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Struggling to save money? Try the 52-Week Money Challenge, it’s a painless way to start making saving money a habit.
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52-Week Money Challenge Printable Template
Download your free 52 Week Money Challenge Printable Chart, then keep reading to see how easy it can be to save money with this challenge.
Why You Should Try The 52-Week Money Challenge
Did you know that roughly 60% of Americans don’t have $1000 in savings?
Yup…over half of Americans can’t cover the repair costs if their car breaks down or an appliance decides to give up on them.
Saving money can be a real challenge.
The thing is…when we set our minds to saving money, we typically go all in…
We make this big savings goal that isn’t realistic because we commit to cutting back as much as we can to get it done.
Then when an unexpected expense pops up or we are just too tired to make dinner at the end of a long day, we succumb to grabbing takeout, we give up thinking that we have failed…
But nothing could be further than the truth. The reason we have trouble with major changes is that we are creatures of habit.
And trying to make big changes all at once is difficult, and even more so if you have 100 other things on your plate every day.
A better way to make saving money a habit is to ease into it which is why the 52-Day Money Challenge works!
The concept is simple, you start by saving a small increment of money the first week which is very painless, then keep increasing the amount saved a little bit each week.
This savings challenge works because you aren’t required to make major changes to your lifestyle in short order…easing into changing your savings habit is so much easier.
How the 52-Week Money Challenge Works
The 52-Week Money Challenge is a simple savings plan that eases you into making saving money a habit.
The first week you would add $1 to your savings, then the next week $2, and so on, increasing the increment by $1 more each week until you reach week 52 where you put away $52.
At the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll have saved $1378, which is a good start to building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, or any other savings goal you have.
What’s great about this money-saving challenge is that you don’t feel like you are doing really much of anything.
I mean, having one less dollar to spend than the week before isn’t going to cause financial hardship or require you to make major changes all at once.
Adapting the 52-Week Money Challenge to Fit Your Savings Goals
Even though the 52 Week Money Challenge is meant to ease you to make saving money a habit, it doesn’t always fit into everyone’s savings goals…or life in general.
Maybe you are thinking of taking this challenge for your New Year’s resolution. Then you think to yourself, “there is no way I can put $40 – $50 a week around the holidays”.
Or…”But I need to save $3000 for our vacation next year…”
That’s okay! You can still use this challenge, you just have to adapt it to fit your needs.
Instead of adding $1 each week, why not pick the amount that you can swing? Then when there are times money is really tight, you can pick one of the lesser amounts to contribute.
As long as you hit each of the dollar amounts on the 52 Week Challenge printable chart, you’ll still have $1378 saved within the year.
If you are needing to save more for something special, then you can increase the dollar amount by $2 a week or $3 instead of $1 to reach your savings goal.
This could add up to between $2756 to $4134 a year, not too shabby, huh?
The point is, even if the “traditional” 52 Week Money Challenge isn’t right for you, there are ways to adapt it to fit your needs so you can still save money.
Where to keep your savings safe
When trying to save money for an emergency fund or anything else for that matter, you want to avoid dipping into your savings.
It’s best if you keep your savings in a bank that’s a bit more inconvenient to access so you can’t easily “dip” into your money with a click of a mouse to transfer it into your checking account.
You should also decline to get a debit card for this account since it’s way too easy to access this money. After all, you have a plan for this money and I don’t think it includes emergency Starbucks runs or nights on the town.
You’ll also want to keep your savings in an account that yields you a high-interest rate so your money can grow quicker.
I suggest keeping your savings in an online bank simply because it fits all the criteria above. Your money is in a safe place, and most online banks pay better interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
Cit Bank is currently the best option and my recommendation for your emergency savings.
- Currently, they pay 2.20% APY through their savings builder account.
- Have no opening or maintenance fees.
- Compound interest daily to maximize your earning potential.
- Only require a $100 minimum deposit to open an account.
How to stay on track with your savings plan
Making saving money a habit does require you to stay on top of it, especially at the beginning.
You’ll want to make sure that you put some money away for rainy days every week, otherwise, you won’t reap the full benefits of doing this 52-week Money Challenge.
Typically I suggest having a portion of your paycheck deposited directly into your savings account when trying to save money. But that simply isn’t possible using this challenge since the amounts vary from week to week.
Well, unless you want to have your payroll department make changes to your direct deposit amounts every week. I don’t things that you or your company’s payroll clerk would enjoy doing this.
Even though you can’t fully automate the process, there are still some things you can do to stay on track.
One easy way you can do this is to set a time to schedule all your weekly payments to transfer into your savings for the entire year.
It’s not automatic, but you’ll only need to do this one time and you’ll be good. If something should come up where you know it won’t be possible to put the full amount away, you can easily edit the amounts or cancel that transaction.
Another option is to set a reminder to alert you to make a transfer the morning your payroll check hits your bank account. It’s not automatic but it takes less than 30 seconds to make a quick transfer.
Kick your Savings Goals Up a Notch
If you find that you can easily follow the 52-Week Money Challenge, why not kick it up a notch to save even more money?
As mentioned earlier, you can start increasing your weekly contributions by $2 or $3 increments to save even more money.
Ways to Cut Expenses To Save Money
You can even try cutting back on expenses that you are paying to add more money to your savings account.
Go through your budget (you do have one, right?) and find ways to cut back a little bit here and there.
Even when money is tight, there are simple ways to save more money. For instance, you can bundle services such as insurance premiums like auto and homeowners or renters insurance.
My insurance company offers a 17% discount simply for combining policies that I was already paying for anyway. Super simple!!
You can do the same for cable, internet, and phone services. Or even better, give up cable altogether and choose a cheaper option such as Hulu or SlingTV.
You can try to find cheaper options for things you spend money on too like swapping out your daily Starbucks run and making your own copycat recipe at home for so much less.
Or you can commit to buying generic brands instead of brand-name products. Did you know that many generic products are actually the same as the brand name? The reason they cost less is that you aren’t paying for the fancy packaging and advertising.
Speaking of buying generic, your grocery budget is one of the easiest expenses to reduce and there are so many ways to cut back without giving up anything. You can…
You can read how I slashed my grocery budget in half here for more ideas.
As you can see, saving money doesn’t need to be difficult. It just takes some planning and motivation to get it done and this 52-Week Money Challenge is the perfect way to start.
Once you get used to saving money, try pushing yourself a little further to save even more and before you know it, you’ll reach your financial goals.
FAQ About The 52-Week Money Challenge
What is the 52 Week Money Challenge?
The 52-week money challenge was designed to ease you into saving money. The first week you save $1 then you increase the amount by another $1 each week so the second week you save $2, then $3 the third week and so on for 52 weeks.
How much will you have after the 52-week money challenge?
If you follow the traditional 52-week money challenge, you’ll save $1378 in one year. If you want to save more you can use $2 or $3 increments to save double or triple.
How much should I save a week?
Generally, you should try to save at least 20% of your income. If that’s not a realistic number for your situation, do what you can to put at least what you can away for a rainy day and you’ll eventually reach your savings goals.
How can I save when I live paycheck to paycheck?
Saving money when living paycheck to paycheck can be difficult, but not impossible. You are going to need to cut back on expenses if you want to save money or you need to bring in extra income.
What do you think of the 52-Week Money Challenge? Leave a comment if you think it’s a good way to save money.