Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 Savings Challenge......April 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.
Then Hubs decided to retire the end of June 2017, so this changes my goal again.

* I'm going to half my goal now, since I've got 6 months to get to the Savings Challenge Goal this year since Hubs is retiring effective June 30th.
This means the new revised goal is $17.5K for 2017 which was half of $35K.

On to the April report.....
I have posted my April 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 April with a goodly sum.
The extra amount we ended the month of April with?.......$4617.30


We had $2637.41 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted which was almost my targeted amount to save per month.
Other monies received in April totaled $1979.89.  This was interest made on non-retirement accounts and our federal tax refund.

This brought us to our gain of $4617.30
Since we have no debt, this all goes into savings.

As for the expenses this April, 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 electric bill was $131.31 lower than last month's bill due to less cold weather.
*  The cash withdrawals were $330.00 lower than in March.
*  The medical bills(paid directly by check)were $36.90 lower than last month.
*  I had a Kohl's payment due again in April but it was $175.90 lower than March's payment.


*  The credit card bill was $732.59 higher this month, mostly due to medical charges and drug refills.
*  The water bill was $9.80 higher than in March.  Not "bad" but still higher than last month.
*  The gas card bill was $98.21 higher mostly because we had no gas card bill last month.
*  The landline phone bill was $5.35 higher than March because Hubs made a long distance call when he was working from home.
*  We had to pay state taxes to PA and LA that totaled $222.00.  While not a huge payment they did put a dent into what we got back from the feds.

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

With 4 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2017 is $14,751.88.

We had a fairly low expense month, not great but acceptable, and we were able to tuck away over the monthly goal of $29916.66.

Compared to April 2016 we saved $1573.23 LESS to put into savings this April.  This was mostly due to last April being a third paycheck month.  Had it not been, we would have put $1400+ MORE away this April.

THOUGHTS going forward into May of 2017----
The regular bills will be on autopilot with me traveling this month.  So far the credit card bill is low but travel expenses will be on the bill we get in June.  We do have the semi-annual car insurance due in May so there's about $900 of our income automatically gone for that.

Four months into the year and we have put $14,751.88 into savings.
There is $2748.12 left to hit our $17.5K Saving Challenge target for the year.  This averages out to $1,374.06 per month for the next 2 months.  I think that this one is in the bag unless a disaster befalls us.

So how was your April financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in April?
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 have obviously been very responsive with your finances! April was a tough month for us, but we did still manage to decrease our debt. I updated our progress at http://www.adimeatatime.com

    1. Any month you don't go into the hole is a good month in my book! ;-)

  2. April was a kind financial month, but May is going to be a different month entirely. Preplanned expenses are 2 trips to NYC and a graduation. Plus season tickets for everything we do regularly each year are all due in May. Planned for? yes, but still. . .

    1. Well this should be the end of all those flights to NYC when the kiddie graduates(or at least the bulk of them).

  3. Here is my progress to be a millionaire:


  4. Here is my progress to be a smart ass..... I'm doing great!

  5. As I was using savings to pay for my trip later this month I didn't save any money in April - but all is booked and paid for :) Congrats to hubs on his retirement!!

    1. I'll pass along the congrats Jane. Good for you for cash flowing your trips! Will enjoy hearing about this one as I have the rest when it happens.

  6. A young woman with no home who with her bf is staying with a guy I know has no idea about finances. Today, when we went to Belk and Publix, she brought only $1 of the money she earned at my house, $20. She bought s dollar treat at Publix and asked me for $0.09. She was hinting for a treat from a vending machine at the next place. I bankrolled that, commenting to her she needed to bring money next time. She and bf have no car yet they spend money on overcharges at bank, fruity water, cigarettes, and food they cannot afford. I hate to always be on her case about what she buys. He is 45 and she is 29. I doubt they will ever learn any money lessons since someone else always picks up the slack for them. We all need help sometimes, I suppose. But, when they can buy fruity water, GNC supplements, and cigarettes, I sort of lose the desire to even hear about the latest item she is excited about! When I mention any of this in a kind and non-judgmental way, she laughs and says, "I know." She knows I just got my ss check and gets very friendly, hinting, and asking. grrr I know this was not very responsive to your post, but when I had so little, I bought more responsibly.

    1. Well all you had to say was they were 45 and 29 and homeless and the rest I could imagine. Somebody needs to let them "fall" a few times so they get the "motivation" to help themselves.

    2. The are meth addicts, having slept on street--him, got kicked out of a place that gave him work for stealing. She lived with guy who gave her drugs after she managed to get out of jail. They know nothing of money. She said he had a card that cost him $119 for the charge to swipe it and get cigarettes. That's crazy. They go to payday loan places and cannot pay them! They have had
      help" in form of home and getting loan of car for shopping. The home is well-appointed and friend allowing them to stay there is too kind for his own good. He just kicked out two other meth addicts that were peeing in cups and jugs and leaving them in basement. where they lived. And these people have warrants on them. It is a disaster! Couple fritters away money and have not saved one penny toward a car. They buy food when there is plenty of food in the house but they are not in the mood for what is there. Sorry to vent here. She may read my blog. I don't know what to do. Anyone got any ideas? My friend won't kick them out because he is too nice. I wonder what happens when they are there for a year and just enjoying his hard-earned front porch furniture, patio and grill, ac, heat. They will never afford all that with their habits. Supposedly they are not doing meth. I don't know.

  7. Do you have any idea where The Thrifty Millionaire has disappeared to? You found her for me the last time (a few weeks ago) that she disappeared. You must be my go-to person! Always enjoy your posts and feel like we are coffee drinking gals from the neighborhood. Appreciate you! Penny S.

    1. Penny, I didn't know she had taken that blog down until you mentioned this and I checked. I haven't heard from Cindi since the last blog when I wrote her so I'll write her again in a few days if she doesn't surface before then. She, like a few others has a habit of taking down/closing her blog and starting a new one so I wouldn't worry. 8-)
      Thanks for the love too, though make mine tea. ;-)

  8. April was meh, but we got a big goal by fully funding our Roth though "borrowed " from ourselves to do so. Progress is here. http://newframereference.blogspot.com/2017/05/april-financial-update.html?m=1

    1. So does this "borrowing" delay your other financial goals?

  9. I hope you're staying dry!!! But then again, you've got a great umbrella! If you're coming through Iowa this summer, give me a holler. Our house is pretty full, but we can always provide a good meal for your passing through.

  10. Very nice savings for the year Sluggy!


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