2021: The Official YNAB Savings Challenge

Welcome to the official YNAB Savings Challenge of 2021!

It's that time of year where we reflect back and focus forward on what's to come in 2021! I know 2020 hit a lot of us in tough ways, but it was shocking to see how much we still managed to save in 12 months. Updates are still rolling in, but we managed to save over $1 million as a community in the 2020 savings challenge!

Everyone is welcome to join in on this challenge, regardless of the size of your goal or the date you join in.

To get started:

1. Claim your line on the 2021 Savings Challenge sheet.

Fill out all sections until Column F with your name (or forum username), what you're saving for, currency you'll be recording in, and the total amount you'd like to target in 2021.

2. Share a summary of your savings goals in this thread.

3. Check in and add your savings total to the sheet for each month throughout the year! Update this thread and celebrate with others!

Pro-tip: You can use ctrl+F (or command+F on a Mac) to search the spreadsheet for your name when the sheet gets filled up.

Let's set ourselves up for success in 2021! Happy saving, everyone 🤩

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  • Yay for a new start in 2021! During my first full year using YNAB I embraced budgeting and crushed all of my debt! Now I am looking forward to filling up all of my true expense categories and starting an emergency fund/income replacement fund.

    Last year I was able to pay off $6k in debt so that amount is also my goal for savings this year. That works out to be $500 a month. I have some stretch goals in mind if I can reach that amount before years end but - we'll see!

    I have also joined the 34 day reset to help kick start my goals.

    Good luck to everyone and Happy New Year!

    Like 7
  • Hello all - I'm new here. 

    I'm going to try and get my Emergency Fund up from $8k to $20k, so $12k total of new savings. Already have $2k budgeted for January, so added that into the sheet. Hope that's ok and not 'cheating'. 

    Good luck to everyone striving to reach their goals this new year. 

    Like 5
  • Woohoo! There I am at line 6! Now this goal is real!

    I’m excited for the year ahead. In addition to paying off our car loan early, I’ll be saving for a down payment on a second property, shoring up our emergency funds, building retirement savings, and getting ahead of a big trip we want to take to celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2022. 

    All told, I’m shooting for $20K in 2021. 

    I’ve got my spouse on board with the January no-spend challenge to jumpstart the year. It’s a big goal but it will be helped considerably by a part-time teaching job I take each spring. Plus we’re very motivated for this second property, so seeing that number rise will keep us going.

    Good luck to everyone! Happy new year! 

    Like 6
  • I'm thrilled to be participating in the 2021 Savings Challenge (I've claimed line 8)! We're working to save for a down payment on a new truck for my husband, beef up our emergency fund, and put some extra in our retirement accounts with a total goal of saving $20,000. Along with the 2021 Debt Smackdown, we have some aggressive goals, but with the support of YNAB and the awesome community, I know we can do it. So happy to be saving alongside y'all this year!

    Like 5
  • I'm in again for 2021! I've got line 9 this year.  We are closing on our house in a couple of weeks.  Need to save some for emergency fund and home improvements. Trying to be realistic, as we all know things can change.  Good luck to everyone!

    Like 5
  • Hi all,

    I've come over from the 2020 Debt Challenge as I was able to become debt free a few weeks ago. I now want to focus on my savings goals for this year. I know from the Debt Challenge that having the accountability of this group will be helpful in keeping me focused and on track. Here are my savings goals:

    1) TFSA Savings: $10,600

    2) Retirement Trip (eight years away but want to start slowly saving for it): $1000

    3) Italy Trip Sept 2023: $3000

    4) Emergency Fund part 1: $5000

    5) Emergency Fund (kind of) part 2: Budgeted 3 months ahead

    This adds up to a total goal of $20,600 plus the advanced budgeting. I've claimed line #10 and am excited to be starting this journey to be building my assets, rather than filling in a hole that I'd dug:)

    Like 7
  • I'm on line 12 and this is the first time I've become involved in a YNAB Challenge.  My goal is to save $14,260 in 2021.  $4500 is a 30 day income reserve; $5000 is for appliance replacement when/should that become necessary (home is 14 years old), and the remaining $4760 is for property taxes due at the end of the year.

