The Saving Challenge

A little while back one of the blogs I read regularly, A Gai Shan Life, ran an interesting challenge trying to save money (and stretch yourself). While at the time I was not ready to participate in this challenge the idea really stuck with me. Revanche challenged herself to save 5K and she asked her readers to participate (in partnership with another bloggers attempt to run a 5K race).

Now that I am focusing more on my finances I have seen quite a few places where I can save some extra money. This money is mostly in discretionary spending and its money that I don’t need to spend. Another thing that I’ve found is that I am not saving nearly as much money as I would like to. When I first started this blog I was not saving anything and now I’m setting aside about $400 a month which is a definite improvement but not perfect. This idea of a challenge that Revanche came up with popped into my head again.

Not only am I focusing on my finances my wife has also been brought into the loop, our finances are not entirely merged but they are definitely very intertwined. When we first got married we had separate accounts and we each contributed to the joint items; now we’re at the stage where almost everything is joint with only a handful of items that are separate. Together we discussed our financial future and a few goals that we both wanted to achieve, the most important one is getting rid of our debt which is followed by our desire to buy a cottage (which we currently can’t afford but will when our daughter leaves daycare).

This discussion of our current financial situation and goal of a cottage led us to our savings. We’re not saving enough nor paying our debt down fast enough. So we decided to test ourselves with a small challenge.

The Savings Challenge : Save $500 per month for 3 months

We both realized we could set aside more money and by doing this for three months we are seeing if we could comfortably do it. This challenge really breaks down to each of us saving an extra $250 per month. For myself I’m going to set aside $125 per pay when the pay first kicks in with the thought that if the money is not in my account I can’t spend it. I’ll know pretty much right away if this is going to work. Additionally I’m going to cut down on my discretionary spending and add that to the pile, hopefully with a little effort I’ll be able blow away the $250 per month.

This post is the added motivator to the equation – I’m announcing it here and I’ll be keeping my results posted. We started this challenge at the beginning of the month so by the end of September we are aiming to have $1500 saved.

If everything goes smoothly for these three months this test of ours will give us a small emergency fund (though we were contemplating paying some debt off with it). If you’re interested in playing along with us set up a goal for yourself starting in August and pass along the details – I’ll post up tallies for anyone participating (assuming you stay on top of it).

This is a small challenge, but even though its a small step it is a step in the right direction and large goals are made up of many small steps. Thanks again Revanche for giving me the idea.