Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 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 savings 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 2017 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.
I have decided to lower the goal amount to save for the year to $35K.
I barely made my $38K goal in 2016, what with our added expenses, so I think it's wise to back down the goal a bit again this year so I am not so stressed through out the year worrying about making the number.

We will have higher medical expenses this year and although the BF doesn't live here anymore the Daughter does still, so some everyday bills will be higher than when it was just Hubs and I(and College Boy here during school breaks).

If I do better than I think I will and save OVER my goal that's great too. 8-)

On to the January report.....
I have posted my January End of Month $35K $AVING$ 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 $2,9916.66.

I have to report that we finished up January with a surprisingly to me large amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of January with?.......$4,000.05


We had $3596.03 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in January totaled $404.02.  This was interest made on non-retirement accounts plus my grocery rebates. I applied the rebates this month since all the December grocery bills were put on the credit card(and the c/c bill due in January included these charges.).

This brought us to our gain of $4000.05
Since we have no debt, this all goes into savings, 

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


*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month(Within $1 or so).
*  The credit card bill was $1191.90 lower in January.  Most of the c/c spending was food expenses as I put all grocery shopping on the credit card and pay it off monthly.  As most of the Xmas spending was done in November there was little put on this card in December.
*  Cash withdrawals were $100 less than last month.  With Hubs still incapacitated and not leaving the house except with me for doc appointments he hasn't spent cash so hasn't needed WAM(walking around money).


*  The water bill was $8.76 higher than last month's bill.
*  The gas card bill was $16.75 higher than December's bill.
*  The electric bill was $113.84 more than in December.  Two reasons for this-January is colder than December so the thermostat got nudged higher plus with Hubs living on the daybed in the living room I had to keep the downstairs warmer 24/7.  I usually don't heat downstairs very much at night when everyone sleeps upstairs.
*  On the medical bills front-we had a $3.68 balance on Daughter's chiropractic co-pay bill from October she forgot to pay, I had to give College Boy $20 for two refills of his medicine while away at college, and another DME bill for me of $175.65 had to be paid totally OOP as we haven't met our deductible. This all meant medical bills were up$165.61 over December's amount since we had met maximum OOP last year and were paying no co-pays the last 1.5 months of the year.
*  There was a Kohl's charge bill of $7.88 which was the balance I owed after a purchase using my Kohl's cash and Kohl's birthday coupon.
*  We had 3 other irregular bills due in January-a car registration, a driver's license renewal and items College Boy needed for school which came to $42.97, making another $109.47 more in irregular expenses.

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

With 1 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2017 is $4000.05.

FINAL THOUGHTS on January---

I wasn't expecting to have such low expenses in January.  It was a good shock, trust me. lolz
I suppose most of it was due to the fact that other than Rite-Aid(where I don't actually pay money)and the grocery stores I stayed out of stores last month.
Compared to January 2016 we saved $1537.29 MORE to put into savings this January. 8-)

THOUGHTS going forward into February of 2017----

I will continue to do this Yearly Savings Challenge in 2017 and we'll shoot for $35,000.
I foresee February being a more expensive month than January was.  We will have more medical bills this month plus electric will be higher in February than it was in January.
Another reason is that the first February paycheck was $700+ less so yes indeed, the disability pay dropped to 70% of income.  Given I foresee higher expenses for February and half of our Feb. pay checks are lowered, money will be a bit tighter this month and not as much leftover to put into savings.
We've got another $30,999.95 more to save this year to reach our Savings Challenge goal. That means we need to save $2,818.18 in each of the next 11 months to save $35K for the year.

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!

I hope this year was the one were you cleaned up your finances and paid off your debts.
That you planned to set something aside if you didn't already or increased what you banked now for your future self.
Or paid extra on the principle of your mortgage if your house isn't already paid off.

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. You've got that right - so glad we had the money for our damage. Part was paid in January and about $500 will be paid in Feb/March after the flooring will be installed. I think lowering your savings target is a good idea, worst case scenario you end up blowing it out of the water :) Other than those unexpected expenses our electricity bill will be much higher as we had to have fans/heat in the garage which we normally never do. I will try and make up for the extra throughout the year. We are living with a lower temperature all winter this year (my natural thermostat is a degree higher due to the "change") so we might shave off a bit there. I came in $5 over grocery budget but since that budget is $25 lower per month than last year still a win, plus our eating out bills were slightly lower this month.

  2. January was super frugal from a "expenses we choose to spend" perspective. It had to be, because there were so many other expenses associated with the house purchase. It was, by far, our lowest eating out month ever. So, I'll count that as my win - $21 on eating out. Woohoo!

    Awesome news on your unexpectedly low spend January

    1. Yes, I was shocked it was so low given the kids leave lights on and heat on all. the. time.

      I'd probably have a stroke if I had the expenses with the house purchase you just had.
      I can't even. lolz

  3. Other than rite-aid where I don't have to pay money ( say this in a snarly voice) Okay I still love you:)

    1. So you don't hear me snorting every time I say that? hehehe I love you too!

  4. We paid off $1,300 in debt and saved $250. Still a long ways to go, but at least we are now headed in the right direction.

    1. Well done. Baby steps get you were you want to be. 8-)

  5. You did great. That is an awesome savings amount! We had many medical and dental bills this month too which caused us to roll what money we have in the checking account over to February until the credit card bill arrives so that we can pay them. So no savings this month but we should have a hefty one in February barring any crisis.


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.