Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2016 $38K Savings Challenge.....January Update

Every year I keep a close eye on our monthly expenses and our monthly income.
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, health insurance premiums, long term care insurance premiums, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings or these other categories.

Once the automatic savings amounts, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision premiums 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, annual etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, clothing  etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into an interest bearing Savings Challenge account.

For 2016 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount to $38,000 this year, $10K more than my goal for last year.

I have reconsidered and changed my Goal from $40K to $38K for 2016.  With some things coming down the pike this year I thought it prudent to back up my Goal a couple of thousand.  8-)

On to the January report.....
I have posted my January End of Month $38K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

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 $3,333.33.

I have to report that we finished up January with a goodly amount leftover but not my target amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of January with?.......$2,462.76


We had $2,192.83 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in January totaled $269.93.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, a per diem and blogging revenue received that month.

This brought us to our gain of $2462.76
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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

*  Phone charges, water bill and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The electric bill was only up $126.69 from last month's bill.  With electric heat this is an amazing total for heat and lights, etc. for January in northern, mountainous PA. Our lowest January electric bill up til now was $359.28.  We beat that by $35+ this year.
*  The cash withdrawals were down $300 from December's totals.
*  The gas card was down by $37.53 in January.  This will mean higher c/c charges in Jan. as some gas was put on that card instead of the gas card.
*  Medical payments were down $340.12 from last month.

HERE are the BAD THINGS(and the not so bad)
*  The credit card bill was up $492.64 from last month.  Some of this is Christmas spending, some medical and some College Boy's books for the semester.
*  There was a Discover bill to pay.
*  There was a Kohl's bill to pay.
*  I paid 3 months of garbage service ahead.  Usually I pay this semi-annually or annually in one big payment sometime in the first half of the year,  but in 2016 I will be making quarterly payments instead.

The Food Budget costs for January are in another post, which is located HERE.

January was a fairly expensive month for us, especially since all medical expenses are paid out of pocket as we haven't met our high deductible for the insurance yet in this calendar year.  This will continue into February.
We also had high credit card usage in late Dec./early Jan. so that bill was a bit more than I had planned.
Even with everything accounted for we did fairly well on our spending in January.

With 1 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2016 is $2,462.76.

Final thoughts on January---
Even with increased Holiday spending and medical costs we saved a substantial amount.
And compared to January 2015 we put nearly one thousand more into savings this January.

THOUGHTS going forward into February----

Big irregular bills due this month are car insurance and the medical bills(for once they are NOT mine!lolz but Hubs and Daughter)which will be paid totally out of pocket.  The medical is already at $1600+ for Feb. and Daughter's bills haven't arrived yet.  I think we may max out our HD in Feb. at this rate. 8-(
There is no travel or planned extra spending so far for February so I hope we can stash away at least $1K this month.
Only time will tell though.....

So how was your January financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in January?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
What did you do with any money leftover at the end of the month?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle or into savings, in an emergency fund or a retirement account?
Or did you blow it on a want?

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

As we go forward into 2016 why not make this new year the one were you clean up your finances and pay off your debts.
Plan to set something aside if you don't already now or increase what you bank now for your future self.
Live below your means and keep some change for a rainy day....because no matter how sunny it is in your life now, dark clouds come along and you'll be glad you have that umbrella to keep you dry.



  1. I'm pretty ok with the way that January went. We paid off a lot of bills and I finally feel as if we are making some headway.

  2. everything was paid when it should have been in January, but like you credit card bills were a bit higher, due to me purchasing a new Dell laptop. Onwards and upwards as they say!

  3. Being in the black this Janaury-barely, with maybe $158 to spare, was a success as we had, not counting Christmas shopping, nearly $1500 in added costs associated with son being home in December and final installment of a trip for youngest. I'd like February to b a real savings month, and barring no unusual expenses, and hubs hitting the average commission goal, plus his parent co bonus, we should save. That darn commission is the variable. February will be just good old fashioned belt tightening.

  4. We have set a goal to pay down our mortgage faster, as it is the only debt we have. We are hoping to add an extra $500 toward principal each month. We will also add any extra money that comes our way toward paying it off. We will probably get a tax refund, and that will go toward the house as well. My husband also got bit by a dog last year while riding his bicycle and wrecked. So after paying off the cost of fixing the bike (over $1,000-my husband is a serious cyclist) plus medical costs, we will have a nice chunk of change to put toward the mortgage. I'd much rather him not have been injured of course! He had deep wounds and a painful, long recovery. But since we got the money we figure we might as well put it toward the house.


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