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 🤩

117replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Hi guys,

    Trying to save $1,000 for a general purpose emergency fund until I can figure out all my True Expenses.

    Like 1
  • Alright broskies, here's the scoop. I'm saving up to quit my job next year! 🥳


    What? That's right, I'm quitting my boring office job to start an apprenticeship as an auto technician! The money I save will go towards my tuition for a 30 week foundations course and my living expenses for those 7 months. 


    Here's the breakdown:

    Living Expenses: $14,916.78

    Tuition:  $4754.80

    Total: $19,671.58


    As of this moment I have $10,403.86 saved. I'm using my RPP and RRSP to save so I can take advantage of my employer pension matching and the interest. Sadly that will be all of my retirement savings, but that's a different savings goal for a different period in my life. 😬


    I've calculated that I will save at least $6300 using my pension savings this year. I just need everyone to pray that my investments don't fail me. 🙏 I want to stretch that goal and go for a full $7000. I haven't accounted for 3rd paydays or potential interest so I think $7000 might be doable. Either way, good luck to me and to all of you! 🤑

    Like 1
    • Space Cadet Hi there. What an exciting life change! Probably you already thought of this, but just a reminder to double-check if there are penalties, hidden benefits, or limitations for using your RPP and RRSP to fund apprenticeships or non-retirement expenses. (I'm not familiar with them)

      Also I would strongly suggest additionally budgeting a few months of emergency fund/income replacement on top of your apprenticeship tuition and living expenses. I say this only as somebody who used my own retirement and emergency fund savings to quit my office job in 2017 and attend a training program for my new career...but I didn't budget for the months afterwards while job searching / waiting for my income to stabilize. At one point I ended up in a pretty dire situation with almost all my life savings gone and dipping into credit card debt. It might not happen to you, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone else!

      Best of luck on your big career move!

      Like 1
    • The Artist Formerly Known As Hi! Thanks for reminding me about the restrictions! I had actually forgot when I was detailing this. Luckily in Canada there's an option to borrow from your RRSP without paying interest, but the repayment is much quicker than student loans. The RPP doesn't have that option so I'll need to pay taxes on it, but I think I will get it back during tax time the following year since my income will be pretty low. 

      But those are more reasons for why it's so important to have extra saved, like you said. I honestly had not thought of what will happen after school so I appreciate the heads up. 😓 I think I won't get to start school until September 2022 (unfortunately) so that will give me some extra time to save. 

      It's great to get advice from someone who has gone through the exact same thing not long ago. Thank you so much! 😊

      Like 2
  • February Update:

    I've saved another $1,242.38 towards my goal this month. My tax refunds allowed me to fund my budget a few months ahead, so my current total saved is $1,659.05

    Like 1
  • This is my first savings challenge, and my goal is to add $4000 to my family's savings/emergency fund. We will hopefully finish our debt challenge in April or May to pay off our last credit card (Yay!!!), and then begin to save each month toward the goal. Therefore, I may not have any updates until then.


    Good luck to everyone.

  • End of February check in: Exceeded my monthly goal. Took some money out of my vacation fund since I am not going anywhere anytime soon and want to max out my Roth by May if possible. Made a good dent toward that goal in Feb. Time in the market is what I am aiming for (vs. trying to time the market). Got some birthday money too, so that went to the car replacement and emergency funds (+ used some for "fun money" not counted towards this challenge.) Since I'm not sure what my fall income will look like, I am trying to put away as much as I can now. 

    Like 1
  • February Check In

    I received our tax refund and stimulus payments from our 2020 baby. I was able to save $3,000 for vacation and $2,500 for our Medical OOP. 

    Total $5,500 / $6,500 or 86% complete already!

    I may end up adding another goal but I'll wait until we finish up this one first. 

  • For the month of Feb the savings was a little slow. But that's ok. I was able to put roughly 200 dollars away. I'm still really struggling with the idea that it's ok to save even though I have debt. 

  • Because got some cash - I was able to clear my debt. Woot Woot. So I will finally be able to set aside money for savings. I put some money in a GIC. And I'm going to be taking the money that I had been building to put into retirement investments. This year it will probably exceed what I planned with is really exciting. 

    So far I've only personally set aside 100. But because of family investment - I'll be getting additional money to go into my retirement savings. Exciting!

    Also my car payments will be gone by June and insurance will drop - so I expect at least 300 a month to go into savings after June.

