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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  • Here is my January update.  I had to wait for consulting money that might have come tomorrow but it came today!

    Pool reno – 1,600

    BC wedding – 2,000

    Christmas – 150

    Vacation – 140

    Buffer – 753

    TOTAL – 4,493!!!

     

    On to next month, where I might have more consulting work so I should stay on track or get ahead!!

    Like 4
  • Well. As January comes to a close, I'm closing out with a savings balance of 1,035.73. I am grateful and looking forward to see what February has in store.  Wishing everyone a prosperous  February. 

    Like 4
  • I have not started the 40K retirement savings goal yet because I'm focusing on debt payoff and car replacement funding in January/February. Those steps will keep me out of debt so I can save. It's an aggressive goal - on March 1 it begins!

    Like 3
  • Re:  The Zero Entry

    Hello, Savers.

    Just a note for those participating in the challenge for the first time and/or for those who are ambitiously balancing entries in both the debt smackdown and saving challenges:  It is entirely normal for other budget priorities to delay your savings plans for the month and for you to have no savings to report. When that happens, enter a 0 in the corresponding month column. This shows you are still active in the challenge.  It also helps display the actual participation percentage.

    Like 6
  • Hello all, Jan I put $20 in savings and Feb put $20. I'm waiting for some additional income to come in and I will be able to put amounts ranging in the hundred. Will update end of month.

    Like 5
  • Jan update.  Just starting to work on my 2018 taxes, so I'll see soon enough what I'll have to pull from  savings to pay for any shortfall.  I've already adjusted my W4, so take home pay will drop a little.  After that, I'll start smacking this debt again.

    Like 4
  • I just realized that the best way to cut expenses and downsize for retirement is to increase savings - an inspiring rather than depressing goal. Found the 2019 Challenge and joined in today. What a great idea!

    I'm already on my way toward my goal thanks to my 91-year-old mom who is still dishing out money from the nursing home. Her gift inspires me to save some every month. I paid that forward by giving a chunk to my kids.

    Thanks to YNAB, I have eliminated my credit card debt and funded my business and personal budgets one month ahead. Time to save. Here are my Target Goals:

    • Condo Assessments $5,000
    • Income Replacement $30,000
    • Retirement Savings $20,000

    Thanks in advance for your support, everyone, and to HappyDance  and Budget_Ninja for your leadership and hard work!

    Like 5
  • I saved over target in January. Good news since my laptop died and my car blew up - two big expenses I wasn’t ready for. 

    Thanks to YNAB I had some of the money already put aside, which reduced the pain somewhat.

    Also thanks to YNAB I have been thinking very carefully about money and set up new investments for myself and my son, so funding them will increase savings.

    February is another high spend month for me as I have to buy flights for the summer to get us back to see the family. Then spending calms down a bit till June/ July. Plus I do examination marking in the summer so from June there’s a little extra coming in. 

    Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. January was a good start. February may be tough, after that it gets easier. My true expense categories are filling up nicely now (4-5 months in) and that will help a lot. Onwards and upwards!

    Like 6
  • February Check-in

    I've allocated $1,450 to savings categories in my February budget increasing my total saved to date to  $13,065 and to 46.66% of my stretch goal of $28,000 .

    Like 3
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Wow you’re going great?

      Like 1
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      QC That’s was supposed to be an !!!!

      Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      QC 

      lol. Thanks.  I've done really well with the challenges: one debt smackdown and two savings. I'm determined to do well again this year.  The challenge keeps me deliberate and focused.

      This year I'm also working on finding the perfect middle ground in food spending: the spot where health, fitness, weightloss, and well prepared food converge. This month I'm going to experiment with implementing a skipped-week protocol. That's where I skip one grocery shopping trip out of the four or five Saturdays in the month and challenge myself to prepare healthy, yummy, frugal meals by using what I have in my pantry and freezer.

      Like 3
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance I'll sometimes do a week where the main part of dinner comes from the freezer, but what about fresh items - vegetables, fruit, milk? Where I live food shopping is very expensive, so I'm keen to try out your idea, but I don't want to have a skip-green-veg-n-tomatoes week!

      Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      Not sure how it will work yet.  I don't want to just get in the habit of doubling up or overloading the grocery spend the week before.  I suspect there will be some rather hilarious oversights as I experiment. I think I'll start a separate journal on the subject.