    Like 6
  • Getting serious in 2021. I’ve set myself some rather ambitious goals this year to pay off $11000 in debt as well as save $10000 for the start of a down payment. 

    Like 7
  • Yay for 2021!  I paid off all my non-mortgage debt in 2020, which has been liberating in so many ways.  I also set up reasonable savings goals for emergency fund, vacations, and college funds for my kids.  Setting a really high bar of an additional $20K this year (and again in 2022) towards a new car sometime in the next 2 years.  It's gonna be tough, but definitely possible if I keep to my budget.

    Like 5
  • Excited for Savings Challenge 2021. I paid off my credit card debt last year in the debt challenge and replenished my emergency fund.  This year I think I can start saving for retirement in earnest. Prior to learning about FIRE, the idea of maxing out each year's retirement contributions had never even crossed my mind, but this year I am coming close. If I meet my goal, I can implement some stretch goals, I will keep my goals small and achievable for now.

    Happy new year!

    Like 7
  • Claimed line 18. 

    Our target savings goals for 2021 are as follows: 

    • Emergency Fund/Income Replacement Fund: $100.00 per month / $1,200.00 for the year.
    • Next Year's Annual Medical Deductible: $185.00 per month / $2,220.00 for the year.
    • Tech Replacement Fund (iPhones, Computer, Fitbit): $515.42 per month / $6,185.00 for the year.
    • Christmas: $41.67 per month / $500.00 for the year.
    • Escrow items: (2x Car Insurances, Homeowners Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Property Taxes): $1,250.00 per month / $15,000.00 for the year.

    As such, for 2021 our target savings goal = approximately $2,092.08 per month / $25,105.00 for the year.

    Like 4
    • January check-in (complete): We saved $2,068.60 as outlined below. We had a lot of competing priorities and chose to underfund Christmas accordingly.

      • Emergency Fund = $100.00.
      • Next Year's Annual Medical Deductible = $185.00.
      • Tech Replacement Fund: $515.42.
      • Christmas: $18.18.
      • Escrow items (2x Car Insurances, Homeowners Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Property Taxes): $1,250.00.

      Total savings YTD: $2,068.60, which is 8.24% of our total goal.  

      Below are our savings totals YTD:              

      • Emergency Fund = $100.00 / $1,200.00 (8% complete)
      • Next Year's Annual Medical Deductible = $185.00 / $2,220.00 (8% complete). 
      • Tech Replacement Fund: $515.42 / $6,185.00 (8% complete)
      • Christmas: $18.18 / $500.00 (4% complete)
      • Escrow items (2x Car Insurances, Homeowners Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Property Taxes): $1,250.00 / $15,000.00 (8% complete)
      Like 1
  • Claimed line 28. Very excited to participate in this and the debt smackdown trackers!

    Our target savings goals for 2021 are as follows: 

    1. Emergency Fund $100 per month / $1,200 for the year.

    2. Wedding $77.50 per month/ $1,400 for the year

    3. Personal Savings $60.92 per month/ $4,000 by end of the year

    4. Christmas: $77 per month / $1,000 for the year.

    5. Medical Deductible $41.67 per month/ $500 for the year. 

    6. 6-Month Auto Policy $120 per month/ $600 by April 2021.

    2021 Target Savings Goal = approximately $477.09 per month / $5,725.08 for the year. Hope everyone has a successful year!!

    Like 4
      • Gironaso
      • gironaso
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Gironaso Editing:

      1. Emergency Fund $100 per month / $1,200 for the year. Starting Balance:$0

      2. Wedding $57 per month/ $1,400 for the year: Starting Balance: $780, left: $620

      3. Personal Savings $60.92 per month/ $4,000 by end of the year. Starting Balance: $3,269, left $731

      4. Christmas: $77 per month / $1,000 for the year. Starting Balance: $0

      5. 6-Month Auto Policy $170 per month/ $680 by April 2021. Starting Balance: $0

      2021 Target Savings Goal = approximately $465 per month / $5,580 for the year. Hope everyone has a successful year!!

  • Claimed line 19. We paid off all of our non mortgage debt last year in the 2020 Debt Smackdown. December was very much a spend month, we used up most of the True Expenses except the vacation fund and so this year is a focus to rebuild and fully fund the TEs and finish the vacation fund. Since most of the savings is for TE, it is possible that they will get used during the year. I will keep track of the amount that is placed into those funds. I am hoping to save $10,300 this year. Luckily I should receive a large check soon that will help with this goal.

