I’m taking my lead from Max Wong’s savings challenge over on Wise Bread and sharing how much I need to make and/or squeeze out of my budget by the end of the year. My challenge is a little different, though, because it is tiered. I need different amounts by different dates.
$2,800 by June 1st
I need approximately $2,800 by June 1st, although that can be spread out between April 1st and June 1st. That money is going to purchases associated with making a house a home: paint, rugs and furniture, etc. Homeownership is in my future, and I want to have some cash on hand. I’ve been pricing rugs and sofas online, so I have an idea of what I’ll spend once I’m ready to move in to a place.
$7,500 by August 31st
I need $6,000 to fund my emergency savings account. I have $3,000 in there now, and I want to add $6,000 so I have $9,000 available in case of an emergency. This amount does not include my savings for recurring expenses, such as the annual vet bill, or quarterly hair cuts for me and my little dog.
I also need approximately $1,500 to attend FinCon in September. I may be able to reduce this amount by getting a roommate for the conference and shopping for the best airfare, but I think this is a realistic amount to have set aside.
$6,700 by December 31st
I need $1,200 for a new MacBook, because mine is “going vintage” this year. I’m going to use it for as long as I can and keep my fingers crossed that nothing breaks, but I want to make sure I have dedicated money to buy a new one when I need it. I’d like to purchase it in 2016 so I can write it off on my taxes, but writing it off for 2017 taxes works, too. The important thing is that I have the money ready.
I need $5,500 to max out my IRA this year. I’m contributing to my work plan, but I really want to maximize my retirement savings over the next few years. Although I’d also like to put money in an HSA and index funds, this is my priority.
I expect that the money will come mostly from budget-stretching. I’ve started practicing for the challenge by drinking free coffee at work and taking my lunch. I’m shopping my pantry this week, which is kind of miserable. I’ll have to buy better stuff in the future. Most of what I have left are impulse buy groceries, and my appetite is not impressed.
I’m not taking on as much extra work now that I’ve paid off the student loan debt. I want to focus on my full-time gig, some academic writing, my own websites, and my creative work. Instead of taking on a lot of extra work, I’m going to be VERY selective.
And, before I can start saving aggressively, I need to pay off my tax prep bill, my tax bill, and a couple of dangling fees. Those have not been added to the total, because I have the tax prep money set aside, and my taxes will be paid from paychecks before April 1st. Therefore, I have April 1st as a loose starting date for my challenge. I need to gain momentum, though, which is why I’m announcing it now. I’m taking the month of March to really work my frugality muscle. If I manage to save anything this month, well, that’ll be most helpful.
I’ll be posting monthly updates. I’ll probably call them “Savings Day.”
How much do you need to save this year? Want to start a challenge of your own? Let me know!