2020 was an lovely year, if I squint with one eye and close the other.
Firmly focusing on the positives, I will look at some targets.
Free time and travels: I sat at home from end of February for the rest of the year. From March on, I left my neighbourhood only on my bicycle (twice on train for essential visit to an authority). I like my home, my flatmate (aka the man, the partner), and my neighbourhood (Amsterdam centrum). We have room for an office and we have a balcony for gardening.
Working at home is fine for me and I thought it was an easy way to collect income. Then the bulldozer micro-manager was promoted to my manager and the workload tripled with halved production. The candle started burning at both ends and I got scorched. Enter sick leave. I left before I burned out, but it was still too late. I am well taken care of, but clearly burned out. My new daily task is to recover. It is a job in it self and does not happen without attention.
I work hard to recover but I will not even try returning to work. I will just calmly walk away from the flesh eating tigress while maintaining eye-contact. I will collect salary until the day I leave voluntarily.
Health and teeth: I have been healthy, except the three illnesses (one unknown flu, one sinuses infection and one burn damage). While firmly focusing on the positive, I will say that I am healthy. Daily walk, daily exercises, daily meditation and home cooked vegetarian food is in the agenda. I’m not sure if it would have been enough to go un-scorched through the pandamNic year, but it sure does help the general good lifestyle.
I did have one teeth cleaning appointment, I am still to have the annual dentist appointment. It is (currently) scheduled to be mid January 2021. It needs to happen. This is one of my spendings.
Clothes & shoes: I have worn the same three pairs of trousers the entire year, and perhaps five shirts. Over and over again, day in day out. With slippers. Add fleece jacket on colder days. Add blanket for colder evening. This has been my 2020-uniform. (Unless in sports clothes, pyjama or something I have sewed myself.) Very comfortable, very easy, very cheap.
In total I have spent €26 on clothes and €67 on shoes the entire year. All of it in the first half of the year.
This has been a serious non-spend category this year, and most probably will not increase next year.
Food: The unexpected high-spending category of this year. Mostly because there has been no spend in any other category so everything has been bought in the food shops. The man and I have the bucket system to share costs (literally a bucket for receipts, added and divided when full, usually every two months.) This is not for personal spend, only costs for shared things but neither of us are entirely picky and he'll happily pay for my sweets and drink more than me of our wine.) It also includes what we eat out, coffee, beer, cleaning materials, household goods, renovation material etc. This has through out the year always been under 250€ per person per month.
Fixed costs: the top-spent category this year but so it should as it includes rent, energy, heating, insurances, internet, and all city taxes. The costs are calculated once a year and divided in two, who ever actually pays gets reimbursed at intermittent intervals. The cost for 2020 was lower than 2019 because of the new energy contract we signed in the beginning of this year. 2021 costs are not calculated yet, and although some costs actually announced to be lower, some others will probably go up. We will look for discounts but after that, pay and forget. This is the basic cost for living in Mokkum.
Gardening: There is no gardening post in our budget, but we decided early that this was a spend whatever for this year. This was instead of our vacation, travel and pleasures budgets. This year for our inner city 2x3 meter balcony, we bought soil, nutrients and seeds for some almost calculable money. Pots are usually provided by the trash gods. For next growing season, (weather it will be in 2021 or 2022), I have gathered seeds from all sorts of things we have grown or bought. I have also replanted anything that has sprouted from the different seeds buried by the Eurasian jay bird (Garrulus glandarius), commonly but incorrectly known as Vlaamse Gaai (nötskrika, nøtteskrikje, skovskade). So far hazel, oak and linden for my pretend forest). Much, much, much joy was brought by gardening this year.
All other budget posts, have come in at zero or below half than expected for this year. Great savings this year. Next years budget is unchanged in the different posts. For 2021, I will however increase my total annual budget by fifteen percent or so (average rounded up). More about that tomorrow, when the new year begins.
The year ends in lock-down and self-isolation from people. Since 24 February 2020, I have been in the office four times and never a full day. I do not expect to go back ever, unless I need to hand in tools and access cards.
I accept that. I have changed and the job has changed and we are no longer a match.
After a unexpected, entirely undeserved but contractually regulated bonus payment received in December, I end 2020 with an Financial Independence number of 63,79.
This means that my assets will last me almost 64 years until they run out, not including pension rights as they are outside of my control. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the cost increases will not exceed interests or dividends, and that forthcoming taxes will fit within the estimated annual budget. I have a life expectancy of maximum another 50 years, so I will adjust the annual budget for next year accordingly.
Annus horriblis is coming to an end today.
Annus mirabilis is hopefully coming in the next calendar year.
Stay safe, protect your eyes and laugh a little.