As the six or so readers of this blog might know, I have been doing the 1% Challenge for the last several months. Put forth by Paula Pant over at Afford Anything, it is a challenge to bump up your savings rate 1% each month for a year or until you hit a target savings rate.
I have not set a target savings rate per se, because I am still in early days of getting my financial life together. Figuring out what my spending looks like from month to month is still a mission, making it super hard to predict a reasonable and regular savings rate for my income and lifestyle.
But I still needed some big time motivation to bother increasing my savings rate.
Because I have a thousand different things I am saving for right now. Seriously, count them. A thousand.
A down payment, a new laptop, a wedding, vacations (yes, plural), and a car. Oh, and I’m still getting rid of that last 10K of student debt.
This blog is called Making it Rain for a reason, folks. I work hard to earn money and I like to spend it on things I enjoy and people I love. Yes, some of my money goes to the necessary evils like retirement funds and investment accounts but that’s because future Kate is also down to make it rain.
Let’s be honest, though. Saving is boring. IT JUST IS. And the only way I seem to be willing to increase my savings to reach my many goals is by finding an extra $30 or $40 a month to save here and there. Beyond that, I’m out.
Hyper-frugality is not for me, and I do not have a high enough income to save a significant portion without making big cuts to my lifestyle. I have already made some compromises like not buying a car in a mission to pay down my student loans faster, and I am just not willing to trim down my lifestyle anymore.
So 1% at a time it is.
If you want all the gory details of how to calculate your own savings rate and what I include in mine, go check out the original post back in March here.
Two months into the challenge, my first recap saw me hit the following savings rate:
March Goal: 30%
March Actual: 29%
April Goal: 31%
April Actual: 33%
I fell a little short of my goal in March, only to jump past my target rate by a couple percent in April. Despite the numbers being a little wonky, I was pretty happy with this because it is still absolutely crazy to me that about one-third of my income is going toward savings and debt repayment.
While those numbers were a little uneventful, check out my standings from the last two months. Without further ado, my savings rates from May and June:
May Goal: 32%
May Actual: 34%
June Goal: 33%
June Actual: 41%
Whoa! Fireworks! Champagne! I know, you are all very impressed with my 41% savings rate in June. How did she do it, you might ask?
-Pared down her grocery bill?
-Only ate at a restaurant once or twice?
-Miraculously negotiated cheaper rent overnight?
Not a single one of these, my friends.
In fact, June was one of my spendiest months of the year. I had a pricey trip to Toronto for a family visit that included lots of picking up the tab for a family birthday and Father’s Day and a round-trip Via Rail ticket.
You know what really helped me destroy my savings rate goal?
Earning nearly $2000 more in June than I usually do in a given month.
Thank you, side hustles.
In fact, my savings rate could have been much higher in June but between travel, birthdays, Father’s Day, and other summer shenanigans, it was not my first priority and I wanted to enjoy some of my hard-earned dollars.
Lesson of the day: saving more is way easier when you earn more. June’s income was totally out of the ordinary (and May’s was actually quite high, too) making it way easier to crush those savings rate goals. Even though my income is probably going to simmer down over the summer, I am still going to shoot for my goal of 34% in the month of July.
This is going to take a lot more finagling than when I was bringing in the big bucks, and it might not happen when I am earning numbers much closer to my regular salary, but let’s see how it goes!
How are you all doing with your savings rate goals? What percentage are you saving right now and how have you been able to increase this over time? Let me know in the comments!