      Like
  • In my first post in this thread I said I would only track my apartment savings for this challenge as I'm going to be taking money out of my vacation fund throughout the year, but I changed my mind in the end. Managed to hit my monthly goals exactly in January - nothing more, nothing less.

    Keep up the great work everyone, you're all doing great!

    Like 2
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Soymylk Good work, it's going well. :)

       

      I'm still suffering from the laptop/ car break down disaster of January, but February payday is looming. Once I get this one out of the way I hope to get back on track. Between YNAB generally and this Challenge specifically, I am optimistic it isn't going to hold me back too badly over the year. Fingers crossed!

      Like 2
  • Sometimes, when I think that it won't hurt if I take a bit of my savings and put it towards something else instead (usually a consumer spend), I come in here and look over the spreadsheet for a while.  Helps to refocus me.  Sometimes I feel like I'm suffering withdrawals by choosing not to spend! 

    Like 6
  • Early February check-in: no savings this month because I want to get my buffer back on track.

    Like 3
  • February check-in posted - Moving along on my Pool, Christmas and buffer goals.  March should be great as I got a little consulting gig that start this week and will go into March.  Onward!!!

    Like 2
  • Added a little over $200 towards savings and buffer. We are hoping to save a bit more per month after our baby is born.

    Like 3
  •  Here I am. Now that the debt payoff is complete. I  claiming Line 121 and  goal of the year is $17, 800.  

    Hoping to adjust it with new income and job. 

    Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lioness. RC 

      Go you! 

      I found I needed the savings challenge to keep me accountable to meet my goals. It was easier to stay disciplined when paying off debt. But I started to waiver and blur the lines when it came to savings.  These challenges have helped me be so much more successful in hitting my goals than ever before.

      Like 1
  • Time to go ahead and make my February update.

    My father ended up in the hospital this month and my brother sadly took advantage of the situation to steal money from him, so I had to dip into my emergency fund to help my father with some bills.   At least I got my federal refund, so the effect is nullified for now. I'm suspecting I may need to assist him with some medical bills in the future so we will see what happens to my E-Fund after that.  Still waiting on my state refund which will go towards my investment accounts.

    • Retirement: $1000.00 / $6000.00
    • New Car: $1130.93/ $6000.00
    • Investment Accounts $200.00 / $1300.00
    • E-Fund: $2089.07/ $6000.00
    • Total: $4420.00 / $19300.00
    Like 3
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Madkat-Z 

      ((hug)) of support for carrying the burden of sanity in your family (been there) and for being a support to your dad. Sending positive energy your way. 

      Like 1
      • Madkat-Z
      • madkatz
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance  Appreciate it. 🙂

      Actually, I need to go post a YNAB Win. I manage my father finances and I have been using YNAB to help him build an E-Fund/Pay Down Debt due to his health has been on the decline. YNAB was the reason I caught the theft early and was able to stop it before they could drain his accounts. 

      Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Madkat-Z 

      It's certainly a win, even though the cause is just so awful. Don't let the crazy win.  Wishing a speedy return to his normal for your dad.

      Like 1
  • February total: $1636.67

    1. 41 home wants
    2. 196 auto needs
    3. 529 home repairs
    4. 183 veterinary
    5. 662.67 retirement and security
    6. 25 Travel

    Goals may change in the months to come, but I'm going to do my best to hang tough.

    Like 3
  • I set a goal to save $50,000 this year - My primary savings goal is to have enough for a house down payment (been saving  for a few years, and hoping to be "fully funded" this Summer) , but I also have my eye on increasing my emergency fund (getting  a head start since this will need to increase with a mortgage),  continuing to make headway on a car replacement fund (I am hoping that I have 4-5 years to work on funding this), and funding a few smaller wish farm goals. I took a big bite out of that savings goal since I received my discretionary bonus for 2019 this month. 

    Like 3
  • Saved $1,333.96 this month, thanks to a tax refund. Woo!

    Like 5
  • February Check In

    My budgeted savings this month was $844.06 which I duly allocated at the beginning of the month.  On 25th of the month my nephew committed suicide.  Helping my sister has put a dent in the E-fund which I am also trying to repair.  My savings total for the month however is $918.38.

