Sunday, January 3, 2016

$28K Savings Challenge.....December & Year End 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 December report.....
I have posted my December 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 December with a goodly amount leftover.
The extra amount we ended the month of December with?.......$3,323.77


We had $2860.71 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in December totaled $463.06.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, quarterly dividend checks. a per diem and cashing out my SavingStar rebate for the year.

This brought us to our gain of $3323.77
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The electric bill was only up $41.46 from last month.  With electric heat this is an amazing total for heat and lights, etc. for December in northern, mountainous PA. We have never had a December electric bill here under $200 before!  Between the record high temperatures and my diligence at turning down/off electrical drawing appliances take the credit for this win.
*  The credit card was down $38.19 from November's bill.

HERE are the BAD THINGS(and the not so bad)
*  The water bill was up $13.60 from last month.  The 5 days College Boy was home last month explain this easily. lolz
*  The gas card bill went up $32.58 from last month.  Not so bad as this means Hubs but more gas purchases on the credit card instead this month.  It has to come out of one or the other, right? ;-)
*  Medical payments were up $468.77 from November.  This was due to finally getting the invoice for the first cataract surgery charges.  The eye surgeries are all paid off now, rah!
*  The cash withdrawn was up $600 from November.  Having to take cash on our trip and a little more Holiday spending by Hubs can explain this one.  ;-)
*  There was a Kohl's bill to pay as well as birthday and Christmas monies we paid out to our kids.

The Food Budget costs for December are in another post, which is located HERE .  I stayed under my  December $350 budgeted amount(on this report grocery money comes out of "Cash")on that expense only due to cashing out on my Saving Star Rebates for the year.

December was a fairly expensive month for us, especially since we didn't have a large "regular" irregular bill to pay this month(insurances, taxes, sewer, etc.)  Just an increased electricity bill with having the heat on, a large medical bill total and some extra cash spending and traveling for the Holidays.

The 2015 TOTAL.....
With 12 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2015 is $41,775.56.
Except--Since we have our high medical deductible kicking in on Jan. 1st I will only be putting $1,548.21 of what was saved in December into the Savings Challenge.  This will give me an even $40K saved in 2015.
The other $1,775.56 is going to roll over and remain in our checking account to help offset medical charges for the beginning of the year before we satisfy a $3K deductible amount.  It doesn't cover the full deductible figure but it does go a little more than halfway to reaching the HMD.

That full year $40K savings amount averages to $3333.34 a month put into savings for 2015. Some months was much more than that and some months were much less.

We have well surpassed our $28K Savings Goal by $12K+ in 2015.  I am very happy with this final count.

Final thoughts on December---
Even with increased Holiday spending and such we saved a goodly amount this month.

THOUGHTS going forward into 2016----

Even though some of the invoiced medical charges I put money aside for in previous months of 2015 haven't arrived so they can be paid, I have still deducted those bills from our monthly income.  Once they come in(now in 2016)they won't affect our savings/spending monies set aside to be disbursed and we can start the new year with a clean spreadsheet as it were.  ;-)

I will of course continue to save part of our monthly income and bank it-part to spend on those large irregular bills that come in during the year and part to tuck away for additional funds to augment our retirement savings.
Still mulling over how much to make the Savings Goal for 2016.  Perhaps $35K......maybe less.  I need to get out my spreadsheets and study the last few years of spending, the potential income for 2016 vs. potential 2016 bills to see where the spending may land this year.

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

Are you happy with how you managed your money in 2015?  Or do you need to do a better job of juggling all the commitments to your income in 2016?

As we go forward into 2016 why not make this new year the one were you clean up your finances and pay off your debts.
Plan to set something aside if you don't already now or increase what you bank now for your future self.
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. December was a very expensive month for us. We put $1400 into savings but I still need to pay for the half the beef we just got. I hope and plan to get back on the saving bandwagon soon.

  2. Well done - $40,000 is a massive amount to save in one year. I hope 2016 brings you and your family healthiness and happiness!

  3. You save more in a month than what I have to live on. I'll be in the other room crying if you need me.


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