2018: The Official Savings Challenge

Copied  from and linked to the old...ahem...more mature forum here with the blessings of  speaking_of_art , who is this year's steward of the spreadsheet.


Hi Everyone! 

Welcome to the Savings Challenge for 2018 - spreadsheet (which hopefully will work!) can be found here. 

Thanks to @Budget_Ninja for creating the spreadsheet and @angiegypsy for hosting last year's challenge, which was a huge success with  $726, 926 saved. 

All are very welcome to join in, no matter the size of your goals/ savings purpose etc - claim your line on the spreadsheet and add your goals for the year to the thread below, 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. 

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  • Let the Savings begin!

    I have claimed my line in the spreadsheet, and I declare my 2018 savings target of $15,000, with a stretch goal of $18,000.

    I'm including short-, medium- and long-term savings in this total goal, so I have added in my True Expenses targets even though some of those dollars will also be spent in this calendar year, i.e. Christmas, car insurance.

    • $6,000 True Expenses categories
    • $1,000  Medical Dental top-up
    • $3,000  E-fund top-up
    • $2,000  Next Car Purchase
    • $6,000  Retirement Investing

    I love these challenges. I used the debt smackdown forum challenge in 2016 and the savings challenge in 2017. I believe that declaring my plan, and checking in monthly kept me motivated and on track through both challenges.

    Like 2
  • Joined! 馃榾  Thanks for sharing this.

    I liked your idea of a stretch goal so here's mined:  savings target is Php 175,000 and my stretch goal is Php 255,000.  This is broken down as:

    • Php       1,000 - A new washing machine
    • Php 100,000 - Retirement account
    • Php    15,000 - New luggage
    • Php     10,000 - Upcoming trip to a province north of Manila
    • Php      40,000 - Upcoming trip to either Sri Lanka or Maldives (still under discussion)
    • Php      30,000 - Cashflow Christmas 2018
    • Php      50,000 - Towards furnishing condo when it's completed.

    Good luck to all of us in the challenges!

    Like 2
  • I'll jump in. I added up what I'd like to save and the number is overwhelming, but I must remind myself there are 4 "extra" paychecks in the year, plus a tax refund.

    In no specific order, I am saving for:

    • One month emergency fund 
    • Half of child #2's graduation party fund (2019)
    • Big vacation this summer
    • Anniversary in the fall
    • House needs to be repainted this year
    Like 3
  • Yay, I am happy to join again this year! Here are my goals for 2018:

    1285.67: what I have left to fund for my trip to Europe in May (Big Travel Fund)

    2800: estimated what I need for my other little trips for the year (Wee Travel Fund)

    1200: for Christmas

    Total: 5285.67, I added myself to the spreadsheet and will check in monthly. thanks for putting this together!

    Like 2
  • Savings goals for 2018: 

    EF: $1200
    Grad Party: $800
    Marine Graduation: $1500
    Stove/Oven: $650
    Christmas: $1200

    Total: $5350

    Like 2
  • I'm in!  I participated in last year's challenge and it was amazing!  I saved almost $20K (though a good chunk of that was spent for it's intended purpose during the course of the year - mostly moving expenses and a new major appliance set). 

    This year's goals are pretty simple:

    • House down payment: +$14,000 (stretch goal: +$18,000) to reach $20K ($24K) total
    • July wedding trip: $600???  Hoping this will cover everything but may may need to be adjusted as the details are ironed out - big uncertainties are how long we stay, whether we bring the dogs and/or how long they need to be boarded, get a hotel or stay with family, etc
    • New Phones: +$470 to reach $800 total - Currently we have Nexus 6s.  Good little phones but they were released in 2014 and are unlikely to make the cut for the next android OS update.  By time this is saved up it should cover the cost of two mint condition 128 gb Pixel XLs. 

    Total 2018 Savings Goal: $15,070 ($19,070 stretch)

    In addition I think I'm going to join one of the debt reduction challenges.  I'm going to start tackling my student loan debt.  It's not huge and my parents have agreed to pay it for me, but I want to consolidate and make extra payments which I think will help get the best interest rate when (hopefully) I'm ready to buy a house in late 2019.

