While I have a general savings account as my emergency fund, I also have several specific savings accounts either for a goal or to hold my money until needed. How am I doing with savings goals and funding future plans?
Auto savings account
Initially, my goal was to save $50 per pay period with five years to accumulate money. This means with my biweekly paycheck, I would save $1,300 per year and $6,500 after five years. With this money, my hope was to buy a newer car for cash. Then a rather large car repair came along with other items that were showing some wear and would definitely cut my comfortable at least five years until replacement to maybe three or so years. It could be longer, but the lifetime of my current car depends on what repairs occur in the next few years.
With the likelihood of replacement looming closer, I decided to save more aggressively for a newer car. I increased my contributions per paycheck to $60 and decided to put any extra money into the car savings account. Before my big car repair, I was on track to save $1,300 for a year (ending August 2008). My current balance is $1,736, well on track to save nearly $2,000 by the end of August. Extra money from refunds, selling items, bonuses and my Flexible Spending Account (if I subtracted the cost from my budget rather than waiting for the FSA reimbursement) were also sent to this account, helping me save more money quicker. I hope to either pay for a newer car in cash or put at least 20% down on a car by the time this money is needed.
I have not been as conscientious about putting money toward charitable contributions as my income warrants I should. While I prefer to give at work where my company matches my donations, there are many charitable organizations that are not included in my company's giving campaign. With the money remaining in my former iGo Savings account, I started an ING Direct subaccount labeled "Charity" and have contributed monthly to the fund. So far, I have donated to my local public television station and plan to send a check to my local food pantry this month. I plan a second food pantry donation in December, but I still have money remaining in my projected charity fund for additional contributions. My goal is to keep this account open and to consider what charities I might want to donate to on a regular basis.
Natural gas savings
I have a set amount budgeted each month for my natural gas bill. In the summer months, my water heaters is the only item that requires natural gas and tends to be lower than the winter months when my furnace is used as well. However, since I accumulate extra money during the warmer months, I transfer the excess to a savings subaccount until I need it. Oddly enough, I have ~$100 left after the 2007-2008 winter months. While I have kept the amount allocated in my spending plan the same for natural gas, I have moved the leftover money from my credit union account to an ING Direct account to gain a bit more interest. I have no idea what to do with this money, but if natural gas prices are going up like gasoline prices are, it only helps me to have a hedge on potential 40-50% increases in my natural gas bill during the upcoming winter.
Like the natural gas savings, I have been accumulating money over the winter to use in the some for the increased electricity usage. My water usage has been pretty steady at 1,000 per month, but the electricity fluctuates greatly, depending on what is used or plugged in at my home. Generally, my electrical usage is lower in the winter than the summer. For example, my dehumidifiers have been running well for the last month and been plugged in since May. My air conditioner has been used for about four days so far in 2008 with warmer weather predicted. Being ~15 years old, my central AC unit is an energy hog. However, I plan to use the item until it dies. I have just over $100 accumulated from money I did not spend under the "Utility" allocation and that is likely to be spent by the end of the hot summer weather.
Found money account
This is an account where I placed money from irregular sources to see how it would add up over time. Prior to my push to accumulate car savings as quickly as possible, I had placed money from selling items online, refunds and bonuses in this account. While most of that money is funneled into my cars savings, I still manage to put a few dollars into this account. In fact, some money I received from my workplace to pay for high speed internet access has gone into this account. This is seed money for my next computer purchase, which despite earlier comments, I hope is not for a while.
However, I will be using some of this money in the near future for a chest freezer purchase. While I have tentatively designated this money for a computer, I would rather use money from this account than my general savings account to buy the freezer. This will add to my capacity to buy and store items on sale long term, and will add more to my bottom line than the latest Apple hardware (although more attractive than a big box).
House savings account
I save money specifically earmarked for house purchases. This includes gardening supplies, caulk, paint, snow blowers, lawn mowers, anything that I would use around the house to add to its capacity, usefulness or for maintenance. With warmer weather, the money saved over the wintertime has been depleted with all the projects and items I have been buying. My latest purchase: fencing to keep the rabbits out of my raised garden bed. Because of this savings account, I do not use other saved money for home purchases aside from my replacement windows. Since I have owned my home, this money has been of real value to me, helping me deal with the irregularity of purchases for my house. I do not have to wonder where the money will come from and a set amount is saved regularly from my paycheck. I will continue to add to this fund and prevent "stealing" from my emergency savings account.
Overall, my savings accounts look good. My goals are moving forward and I am generally spending within the goals of the account. Found money savings account may be redefined many times before spending, but with a value over $500, it impresses me how those odd bits of money really add up.