    Like 4
  • Happy New Year fellow YNABers! Wishing you all a healthy and happy year ahead with a focus on savings. I claimed line 20. Focusing on my E-fund, "Mom" fund, car replacement fund, and retirement savings. Planning to max out my Roth IRA and contribute a significant amount to my 403b. I love these community challenges and find them very motivating. Let's do this!

    Like 3
  • Line 22. My goal is to save towards a house down payment, and to build up my emergency fund. Total goal savings target is $54.7k, $24k for the emergency fund, and the remaining $34.7k gets me going towards a 20% down payment. It's a bit daunting, but that's how these things go. Let's go!

    Like 4
  • Hi everyone! Excited to start this challenge as I just finished the debt challenge last year and thankfully paid off all my debt. My goal this year is to focus on my emergency fund and contribute more to my retirement account. I may start saving for a house downpayment, but I'll focus on that area once I fully fund my Emergency goal. It would be something that really pushes out of my comfort zone in being diligent with my budget to reach that goal, but I'd rather set a challenging goal to see how far I can get! 

    EF - $12,000

    Retirement - $13,000

    House Down Payment - $10,000 

    Like 5
  • Happy New Year everyone. I going to see if I can make all my desired saving goals happen this year. I still have to focus on debt so once again saving goals aren't large. I know I'll struggle with these but I'd like to see how close I can get to them.

    R - 1500
    6Months - 1650
    Investment - 1000
    T - 1000

    = 5150

    Like 3
  • Claimed Line 29 (and very happy with that rhyme). 


    I've been out of debt for over 12 months, have built an emergency fund and am budgeting a month ahead. I have come along way as I am gradually rebuilding after previously becoming very sick and eating away all my savings in medical expenses. In 2021, I want to save $15k AUD and tackle goals which relate to building retirement savings (in addition to govt programs supported in Australia), starting a family, and buying a home.


    I hope that my goal is conservative and that I can actually achieve a lot more. 

    Like 4
  • Started YNAB Jan 2020. Was not even aware of the Community then or would have joined debt smackdown then.

    As it worked, we payed down $24K debt (all  except mortgage) and got out of the payday to payday cycle. We have AOM 32 days and DOB 58. Turned out to be way more than what we thought would happen, especially with pandemic storm tossing the boat. 

    Now we want to get ahead on savings. Also trying to get the house ready to sell (downsize for retirement). My wife and I are on the same page, so looking forward to this challenge! Extra income we took on in the year means an extra $4.5K  tax bill which we also have to save for. 

    Also joined the 34 day reset to help with this.

    Like 3
  • I've claimed line 38 (like in the Debt Smackdown!) -- my goal is to save up for our HELOC balloon payment. It's not due for several years, but if we don't get started now, we won't have *anything* set aside for it. This year I'd like to save 3600 (roughly 10% of the total).

    Like 3
    • Tomato Tamale The stimulus earlier this month helped get us started! 439.66 set aside in January, over 12% of the goal for this year. I don’t think we can sustain that rate, but it’s a good start

  • I claimed line 37 and am excited to do this again! Last year I didn’t think I could save $15k, but I ended up saving more than $30k. Some luck played into that (refinanced our house) and I’m super grateful I was able to keep my job. This year I decided to set a goal for $30k. I may not reach it, but I will try! It will require windfalls to reach, so maybe by putting that out there it will happen ;)

    here’s what I’m setting aside:

    college for my daughters: $1120/mo

    car for my daughters: $300/mo

    Christmas 2021: $100/mo

    pet care: $50/mo

    car registration: $25/mo

    car replacement: $250/mo

    car repairs: $100/mo

    graduation (the girls are 14/16): $50/mo

    Cord blood banking: $25/mo

    contact lens replacement: $50/mo

    This year’s fun holidays are already funded (Easter, Valentine’s, Halloween), so I don’t have to do anything here . My EF is fully funded ($10k), which is why I can really focus on college this year.

    That’s right around $2000/mo, which would put me at $24k/year, so with a little luck I will get to $30k!

