Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 $38K Savings Challenge.....March 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 March report.....
I have posted my March 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 $3,166.66.

I have to report that we finished up March with a large amount leftover exceeding my target amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of March with?.......$4947.49


We had $2,803.42 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in March totaled $2389.61.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, a tax refund and 2 stock dividends.

This brought us to our gain of $4947.49
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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


*  Phone charges, water bill, and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The March electric bill was actually down $63.66 from February's bill.  With electric heat this is an amazing total for heat and lights, etc. in northern, mountainous PA. February and March are generally our highest electric bill months in the year.  I will be glad to see the electric start to slowing decrease even more for the next 7 months.
*  The credit card bill was down $474.99 from last month.  No travel and little shopping=not much spending on that card, other than gas purchases.
*  The gas card bill was down $46.67 as Hubs put more gas purchases on the Mastercard.
*  We received a tax refund this month.
*  The monthly medical bills were down $1,150.29 from February's total.  Yep, we paid off all those high deductibles now for the year.


*  Of course we had Real Estate taxes due in March and a sewage bill to offset all that medical bill we didn't have this month.
It's always something, isn't it? 8-(

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

March was a pretty expensive month for us.  The regular bills were very low this month coming in at under $1800, but we had taxes and a yearly sewer bill to offset that.  Still we were able to save quite a bit even with those expenses.

With 3 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2016 is $9414.82.

Final thoughts on March---
I am happy with what we socked away in March given the irregular expenses.
And compared to March 2015 we put $1150.37 more into savings this March
We have $9K+ saved so far in 2016, and we are only $8.185 behind at this point in the year.
We will be catching up for sure with the financial goals in April when the first 3 paycheck month of the year rolls around.
Yay 3 paycheck months!

THOUGHTS going forward into April----

I happily await April, the first tree paycheck of the year month for us. In addition I should receive a check for blogging in April which is a happy extra.  8-)

We do have a big car insurance bill due in April(under $1K though)but even so we will be able to catch-up(and even get a bit ahead)with where we should be with our savings goal for the year in this month.
May and June we have no irregular large bills so we should gain traction if we can keep the credit card bill under control.  I can do that IF we don't travel and we are suppose to travel in May so the bills will roll in from travel in the May and June c/c statements. sigh.

Again, it's so hard to save when you want to "live" life too because that means spending something.  ;-)

So how was your March financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in March?
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'll be following your posts tightly in April. I'm going to work some Sluggy magic and keep our expenses low low low.

  2. Good job, keep up the good work!!!!
    March was better for us and it seems that I have been able to shave a bit off in a few categories so that helps.

  3. Months like March make me wish our sons lived a bit closer to home. or that they lived on the same coast. It seems like every couple of months we are flying to visit someone and though we budget for the trips it would be nice to have that income earning money for us rather than literally leaving on a jet plane.


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