Thank you to everyone who is participating in the $1,000,000 Challenge! You all are truly inspiring!
Just to give you a general idea of the group of challengers, it appears that we are all at different points in our financial journey. There are a few people who reached out to me to let me know that they are just beginning their financial journeys and they found the challenge while searching for financial tips. How exciting and congrats to you who are making a life changing decision to get your finances in order! There are also challengers who are a few years into their journey and even a few who have no debt and are focused on saving and investing. Okay, let’s get to the January results!
There were a few challengers who reported progress after the January progress post. So, here is our updated numbers for January!
Debt Paid: $39,677.56 ($3104 more!)
Savings: $17,561.47 (same)
Investments: $11,116.52 (same)
January Total: $68,358.55!!!
Debt Paid Off
There were 17 challengers who reported debt paid off. Those 17 people, paid off… $21,097.81!!! That is quite impressive!
There were 18 challengers who reported saving towards an emergency fund, vacation fund, or some other large purchase. Those 18 people, saved… $22,053.88!!! There were five less people this month who reported saving, however this number is $4500 MORE than last month!!! What a bunch of super-savers, you all are inspirational!!!
There were 14 challengers who reported investing towards retirement, children’s college education, and other investment accounts. Those 14 people, invested… $9339.48!!!
February Total Progress:$52,491.17!!!
Total Progress after February: $120,846.72!!!
We have changed our finances by over $120,000!!! How amazing is that? Between our savings, investing, and debt pay-off we have made a big enough difference in our finances as a group in two short months to pay for a house in CASH, to send 4 of our children to college debt free, to provide 8 third world communities with wells for clean drinking water.
This difference we have made in our finances is AMAZING! You should all be so proud of yourself and one another! Keep pushing forward, one day, one dollar at a time. You’ve got this! I have a feeling March is going to be full of even more amazing progress!
Challenger’s February Achievements
- Paid for an expected car repair by making small adjustments to our budget to avoid debt or using our savings.
- We re-evaluated how much we actually spent on transportation costs, with gas prices being so low we were able to find some extra money.
- We spent less this month than we budgeted
- Met difficult financial goals this month
- We used a cash envelope budget system for the first time in February and it worked pretty well.
- Did my taxes in February and also applied for FAFSA for my son. Otherwise it has just been a slow and steady wins the race – or so I tell myself.
- We DID start shopping at Aldi which has saved us a ton of money (THANK YOU!) And this month we opted to stay in almost every weekend.
- We decided we are going to go the 50,40,10 route with our tax return money which we should receive shortly. That should pay off a couple credit cards and put a nice chunk into our savings account while still leaving us some for fun!
- This was a great month for me financially! I received a bonus that was bigger than I was expecting (sent over $1,000 to debt, 6% to my 401k to get the 3% match, and $750 in total added to my savings).
- We had talked about selling our boat to jump start our finances. I listed it on Craigslist to see what would happen. It sold in 6 hours. I couldn’t be more shocked.
- Took late Christmas money from my family & put it all toward my credit card!!!
- Paid an extra $300 toward mortgage. Will do this every month to cut the payoff time in HALF!!!
- Paid off last of our medical bill. Foundation fixed and home warranty is footing the bill to replace our microwave & oven combo. Getting closer to putting our house on the market and moving to our ‘forever debt free dream home’
- Paid off one student loan which was my goal to have paid off by March of this year. I was able to erase it from my debt chalkboard!
- Our emergency fund is pretty much completely funded at $14,600!
- This month I am just happy that I could just save a little something and not touch our savings. Hopefully next month will be better again. Irregular income can be difficult.
- I sent what should be the maximum contribution for the year to my HSA from my bonus, because it’s pre-tax and I never had to feel the amount come out of a standard paycheck.
You ALL are so AMAZING!!! I want to congratulate you all on a fabulous month and working so hard and remaining focused and determined to improve your finances! We are definitely on our way to conquer this $1,000,000 CHALLENGE!!!
Financial Tips from Our Fellow Challengers:
- If you have money designated for an item in the future, move it out of your main accounts so you can’t see it! I’m not nearly as tempted to touch my wedding savings, because I don’t view it along with my other accounts in Mint.
- I have a couple fun ways to save for different cash jars. I have a jar for when I work out. Every time I work out, I put a dollar in there. Then when I need new workout clothes or shoes, I use that money. I also have a beer jar. I put a dollar in there a day, so if I ever want alcohol (which doesn’t happen much), I use the money from that. It is all kind of my way of saving for myself.
- Look around your house, is there anything you’re willing to sell to meet your goals?
- Make a budget! Its your financial map. Without a map you’ll not take the best route to your destination!
- I cannot stress enough the importance of an emergency fund! Here is why: family member needed surgery in Dec. 2014. At the very end of January, I break my ankle which means no work for me. So now we have 2 sets of medical bills and no income from me. Applied for State Disability Insurance and it took almost 4 WEEKS for it to come through. I am very thankful to have it because we will be okay with it and it brings some peace of mind, but if we did not have an emergency fund we would have been in trouble and stressed. We’ve also had other unexpected expenses: fence was damaged in a storm = $500, garage door spring broke= $175. So I am thankful that we had our emergency funds and maintenance funds in place. God has provided for us in this whole matter in ways unexpected.
- I found this link on Pinterest, and this is what I started doing with our bills. It is a way to keep track of your monthly bills if you or your spouse don’t always have a steady income.
- Live below your means. Due to weather I had two unpaid days in one pay cycle for the month of February. This lead to a lower saving rate than planned. However, by having a budget and living below our means it did not have a huge impact on our finances.
- Have an accountability partner to keep you honest and focused.
- Never give up! Don’t blow your savings just to keep up with others!! (My struggle this month)
- Take it one bill at a time
- I started using the Credit Karma app. I like being able to see my overall debt totals as well as my credit score.
- February was a super busy month for us. For the past four years I’ve known this winter stretch is the most hectic time of the year and beforehand I try to fill the freezer with homemade meals and baked goods.
- Whenever I make homemade pizza dough, I always double the recipe and freeze half for another day.
- I’m so glad we invested in a roof rake several years ago. We have raked the snow off the lower section of our roof twice this winter. When we moved into this house seven years ago we added an extra layer of insulation in the attic. Between raking the roof and the extra insulation, we are fortunate enough to have no ice dams while several houses on our street are suffering water damage and contractor estimates for repairs are high. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure?
Thank you for such wonderful financial tips and thank you again for participating in this challenge! It will be so awesome when we hit that $1,000,000 goal!
Be sure to join our Facebook Group to encourage and inspire your fellow challengers! Or ask finance/challenge related questions to the group!
If you are participating in the $1,000,000 Challenge be sure to sign up to win the March Giveaway. There are 10 different ways you can enter. You can get three super easy entries, simply by reporting your February and March (at the end of the month) progress and by joining the Facebook Group. 🙂
The Prize: “The 5 Love Languages” book and a British themed prize pack with promises of my favorite chocolate to be included. 🙂 Not many people have signed up for the giveaway. I’m wondering if people would be more motivated by a $25 Amazon Gift card??? Thoughts??? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Join the $1,000,000 Challenge
Do you want to be part of this $1,000,000 Challenge? Well, great news! Anyone can join at any time throughout the year! Read this $1,000,000 Challenge post for further information and it includes a link where you can join the challenge!