2019: The Official Savings Challenge

Happy new year, everyone, and welcome to the 2019 YNAB savings challenge!

All are very welcome to join in, no matter the size of your goals or savings purpose. Claim your line on the spreadsheet and then post your goal to this thread, then check in every month to update your progress on the spreadsheet and the thread. If you have a journal, you can also link this on the spreadsheet. 

2019 Savings Challenge Spreadsheet

A special thanks to @Budget_Ninja for creating the spreadsheet and to speaking_of_art who is taking a second year as steward of the spreadsheet.

The 2018 savings challenge total is not yet completed, and there will be people still posting their final updates in early January, but I can see that as a group YNABers from both forums saved in excess of $760,000 (US $).  That is outstanding!

Let the 2019 saving begin.

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  • I'm formally declaring my 2019 savings goal of $28,000.

    The first $10,000 of that is a final gift from my Dad, a cash inheritance from his estate which I received in December. I categorized it as income for January, so I added $10,000 to the amount I am planning to save this year.

    The remainder, $18,000, is what I expect to save from my income. I think I'll be doing very well if I can maintain last year's saving rate of $1,500-ish/month.  I'm going to give it an enthusiastic and determined try.  My salary remains frozen at the 2016 rate, and new carbon taxes are increasing the cost of everything.

    Reply Like 3
  • We typically save 2K-3K a month so my goal is 24,000 this year. 

    Reply Like 2
  • Yay it's here! Nice work and thank you to everyone involved in making these challenges. I had great fun with last year's challenge and met my goals.

    This year my goal is 9,000,000 KRW. I actually plan to save more than this, but for consistency I will only be tracking my long-term goals this year, as last year I kept changing the way I tracked my savings and it really messed up my tracking for the challenge.  My long-term savings goals are reaching 15,000,000 KRW for an apartment deposit by September 2019 (over half-way funded), and then 5,000,000 KRW for a trip to Sweden, England and Scotland to see my family by April 2020 (already have 500,000 KRW saved for this goal). If I can save 750,000 KRW per month next year, I will be exactly on track to reach my goals on time.

    I also have some goals I will not be tracking. In last year's challenge, I saved about 3,500,000 KRW for vacations to Hanoi and Tokyo. Tokyo is probably going to be pretty (cripplingly) expensive, so I'll be looking to throw an extra 500,000 KRW into my travel fund before I go. I am also hoping to keep my EF topped up in the event that I need to use it at all. Any extra money that exceeds my savings goals will firstly be going to a printer, and then to getting ahead with my long-term tracked goals.

    Good luck to everyone taking part, and Happy New Year!

    Reply Like 2
      • Formal Dribble
      • 😎👌
      • Turquoise_Storm.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Soymylk Can I assume you are a native English speaker by your writing & that your family is in the UK? What kind of work do you do in Korea? I am hoping to make the move there myself this year.

      Reply Like 1
      • Soymylk
      • soymylk
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Formal Dribble Hi there, yes you're right on both counts! I'm working in Korea as an English teacher. Great to see someone else on here planning to make the move to Korea! It's a great country. What are you planning on doing here? If you have any questions about living in Korea feel free to ask away :) 

      Reply Like
      • Formal Dribble
      • 😎👌
      • Turquoise_Storm.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Soymylk Wow. I'm searching/interviewing for a late February/March start as an English teacher in the Seoul area. Your numbers gave me chills, tbh...I live pretty frugally, and I knew that teachers in Korea can make bank, but seeing your goals listed out shows me even more strongly how much I could be making/saving each month.

      Good luck with saving for your apartment key money, it's a huge step if you want to stay there for longer than a year or two and you're clearly already well on your way!

      Reply Like 2
      • Soymylk
      • soymylk
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Formal Dribble That's great! Seoul is a great city, I'm also here. Good luck with finding a job that suits you! And to be honest I'm not really even a particularly frugal person and I'm still saving a good amount, so if you live frugally you're going to do great with saving out here! And thanks - I definitely should already be in my own place out here by now, but unfortunately I discovered YNAB too late haha. Oh well, better late than never as they say!

      Reply Like 1
  • I’ve joined. All your goals have made me think I’m aiming too low!

    Reply Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      😄 positive peer pressure!  

      Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g but realistic goals are achievable!

      Reply Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Good point. Well I will stick at £11300, 7000 of real long term saving plus 4300 being saved to spend. Maybe I’ll add a stretch as I go along...

      Reply Like 2
  • After a successful squashing if debt in 2018, I’m now going to build up my emergency reserves.  Targeting a $10,000 goal.

    Reply Like 6
  • Setting my 2019 saving goal at $18,000. This is a push for me as it makes me think about how I can start another stream of income. 

    Reply Like 2
  • My goal is $5000 to put towards my EF and future kiddos.

