Saving money can be difficult, especially when you’re just getting started. You know saving is necessary, and there are tons of tips online for how to do it.
The problem is too many of these tips feel far out of reach to people who aren’t used to saving.
The 50/30/20 budget rule, for example, suggests you put 20% of your income towards savings. That’s a big jump when you haven’t been saving regularly. In contrast, the 52-week money-saving challenge starts you off small.
Using this, you can practice forming the habit without changing every spending habit you have overnight.
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What Is The 52-Week Money-Saving Challenge?
That’s a great question, and it has an even better answer. This challenge is incredibly flexible so that everyone can do it differently. The 52-week money-saving challenge encourages you to save a little bit every week, starting as big or as small as you’d like.
One version of the 52-week money-saving challenge starts with just $1. That’s right, only one. The following week, you’ll save $2. The week after, $3. You keep building until you reach the last week of 2023 and save $52.
Another way to do this challenge is to move backwards. This is especially great if you want to start the challenge right now.
Doing it backwards, you save $52 your first week and move your numbers down. This means that when the holiday season rolls around and your budget is tight, you’ll only save a couple of dollars a week.
When tax season approaches, many people look forward to receiving a tax return that can provide some financial relief and flexibility in their budget.
You can use this to catch up on the 52-week money-saving challenge, which might be hard to do without it.
A third way to try this challenge is by dividing the total and saving a set amount each month. Saving $26.50 weekly will leave you with the same amount of money and allow you to “set it and forget it”.
How Much Money Do You Save In The 52-Week Money-Saving Challenge?
So, exactly how much can you expect your savings account to grow? If you do the challenge without any adjustments, you’ll save $1,378.
When you’re facing debt, live in an area with a high cost of living, or want to plan a big vacation, this might not seem like it’ll make much of a difference. Combat that feeling of discouragement by reminding yourself of two things.
First, you’re building a habit. Studies have shown that the key to building habits is to start small. $1,378 doesn’t seem like a lot to have saved, but the important thing here isn’t the amount. The important thing is the habit of keeping it every week.
Secondly, for people who struggle to save, this is a lot. It may not get you out of debt or cover your housing, but it’s certainly nothing. It gets you a small cushion in an emergency, can let you pay off debts much sooner, and can go pretty far towards your quality of life goals.
Finally, if you’re unhappy with the amount, change the challenge! Your 52-week money-saving challenge can set the goal to double the amounts, so you start at $2 and end with $104. Maybe you commit to adding any “surprise” money, like work bonuses, to your savings. The possibilities are endless!
Benefits Of The 52-Week Money Challenge
The 52-Week Money Challenge is a popular savings strategy that helps people save money by gradually increasing their savings over a year. Here are some of the benefits of this challenge:-
1. Encourages a savings habit:
By committing to the challenge, you commit to saving money every week for a year. This can help to establish a regular savings habit that can be continued beyond the challenge.
2. Easy to start:
The 52-Week Money Challenge is a simple and easy way to save money. All you need to do is set aside a small amount each week and gradually increase the amount as the week progresses.
3. Helps to build financial discipline:
The challenge can help to develop financial discipline and self-control by requiring you to stick to a savings plan over an extended period.
4. Provides a sense of accomplishment:
As you progress through the challenge, you will feel a sense of accomplishment each time you reach a milestone, which can be motivating and encouraging.
5. Helps to achieve financial goals:
The money saved through the 52-Week Money Challenge can be used to attain specific financial goals, such as paying off debt, building an emergency fund, or saving for a vacation or the down payment on a home.
How To Be Successful In The 52-Week Money Challenge?
(1) Set a realistic savings goal:
Before starting the challenge, it’s important to set a realistic savings goal that you can stick to for an entire year. Make sure that the amount you plan to save each week is something you can afford without sacrificing your other financial obligations.
(2) Create a budget:
Creating a budget can help you identify areas where you can cut back on expenses and free up more money for savings. It can also help you stay on track with your savings goal.
(3) Automate your savings:
Set up an automatic weekly transfer from your checking account to your savings account. This will make it easier to save and reduce the temptation to spend the money elsewhere.
(4) Find ways to increase your savings:
Look for ways to improve your savings throughout the year, such as earning extra income or reducing expenses further.
(5) Track your progress:
Keep track of your progress throughout the year by marking each week on a calendar or spreadsheet. This will help you stay motivated and committed to the challenge.