    Like 2
  • Added myself! This year, I'm focusing on building RDFs and a real buffer/Emergency Fund for the first time ever so that I can focus on debt on steadier ground in the future. Here are my goals:

    1. Sudden loss of income --> RDF Income Security: $3,000 (to start)
    2. Vet bills I can't afford --> RDF Emergency Vet Costs: $700
    3. Medical emergency/Urgent care --> RDF Emergency Medical Costs: $300 (deductible only to start)
    4. Car catastrophe --> RDF Emergency Car Costs: $350
    5. General anxiety about bills/unexpected costs --> RDF Generally Bad Things: $500

    That adds up to $4,850 of RDF, but I've rounded up to $5,000 on the spreadsheet! Right now, I have a minimum target of $500/month, which would have me completing the challenge by October 2018, but I'm hoping to be able to throw a lot more at these RDFs. I'm still adjusting to my much bigger paycheck and haven't had a "normal" month yet with the holidays.

    My stretch goal is to knock out this challenge by July 2018. That's $714/month which I think is doable, but ambitious. 馃憤

    Like 5
      • blondeambition
      • damn millennial.
      • blondeambition
      • 3 yrs ago
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      I have revised my goal downwards to $3,000 because after some reflection, my EF/RDFs can be a little lower to start with so that I can get to debt paydown sooner. With a lower target comes a quicker deadline though and my updated due date is March 2018! 

      End of January total saving: $1,210 --> 40% of goal

      Like 1
  • My biggest savings will be hidden, I'm increasing my 401K by another 2%. From the remaining budget, my goal is to add another 2500 to the savings account.

    Like 3
  • Ooh, yay! I wanna play! 

    I mentioned on my journal that my big savings goal is to get my emergency fund to $1,000. I'm happy to say that thanks to banking part-time paychecks and Christmas money, I'm 80% of the way there. 

    Since the next step of following the Dave Ramsey plan is debt snowballing, I want to keep my non-emergency fund saving modest so I can put as much money towards paying down my debt as possible. So I have a modest savings goal of $1,500 outside of my emergency fund. Total will be $2,500. 

    I'll go claim a line on the spreadsheet now. 

    Like 4
      • MonDee
      • Getting in Control.
      • mONdEE
      • 3 yrs ago
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      • Reported - view

      MonDee because of a series of unfortunate events, I went from a more than decent savings start to having 1% of my target saved. But I鈥檓 not giving up! There are 11 more months to get where I want to be. 

      Like 2
    • MonDee said:
      But I鈥檓 not giving up! There are 11 more months to get where I want to be.

       You got this, MonDee ! Excited to follow your progress, I'm really impressed and inspired by your resilience :)

      Like 1
      • MonDee
      • Getting in Control.
      • mONdEE
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      MonDee I'm readjusting my savings goal to $2000--$1K for my emergency fund and $1K to pay for driving lessons and taking my driver's license test. I don't want to be 33 without a license! I'm learning to be more flexible and forgiving with myself as I puzzle through this. 

  • My two goals are:

    Scool Tuition: $4,600 total (June and August, $2,300 respectively)
    Emergency Fund: $100/month to build it back up.

    I've claimed a line and I'm hopefully staying on track over in my journal. We will see.

    Like 2
  • I'm joining. It's part of my 2018 goal to  save. I plan to save $5,200. I actually plan to save more, but am being realistic.......

    Like 3
  • I'm in!  My major goal is paying off all debt but mortgage, but I want to continue save, and when the CC's are paid off, switch those payments to savings and true expenses. Right now we save $700 for kid's college fund. Also want to save $2,000 for new computer and $1,000 for emergencies. I'll start simple with that for now. thanks all!

    Like 3
  • I haven't done a challenge in a few years! I got engaged in October and we're planning our wedding for the end of this year. End of year bonuses got us off to a good start, but we have a ways to go. Let's get it going!

    Like 2
  • The last payday of the month is budgeted and, of my savings goal, I am 6.2% of the way there. 

    Like 1
  • January Check in:

    270.58: Big Trip Fund (Europe in May)

    311.12 Wee Trip Fund (little trips throughout the year, first in March)

    100: xmas fund

    for a total of 681.70, 12.9%  :)

    Like 2
    • juuniper77 I adore the breakdown of "Big Trip Fund" vs "Wee Trip Fund"! :)

      Like 1
    • Resistant Punch Roller hehe thank you!

