Do you tell others how much you earn? How much did your new car cost? Or what amount is in your savings account? Peter and Linda de Groot do. Why? “We want to remove the taboo of money.”
Ask someone what he makes and it goes quiet. For Peter and Linda, this is proof that money is a taboo. Is it bad? “I don’t necessarily need to know what someone earns,” says Linda. “But I think it’s interesting to know how people handle money. Where do they save and what do they spend a lot on? What do they invest in and what don’t they invest in? We learned the most from people who were very open about their grades. And so we hope that others will learn from us when it comes to this.”
More piggy banks
The couple from Barneveld regularly sit down to discuss their finances: are we good stewards, are we still good with our money? What helps them is that they divide their income into different pools every month. Linda in particular is a star in this. “We have one bank account with several piggy banks. When our salary comes in, I immediately distribute that amount among these jars, such as charity, clothing, cleaning lady, babysitter, vacation and gifts. What remains is the grocery money. It is actually a matter of very simple budgeting. You used to do it in a cash book, I do it through my bank tellers. That way, I always know how much budget there is for everything.”
“What are they doing it for?”
From Wednesday 23 March, Peter and Linda can be seen in a new series of the EO program ‘What do they do it with?’
Do you ever fall short?
Linda: “Sometimes at the end of the month I think: oh, do I really have to buy groceries, or is there something in the freezer? But I also know: The jar will soon be filled up. So I never have a month left when my money runs out. Because we know exactly what we are doing, we never have to be in the red.”
The Church and charities
The first thing Peter does when his salary is paid is to transfer a portion to charity. “We give relatively much to the church and to charities, about ten to fifteen percent of our monthly income.” Linda: “The 2nd is holidays and days off. Where your money is, there is your heart, they say. Well, with us, the money – and therefore our heart – goes into building our family. We think holidays and days out are important, that we enjoy it immensely. Creating memories, building relationships, that’s what life is about. But because we have a special jar for it and therefore reserve an amount for it every month, it doesn’t hurt either.”
Peter and Linda spend a little on the car, clothes and luxury items. They drive “a simple Peugeot”, and Linda often gets clothes especially for the little ones. When it grows out of it, she passes it on to someone else. “I just gave away two boxes full of clothes.”
“We don’t have much time to shop either,” laughs Peter. “I think the last time was two years ago.”
Do you ever make mistakes?
Peter: “Not really. Linda is an expert at fixing things and it really saves us from buying bad things.” “Last year we bought an old motorhome for five thousand euros,” adds Linda. “You can at most call it an impulsive purchase, even though we feel like royalty with that thing. And we could afford it, because our planned holiday abroad was canceled .”
How do you handle unexpected costs, such as an expensive car repair?
Peter: “We have a long-term savings account for that. So we don’t really have any unexpected expenses. Although our washer and dryer recently broke. Really mad, because we are just renovating the bathroom.”
We do not spend money indiscriminately
“Which I also find unexpected and unpleasant,” adds Linda: “Recently three bikes had to go to the bike workshop. Now it wasn’t even shocking amounts, but I found these costs annoying. Maybe Peter could have repaired those bikes too, although I don’t think about it at all. We both work a lot, so I’d rather he do something fun with the family on Saturday afternoon than spend three hours tinkering with those bikes.”
Although Peter and Linda don’t necessarily have to look after the little ones with a net monthly income of 5,500 euros, Linda cuts back where she can. For example, she can safely buy a birthday present for her children at the Marktplaats. “I enjoy making good deals. Our daughter’s birthday is coming up and she wants a dollhouse of some expensive brand: 150 euros. Yes, I think. It gives me a kick to buy half of the same dollhouse at the Marktplaats. So no, we don’t spend money indiscriminately, but think it’s a sport to handle it in a good way.”
Expensive surgery abroad
Although the two are well aware that ‘having fun with money’ takes on a completely different meaning if one of their incomes suddenly disappears. “Our motto is not for nothing: ‘We want to be good for ourselves and good for others’. The more we earn, the easier we can give away. Coincidentally, I got a text message yesterday about a family from the church that is having a hard time. “Are you in or is this month too expensive already?” was the question. ‘No’, I replied, ‘we’re happy to participate, thank you for asking us!’ I am sincerely glad that we can transfer an amount without thinking.
We want to be good to ourselves and good to others
Recently, a girl from the church had set up a crowdfunding campaign for an expensive operation abroad. Then I am grateful that we can give to that family. So the joy lies in doing good things for ourselves, but certainly also for others.”
‘guard your heart’
You would think: if you are so busy with budgeting, you are therefore busy with money. But Peter and Linda don’t think so, even though they recognize that this danger lurks. Linda: “Proverbs 4 says take care of your heart. We always want to test ourselves against that. And by being transparent with friends and family and always aware that all our provisions come from God, we stay grounded. Life ultimately consists of relationships, health and living in peace and love with each other. Economics helps fill that out as best as possible.”
Does money make you happy?
Peter: “I don’t think about money in itself. But what can you do with it and what can result from it.”
Linda: “It gives a certain basic peace of mind if you know that the economy is in order. So in that sense, I think money makes you happy. Because no money makes you unhappy, I think.”
Yes, we are rich because we know Jesus
Do you see yourself as rich?
Peter: “We are absolutely rich! But when you say that, people immediately think that you have a large amount of money in your bank account. The correct answer is yes, we are rich because we know Jesus. In addition, we are healthy, we have a good marriage, four healthy children and a thriving business.”
Linda: “In the Netherlands we are actually all rich; we live in the top four of the richest countries. We went to Hungary last summer where we did street work with our children and helped the homeless. We did this partly to show the children that there is a downside and that there are people who are starving. But also to teach them that it is good to give, for example, a tenth of their pocket money to people who have less.
We are currently renovating our bathroom where not everything is going smoothly. It is sometimes difficult and things slow down because some items are not available. You may hate it, but we think: we have running water, even hot water. We thank God for that every day.
Who: Peter (44) and Linda (37) de Groot
Job: He: owner of driving school She: independent family and parenting coach
Net income per month: € 5551
Expenses per month:
• donations: € 628
• mortgage (incl. housing costs and insurance): € 1071
• mortgage investment properties: € 750
• gas/water/light: €250
• health insurance: €200
• subscriptions: € 200
• pocket money: € 20
• clothing fee: € 150
• gifts: €25
• petrol: € 80
• babysitter, daycare and cleaning fee: € 519
• piano/dance lessons: € 95
• savings/travel/holidays: €380
• long-term savings/investment: € 432
• groceries: € 735