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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  • Wasn't going to do this because I thought we were focused on the Debt smackdown for this year, but it turns out we've been able to squirrel away a little savings too! Might as well track it and celebrate those victories!

    Late start to spreadsheet (I'm #130):

    Feb - saved $308

    Mar - saved $100 (saved more but wiped it out on trip to Chicago)

    Apr - saved $1359 mostly due to tax refund. Working on month 1 of Emergency Fund, have $700 set aside for Christmas & vacation funds. 

    Prior to YNAB I would deplete the $1000 emergency fund pretty routinely just to be sure the mortgage was paid so this is huge progress!

    Reply Like 4
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      rnjenren1 

      This is huge!  Funding your true expenses will really help mitigate most 'emergencies' to what they are, unexpected but planned for expenses.  Funding your car repair category will help you roll with the punches when your left boot cracks and needs replacing or whatever!

      So congrats!  I bet it feels good to see the progress on both your lowered debt and increased savings!

      Reply Like 3
  • They say “Make plans, God laughs.”  Unfortunately, my plans for  participating in this challenge have likely been stymied.   I was in a auto accident this past week... I’m fine, but it’s looking like a new car purchase is in my immediate future.  Likely to hold off my focus on emergency savings to handle paying for the car. 

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

      Keith Borders 

      Keith, glad you're ok.  Hope you're able to get what you need at a price you can afford.

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Keith Borders 

      consider my "like" a hug of support.  Hope you weren't injured.  This link is to a thread on car replacement and to a post by nolesrule  on the subject of negotiating the car insurance payment, something that was news to me and that might be pertinent to you in your current situation.

      Reply Like 2
    • Technicolor Cheetah Thank you for the well wishes.  I appreciate it!

      Reply Like
    • HappyDance Thanks for the hug!  I am fine, was a little sore for a bit, but even that was less an issue than what I was told to expect.  Same can’t be said for my car.  And now the other driver is trying to shift the blame over to me, when she clearly ran the red light.  Good thing is I have an unbiased eye witness who saw the whole thing and said she would vouch for me.

      Thanks also for the links... going to give them a thorough read!

      Reply Like 1
  • This month I was able to save the following:

    • $725 to kids' 529s
    • $495.31 to health care fund
    • $1558.57 to various sinking funds (we accepted payment in lieu of fixing the damage to our ancient car caused by a tradesman)
    • $349.64 to my sanity fund (summer camps to keep the kids from killing each other)
    • $125 to braces fund
    • $312.15 to vacation fund (passports arrived in time, visit to northern family came in under budget so I will roll those funds over to getting us home next year)
    • $177.26 to wish farm items (refurb phone for offspring achieved under budget, extra funds rolled over to new wish farm items- new driveway! new piece of shop machinery!)

    for a total of $3742.93.

    I started YNAB in Jan.  Several annual/biannual things will be paid next month, freeing up money to other savings' funds each month after that.  

    Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Thanks to generous travel hosts, most of our food and drink was free last week.  We don't need more than half a month's worth of grocery money in our grocery category for the rest of April so I moved $100 to vacations.

      for a total of $3842.93 for the month of April.  

      Reply Like 6
  • April added $5 extra to savings pot. Plus found out dental cost is going to be free, so the 480$ is going to be shuffled around in various accounts and I hope to drop in my savings. Will keep you posted.

    Reply Like 6
  • Doing my April check in now, since I don't think I will have any more inflow of money before May rolls over. This month was a challenge since I ended up overspending quite a bit (Really "needed" a portable monitor for work).  Still managed to contribute a bit more to some categories. 

    • Retirement: $2000.00 / $6000.00
    • New Car: $2166.03/ $6000.00
    • Investment Accounts $725.00 / $1300.00
    • E-Fund: $3234.07/ $6000.00
    • Total: $8125.10 / $19300.00

    I can already see that next month is going to be a blood bath. Hopefully, my progress on my E-Fund isn't slaughtered. I am having to help my father with cleaning out his house for sale among other things and his money is dwindling fast.  I already set aside some separate money as a buffer since I saw this coming, so fingers crossed I can work some budgeting magic for both our sakes. 🧙‍♀️

    Reply Like 4
  • April has brought me close to my original yearly goal but I have a question.  I got an extra job in March which has changed up my original goals and made it easier to make those goals.  Do I adjust my overall goals for the year or just "exceed"?  I will be over my yearly goal next month due to the unexpected higher influx of cash.  

    Pool savings 1765

    Christmas 150

    Grad present 500 - DONE

    Ballet, taxes 2018 and Paris 4000 DONE

    New tablet and trip with daughter (new goals)-550

    TOTAL   $6965

    Reply Like 4
    • Sherielf yay more income! If it were me I'd just adjust the goal because my brain likes looking forward and I need my goals to be super visual. I'd personally slow down if it says I am past 100%.  But you should do what motivates your brain best!

