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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  • Ynabers this is amazing, this group saved $100,00- (or the local equivalent) in January alone!  I am humbled to be along side all of you!  Good for us!!!

    Reply Like 3
  • The 2017 savings challenge results were very impressive.  Calendar year 2017 ended with a total savings of $751,408.  This is my third year participating in a YNABer challenge (2016 in debt smackdown and 2017 and 2018 in the savings challenge).  We usually see significant drop off as the year progresses.  In 2017 we started with 85 savers, but only 29 of the original 85 completed their December check in. Every month there were fewer and fewer checking in. Life happens. People drift away from budgeting and from forum participation, and sometimes people just forgot that they had posted an intention to save. Follow-thru can be difficult when you have too many priorities.   I still find it remarkable that as a group we saved three quarters of a million dollars in 2017.

    I personally exceeded all my own expectations on saving last year.  There is something quite powerful about making a goal and then repeatedly revisiting and focusing on that goal for an entire year that helps build unexpected momentum.

    Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
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      HappyDance I can understand the drop off; kind of human nature. Even so, I agree with you that the 2017 totals are incredible, especially considering the debt challenge operating alongside!  Not that everyone was doing both, of course, but that so many people were working so hard at getting better. I am glad to participate!

      Reply Like 1
  • February Check in: We got my spouse's second paycheck, so I'm adding in the rest of our savings goals: $700 to 529 plan, and $600 to general savings for the summer, $1300 for the month. yay! 

    Reply Like 2
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
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      Navy Blue Unicorn and... our tax refund is here!  So, I doubled my savings to 1200, so now 1900 for the month!  (and, of course, scheduled the April federal tax payment with most of the rest of the state refund...)

      Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
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      Navy Blue Unicorn 

      Love this.  You know you're a die-hard YNABer when you put your tax refund to work on your savings challenge goal.  Nice job.

      Reply Like 2
  • Jan and Feb Update: I was travelling so didn't get any money set aside for savings. Because, I'm focusing on clearing debt, and all the large amounts are going to that, I want to retrain myself with a new habit of always setting aside money, even if I am full of debt. So starting March I am going to set aside 10$/week or 10$/month. I haven't decided as yet.

    The plan is to move the money to a "lock" account where I cannot take the money out, or to physically w/d it and stuff it in my room. 

    The issue I have is that all the money I have saved, ends up being spent to cover some sort of expenses. I want this money to built and eventually be my 1-month then 6-month backup.

    Reply Like 3
    • ISuckatMaths Building the new habit of saving money and letting it sit is REALLY hard and really worthwhile, great goal to focus on!! :)

      Reply Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 yr ago
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      Resistant Punch Roller Thank you! you know I think that's why this group has less then the Debt Smackdown, it's sooo much harder to save!😓

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    • ISuckatMaths 

      You're absolutely right, so much harder to save than clear debt. 

      I've been following this method ( https://radicalpersonalfinance.com/finance-topics/stages-of-financial-independence/ ), which as long as you're current on your bills, building up that savings buffer, is the next step before going into debt destroying mode.

      Keep it up though, no matter what your strategy or where you're at, you've got a great group here who have each other and I'm sure are really cheering for each other!

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
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      ISuckatMaths 

      Saving just for saving sake can be difficult to maintain when starting out because, I think, we are not emotionally invested.  But give that saving a specific goal:  I'm saving $1,000 to renew my car insurance in October. I'm building up $750 for Christmas gifts this year. I'm squeezing $75/month into my vacation in Thailand in 2020 category no matter what.  The more important to you and specific the savings goal is, at least in the beginning, the greater your chance of sticking with it. At least, that was my experience.

       If you are a natural spender or a habitual spender (I call this robo-spending), you may also need teach yourself that small amounts do matter.  I can't tell you how many times I heard myself say, "It's only $5."  A $5 purchase done once is truly not a big deal, but a $5 purchase done every single day adds up to .......$1,825 in a single year.  Now tell me that number doesn't look suspiciously like the amount you need to_________________. (fill in the blank)

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      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
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      Toby Knight Thank you! That's so funny, I actually saw this page a couple of days ago and have pocket'd it so that I can keep it on file! I think our google search algorithms have sync'd up!

      Reply Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
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      HappyDance Haha, yes you are very right, and why I, and I'm sure many others, find it so difficult to just save period. Unfortunately, for myself, I don't consider the amounts I set aside for a specific task as savings. That's why the amounts I'm building to pay off my debt is not here. I consider all money allocated to a category as spent, because it's future spending.

