So I was reading – yes contrary to popular belief I know how to read – my good friend J. Money’s blog the other day and came across a guest post on there from another friend, Paula Pant. The article was titled “Saving 50% of our income“. If you couldn’t guess by the title, Paula and her Boyfriend have committed to saving 50% of their pay in 2012.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve read about people who set a goal to save an “above average” amount each month. Heck, Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme challenges people to save/invest 75% of their take home pay and retire way younger than they ever thought possible. Pretty neat-o if you ask me.

I’ll be the first to admit, I love me some savings, but dang Gina…. 75%, or even 50% seems a little intense. My savings strategy differs from most bloggers. Instead of putting aside a set amount each month, I just sporadically throw money in to our savings account whenever our checking account gets too stacked. That’s right, I break one of the cardinal rules of personal finance:

I pay myself last. Not first like everyone else suggests.

Fortunately, we aren’t reckless spenders and we typically are able to throw a healthy portion of our discretionary income in to our savings account. But Paula inspired me, so I thought I’d take a minute to calculate just how much Girl Ninja and I are saving each month. Let me check Mint now and see what I find….

….Apparently we’ve added $20,200 to our savings account and brought home about $40,600 this year. This works out to an overall savings rate of 49.75%. Are you freaking kidding me?! Literally 0.25% away from getting to say I can join the company of Paula Pant and bank half of my take home pay. Lame-freakin-sauce.

Perhaps all is not lost, however? If I get to factor 401K contributions in to this equation then we are stocking away upwards of 58%. Do I get to join the club, Paula???

It’s kind of weird to be honest. I’ve always thought people who save 50% of their income are crazy-intense PF nerds, but as it turns out a few good habits can go a long way.

It’s probably also important to note that, although we are currently able to bank about 50% of our take home pay, I know this will not always be my reality. GN and I are in a financially awesome stage of life known as DINKhood. Once Girl Ninja becomes a stay-at-home mom, we lose her income, our expenses will increase, and the days of 50% savings will be long gone. YODO….You Only Dink Once.

So reader, do you have it in you? Wanna calculate how much $$$ you’ve thrown in to savings this year and divide it by the amount of $$$$ you’ve taken home (remember to do net pay, not gross)? What’s your percentage?

p.s. this isn’t a contest as I imagine some of you can save nothing (college students, single parents, etc) while others can save 80% of their income without batting an eye (40-somethings that still live with their parents, people with high paying jobs, trust-fund babies). I just like hearing about where y’all are at, and judging by the 87 comments on my Credit Card debt post, you guys don’t mind sharing 🙂



  1. 10% we have 6/7 months expenses worth of savings, so we just put ten percent on top to cover yearly bills (insurance, council tax) if we have spare money we put it on the mortgage. I work half time and he works about .75 of a full time job. (maybe less, 30 hours a week 10 months of the year) When you have no debt* you can both stay home more with the babies! It makes life awesome.

    *yes okay the mortgage is a honking great debt.

  2. Well, I can clearly see that I am way behind on the saving curve. Yes, children can get to be quite expensive. I hope you find a way to save something though. It is really important.

    If I had been saving 50% or even 25% of my money for the first half of my life, I would be in awesome shape right now. But, that is not the case. I wish it were though.

  3. My savings is sad…very sad, but we are throwing about 50% of our take home pay at debt. (that is how I justify it LOL) If all goes according to plan we will only have our mortgage left at the end of the year and next year I plan on saving a lot more. Maybe even 50%….I do want to retire early 🙂

  4. Just calculated this yesterday after reading a few similar posts about living off a single salary. We are at 56.4% without Roth IRA and Roth 401(k) included, 74.4% with. Our system is putting whatever is leftover from the last paycheck into investments when the next paycheck arrives.

    We aren’t consciously trying to save a certain amount but I guess all the reading of personal finance information has paid off in good habits.

  5. Looks like we’re putting 19% of our net into our Roth IRAs (and that doesn’t even max them out!). I think our savings rate will skyrocket after we both graduate and move into a tiny apartment while we’re saving for a down payment, but after kids come employment might get intermittent for me, so our savings rate will come back down. I hope we’ll never save less than 15% of gross across mid-term and long-term goals.

  6. I save 51% of my take home pay every month. That’s split between retirement type savings (meaning I won’t touch it) and savings I use to send a big chuck to my mortgage 2x per year so I can pay it off in 3.5 years.

    The funny thing is, I just figured out how much I could save based on my expenses, I didn’t calculate what % it was, so that was actually a pleasant surprise.

    Oh, and I am 44 and single, no kids, which helps 🙂

  7. I am currently saving 40% of my gross (20% in a 401k and another 20% post-tax) every month, and I think its about 52% of my net pay. I knew I saved alot, but I did not think it was that much! I am looking to maybe buy a place in the next year, so I expect my savings rate to go down a bit then, since I am currently bulking up my savings in preparation of buying.

