Things to Save Up For – Our Savings Goals for 2015

Things to Save Up For

Let’s chat about savings goals. I’ll list mine so you can see what’s important to me. You tell me in the comments below what you’re saving for and how you plan to achieve those goals.

This exercise is meant to help me organize my savings goals and also to give you a peek at the kind of things you could be saving for (and the different ways to save).

But first, I’d like to take a moment to look back on some successes from 2014. We saved the maximum allowable amounts in our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, and an HSA. We didn’t accumulate any new debt (still just the house and rental property mortgages). We successfully navigated the health insurance marketplace while having our 3rd child. And finally, we were able to tithe/give 10% of our income.

Not a bad year! We were able to accomplish most of this because we created goals to help motivate us. So let’s dive into next year’s goals…

Our Savings Goals for 2015

Automatic Savings Plan

We’ve created separate savings accounts and automatic withdrawals to these accounts using our CapitalOne360.com account.

Roth IRAs and 529s not shown because they are held in accounts at different institutions.

Retirement – With our 2014 contributions (maxed out Solo 401Ks and Roth IRAs) I do believe we’ve reached the point in our retirement savings journey where we technically have saved enough money such that when we are in our 60s we will have enough saved to live on comfortably for the rest of our lives. While it will always be an annual goal to save the max to our Roth IRAs, I do not feel pressure to save more through our 401Ks, other than as a tax-deferring strategy.

Given these circumstances I believe it’s adequate to only have an automatic saving plan setup for our Roth IRAs to reach their max. If the businesses produce a lot of excess income by the end of the year, we’ll make the Solo 401K contributions, or consider making extra mortgage payments. But I’m just not prepared to make that automatic. Sort of a “nice, but not necessary” approach. The automatic savings withdrawal from Vanguard for the Roths will be $916.66/mo. We invest everything into one fund, VFORX.

Emergency Fund – Our emergency fund is currently well above 12 months worth of expenses. So I have no plans to save more here in 2015. I’ll revisit this account after 2014 taxes are paid and see if it needs bolstering. If so, we’ll do an automatic plan as with anything else.

Real Estate Taxes – We do not escrow our property taxes with our mortgage (we pay them separate at the end of the year). So we automatically save $450 each month into a separate savings account. At the end of the year we have $5,400 to pay our taxes. By saving this amount ourself we accumulate a small amount of interest (roughly $25).

Income Taxes – Since I’m self-employed and really only issue myself a paycheck at the end of the year, I have to estimate and pay my taxes quarterly throughout the year. This is hard to do because my PT Money income fluctuates from month to month, and income from my conference business isn’t known until the end of the year. Just so that I’ll have something tucked away each quarter I am automatically saving $500 each month in a separate account.

College Education – College is a long way off for our three kids, but it’s still something we want to help with. We automatically save $25 each month for each kid into the Ohio 529 College Savings Plan, invested in age-based funds with Vanguard. There are no plans to change this savings goal for 2015. This is automatically pulled from our checking account, thus no separate savings account on the screenshot.

Medical Expenses – While we don’t anticipate any major medical issues to pop-up in 2015, you never know. Could we handle a major medical issue with our finances? Well, our deductible (or “annual household portion”) with Medishare is $10,000, and right now we have around $8,500 in our Health Savings Account (HSA). That’s just enough to give me comfort.

The sad thing is that because I’m on Medishare I’m unable to contribute more money to the HSA – I normally contribute the annual max. Legislation may change that in the future, but for now we will just spend that money until it runs out and then start dipping into our emergency savings. Next year I’ll likely re-consider upping the emergency fund to account for this.

Other Goals – In addition to the above we’re also saving automatically for travel ($150/mo), car maintenance ($100/mo), auto insurance ($80/mo), home insurance ($66.67/mo), gifts ($50/mo), and home owners association dues ($43/mo). As you can see, when possible I like to pay insurance premiums once a year to avoid installment charges.

So what do you think of our current savings goals? Do you see any issues? Should I be saving for anything else?

Want to see my goals from previous years? Click to the next page.

Image by Tony Crider


Last Edited: December 31, 2014 @ 11:17 am The content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Those are all great savings goals! What about saving up for vacations? We have a fund that we call a “Travel” fund where we put money in order to have cash to pay for vacations every year. This year we were able to go to Hong Kong and Singapore all thanks to having a plan and putting money into a savings account designated for vacations.

  2. Some of these goals are similar to mine.  I have been wondering about pulling my property taxes and home owners insurance out of my escrow and just doing it on my own, since I can at least get interest on the money.  I have a baby coming in the next few weeks, so I have been saving for that for a while.

    • DebtRoundUp,

      Congratulations on the baby! My wife and I just found out we are having twins. A total shock to say the least!

      Is your new baby savings for day to day expenses or college fund? I would be curious to see how you figured on how much to set aside each month.

