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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  • First time joining in the savings challenge, even though I followed last years one closely but was not in a position to participate.  I am excited to see what we can achieve this year.

    Saving goals for 2019:

    1. R 50 000 for taxes 

    2. R 6 000 for children's savings fund (future expenses like education, etc.)

    3. R 6 000 for a family holiday

    4. R 18 000 in various rainy day funds (Christmas, car and home maintenance, appliance replacement, etc.)

    Total: R 80 000

    This will be a serious stretch on our budget but hopefully do-able.

    Reply Like 2
  • A savings challenge newbie at line 99! Very excited.

    We plan to save 8k more for a pool reno (we already have 2k), 1.8 for Christmas, 4 k for vacation, 5 k for our Buffer (which I'm seriously considering renaming based on many cool names seen here!), 2k for my niece's wedding in BC and .7k fir my daughter's uni grad present. All in all 21.5k!!!! Here we go!

    Reply Like 3
  • here I am with my first check-in!

    as I mentioned, I am finishing off some goals from 2018 ($100 to my maternity pension and $60 to stork fund), so not committing as much as possible to this year's goals until next month. here are my numbers for January:

    $106.24 to my emergency fund

    $142.54 to my anniversary vacation

    $3.37 to my moving expenses

    Reply Like 3
      • Purple Hail
      • ynot?
      • Purple_Hail.2
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      changing it up a bit and I adjusted my vacation saving goal to $1500.

      ended up saving for january:

      -106.24 to EF

      -11.95 to moving fund

      -106.83 to anniversary vacation 

      Reply Like 1
      • Purple Hail
      • ynot?
      • Purple_Hail.2
      • 8 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      February savings:

      -$116.24 to emergency fund

      -$111.83 to anniversary vacation 

      -$12.87 to moving expenses 

      Reply Like 3
      • Purple Hail
      • ynot?
      • Purple_Hail.2
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      March check-in:

      EF savings: $95.67

      moving fund: $20.00

      anniversary vacation: $106.41

      Reply Like 4
      • Purple Hail
      • ynot?
      • Purple_Hail.2
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      April check-in:

      EF savings: $100.00

      moving fund: $42.40

      anniversary vacation: $107.00

      Reply Like 2
  • This is the first time I'm joining this challenge. I'm currently paying off my debts so my goal is to save £5000.  

    Reply Like 5
  • Am one step closer.  Paid off another amount towards remaining debt :)  Savings still on track to commence June!

    Reply Like 4
  • First time joining this challenge after starting YNAB mid-2017! I'm basically on top of my usual expenses and have started to develop OK savings habits, but am trying to be more disciplined about my savings due to a few things happening in the next couple of years:

    • Planning a move overseas sometime in the mid-to-near term future due to my partner's job, which means I might not have a full year's worth income to work with in 2019 (depending on the timing of the move/resigning/finding another job). Want to make sure I have more than enough for the move (last time I moved countries I grossly underbudgeted and ended up having to get parental help, which I wasn't too happy about), whatever's left over after things have settled down will go into retirement/other long-term savings. 
    • Various overseas trips (friends' wedding, new baby in family, travel for fun)
    • Longer-term stuff up to and including retirement 

    Overall I'm hoping to save 2,721,980 JPY which is a bit of a stretch goal (it is making a couple of assumptions about bonus and salary), but given I was able to save a similar amount last year on a slightly lower income I am going to go for it!)

    Reply Like 4
    •  Checking in for January: saved ¥214,188 this month, including:  a  ¥69,728 reimbursement for a business trip last month. ¥3,760 extra pay for late-night overtime (not a lot, but I'll take it!), and ¥17,928 additional unexpected pay (just got a pay rise at the end of last year and wasn't sure how much it would work out after tax) - these all went directly into my relocation category. Then my regular planned savings of ¥102,800 towards relocation, ¥10,078 extra towards retirement, ¥44,318 for travel, ¥2,000 towards rainy day funds. I had to subtract ¥36,424 from my total savings due to some unexpected expenses but overall saved more this month than I had initially planned :)  (Listing it up like this I realize it looks like I'm not saving enough for longer-term/rainy day stuff but my main goal at the moment is making sure I have enough money to move countries and a potential period of unemployment - when I get settled again I'll use whatever money is left over to boost those long-term categories.) 

      Overall happy with my progress this month. I've allocated my January paycheck to February categories so my goal for February, as basic as it sounds, is to stick to my budgeted amounts for each category 😅

      Reply Like 5
    • February check-in: saved a total of ¥211,954 this month which is ¥17,952 more than planned. My goal for February was not to overspend in any of my budgeted categories, and perhaps thanks to it being a shorter month than usual I was able to (mostly!) meet that goal while still enjoying some weekend trips away I had planned and some last-minute unexpected social events. (I say mostly because there's always a bit of shuffling things around, but the important thing was that I didn't spend more money than I had allocated to spend for this month.) March will be a bit trickier due to multiple friends coming to visit - I'm a little nervous about meeting my savings targets since friend visits always end up draining my "fun money" categories. This time I've allocated a little extra to cover this but am not sure it'll be enough... we will see! 

