Tuesday, April 4, 2017

2017 Savings Challenge....March 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 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 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 every day 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 March report.....
I have posted my March 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 March with a surprisingly to me large amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of March with?.......$4434.04

Income

We had $4188.14 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in March totaled $245.90.  This was interest made on non-retirement accounts and quarterly dividends.

This brought us to our gain of $4,434.04
Since we have no debt, this all goes into savings.

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

HERE are the GOOD THINGS

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month(Within $1 or so).
*  The water bill was $22.88 lower than last month's bill.
*  The credit card bill was $61.60 lower in March.  $920.73 of this bill was medical charges.
*  We had NO gas card bill in March.  That doesn't mean we didn't have gas charges but we just put them all on the credit card instead.

HERE are the BAD THINGS

*  There were two medical co-pays I couldn't pay on the credit card totaling $59.85.
*  The electric bill was $25.30 higher in March.  Not too bad and I'll take it.
*  The cash withdrawals were $350 higher than in February.  Mostly due to Hubs going back to work in the office, buying stuff again while he is away from home.
*  We had 2 irregular annual bills due in March-annual sewage bill and half of our property taxes.
*  I also had $196.89 in Kohl's charges which I paid in March(partly paid ahead).


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

With 3 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2017 is $10,134.58.

FINAL THOUGHTS on March---

I forgot we had an extra paycheck in March so that was a happy surprise, even though the first paycheck in March was still a lower disability paycheck.  We were able to save a large sum this month.
Compared to March 2016 we saved $513.45 LESS to put into savings this March.  Last March we also had a tax refund included in the savings total that month so without that, we'd be about $1200 more put into savings this March.

THOUGHTS going forward into April of 2017----
I pulled a "Doh!" moment in February when I set aside $500 of what was saved that month to pay medical charges that I thought would come due in March instead of letting that $500 go with all the other cash we saved in February into the Savings Challenge.  I totally forgot that March was a three paycheck month and we'd have an entire extra paycheck to put toward medical bills(that satisfied our high deductible)then.
Doh!
So those medical bills still have not arrived so I now have $500 from Feb. set aside plus $769.61 left from what I set aside in Dec. from that month's Saving Challenge total(to put toward the high deductible), making the kitty $1269.61 to put toward these medical charges when they finally arrive.  I am guessing this will happen in April.
These bills total $1579.76 so I just need to come up with the remainder of $310.15 out of the income in April to pay these in full and that is very doable.
There are no other big irregular bills due in April so bring it on! 8-)


Three months into the year and we have put $10,134.58 into savings.
There is $24,865.42 left to hit our $35K Saving Challenge target for the year.  This averages out to $2,762.82 per month for the next 9 months.

So how was your March financially?
  
Did you spend less than the income you had in March?
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.

Sluggy

7 comments:

  1. Better to over save than under save. We live below our means but still live really well. We spend money on the things that matter to us like family and traveling. We nickel and dime on others that don't mean anything like toilet paper :) We likely will spend the most in the next 15 years of our life but if that all changed tomorrow we actually have enough to retire frugally immediately - that sure helps with security when you are self-employed.

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  2. Slow but steady progress on our savings goals for 2017. Well done for you. I like how your "doh"moments are even to the good, Here's my update from my site. http://newframereference.blogspot.com/2017/04/2017-savings-update-quarter-one-is-on.html

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  3. You always manage to come out ahead!

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  4. Hey I am paying off bills right and left and working my A$$ off. Love me.

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  5. Well done!!! and Good advice.

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  6. Congrats Sluggy! You did awesome. Mine won't be ready until I am done with the trial I am on. I haven't had time to do anything but jury duty, meals laundry, and sleep. Today we actually got dismissed early so I was able to run errands and pick up a few groceries. Now I am off to clean the house.

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  7. Such a great post. So glad you were able to have that extra amount to put towards your savings. I paid off what little credit card debt I had in March, so I'm happy with that. Now that money can go into our house fund! :)

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