Wednesday, November 4, 2015

$28K Savings Challenge.....October 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 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 2015 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount slightly to $28,000 this year, $4K more than my goal for last year.

On to the October report.....
I have posted my October End of Month $28K $AVING$ 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 $2,333.33.

I have to report that we finished up October with a HUGE amount leftover.
The extra amount we ended the month of October with?.......$6422.33


We had $5,548.51 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in October totaled $873.82.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, a bonus Hubs received and a rebate check.

This brought us to our gain of $6,422.33
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The cash withdrawals were the same amount as in September.
*  The water bill was down .42¢.
*  The electric bill was only up $7.26 from last month and that's even with putting the heat on now and again in Oct. so I call this a win!
*  The gas card bill was down $96.30.(More gas was put on the regular c/c.)

HERE are the BAD THINGS(and the not so bad)
*  The credit card bill was up $430.67 from September's bill(but we did go on vacation so not so bad).
*  There was an irregular bill expense--the car insurance paid(6 months worth).
*  Medical bill payments were up $786.10 from September's bills(foot expenses and cataract surgery co-pays.)
*  We spent $320 cash on "fun" at the Church auction.

The Food Budget costs for October are in another post, which is located  HERE.  I spend well under my $300 budgeted amount(on this report grocery money comes out of "Cash")on that expense.

October was a fairly expensive month for us, but not the most expensive for 2015.  6 months of car insurance payments, high medical bill co-pays due this month and our annual fundraiser attendance boosted our bills total for October.
Our "regular" bills, outside of these other bills, for October came to $2266.85.

The 2015 TOTAL.....
With 10 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2015 is $34,089.76.
That savings amount averages $3,408.97 a month put into savings so far. 
We have surpassed our $28K Savings Goal by $6,089.76 at this point in the year.
And there are two more months left to save some more!

Final thoughts on October---
More monthly bills were down rather than up except for the credit card and we had an extra paycheck this month.
3 irregular bills put a kybosh on socking even more money away this month.
But even so we put a LOT of money away in October!

THOUGHTS going forward into November----
No irregular bills this month, except for if any medical charges come through from either the foot episode or the cataract surgery ongoing saga. 8-(
I have under $200 in store card charges(clothing for College Boy and some Xmas presents)due this month.
No extra paychecks or much "other income" expected in November so it should be a boring, middle to low outgo and income month for us.

With 10 months behind us we have surpassed our savings goal in 2015.
Even so, I am NOT letting up on socking cash away for the last 2 months of the year.  If everything goes as planned and if the bills for these 2 months in 2015 follow along with what we saw in these same months in 2014, I could be looking at putting away another $5K before the year is out.  That would put our total saved in 2015 at just over $39,000, a full $11,000 more than I set out to save.
This would be amazing to me but only time and our spending will tell if we get to this stretch goal or not.

So how was your October financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in October?
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!



  1. Commendable. I'm curious as to your goals in how the Savings Challende money will be used? You already have long term savings investments. Will this be retirement as well? I'm fascinated on how families not just budget, but how they plan to use savings.

    1. I sort of explain how I handle what I put away in this Savings Challenge each year on this post from earlier in the year....

      Basically, the $ saved in 2014 became the EF for 2015 and when 2015 ends whatever is left goes into "permanent savings"(long term savings account earning more). We'll continue this pattern every year until Hubs retires.

      Whatever is left from these Savings Challenges when we retire will accessorize our retirement funds. Normal living expenses will be drawn from the retirement account $ and this "extra" savings I've socked away will pay for, if we need to do home repairs/remodeling when we move into our retirement house, purchasing a big ticket item(like a car, major appliance), want to splurge on a trip(Europe anyone?)or an RV, or have other not expected expenses come up in retirement(unforeseen medical bills, special tax assessments on dwelling, need to help the kids out financially, etc.).

      We already have the funds set aside for College Boy to finish school(finished funding that in 2013 from the annual bonus $)so whatever I save from income now(and don't spend now)gets saved. We have no other debts/big savings goals to fund. It's a good place to be but it took many MANY years to get here. ;-)

  2. Ever since I lost my damned mind and charged a car, things have been a bit crazy here. Plus going into the Christmas season with not a lot of cash on hand, I'm looking for a bit of a miracle. That said I know that we are a lot more stable than most and I should shut up and just cut more corners but I swear at this point they are rounded.

    1. We have two rounded corner months ahead ad well. Yikes!

    2. You are WAY more stable than most(financially not mentally hehehe).
      I think you should just take whatever Xmas money you have and come here and let the big honking Xmas gift list folks have fun without you.
      I have enough alcohol here to keep you numb til Summer....then we can go buy more. woohoo!

