Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Update-2017 Savings Goals

I left myself little challenges by way of blog posts leading up to January. I have my massive $40,417 target for the cumulative categories of Roth retirement fund, home maintenance and purchases, DD2's college fund, and travel. I could formally pair that back since we decided DD2 is not going to Ireland, but putting those funds towards our summer 2018 (hopeful) trip, and passing on Yellowstone in exchange for a Door County anniversary trip in October and more time at the lake place this summer. I'm not going to reduce yet though so that I stay focused on using funds for needs, not wants, so I might have these better wants in the future. In January, we were able to put away $2,200. I had hoped it would be more as DH had one of his untaxed bonus payments, but one of his paychecks was pretty low. The ebb and flow of how he is paid makes good targeting a long game, and hard to always anticipate. I hope it is not a foreshadow of the year ahead. Unfortunately, even the $2,200 is inflated, as part may end up going towards next year's tax bill.

The tin now holds $$$.
I have $70 in an envelope put away to go towards those late December extra's.Too much spending the last 10 days of 2016 resulted in a reduced savings rate for January. Even though I caught up a bit with austere grocery shopping, I'm determined to not be caught off guard in December 2017. This was a little bit of a cheat as DH's mom gave some money to each of us, at Christmas, and some for my birthday in November, and I used both to start my envelope. I really don't need or want anything right now other than making my targets. That will be gift enough for me this year. I've also formally started putting my spare change, found laundry money, and loose change in the shared rooms of the house into a canister. I am using the biscuit tin DD1;s friend brought us when she visited last spring as another reminder of travel. I like visual incentives!

Part of my plan is to start treating the bonus gift cards, rebates, and  points like cash, and using them to only buy budgeted and needed items instead of extra's just because it was free money. I used $32 in Kohl's cash towards a new undergarment for DD2 and socks for me, spending just a few dollars out of pocket. What I haven't done is monetized that $32 credit into cash on a future shopping day(reduce my spending by that much in the budget), to count towards the savings target, but this will be my reminder to do so. 

January Wrap Up

Annual Savings Goal          $40,417
January Deposits                $ 2,200
Perks to Cash                    $      32 
Savings Goal Balance          $38,185

December Fun Money        $     480
January set aside               $       70 
Savings Goal Balance         $     410

We continue putting 30% of our pretax pay in our respective 501K's. I also have 1% put in a Health Savings Account and 5.5% in a pension account that is matched. If we put the $13,000 in the Roth, from this years savings (may need to "borrow" from the pre2017 savings to meet the April 15th deadline, then pay it back ), I estimate that we will be saving 41% of our income for retirement. If all goes well, that still could be as soon as July 2025. I've not posted anything on the local Facebook site, but have a few boxes collected for the city wide garage sale the first weekend in May. I've realized 2017 will be the year of little things, as in little things add up, both the expenses and the savings.As I don't want to live miserly and still want to enjoy the here and now while planning for the future, 2017will be about making smarter decisions, not just saying no. I think my plan does that. Now if our income will just do its part.


  1. January was a super hard month for us, with the down payment. It looks like you did great - made adjustments to your plans, and I've come to the same realization on gift card spending. I too am loving the little goals. You're doing great!

    1. For gift cards and gift money, I feel the giver might enjoy if they knew their gift was supporting travel, college, a lovely home, and early retirement. It's not as if our normal budget won't include clothes and occasional meals out so using the cards as cash maximizes the givers thoughtfulness.

  2. Well thought out Sam! I save my freebies for November/December to make things cheaper plus save cash for December as well. It is difficult to say when we will retire, hubby is 8 years older and he is 55 this year. Even if he retires and we shut the company down I could easily see myself working part time just to get out of the house. Maybe in a pet store :)

    1. Even if full on retirement is not possible, or even desired, I'll cut back to part time at least.I like the idea of working in a book store,wine bar or coffee shop, somewhere student labor is plenty for summers and holidays and I can travel, but still offset some living costs. Something social.

  3. It will be interesting to read your post in January 2018 and see how the next 12 months compare with your projections. I think you're doing brilliantly. Jx

    1. These are stretch targets at best, but starting with big picture helps me. I'll be interested as well.

  4. Lots of number crunching - isn't it fun? I guess that's one thing to be said about living on pensions - it's the same amount every month so my budget never varies except in January when I get my wee raises :)


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