  • Hope it's not too late to join in! :)

    I'm working on the Debt Smackdown challenge as well, and was thinking of these two challenges as one or the other - but have realized others are simultaneously working on savings & debt paydown goals, which sounds like a great idea, so I'd like to join in!

    My main goal while working on debt paydown is to build a mini e-fund of $1000. (I may increase this to $2000 later in the year, but $1000 to start, at least).

    Additionally, there are four particular categories I am targeting to save for larger anticipated expenses and/or rainy day funds (some of this will be spent in the coming year for specific purposes, but it seems like others are including this type of savings as well, hope that works?):

    • Vet expenses: $2500 (includes ~$450 for annual exam this month, ~$1200 for dental cleanings, and the rest to start a rainy day fund)
    • Auto Repair: $2000 (includes new brakes this spring + rainy day fund)
    • Vacation: $1500 (includes several mini trips over the coming year to visit family + annual summer camping trip with college friends)
    • Gifts/Xmas: $1000 (gifts throughout the year + holiday spending at end of year)

    Total 2018 Savings goal: $8000 - will add to spreadsheet! :)

    Like 3
    • For my official January check-in:

      Starting Goals: --- Funded this month: --- Funded YTD: --- YTD % of Goal:
      Mini eFund:   $1000           $125.49         $125.49 / $1000 =    12.5%
      Vet Expenses: $2500           $450.00         $450.00 / $2500 =    18.0%
      Car Repair:   $2000           $165.56         $165.56 / $2000 =     8.3%
      Vacation:     $1500                $0              $0 / $1500 =       0%
      Gifts:        $1000                $0              $0 / $1000 =       0%
      TOTAL:        $8000           $741.05         $741.05 / $8000 =     9.3%
      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
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      Resistant Punch Roller 

      Nice start!

      I'll be posting my first check in when I get my month-end paycheque.

      Like 1
    • Of course, since I was impatient and didn't wait until the very end of Jan to post my results, they ended up changing slightly before the month officially rolled over, so here's an amended update:

      Starting Goals: --- Funded this month: --- Funded YTD: --- YTD % of Goal:
      Mini eFund:   $1000           $125.84         $125.84 / $1000 =    12.6%
      GooD Fund:    $1000                $0              $0 / $1000 =       0%
      Vet Expenses: $2000           $334.68         $334.68 / $2000 =    16.7%
      Car Repair:   $1500           $165.56         $165.56 / $1500 =    11.0%
      Vacation:     $1500            $95.00          $95.00 / $1500 =     6.3%
      Gifts:        $1000                $0              $0 / $1000 =       0%
      TOTAL:        $8000           $721.08         $721.08 / $8000 =     9.0%

      The changes are mainly due to the fact that the vet appt on the 30th ended up being $115 less than I'd budgeted (wahoooo!), so I "un-WAMed" $95 of that to my Vacation savings (after WAMing $20 to cover a last-minute Medical copay for myself).

      Also at the vet appt I learned that only ONE of my two cats will need a dental cleaning this year, not both as I'd been anticipating (more hoorays!), so I'm shifting my Savings goals slightly - same overall total, but moving $500 each from Vet Expenses and Car Repair into a Get Out of Dodge fund (idea stolen from Michele - thanks for the inspiration!). :)

      I've been pondering the Get Out of Dodge fund since I first read about it, and have decided this makes sense as a current priority, as I'll be moving in May (out of my current apartment and into the house my partner owns!), and don't anticipate many moving expenses, but those are the sorts of things that do seem to creep up regardless. And with any luck, I won't have to dip into it much and can carry it forward as a "just in case we have to move in a hurry" fund, as the name suggests ;)

      Like 1
  • This is such a great idea! I've been more of a lurker than a contributor on any YNAB discussion so this will be fun:

    My goal, for now, will be a mere $2,500:

    • My insurance excess is $1050. So if (let's be honest, when) I cause a car accident or damage my own vehicle, I want to be able to pay this outright.
    • The remaining amount will serve as an emergency fund for things I haven't considered (journal coming soon - I had an unexpected event happen where it would've been great to have had a strict e-fund).