  3. So Hub's asked last night when you and your husband are coming to visit? I have a room waiting for you.:) We save money every month but it is a small pittance compared to your pile oh beans. Hub's retires in less than a month. Pray for me.

    1. As long as the room is spider-free we are all good. 8-)
      Last trip it was 6 days before Hubs got under my skin so yes, I will be praying hard for you next month. lolz

  4. You are a great money manager! Is your DH good with money too? or is he just ever grateful to have you as his wife? :)

    1. Hubs is in charge of bringing in the money, I am in charge of keeping the money. ;-)
      He's gotten better with money over the years and he is a good investor so we make a great team. 8-)

  5. Our saving goals right now revolve around my plan to drastically decrease our income. ;-) So, I save for that & continue to work down the amount we need to live with our current lifestyle, a slightly less cushy lifestyle, and bare bones. . . I have a lot of motivation, given the end is in sight

    1. It will be interesting to see how your situation plays out, given all your housing costs over there on the Left Coast.
      I am sure with your determination you will achieve your goals however.

  6. Sluggy, at the beginning of your post you listed the stuff you automatically save for--one being LTC insurance. I'm in my early 60s and my hub, who's still working, is younger. We've thought about LTC but have read about the pros and cons and are still on the limb. There are lots of stories out there about companies going belly up, and folks losing all their coverage. Sounds like there's the risk of rising premiums, also. We've always been careful about our finances, so I keep thinking maybe we should bite the bullet and try to find a decent policy. How satisfied are you with your LTC company, and have you had your policy very long? If you've already talked about this in the past, just give me an idea of when and I'll go back and check out previous posts. Thanks!

    1. We've had our LTC policies about 5 years. They say it's better/easier/cheaper to buy them in your 50's rather than waiting until your 60's. Of course having it longer means more paid out in premiums tho. Hubs works in the insurance industry so we got a special rate thru his employer and we didn't have to have physicals to qualiffy.
      Every year since it has gone up(just like with everything else in life)and the coverage has been tweaked.
      If you have a lot of assets to protect it just makes sense.
      I like the piece of mind having it gives me. Sure as time goes on there is the chance of the coverage being pulled from the market but I look at it like whole life vs. term insurance......we aren't paying for it to build wealth(whole life)but to provide wealth protection(term) so it's worth the price to us.
      Just one year in a nursing home can cost some one pre-Medicare age over $100K in this state in 2015. Of course over age 65 and Medicare kicks something in under Part A but nowhere near what it costs and if your facility doesn't accept assignment(meaning they'll only charge what Medicare pays them and not bill you the remainder of the bill)your assests will drain quickly for the remaining spouse.
      Hope this helps.

  7. Way to go Sluggy and Mr. Sluggy!! I have no choice but to spend less than what I bring in as I am now living on a pension. So far so good!

    1. The good thing is that you prepared beforehand and knew what your income would be vs. your lifestyle/living costs.

      Hubs' sister is retiring in 9 years(full age for her in the States)and wants to move back to the coast. Yet, she has no clue how much is in her 401K/retirement now, what she is contributing or that the cost of housing on the coast has far outstripped the price of her housing now in the Midwest. This is the same woman who lost a car to repo and wanted us to loan her $ to get it back, even though she couldn't not afford to pay for the car and would have had it repo-ed again. Some people need to get a clue.....

  8. You're doing GREAT! Of course, you do know your monthly savings is more income than most people make in a month. I don't plan on ever retiring since I love my job and would do it for free. I love being able to be generous too and tithe to my church. I'd be bored sitting at home! I read and bake, not necessarily in that order LOL. I'm thinking your hobby is managing money? Have you ever thought about doing that as a volunteer? I bet you could shape up a lot of folks. I was a supported living coach for a few years and I worked on budgeting with my clients. Most were broke a day or two after they got their check but I still enjoyed assisting them. My mantra- earn more or spend less. The odds are against you for inheriting money or winning the lottery!

    1. Oct. savings was spectacularly high due to an extra paycheck which basically went straight into savings. I realize we have a high income(there are higher ones tho)but we have always lived frugally(or semi-frugally). Hubs has coworkers who make the same or more than him and moan about how they will never be able to retire on their income. Of course, they buy new cars every few years, go on trips to Europe, etc., own vacation homes and are paying for grown kids' graduate degrees. Yes, we could spend like that too but we know better. ;-)

      I tried helping family member a few years ago with money skills but living responsibly with $ takes wanting to change how you interact with your $ and he wasn't ready to change.
      Playing the lottery is a complete waste of money and one of the worst retirement plans.


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