Every good blogger, financial adviser and “money” person will tell you that saving more will increase your wealth, it’s easy, spend less and save more. The one thing I have noticed is that everyone calculates their savings differently. I want to be frugal but given the life expectancy in my family genes, I want to have a good time while I save. If I could live off peanut butter and jelly for the next two years and then retire I might try to save 90%, but realistically until I have no mortgage or we make 300% more it’s not happening before I’m 50.
Here’s a recap of how I calculate savings and how much we added to savings last year, we had an emergency fund already so notice I didn’t add anything to “cash” accounts.
In 2015 we added the following amounts to Savings:
$6,500 After-tax investment account
$2025.00 Employer Stock (I receive a 10% discount from my fortune 500 employer)
We don’t count the 3% employer match we receive; it just increases our net worth.
Total Savings $31,105.85
Gross Pay $96,894.80
Based on Gross only, we saved 32% of our gross income.
If we add the extra payments on the mortgage:
Extra principle payments $4,948.16
Savings increased to $36,054.01 (with mortgage)
New savings rate 37.21% (this could be better)
We calculate our savings rate based on how much we save with retirement accounts, stock accounts and extra principal payments (because we could just as easily add that to our after tax stock accounts)
Our goal for 2016 is to try and reach 45% in savings this way. I will be calculating it monthly and adding it to the blog.
How do you calculate your savings rate?
Some parents teach you the value of the dollar. My parents taught me how to spend every dollar you earn. My dad worked at the same company for 28 years in sales until he retired. He always had a stable income and by the time I was in my 20’s (20 years ago) he made over $60K. Not bad, but when he retired he had no pension, worked until he was 68 and had less than $100k in his retirement accounts. He was still paying a mortgage on a house that was too big for just my mom and dad. Keeping up with the friends was more important than financial security. We didn’t take big vacations, he didn’t drive the newest car, but we could somehow spend $400 at Costco every week. Back then it wasn’t on organic food. We always had plenty to eat, they just weren’t that smart with money. My dad grew up higher then middle class and therefore material things were important. As a teenager it was great, but my parents were in their mid to late 30’s when they had me. I was the last of 4 children and the only one to attend college. By the time I was in my 20’s I realized that their spending 100% of what they made was scary to me.
My first job at age 12 working for a family retail company where my mom was the district manager I made $400 in the summer helping them design gift displays. It was the best, I think I made $3.00 an hour ended the table. I opened up a savings account where that money stayed until I was 18.
My parents felt that it was important for me not to work in high school, they felt it would impact my GPA. I volunteered for the heart association, American cancer society and Sertoma. I was involved in clubs and student government. When I turned 18, I secretly got a job selling clothes at a mall for two months before I told my parents. I couldn’t wait to work. Since then I have never had more than 3 days off between positions and during that time I was collecting a 3 week severance. Now all I want is to not work, or work by volunteering or doing something I don’t a pay check from.
My first corporate job at age 20, I sat in conference room during orientation the first week while a representative from HR explained a 401k match to me and how important it was to save at least $2,000 a year. I listened and started contributing to my 401k right away. I only wish now she would have told me to save a minimum of 25% of my income or more. Oh well, lesson learned a little late in life.
In my next posts I’ll go over the mistakes I made in my financial life and how my parents ended up financially in retirement.
If you live near a Kroger, Smiths or Fred Myers – sign up for a rewards card and download the app. Ever Friday set a reminder on your phone or calendar. They give away something free every week! This week was a free Friday all week long, ever day was a Friday. All the items below were free.
Thank you Kroger for a free $16.
- Trident Gum
- 6 pack of Arrowcreek water
- Annie’s Mac and cheese
- Chobani 100 yogurt
- Natures whole wheat bread
- Plenti Oatmeal Yogurt
Use your phone number and checkout for $0.00. Can’t beat free. I’m lucky that a Kroger store is right on my way home from work. Other than turning off my car and restarting it, it’s not out of my way to shop their specials.
No couponing just press a button on your Kroger app. Easy Peasy.
I’m Mrs. Frugal Now, a 41, soon to be a 42 year old living the American dream. My husband and I have always been conscientious about money, but in 2015 we decided to really save for the future and try to retire early. Now we don’t make 6 figures a year and neither one of us is an engineer like so many of my favorite retire early bloggers.
Journey along with us as we try and retire in our early 50’s, even though our net worth in January of 2016 sits at $271,000.