(6) Stay committed:
The 52-week money challenge requires commitment and discipline. Stay focused on your goal, and don’t give up, even if you miss a week or fall behind. Get back on track as soon as possible and keep going until you reach the end of the challenge.
How Does The 52-Week Money Challenge Work?
(i) Choose a starting amount:
The challenge typically starts with a small amount, such as $1, that you save in the first week.
(ii) Increase the savings amount each week:
You increase the amount you save by a fixed amount. For example, if you start with $1, in week 2, you would save $2; in week 3, you would save $3, and so on.
(iii) Continue for 52 weeks:
You continue to save each week, increasing the amount by a fixed amount, until you reach the end of the challenge, which is 52 weeks.
By the end of the challenge, you will have saved $1,378, assuming you started with $1 and increased your savings by $1 each week. However, you can adjust the starting amount and weekly increase to match your financial goals and budget.
Some people prefer to reverse the order of the challenge, starting with the largest amount and working backwards to make it easier to save more significant amounts in the beginning. Others may skip a week or two if they’re unable to keep the total amount or double up on weeks when they have extra money.
Overall, the 52-Week Money Challenge is a simple and flexible way to build up savings over a year gradually.
Setting Yourself Up For Success In The 52-Week Money-Saving Challenge
Setting yourself up for success is important when you’ve committed to doing the challenge for the first time. Many people who struggle with saving have bad habits to break, like spending almost immediately, forgetting to save and planning to “catch up next week”, or not budgeting properly.
Fixing the first problem couldn’t be easier. Stop yourself from spending the money too soon and let your savings make you money by moving your 52-week money-saving challenge to a dedicated savings account.
We’ve even picked out a couple to save you time and help you save better.
First, check out the award-winning Alliant Credit Union. This online bank has savings rates that are 11 times higher than the average bank, and interest is paid monthly. If you have $100 or more in your account, your money makes money!
You’re probably familiar with Robinhood as an investing app, but did you know you can save money with them, too? That’s right; you could get a high-interest cash management account and bulk up your savings through investing by opening an account with Robinhood. This is a perfect fit for people who want to do more than the 52-week money-saving challenge but aren’t sure how to make a difference.
The next “bad habit” that might stop you from progressing in the challenge is budgeting problems. Budgeting can be tricky when you’re first getting started, and that’s why we picked out three amazing apps to help you get started with budgeting for your challenge. (P.S. for more budgeting help, check out our Budgeting page at Penny Calling Penny)
Pocketguard helps you get specific with your budgeting. What made this app stand apart was its hashtag feature. The hashtag feature lets you mark transactions to find purchases that are split across categories all in one place and track your spending more closely. Visual learners should check out Pocketguard‘s pie chart feature, which lets you quickly check where you spend the most money.
Pocketguard has a free and paid version, so you can customise your budget with an option that works for you.
One of the biggest names in budgeting apps, YNAB is a zero-based budgeting tool. Not sure what that means? No problem; YNAB has a huge learning library that will help you with everything from getting set up with your budget to finding creative ways to make your money work. Their interface is super user-friendly, and you can quickly move money between categories. People who don’t like budgeting will love how simple and intuitive it is working with YNAB.
YNAB is a subscription app, but they have a free trial so you can try it risk-free.
Mint is a budgeting app made by Intuit, the same financial experts who created TurboTax and Credit Karma (check out their new savings account option here). Mint has a basic budgeting function, but the folks at Intuit have added some other money-saving features. Mint can help you negotiate bills and track your credit score, and it even has a goal-setting function so you can see how close you are to meeting your 52-week money-saving challenge goals.
Mint is completely free, though some ads pop up now and again.
Start The 52-Week Money-Saving Challenge; 2023 Will Be That Much Better
Having good saving habits is critical when it comes to financial health. This is because the money you have in savings can have two different jobs, both of which are important.
First, you need some money to have a safety net. Life is unpredictable. You might get sick or injured, get laid off, deal with some kind of natural disaster… the list goes on. Having savings will give you one less thing to worry about when things go wrong.
Second, your money can go towards your quality of life goals. Whether that’s a new home, a vacation, a shopping spree, or getting a more reliable vehicle, everyone has something in mind that will help them relax and enjoy life a little more. Saving for these goals can help you stay out of debt while doing things you enjoy.
This challenge is one of the best money-saving techniques because it helps you save without strain. Even if you’ve never opened a savings account, the 52-week money-saving challenge will be easy as pie and help you light the way to a better financial future.