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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  • March Check-in

    Okay.  I think I've finally finished futzing with my March budget.  I am checking in with $2,300 to savings categories in my March budget.  That extra 923.13 enabled me to top up my savings in a most satisfying fashion.  Most of those extra  dollars were reimbursements really, so I added them to various true categories -- medical, dental, family emergency -- and it was sure good to see those categories get topped back up with a few cupfuls instead of the usual steady drip drip drip.

    That brings my total so far to $15,365 and 54.88% of my 2019 stretch goal. 

    Reply Like 4
  • Brand new with YNAB, I have line 122. My goals are to pay off two cards. One of these is tricky because it has preauthorized payments coming off of it, and it will continue to go up for a couple of months.  I also want to have a $2000 emergency fund. My goal is $3000. 

    Reply Like 5
  • I'd like to save $5k this year for an emergency fund. Also known as "my kid does club volleyball and needs to go to summer camp"

    Reply Like 3
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama Realizing those expenses are coming up and saving for them is great.  I would create a separate Camp/Volleyball category and fund it.  It will help keep you from thinking of everything as an emergency and you will start to get even better control over your money.

      Reply Like 2
  • 29 didn't check in for January

    50 didn't check in for February

    At this rate.....

     

    Don't get seduced by the dark side of overspending. shudder.  🙂  Come back to the light.

    Reply Like 5
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

       

      HappyDance I'm still here, El Guapo!

      Reply Like 2
  • Oh what the heck, I'll join. I claimed line 125 and I'm also on the debt smack down.

    Main goals for the year are to pay down my only non-mortgage debt (on the smackdown), save for a vacation, put $1,000 in our HSA (opening this month), and save $4,500 in my animal fund. Which is enough money to pay for all my animal related expenses for one year. 

    So far last month I have only put $500 in my animal fund. So I've got a long way to go yet! But I am hopeful I will be able to complete all these goals.

    Reply Like 4
  • March check-in:

    Although I haven't added to savings or to the newly created "buffer" category, I've set aside:

     

    $90 for medical stuff that comes up

    $70 towards contact lenses ($800/yr)

    $100 for Xmas (goal: $1k by Dec)

    $70 for spending $ on vaca (goal: $400 by June)

    and some other future spending categories. I hope with my next paycheck to actually set $ aside to slowly work on having a buffer. A one-month buffer with the extremely high cost of living could take me a long time!

    Reply Like 2
  • So yesterday in a fit of insouciance, I did a thing.

    I now have what I consider a minimally-adequate income replacement fund.

    I now have no money saved for most of my foreseeable unplanned expenses. I didn't touch my car maintenance savings or change the amount going toward retirement contributions.

    I know it doesn't actually change my financial position, but I just wanted to be able to check off the IR fund and move forward. I'll do my best to make small progress for the next 2.5 years while I pay off my car, then will be able to beef it up again.

    Reply Like 4
      • Alia Gee
      • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
      • Pink_Keyboard
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      bevocat I love that you used insouciance in a sentence. Save on!

      Reply Like 4
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Insouciance.  Awsome word.  I had to look it up. 😉

      Reply Like 2
  • I'm in.  Row 129, ID 126.  I started YNAB at the end of January at the suggestion of our financial advisor.  We do not have any debt other than a car loan and mortgage.  I used a lot of our money market account, which we used to use for emergencies, big home repair, or other big expenses to start a lot of sinking funds in February so I have no idea what exactly I saved that month from income.  We had a few unusual income sources in January and February that won't repeat that boosted savings.  The 403b (education and non profits' version of a 401k) is off budget since that comes out before we ever see the paycheck, at 8% of pay, whatever that is, plus the employer match.  I won't count that towards my savings goal.  

    I want to save $20,000USD or more in various funds: our kids' 529 college accounts, vacation funds, camp fund for the summer (aka my sanity fund), #2 kid's expander/braces, health care fund, and various sinking funds.  Also some wish farm things.  My stretch goal is $25,000.   

    My estimation of Jan. savings, given that we started YNAB at the end of the month:

    -$662 to kids' 529s

    -$325 to health care fund

    $34.73 to camp

    $80 to sinking funds

    for a total of $1101.73 for January.

