Crazy New Year Goals: How I’m Saving $20,000 in 2014

January 2, 2014

My goal for 2014 was to save $20,000 for my wedding, emergencies, and retirement! Here is how I planned on making it happen.



Last year, my goal was to run 13 half marathons in 2013- which I exceeded by 2 races (technically 3 if you call a 20 miler that turned into a 13.1 because I gave up) and so I’m ready for the next challenge. While of course, I wanted to continue on to do 14 half marathons in 2014, I realized that several of those trips (to Nashville, D.C., Tulsa, Orlando and Anaheim) were amazing, they added up to well over $4,000 in travel expenses (some of which were reimbursed due to sponsorships or I got great discounts) and that’s money we now need to put towards our wedding.

The fiancé and I had a tough talk about money- and for two weeks I felt pretty deflated that 2014 was going to be all work and no play- but I have to say, the payoff of a debt free wedding will be worth the cutbacks.


In 2014, I will save $20,000 to finish saving for our wedding and put together a 3 month emergency fund.


In 2013, I was (f)unemployed for 5 months out of the year, and now that I’m earning regular income, I’m hoping that I can turn what I was able to save on a limited income to become something awesome.

Here’s what I saved in cash assets for 2013 (doesn’t include my Roth IRA or the two travel funds and Christmas fun I just emptied out):


Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 10.44.10 PM


I’ve been saving like a crazy person for this wedding in the later half of 2013.  I’m hoping that if I was able to save $4606 in 6 months, that I will be able to save even more in 2013 without totally burning myself out.

My goal is to have a debt free wedding and it will take some of the overwhelm out of the process by knowing that I’m planning a wedding that aligns with my values to both plan a righteous party everyone will love and do it without gobs of debt.  The fiancé will be working on paying down the mortgage and we’re both going to saving fiercely this year.


So, what’s it going to take to save $20,000 in 12 months?

Wedding: $1,283 a month  =$15,396 a year

Emergency Fund:  $210 a month  =$2,520 a year

Roth IRA:  $414 a month  =$4968 a year

Money To Save Each Month:  $1907

Total for 2014:  $22,884


So, in some respects I’m getting a head start on my $20,000 wedding goal, I’m making up for it by saving towards an emergency fund.  I had my emergency fund up to $2k this year, but due to well, emergencies (okay and some poor planning) I had to use the cash I’d saved to pay off medical expenses, travel and a few unanticipated purchases.


How I’m Saving  Over $20,000 In 2014:

– Cutting Back On My Half Marathon Travels: (sob!) I’ll still be attending the Nike Women’s Half, Princess Half & hopefully, Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare (both Disney Trips double as family time since that’s where our people are!) but will cut costs by booking travel much earlier, lodging with friends and packing my own food.   I also want to run Route 66 in Tulsa next November but will plan travel costs much more efficiently next year.

– Cutting Back On Local Events:  Beyond the big trips, I did probably 30 local races..those registration fees and gear add up fast. In 2013, I also had to purchase a triathlon bike and gear to train in a new climate.  This year, I’m not buying new gear and will cut my attendance in half (if I can’t get registrations as birthday gifts, etc.)  This should cut about $500 in registration expenses (I kid you not) and $500 in gear.  I will use my running shoes until they’re floppy.

– Christmas Gifts:  Boxing Day (A.K.A. day after Christmas) is my Black Friday.  I just spent $375 but have pretty much all of my Christmas gifts for next year, plus my wrapping, decorations and supplies.

– Working More Gigs:  I now have regular, dependable income so unless there are big expenses or I get canned, I can better estimate the road ahead.  Additionally, any blogging income I bring in for posts, affiliate revenue and blogger coaching I’ll put towards the goal.

I’m unable to take freelancing social media clients and my coaching clients are getting scaled back- so estimated earnings beyond my salary are a tough estimate, but I’m going to lowball so I can focus on saving to be sure I can reliably hit my goal

– Putting Any Bonuses Towards The Goal:  If I earn any bonuses at work or have any miraculous windfalls, I will use any spare cash to fund the goal.



My Biggest Obstacles to Saving $20,000:

– Big Ass Expenses:  Our fridge broke down, our mortgage is ridiculous and I’m going to max out my Roth IRA this year.  I have more expenses in general than I did in the past- housing costs more, I now own a car and two pugs are more expensive than one! Our family has grown.

