Friday, November 4, 2016

2016 $38K 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 2016 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount to $38,000 this year, $8K more than my goal for last year.

On to the October report.....
I have posted my October 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 October with a yummy amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of October with?.......$4,449.89


We had $4298.78 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in October totaled $151.11.  This was solely interest made on non-retirement accounts.

This brought us to our gain of $4449.89
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(Within $1 or so).
*  The credit card bill was down $50.77 from September's amount.
*  The water bill was $17.18 less than last month.
*  The electric bill was down $42.90 from September's total.
*  The gas bill was $57.29 lower than last month(more purchases for gas put on the c/c rather than the gas card.)
*  Cash withdrawals were $700 lower(due to using the c/c for most if not all grocery spending + Hubs took less cash in October).


*  The direct medical spending was up again $190.09 from September's costs plus we still have an $800+ bill not received yet for Daughter's August procedure. gulp
*  We had a $275 non-recurring bill for attending a local Church's auction.  Not really a bad thing as we go each year and bid on local services/goods we would used anyway and pay less than retail for them.  We get a deal, the church gets some funds!  And we did spend $45 less at the auction this year compared to last year.

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

With 10 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2016 is $33,247.21.

FINAL THOUGHTS on October---
I was able to tuck away about $1K more than I had projected in October.  Mostly that was due to the car insurance payment moving from October to November, so really, we still have that expense, it just gets dumped into the next month so no gain or loss really.
Medical co-pays were the only category that we spent more in, compared to September(and it was under a $200 increase)so that's good.

Compared to Octoberber 2015 we put $1,972.44 LESS into savings this October.  This can mostly be explained away because of car insurance premiums, $500 more spending on the c/c and medical co-pays of over $800 last October compared to October 2016.
We have $33,247.21 saved so far in 2016, and we have only $4,752.71 left to save over the next 2 months at this point to reach our goal of $38K saved.  That averages out to $2,376.40 a month for the rest of the year.  This means for the rest of the year I need to average $790.26 per month LESS than our monthly savings target goal of $3,166.66.  But even with that, this will still be a tight race to get to $38K this year.  We have higher everything bills now with 2 extra adults in the house + more medical co-pays plus can I mention that Christmas is coming!?!?

Only 2 months left in the year to get to my savings goal.  We are quickly running out of time in 2016.

THOUGHTS going forward into November----

Semi-annual car insurance comes due in November.  The electric bill will rise as we will see the heat being turned up in November.  More medical co-pays will be due(including Daughter's $800+ one from August)in November so that will increase outlays this month.  But want based purchases should stay steady/low and we have no trips planned this month which always derails our spending.  We have some "already accounted for in the finances" gift cards/certs for eating out so not much spending on that category for November.  Gas charges will be up as we need to retrieve and return College Boy for the Thanksgiving holiday this month but that expense shouldn't top $50 for gas.

Besides the electric bill and medical payments it should be a fairly regular/low expenditure month for us....if I can keep the food spending down.

However....since I need to keep part of what I save in December out of my Savings Challenge to cover when the High Deductible Medical Plan deductibles kick back in on January 1st(and the cost of the first $3K in medical bills fall on us totally before we see any sort of benefit),
I need to aggressively save more in November than the $2,376.40 I "need" to save in each of the next two months, because in December I probably won't be able to save the other $2,376.40 I need to meet the 2016 Goal.  (Plus there will be increased holiday spending on at least gifts in December.)
So I am getting into Savings Ninja Mode for November.  Or I at least hope to. ;-)

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!

As we go forward into the last half of 2016 why not make this 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.
Or pay extra on the principle of your mortgage if your house isn't already paid off.

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. You had a wonderful month! You and I are in the same boat for the last two months of the year. We have a large automobile policy due also. Hubby has to take the safe driver course online because ours is expiring. That saves us a lot on the liability portion of our insurance. Fortunately we have already paid for Christmas gifts. But I also want to stock on that gift card deal which won't be cheap. I am hoping to make our savings goal for 2016. I will be working hard at it.

    I wish you all the best in making your goals. We are working on what our goals will be for 2017.

    Here is the link to my October expense report:

  2. Somehow I think you will pull financial magic out of a hat. I hope I can do so well towards my own goals. October was a good month for DH, but I haven't sat down yet to figure true savings goals towards my various end of year savings buckets. We made much better progress in October than I think July and August combined-that is certain.

  3. I'll be honest & say that we were over last month. However, I only consider our salaries for our budget. We had a lot of stock options vest, so we had a huge lift in our net worth, despite our exuberance. I've gone through & recalculated expenses for the rest of the year, so I can ensure we don't have to take anything out of savings.

  4. What about eating down your stockpile in November/December to help towards your savings goal? I know it is hard to bypass new deals but there will always be deals :) Well done! You can do it!


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