What is the 52 Week Money Challenge?

What is the 52 Week Money Challenge?

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, so it’s important that you learn about it to see what maximizes your saving potential and works for you.

A Creative Way to Save Money

Saving money is hard. It’s so easy to get in the habit of justifying unnecessary purchases by saying “just this once”. The problem is that “this once” often happens about a BILLION times. A coffee here, an energy drink there, a little snack after class – it all adds up quickly. 

Some people need a push to start saving, so there are tons of challenges and motivational techniques to help you save money. But which one is best? Everyone’s financial situation is a bit different – their income, expenses and bills, and spending habits. We all want to save more money, but don’t want to cut our spending. That’s why it’s important to try out some different methods and figure out the savings tricks that work for you.

The 52 Week Money Challenge is a pretty common method, so let’s take a closer look and you can determine if it’ll work for you. Give it a shot as is, or make it your own to see how much you can save in one year

52 Week Money Savings Challenge Explained

How It Works

The general concept of the 52 Week Money Challenge is to save a different amount each week, continually increasing it to align with the weeks in a year.

Like we mentioned before, on week one, you save $1. On week two, you save $2… All the way up to week fifty-two, where you would put away $52.

Why It Works

Think of those little expenses that we always seem to be able to justify. You do okay financially with them aside from a lacking savings account right? That’s because they’re done in small amounts. You may even make adjustments to your spending habits without knowing it as a result of these expenses.

That’s the same concept as this savings challenge. But instead of buying a snack, you contribute to your savings. A few dollars a week is far less intimidating than larger amounts each month or each paycheck.

Additionally, building gradually on your savings promotes getting into good saving habits. It makes you want to save more and see that number continue to grow.

How much do you save doing the 52 week money challenge?

If you follow the basics, you’ll end up with $1,378 at the end of the challenge. But like we said before, there are lots of different ways to approach this savings technique.

Feel like you can do better? Good! Keep reading to see how to adapt this challenge to maximize your potential.

Pros and Cons of the 52 Week Money Challenge

There are lots of advantages to this challenge. Especially if you’re just starting to focus on your savings, this can be very effective.

  • Work your way up and start small. It’s intended to be gradual. No waiting for bigger deposits, no intimidation.
  • Small weekly deposits don’t break the bank. Working in weekly increments cuts down the dollar amount per deposit, making it more comfortable. 
  • 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.

While this method is great for some people, there could be drawbacks depending on your financial situation.

  • Set deposit amounts can be challenging. Life isn’t the same week to week, or heck even hour to hour. Maybe by the time you get to the end of your year, you don’t quite have the $50+ deposits. This can be tough especially around trying to budget for 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? If you have more of a set payment schedule, you may want to consider taking advantage of savings through direct deposits.

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?

Involvement 

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. 

Rather have a digital version? Us too – so we’ve made a downloadable version in Google Sheets if you prefer.

You’ll need to get the Google Sheets app if you plan to use this on your phone and don’t already have it. Just “Make a Copy” and save it to your drive. 

Break the “Rules”

These are your savings. This is your future. Go ahead, bend the rules a bit. Sometimes following the guidelines too closely can hold you back. Here are some helpful tips that could make this challenge more valuable:

  •  Go out of order –  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 a $100 bill on the ground? Check off the big deposits as soon as you can so you have a buffer for the tough weeks. 
  • Go Bigger – 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”. 
  • Keep Going – See if you can keep going past 52 weeks! Maybe you could go for a two-year plan and make it the 104 week challenge. By the end of that, you’d have $5,460!
  • Set a Minimum – Instead of thinking of the week numbers as deposit amounts, think of them as a minimum deposit and save as much as you can on top of it. 

Here’s a blank chart to help you customize the 52 Week Money Challenge!

Change the Time Frame

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”. 

Friendly Competition

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.