     

    Due to using our money market/emergency funds to start a lot of sinking funds in Feb, my saving from actual income from February is estimated to be:

    -$716 to kids' 529s

    -$349.97 to health care fund

    -$321 to various sinking funds 

    -$380 to my sanity fund

    $370 to braces fund

    $624 to vacation fund

    $225.42 to wish farm items

    for a total of $2986.39.

    Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Ok, the last March paycheck hit today so I was able to fill in my March budget and start into April.  We also got our small Federal tax refund.  My March savings checkin:

      -$716 to kids' 529s

      -$475 to health care fund

      -$824.13 to various sinking funds 

      -$195.09 to my sanity fund (summer camps to keep the kids from killing each other)

      $125 to braces fund

      $851.37 to vacation fund [had to get new passports ($$!) and have planned a road trip in April to far northern state with a day trip into Canada if the passports arrive in time]

      $326.05 to wish farm items (refurb phone, new rocking chair to replace the one that hurts butts and backs in my kid's room that he uses every day, new glasses for my spouse, and a few small things that are totally wants and not needs)

      for a total of $3512.64.

       

      I need to sign the kids up for camps in May/June so the amount saved for that category after June will go down as I will be able to budget 1/12 the amount needed for 2020 every month after that.  I will need to increase the home maintenance, car maintenance, and long term improvements (new windows, roof, and HVAC) sinking funds after I've fully funded camps. 

      Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      I'm enjoying being able to annualize more of our once a year expenses as I started YNAB in January mid-cycle for most of them and we've been playing catch up to get where we need to be on each one.  We will hopefully hit goal caps for some sinking funds in the next 18 months.  I'm also planning to use our health care reimbursement and dep. care accounts to decrease the money I need to budget for those monthly line items in the future. 

      Once all of that happens, it should be easier to get buffered and then I can see if it's possible to get our monthly expenses down to where we can pay for them with only 2 pay periods a month.  Then those twice a year 3 paycheck months will ideally be 'bonus' money to be used for sinking fund plumping, additional future planning wants (retirement/investments/kids' college funds), and some big ticket needs and wants (like a new driveway and to go home to see our family every other year instead of every 4 years).  I'm looking forward to YNAB helping make them happen.  I'm looking forward to feeling like I've got this budget under control instead of like I'm clinging to the side of a runaway coach careening towards a cliff with with broken dreams at the bottom. 

      Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      I have to back down my March numbers by $85.55.  I  was able to Wish Farm my son a used glider rocker for less than I'd saved, sending the $85.55 back into TBB.   I guess technically it's a step backwards for my savings but over all it's a win.  I saved $85, replaces his old glider for a fraction of the cost of a new one, and did so a couple months before I expected to have the funds for a new one.   

      Reply Like 1
  • Hello! HappyDance told me about this thread since we just paid off our debt in March. I'm excited to be here!  We are starting our savings for our 3-6 months emergency fund before we start saving for our down payment on a house. (No real concrete plans to buy yet because my husband is in a transient part of his career and we won't be anywhere long enough to buy for a while, BUT we know we'll need the down payment when we are ready.)

    The 2019 savings goal is $30,000 for the efund (This number was actually calculated based on last year's spending, if I'm being honest 6 months is closer to $23k now but my husband and I like the round number.)  Then I project we'll be able to save another $9,000 for the house down payment before Christmas.  TOTAL 2019 GOAL: $39,000

    We don't spend anything we earn in March until April, but I just got my year-end bonus at work for $18,000 that we'll put into the off-budget savings account on the first.  So I won't get to enter anything in the spreadsheet until next week but I just claimed line 127 in the spreadsheet.   We don't have anything besides the bonus to put into savings because we cheated a little bit and paid the debt off as soon as the checks cleared.  In May we'll be back on our $3000 set aside, not for debt now but SAVINGS!  Wow that feels so good to say! :D

    Reply Like 8
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 7 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Gold Panther 

      I'm so excited for you, actually I'm reliving my own debt-to-savings transition through you.  It is unbelievable how fast savings can grow when you redirect what you used to use for debt and channel it for savings goals. It never gets old for me.

      Reply Like 6
  • Started the savings challenge in earnest.  For March I have saved $16,500 toward my 40K savings goal!

    Reply Like 6
  • Another good savings month despite some setbacks and unexpected expenses. I'm doing much better than anticipated and have some big expenses ending soon that will help to bump savings in to overdrive.