    Will most likely aim for a higher amount/more specific amount if I hit this before the end of the year. Time will tell 馃榿

    Like 4
  • Overall goal is just to increase net worth as measured by assets in my balance sheet. I'd like to increase cash (or cash equivalent) assets by $10,000 this year. Specific reasons are for improving my emergency fund situation as well as preparing for an expensive 2019 (fiancee will move to the US, we'll need a new car and I'll generally be increasing my spending as a result).

    For the purposes of this I'm not counting my liabilities (CC debt) and non-cash equivalent assets (stocks, retirement accounts, etc.).

    Like 1
  • I took a line. Excited to see how well this goes, really need something to stay focused on now that the debt is paid off (except the mortgage). I feel like I might be pushing our goal a little far, but hey it's supposed to be a challenge right? Thankfully we are off to a good start thanks to my company giving a $1,000 one time donation to our HSA since it is just being offered this year! Hope we can find some more creative ways and ideas along the way.

    Like 4
  • January 2018 Check-In  (cross-posted in both forums)

    $3,030 saved so far or 16.47% of my goal of $18,400 (revised).

    This is my galloping start. My first check-in includes the savings from December ($1330), which was not included in my 2017 savings challenge total, and January ($1700). I anticipate a savings rate of between $1,350 to $1,500/month for the rest of 2018.

    I received a surprise $300 loan repayment from my sister. I decided to incorporate her payment into my savings challenge and increased my stretch goal to 18,400. For every payment she gives me, I will increase my goal by an equivalent amount.  I also got a surprise $50 extra on my paycheque which is probably due to some adjustment on federal withholdings. I haven't yet decided what to do with that extra $50.


    Like 3
    • Michele Oh my, did Trump's tax bill somehow reach you all the way up there? ;)

      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller 

      No bonuses or windfalls -- I wish -- but counting two months worth of category savings helped with my jumpstart. It felt a little like a cheat, but I switched over to budgeting in the month received when I transitioned to nYNAB from YNAB4, as an experiment, and that meant the transition month remained in 2017.  But the transition month savings weren't counted in my 2017 savings challenge.  Since this way of budgeting (right in the current month) may change back to month received + 1, I made the executive decision to report it in my 2018 savings.

      FWIW, I have noticed my US investments have risen in a lovely manner over the last year. That is very exciting.

  • January Report:

    1. Php    10,000 - A new washing machine - In Progress. Saved 4,152.20 so far. (41.5%)
    2. Php 100,000 - Retirement account - In Progress. Saved 12,000 so far. (12%)
    3. Php    15,000 - New luggage - Not Started
    4. Php    10,000 - Upcoming trip to a province north of Manila - Not Started
    5. Php    40,000 - Upcoming trip out somewhere in Asia (still under discussion) - Not Started
    6. Php    30,000 - Cashflow Christmas 2018 - In Progress. Saved 800 so far. (2.7%) 
    7. Php    50,000 - Towards furnishing condo when it's completed. - Not Started.

    Total: 16,952.2/255,000 (6.6%)

    Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      isang you are doing great!  Have fun planning your trips!

      • isang
      • isangkuripot
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Thanks! 馃榾 I'm actually adding another trip to save up for to my list, haha.

  • Hi all! I'm line 50 on the spreadsheet. I'm at almost 8% of my revised goal, in 6 weeks, which is feeling really good to me, especially since my first goal is actually to get our debt seriously smacked and out of our lives. I am doing great on that front, with our second-to-last interest bearing CC paid off today!  So, next month I don't have to pay that, and in April I should also have "found" money from my daughter's orthodontia payments that should be finished in March. Woohoo!   In addition to our payments to our college saving plan, the bare minimum we need to save monthly to get us through my sabbatical (25% pay cut!) and summer months (50% pay cut!!) is $600 and I'm on track for that. Also, I have submitted an application for a small grant that would make summer MUCH better (NO PAY CUT!) if I am awarded it, so cross your fingers for me!  I'll know about that in late May. Hope everyone is doing well!  Roll with the punches!  

    Like 1
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Oh!  I also saved a tiny bit for Christmas this month! I should add that to my savings goal!  

