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.
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.
June check-in: I have increased my goal by another $3k for the year because at the last minute, I switched daycare centers to a more expensive one. I began to hear concerning reviews of the previous daycare center, and I couldn't allow my son to go there. So, my original goal included $16,500 for 1 year's worth of daycare, which I now need $19,500. This will be a stretch financially, but I have to do what is best for my family. So the total new goal is $33k for the year. I've updated the spreadsheet.
For June, I was able to sock away another $1246.54 towards my goal.
Whoops dropped the ball with checking in! May wasn't a great month, we had two family/friend emergencies that required us to go out of state and a car that had to go to the shop. So no savings was done in May, but we didn't have to dip into savings and go backwards to pay for it, we just cashed flowed it. Good thing was in May I had 3 paychecks so we made more than usual so since we are a month ahead that extra paycheck went into June. In June we saved $5,000 towards our emergency fund!
We are trying to reset a bunch of bad habits that came out of all that traveling in May so we are starting a 6 weeks challenge for no restaurants unless it's explicitly for an event with friends. We expect to be completely done with the efund in August and then we'll take a short break from saving so we can replace our broken couch and bed...no lie I'm REALLY looking forward to a couch that isn't broken.
I've going to have a semi-break from saving next month and only save my minimums. I have a lot of spending goals I need to make some progress on and in my normally obsessive fashion have been maxing my savings to the detriment of these spending goals. I also am suffering a bit of fatigue in the savings department. While I like to be this focussed and determined and certainly can do it, I don't enjoy feeling like I'm being punished (by not spending) every month. Yes I do it to myself but I also need to give myself a break.
All said and done, this month has been good. I've almost recovered from last months set back and my retirement contributions have increased, as planned, and will likely stay at this level unless I get a raise. Whilst initially I did have more in savings this month I took it out for some spending.
I'll still have 5 pay cheques to help me reach the finish line including a tax refund and possible bonus.
Big congrats to everyone who has made it this far (halfway guys!) and to those who have dropped off, it's never too late to start over!
June total: $3409.01
Wants for home: 50
Needs for auto: 200
Savings for home repairs: 640
Savings for secure future: 2311.01
Some of the savings for a secure future are being held in case I have to reimburse someone I may not need to. There was about a grand in deferred veterinary spending that came home to roost this month, but I don't subtract that from my totals. I did save the money, and it was there when I made the planned spending. Win!
-$725 to kids' 529s
-$625 to health care category (Any extra at end of year will rollover but ongoing expenses make having much left unlikely)
-$1173.44 to various sinking funds
$125 to braces fund
$877.56 to vacation fund (visiting with family in June)
$150.60 to wish farm items
for a total of $3676.60
We did see the inlaws for most of a week, spent more than I'd budgeted, but they reimbursed us for half of the rental and paid for some of the things we did. The kids were starting to grow flippers, they spent so much time in the pool. Thus we finished the month in the green for vacation. Leftovers went to the big trip we'll take back home next year and top off some categories that got hit particularly hard this month (like personal care, when all of my guys needed haircuts). I've increased the savings goal because I'm including categories that are getting used on the monthly, like health care and the college savings funds.
On the plus side, because I had enough in our car maintenance fund I was able to laugh (if only not to cry) when one of our cars suffered a cartoon-like incident, whereupon I watched pieces of the car bounce and roll down the street behind me in the rear-view mirror. Turns out the air compressor clutch is a big heavy round plate and rolls nicely. So that category is now looking anemic. Hopefully we won't need any other car repairs this year.
June Update! E-Fund got hit a little bit again due to I forgot to budget for an upcoming business trip. Luckily I'll be reimbursed this month.
- Retirement: $3,000.00 / $6,000.00
- New Car: $3,206.08/ $6,000.00
- Investment Accounts $925.00 / $1,300.00
- E-Fund:$3,918.16/ $6,000.00
- Total: $11,049.24/ $19,300.
I am delighted to note $1,265 in additional income last month: $1,000 gift for my birthday last month from my mom, $238 in health-expense reimbursements, $90 in rewards/rebates, and $37 in interest.
I budgeted $900 of the $1K gift to my clothing category and $100 to my entertainment category in this month.
