At the end of June, my finances were looking a bit stagnant. But since I only update my savings amounts every quarter, I hadn’t taken all of my progress into account. Lo and behold! I didn’t do too badly. My focus this year was to Boost My Savings. I still think I can do better and know that I have some car maintenance expenses coming up that are going to put a dent in my recent progress, but I’ll harp on that later. Today, I’m glad to say that I’ve saved almost half of my original goal. Take a look:

  • Original goal: Save $9,000 this year. Current progress at the half-year mark: $4,125. I’m a little below the $4,500, but this isn’t too terrible considering my income has slowed down this year. (I live on a fluctuating income and that makes saving more challenging – but not impossible.)
  • Open up a wealth building fund. I opened up a slow-growing mutual fund a couple of months ago and automatically deposit a portion of my income each month. I also opened up a more aggressive mutual fund recently and am depositing half the amount of the more conservative fund. This is positive progress in my opinion.
  • Bike 1,000 miles this year. Current progress at the half-year mark: 300 miles. I’m behind. I really need to get my butt in gear (literally), but can’t boost those miles until I finish a teaching position that has me driving 62 miles round trip weekdays this month. (It was a great position for me to take on and add to my resume and I already had factored in the driving costs).

How can I improve these stats? I know that I need to really focus on paying myself first. It’s a bit trickier if my income isn’t the same each month, but I can use the 10% method that I seem to oscillate on. If I can pay myself first using this figure, I should be able to come close to meeting my goal. This fall will also be most trying as I’m not able to work from September through December (but there is a glimmer of hope – it’s an itty-bitty glimmer, but it’s there.) So I can’t say for sure what will happen to my savings goal during this period. It depends on how everything plays out (luck, timing, luck and perseverance).

As for biking, I need to kick it up a notch and ride my little heart out during August through December when I won’t be commuting long distances at all. That should help me meet my original goal of 1,000 miles.

How are your goals for this year coming along?


  1. Sustainable PF Reply

    62 miles round trip weekdays huh?
    that’s 12.4 miles a day, 6 miles each way.
    Why not bike to work and back? You’ll kill the 1000 miles in no time.

    • @Sustainable PF – I worded that incorrectly; that’s 62 miles each day. I also looked into biking/busing it, but it would take over 2 hours each way and I don’t have the patience or the time to do it. Only 2 more weeks of that insane driving distance and I’m done!

  2. Saving can be very challenging when you live on a fluctuating income – I know from experience. But it looks like you’re making excellent progress – great job! I know I get discouraged when I have to use a chunk of my savings for something like auto maintenance or some sort of unexpected major expense, but I try to factor that in at the beginning. Admittedly, it’s a bit difficult to anticipate unexpected expenses, but I like to keep a sink fund for auto maintenance. Inevitably, my car always breaks down on the rainiest day of the year when I’m already running late. Having a little money saved away for just that reason allows me to pay for repairs (or at least part of the repairs) without dinging my savings account too much.

    • @PennyPincher – I need a car sink fund, though I really wouldn’t have to use it very often. We haven’t had to pay for any major maintenance in about 3 years, so I really can’t complain. But now that our car is a little older, there’s a little wear and tear on items that need replacing. At least once all the maintenance is done, I won’t have to worry about car repairs for a while!

  3. No Debt MBA Reply

    I’d call any progress good since most people forget about their goals within a month of forming them! I also need to get out biking more if I expect to bike commute starting this fall.

    As for my goal, it’s to pay for my MBA without loans and I’m going to write a CHECK soon for my first year. Don’t want to call it halfway there, but almost!

  4. Glad to see your progress! I love the name – wealth building fund! On your biking progress atleast you don’t live in the east coast having to worry about snow! You have the entire year to reach your goal! ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Ok, that was a semi-rant – I used to live in CA, now I don’t and miss it during winters!)

    Good luck!

  5. I’d have to agree with NDB – any active tracking of progress is good. Sometimes, it helps to bring down overly optimistic goals to more manageable levels. What if your biking goal is scaled back to 800 miles, with a really awesome reward for exceeding it by 25 percent?

    • @101 Centavos – 800 miles is definitely doable. I might have to knock off that last 200, but we’ll see – I still might be able to make it!

  6. Hah I was thinking the same thing as SustainablePF — bike to work and you’ll have that one goal done in a jiffy. Still it sounds like you’re doing great on your goals!

  7. Isn’t it great to see your savings increase? Sometimes initial goals are hard to hit no matter what, and may even need to be adjusted.

    I am so excited because I ordered a basket for my bike so I can bike to the grocery store more often. It should be here any day!!

  8. Amanda L Grossman Reply

    Great goals, and you’re doing well. I always shoot for the stars because I know that if I don’t make it, I will be much further along than if I just set mediocre goals.

    We had a goal to save 50% of our after-tax income in permanent savings (retirement, emergency fund, mutual fund investing, but not vacation or large expense fund). I am happy to say that at the end of June we had saved 44% of our first six months’ after-tax income. Hurrah! Definitely ground to make up, but better than our 29% last year.

    • @Amanda – That’s a good way to put it “shoot for the stars.” At least if I end up 3/4 there it’s not a bad start. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. I know how hard it can be to budget on a fluctuating income. I think you are doing a great job. It’ll be easier when you have a regular, steady job.

    • @Melissa – I agree. Hopefully next year one salary will be a little more steady and I’ll be better able to manage Mr. LH’s variable one!

  10. Good for you for sticking to your goals. I don’t think I’ve been able to do that yet, as in ever.

  11. Wow. Thatโ€™s a truly impressive plan to boost your savings. Iโ€™m starting to get serious in saving money too. I want to be able to see my financial progress every quarter. Thanks for the reminder, Iโ€™m glad I read your article.

  12. Jeff @ Sustainable life blog Reply

    Whew – good luck with the biking! that’s going to be a tough goal to meet, but at least you’ve got the climate for it. I basically have to pack up the bike in october.

    • @Jeff – The warm weather almost all year does help extend being outdoors almost the entire 12 months of the year. I should be able to “catch up” in August through Nov. with an occasional rain storm here and there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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