    Reply Like 3
  • I’m only going to post my long term goal of £5000. I do want to save a lot more this year, but the rest will likely be for shorter term savings 

    Reply Like 2
  • First time doing this, let's see if it works. My saving goals for 2019 are:

    1) 600€ for tution fees

    2) a 1.000€ backup (I don't like the word emergency fund)

    3) 1.300€ for my dream trip to Tokyo in November. Since Santa (aka my mom) gave me 600€ for Christmas there is only 700€ left.

    Total: 2.900€

    4) Stretch goal: 3.500€, for a new/2nd hand laptop.

    The overall goal is to throw 250-300€ each month at savings, which is quite a chunk since I'm running on a students budget.

    Reply Like 4
  • This year focus is paying off debt so my budget is going to be tight. Savings goal is 2,000 by the end of the year

    Reply Like 7
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alley_Cat that was me last year!  Good for you!  It feels great!

      Reply Like
  • We are saving to build a new, net-zero house in the next 2-5 years. My current best estimate is that we will save $144,045.41 in 2019, but I went with a stretch goal of $150k for motivation!

    Reply Like 6
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Laura Coursen cool!!!!!!!  I see you over on FB a lot, thanks for all the support you've given!!  You're awesome!

      Reply Like 1
      • Laura Coursen
      • Technical Writer
      • lecoursen
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Thank you so much!! I can't believe it took me this long to join the forum, but someone posted the savings challenge in the facebook group, and this is the first year we have a big savings goal to track!

      Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Laura Coursen yay!

      Reply Like
  • I've added my 2019 Savings Goal on line #39. My goal will be $30k:

    • $16,500 for 1 full year of daycare (starting in summer 2019, so this would give me a buffer into 2020),
    • $1505.36 for maternity and baby photos for first year,
    • $3,900 for emergency fund,
    • $6,858.48 for rainy day funds, and
    • $1,236.16 for various expenses, including baby stuff and supports (only such a precise # to get to the round # of $30k).

    And as a stretch goal I would ideally like to save $35k or more, which would allow for travel or other nice to haves. We'll see how taxes and my bonus are, though. My saving for 2018 was successful thanks to this challenge, so I'm hopeful for another successful year in 2019. Best of luck to everyone! 

    Reply Like 4
  • Hi all, and happy new year!  I have goals for savings for 2019!  $5,000 to EF and sinking funds, 10,000 in replacement for my salary over the summer, when I work less than half time (unless I get a grant funded, which would be amazing!), fully funded xmas budget, family vacation and a writing retreat, and $700 monthly contribution to my daughters 529 college savings plan. Our retirement comes out automatically, and we are  15-20  years out, so I'm not tracking that here.  I'd actually like to up the 529 amount to $800/month, but not yet sure if that is feasible. If I can cut our eating out and grocery budget, I can do it. I'm looking forward to being with everyone else on the 2019 journey!  

    Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Oh, I'm number 41!

      Reply Like
  • Hoo boy, looks like mine is 40,500, for a fully funded 6 month EF and remainder of car. I do think this is a bit of a stretch goal, but you can't track what you don't keep track of, right?

    Reply Like 5
  • So how does this work? We all state our goals and it's like a "living spreadsheet" we all keep updated and adjust? 

    Reply Like
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cyan Android yes!

      Reply Like
  • When you guys set up your savings goals, how do you all differentiate between goals that will be saved *and* emptied during the year (for example, a vacation savings goal) versus longer-term savings goals (such as saving for a down payment)? Just wondering about everyone's strategies for mentally framing things and tracking purposes!

    I have a 2019 savings goal of $9,700 USD (rounded up to $10,000) for "financial security". This includes: 
    -funding my Roth IRA at $4500 for the year ($375/mo). I am self-employed, in my mid-20s, and hope to increase this contribution over time, but this is what I am fairly confident that I can afford for now. 
    -finishing up buffer and EF goals (eg, 3 months' rent; 3 months' cost of living expenses; $5,000 in emergency medical savings) 

    I would also like to save a substantial (but undetermined) amount of money for a down payment on a house. That fund was wiped out due to unexpectedly high 2017 taxes (but 2018 taxes were budgeted for by paying quarterly taxes plus saving extra!). I only managed to save an additional $2600 in 2018 for a down payment after the fund was zeroed out. 

    I will be starting a new job in January (yay!) which technically represents a reduction in take-home pay, but will save me a fair amount of money per month when benefits are considered (insurance covered 100%; memberships to professional organizations; continuing education credits; etc). I am sort of waiting to see how those small costs add up to savings in my monthly budgets, and then I feel I can more confidently set realistic and stretch savings goals for myself.