    Like 3
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama updating this since on 1/15 I should be making about an extra $150 a paycheck. I know I'm not supposed to forecast, but I'm a bad girl. So:

      bumping these categories:

      college for my daughters: $1300/mo

      car for my daughters: $400/mo

      Would put me at around $28k-something saved, but I'm going to push to save $34k. With luck, windfalls, bonuses and reduced spending this year, I hope to be able to make it!

      Like 1
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 4 days ago
      • Reported - view

      January update, since I won't be adding any more to savings this month:

      I added $2,960 to savings:

      College: $1,725/$20,000

      Car for kids: $400/$4800

      Boring annual things: $195 (car registration, cord blood banking, contact lenses, yawn)

      Christmas: $130 (I used my Dec bonus to almost fill up Christmas 2021, so in May I'm done adding to this and will pivot the $ to college)

      Car repairs: $100/endless limit

      Car replacement: $250/$3000 (my car is still a baby, hope to save $3k a year for at least 5 years)

      I scooped the remaining difference from checking from sinking fund categories that were getting bigger than necessary. If I stay on this course, I'll make my 34k goal. But I know that every month is different and that it's ok if I fall short.

  • Line 33, 10,000, 1k for Emergency fund, the rest for various sinking funds/summer income.

    Like 2
  • Line 34.

    I've joined this year to keep my progress going from the 2020 debt smackdown. I surprised myself by paying over $15000 in debt last year. I still have a bit of debt to go but I am starting two months earlier so I want to try and save $14000 this year while paying off my final $4000 debt.

    My savings goals are made up of:

    1. Money put aside for car and health insurance excess ($1500)

    2. Lump sum payment into my superannuation to get the maximum government co-contribution ($500/$1500) - I started this last year with a category called "operation: free money"45gf

    2. A new bed and mattress ($3200)

    3. New phone as the lease on my current one is up this year and I want to buy outright to reduce ongoing expenses ($1000)

    4. Get 1-month expenses into my emergency fund ($2500)

    5. I will need new glasses by the end of the year ($500)

    6. I want to have the money ready to replace my iPad and watch as they are getting older and I use them everyday for work, uni and my everyday life ($3300)

    7. Get my emergency fund to two months ($2500)

    If I achieve all of these goals before the end of the year I will work on expanding my emergency fund to 3 or 6 months.

    I won't be able to regularly contribute to these categories for the first few months as I need to rebuild my one month buffer. However, I am hoping to pick up another source of income in a few months which should help.

    Like 2
    •  January Update

      Today started with good news when I checked my bank balance and discovered that I was awarded another scholarship. Last year when I received a similar scholarship I wiped out my one month buffer to eliminate my credit card debt. This time I am using the bulk of it towards the rebuild of that buffer.

      Fortunately, the scholarship was more than enough so I have also started working on my savings goals. I also decided to pay a full 12 month registration on my car instead of 6 months as I have been doing which will save some money going forward.

      January Progress

      1. Car and health insurance excess + $1500 ($1500/$1500) - I decided to completely fund this as it can also double as a general emergency fund until I can get that properly funded

      2. Lump sum super payment +$125  ($625/$1500) - I funded this through savings found in the 34 day challenge. This is a large priority as I will get an extra $500 co-contribution if I get $1000 in there by the end of June.

      I wasn't able to put any on my other categories this month but I think rebuilding the 1-month buffer was more important. I have one last pay this month which will cover the remaining expenses next month with some left over to put towards my savings.

  • It is 2021!! This was a great tool to celebrate the progress we made in saving during 2020 despite hardships.  Our goal is to purchase our first home in the fall of 2021 so we need to continue saving!  We need $80,000 in total and saved almost $40k in 2020. 

    I'm setting our savings goal for 2021 at $42,000.  Our budget is ALL about saving for this house right now.  Once we purchase a house, we'll pivot towards paying off debt and saving for future expenses.  

    Like 1
  • Claimed line 41.

    After paying off nearly $15,000AU in debt in 2020 smackdown, it's time to join the savings bandwagon this year!

    Starting off with fairly modest goals.

    New car deposit: $5,000AU

    Future house deposit: $10,000AU

    Total: $15,000AU

    Works out to $1,250AU/month. Manageable I think.

    Like 1
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