Alright alright alriiiight! Welcome to another rousing Challenge update post where I share everything we’ve put into our new savings account here in hopes it motivates you to do the same :) It really is unbelievable how fast these dollars add up… And I’ll tell you this much – time just keeps on going too, whether we want it to or not!
So if you’re not banking anything these days, today’s as good as a time as ever to start. At the very least, check out this new service I’m now obsessed with called Digit. It’ll take you 4 minutes to sign up and then you can go back to being lazy while it does the saving for you – hah.
Here’s what this month’s Challenge Savings balance looks like:
That’s exactly $820.65 more than we had last month in our Challenge Savings acct. Again, simply by making a few tweaks to our recurring bills and funneling all other “extra” money we receive throughout the month into it. Whether from Craigslist hustling or other ways we randomly happen across money.
It’s pretty crazy because every month I swear nothing new is going to come our way out of the blue, and every month I’m surprised all over again. A good problem to have, of course, but really makes you realize just how variable our money can be. And how much of it we end up spending if we’re not paying attention! Yet another reason why *tracking your money* is important too. It does wonders to your wallet, but also your spirit.
Here’s how much we’ve saved since starting this
boring ridiculous sexy experiment:
That’s an average of $523.54 a month so far. To put this in perspective, you could MAX OUT AN ENTIRE IRA at the end of the year and still having $800 left over to do as you please. Not too bad for money you weren’t even counting on! We’ll see how long this trend lasts, but regardless I’m having a helluva time thinking about all the possibilities of what this money can get me in another 8 months… That’s perhaps the best gift of all ;)
(For those new to the site, I’ve made a strict rule with myself to *not touch* a penny of this money until the 12 months are over so I can fully appreciate the power of this Challenge Everything project. I know it’s dumb to miss out on all the earnings not having it invested, and that we’re making peanuts on our savings, but the motivational factor trumps all right now so I could care less… At the end of the year we’ll put it somewhere much more wiser – promise.)
Here’s how this $820.65 breaks down…
Cell Phones — You can read all about it here, but we basically gave up our iPhones with Verizon and switched to Republic Wireless cutting our costs from $170.04 a month to $57.46. A move we were initially scared about, but now enjoying those free $100 bills float our way monthly. (Or, at least I am ;) My wife tells me she misses her old iPhone now and says I’m lucky we’re saving so much or else she’d switch back – hah!)
Cable/Internet/Phone — This one we just blogged about on Friday, but in a nutshell we dropped our monthly bill from $170.77 down to $80.71 by making a few phone calls and changing up our setup (we had an old ass TV and upgraded to a modern one so we could take advantage of streaming online services, such as Netflix – which will soon add an extra $9 bucks or whatever going forward now that the free month is over). There’s always a chance in the future we’ll nix cable altogether, but right now we pay a few bucks more than having internet-only which we need for our careers/lives, so it’s a price we’re more than willing to pay for the joy it brings.
Car Insurance — This 15 minute move has saved us $30.59 every month for a solid 5 months now and required a single phone call to USAA (which we’ve used, and recommended, going on two decades now). That’s a solid $150 and counting. #BAM
Old TV Sold! — Our weekly Craigslist Habit continues to be in full effect! The only real habit that still remains from all of 2014 endeavors, haha… With the exception of our water jug trick – the only thing that’s FINALLY gotten me to drink a decent amt of water now after 34 years! Loving that… Anyways, here’s a pic of the TV we just sold for $80.00. The guy who bought it is putting it down in his basement so his kids can play all their video games on it :) Pretty good idea, right?
Painted Kitchen Table Sold — I WISH I had taken pics of this earlier, but alas I did not…. This table I picked up, along with 4 chairs, for like $20 bucks I wanna say a half-dozen years ago off Craigslist, and then now just flipped for a respectable $50 for the table alone :) I had painted the top of it this cool looking antique-blue before we got our latest hand-me-down kitchen table (you’d be proud of me, Serena), and then my mom took it to some antique thrift place who ended up selling it for me. I only got $35 of it since they take a 25% commission, but what do I care. I doubled my money and still have the chairs we continue to use! Score!
Toyota Lawsuit Check — This is the most random of them all this month, haha… Neither my wife nor I still know why we got this check in the mail, but apparently there was some lawsuit relating to “Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices” we benefited from (my wife owns a 2005 Toyota Corolla) so I promptly deposited it right off my smart phone (yeah USAA!) and our account got $30 plumper. It’s like money just falls out of the skies sometimes!
USAA Dividends –– This is reason #9,008 why I love and use USAA for all my stuff. Not only do they offer killer customer service and mad low rates for car insurance (as shown above) but they give you back some of the profits every year as well. I should go back and add up just how much we’ve received over the years so far, but I reckon we’d be somewhere close to the $1,000 range by now. What institutions do you know that give you back free money at the end of the year?
