Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 $38K Savings Challenge.....February 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 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 2016 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount to $38,000 this year, $10K more than my goal for last year.

I have reconsidered and changed my Goal from $40K to $38K for 2016.  With some things coming down the pike this year I thought it prudent to back up my Goal a couple of thousand.  8-)

On to the February report.....
I have posted my February End of Month $38K $AVING$ 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 $3,333.33.

I have to report that we finished up February with a goodly amount leftover but not my target amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of February with?.......$2004.57


We had $1,848.87 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in February totaled $155.70.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts.

This brought us to our gain of $2004.57
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The water bill was down $4.26 from Jan.  Of course with College Boy home for a week in March that bill will be going right back up. lolz
*  The February electric bill was only up $36.96 from January's bill.  With electric heat this is an amazing total for heat and lights, etc. in northern, mountainous PA. February is generally our highest electric bill month in the year.  I will be glad to see the electric start to slowing decrease for the next 8 months.
*  The credit card bill was down $642 from last month.  No travel=not much spending on that other than gas.
*  The cash withdrawals were down $500 from January's totals.
*  Hubs received a bonus(which is a VERY good thing!)but we won't be counting that into the regular income until we decided where to allocate those monies.  At this point it might go to more home improvements/repairs or to other issues I haven't brought up on the blog yet with medical and our kids.  I'll talk about this more fully in the months to come as decisions are made.

HERE are the BAD THINGS(and the not so bad)

*  The gas card was up by $7.39 in February.
*  Medical payments were up $854.62 from January due to satisfying our deductible for the year and paying out of pocket for many bills.
*  There was a 6 month car insurance payment due on one of the cars for $433.47
*  College Boy got a birthday check this month from us.

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

February was a fairly expensive month for us.  The regular bills were decently low but we had a lot of medical expenses, an irregular car insurance bill and birthday money to dole out.

With 2 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2016 is $4467.33.

Final thoughts on February---
We hit our insurance deductible this month so it was a less than stellar month for saving any cash.  If I didn't have that $1,700+ carried over from savings in December it would have been almost a zero sum game month in Feb.
And compared to February 2015 we put $1400+/- less into savings this February.
Even though we have $4K+ saved so far in 2016, we are over $2100 behind at this point in the year.
We won't be catching up with the financial goals until April I fear when the first 3 paycheck month of the year rolls around.

THOUGHTS going forward into March----

We have a small amount to pay on our state taxes and some medical payments due but the bad thing is a big irregular bill due in March-real estate taxes. ugh.
There is no travel or planned extra spending so far for March so I hope we can stash away at least $1K this month given the tax bill.
Only time will tell though.....

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

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. I feel as if we made some headway in February. Im getting the cc paid down so that makes me happy. I think it just takes a while to get back to frugal after the holidays.
    Ahhhh, houses and children-time and money suckers.

  2. That medical deductible truly sucks the big one. Kids are expensive, in or out of the house. We had our biggest electrical bill of the year, glad to see the backside of that one (we pay every other month so was quite large but within .90 cents of last year so I can't complain since electrical rates went up approx 10%)

  3. Hi I have setup some challenges on my blog but i am inspired by what you are doing on your 20k challenge. Please keep on posting such great stuffs.


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