Savings Challenge – February Results

 February Results

 

We are now two months into the Moneystepper Savings Challenge and I hope you are getting as much out of it as I am. As I recently exclaimed on twitter and facebook, your submissions and particularly your comments have been absolutely incredible and it’s a pleasure to interact with you all.

We are now up to 47 participants, but around 8 of those have yet to submit any results or reply to any communication and hence we may remove this non-participants next month.

Let’s get into this then…

 

 

What did I get up to in February?

As usual, the first thing you’ll have to do in this article is read about me. Remember, I created this challenge and am taking the time to run it because it allows me a huge level of accountability in my own finances and achieving my goals. Therefore, you guys are just going to have to sit through this…!! 😉

I spent the second of my two month stint in France. I absolutely loved my time out there and we are hoping to agree something similar later in the year or next January. My work colleagues were all absolutely amazing and despite me only being there for eight weeks on a contractor basis, they still organised me a “pot de depart” (a leaving party) and bought me incredibly generous presents: a voucher for a night’s stay in a country getaway, complete with dinner and breakfast, a Montpellier pint glass (the English can always find the need for a pint glass!!), a very nice bottle of local red wine and the following leaving card (which now has pride of place on my work desk back at home in Newcastle):

Leaving card

 

Whilst I had a great time there, eight weeks is a long time away from friends, family and a loving fiancée and so I was ready to come home. I was greeted (via a short stop off in London) by my fiancée and all of these friends who had organised a weekend in a countryside cottage in County Durham. A perfect weekend ensued and we even had a little fancy dress competition. The theme was “G” for Graham – can you guess everyone’s outfits (mine is niche to say the least)…

Fancy dressPS – The Geisha won best dressed…

 

What has this meant for my finances? Well, the “fixed income” for Moneystepper was nice and some of this shall be paid as a director’s dividend to myself at the end of March. However, the vast majority will be reinvested back into the business.

One absolute bummer was that my consultancy fees are paid in EUR and were set on a basis of what I was hoping to be paid in GBP. When the rates were agreed, the exchange rate was EUR 1.27 / GBP. Just three moths later when I am due to actually be paid, the exchange rate has soared to EUR 1.41 / GBP.

This means that for every EUR 100 that I earn, I was expecting around GBP 79. Instead, I’ll actually be receiving more like GBP 70.

I have effectively taken a 9% pay cut due to currency fluctuations. Bummer!! And why do I tell you this? Well, to complain, obviously…

…but also as it is something that has sneaked up on other non-expecting members of the challenge. Currency risk is always something that you should be considering related to any of your investments, money or business dealings that you may have abroad.

On the brighter side, I’ll now be able to afford 9% more beer on my stag do in France at the end of this month. Every cloud…

Alright…enough babbling… here’s the summary of my February results:

Net Worth Goal Pro-Rata (Total) = 4.2% (25%)
Net Worth Result = 4.72%

Savings Rate Goal = 30%
Savings Rate Result =  -41%

This puts me 13% ahead of my pro-rata and 237% behind my savings rate goal.

Again, this is caused by a similar reason to January. My income was £663 (paid from Moneystepper as a salary) and my expenses were a tiny £561. It turns out then when you are working away for a month and most things are paid for by your business, you can keep expenses fairly low!!

So, my YTD income is now £1,326 and YTD expenses of £1,865 gives a negative savings rate of 41%.

Therefore, I fully expect both my net worth and savings rate to get a boost in March from the director’s dividend.

Right, enough about me, what about you?

 

Moneystepper Savings Challenge February Results Summary

I thought you’d all done well in January, but your collective results for February have blown that out of the water. We now have 47 people in the challenge, which can be broken down as follows:

  • Net Worth result ABOVE goal and Savings Rate result ABOVE goal => 16 people (Jan: 14)
  • Net Worth result ABOVE goal and Savings Rate result BELOW goal => 8 people (Jan: 9)
  • Net Worth result BELOW goal and Savings Rate result ABOVE goal => 6 people (Jan: 2)
  • Net Worth result BELOW goal and Savings Rate result BELOW goal => 2 people (Jan: 9)
  • Not submitted => 15 people (Jan: 8)

Let’s start with the negatives. 15 people failed to submit there results this month which is disappointing. I personally think that 10-11 days is plenty of time to pull the info together and submit, but if anyone wants this extended, do let me know.

Moving swiftly on to the positives. Last month 26% of people who submitted were behind in both goals. This month, this figure has dropped to 6%! Equally, in January, 39% were ahead in both goals and this increased in February to a very aesthetically pleasing 50%.

Why so much success? Well, other than your hard work, and some additional income produced from the February challenge, most of us got a helping hand from the markets. The FTSE 350 being up 3.4% and a 5.5% increase in the S&P 500 certainly would have helped most people in the short term. Those gains are already being reversed in March, quickly reminding us of the short term variance that the market brings.