      Reply Like 3
  • I looked at my detailed reports for the first time today. Checking out the cost of Christmas.. turns out I save about a quarter of my income. I’m tax free with accommodation provided by my job. Surely I can save more. Hmm...

    Reply Like 1
  • Thank you for hosting this year's Savings Challenge HappyDance !

    First time participating in a savings challenge after having paid off the mortgage with the help and inspiration of Pay Down the Mortgage Challenges. That was great fun and really helped me stay the course. Now that I paid off the mortgage, insulated our home as good as possible, installed solar panels to reduce energy cost, our monthly bills are quite low which allows me to save more money so that I may be able to reach financial independence (as in, not being dependent on a job or regular income) in about four years from now. Nothing is certain, but it should be doable unless I somehow lose my current job.

    I am 53 at the moment, and retirement age in The Netherlands is 67. I know my retirement accounts are very healthy, and will produce enough income (much more than we spend today!) when they start paying out. So, the aim is to bridge the gap between 53 and 67 by building up enough wealth. Every year, I expect to be able to send another 46-50K towards this goal, and every year the gap will be smaller in terms of the number of years to bridge. Time is at my side with this one! :-)

    I am not sure what I will do when working for income becomes optional. Perhaps I just carry on, as I really like my current position. Nice challenges, a dynamic environment, great colleagues and great management.

    In 2019, I want to save around €46,000, split over two parts:

    1. About €4,019 in a tax sheltered pension fund, and I will be able to deduct that amount from income tax. As my top rate is 51.75%, I do expect about €2,000 returned through the IRS beginning of 2020. It's my intent to pay the €4,019 at the end of the year unless I can prematurely deliver upon the second goal listed below;
    2. The more significant other part of savings (€42,000+) will go into purchasing IWDA (iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF), in monthly installments. I will just budget out normally each month and flow any excess funds into IWDA.

    So, that's my plan anyway. Let's see what we can achieve. Anything over €46,019 for 2019 I consider a bonus! :-)

    Reply Like 6
  • January Check-In

    $11,615 saved, leapfrogging me to 41.48% of my annual goal

    As mentioned in an earlier post up thread, $10,000 is a one-time savings boost from a cash inheritance from my dad's estate.  Going forward, my savings rate is likely going to be the usual steady predictable amount.

    I'll be checking in at the beginning of each month. I like to declare my savings when I budget for the month rather than wait to the end of the month and see if there is anything left over.  Doing it that way is a more successful approach for me. I'm reluctant to change my challenge number, so it helps me not give in to impulse spending.

    Reply Like 7
  • January 2019 Savings Check-in:

    Did not manage to save as much as we had hoped in January.  I currently have a very variable income and had no funds to bring into our January budget (hopefully this means that February will be flush, but we shall see).  Even so we managed to save a bit here and there, totaling to R 1 427.81.  

    Reply Like 4
  • January check-in: I paid my tution fees for the summer term (300€) and booked my flights to Japan (600€). Technically I have now 2000€ left to go, but since I had to dig a little into my buffer and would like to be on the save side for the trip, I'll try to save 3000€ until the end of the year.

    Reply Like 4
  • I'll do my check-in now too; I don't plan to allocate anything else to savings categories this month. I spent $1450 from one of my savings categories, but that was deferred spending and I don't deduct that from my savings totals.

    January total: $6027.22

    1. 41 home wants
    2. 196 auto needs
    3. 529 home repairs
    4. 844.96 veterinary
    5. 4391.26 retirement and security
    6. 25 Travel

    Future months will obviously be much less. I just wanted to shore up my emergency fund as much as possible right now and then build it more slowly, instead of steadier progress throughout the year.

    Reply Like 4
  • Do you include savings toward routine True Expenses, or just discretionary or long-term categories like Emergency Funds, Investments, Vacations and other out-year expenses?  What about longer term, but annual expenses like Christmas?  Christmas has a different feel since most of the spending happens at the end of the year.

    I ask because the amount in my savings account grew a lot last year.  But it was nearly all true expenses that are pretty well defined and expected like home and car maintenance, not just emergency funds, insurance deductibles, and investments.

    Reply Like 3
    • MartyH I include all of it - true expenses (or I call them rainy day funds), emergency fund, investments, Christmas, medical expenses, vacations, other big savings goals I might have, etc.  The only big saving item I don't include is the amount I have deducted from my paycheck for my work's 401k because that's just too complicated for me to add in.  My view of it is that even if they are expenses within the year, I have to set that money aside for a future purpose (be it 1 month away or 12 months or more). For me, I need to be purposeful about it and remain dedicated to it. So including all of it in my goal for the year helps keep me accountable to my own true expenses/rainy day funds and avoid new debt.

      That being said, everyone should count toward their goal what will work best for them. What works for me very well might not be helpful for someone else. 

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

      Spring Green Rain Yep, exactly; your challenge goal is just that, yours. Nobody gets to tell me that what I'm including in my savings goal isn't savings. It ain't their budget, after all!