    • 313.38/3,046.32 Savings Buffer
    • 50/500.04 for my son
    • 190/2,252.76 for Christmas items
    • 210/2,500.08 for Car Replacement
    • 155/2,480.00 in salary sacrificed retirement contributions
    Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      QC 

      Curiosity rears its nosy head.  What are "salary sacrificed retirement contributions".

      Like
    • QC I am so sorry to hear about your nephew 🙁 My thoughts are with you and your family...

      Like 1
      • Laimelde
      • Navy_Blue_Wizard
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance In Australia, you can "sacrifice" some of your pay to go directly into other places, eg, retirement funds, mortgage payments, investments (one of my work colleagues uses it to buy additional shares in our company every month), without ever seeing that money in your bank account. The bonus is that it gets sent there before income tax is taken out of your pay, so you pay less tax on that portion of your income. 

      The downside is that you take home less actual cash, and can't just change your priorities on the spot if something comes up, or you change your mind.

      I don't know if QC is Aussie or if salary sacrifice also exists in other places...

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      QC 

      I too am so sorry to hear of your family's loss and pain.  My sympathies and thoughts are with you at this very difficult chapter in your life.

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Laimelde 

      Thank you.  That makes sense, although it's not a term I've heard worded quite that way before. We have something similar, but it's not nearly so streamlined in Canada, and it would depend on the kind of retirement plan the employer offered employees.  The employer I worked for before this one had a flexible contribution plan. I could adjust my before-tax contribution rate by simply logging into my own benefits account and making the change so that more went in pre-tax.  I'm currently in a defined benefit pension plan, and there is a mandatory 12% deducted at source, so adjusting it isn't an option. 

      Like
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance I’m in Australia. We have a compulsory super contribution (employer expense) and can opt to make voluntary contributions. Furthermore you can make contributions before or after tax. I sacrifice salary to reduce my annual earnings and my tax liability. My marginal tax rate is about 30% and super contributions I salary sacrifice are only tax at 15%. 

      Those advantages aside, the reason I make extra contributions is because I do not have enough to retire comfortably. 

      Thank you to those who offered condolences. It’s been a very tough week. 

      Like 3
  • So this month ended sucky. I found out I'm going to be getting 200 less a month. But thankfully all my big bills come out in March so I'm not screwed wrt paying things off. What is unfortunate was I had planned to start putting more to savings after I paid off one of my cc. Now I can't. It's a big hit and I'm concerned, but, I'll sort things out when I find out exactly how much I'm going to lose.

    Like 3
  • February check-in: I saved another $1029.64, which puts me over 10% to my annual goal.  I'll be able to do much better in March, given that's when I should receive both my tax refund and bonus. And thanks to the medical tax deduction - and a very expensive year of infertility/IVF treatments - my tax refund is going to be the largest I've every received. That should be very helpful toward saving a big chunk of what I hope to save for a year's worth of daycare. Funny how I wasn't as excited about the expense last year, but this year when it's a tax deduction it's not as bad. 

    Like 1
  • I was able to put more toward my home maintenance fund in Feb since my moving costs came in below what I had budgeted. I have put my base 100 a month in for March, but when my bonus check comes in later this month I will add half of that as well.

    Like 2
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      I added the money from my bonus check, so the category is starting to look healthy. Of course, I have a couple projects I need to hire someone to do already, so it won't have that much time to grow....

      I've also got a "home improvements" category (over 1200) that is for the smaller things I can do myself or more decorative things (paint, etc). I might split that into "indoor" and "outdoor" so I have a fund for gardening stuff if I decide to do anything this year. 

      Like 5
  • Feb checkin.  Been saving more than paying debt because I owe almost as much in taxes this year as last year's refund.  I've learned my lesson about running the W-4 calculator each year.  I also need about $24K for a buy-in to TSP for military time.  That will result in a personal loan as well.  Just getting ready for it.

    Like 1
  • I got an extra $923.13 income in February that I will use to top up my savings rate in March.  

    • $266.89  Dental Insurance Reimbursement
    • $109.18  HSA reimbursement
    • $300.00   Loan payment from family member
    • $26.25     cash stipend and gift card for participating in surveys
    • $43.72     bank interest
    • $75.00     VISA points redemption
    • $22.09     Mastercard 2% cash back
    • $80.00     Grocery Store Loyalty Points Redeemed
    • $923.13   Total extra income in February

    Every little bit helps.

    Like 5
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