– Poor Planning:  For the past two years due to my unwieldy schedule (meaning grad school & freelancing plus some cross country moves) I usually felt overwhelmed planning things 12 months in advance.  Point in case? I knew I would by running the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa all year but didn’t book my plane ticket until a few weeks in advance.  Now that I have a steady job, I feel more comfortable planning ahead and asking for time off well in advance.

– Life:  It’s easy to put down a plan on paper, but life happens.  You can’t plan for everything and there will be events or frankly, laziness, where I’m not able to pinch every penny and I am going into this year of saving knowing that some months I’ll miss my goal and others I will be able to chip in extra.  Even with the best of plans, life happens and I won’t hit every milestone every month.

– Budgeting Isn’t a Habit:  I live debt free (aside from our mortgage) but honestly, while I pay off my credit card each month, budgeting off a spreadsheet or tracking tool is still not something I’m used to.  I never seem to gauge my spending just right.  I’ve set up budgets before, but rarely stuck to them after 3 months usually with the understanding that as long as I didn’t go into debt, I was fine. This year will be different- watching every penny will have to be a monthly and even weekly habit.

 – No Fun Money:  Some frugality bloggers disclose what they make and earn to the penny- I won’t bore you with the figures, but I will say, this amount of saving is extremely uncomfortable for me.  Saving $20,000 in one year is the bulk of my earnings.  Add on the mandatory expenses like insurance, rent, car maintenance and food- I have $90 free each month to spend. To make up for that, I’ll have to ramp up my blog earnings since I’m not counting them in my figures currently (since they vary from month to month I wasn’t comfortable with a possible overestimate in my final budget).




2014 will be intense.  Last year, I set out to do 13 half marathons in 2013 and only had about 4 scheduled at the time- I had no idea how I would get 9 more on the schedule, nor if I actually had the grit to make it through.  I still love running and it will still be a regular feature of my life, but paying for a wedding, paying down the mortgage and getting financially on track will be the epicenter of 2014.

The fiancé and I are learning how to communicate our financial goals as a team and thus, planning as a team.  At times, the exercise of communication is challenging enough as a newly engaged duo, but backing it with financial goals is really exciting.  I don’t know if my estimates and approximations are spot-on right now, but I hope that with losses and gains that inevitably happen- we will hit the goal by the end of December 2014 of $20,000 in the bank.   Pray for us 😉


What are your goals for 2014?  No matter what they are, own ’em, rock ’em and share them below!



28 comments so far.

28 responses to “Crazy New Year Goals: How I’m Saving $20,000 in 2014”

  1. It will be a challenge but I know you’ve got this! With such an incredible goal to save for that will keep you motivated.

  2. christa says:

    New follower here! That’s a big awesome goal!

    • Shannyn says:

      Thanks Christa, we will see how I do each month! I’m a bit nervous that I’ve bit off more than I can chew, but that’s how I felt last year… I think goals should be slightly scary. Welcome to the blog, hope you like what you read! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Suzanne says:

    My goal for this year is (I’m the surface) simple. To be happy. Happy with where I am at exactly this moment. To find the happiness in anything I cannot change, and to be happy in the circumstances I can change as I work on the change.

    Good luck reaching your goals this year! I have no doubt you will accomplish them. Flying into and of Tulsa is really tricky. Not a lot of competition and the prices usually reflect that. We usually either fly out of another close airport or in the case of family trips drive.

    • Shannyn says:

      That’s awesome Suzanne. Yes, happiness seems simple but if it were, everyone would be content- you will have a great year figuring out happiness that’s authentic to you, it’s a worthy goal!

      Yes, Tulsa can be expensive. I’m hoping to cut costs this year so hopefully we will see where I can save in comparison to last year. Wish me luck!

  4. Wow, good luck! That’s an awesome goal 🙂

    My goals for this year are to increase my net worth by $25k (which is about $10k more than in 2013), average 10,000 steps per day, and read 36 books (at least 12 non-fiction). Three goals — wish me luck!

  5. Jackie says:

    Great goals. You’ve given me something to think about – it’s always a good idea to figure out where you can save money. (Don’t let your running shoes get too floppy! 😉

  6. You have a great set of goals and I’m admiring your active lifestyle with your running and biking. I don’t even walk that much.
    I’ll be rooting for you. Good luck~

  7. Ashley says:

    My Husband I recently became debt free, ( Bye college loans!) and our goal for 2014 is to set up a better financial retirement and investment portfolio. I have a pretty diverse one at 25, and am pretty happy with the amounts in mine. Just need to get our newlywed couple butts in gear and play a little catch up. LOVE the 20k in 2014!!