Right, enough with the generalisations, let’s get personal…

 

Moneystepper Savings Challenge  February  Results Detail

Drumroll please…

Below you will find the results for each group with a very brief comment by myself. If you are not happy with the comments, please send me an email and I can change / delete then…

PS – when you make your submissions, the comments you add really help and they are getting better every month. Hopefully you are finding some value from our personal exchanges resulting from your comments, so please carry on adding them!!

 

GROUP A

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Chonce My Debt Epiphany 6.7 1.20 -82% 40 32 -20%
Henny Financial Freedom 30ish 3.3 NS NS 50 NS NS
Heather Anderson   833.3 NS NS 1 NS NS

Two non-submissions – Come on Erica and Heather – where have you gone??

Choncé – Significant unexpected car repairs in January and now hit by the expense of moving house, Choncé is getting all the big expenses out early on in the year – hopefully!!

 

GROUP B

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
C The Single Dollar 25.0 34.0 36% 50 56 12%
Vanessa 50.0 28.4 -43% 50 56 12%

C – C promised last month that she was “looking forward to really kicking it in February :)”. And that is exactly what she did. She has gone from being behind in both goals to being a healthy way ahead in both. How? She had a helping hand from the markets, but resisting the urge to spend what too many people see as a “windfall” and saving over 80% of her tax refund was the biggest factor in her success.

Vanessa – She managed to turn her savings rate around from being behind in January to being ahead in February, which has also helped her close the gap to her net worth goal as well.

 

GROUP C

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
James M 4.2 NS NS 10 NS NS
Ryan Debt Free Hustle 16.7 56.8 241% 10 5 -50%
Femi 1.7 NS NS 0 NS NS

Two more non-submissions – Hello??

Ryan – I’ve been in contact with Ryan regarding his savings rate result as I’m not 100% sure it’s correctly measured. However, a huge month for Ryan with some significant cash injections and one-off bonuses has put him way ahead of his current pro-rata goal. Keep up the good work Ryan!

 

GROUP D

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Nigel W 1.3 2.4 +78% 33.5 53 +58%
Jeany B 1.3 3.2 +142% 35 33 -6%
Dan T 1.0 0.99 -1% 10 30 +200%
Michael Smith 0.8 3.25 +290% 60 62 +3%

Boom! Four from four submitted. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a hugely common sight this month.

Nigel W – Nigel is continuing his tear! His net wealth has been nicely helped by favourable market conditions in the UK, but this has clearly been supported by some committed saving to allow Nigel to exceed his savings rate by such a substantial margin.

Jeany B – Jeany B(oom Shake Shake Shake The Room!!). From being slightly behind on both goals in January, she’s now moved a whopping 142% ahead of her net worth goal. Some is due to a one-off revaluation of some investments, but the overall result (and corresponding effort) should not be overlooked. 

Dan T – The honesty of the month award goes to Dan T! With a net worth result of 0.99% vs a target of 1.00%, I think that many would have been tempted by a little creative accounting! When I told Dan how impressed I was with his honesty, he replied “This is more a competition against myself.  To see where I am and what I have to do to get where I want to be. If I lied I would be cheating myself”. What a man!! 😉

Michael Smith – And Michael completes the amazing performance from Group D. A tasty stock market in the UK again helped Michael (as it did myself) to a nice net worth boost, but his savings rate went from behind target to above target in February as Michael began carefully planning meals to avoid expenses when eating out and to minimize food waste. In my opinion, this is something that everyone should be doing.

 

GROUP E

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Cath Dyson 1.7 0.7 -56% 56 59 +5%
Denise 0.8 NS NS 50 NS NS
Shane McGee 2.0 NS NS 40 NS NS
Dan Clift 1.1 NS NS 44 NS NS
Kylie 1.7 -0.2 -110% 60 66 +10%

Three more non-submissions – Quel dommage…!

Cath Dyson – Cath’s net worth figures are behind schedule as the majority of her invested wealth is in property and her pension which are only reevaluated once a year. However, with her 59% savings rate, she is clearly doing well in the short term. 

Kylie – As discussed on the podcast interview (thanks again Kylie), short term expenses on a property investment have hit the net worth, but these are expected to be recouped (and more) once the property is revalued later in the year.

 

GROUP FREEDOM

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Vawt  Early Retirement Ahead 5.0 10.6 +111% 65 75 +15%
Mr. Captain Cash Mr. Captain Cash 5.8 20.0 +243% 80 93 +16%
Mrs. Maroon  Mixing Maroons 4.2 5.6 +33% 55 56 +2%
Tim Wharteley 1.7 2.8 +66% 92 25 -73%

Another four from four for successful submissions, but you expect nothing less from the wonderful Group Freedom.