      Which makes what you are saying interesting. Since, I've already ynab trained myself to set aside money for my big purchases, I really should start creating specific categories for those savings with titles like RRSP or my specific fund etc. Normally what I have is a category called Savings. But, I think it's too vast and too unspecific...  It kinda makes me realise how old ynab worked a bit better with training us to live off our last month's paycheque. With that goal I was able to save 1 month wages much faster then any other general savings I have tried since.  

      Thank you @HappyDance, my response to you has allowed for me to think of some new ways to work on this problem.

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
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      ISuckatMaths 

      I now consider every dollar I budget to a true expenses category to be "saved" even if I know I'm going to use it in a couple of months.  The fact that I didn't mindlessly spend it today and set it aside to prepare for a future transaction is a savings win for me.

      Reply Like 2
  • Happy nearly-end-of-February! :)

    This month I really pushed myself to tuck ANY snowflake/"found" money into my mini-efund, including the value of any gift cards or CC rewards (embracing the idea that money is fungible!), and am really excited at the progress I've made!! At a steady rate of $150/mo continued contributions (which I've included in my standard budget template), I'll hit my $1000 mini-efund goal in June, but I have a few small anticipated bits of extra $$ coming in that will hopefully push that up even sooner! :)

    My True Expense savings, however, stalled out this month, due to some extra one-time payments I made toward my debt-smackdown goals this month. I think this will be worthwhile overall, it's just so tough trying to balance multiple competing goals simultaneously!

    It was particularly tough letting my Vacation balance build up when I had so many more urgent competing demands - I was originally hoping to fund this at $125/mo all year, but since my first trip of the month isn't until June, I've realized I'll actually be okay to wait until May and then start funding it at $200/mo, after I've taken care of some more immediately needed categories first.

    Overall tally for February:

    Starting Goals: --- Funded this month: --- Funded YTD: --- YTD % of Goal:
    Mini eFund:   $1000           $257.79         $400.00 / $1000 =    40.0%
    GooD Fund:    $1000           $200.00         $200.00 / $1000 =    20.0%
    Vet Expenses: $2000                $0         $334.68 / $2000 =    16.7%
    Car Repair:   $1500                $0         $165.56 / $1500 =    11.0%
    Vacation:     $1500           -$75.00              $0 / $1500 =       0%
    Gifts/Xmas:   $1000            $73.83          $73.83 / $1000 =     7.4%
    TOTAL:        $8000           $456.62        $1174.07 / $8000 =    14.7%

    Excited to hopefully make some more significant progress in March! :)

    Reply Like 2
    • Resistant Punch Roller 

      Happy end of February! Congrats on the progress this month, and that's a great lesson on really using those alternatives to money that's available to us. Even with the stall from those 1 time payments, you're still doing great work. I love seeing the updates from you, and the attention to your numbers to hit your goals. You inspire me!

      Reply Like 2
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
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      Resistant Punch Roller great job!!  I totally hear you on the competing goals; savings and debt. I think you're doing so well staying accountable to yourself and controlling your money (instead of controlling you). 

      Reply Like 1
  • March 2018 Check-In (cross-posted in both forums link )

    I received another $300 loan repayment from my sister in February, and increased my stretch goal by the  corresponding $300. The $1,475 saved from my own income plus the $300 from my sister equals $1,775 to various savings goals this month. $5,425 saved so far for 29% of my goal of $18,700.

     

    I am delighted to see money flowing back into my crisis fund category. That's a category I created for totally unforeseen disasters (namely helping my sister). I need to review the necessity of that category, but for now it seems like a good place to park the returning funds I receive from my sister.

    It's only at $500, however, so don't make me your first call for bail money.  🙂

    Reply Like 2
  • February Check in, a bit late because I just had knee surgery:

    Savings:

    Big trip fund (europe in May): 355.73

    Wee trip fund (for little trips, Chicago in April is the first one) 353.27

    808 for the month, 1489.70 total for the year, 28.18%

    Getting there! :)

    Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
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      juuniper77 wooohoo!  good work!

      Reply Like 1
    • Navy Blue Unicorn thank you!

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  • Check in for first half of March; figures won't be final until second paycheck comes in on the 15th. Allocated 300 of $600 goal to summer savings and 300 of $700 goal for college savings fund. Woot!  Money hanging around!  In it's correct place!