    • Shannyn says:

      That’s amazing Ashley! You should be so proud! Getting out of debt is a ginormous accomplishment!

      We’re ALL playing catch up so pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward, you’re doing great!

  8. Those are awesome goals!!! Hope you can maintain the pace! I haven’t set goals for 2014 yet. I know! All other year before I had a set list before the new year rang. I have a rough idea of what I want to do, but need to write it down.

  9. Wonderful goal! I think, like with everything, visualization is key when you’re feeling a slip up might be on the horizon. That beautiful wedding you’re planning – the security of having cashola on hand in case of emergency. You’re strong & determined – so I have very little doubt you won’t meet this goal too!! Good luck and have a great 2014!

  10. Molly says:

    I actually have the same save 20k goal for 2014. I, too, am nervous of the feasibility of it because I don’t really know what kind of expenses having a baby is going to add to the mix…We’re trying to stay as frugal as possible, but there’s so much excitement surrounding it all, that it’s super hard not to get caught up in all the adorable outfits/toys/books/nursery decor etc. I’m going to do monthly check-ins and make sure that I am staying on track!

  11. I wish you the best as you work toward your lofty goals!

    My financial goal for 2013 is to pay off half of my student loan balance so that I can be debt free (except the house) by the end of 2015.

    My husband and I planned out the improvements we’re going to make to the house this year – which won’t cost must monetarily since the hubby is a contractor by trade. We also discussed taking one week-long trip with the kiddo and possibly one week-long vacation for house projects. The rest of the time is going to hopefully be spent on getting our house as low-maintenance and cozy as possible. 2015 will be our year to work on traveling more!

    Happy New Year!

  12. Janine says:

    Good luck, I’m sure you can do it! Make sure to post updates!

  13. Vicki @ WITC says:

    What a great goal for the year. I’m planning on maxing out my ROTH this year too. Planning for the future is fun! I’m also setting a real budget for myself this year. I was (f)unemployed for 7 months last year too, now it’s time to spend responsibly. (Boo, boring!)

    <3 Vicki

  14. Liz says:

    Wow good luck with the savings! Sounds like a great challenge and I am sure you will do great. You will have to give us updates throughout the year 🙂 I would love to monetize my blog at some point this year. That is big goal for me this year.

  15. catherine says:

    Good for you! I plan on paying 20k towards our principal debt in 2014 which is also going to be tough (esp with interest)…We’ll see. Good luck to you!

  16. Just found your blog thru Pinterest and love it!

  17. Michelle says:

    You can do it!! My goals for 2014 are to save a ton of money, make a ton of money, and finally transition out of my job and work for myself. I love getting scary intense for goals that will change and transform my life.

  18. Love it Shannon. Good Luck with everything – sounds like 2014 will be amazing for you.

  19. Kili says:

    Just wondering… wouldn’t it make more sense if you guys went halfsies on both the mortage and the wedding?
    or you contributing 10 k to the mortage and him contributing 10 k to the wedding?

  20. Miss Thrifty says:

    I think you can do it – runners may spend pots of cash on their races, but the upside is that they are EXTREMELY disciplined!

    It’s a lot to save, and it will be interesting to see how you side hustle. Good luck. 🙂

  21. Courtney says:

    So, so excited for you! Living debt-free is a challenge for most and being in a relationship with someone who also shares the same money values is such a blessing. You guys will do great!

  22. Woo! Saving $20,000 seems like quite the daunting task but having an approach and steps to make it happen make it seem achievable. In 2014, I will pay off the last of my student debt! I have a savings goal in mind as well but I should be able to reach it fairly easily after the loans are paid off. So I’m not quite sure where I should set my level!

  23. Ryan says:

    I’m doing the same thing this year. That’s how I found your post. We’ve got this!!

  24. Angel says:

    Typed in “how to save 20000 in one year” on Google and here you are. Very lofty. Very cool. I want to purchase a home but don’t want to go into it without any sort of cushion or options. So I think I’ll take the night and weekend options at work to make the extra money. I’m going to attempt to stop eating out also. It’s okay for one person but adding three teens/preteens to the mix makes that an expense rather than a treat. I have student loans looming but don’t even know where to start. We’ll see. I still have time before I have to start paying them off.

    It’s July now, so I would like to know how you are holding up, what mistakes you’ve made and any new advice you have to offer.



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