Vawt – Anyone who is in the Facebook group (join here if you aren’t already), would have seen a post from Vawt in late February claiming a “big increase coming for February!”. He wasn’t lying was he? A net worth result over double his goal and a 75% savings rate to match. Unbelievable work Vawt – the crowd love it!!

Mr Captain Cash – And Mr CC is not one to be outdone is he…? A 93% savings rate. Speechless. He also is now 243% ahead of his pretty ambitious net worth goal. Great work as always Mr CC.

Mrs. Maroon – My January comment for Mrs M was “consistently solid”. No reason to really change that this month. Keep up the good work!

Tim Wharteley – Tim only joined the challenge in early February, but has hit the ground running. I’m waiting on confirmation that his savings rate goal is correct, but his net worth performance has certainly started strongly. He’s obviously caught Group Freedom fever!

 

GROUP G

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Amanda 12.5 NS NS 60 NS NS
Ginger 8.3 NS NS 40 NS NS
Dominic GenY FinanceGuy 8.3 8.6 +3% 50 46 -8%

Two non-submissions out of two last month, but luckily new arrival Dominic is here to save Group G’s tarnished reputation. 

Dominic – Some fairly high one-off expenses has put Dominic slightly behind his savings goal, but he fully expects to turn that around later in the year…

 

GROUP H

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Richard  Extreme Compounding  1.7 NS NS 10 NS NS
Pete Matthew  Meaningful Money 2.5 6.6 +165% 15 15 +0%
Matt Sommer  Humble Broker 6.7 13.3 +100% 10 10 +0%
Elle Martinez   Couple Money 4.2 5.0 +20% 15 10 -33%

Richard – No submission this month unfortunately.

Pete Matthew – Mr Consistency with his savings rate – this is the second month in a row that Pete has been exactly on target. For the net worth, good market conditions and last month’s director’s dividend have certainly helped towards a mightily impressive performance. 

Matt Sommer – And Matt is following Pete’s lead: on course with savings rate and significantly exceeding his net worth goal. This was partly due to a tax refund of which Matt was able to save a very healthy chunk.

Elle Martinez – I won’t give anything away about Elle’s monthly results as she will be appearing herself on the podcast next week to discuss them. 

 

GROUP I

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Tom 3.3 1.0 -70% 37 38 +3%
Graham Clark Moneystepper 4.2 4.7 +13% 30 -41 -237%
Thomas 3.3 NS NS 33 NS NS

Tom – Tom continues his good progress with his savings rate but the tumbling Euro against the pound means that a revaluation of his German investments have hurt his net worth performance. I know how you feel Tom.

Graham – see above. Still a negative savings rate, but this will be addressed in March. No worries, no worries.

Thomas – Non submission.

 

GROUP J

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
AJ 1.7 3.7 +119% 25 55 +120%
Lynx Location FI 5.8 5.1 -12% 60 44 -27%
Emily Simple Cheap Mom 1.7 2.2 +30% 50 68 +36%
Ben O 5.0 2.9 -43% 65 65 +0%

Another four from four. I like this trend…

AJ – I can just leave the January comment here which is testament to the great consistent performance from AJ: “Another absolutely rocking performance. Much higher than anticipated in the goals, so we’ll maybe look to be stretching those goals after Q1 if she can keep up the good performance. No rest for the wicked, right?”

Lynx – A nice month for Lynx moving from 51% behind her net worth goal in January to only 12% in February. Let’s keep this push going and see if we can hit positive in March. 

Emily – Again, let’s just keep the January comment as its as, if not more, relevant after February’s submission: “Another fine example of consistency. These kind of results are my favourite. Well designed goals and over-performance against them is a fine recipe for success. Keep up the good work Emily!”

 

 

GROUP K

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Mariane 5.0 11.6 +131% 40 45 +13%
Connie 5.8 NS NS 40 NS NS
Weenie Quietly Saving 3.3 4.0 +20% 50 45 -10%
Nicola 2.5 NS NS 48 NS NS

Two non submissions…

Mariane – Good market performance, increased pension contributions, $100 extra income from the February challenge. All high quality ingredients to make the dish of the day a remarkable result. Top chef!!

Weenie – Still very slightly behind her savings rate goal but definitely moving in the right direction. Let’s push hard for that magic 50% in March Weenie…

 

GROUP L

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Philippa Malia 2.5 3.6 +42% 40 57 +43%
Chris Smith 3.3 5.7 +71% 40 35 -13%
Mr. Zombie  Finance Zombie 6.7 11.4 +70% 55 64 +16%
Anjali 6.7 NS NS 18 NS NS

Philippa Malia – if only I could demonstrate the same consistency as Philippa. A great savings rate and an above target net worth to match. All this supported by a wonderful fancy dress of “50 shades of Grey-ham” in the photo above makes for a pretty awesome month.