    Like 1
  • Line 75 checking in here!

    I finished school (enough to work anyway) in December and got a job in January. I’m 31 and have no retirement. I had no savings until January. I’ve been living with family while I finished school, and I’m planning to move into my own place (hallelujah!) in June. 

    2021 is a hard reset for me. It’s like I’m 18 all over again, and I want to make it count. 
    I’m going to be using my savings account balance because I’m still new to YNAB and haven’t 100% figured out how to see my running totals for savings in the app. Any hints are appreciated! 

    Savings goals include:

    • $1800 - Job change fund. (They purchased software for me, and if I don’t stay a full year, I will owe half the cost. After a year, this amount will roll into my general savings.)
    • $3000-plus - General emergency fund
    • $6000 - Moving and furniture fund
    • $1000 - Paddle boards
    • Getting ahead on monthly budgeting 


    January: saved $4000. A huge part of that was student loans that I took out just in case I needed the funds. 

    February: saved $2500. That’s more than I’ve ever made in an entire month at any previous job. I’m stoked, to say the least.

    March: the month is young, but I already added another $1500 to my savings. 

    Since I’m paranoid to keep too much money in my checking account, I try to estimate what I’ll need between now and my next paycheck and keep my checking adequately stocked. So my savings amounts go up and down occasionally.  I’ll have a think on this over the next month and figure out what I want to do for this challenge.

    Like 1
    • Sky Blue Snow Use scheduled transactions for EVERYTHING (well, not groceries, but if those are on a credit card, then you'll have the statement as a scheduled transaction) and turn on the running balance in your account register to see cash-flow projections.

      I move Y amount to savings such that the balance right before my next paycheck is X (low side), but others like to start the month with X (high ish) in checking so that all expenses+a cushion is present. Then they move the excess (Y) to savings.

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life Okay, I’m an English major, so I need it dumbed down a little haha.

      Do you mean scheduling transactions when you use cash? Or pre-planning your spending outside of how YNAB is built? I only use cards as a general rule, so I’m not sure what problem that solves.

      And I think I’m going to continue keeping less in my checking just to be safe. I had someone try to charge a $900 AirBnB a while back, and I’m not keen for that to happen again 😊

    • March update: Saved a total of $2500. Compulsively window shopping for sofas as I near my move date! Ended the month with $9000 in savings.

      Like 2
  • Early March Check In

    I received our stimulus and saved the final $1,000 for our Medical OOP. 

    I added another goal which is a kitchen remodel for $3,000 but I was able to fully fund that too. 🎉

    Medical $3,500
    Vacation $3,000
    Kitchen $3,000

    Total $9,500 / $6,500 or 146% of my original goal!

    So crazy after years of paying debt to finally be smashing saving goals. Now I need to decide if I can think of any other big things to save for or if we are just going to switch to a general savings fund. There is a lot of year left!

    Like 4
  • Since interest rates prove to be rather abysmal these days I moved most of my savings to investments. Because of this, the monthly savings percentage does fluctuate rather heavily.  So far, good January, bad February, and good March.  Maybe April will be the worst, and May will top March - who knows? It's not a clear trend yet in any direction.

    Currently at 41.6% of my initial rather hairy goal. 🎉

    Like 2
  • March check in: met my monthly savings goal. Since I have a decent emergency fund, I decided to pause my E-fund savings for April and use that money to help fund my Roth IRA more quickly. Feeling good about that decision, but really weird not to be putting money into my E-fund this month. It became such a habit with ynab to do this automatically. On target to meet my annual savings goal. 

    Like 1
  • Joining in late. I just updated my savings goals in the spreadsheet. We've been avid YNAB'ers for 6 years and in that time we've paid off all our cc debt while also going to school. I'm out of school now and we have 2 incomes so our goal has shifted to saving for a large renovation project on our current home. This is the first time that we've shifted our focus to savings over paying off debt so I'm happy to have found this thread!

    Like 2
  • April check in. Met monthly savings goal. Paused Emergency fund goal so I can fund my Roth by May to increase time in the market.  I have several months saved in my EF, so feeling ok about this. Might shift some monthly savings money in June to medical/dental and auto or month ahead money just to beef up those true expenses before I get back to my E-fund. It's nice to be in a place where I have options. 

    Like 1
Like14 Follow
  • yesterdayLast active
  • 117Replies
  • 1598Views
  • 63 Following