Thursday, September 4, 2014

$24K Savings Challenge.....August 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 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.

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 a Savings Challenge. 

For 2014 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount slightly to $24,000 this year, $4K more than my goal for last year.

On to the August report.....

I have posted my August End of Month $24K $AVING$ 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 $2,000.

I have to report that we finished up August with a tiny bit extra for savings.
The extra amount we ended the month of  August with?.......$323.64.

In order to cover all the expenses in August I took $500 from Hub's bonus this year and added to our account from which all the expenses are paid.  Our bills were that high in August.
We had $115.75 left over from our income(and bonus money)after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in August totaled $207.89.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts and blog writing income.

This brought us to our gain of $323.64.
Since we have no debt anymore, this goes into savings.

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

*  Flute lesson bill was only $80.....and this is the last one ever!
*  The water bill went down by $20.43 from July.
*  Cash spent went down by $170 from July.
*  The electric bill went down by $60.89 from July due to cooler Summer weather.
*  Our car insurance(though due this month)went down about $400 because of policy changes.  We expect it to go down again next month because we get rid of 1 of our cars late August.
*  Cable and phone charges were approx. the same as last month.
*  The credit card bill was very high at $3,831.68 due to furniture purchase, trip expenses and laptop purchase for #2 Son.  This was approx. $2,600 more than July's bill.
*  The homeowner's insurance was due and paid in August.
*  The semi-annual car insurance was due in August.
The Food Budget costs for August are in another post, which is located HERE.

I was going to dip into last year's Savings Challenge monies as we didn't have enough income in August to cover all the expenses.
I use the previous year's total saved to cover any unexpected expenses in the following year, then I send whatever is left after that following year ends into permanent savings.  But I didn't need to this month since I still have some of Hub's Bonus, he received earlier this year, left and held in reserve.(I haven't counted that yet toward our income/expenses in 2014 or the Savings Challenge.  I have only taken my new car purchase from this Bonus check in May to this point in the year.)

The 2014 GRAND TOTAL.....
With 8 months accounted for, our Savings Grand Total for 2014 is $14,417.28

Our monthly average is $1,802.16 saved.
Only $9,582.72 left to meet the yearly goal and 4 months left to dig this up out of our income.
That comes out to an average of $2,395.68 for the next 4 months. 

Since I shoot for $2K savings per month and there are only 4 months left, we are $1,582.72 behind the eight ball.  That means besides $2K a month, we also need to come up with $1582.72 as well in the next 4 months.

Thankfully we still have a 3 paycheck month this year, so I feel we'll be able to catch up and still meet the goal for the year.

We typically have at least 2 months in any given year where we have very little leftover at the end of the month's bills to tuck away into savings or even go into the red for a month or two.  Take last year--In September we saved a whole $40.12 and in August we didn't do much better with $263.62.  Even in June of 2013 we only saved $844.79 when all was accounted for.  So we don't always have 4 figures of cash leftover each month.  The year before that we actually went into the red one month.

Life is like that.  Things happen.  That's why I like to save cash each month whenever possible, to help out in those months that aren't so great financially.  Some months are good some months are bad but overall, over the long run, if you have money leftover more months than you are in deficit, you can get ahead and win with money.
Looking ahead for September......

*  I will continue to do this Savings Challenge and report in each month on how it is going.

*  The school/real estate taxes are due the end of September.  There goes another $2K.  This is the last "irregular expenses" bill for the year, except for the garbage bill which is paid quarterly(Oct. 1st).

*  I am excited to see how much the water, electric and food bills will go down in September, since this is the first FULL month without the kids living here.

*  We've got some traveling to do the end of September but those bills won't come due until October so our planned spending this month will remain fairly low for us.

So how was your August financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in August?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle or into savings in an emergency fund or a retirement account?

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 with you or commiserate with you!



  1. Our August was a total bust thanks to medical bills but we are hoping to bounce back in September. Keeping fingers crossed...

  2. Okay no fare, your hub's makes so much more than mine. Can I be your sister wife?

  3. My August expenses went down since I got rid of home phone and tv expenses. MagicJack and an antenna cost to purchase, but after that, it is only $2.30/month.

  4. August was a train wreck for us. Moving kids and all the gas alone killed us. I think we will be eating like college students for a while.
    I think you will make your goal.

  5. Good for you! August was a money suck for us. We didn't go into debt, but our checking account balance just hit the lowest it has been since last February. Of course, that will be fixed when I get my off cycle check for the money that was left off my last check Thank God I didn't need it to pay bills.


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