Chris Smith – Slightly behind target in the savings rate, but welcomes a new baby boy (Matthew) into the world. Congratulations Chris and all the family!! Another Moneystepper Savings Challenge arrival following Elle’s new arrival last month. Who is going to make the hat-trick?

Mr Zombie – I’ll just copy and paste Mr Z’s comments from his submission as there is no way I could say it better myself: “Awwwww yeah, in yo’ face consumerism!”

Anjali – non-submission.

 

GROUP M

Name Website Net Worth Goal (Pro Rata) Net Worth February Result Net Worth YTD Comparison Savings Rate Goal Savings Rate February Result Savings Rate YTD Comparison
Joseph Hogue 1.2 NS NS 15 NS NS
Greg 0.3 4.2 +1580% 16 48 +200%
Jeanie Haupt 2.5 12.0 +380% 20 59 +195%
Shaun Butler 2.7 6.6 +146% 40 59 +48%

Joseph Hogue – non submirssion

Greg – Boo-ya!! Since starting the challenge, Greg has surprised himself with what he has been able to achieve. I think a reevaluation at Q1 is required.

Jeanie Haupt – Another very healthy month for Jeanie, as she has seen nice gains from the market and has been maxing out her 401k and Roth IRA submissions. 

Shaun Butler – A relative new comer to the challenge but Shaun has definitely hit the ground running. I love seeing all these immense savings rates. In fact, Shaun’s 59% savings rate actually means that the average savings rate for everyone in the challenge is now a whopping….44.5%. “Save 10% of your income”. Pfffff, not in MY HOUSE!!!

 

Well done everyone who has submitted their goals. Remember: consistently tracking and analysing your results is a big part of this challenge and therefore just by submitting your goals and monthly results you are progressing!

 

The March Challenge

How did you get on with the “February Challenge” of earning some form of non-standard side income in the month?
For the “March Challenge”, there’s more detail in last week’s podcast, but the challenge is to change one small thing towards self-improvement that you’ve never tried in the past and to stick with it for the whole month.
It can be anything at all. The only two rules are that it must help towards improving yourself and it must be something you’ve not already tried.
Mine personally is to “improve the efficiency of the podcasts I listen to”.
This is actually two fold. Firstly, I must clean up my podcast feed to remove all the shows that I listen to but which add no value to my life personally or professionally. The biggest culprits are currently those which discuss individual stock trading or investing as this is something I’ll never do.
Secondly, and here comes the “new” part, I’m only going to listen on 1.5x speed so that I can consume 50% more useful content.
I’d be really interested to hear what you set yourself as a challenge. Let me know via the comments below and l’ll keep you accountable at the end of the month.

 

 

Thanks…and Q1 review…

I hope everyone is enjoying themselves and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

I’ve really enjoyed the close communication with everyone who has submitted their results and comments this month. The next submission will include the first quarterly re-review of all our goals. Could I please ask you to add a comment in your submissions telling me why you want to change your goals (or why not) and what your amended goals might be.

Have a good March everyone and be sure to listen to (and of course review) the podcast for the February results which will be released on Thursday.

Keep on climbing!!

 

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9 thoughts on “Savings Challenge – February Results

  1. For my March challenge, I’m going to learn how to play poker!

    How will learning poker improve myself? Learning something different is always good and learning the intricacies of the game (with all its maths/stats etc) is going to be a good workout for my brain, so that’s what I’m going for, improving my brain power!

    I’m not saying that I will be a good player by the end of the month, but I should at least know the rules and be able to play at beginner level.
    weenie recently posted…February 2015 Savings + other updatesMy Profile

  2. Glad to join the challenge which has been a revelation. I think I gave the spot % wealth increase not in the year so next month should show a correction. I’ll retrospectively do the feb challenge, see what side hustle I can make

  3. I am a little late starting the March challenge as I just barely listened to the podcasts last night, but am still forging on and hopefully beginning a positive habit regimen. For my March challenge I plan to start my day with one tabata session (4 minutes) before my first cup of coffee. I figure that will get my heart rate up a bit & encourage more consistent exercise routines. I have another half marathon to do at the end of next month so I want to be more prepared.

    Graham, I have enjoyed reading your articles & different money concepts. They make me think. Good luck this month everyone!

  4. Graham, I just thought of a question. Part of the reason my savings rate seems so high right now is because I save all year for some expenses like my property tax, property insurance, and my nephews’ investment accounts that I contribute to. In the months that those expenses hit, how should I account for them since the money is coming from savings & might be more than my typical monthly savings rate?

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