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How Much Do you Save in a Month?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by msnln View Post
    I save about 40% of net take home pay. I have steadily increased my savings rate by listing all my expenses by categories in a spreadsheet(mortgage, food, transport, utilities, others, etc) and then I keep track of each expenditures. I also list maximum I can spend in each category monthly, next to amount spent. I then reduce the maximum over time (every few months) so I can cut out and reduce unneccessary expenses. In addition to the spreadsheet, I use Mint.com to keep track of all my expenses since I use credit and debit cards for all my expenses.

    Some months I go over budget because of unforeseen expenses but by doing this, I know exactly how much I have spent each month and compare to previous months. Also, it's kind of fun seeing income go up due to increasing interest income and expenses decrease from reduced interest expense, leading to higher savings rate.
    How long have you been doing this? Do you think you'll keep it up for the long term?

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    • #17
      Hi Bepp, the number is based on the past year. The savings rate vary month to month due to quarterly and semi-annual bills like property taxes, insurance premiums, etc so I added up my savings and divided into total income during the same period. Monthly savings rate ranges from 25% to 68%. Over the past two years, I have been working on reducing fixed expenses by paying off all credit cards, installing solar panels (no more electric bills and reduced heating expenses) and agressively paying down mortgage payments and refinancing at lower rate. I am hoping to pay off my primary home mortgage this year so I expect to be able to save even more by end of this year, barring any negative surprises such as job loss.

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      • #18
        For me, what I like about how I got to this point. It started as a $20/week automatic transfer to an online account. Then as we paid off debts and got raises, I raised the amount accordingly to whatever we had just paid off or the equivalent of our raises. True, we still have debt so in essence I'm just accumulating a big lump sum payment. I'm also stockpiling cash because we have a baby on the way. Once we're sure mama and baby do not need any extra care, we will put that money towards the debt.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by msnln View Post
          Hi Bepp, the number is based on the past year. The savings rate vary month to month due to quarterly and semi-annual bills like property taxes, insurance premiums, etc so I added up my savings and divided into total income during the same period. Monthly savings rate ranges from 25% to 68%. Over the past two years, I have been working on reducing fixed expenses by paying off all credit cards, installing solar panels (no more electric bills and reduced heating expenses) and agressively paying down mortgage payments and refinancing at lower rate. I am hoping to pay off my primary home mortgage this year so I expect to be able to save even more by end of this year, barring any negative surprises such as job loss.
          Ah, so you have specific goals to pay things off; that would help me focus. A lot of the bills we have are the varying kind (taxes, utilities, etc.), so it'd be pretty frustrating to try to save a specific $ amount each month.

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          • #20
            Most of my bills can be budgeted, like food, utiilies and transportation. Our family eats mostly vegetarian, bake our bread and make most food from scratch. I also read my utility meters at least couple of times a week to make sure I am on track -- I am kinda anal about that. As for periodic bills such as insurance and taxes, I know exactly when the bills will arrive and how much they will be. From the income, I deduct these expenses and set a savings target. As the month progresses, I tally up each expense items and try to maintain expenses within my target. I also keep cash flow projections for at least two months in advance to keep track of all income and note when each bill needs to be paid out and when/how much needs to be sent to a separate savings account.

            To answer your question, I do have specific targets for my money (like paying off my mortgage by October). I do not have specific $ amount I save each month but savings amount vary depending on expenditures for the month. But I know how much I can save this month, and next month or two by having a savings plan, which I try my best to stick to.

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            • #21
              We save about 40% of gross income. About a quarter of that gets used for large expenses (vacations, prop taxes, car purchases, home repairs), and the rest is retirement savings.

              How do we do it? We live well within our means, and we don't have a mortgage. We don't have a mortgage because we lived well within our means!
              seek knowledge, not answers
              personal finance

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              • #22
                Never looked at until now. I love this forum for making me consider sometimes uncomfortable things. 37% to savings according to Excel budgeting, but probably closer to 25% in reality due to unforeseen budget hits throughout the year.

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                • #23
                  We save about 25% of gross, but we're in really intense debt payoff mode right now. If we could redirect the debt money to savings, It would be closer to 40-50%.

                  As to how, I do my 'non-negotiable' savings through auto-draft. That would be 401K/TSP contributions and college savings for our daughter. All the other savings comes from what is left over at the end of each month. We already have an EF, so I kind of see the rest of the savings as a general 'other' category. I'm not willing to stress myself out for a whole month because I automatically transferred money over for a vacation fund or something and now I can't buy something else optional during the month, you know? It still gets saved, but that's just our lower priority right now.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by reallyprettyhappy View Post
                    I'm not willing to stress myself out for a whole month because I automatically transferred money over for a vacation fund or something and now I can't buy something else optional during the month, you know?
                    I actually did that this month, and have been laughing at myself since I realized it... I set up all of my automatic transfers last month, and stupidly set them to start on 1 Jan (instead of 15 Jan, my first pay of the new year, which will include a minor pay raise that I'm getting). I set up the auto-drafts based on the pay raise. Come 31 Dec I got paid, and by the 3rd I found my checking account with only $500 in it, with two checks totaling $585 still un-cleared!! I was just lucky that only one of them cleared before I was able to bring back some extra cash from savings to cover me until the 15th. **phew!** hahaha
                    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                    • #25
                      I'd say somewhere in the 25-30% range. Once I return to the workforce, I suspect that we will be able to save the bulk of my net paycheck (less clothing, gas, etc.)

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                      • #26
                        Gosh now what I save it little if any. I don't spend a whole lot, even though I just had to buy a new car (only 6k, 2001). When I was working my regular job I was saving an automatic 10% net into my emergency fund, and 10% gross into my 401k.

                        I'm working part time as a waiter and claiming unemployment. I don't have a lot of expenses and I'm not living very frugal by my standards (out at the bar often). I still have a decent savings and keep my money in line, but I'm not really going out of my way to save now, because Its such random income between waiting tables part time and the random unemployment.

                        When I go back to work I plan on kickin up my EF savings to closer to 20-30% net income. And prolly putting down my 401k to 7%.

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                        • #27
                          Our savings rate has fluctuated between 30-40% the last 4 years when we decided to track our expenses and get serious about our money. Before this we were only saving around 8-10%.

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                          • #28
                            Side note, but seeing all these responses almost makes me wonder how the national savings rate is only around 5% (which is far above what it was 2 years ago)... But then, I also have to remember that most of the people on the boards here are an aberration to the majority of Americans, so.... yea... ::sigh:: it's a shame....
                            "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                              Side note, but seeing all these responses almost makes me wonder how the national savings rate is only around 5% (which is far above what it was 2 years ago)... But then, I also have to remember that most of the people on the boards here are an aberration to the majority of Americans, so.... yea... ::sigh:: it's a shame....
                              I don't buy that 5% savings rate. Last year a forum member (DisneySteve I think) alerted me to the fact that they don't include 401k contributions if I am remembering correctly.

                              Still doesn't mean we aren't oddballs though.

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                              • #30
                                DW and I are only saving in the 12-15 percent bracket. Have to love the financial mess a divorce can cause. Gradually working our way up to more and more, but it is a start and we don't fret near as much over money as we used to.

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