$20k In 2014: February Progress

March 4, 2014

Some things can't be good times, they can be good experiences

In 2014 I’m saving $20,000 to pay for our wedding, build an emergency fund & max out my Roth IRA.  (Read More Here)

I like to keep it real on this blog, there are some months being frugal comes secondary to being human, and sometimes, humans plan badly. In my quest to save $20,000 in 2014, February was an off month and I even had to use my emergency fund instead of saving for it.

This month, the pugs cost us a pretty penny- due to a mixup with the kennel (totally my bad) we had to take the dogs to another place that charged about $75 more than budgeted, plus Ralph had an unexpected visit to the vet that set us back $379. Pair that with the fact I forgot that the Dumbo Double Dare tickets went on sale and had to be purchased that day for $340. It will be a great family reunion for the end of summer, but for now, it was big purchase I should have planned for.

If you appreciate a look behind the curtain of a blogger- I can be honest that trying to save this month was really a bummer.  It’s easy to start hating a goal hard when you fall off the wagon.  While I’m so excited to have $20k put away at the end of the year, I had to live with the fact that any fun money I could have spent was g-o-n-e to cover the costs, and I had to dip in and take out $300 of the emergency fund for Ralph’s vet bill.  It felt like, and actually was, a giant step backwards.

$20,000 in 2014 February Progress

 Emergency Fund :  – $144.52   …way behind.

Wedding Fund: + $1,436.85…slightly behind!

I’m using CapitalOne360 and Mint.com to track my goals, so this month I’m going to need to stay on track with my automatic savings plan (last month I had to reschedule/contribute a bit less) plus make up the difference with some side gigs and less spending.  Spring is coming, which means I’ll want some new clothes, but I must fight the urge to shake off the winter blues with some new wardrobing.

While this month was a bit frustrating and I beat myself quite that I wasn’t able to have my cake and eat it too when it came to spending and saving, I know that most months it’s not such a big swing in either direction. $20,000 in a year is a huge challenge for me, but this month was a solid reminder that it’s important to consistently look at the entire year, not just the month ahead. Big purchases like trips or school expenses may have several small but significant purchases (like finding a good deal on airfare months months in advance) randomly stagnated throughout the calendar year, which may not always hit at the same time but should be planned for.

I am finally getting better at meal planning to avoid extra food costs and last minute takeout, but looking over the calendar to see how big plans pan out into smaller purchases throughout the year is still something I haven’t made a habit.

I know that right now it kind of sucks, but I keep envisioning the feeling of hitting the goal and it keeps me going and chalking up the mess-ups to experience. As they say, you may not always have a good time, but you’ll have a good experience. Here’s hoping March goes better!

7 comments so far.

7 responses to “$20k In 2014: February Progress”

  1. Lucy says:

    At least it seems like the step backwards was for large, important expenses, not tons of frivolous spending. I feel much less guilty about going over my spending plan when the over-spending goes toward the important things in life, like people, pets, etc.

    February was a tough one in our household, as well. Since it was a short month, I really thought I’d be able to make it *under* budget and add any extra to savings. But between unexpected expenses like last-minute guests and extra birthday gifts, it just didn’t happen. Ah well–onward and upward!

  2. Alyssa says:

    February was a rough month for me saving wise as I went on vacation and got a little too into the vacation mindset. But now I guess I have something to save for as we are planning a wedding now. Eek. We’d like to get married this year so I guess I will be on a tight budget the next couple of months!

  3. Amy says:

    Girl, I hear ya! Thanks for being honest with the rest of us not so good planner ahead-ers! I stumbled a bit this past month too. Besides the fact that I just love Chipotle too much for my own good and my dad borrowing 700 bucks, it was a rough month for me. Today I had to walk through walmart to the opposite ending thinking “I’m only here for cream cheese. I’m only here for cream cheese.” Luckily I walked out with only cream cheese. I will take the small success! Here’s to March being kinder to those of us with big plans and big savings goals than February!

  4. February was okay for me, but March is already shaping up to be hella’ tough on my budget. I know, I know, it’s only the 5th you say. Well being able to see what’s coming means I can plan for it, so I’m ramping up my freelance hustling to try and counteract the big upcoming spending.

  5. Melissa says:

    I would think of the puppy expense as a great reminder of and motivator for why you are doing this! Think about it, if you weren’t on this plan and hadn’t set aside that emergency money where would you be right now? Just a little positive spin for thought…

    I know its hard when things don’t go according to plan; and I admire your ability to roll with it. 🙂

    Keep going! You’re doing a great job and Future You is going to be so thankful! 😉

  6. Amen. I often find myself thinking “but I’m a personal finance blogger! I should be doing better than this!” Then I remember I’m human (why is that secondary?). Being human always wins out and there are always unexpected expenses. In the last few weeks I had a car accident which I had to pay my $500 deductible to get my car fixed (totally my fault…damn pole) and then I had to replace my windshield for another $260. Yikes! I’m so glad it’s March and a clean slate 🙂

  7. Kim says:

    First time reader here. Do you budget for rainy day-type expenses? Actually it would be interesting to see your budget categories.


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