Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

My 401k Contribution Mistake This Past Year

It’s December, and I have to admit I’m hurting financial, but in more of a good way than a bad way.  Still, I’m very stressed out!

This year I decided that I was going to try to max out both my 401k and Roth IRA contributions for the year.  Well, now it’s obvious that it’s not going to happen…

When December 15 rolls around, I will definitely slip past the maximum amount ($17,500) that I can contribution to my 401k for the year, I’m not going to max out my Roth IRA (which is a mistake too, but I won’t discuss that now).  My Money Management assessment was spot on, and if I lived more frugally this past year, I could have definitely accomplished my “maxing out my retirement contributions” goal.


So, what happened?  Two words…

Lifestyle Creep, yep, it finally happened to me!  Listed below are my lifestyle creep causes:

  1. I bought a used but reliable with low mileage Toyota Camry last year, but I’m still making payments on it.  This alone adds $230 dollar to my monthly expenses.  I could have paid off the car, but I decided to keep the money in investments instead.
  2. My son needed braces, again!  Yep, I never heard of this but after wearing braces and getting them off, my son had to be fitted with braces yet again!?!  I’m not happy, this cost me $1,500.  It would have been more, but since it’s the second time around, the dentist gave us a discount.
  3. New Lunch habit.  I’ve been going out a few times a week for lunch with the guys, that adds over $200 more a month to my monthly bills that didn’t exist previously.
  4. Boy Scouts, while not huge, my son is enjoying Boy Scouts and the various expenses associated with such an organization..
  5. Increased monthly college savings payments.  Just a small increase, but still an increase all the same.
  6. Newer car (2012 Toyota Sienna) for my wife, $340 more each month.  This is killing me!  I’m not sure how to handle this actually, it’s a big increase and very painful for me.  I had hoped to almost have my car paid off before purchasing a new car for my wife, but my wife had other plans.
  7. The rest of the increases in spending were small (kids getting more expensive) charges.  I’m probably just going to roll with the punches on these, at least for now.

So, even with my list of budget breakers, this year I will still be able to max out my 401k, and I’m still planning on putting 2k towards my Roth IRA.

Next year, I’m changing the entire plan, more to come in a future post about that!

Wish me luck,


9 Responses to My 401k Contribution Mistake This Past Year

  1. Thanks for being so candid. Lifestyle creep affects most every person with income. Rather than being continually frugal, we say, “Well, I can afford this, so why not?” The reason “why not” is to hopefully obtain financial independence sooner.

    • For the most part, we are practically a 1 paycheck house, so I have to run a tight ship unfortunately. The two simultaneous car purchases killed me this year.

      With finances, nothing is set in stone, I’ll adjust and adapt next year 🙂

    • Yeah, I was really steaming when the orthodontist said that he needed braces again!

      You are right, little things do add up quickly… like the latte factor (another one of my vices).