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

      Sherielf 

      I like what Gold Panther said. Use whatever keeps you the most motivated. 

      Well done! on the additional income.

      Reply Like
      • Sherielf
      • Sea_Green_Yearling.7
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Gold Panther I think you are right. I will adjust my goals. I do not want to get complacent. I made extra income so I'll make extra goals!

      Reply Like 3
  • Just compared March to April, and I managed to put $1118 towards sinking funds (and this is with things like $131 Amazon Prime coming due and a $132  bday present for my daughter) and buffer (total).

    Reply Like 2
  • April/May

    The month started well as I committed 30% more to savings than previous months however rolling with the punches for a legal settlement means I've ended the month with less.  Not to worry, still above my minimum targets and still on track for the year.

    I've committed less again to savings in May as I now have to budget for Legal expenses however again, I'm happy with my progress.  I've intentionally saved nearly $4.8k this year and I'm really proud of myself! :D

    I will reassess May at the months end to see if I can scrape anymore in to Savings categories.

    Reply Like 2
  •  April total: $774

    183 veterinary
    566 retirement
    25 Travel

     Gonna try to resume normal saving next month, but it sure does feel good to have that income replacement fund sitting there!

    Reply Like 2
  • April check-in: I was able to save $1024.49 this month toward rainy day categories and my emergency fund.  Given we have been spending money every day thanks to a newborn, who makes us realize all of the things we really need right now. Also thankful for all of the free pick-up services where they bring your Target or HyVee orders out to your car for free - saves money and my sanity.  One month at a time.

    Reply Like 3
  • Got a bit more money, so added a bit more savings $30. Most went to expenses savings that I don't include here. Im still deciding where the $447.90 I had saved for dental will go. Will decide sometime in May.

    Reply Like 4
  • April Check In

    I was able to save a total of $1,200 towards vacation in April, and contributed $239 to the HSA.

    So April total is $1,439, and brings me to 25%ish completed for the year. 

    Reply Like 5
  • April check-in.   Slight reversal in savings this month.  That is a result initial payments to clear the drain line for a sewer overflow (cleaned up now), $2k in budgeted car maintenance, and $1400 tax bill.  So it could have been far worse.

    The month I replace the line from the house to the main sewer line won't be nearly this simple. 😬  I also need to put some money into a rental home to prepare it for sale this summer.  So lots of ups and downs expected over the next 2-4 months.

    Reply Like 4
  • May check-in

    I received $1,204.76 in extra income in April:  $677.92 in tax refunds, $408 in health insurance claims, a $50 referral bonus from my bank -- thanks, Tangerine! -- and $72.80 in miscellaneous small windfalls, found money, bank interest, and cash-back credit card rewards. The cash-back on my cc was only $5.73, but every little bit adds up as savings if you don't spend it right away. 🙂

    That extra income enabled me to allocate a whopping $2,435 to savings categories in  my May budget, bringing my 2019 savings total to $19,300 or 68.93% of my stretch goal.

    Reply Like 7
  • Who else is glad to see April in the rearview? C-ya later Tax Month! I'm excited to moving forward with my Savings. Hit my 10k savings goal on my Ally account. First time I've ever had 10k in savings in my life!! Now I'm moving forward to funding an Aug/Sept cross-country move with a Savings goal of 5k to my Chase Savings account. First $250 went in today and have two decent side hustle projects lined up over the next 6 weeks which will get me to 50% of my goal. I've been saving way more aggressively than I've been paying down debt, but the year-end plan is to transfer a large amount of my savings to debt once I've moved/settled into a new budget/job/city. Feeling good! 

    Reply Like 6
  • A late April and mid May Update:

    April:

    $3,629 into 401K 
    $1,000 into ETFs

    May:

    $3,629 into 401K 
    $1,000 into ETFs

    A total of $9,258 for April and May

    $25,767 saved in 2019, only $18,233 to go to hit my goal of 44K.

    Excited to be making progress!

    Reply Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nordstromaddict 

      You are rocking this challenge.  Go you!

      Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance  Thank you. When I started YNAB in October I was 8K in debt with an modest retirement and cash cushion but no plan.  Once I got rid of the debt earlier this year and set a savings goal, I finally understood what "paying yourself first" meant. I honestly never thought I'd be able to do this. It is a huge mindset shift and my SO isn't really on board but even doing it myself feels good.  We've had lots of life come up during this time too, (car repairs/registration,  big ticket $$ family events, birthdays/holidays, unexpected medical costs, taxes due to the tune of thousands, etc.) Thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply Like 6
  • Hi everyone! I'm joining this challenge mid-year. I just finished my goals for the YNAB Debt Smackdown Challenge forum (!!!) and now I'm focusing on my six month emergency fund. My goal is to save $8,600 before 2020. Cheers!

    Reply Like 8
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Savings Crusher Cat Mother 

      Hooray!  A new debt smacker has arrived.  Nicely done on your debt smack down.  Keep working your plan, and you'll be done that e-fund in pretty short order.