      Like 3
  • Hello there, 

    joining in here too. Beside some needed savings for my true expenses, I'm also a participant of the Debt Smackdown Challenge, see here

    However, my needed savings targets are the following:

    • 6768 CHF for my Retirement Plan (called S盲ule 3a/ Pillar 3a. 6768CHF is the maximum amount i can save to lower my taxes), target date 31.12.2018
    • 1930 CHF for my public transportation travel card (called GA, General Abonnement), target date 31.12.2018  (safe up for the renewal 2019, start July 2018)
    • 2500 CHF for Medical bills, rest is covered by health assurance, target date 31.12.2018, start after my Checkings Account is on 0 Balance
    • 1200 CHF for Fedcon, target date 31.12.2018
    • 1000 CHF for Dental Care target date 31.12.2018, start after my Checkings Account is on 0 Balance
    • 1000 CHF for Edinburgh Tattoo, target date 30.11.2018
    • 7500 CHF for Taxes, target date 25.11.2018
    • 3860 CHF for the GA, Target date 30.06.2018, Renewal 2018

    Total saving Target: 

    Total: 25758 CHF

    So far, and this is my january check-in: 

    • 350 CHF Retirement
    • 31.71 CHF Fedcon
    • 80 CHF Edinburgh
    • 200 CHF Taxes
    • 1579 CHF GA

    Total: 2240.71 CHF

    Feb and March won't be that big steps, but in April i get some bonus from my employer. There will be a huge step in for the GA and Debt Smackdown.


    Regards from switzerland

    Blue Orchid

    Like 3
      • Orchid Beat
      • On my way back to a Linux Geek
      • Orchid_Beat_b30dcd93535
      • 3 yrs ago
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      Orchid Beat 

      February Check in

      Just plain and simple, overall the minimum as my focus is still on the debt smackdown. The new numbers are as following:

      Total saving Target: 

      Total: 25758 CHF

      • 700 CHF Retirement (+350 CHF)
      • 100 CHF Fedcon (+68.29 CHF)
      • 160 CHF Edinburgh (+80 CHF)
      • 400 CHF Taxes (+200 CHF)
      • 1769 CHF GA (+190 CHF)

      Total: 3129 CHF (+888.29 CHF)

      Fun fact: in both challenges i reached 12.15% of my goals.

      See you latest by the end of march. Oh, and I will explain our tax system in my journal later. This, because the paper from the administration arrived...

  • February Check-in. (cross-posted in the other forum here)

    I'm changing my reporting for the challenge.  I started the year with an experiment where I budgeted this month's funds at the end of last month.  I tried this method for three months, and I've decided I hate it. Attached are two views of my budget that illustrate why, the first one in which I budgeted last month, and the second where I budgeted this month.  I find I can't stand the orange underfunded categories all month, and the only way to eliminate them is to not use goals.  But I also find that I'm enjoying the template display I've created in goals. So that means I am changing my process.  I already went through my budget and changed the last three months to move the budgeting into the month after income is received. I've updated my numbers in the challenge spreadsheet.

    My January savings is from December income budgeted in January. My February savings is from January income budgeted in February. Going forward I'll be posting my check-in early in the month.


    I like to carve out and declare my challenge amount at the beginning of the month when I budget out the upcoming month. Doing it this way tends to be more successful for me. I am more determined to follow through somehow and will not easily give in to impulse, as opposed to waiting until the end of the month and seeing then what's left unspent.

    Like 3
  • So Just joined, and looking forward to seeing us all hit our goals!

    My goals are to get to $6000 in savings for an emergency / random opportunity fund. 

    Off to a small start as I had extra rent payments between housemates. 

    It's hard to guess when I'll be hitting it right now as my income maybe changing very soon, but it will be absolutely this year!

    Once I have this safety buffer, I can then focus on paying off what I've labelled "dumb debt" which is debt over 5% interest that aren't linked to what Robert Kiyosaki considers assets (currently that's everything). 

    Following this structure for my financial journey - 


    Hoping to make a few financial friends through this challenge this year, and help each other stay on target as accounting accountability buddies. 

    Let's get this game started!!!

    Like 2
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