      Reply Like 3
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain I like the way you explain it. For the purpose of this challenge, it makes a lot of sense. It also explains why it feels like I'm doing better that it appears just looking at the spreadsheet - I am.

      I'll  probably pay with this a little bit over the weekend to see what specifically fits for me. 

      Reply Like 4
    • MartyH You are the boss of your budget! 😎

      Reply Like 3
    • Spring Green Rain Thanks for this comment! I'm going to rethink my savings approach for this year. Instead of just having a single target for my savings balance to be at by the end of the year, I think it'd help me more to combine that with a focus on developing a steady monthly habit of putting money aside each month for my real expenses. Which is something I have never really done. Thanks again! Your response unlocked something in my brain.

      Reply Like 2
    • Hot Pink Admiral I'm so glad I could be helpful! I hope setting aside money each month for your true expenses goes well for you. I know for me it took well over a year for me to figure out what I need to put aside for some categories (and several years to get the Xmas category right!), but at least having some set aside was immensely helpful in avoiding what seemed like emergencies but really were things I should have been planning for (e.g. car insurance, license tabs, gifts, medical, car repairs). But YNAB has helped me figure it out eventually, and I still have to move dollars around sometimes. That's the roll with it part, I guess! Best of luck!

      Reply Like 2
  • Line 110 claimed! I didn't plan on having an official savings goal on here but due to the government shutdown and me being a government contractor, I felt it best to scale back my debt payments and ramp up my savings just in case. My stretch goal is 20K, however 18K will give me a fully funded 6 months of expenses. I really plan on ramping up my savings come February onward. Happy savings every one!

    Reply Like 4
  • I'm officially declaring that I will be saving for the mortgage deposit. each month $1,374.00. Total of $16,488.00 for the entire year. I am buying this house!!! nothing can stop me!!! 

    Reply Like 7
  • Poor grad student here; new to YNAB, but very excited about taking control of my money. I'm focusing on paying down my credit card debt ($2485), and job prospects after graduation are a bit uncertain right now, so I'm setting a goal of just $1000 (almost a month's income). This is mildly terrifying for me, but I'm taking the plunge! ID 112 in the spreadsheet.

    Reply Like 6
  • Closing out the January budget and was able to save more than anticipated. Gotta love no spend months. 

    Put away $1200 into emergency savings and $668 into house remodel. 

    Reply Like 5
    • LyaNox They really are the best months, and January seems to often be one of those for me, too. It's too cold to go out & spend money anyway!  Nice work on the extra towards savings!

      Reply Like
  • I accepted the savings challenge today and I'm off to a good start.

    Reply Like 3
  • January check-in: Well, given the polar vortex & wind chills over -50, I don't plan on venturing out to spend any more money this month - so a good time to do my check-in. I was able to put extra towards savings this month, putting over $2k toward my overall goal. Next month will be much harder with more needing to go to other expenses. One month at a time.

    Reply Like 4
      • Courtney Lane
      • Mother. Lover. Budgeter.
      • cocolove
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain February will be difficult for me too. But I’m making it a no spend month to try and cultivate a few more dollars towards the savings goal! We got this!

      Reply Like 1
    • Courtney Lane Yes, we got this! Little bit at a time.

      Reply Like 1
  • Whew! Here we go! Our savings took a massive hit last year, and we are using this year to replenish. Goal is $15,000 USD, $10k for an emergency fund, $5k for our honeymoon!

    Reply Like 1
  • Checking in as I’m finishing up January’s budget. Total savings is at $7153.12.  Hoping to add at least another $500 towards my 20k goal in February. 

    Reply Like 4
    • Courtney Lane Great progress in January!

      Reply Like 1
  • January check-in:

    January savings: $12.37

    Modest, but I am happy that it is more than zero! I updated my goal to also include working toward developing a consistent monthly savings habit for true expenses of $75/month, in addition to aiming for $3k safe and secure fund and $750 xmas season fund.   

    Reply Like 4
  • I took #116. Saved $112 this month. Shooting for $10K at year end. Happy that I saved a little bit this month.

    Reply Like 3
  • January Check In

    My budgeted savings this month was $844.06 which I duly allocated at the beginning of the month.  Now that the month is almost over, I've moved left over funds or challenged myself to round up some numbers to bring total for the month to $945.00.

    • 320/3,046.32 Savings Buffer
    • 60/500.04 for my son
    • 200/2,252.76 for Christmas items
    • 210/2,500.08 for Car Replacement
    • 155/2,480.00 in salary sacrificed retirement contributions
    Reply Like 3
  • First time doing the savings challenge. Working more towards various savings goals instead of one big one. They are as follows: Retirement ($6000.00), New Car ($6000.00), Investment Accounts ($1300.00), and E-Fund ($6000.00).  In total I want to save this year is $19300.00.

    Let's get this party started with January Check-In 🎉

    • Retirement: $500.00 / $6000.00
    • New Car: $514.42 / $6000.00
    • Investment Accounts $100.00 / $1300.00
    • E-Fund: $626.88 / $6000.00
    • Total: $1741.30 / $19300.00
    Reply Like 5
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