What’s in MY budget? Part 6: Savings

This is part 6, and the final post, of my “What’s in MY budget?” series, and today we’re looking at the categories in my Savings group.

Before we do, my family uses YNAB for our budget. It is, in my opinion, the best budgeting software in the world (otherwise, why would we use it, right?) If you want to try it out, https://www.chriscookley.com/YNAB will give us both one free month. Pretty good, right? Ok, let’s look at my Savings categories.

Savings serve a variety of long term and short term goals. We have the ultra long term goal of retirement, that’s captured in Savings, as well as shorter term goals like Bulk Meat, Christmas, and Phones. Anything that we need to save money for over a period of more than 3 or 4 months will end up in Savings. Our Savings group makes up 30.99% of our monthly budget, and it’s our largest group, just barely beating out our Monthly expenses.

These are the categories we use in Savings:

  • College
  • Vacation
  • Cars
  • Christmas
  • Phones
  • Bulk Meat
  • Emergency
  • Retirement

We have two kids, so saving for college for them is important. We know it’s likely coming someday, so we might as well get started now.

Vacations are very important to us. We love to travel, and I refuse to do it in debt, so we need to save cash for our vacations before we take them. The easiest way to do that is to make it part of our monthly budget.

Cars will always need repairs or to be replaced. For the vast majority of us, they are not investments, they’re liabilities. I don’t ever want to be in a position where a $500 car repair hurts, so we save for the inevitable.

Christmas happens every year. There’s no reason to be caught by surprise in November that Christmas is only a month away. The holiday is way less stressful if you save the entire year for it.

Phones may be a strange one for some people. After all, it’s so easy to just finance a phone through the carrier, right? Just add that extra $20 or $30 each month to the phone bill. But I like to actually own the stuff I use, and a phone is no different. Coming up with $1,000 all of a sudden every 2 or 3 years isn’t the easiest thing, but if we save a little bit each month, we’re ready when our phones need to be replaced.

Bulk Meat might be one you haven’t seen before. To save on our grocery bill a little bit each month, we like to go to Sams Club every 3 or 4 months and buy a bunch of meat in bulk and then keep it in the deep freezer.

Emergency is for emergency expenses. For example, last summer we needed a roof repair done. It was $800 for the roof repair, and for a lot of people, that would have been very stressful, or they would have just lived with the leak in their roof for a while. But because we have an emergency fund, we were able to pay cash to have our roof fixed the next day. This sits at $0 each month unless we need to use it, then we shift our budget around until we can fill it back up. We try to have 6 months of expenses on hand in our emergency fund.

Retirement is the big one. I don’t want to work for the rest of my life. In fact, the sooner I can stop working because I have to and start working because I want to, the happier I will be. We’re pretty aggressive with retirement, partly because we can be and partly because we want to be. The quickest way to build wealth is to not spend the money you earn, which means you need to save it. We save a lot towards our retirement.

This is what percentage of our income gets allocated to each of these categories within the Savings group, and how they fit within our overall budget.

Category% of Savings% of Overall
College7.66%2.37%
Vacation13.41%4.16%
Cars10.54%3.27%
Christmas2.87%0.89%
Phones2.87%0.89%
Bulk Meat1.34%0.42%
Emergency0.00%0.00%
Retirement61.30%19.00%

I hope you enjoyed this “What’s in My budget?” series. I hope it gave you a little insight into what someone’s actual budget looks like, and helps you get your own budget set. If you have any questions about the series, please ask away down in the comments below, or click the Ask Chris button at the top and send me a voice message with your question.

Can I give you something?

If your budget needs work, I have something for you. It’s my completely free Master Your Budget Categories guide, with over 270+ categories laid out and organized specifically to help you budget better. I’ll even show you exactly what goes on my budget.

Think of it as the foundation to your perfect budget. Can I send you my categories?

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