Journey To $100K: January Update

Journey To $100k: January Update

Something magical happens in the process of setting goals. From creation to finish, you try harder, you dig deeper, and you live more. Journey to $100k is our attempt to dig deeper.

Less than a month ago, I penned the article, My Impossible 2019 Financial Goals to share with you my financial intent for 2019. At the time of creation, I felt there was very little chance of actually reaching the goal. But with one month under our belt, I can already see the magic starting to take shape.

Journey to $100k

What is my goal, you ask? My big, impossible, audacious stretch goal for 2019 is to save $100,000 dollars across all accounts.

Historically, spreadsheets and savings charts are not my style. For this challenge,  I knew I was going to have to change things up.  I looked at printing out some of the various debt free charts on the web to track my progress but couldn’t settle on a chart that would track what I was trying to do.

I finally settled on a DIY handmade graphic. Like a toddler in preschool, I rounded up some crayons and coloring pencils and started crafting.

I think my mother would be proud! Below is a picture of my handy work.

Journey to save $100k in 2019

Spreadsheet data entry and coloring my simple savings graphic have been the most enjoyable part of this challenge so far. Incidentally, tracking my savings on this silly little chart is a huge motivator for me to see this thing through.

The magic is the journey, like a chrysalis hatching into a butterfly, I am beginning to understand that the ending is not the reward, it is the journey. Being excited about every paycheck and charting my progress is the magic.

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January update to my journey

My plan to save $100k in 2019
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Recap of 2019 goal

In 2019, our family will save $100,000. 

Yes, for 2019 I have set a goal I’m not sure I can achieve. A stretch goal that makes me uncomfortable and pushes me to the edge of possible.

Why chose a goal I am not sure I can accomplish? The whole purpose of goal setting is to push me to lean into discomfort. By setting an audacious uncomfortable goal I will be reminded to spend less, earn more and save the difference.

The numbers

Here is how I get to the $100,000 savings for 2019.

  • Two 401k’s = $38,000
  • Two IRA’s = $12,000
  • HSA = $7,000
  • Mortgage principal = $25,000
  • Taxable brokerage account = $18,000
  • ————————————————–
  •      2019 Savings     =         $100,0000

$100,000 saved in 2019 is: $8,333 per month, $3,846 per paycheck, or $274 per day

With our final January paychecks and our mortgage payment behind us, we now have a clear picture of where our January savings ended.

How did we do?

With a total savings of $8,470.62 for January, we are on pace to hit our goal. Side note-I don’t think I can let $8,470.62 go without rounding up to $8500. I should be able to scrape up $30 somewhere.

We are actually 8.47% of the way to completion. You may notice that some of the categories like mortgage principal payment and taxable savings are falling behind.

This is because we are front-loading more of our savings into our workplace retirement plans. As those accounts close in on their max contribution limits, we will shift the savings to the other categories.

Below is a pie graph showing the allocation of January Savings.

Manufacturing Savings

To kick off our J2 $100k we implemented some January spending Goals

No Starbucks– Our family, over the previous three months, had been spending $200-$300 per month on drinks and food for my wife and especially for the kids after school.

What had once been an occasional treat, (frappuccino and a double smoked bacon sandwich) as a reward for a good day, snowballed (in a bad way) into several trips per week.

In January, this practice came to a screeching halt. You know what? Other than an initial outburst, tantamount to calling us monsters, the rest of the month went along just fine without Starbucks.

Grocery Budget-This was a moderate fail. We tried to reimplement our grocery budget that I blogged out in this article, Budget Smudget: Our Family’s First Grocery Budget. Our goal was to stay under $150 per week. Although we were unable to stick to $150 per week for a family of four, we came in under $200 per week. I will give this a passing grade. Maybe a C+.

Reasons our Family is different

There is no doubt that $100,000 is a lot of money. It is nearly double the US median income. Admittedly, to be able to save this amount of money is quite a blessing.

The bar graph represents the average US household debt by category. Fortunately, we are debt free other than our mortgage.


Let me walk you through a few money tricks that I use to help our family save money.

We drive old, paid-off cars

My truck is 19 years old and my wife’s vehicle is 5 years old. If we had two car payments of $400 each, our ability to save would be reduced by nearly 10%. Ack!


We took the frugal route to a nursing career by attending a community college and letting our employer pay for our Bachelors Degree. No student loans for us.

We have a no credit card debt rule

We pay our credit card in full every month. If we get overextended, which can sometimes happen. We have a mutual agreement that we need to fix our mess before the next credit card bill arrives by either working more or spending less in other budget categories. Groceries and restaurants (Starbucks included) are always first on the chopping block when we get a little credit card crazy.

Saving $8,500 in a month is eased by not losing our hard earned money to leakage of interest payments on credit card, auto loans, and student loans.

No Spend Days

In January we set a goal to have 10 no-spend days. I wrote this post, No Spend Days Done Two Ways to go over all of the details. It is difficult to quantify how much 10 no-spend days saved us in January but I would guess in the neighborhood of $200.

No Spend Days

Money Saving Apps

While these apps do not provide earth-shattering savings, they do let you take back money that would otherwise be lost. For very little effort, Ibotta and Ebates save us  $10-$20 per month, in the form of rebates. Every dollar counts.

Ibotta is a smartphone rebate app where all you do is snap a picture of your receipt and the rebates are deposited into your account.

Items and product categories change occasionally so it is best to scan the app for items that are already on your grocery list. Sign up with Ibotta here to claim your free $10.

Ebates. I love Ebates. Of all the money-saving apps, this is my favorite. My wife buys all of her vitamins and running supplements on Amazon. Since signing up for Ebates we have racked some serious cash back.

My favorite part is once every 3 months Ebates mails you the rebate check. I use my Vanguard app to deposit that check right into my IRA. It is almost like free money! Get $10 for free just for signing up with my Ebates link.


We are well underway with 8.47% of J2 $100k completed. Shockingly, with one-month complete, we are even on pace. If you would like to follow along with all 12 months of our Journey to $100k updates, be sure to get on the email list in the box above. Thank you for reading.

4 thoughts on “Journey To $100K: January Update

  1. We are working on a similar plan for our savings this year. Can you explain or send me how you are doing the mortgage interest savings? Are you just paying extra payments to your principal?

    1. For the purpose of this goal (J2 $100K), I am only counting principal paid as savings. For example, I paid $3200 to the mortgage company in January. $2,000 of that amount was principal. I count the $2000 as savings. I hope that helped. If you still have questions let me know.

    1. Thanks, Ryan. This goal is so crazy and I am so excited to chase this one all year long. I just signed up for some extra shifts at work to see if I can throw some more $ at this beast.

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