Goal Setting, Retirement Journey, SAVINGS

A July Savings Challenge and beyond!


Anyone up for a good challenge? I am! Especially after reviewing my numbers from the year’s first half! I was shocked to learn that I have been averaging about $4,000 a month in variable spending. Although that average was skewed by April’s unusually high month, it is just too high and does not reflect how we hope to spend our money when we reach retirement.

Since we are tentatively nine months away from our planned retirement, higher cash savings will be key. We have saved quite a bit of money so far this year, but there is room for improvement.

So..I’ve decided it’s time to super-charge our cash savings. For this July Challenge, I would like to limit variable spending to only $750.00. Then, going forward until April 2023, I would like to spend no more than $1,500.00 a month.

That includes the following categories:

  • Groceries/Eating Out
  • Road trips (excluding actual vacations)
  • Gas
  • Vet/Dog Food
  • Personal care/household
  • Gifts
  • Clothes
  • Personal spending

Spending only $750 in July will definitely be a challenge. I’ve been looking over the categories and trying to plan out where the $750 will be spent.

We have a trip to NY planned, as well as a birthday celebration. Gas for the trip will take up nearly $100 of the $750 (even if we take my husband’s hybrid).

I don’t need clothes, make-up, household items, or gifts in July (just a family party gathering) and I already have hair color to take care of the grey roots.

As far as the dog, I won’t need to purchase dog food either. I still have plenty of kibble left, plus I can supplement with boiled chicken and brown rice. We just need to take care that he stays healthy because vet bills are outrageous. Last month Auggie had a double ear infection that cost us $500. We do have insurance on him, but we have not yet met the $1,000 deductible.

I feel ready for this challenge, but July is a long month. We will have to find things to do that won’t cost money, or at least not very much. (Any suggestions or ideas you may have on how to make July fun while spending very little would be welcomed!).

As usual, I’ll update every Monday with the week’s spending.

Anyone else want to save money with me?

10 thoughts on “A July Savings Challenge and beyond!”

  1. Hi Sharon, I will definitely take up the challenge to save money! I will be running my six months number today or tomorrow for my six month low spending goals and I had already decided to extend for two more months with the current financial craziness . One of the ways I started to save was to talk to my kids about going Dutch instead of me treating so much. Both had no problem with it and they are even paying me back by treating me a lot, too. We are also all contributing pot luck to our family gatherings. There are a lot of rewards available right now to open up new checking and brokerage accounts. And I am looking at which one suits me best. Sincerely, Lara


    1. As Moms, isn’t it crazy that we still feel we should pay for our grown kids? Good for you for asking, I’m sure they didn’t mind at all. 🙂


  2. Hi Sharon, this is Chris. I am trying to think about how to participate in the challenge that would be meaningful for me. We have 3 family birthdays in July and hubby and I will need to travel to be with my mom when she has eye surgery later in the month. I am also looking for a deal for our cat’s food, since I opened the last bag this week. I think the best thing to do for us is to skip buying any junk food, make the birthday cakes instead of buy, and skip going out to eat except for the time we are with my mom. Also just filed my van yesterday after picking up the meat, and it was $83. I will try to make it last all month, except when we go to see my mom. I think your $750 will be a challenge, it would be for me too. Good luck. And the $1500 going forward looks very doable to me.


    1. Hi Chris, Yes, $750 will be tough. Even my husband was wondering how I was going to do that, especially since we are visiting my Mom. I have some ideas, but mostly I’m bringing food and drink so we won’t eat out. We will be saving money, but more importantly to me at this juncture, is my health and not gaining any more weight. Surgery seems to be imminent with my foot, so I have to be very aware of what goes in my body. (no sugar!). My husband’s birthday is in July, and I’m having my sweet daughters bring sides, and I’m baking the cake. (.94 for cake, 1.62 for frosting. 😉 ).


  3. I pay $26 a month for my doggies pet insurance. It has a $250 deductible. I think it’s called Pets Best. I have to check. Already covered two episodes with my doggie.


      1. Also, I remembered another tip. My sister has been cruising for like years. She’s even been to Russia. She belongs to a group. They use their charge cards that give them travel miles to get their airfare for free. They charge practically every single bill to the charge card. You may want to think about that. Using reward cards now during high inflation has been a godsend to some. Good luck!


  4. Hi Sharon, So my biggest variable spending is gas traveling for Grandkids babysitting and sports activities. I’ll probably spend about $100 less this month with my family’s vacations.. Will only need two lawn cuts saves $80 a month. The next two months, Groceries will be cut by $100 to $50 total, And I have $36 left on my gift card. July is my raspberry harvesting season so I won’t need to buy berries. It’s easy to keep groceries low with eliminating So much from my diet- no carbs, breads, and dairy . I also have all my nuts for the month. I have $160 spending money left from June and I put most of my purchases on my rewards credit card. Just booked $1200 worth of free hotel rooms with the 130,000 point bonus given with Hilton Honors reward and all have free hot breakfast included and free bottle d water. And coffee. Microwave and refrigerator in the rooms. Don’t need any clothing or personal items. We’ll see how it goes. Sincerely, Lara

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