Pants down! MP family's 2020 Swiss spendings!

Last updated: July 14, 2021

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Between my book and the blog posts, I receive many admiring emails. Readers think I’m some kind of infallible hero who manages his finances and his life in a masterful way.

While I like this image, this idealization carries the risk that you, dear reader, will feel guilty if you fail to follow or implement this or that frugal practice.

That’s why, even though it stresses me out every year to publish this article, I make sure to publish all of our expenses so that you realize that I am far from perfect. And that no one is. And that therefore, you can breathe and take all that FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) stuff a little more easy.

That being said, as I explained to you last year, I changed my budget categories in 2020 so that I could more easily compare my expenses with the Swiss statistics.

If you’re new here, and you’re wondering how it’s possible to be able to know all of your annual expenses in such detail, look no further! The answer is called YNAB.

Enough blabla, pants down now:

Category2020 amount (CHF)2019 amount (CHF)Comments
Food21'126.6018'043.89Details below
- Groceries‌17'941.2713'971.15I put this increase on the account of COVID: we ate a lot more at home, the children also consume more with age, and we unleashed the budget a little more post-confinement…
- Restaurants‌2'748.632'637.65We’re staying with the same numbers, with a strategy of “It’s the exception rather than the rule”
- Lunch at work Mrs. MP‌313.60771.55Thank you COVID :)
- Lunch at work Mr. MP123.10‌663.54Thank you COVID :)
Housing17'860.2217'676.06Details below
- Mortgage interests9'328.80‌9'328.80
- Maintenance and repairs427.20‌393.60
- Concierge451.20416.60
- Electricity744.95749.15
- Water163.80‌152.15
- Building insurances574.20‌528.35
- Maintenance abos590.40‌543.20
- Banking fees36.00‌35.00If only we could go to Zak :)
- Renovation fund492.00454.00
- PPE management fees754.20‌694.35
- Heating and hot water‌1'933.8‌1'781.4
- Purification and water taxes590.00648.50
- Garbage tax300.00‌100.00
- Property taxes464.80‌464.80
- ECA‌34.50‌40.60
- Furnishings412.821'211.41
- Other one-time costs‌561.55‌882.65Payment of excess expenses from the previous year
Telecoms and tools3'512.231'538.58Details below
- Mobile and home internet abos‌2'033.401'346.40Cf. our setup in this article. Also, we have renewed our phones after hard negotiations, and the costs are included in our subscriptions
- Online computer backup service72.00‌72.00
- Software, online abos (e.g. YNAB), etc.‌117.83120.18
- New laptops et smartphones‌1'289.000.00Computer change planned in the budget :)
Transports4'649.609'945.46Details below
- Auto insurance323.30‌323.30We changed our car insurance to save CHF 2'253 over ten years. All the details in this article
- Car tax103.10‌103.10The advantage of driving a car like ours
- Swiss motorway vignette0.00‌20.00“Free” vignette last year thanks to an offer at Nestlé if you bought a certain amount of groceries
- Vehicle technical inspection0.00‌130.00
- Car expenses and repairs541.753'435.16
- Gas1'485.041'757.40Thank you COVID, but we did drive quite a bit (and the children’s activities don’t help — what an excuse ;))
- Tolls and parking363.311'284.72That’s a pleasure! Hence the interest to travel in Switzerland and not abroad ;)
- Public transport‌1'833.102'891.78Thank you COVID!
Medical‌18'158.4017'879.58Details below
- Health insurance HIA9'014.408'745.60Our basic insurance for the four of us at Assura, as recommended in this article
- Supplementary health insurance LCA642.80622.80Complementary for alternative medicine, and dental insurance for children (fortunately we took it for orthodontics as recommended by all the parents in our entourage)
- Doctors and pharmacies8'500.808'511.18Almost identical to last year, it’s funny — as a reminder, all these expenses are due to orthodontics for our children (a large part of which was reimbursed, but we still count that in the expenses because we had to take out the cash)
Personal expenses Mr. and Mrs. MP‌7'332.002'385.57Details below
- Clothes and shoes Mrs. MP976.03573.69No thanks to COVID, with more time to surf online…
- Beauty and care Mrs. MP2'329.21446.03As noted by many female readers, as age advances, expenses in this area increase
- Sport Mrs. MP317.00n/aSign up for a group activity because she needed to be with people!
- Freedom budget Mrs. MP2'875.091'204.10All the information on this category is detailed in this article
- Clothes and shoes M. MP560.87161.75Renewal of summer and winter shoes, as well as hiking shoes. We should be good for at least 2-3 years for the former, and 10 years for the latter
- Sport Mr. MP32.00n/aBike helmet
- Freedom budget Mr. MP241.80‌n/aNew headphones for remote work, and Netflix for when there’s a show I want to watch (no thanks to COVID :))
Gifts‌2'229.741'017.16Details below
- Gifts2'229.741'017.16If you take out a big gift to celebrate a special event for Mrs. MP and I, we still spent quite a bit more in this category. Is it the deconfinement effect and all the people we were invited to between the two waves?
Birthdays‌1'840.482'156.75Details below
- Birthdays’ presents1'840.482'156.75More or less stable. Perfect :)
Christmas‌1'068.87989.65Details below
- Christmas’ presents1'068.87989.65More or less stable. Perfect :)
Children7'488.829'760.53Details below
- Childcare3'982.45‌6'353.35Thank you COVID!
- Clothes and shoes kids873.22700.04More or less stable.
- School supplies and outings23.25415.01
- Extra-curricular activities and supplies2499.902'257.13The respective activities of the toddlers, with the necessary supplies for each one
- Kids’ hairdresser110.0035.00It increases (too much for my taste ;))
Entertainment and vacation/leisure5'470.559'151.55Details below
- Leisure and tourism (museums, baths, etc.)‌2'546.581'425.4We went out more on weekends than on long vacations
- Entertainment (movies, books, Teleboy, etc.)183.97‌189.00
- Billag/Serafe365.00‌365.00
- Holidays‌2'375.00‌6'050.97Not as big and not as far, but just as cool!
- Taxes‌19'114.8020'275.25
- Miscellaneous‌3'613.612'292.96‌Exceptional administrative costs as well as a private event. Without that, we were in the same ballpark as 2019 so that’s OK
- Private liability insurance196.50‌193.70
TOTAL CHF113'662.42113'306.69The 2019 amount is to be taken with a pinch of salt as I changed my categorization, so it’s possible that some transactions are not counted (such as exceptional professional training). For 2020, we are still too high compared to my psychological limit of 100kCHF, but hey, the numbers don’t lie! (even if without orthodontics we arrive around 108k, but with “but” we would remake the world ;))

After creating this whole summary table, here’s what I get out of it:

  1. It’s cool to see that our level of frugality is stable, and that we’re not getting carried away with spending in the 150k range or more
  2. Childcare expenses are gradually going down, but our taxes will also go up accordingly because we’ll be able to deduct less
  3. Children are progressively more expensive in terms of food (they eat so much!), clothes, and haircuts ;)

And rather than playing the game of what we could not have spent here and there, I’m more interested in getting your feedback on the categories where I inspire you; and conversely, where you have ideas for drastic improvements compared to the current situation.

I’m looking forward to reading you in the comments below!

And else, how went your spendings in 2020?

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