    Reply Like 1
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sura Rafiki the way I work that is by having separate budget lines or categories for each thing I'm saving for. Then, when I need to spend it, it's there, but I have the record of the savings to put in the spread sheet. Maybe that will help you?

      Reply Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sura Rafiki 

      Up to you to define the goal, stretch goal, and how you total the savings you report.

      I define my savings number for the month as the total of specific master categories, and I don’t worry about whether I might be spending from any of the subcategories in those masters in that month. Someone else might not count anything that is spent this year. 

      Reply Like
    • Sura Rafiki , I follow the same process  HappyDance does. I count what I saved in a category (for me, regardless of whether it is a main or sub category, as long as it is a category I've decided is a "savings" category) regardless of whether I had to spend it that same month or year. For example, this last year I saved a substantial amount for medical expenses that I had in 2018 - saved it and spent it in the same year. Still counted as savings by me just as I count my budgeting toward rainy day funds (car insurance premiums, Xmas, future car repairs, etc) as savings. And I don't really distinguish between long-term vs short-term savings because it all accomplishes the same goal for me - avoiding future debt.

      Ultimately, it is your budget and your savings challenge, so you get to decide. Best of luck on reaching your goals!

      Reply Like 1
    • MissusTea
    • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt -
    • MissusTea
    • 5 mths ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    Will happily join this challenge. 🇨🇦
    I have the wedding of my brother and his fab fiancee to get to, along with my husband and two kids. It's in Australia and tentatively dated between Dec 9/19 and Jan 20/20, so about a year out. We've just started pricing out plane tickets from Ontario and accommodations in Sydney. That savings category will also include pet and house sitting, events and outings, spending money, wedding attire and a gift! I'm ball-parking $25,000+ as we'd rather be over than under.
    We are aggressive savers, but this will involve some strategy without sacrificing the savings we already are making strides with (retirement, new car, travel, home improvements, animals, giving).

    Reply Like 3
  • I’m excited to start this for 2019!

    Reply Like 2
  • Hi all, I'm jumping in for the first time!

    I've got line 52, hoping to add an extra $1500 to my EF to bring it up to $3000 total, and build a $4000 buffer. Modest goals compared to some of you, but they'll require some discipline to achieve, so I figure it's a good place to start.

    Reply Like 3
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 3 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde No new savings for me in Feb - which is by design. All spare cash is going towards paying off some dental work that was done in November last year. They put me on a payment plan which is due to finish in April, but I've managed to get together enough cash to cover the last two payments at once, woohoo! It'll be Savings City from March onwards!

      Reply Like 5
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 2 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde Savings at last! Added $680 this month. I won't always be able to do that much, but March had a bit extra coming in, so hopefully getting a bit ahead will help in the quieter months.

      Reply Like 5
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 1 mth ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde Achieved my goal of $650 this month with $653.10, which was a stretch goal and I'm pretty pleased to have reached it! Last month I had an extra pay from a one-off job; this month only my normal job but with slightly higher pay than usual. Crossing my fingers for another one-off job in May to keep the momentum up!

      Reply Like 5
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde May update: I did get the additional one-off job I was hoping for, which helped me push my savings up a bit to $767.84 this month, putting me less than $100 behind the spreadsheet's "on track" number. 
      June won't be as pretty: I've got some big ticket purchases planned, and no extra funds coming in. Goal is to get at least $400 into savings.

      Reply Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 3 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde You're hanging in there and not giving up and that is a win all on its own. Best of luck to you!

      Reply Like 3
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Thanks! The goal I set was a little bit on the ambitious side, so I'm pretty pleased with how it's going. 

      Reply Like 2
  • I declare 190,000 cash savings. For what? Nothing really other than just to build wealth. Hoping to be a millionaire. This is a challenging and fun goal! 

    Reply Like 3
  • Looking forward to this!

    Reply Like 1
  • I need to buy some time into my retirement pension and it's currently estimated to cost $24,000 or so.  Until I get the exact amount (in a few months), I want to pay off all debt  except my mortgage and save several thousand toward this.   A family member will loan me the balance.

    So my savings goal (ID # 60)  is $9,000

    But once I have the actual figures and loan set up, this goal will go to zero, and a realistic portion of the loan will be added to my 2019 Debt Smackdown goal assuming someone sets it up.

    Reply Like 1
  • Declaring my 2019 savings goal of 15k!!!

    Reply Like 4
  • According to my master budget, I should be able to put $1625 into savings this year with income alone. So I'm going to make a goal of $3000 because I'm expecting a few windfalls, with a stretch of $5000 to give me motivation to find more means of income!

    Reply Like 5
    • MissusTea
    • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt -
    • MissusTea
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hey are we going to have a hashtag for our challenge too :) #2019YNABSavingsChallenge ?

    Reply Like
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