Tuesday, September 3, 2013

$20K Savings Challenge.....August Update

In our family we save money. It is important to us to put money aside for "rainy days".  You know.....those unexpected days when things happen in your life that you can't plan on, but that DO happen and they cost you money you didn't know you'd need to pay out.

Our income is mainly the salary my Hubs draws from his job.  We have money taken off each paycheck from the top to put into savings, before we even get our hands on it.  This money that's taken goes into various pots....life insurance, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings.
Once the automatic savings, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision payments are taken out, it leaves what we get to "live on".  From this amount we budget for bills, both monthly and irregular bills(semi-annual, etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into a Savings Challenge. 

For 2013 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am going to keep the Goal amount at $20,000 again this year.
On to the August report.....

I have posted my August End of Month $20K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $1,666.67.

I have to report that we finished up August in the black!
The extra cash amount we ended the month of August with?.......$263.62

We had $182.41 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in August was some bank account interest totaling $81.21.  This brought our gain to $263.62 for August.

As for the expenses this August, here are the good and the bad side of things....

*  The water bill went down by almost HALF because we shut down the pool.
*  The food/toiletries bill was approx. $8 less than my budgeted $400 each month.
*  Electricity bill was about $20 lower than July's bill.
*  No quarterly garbage bill this month.
*  No doctor co-pays this month....woohoo!

*  The cash withdrawals were $340 higher due to vacation spending.
*  The music lessons bill was $30 higher.
*  Semi-annual car insurance bill was due.
*  School photos for #2 Son paid for.
*  Wisdom teeth removal bill.
*  Wedding present check to sister in-law came out of monthly income.
*  Credit card bill was $1300 higher than last month's bill.
Credit card had a $500 car repair on it from July plus $350 in dna testing costs(3 tests for 3 different people) plus my yearly subscription to Ancestry dotcom was due(ouch).  I spent $80 on some new clothing which is also on that month's bill.  The other $400 or so was usual gas and eating out spending.

The Food Budget costs for August are in another post, which is located HERE.
We came in under budget by $8.14 last month.

The 2013 TOTAL so far.....
With 8 months behind us, our Savings Grand Total for 2013 stands at $16,262.84.  Only $3,818.37 left to save and 4 months left to accomplish this.
That comes out to $934.29 per month for the next 4 months to reach the goal.
Looking ahead for September......
*  The credit card bill will be large again, due to miscellaneous vacation spending.  The gas/tolls/car rental/meals/lodging costs will be paid for out of savings from our vacation fund.  But the other spending/shopping will be coming out of regular income from this month. 

*  Now that the semi-annual car insurance is paid, September has me paying the yearly school taxes bill.  I pay it early to get the 2% discount.  It's not much of a savings but it's something.
*  The weekly music lessons are going up as we are going from a 45 min. lesson to a 1 hour lesson this month.  This adds $10 per lesson onto that bill, so most months it will increase that bill from $120 to $160 per month.  This bill will continue for another year, until #2 Son leaves for college.
*  Hopefully the temperatures in September will be moderate so we won't need to run the a/c(WHEN it gets fixed!argh) or the heat, bringing our electricity costs down for the month.
*  We have another long weekend trip the end of September, so whatever we pay cash for, those costs will come out of Sept's. pay.  If we put charges on the credit card instead, the October spending will be higher.   It's either pay the charges with September's money or pay it later with October's income.
Decisions, decisions....lol  In the end, as long as we have the cash to cover the costs(and we do), it's all good.

So how was your August financially?  It wasn't a great month for us.  While we had enough income in August to cover all our costs, we spent ALOT of money(for us)and ended up with only a couple hundred dollars leftover after paying all the bills.
Did you put ordinary living expenses on a credit card last month and not pay it off in full when due?
Did you spend less than the income you had in July?
Did you received any "extra" or unexpected money in July like a tax refund, a dividend or bonus at work, and what did you do with those funds?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle?

If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check you out your progress too and celebrate with you!



  1. Hi Sluggy,
    I did put all expenses on credit last month. Like I do every month and paid it off in full.
    August was a slow down in spending as we will do more home repairs next week. A new back door needs to go in so that the puddles stop in the kitchen after the rains!

