The 52 Week Money Challenge, sometimes referred to as the “52 Week Savings Challenge” or the “1 Year Money Saving Challenge”, is a savings plan where you put away money corresponding with the week number of the year. There are 52 weeks in a year, so the first week you’d save a dollar, the second week you’d save two, and so on. There are many variations of this challenge, but from the base model, you will save $1378 after a full year passes.
A Creative Way to Save Money
Saving money is hard. It’s so easy to say “just this once” about a BILLION times. A coffee here, an energy drink there, a little snack after class – it all adds up quick. Some people need a push to start saving, so people have created tons of challenges and motivational techniques to help you save money. The 52 Week Money Challenge is a pretty common one, so let’s take a closer look and you can determine if it’ll work for you.
Pros and Cons of the 52 Week Money Challenge
- Work your way up and start small. It’s intended to be gradual so you don’t get hit with a big deposit all at once and end up being discouraged.
- Small weekly deposits don’t break the bank. Working in weekly increments cuts down the dollar amount per deposit making it more comfortable. What are you going to miss? A couple morning Starbucks coffees?
- Motivational Savings Growth. Your overall balance will add up quickly, which is exciting and motivating to see. Using a printable savings chart and physically writing down your deposits will keep that excitement going.
- Set deposit amounts can be challenging. Life isn’t the same week to week, or heck even hour to hour. Maybe when you get to the end of your year you don’t quite have the $50 deposits. This can be tough especially around holidays or if you have a varying source of income.
- Small amounts could be missed savings opportunities. What if a regular $20-$30 deposit is no big deal for you? Kind of seems like a waste when you only deposit a few bucks in the beginning of the year doesn’t it?
Ways to Adapt this Savings Challenge to Work for You
It’s clear to see that this could be a great way to comfortably save money as a teenager. However, there are apparent downfalls as well. So how can you make this challenge even better?
Make sure this stays on your mind, go all in. Download and print our 52 Week Money Challenge chart to help you keep track of your deposits. Be sure to post this in a very visible place like next to your bed or desk, on the refrigerator – somewhere you’ll always see it and be reminded. Everyone nowadays is constantly on their phones, which is why we’ve made a downloadable version in Google Sheets as well if you prefer (you’ll need to get the Google Sheets app if you don’t already have it). Just select File > “Make a Copy” and save it to your drive. This can also be a lot easier on a desktop or laptop.
Break the “Rules”
These are your savings. This is your future. Go ahead, bend the rules a bit. Some helpful tips that could make this challenge more valuable is to go out of order and go bigger when you can. By following the deposit order you are limiting yourself to what you could be putting away. (Remember the “cons” above?) What happens if you get a bonus at work, a birthday present from Grandma, or find $100 bill on the ground? Check of the big deposits as soon as you can so you have a buffer for the tough weeks.
If you’ve checked off most of the big weeks and can afford to deposit more, do it and make a note. Don’t cut yourself short just because “it’s only $4 week”. Here’s a blank chart that you can use as well.
Mix it Up
Think about this challenge before you start it. A full year is a long time – are you saving as much as you could be by doing this savings challenge? Consider going in smaller time frames, say 3 or 6 months, and try to beat your “high score”.
Do you have any siblings, friends, coworkers, or significant others that you could include too? Sometimes having someone to challenge gives you the motivation you need. Organize a savings challenge group and see who can win. Feel that competitive edge and you’ll motivate each other to be more frugal in your spending.
Just be sure to get a group that is fair competition. You don’t want one person making $50,000 a year, while the others only make $15,000 to $20,000. This can take away from the competition. Also, be cautious of involving coworkers. Salaries aren’t something that should often be talked about in the workplace and you don’t want to cause an issue. But if you avoid off limits discussions and have a similar position you should be just fine.