    Reply Like 2
    • Navy Blue Unicorn Heck yeah! and it's not even a whole week into March already! Love the kick ass progress 😆

      Reply Like 2
  • Adding my name to the list I have just started ynab. Goals are from this month

    €6,000 to home deposit

    €1350 to emergency fund (150 in from Feb)

    €100 to car tax in june and €100 to it in Dec

    €600 towards insurance in June

    €500 for christmas

    €8,650 total . Alongside paying down debt so may have to review :/

    Reply Like 4
  • I have one large event I need to save for in 2018, which totals $33,000 (and may not in actuality need quite this much, but am preparing for higher costs).  Thanks to one-time income occurrences, I hope to have the bulk of this saved early this year.  Once I hit this goal, I will return my focus back to debt pay down.  However, in the spirit of this thread, I will add that I will also be saving for the following:

    • Rainy day funds (car repairs, Xmas, gifts, insurance, etc.):  $7,600
    • Savings goals (6 mo emergency fund, vacations): $11,000

    So in total my goal for the year is $51,600.  Daunting, but manageable this year once I hit my first goal of the $33k. 

    Reply Like 3
  • (Late) February Check-In:

    Who knew that selling things you don't really use could help you reach that savings goal faster?

    Oh, everyone? Okay then.

    Managed to sell a DSLR for a good sum. While my ultimate savings goal is $2,500, I'm really pushing to reach $1000 this month or next month so I'm happy to be over the half-way mark! Let's see what March brings..

    Reply Like 4
    • pureneon That's a win for living life like a minimalist! I've sold/donated heaps of my stuff over the last 2 years, and the more I let go of, the happier I end up being! I know minimalism is such a buzzword, and it's starting to become a tired topic, but there's still heaps of merit in living this way. Congrats on getting that boost!

      Reply Like 3
      • pureneon
      • Self Aware & Somewhat Conscious Spender
      • pureneon
      • 1 yr ago
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      Toby Knight I've actually been living the minimalist lifestyle for a few years now! My way of getting rid of things would be to just donate them. Decided that I'd try to get dollars for the good stuff and continue donating the rest - has been working in my favour :)

      Reply Like 1
  • So not as detailed as you're all doing. But on track to have over $500 in the saving account by the end of the month. But lets be adventurous, lets aim for $600! 

    I'm going to post a picture of me doing something embarrassing if I have less than $600... You guys have to hold me accountable to this (and it should be hilarious / shocking, because I don't have much shame). Love to see some suggestions of what that embarrassing thing could be ;)

    *My only options for bailing out is emergencies or paying off some urgent & critical (what I call dumb because it's over 5% interest that's not connected to an asset or education) debt. 

    Reply Like 3
      • Orchid Beat
      • On my way back to a Linux Geek
      • Orchid_Beat_b30dcd93535
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      Toby Knight do something embarrassing? How about convince a member of the flat earth society that the earth actually is a globe while dressed as a drag queen (or something other hilarious :D)?

      greetings from switzerland

       

      Orchid Beat

      Reply Like 1
    • Orchid Beat 

      Great suggestion. Although I don't know if there's a local flat earth society around me, but that's something I'd rather stay ignorant to, and no go looking for haha. I'm sure they exist though... 

      But dressing in drag and doing impromptu interviews in the city about the flat earth society would be a great penalty for me. Thanks ;) So YOU ARE ON!!! *handshake*👍

      Reply Like 1
      • Orchid Beat
      • On my way back to a Linux Geek
      • Orchid_Beat_b30dcd93535
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      Toby Knight you're welcome :D

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    • Well I just hit the goal (just)... $603.65. HOORAY! No harassing people in the streets in a dress. Thanks for the suggestion Orchid Beat

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      • Orchid Beat
      • On my way back to a Linux Geek
      • Orchid_Beat_b30dcd93535
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      Toby Knight congratz for reachhing your goal! Sadly we won't see you in drag now :D

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  • So now that I got my new incomes sorted and have created a plan of sorts (always open to modifications). I've set aside 2319.22$ for different categories and buffers. Best wrt bills, I'm living on last months income.😃

    Because of all the buffers I've started, and as previously mentioned, I want my goals here to be just about savings for long-term investments and tsfa accounts. I won't put the above amount in the spreadsheet.

    That means next month I've planned to set aside 30$. Not large, but, I have debt I want to get rid of in max 8 months and bill categories owed for later in the year and next year I want filled up.

    Think I feel pretty good with the plan I've created💃💃

    Reply Like 2
    • ISuckatMaths 

      Congratulations on living on last month!! I think that's a huge step for most of us in the forums :D

      Not sure what your starting mark was, but still deserves a congratulations. 

      Reply Like 2
  • Hi all,

     

    Saving for (hopefully) an eventual baby #2 and building my emergency fund. $3000 is my target number. I don't have too much money to sock away right now, as I'm just getting started with the whole budgeting-for-things-even-in-months-you-don't-pay-for-it thing, but as I pay down my debt I will have more to throw in.