    I have maxed out my "crap happens" account and am now building my "Superfluous" account. My plan is to keep account 1 as easy access and invest at tax time account # 2.

    I do wonder what you do with your yearly savings? Do you keep easy access funds or start at zero every year?

    1. No shame in using a credit card if you can pay it off. It can, in fact, be a great organizing tool, but you know that. 8-)

      I talked about this a year or so ago I know so I'll revisit what I do with all that savings later this week when I get a chance. Stay tuned....

  2. I have to say that I OVERSPENT for two months in a row, and have depleted our savings accounts for home improvements. BUT, I hope to replenish most of it before the end of the year. How? I.have.no.idea. :)!

    1. Good to hear you are on the stop spending train now. ;-)
      And I'm interested to see how you replenish it all before the end of the year. Staying tuned....

  3. I have written this post full of questions twice now but somehow I manage to delete it before I ever get it sent. (Of course there is always the chance that YOU delete it! LOL ) I'm pretty sure the problem is an operational error on my part.

    Anyway .... Could you give me some pointers about how you track your monthly food expenses? Do you track what you spend on some sort of a program? excel? or do you tally receipts at the end of the month? Maybe you are old school and you use a pad and paper??? I really need to have a better idea where our money is going. and I am looking for a way to track my spending.

    I am also interested in learning how you manage to have such a small amount of food waste each week. I know that I probably over buy and consequently have too much food waste. Our trash day is Wednesday and each and every Tuesday night as I prepare to put the weekly trash out I am so sad about the waste that we have.

    I think that your weekly menu plan is probably the key to getting the food budget under control. I have never been disciplined enough to actually write a menu plan. How do I start?

    Are there any hints you can pass my way? I really want to become a less wasteful person and become a better saver.

    1. Janet,
      Thanks for the questions. Give me a couple of days and I'll make a post about this topic and hopefully it helps you in some way. 8-)

  4. " It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings."-I pay $5 a month for our bi-weekly mortgage payment. I know I am wasting $60 a year but it guarantees that I have the money in the account to cover the bill.
    After all of the deductions from Den's check, it looks pretty scarce by other people's standards. But it helps keep me on the frugal track. I have to stretch every penny. And honestly, I'm putting us on a new tighter budget after all of the bills we have had come in this month. I could dip into savings or I could just leave it on the credit card but I just see it as a challenge. Maybe I miss represent myself online. I can pay our bills and hit our savings when things get rough but I choose not too and find other ways to come up with the cash. Being stretched is a challenge not a punishment, right?

  5. sigh. With the members of this household, I'm not able to save money at all... I'm jealous.

  6. You've been visiting my place and offering comments of support, thanks. Thought I'd pay you a visit while the painkiller kicks in following the biopsy.

    That's quite a system you've worked up and you seem to juggle it well for all the family. No easy task, that.

    I'm alone. Just me. I gave up on software when my previous life ended. I learned from a short workshop how to keep an eye on everything, but have someone else do all the work.
    I use NO cash throughout the month. I use only 2 credit cards (with due dates 2 weeks apart. Everything purchased goes on one or the other card. At the end of each month I get an itemized and categorized list of every penny spent and where/how it was spent. I started this about 4 years ago and it's been great for me. My needs are few and I spend nothing on entertainment like movies, etc.

    The grocery, retail, auto fuel, even wine store, are each in their own category. If I shop at more than one grocery or retail store, the store is listed separately under the same heading.

    At the billing date I pay each card in full. No balance, no interest charges and my money has been in the bank drawing interest, albeit so little. It's still better in my pocket than theirs. Just my two-cents.

    Thanks again for the visits.

    1. I was interested in your method. So no cash at all? Even gas.? So you have a set budget and then just use your cards when paying? Does this make it easier to go over budget? I'm still using a cash method mostly but I'd like to switch it up in 2015.


Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment.
All Anonymous commentors will be deleted.
Please include your name in your comment, or choose the 'Name' option and put your name or whatever you call yourself, in the box. Thank you.

Though I moderate it's partly to keep trolls at bay but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.