    Reply Like 4
    • QC I like your chart! :)

      Reply Like 1
  • Great month as some of the things we are saving for are fully funded. Yay!  We have the following savings:

    Celtic Arts week 2500 - Fully Funded

    Bike - 486 - Fully funded and purchased!

    Updated WIlls and POA - 900 - Fully Funded

    Christmas, Pool Reno, Ballet classes, 2019 taxes, buffer and March break fun - 2529

    Total for March 6415, Made higher than aniticpated due to extra consulting work which will continue until the end of May!!!

    On to April!

    Reply Like 4
    • Sherielf Congratulations! Such a good feeling to have categories totally funded, and to make a big purchase that is all planned and saved for.  

      Reply Like 2
  • I just looked at my post and I can tell you that all we are able to do, I owe to YNAB.  YNAB changed the way we look at our money and I never thought we would be in the position we are after failed first marriages and 7 children between us (grandchildren now too).  I am grateful everyday for YNAB and the things it has brought to our life. It astonishes me. Really.

    Reply Like 5
  • March check-in: Well, I got my tax returns from state & federal, and I also just got my bonus. I've now successfully fully funded 2 of my 2019 goals:

    • $16,500 for 1 full year of daycare (starting in summer 2019, so this would give me a buffer into 2020) - FULLY FUNDED
    • $1,505.36 for maternity and baby photos for first year - FULLY FUNDED

    Whoo hoo!! Feels so good to have this all saved for! I've also saved my usual monthly totals for my emergency fund, rainy day funds, and various baby stuff and the like, which is good given I'm due to deliver this baby anytime now within the next couple of weeks. I've updated the spreadsheet.  And now for the rest of the year I should be able to just focus on my usual savings amounts for emergency and rainy day funds, which feels very manageable. Whew!

    Reply Like 7
  • Time for my March Update. Still going strong, even with having to play wack a mole with my categories this month. 

    • Retirement: $1500.00 / $6000.00
    • New Car: $1647.07/ $6000.00
    • Investment Accounts $600.00 / $1300.00
    • E-Fund: $2730.07/ $6000.00
    • Total: $6477.14 / $19300.00
    Reply Like 7
  • March Savings $5,182.29

    The majority of this is a holding category "Annual incentive holding" while I take time to figure out what goes where and what I will do with this. Some will be spent (clothes, hobbies, home stuff), some will be debt paydown (pay down 1st cc!) and some will be savings (safe and secure fund, car maint, gym monthly payments, xmas holiday season savings). And yay for taking my time! This is a new habit post YNAB :)

    Reply Like 5
  • March savings update... Got a nice refund from the IRS and sent that straight to savings, in addition to what I sock away monthly.  I should be getting something back from the State, so planning to put that away this month too. I'm going to think of  a new target if I hit my savings goal early...

    Reply Like 6
  • Feb/March check in - was so focused on my debt smackdown that I only put $50 in my emergency fund in Feb and $50 in March. Now I am focused on increasing my monthly savings. Already put $500 toward April and hope to add some more at the end of the month. 

    Reply Like 5
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 6 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Tax refund update: Added another$200 to my 3-month emergency fund, $100 to my vacation fun, $25 to my wish farm and $400 to medical as I am expecting a large bill soon. Pre-YNAB, I would have probably put $100-$200 in my general savings account and treated myself to something from my wishlist with the rest. Now I have my wishlist and wish farm set up, the peace of mind I get from putting money toward my highest priorities is way better than anything I would've spent the money one.

      Reply Like 6
  • Yay April is finally here! Our age of money isn't 30 days, but we live completely a month behind our income, so everything we earned in March goes to April.   This month all we were able to put into savings was my bonus, which is frustrating for our first month out of debt. We had been putting $4k towards debt each month so I was expecting to a put at least half that into our 3-6 month efund but we have two major trips we needed to buy flights and hotel and everything that we're taking in May.  I'm trying not to get too frustrated about that because we are just being honest about our priorities.  So total for April efund savings is $18,947.17.  

    Reply Like 4
  • March checkin.  Saved $3685.57 in March.  April is starting out with over $2000 in car repairs.  Much of it was saved for, but not all.  So April will be lean.