I was able to add $2,715 to the categories I count in this savings challenge, and this month brings my year-to-date total to $26,740, which is 83.56% of my $32,000 goal.
Once you get good at your budget and get organized on your finances, you might also discover that there is a lot of free money out there that you weren't even paying attention to and just blowing through.
I am good at blowing money. Really good at spending money. I make a good income but I like nice "things" and I am trying to stop my needless spending for "stuff". I have too much stuff!
I need to get my partner organized. He is going to retire in about 2 years and he spends money like its water. Fortunately we keep our finances separate. But he is going to get a rude awakening pretty quickly.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Back after a couple of busy months, but still saving. I think I made a mistake on my earlier April/May calculations. They should be:
$2,965 - 401K
$3,516 - 401K
$2,000 - ETF
Nevertheless, I'm proud of myself for sticking to this and I'll share June and July:
$2,396 - 401K
$5,656 - 401K
$1,000 - ETF
So if I did all of the math correctly I saved $17,524 from April through July. I raised my 401K to the max and am trying to cut budget out of travel, shopping, dining, groceries to come up with the extra $1,000 per month. At the end of July I hope to add another 1,000 or 1,500 as a stretch. Glad to have a place here to be accountable because no one else knows or cares! At about 33K, I'm making progress toward my goal to save 44K this year.
Savings update July - our Pool updating is costing more than expected (surprise, surprise!) and our wills and POAs cost a bit more than expected due to a title name change but we were able to take it from other savings areas (mainly vacation and car downpayment which are now zero this month - roll with the changes!!). Savings are as follows:
Pool reno- 1867
WIlls - 250
July Savings Update!!
My income was boosted by a healthy tax return this month and my Savings goals and other general saving pots were the happy recipients.
I have achieved 85% of my Big, Ugly Goal (3 Month Buffer) already and I am SO incredibly happy and motivated and determined to finish on a high. Even in the unlikely event that I don't completely achieve my goals, this challenge has shown me that contrary to what I used to think, I CAN SAVE MONEY!!
Overall, I'm a month ahead of schedule which is fantastic!
In July I was able to budget:
- $725 to kids' 529s
- $585 to health care category
- $1547 to various sinking funds
- $125 to braces fund
- $355 to vacation fund (vacations are over for the year AFAIK)
- $189 to wish farm items
for a total of $3526.
I’ve been moving a lot of money around as we redetermined priorities which makes figuring out how much I’ve saved this month hard. For instance I moved the money I’ve been socking away for lower priority house improvements into my two highest priority projects, and my gutter replacement this month took less money than I'd budgeted so extra moneys were redistributed.
On the plus side, I’ve decided that now that I’ve been budgeting monthly for many categories, I can use what I was previously budgeting monthly as a sort of lump to fill up targeted categories to target goals. For instance, for August's budget, I had about $350 and I topped off Charitable Giving, School Gifts, and Household goods. In September, I’ll probably focus my lump sum on Critter Care, Car Maintenance, and Lawn and Garden (spent this one almost dry in July). The amount of lump will vary depending on if I need to top up categories which have gone under target goal, but over all, I'm going to be able to knock out larger goals faster. Like I want to increase my Circle of Life, my Vet care, and my Professional Services categories but when I was only putting $150 to all of those together because I was funding all the other categories, too, It was going to take years to reach the goals. I'm going to be able to hit my targets a lot faster using the lump sum approach.
First check-in since April.
Savings went south since then even not including "planned" spending like vacation. We had a pet emergency that cost a few thousand and we ended up putting down a dog despite the money spent to save her. We also started the maintenance and renovation work on a rental house that we've put on the market. One of these days I'll have to figure out how much I started with so the "Savings" balance isn't negative or just drop the balance from that column.
But thanks to YNAB, those savings were there and our Debt Snowball didn't take much of a hit ... yet. August will be different. Still spending and there isn't enough time left in August to close on a sale for the house.
July and August Check-in
Got a bunch of extra money and the savings accounts got some loving.
Both months put $300 into savings. I'm at 86% of my goal and pretty happy because I honestly did not expect to make my saving goal.
So new goal is to continue to do the best I can, and see how close I can get to doubling my goal. Also to think what I can establish for next year - that starts off unreasonable and then becomes achievable.