      Reply Like 4
    • HappyDance Thank you! 

      Reply Like 1
  • May June Update:

    $30 again

    I had saved $447.90 in Dental category, but found the costs were fully covered, so I had to figure where this money should go. I had considered to put it to savings, but in the end decided to put to future expenses like my Car Registry, CC annual fee and Car Repair pots. By having these categories filled up, I think later in the year I'll be able to put more into savings. It really is unfortunate that Savings gets put into last priority.

    Reply Like 4
    • ISuckatMaths Personally, I count this as savings. Any money I have to set aside for a future expense is savings in my book. In case you want to feel better about your progress. 🙂

      Reply Like 4
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain Yep, saving is just delayed spending!

      Reply Like 3
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 6 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain haha yah I used to as well. However, the last 2 years I've actively been separating saving for future annual bills and so forth, and savings that are literally going to be saved for investment or buffer savings etc. Basically money that aint getting touched.  I decided to view them separately because I needed to pay more attention to that group because I never did and didn't put money into that pile. Just like above, the pile for future expenses are given priority.

      Reply Like 4
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 6 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      ISuckatMaths Update: June savings $150 😁

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

      Spring Green Rain Definitely. ‘Funding true expenses’ is just another way of saying ‘saving up for’, as opposed to  ‘going into debt over’. 

      Budgeting is saving!

      Despite all the things that caught me out this month... still funding £700 of investments plus all m6 true expense categories filled for June and July. 

      A big relief, I can tell you.

      Reply Like 3
  • my goal is 30,000 this year, so  typically save 2.5K a month

    Reply Like 2
  • As predicted last month, my E-Fund got hit. $300 dollar hit, but it thankfully didn't set me back in terms of goal progress since I was already ahead. Hopefully, my father's house sells fast so I don't have to take another hit in a few months. 🤞

    • Retirement: $2,500.00 / $6,000.00
    • New Car: $2,685.26/ $6,000.00
    • Investment Accounts $825.00 / $1,300.00
    • E-Fund: $3,493.29/ $6,000.00
    • Total: $9,503.55 / $19,300.00
    Reply Like 4
  • May Check In

    I was able to save a total of $1,242 towards the animal fund in May, and contributed $301 to the HSA.

    So May total is $1,543, and brings me to 46% completed for the year. 

    I'm hoping the vacation fund will be complete in either June or July. 

    Reply Like 5
  • May final numbers

    -$725 to kids' 529s

    -$552.12 to health care category (Any extra at end of year will rollover but upcoming expenses make having much left unlikely)

    -$1376 to various sinking funds

    $125 to braces fund

    $700 to vacation fund (visiting with family in June)

    $75 to wish farm items 

    for a total of $3553.12.  Year to date savings is 74% of goal.

    I totally forgot that while May is a 3 paycheck month, I need to use a good chunk of the third paycheck to help cover the extra mortgage payment that will be coming in July.  I have covered June expenses with May money but I may not be fully buffered in June for July because of this.  I wanted to add to various sinking funds and was looking forward to capping at least one fund.  Sudden attack of reality today!  Onwards anyway.  November is the next 3 paycheck month...

    Reply Like 3
  •  May total: $1706.06

    Wants for home: 50
    Needs for auto: 200
    Savings for home repairs: 640
    Savings for secure future: 608.06
    Veterinary: 183
    Travel: 25

    I updated the spreadsheet with some more reasonable numbers to better understand what I've accomplished this year, aside from making a mess of my budget! 😋

    Reply Like 3
  • My budget took a hit this month with more Legal fees as well as moving expenses.  While the net effect was in the negative for my savings plan, I'm still focussed on reaching my goals this year and am confident I can recover.

    Reply Like 4
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      QC Roll with the punches and keep on truckin'. 😄

      Reply Like 3
  • June Check-in

    First, a recap:  I treat all inflows (including reimbursements) as income, and I do count everything budgeted to a savings, e-fund, or true expenses category as "savings". I do not subtract for expenditures that came out of those categories since I don't see this as backsliding. I  see it as money I previously saved just doing its job.  Because of how I define it for myself, and because I was approved by insurance for an expensive dental procedure, I will likely record between $4K  to $5K of dental insurance reimbursements as new savings this year.  I decided to adjust my 2019 goal up by an additional $4K to $32,000 to ensure I don't start coasting on my savings momentum when I hit my original goal too early.

    I recorded $3,379.65 extra income in May: $3,284.01 from insurance claims (all those expenditures paid for with pre-funded categories - thanks, YNAB)  $39.20 from bank account interest, $54.44 from various loyalty and cash-back rewards, and a big lottery win of $2. 😄

    A fantastic $4,725 saved in June for a total year-to-date of $24,025 or 75% of my newly revised stretch goal of $32,000.

    Reply Like 6
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