tax breaks and how we should be careful not to throw those away. I explained him that we’re now thinking of a new game plan. Most likely this will be index investing, unless the fiscal clam is lifted and we are allowed to make extra payments on that part of the mortgage without suffering any tax drawbacks.
Anyways, I am very much looking forward to August 1st. Let’s crack some numbers then!
Earlier this week I decided to help other women get pregnant. How? Yesterday a Mothers For Mothers representative came by and explained the whole thing. She also left all the stuff I need. See, I’m pregnant and I have the HCG hormone in my pee. Yep, that’s right. Apparently, it’s like this goldmine for women who can’t get pregnant easily. Every time I pee at home, I pee in a cup and then decant that into a special container. I have eight containers that fit into two crates. Every Thursday I can leave the crates outside, a driver will come pick them up and will leave two new ones for me to use. They make things extremely easy for the woman donating her pee. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough women donating these days. I’ll try to motivate people in the neighbourhood as soon as I’ve passed the twelve-week mark. Until then, I don’t want everybody to know I’m pregnant because things could still go wrong. Oh, one can donate until one’s sixteen weeks pregnant. So my last donation will be on 3 October if everything goes according to plan.
Would you donate your pee or motivate your wife in order to help other women get pregnant?
Yesterday we made our second last payment on the interest-only part of the mortgage. I can’t tell you how much the original number was…but it was tens of thousands of euros. And now we’ve brought it down to….drum rolls please….€286.33. We started attacking this part of the mortgage on 27th October 2012. Yes, that’s 9 months ago. We put a lot of savings in it, lived rather frugally but most of all we stuck with our focus. Our goal was to pay this thing off by the end of this year. HA! Take that you big bank!
Next week I am going to call the bank and they’ll give us the exact number we’ll have to transfer to them on which specific day. I’m not quite sure what to call it in English but we’ll need a repayment check so that that part is ticked off. Because of this thing we couldn’t repay the whole thing in full at the end.
Next week Monday will be one of the coolest phone calls ever. We now own 30.35% of our home!!!