  3. GaelicWench says:

    I’ve got the 52-week challenge on automatic. My plan with that money is perhaps take a volunteer vacation down under (NSW-Queensland) around Christmas. I just need to remember it’ll be hotter than the hubs of h*ll during that time. I need to pay my way down there and, depending on the non-profit, will get free room and board. There’s a wildlife reserve down there that needs volunteers to work. That would be hard work, but truly rewarding. So, that’s my travel goal for 2014. 
    When I am once again gainfully employed – I am currently going to school FT – through my employer, I’d like to get an HSA account started if they offer it, as well as get back on track for my 401k. My EF is on automated as well…..thankfully, through the VA I qualify for VRAP, so am getting a sizable chunk of money from them to help with school and living expenses. No car loan to worry about, just insurance. 

    One small step at a time…..

  4. I also have a rental property and never thought of the idea of opening a small business account for it. Must look into that option!!

  5. Sounds like you have most of the bases covered. I’d say go ahead and get things automated right now. It probably took longer to write this post than it would take to go ahead an automate your savings :)

  6. Excellent post.
    When we used to live in Europe, we had similar goals. Now that we have a child with special needs, everything has fallen apart, but plan to get over this next year. Thanks for kicking my rear end :)

  7. Do you save up for a replacement car? That is one of our savings categories. We also save for our donor advised charitable fund. Since we no longer can itemize every year, we bunch schedule A items every few years. Our fund allows us to do that.
    I don’t know what our goals will be since we are considering a move closer to my husband’s job, which will sadly put us back in a mortgage.

    • We are not. But we should probably be putting something aside for that. Even if it’s just a small amount. In the past we’ve replaced our vehicles in the year of a big financial win – bonus, unexpected income, etc. But I know we can’t necessarily count on that forever. Right now we have a 2012 Honda Odyssey we purchased brand new. That will last us another 8-10 years at least. So it’s hard thinking about such a distant purchase.
      I didn’t know about the donor advised charitable fund. I will have to look into that when we lose our home mortgage interest deduction.

  8. It seems like you’ve got everything covered for this year. These are definitely good points to consider when saving and making sure you don’t have loopholes because you’ll never know. I might just make adjustments to my savings goals this year and take note of your plan.

    Have you ever thought of having a ‘fun’ savings? Other people might find this funny, but I’ve been thinking about having one for this year. This can go to those I-want-this purchases and maybe some little trips here and there. What do you think?

    • Great idea! I think we would probably consider our Travel savings account the fun account. But I didn’t really consider other “I want this” type spending. Definitely should be a part of any regular budget.

  9. Philip,

    Great post on your savings! Your financial outlook pretty much mirrors what me and my minions are trying to achieve.

    Your Capital One 360 savings accounts is genius and I’m going to steal that idea to help keep a clear picture of how much is in each fund, as opposed to one big emergency fund account.

    Do you use any brokerage accounts to save for the long term? I know they are risky, but could potentially give a higher return than online savings accounts.

    • Ian, my long term savings is my main focus and we use Vanguard target date funds in tax-advantaged accounts. I do have accounts with Sharebuilder ($1.5K) , Betterment ($10K), and Motif Investing ($.5K). The Betterment account is an extension of my emergency savings. More risk, but more return. I’ve also dabbled in $5K-$10K debt and real estate investments, with higher return. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable with all my emergency savings in anything other than FDIC insured products. Thanks for the comment. :)

  10. The majority of people don’t have a 12 month emergency fund. It’s unfortunate but most people find it hard to save money, this is why my favorite tip of yours is automating your savings. Much needed tips to start the new year.

  11. Penny Price says:

    Our families’ plan for 2015 lists charitable contributions. I just had a Date Night with the hubby where we talked about how much $$ we’ve allocated for 2015, and we determined which causes we can support. It’s also important that the kiddo sees that giving our time/talent/treasures is part of our regular life.

    I also have a savings goal connected with a small marriage-building trip. Think camping just the hubby and I for 4 nights or so. I have to plan for stuff/food/childcare/PTO and more, but a focus on marriage is a priority we have learned to make.

    It’s not that your 2015 goals are bad….I just wonder if they really reflect the Big Picture? And maybe they do?

    • Penny, thanks for the comment.

      I agree if giving is a wish it should be planned out and part of a budget or saving goal. We do the vast majority of our giving regularly through our Church with automatic withdrawals before we spend on anything else, including savings. So while a part of our monthly budget, they aren’t something we save for gifting later at a different time.

      I love the marriage priority.

  12. Wow, that is so awesome that you can comfortably put away that much in savings every month!! Unfortunately, I was not very good with money management until 2007, when I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I had over $30k in debt and was renting an apartment. I would have been out of debt within 3-4 years, but a lot of “stuff” got in the way, including a bad marriage and divorce, purchasing my second house when I wasn’t ready, and other things. Fast forward to now, and I am well on my way to being debt free and owning a house again! I have just over $5k in debt, have a nice size 401k savings that I am continuously contributing to, have an emergency savings of about $6k, have a great engineering job, and own my own handmade jewelry business, selling on Etsy. My goals for this year is to get out of debt, and have enough money for a down payment on a house! Very excited!! :-)