    I am 29, single with no kids. 🙂

  8. The “40 year olds that still live at home with teir parents” made me LOL… you’ve just described my BIL… but he’s 50! He moved back home 10 years ago after he and his wife separated… he was only supposed to move back home for 6 months…. this was 9 1/2 years ago.. so technically, he was 40 when he moved back home.

  9. I have to check out what my savings rate is. I just started working, so our budget is still in transition. I am hoping we save 50%+ of our income.

  10. 0%.

    Someone had to say it. I am halfway through grad school, and he works in a very low wage industry because it is what he loves.

    As soon as I am gainfully employed, we plan on living on just his salary until we have caught up in retirement savings and paid off all of his school loans (a small amount) and a significant portion of mine.

  11. I’m not sure how much we are saving because we put almost all of our leftover money onto our debt. Right now I am saving 10% and the wife is saving 20% in our retirement accounts. After the debt is gone we will increase our contributions. I think saving 50% of our income is feasible.

  12. We save about 40% of our income between retirement accounts, general savings and putting money into our taxable accounts. This is probably going to go down since we just had a kid and day care is going to cost us a pretty penny.

    One question, should I count reinvested dividends (in a taxable account) into this savings percentage? I mean I have to report them on my taxes and I did save them. If so, I’d have to recalculate and that amount would go up a bit.

  13. Only about 30% of net. If I wasn’t paying down student loans, it’d be a bit higher. But mostly, I spend too much (largely on food).

  14. YODO! Ha! Right now I’m not saving very much, 401(k) and paying off some home improvement credit card debt. Will be saving money in no time though!

  15. The 50% of your income blog link at the top doesn’t work, dude.

    The fact that you did the math and came out near 50% does make me wonder about my wife and me. I’m guessing we’re below the recommended even. I’m the only income, my wife is in school that we have to pay for, 2 kids, and a mortgage payment. Probably not near 50%!

  16. We’re saving about 5% at this point in time because we’re doing some home repair and intense vehicle repairs at the moment.

  17. We are a one income family because I stay at home with our 2 children and are able to save 35% of our take home pay. This is only doable because our only debt is our mortgage.

  18. Although I do not save 50%, savings is my number one priority. We have very little debt and have always saved.

  19. We save 15% of each paycheck in 401(k)s and then another $500 each month goes into the emergency fund.

    At one point I was saving 25% of my check, but found that things were just too tight.

  20. I thought this was going to be “You only die once” and a post about making a Will or setting up life insurance or something =p

  21. $0 except for 401K. We don’t make a boatload of money, we have loads of credit card debt and two small kids, and we have next to zero discretionary income right now, so my husband and I have been taking turns contributing 5% of our income (what the company we work for matches) to our 401Ks in six month stretches so we each get something. Better than nothing?

  22. I’d say were “saving” 50% of our income. But really we are living off one income and putting the other to bang out our remaining student loan debt. In three years when the remainder is paid off I’m hoping the 2nd salary goes directly to savings and retirement. Right now if we counting 401k and this debt repayment, we may be over 50%.

    Its tough to reduce. Seeing how before being unemployed we were spending both on who knows what. But I think 50% is a nice happy number which keeps me motivated!

  23. I’m saving between 35 and 40% a month. RRSPs & TFSAs are maxed out, and I’ve got over a year of expenses in an emergency fund.

    I’m single, no kids & in my 30s.

  24. 7%!! (Actually it’s 6.93 but saying 7 helps my mom-esteem.)

    I am a single mom with a toddler which makes me a slave to daycare costs. I have no rules for savings. If I have extra, I save. If not, there’s always next month. Honestly, I’m ecstatic that my son and I have a home in a great neighborhood and we’re in the black every month. I guess I’m easily pleased.

  25. I should change my name to SpendingCash… These past 2 years have been trying on me. I’m guestimating we are saving about 10% but what sickens me is that it should be closer to 75% because of our debt free life. You would think that being debt free is so great but it allows one to spend even more freely than one who is maxed out. Really need to try to figure things out.

    BTW thanks for the disclaimer in your ps, post like these tend to irritate me and remind me of how badly I’m doing in regards to making money.

  26. Rough calculations show 28- 30% between all the different accounts. Wish it was higher but at least we’ve got our six months and are making more than double payments on the house. Hope to have it paid off in 7 years but definitely 10. I like 7 better. Oh, and we just took out a small chunk to pay for a real 40th birthday vacation.

  27. […] already are and don’t know it. Maybe you should do the math. But maybe you should read the Punch Debt in the Face post […]

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