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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  • 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.

    Reply Like 3
  • My target savings for 2019 was $15,000. I'm excited to say that I reached my $15,000 target. 

    Reply Like 11
    • Miss Nicki Baby Congratulations! 

      Reply Like 2
  • In February of this year I had $700 in checking after my mortgage payment.

    4 months later I have almost $8000 in checking after my mortgage payment. My mind is blown.

    Reply Like 10
    • xgirlmama That is a gigantic difference in just 4 months. Amazing job! :)

      Reply Like 1
    • xgirlmama That's the YNAB difference!

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama 

      Well done!  Maybe you need to open a high interest savings account like Ally?  Absolutely keep a buffer in your checking account but your sinking funds are growing (yay!).  2% APR on $5000 isn't a huge amount each month but every little bit helps!  

      Reply Like 2
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      8 months/October check-in:

      Since Feb I have increased my net worth by $12,860. Like, what? And this is after paying $2400 in August for sales tax on purchasing my car lease. It's crazy because I don't feel like I'm saving, since everything is locked away in sinking funds. But apparently even when I'm spendy, I am way, wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better off than I would have ever been pre-YNAB.  At 44yo this is the first time in my life to have this much $ in my account!

      I gotta check in here more often. Reading everyone's progress is inspiring!

      Reply Like 2
  • belated May check-in:

    EF savings: $97

    moving fund: $20.44

    anniversary vacation: $107.82

    Reply Like 7
  • Just to sa I’m currently feeling the benefit of some of this saving. Lots of money going out on summer holidays, but it’s all cash in hand from saving. No new credit card debt. Savings win! 

    Reply Like 7
  • 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. 

    Reply Like 5
  • Made big decision. Not going to friend's wedding. So sad, but right decision.

    This month I'm putting large amounts into savings - don't know how that's happened me having the cash - $300 this month in the saving 3 categories.

    Reply Like 4
  • June Check-in

    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!

    Reply Like 6
  • June Check-In

    Saved $240 in my HSA, and $565 for vacation.

    All our tickets and lodging are paid for, and we have $300 set back for gas/food. So we won't need much more. It is so nice to take a debt free vacation!.

    57.16% of my goal complete.

    Reply Like 3
  • June check-in:

    $235.46 overall

    2020 anniversary vacation: $107.01

    emergency fund: $95.45

    new home and moving fund: $33.00

    Reply Like 3
  •  June total: $3409.01

    Wants for home: 50
    Needs for auto: 200
    Savings for home repairs: 640
    Savings for secure future: 2311.01
    Veterinary: 183
    Travel: 25

    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!

    Reply Like 4
  • -$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.  

    Reply Like 6
  • 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.
    Reply Like 5
  • June Update: Managed to put aside $1,006.38 into savings despite having $600 in unexpected vet bills, plus some other expenses. This was about $300 short of my goal for the month, but I'm hoping I can do much better next time around. 11.7% of the way there!

    Reply Like 6
  • July check-in.

    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.

    EEEEEE-haw!    😄

    Reply Like 4
    • HappyDance Just curious, did you put them all into TBB, or did you Inflow them into categories? I'm still trying to find a balance on that.

      Also, congrats!

      Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
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      Move Light Sound Life 

      I rarely inflow directly to categories.  The exceptions are for the 3 Rs:  returns for refund and  manufacturers rebates  tend to be the ones I would automatically categorize directly. The third R,  Reimbursements, depend on the type of reimbursement we're talking about.  When  a reimbursement cancels out a spend that wasn't mine or for my benefit, like when I run an errand for my mom or for the office, I will spend out of my reimbursable category and inflow repayments directly back to the same category. I don't count those as either income or savings.

      For health insurance reimbursements, however, I record that as income (inflow: TBB). I used to inflow directly to the medical/dental category.  But I found that inflowing directly to the category kind of kept me  blissfully unaware of how much I was spending on medical and dental expenses.  I prefer the clarity of knowing how much medical/dental/optical actually costs me before insurance kicks in.  The health insurance payment does end up being budgeted to the medical/dental category, but it no longer neutralizes the spending in the reports.

      Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
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      Move Light Sound Life 

      I move some things into TBB like reimbursements for health care and child care because these are part of salary paid, they just get diverted into these tax savings accounts before we see them.  From there, they go into their own categories.  Gifts and interest are TBB.  Rebates on purchases go into the purchase category.  Haven't had to deal with work reimbursements yet.  I suspect that I'll prefund that category by moving money from my emergency funds category and then reimbursing back to the emergency funds category

      Reply Like 1
  • I just joined the sheet today :)

    Very small goal of $2K for my emergency fund/savings account.  

    Reply Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Mamba 

      Welcome to the savings challenge.  It's never too late to join, set a personal goal, and strive to meet that goal.  

      Reply Like 2
      • Mamba
      • mamba
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thanks! While it is a small amount I really feel like I have changed my financial life for the better.  Some of you earn/save a LOT of money- looking at that it was a bit daunting to post BUT for me, I now have $8K in my chequeing account because of YNAB.   I am funding my categories, saving for my vacation next year, putting money towards my annual expenses like house insurance,  strata levies,  even my YNAB fee, etc.  I feel in charge!  

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

      Mamba 

      I thought the same thing you did when I first started participating in the savings challenge; I had been focused on the debt smackdown challenge for one and a half of the last five years.  I didn't realize how much I was spending on debt and just in being undisciplined and disorganized.  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 did, and for me the rebates, rewards, eliminating fees, and getting  discounts for paying in full ahead of time, etc, added up to quite a bit more every month.

      I earn a Canadian median income, and the amount I can save from my monthly take-home doesn't even make sense to some people.  This year I've been able to hit it out of the park because I started with a $10,000 gift from my father's estate at the beginning of 2019.  Normally it's a real stretch for me to hit $20,000 in savings - and some of that includes my true expenses categories.

      Reply Like 2
    •  Mamba

      Just wanted to add, I only started using YNAB in Oct. From Nov - Feb I paid off 7K in credit card debt and cash flowed Christmas. I had a 401K (not maxed) but I never imagined that I would be disciplined enough to save more. Those big debt payments turned into savings back to me. I am learning that tracking this stuff is actually motivating. I had not ever tried to save a certain amount or set a goal. I had no idea there were other retirement vehicles out there and had never even opened my own brokerage account before March. I had no idea how much money I was spending, period. The best thing I have done is to save windfalls like a raise and a bonus and not add any new expenses. Those were lucky things that helped to kickstart this and now the hard work of maintaining it and not going back to old habits is the challenge. Keep going! 

      Reply Like 2
  • HappyDance said:
    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! 

    Reply Like 2
  • 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:

    April:
    $2,965 - 401K

    May:
    $3,516 - 401K
    $2,000 -  ETF

    Nevertheless, I'm proud of myself for sticking to this and I'll share June and July:

    June:
    $2,396 - 401K

    July:
    $5,656 - 401K
    $1,000 -  ETF

    $17,524

    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.

    Reply Like 5
  • 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:

    Christmas-250

    Pool reno- 1867

    WIlls - 250

    TOTAL 2407

    Reply Like 4
  • Savings Update July - I put $1917.62 towards my 6 Month E-Fund this month! I am 34% of the way to my goal. I made a stretch goal to finish my fund before November, but even if I don't, I am on track to finish it before December. 

    Reply Like 4
  • 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!

    Reply Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      QC 

      Awesome job.   Saving those big lumps for foundational purposes like buffers and emergency funds can be such a hard slog for little or no gratification (like an exciting purchase), but the sense of accomplishment can be a surprising boost to your self-confidence in addition to immensely satisfying.

      Reply Like 2
  • July has come and gone, but still going strong!

    • Retirement: $3,500.00 / $6,000.00
    • New Car: $3,726.71/ $6,000.00
    • Investment Accounts $1,050.00 / $1,300.00
    • E-Fund:$4,545.08/ $6,000.00
    • Total: $12,821.79/ $19,300.00
    Reply Like 3
  • 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.  

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

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      Hooray for lumps!

      I hear you.  I sometimes don't have the patience to build up a category with small amounts, so I'll take it out with a lump-sum allocation in a single month.

      Reply Like 3
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      Reply Like
  • 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. 

    Reply Like 1
  • 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.

    Reply Like 4
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