    Reply Like 1
    • Purple Hail 

      Well a very big pre-savings and pre-announcement congratulations and good luck! Wishing you the best 😀

      Reply Like 2
  • March is already ending - wow time is flying

    Very small update, as mentioned I don't include the money I am setting aside for paying debt and for other categories as my savings smackdown. I only consider money I am putting aside for true savings. Because my debt smackdown is considerable I have committed to putting aside min 10$ a month.

    So this month 10$ it is.

    Reply Like 5
  • Mid March Check in to give me a bit of motivation. Struggling with saving and repaying debt: We need to save €150 weekly for house deposit leaving things tight after loans repaid.

    €300 (aim for €6,000 in year) to home deposit

    €200 (€1350 to emergency fund (350 inc balance from Feb)

    €25 (€100 to car tax in june and €100 to it in Dec)

    €0 (€600 towards insurance in June)

    €0 (€500 for christmas)

    Added €20 to auto maintenance sinking fund

    €545 (€695 if inc Feb €150 EF) so far of €8,650 total aim .

    Reply Like 2
  • March Check in

    still 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

    • 1050 CHF Retirement (+350 CHF)
    • 200 CHF Fedcon (+100 CHF)
    • 240 CHF Edinburgh (+80 CHF)
    • 600 CHF Taxes (+200 CHF)
    • 1769 CHF GA (+190 CHF) New: 1611.60 (+0 CHF, ).

    Total: 3701.60 CHF (+572.60 CHF) or 14.37%

    As i found out, I had one saving twice in my calculation for the GA. Therefore, I had to correct it. Also, it was planned to not save anything for it this month for the GA. This, because by the end of April a huge step will be made there when I receive the bonus from my employer. With this money, I buy REKA Cheques with 7% discount (2604 CHF out, 2800 CHF in).

    When my forecast is correct, my bank account will be on zero balance by the end of April, meaning I start to build up my emergency funds for medical bills and dental care.

    Regards

    Orchid Beat

    Reply Like 3
  • Ok, final March check in: $1300 to savings!  Yay!

    Reply Like 1
  • I'm new to YNAB from 31 Mrch but hoping to save £10,000 in 9 months towards additional deposit for a house move and a new car.

    Reply Like 2
  • A quarter of the way through the year and I've hit over a quarter of my savings goal. Feeling good! Let's keep going!

    Reply Like 5
  • Wanted to get over $600 in savings, and achieved it! Next month $900...

    BUT I'm about to transition between jobs, and moving from weekly pay to monthly pay, so there could be a drought and I may need to dip into these savings before I get my first payment... HOWEVER... my salary is so much bigger than before, so I should be able to replace it and then some with my first month's pay!!

    Wish me luck!! :D

    Reply Like 3
  • Just finished up budgeting my extra paycheck in March and definitely felt myself thinking where the heck did all that money go?? Oh right, it went to savings! Was able to put 2260 away this month which puts me 31% of my way to my goal about 31% of the way through the year. Nice!!

    Reply Like 5
  • Here's my March check in. With my tax refund and a much larger than expected bonus, I'm now just shy of 75% of the way to my 2018 savings goal. Whoo hoo! It feels so good be capable of paying for a big one-time expense without adding debt. Now I can return to my usual saving for my rainy day expenses, travel, and my 6 month emergency fund. 

    A note about my emergency fund - I started it back in April 2015. So even after 3 yrs of saving, I still haven't met my current goal of 6 months saved. Instead, I started with a much more modest goal of 3 months. Having a smaller goal really helped me feel like I was able to achieve that. And now I'm ready to focus on my next goal - another 3 months. Ideally, I'd like to have at least 10 months saved in the event I were to ever lose my job, based upon how long it took people to find new jobs during the last big recession. But I'm doing this in pieces because I've found I can tend to focus on my ideal, realize that ideal is not achievable, and then I tend to sabotage. But I've also found I can prevent that tendency to sabotage if I set more manageable goals. I share this because I expect others out there might have a similar tendency, and if my learning things the hard way over several decades can save anyone else mountains of grief, then that's a positive way to end the month. 

    Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
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      Spring Green Rain 

      FAN!..tastic.  Extra points for sharing your strategy notes with us all.  Loving this.

      Reply Like 2
  • March Check in!

    Big Travel Fund (Europe in May) : 349.37

    Wee Travel fund (small trips, next one is Chicago next weekend): 379.29

    xmas fund: 100

    Total 828.66 for the month 2318.36 total, 43.86% :)

    Reply Like 1
  • March Check-In:

    In short - was on track with the contributions but an unexpected expense came up. I'm grateful that I even had an emergency fund to fall back on but am also a little upset that my savings goals have been pushed back!! 

    Was up to $700 in savings (mini-goal was $1000), now am at about $260.00.

    No new tyres/licence for a while I guess. Hoping next month is a little better 🙂

    Reply Like 2
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