Sold Dart Board — This one was a shock for me, to be honest. I was scrambling to find something to post up on my usual Friday CL listing, and then stumbled across this old beaten up thing in my basement which hadn’t been touched in years. I originally picked it up to be used with my fancy metal darts I received as a groomsmen gift a while back (also never used), but then kids happened, and, well, they don’t go to well with sharp pointy things ;) So I listed it up on the site for $5.00 fully expecting to be lowered down to the buck or two I had originally paid for it at a yard sale awhile back, and in came a bite and it was out the door in a flash. Oddly enough picked up by another dad who wanted to teach his kids how to use it – hah! If only I had remembered that I had the darts to sell to him too, ugh… We met at a Wal-mart parking lot specifically so he could go in and buy some new ones :(
Website Reimbursement — This is going to sound extra nerdy on top of a whole pile of nerdness, but I’ve recently been ordained as the webmaster of our local coin club (go ahead – I’ll pause while you laugh). I had been given the task of renewing our website for one of my first duties in office, so this $15 was to reimburse me for initially putting it on my personal credit card. It doesn’t really count as “extra” money here like all the other items on today’s list, but figured I’d go ahead and add it to the pile anyways to help keep the mound growing. If you ever wondered who still uses checks these days though, it’s a safe bet your area coin clubs do ;) And also that you’d be the youngest person there if you’re anywhere below 60, sigh…
Magazine Refunds — This one’s also an interesting happenstance as no one could tell me why exactly I received this $38 and change? I had accidentally subscribed to the same magazine subscription twice in a row through Amazon (Coin World, for the triple nerd win!), and when I submitted a claim to cancel one of them and get reimbursed, I received my money and that was that. Or so I thought… A few weeks later I get this $38 in the mail, which doesn’t even align with the $25 I had originally double paid, and when I called to enquire they said all was fine because it was reimbursement for my double order. I kindly explained I had already received it, but they didn’t seem to care and rushed me right off the phone… But not before saying *all* of my orders were now cancelled? Which left me even more confused since I’m still receiving the magazine in the mail??
Lottery Ticket Winning — This was part of a Christmas gift I received from my family since they know how much entertainment I get out of playing… Especially when it’s someone else’s money ;) (Note: I scratched off $20 worth of tickets and only came away winning $2.00!)
Birthday Money — This was a lovely gift from my mother-in-law who told me to spend it on something fun, so naturally I immediately thought of this savings account ;) What’s more fun than $100 compounding over your lifetime?? (Also – another HUGE thanks to everyone who sent me complimentary birthday gifts here on this blog too. I swear to you I’m printing them off and pasting them on my refrigerator as soon as I get more printer ink!)
Guitar + Amp + Accessories — Out of all the items I’ve sold since this Craigslist mission began, these guys were the hardest to let go of. And not because I ever play them or even know how for that matter (I picked them up in 2008 to learn how to
woo play, and then promptly put them back down in 2009 when I realized I really didn’t care that much), but because they’re just so PRETTY to look at! Haha… And I paid close to $400+ dollars too, which made it even harder to let go of for only half that… But I knew they were just taking up space at the end of the day, so I channeled my “would you buy it again?” declutter trick and quickly handed ’em off to their new owner who had received them for Christmas.
And that is how you save $820.53 :)
It actually took me more work writing all of this and placing in the pictures than it did to earn it – hah! But what a great reminder that there’s always something we can do to lower our expenses or bring in that extra cash, right? We’ll see how much more stuff I have lying around we can continue hawking, but at the very least we’ll have the $230 carrying over month after month by cutting all those 3 bills throughout the months… Talk about passive income/savings!
(Btw, my Craigslist ratio of stuff sold vs not is somewhere in the 75% range so far… I think that’s pretty good? And mainly due to me being OK with gradually lowering the prices until they find a new home. Why keep around stuff that you know damn well you’re not going to use anymore?)
The last thing I’ll leave you with is the whole reason we set up this separate savings account to begin with. And that was to physically SEE how all our actions would add up over time to really appreciate what we’re doing and keep us motivated. It’s one thing to say you saved $100 cutting something out, but a whole other watching $100 turn into $500, and then a month later $1,000, and then shortly after that $2,000. It all goes back to the power of time, baby!
And now whenever I bitch and moan about missing a TV station here and there, or when a Craigslist person flakes out on me for the 2nd time in a row, all I have to do is log into my account and watch that big fat number cheer me right up. Works like a charm every time ;)
So remember. Challenge your expenses, sell your crap, and then bank it all away so your savings actually count. And then lastly, of course:
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!