    Reply Like 5
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MartyH Suddenly realised where I got my inspo for my own Savings table. :)

      Reply Like 1
  • Well I had a really bad two months and fell right off the YNAB wagon.... I impulse spent a couple of HUNDRED pounds on a holiday experience and felt so sick I completely stopped budgeting from Feb 22 to this week.

    But, (YNAB win) I pulled myself together and input all my transactions since into both my budgets and reconciled them. Then I fixed 5he budgeting.

    Its also been ‘pay for flights month’ so the upshot is I have no spare cash till I get paid, I had to borrow a little (not too much) from some budgeting pots , and so my budgeted cash is zero. That still leaves my actual physical saving transfers of about 2000 in March and the same ish in Feb. Numbers need to be checked but it’s there.

    pre-YNAB this spending mistake would have sent me on a spending splurge like a kind of sickness, so, good to be back and thanks for this community!

    Reply Like 6
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      Put it down to "life happens" and keep on budgeting to correct your course back toward your longer-term goals.  The more you keep checking back in, the more these kind of things stop feeling like "failures".  It's your money, so you get to make the spending decisions, even when those decisions cause some messiness.

      Reply Like
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Yes, I will, thank you. Actually although I had my head in the sand I kept sensible knowing that, at some point, I would fix it up and come back here.

      So, a bad 8 weeks, but I chose not to compare myself to all you YNAB , budgeting geniuses, but to myself 6 months ago. By those standards this relatively quick recovery counts as a win!

      Onwards and upwards 😇

      Reply Like 3
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      you YNAB , budgeting geniuses

      hahahahaha

      here's a clip of my first 2 years of YNAB:

       

      So I know you aren't including me in that genius description.  🙂   I just finally figured out how to stop shooting myself in the foot is all.

      Reply Like 1
  • April Check-in

    I am checking in with $1,500 committed to savings categories in my April budget.  No extras or found money earned last month that I can use to increase my savings this month, but I expect some health insurance reimbursements this month in addition to a tax refund.

    This month's savings brings my total so far to $16,865 and 60.23% of my 2019 stretch goal. 

    Reply Like 2
  • I've been frustrated since starting this challenge because I haven't actually added to my savings account. But, after (almost) 2 months using YNAB, I just realized that I HAVE BEEN saving, I just didn't realize it. I've been bummed I don't have more $ to put into savings (read: any), but actually, I've funded some things in the past two months that I'd NEVER have done prior to YNAB, including:

    Annual fees for Amazon Prime/YNAB: $204 (fully funded)

    Unexpected medical expenses: $150 (goal: $900)

    Clothing: $175 (goal: more, since it's for me and the kids)

    School supplies for when the kids go back to school in August: $135 (goal: $300)

    Gifts: $250 (goal: MORE. Many birthdays coming up)

    DMV bill due in July: $90 (goal: $300)

    Viacord (umbilical blood cord storage, $125 due twice a year: $50 (goal: $125 by mid-June_

    Xmas: $150 (goal: $1000 by Dec)

    Buffer: $427

     

    So yeah, hey! I HAVE saved money, more than $1600 in two months! Pre-YNAB I'd be charging that much per MONTH on my crazy shopping addictions!

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

      xgirlmama 

      Did a lightbulb just appear above your head? 🙂   You are doing great! 

      You get to define what "saving" means to you.  I deliberately count the amounts I allocate to all my true expenses as part of the total saved every month. Basically, if I'm not spending it this month, it's saved.

      Reply Like
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance is that why it's so damn bright in here right now?

      Reply Like 1
  • I wasn't able to save anything for March. Booo.

    But husband got a bonus this month and so we saved $500 for vacation so far. Our HSA is also finally opened and money has been deposited, but I have no idea where or any details yet. So I will update once I get numbers.

    Reply Like 1
  • ...just paid my $3k tax bill. So painful to see 25% of my savings wiped out in one transaction. But I'm reminding myself that I knew this was coming, and budgeted for it in a separate savings account! Not only did I keep my hands out of my main savings account but it's still up $1500 from the start of the year. Onwards & upwards! 

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

      Veronica M. Well, the separate savings account is redundant once you start using your categories to earmark what your savings is for, but "Go you!" for having everything saved up and ready to go! YNAB Win.

      Reply Like
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