Saving money is hard, especially when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
It can be a challenge to know where to start with saving when you’re dealing with credit card debt or student loans. It may seem like there’s just not much money left over to save.
But there is a solution.
If you’re looking for an easy way to save some extra cash, then consider taking on a 52-week savings challenge.
What is the 52-week money challenge?
The 52-week savings challenge is a
It’s an incremental 52-week savings plan that can help you build a consistent savings habit with a relatively small transfer each week.
It’s an easy and effective way to set aside money for your savings goals.
Start with just $1 the first week, then add one more dollar each subsequent week (so $2 the second week, $3 the third week, etc.), and at the end of the challenge, you’ll have saved $1,378!
This can help you build your savings for whatever financial goals you have, whether it’s starting an emergency savings fund, paying off credit card debt, or contributing to your retirement savings.
And best of all?
You don’t need much discipline or willpower to achieve it!
By slowly increasing the amount of money you save, it helps build your total savings in a more manageable way.
How to get started with the 52-week money challenge
Getting started with a 52-week challenge is easy.
All you need is a way to keep track of which week you’re on and a place to save your money.
If you have a digital calendar, you may have an option to show the number of the week on your calendar.
For a printed calendar you can just run through it and note the week number at the beginning of each week.
If your first week of the challenge happens further into the calendar year, you can either number your weeks starting from where you are or you can jump in on the current week number and start back at 1 when the new year rolls around.
After numbering your weeks it’s a good idea to make a note or set an alert for each week to remind yourself to make your weekly transfers.
It doesn’t matter what day of the week you transfer the money.
Monday may be preferable if you want to make sure you don’t run out of cash by the weekend. Or if you get paid Fridays, you may prefer to pull out your savings on payday.
How to stay on track during the 52-week money challenge
It can be hard to take on a year-long financial challenge, but there are some ways to make it easier. Here are a few tips to keep you on track during your 52-week savings challenge.
Use a visual tracker to monitor your progress
Visual trackers are a great way to not only monitor your progress but also keep you motivated.
It can seem like you’re running in place when you’re pursuing a longer-term financial goal.
But with a visual tracker, you can see exactly what kind of progress you’re making.
Set reminders on your phone or calendar
One of the toughest things about money challenges is remembering to actually transfer the money somewhere you won’t touch it.
By setting up reminders, you can make sure you don’t forget to transfer money into your goal.
Depending on your pay schedule, you may also want to make your transfers once a month or after paydays.
Set up automatic transfers
The best way to make sure you don’t miss a savings transfer is to set up an automatic savings schedule.
I use the Peak Money app to make this easy, but you can also set up
You may need to slightly adjust your challenge depending on your bank’s automation capabilities. Check below for ways to customize your challenge.
Where to put your cash
The most important part of any money-saving challenge is to actually transfer your savings into a savings account.
Whether you choose to deposit your savings into a specific savings goal account, a generic savings account, or an emergency fund, just remember to move that money.
Also pay attention to what bank and type of bank account you choose.
You may just go with your current bank if that’s where you feel comfortable banking, but it’s worth it to check around and see what sort of interest is being offered.
I like to use online banking because they usually offer a high-yield savings account. That way my money can earn a little bit of interest while it’s waiting to be used.
Online banks can offer high-interest savings accounts since they have less overhead and lower operating costs than more traditional banks.
If you prefer to have access to a physical branch, just know you’ll earn a lot less interest with their regular savings account.
You may find a slightly more favorable rate at a local credit union though. Their money market accounts are sometimes more competitive than other brick-and-mortar banks.
Adjust the challenge to fit your needs
The 52-week challenge is a great way to get started with saving money, but depending on your situation or your savings goals, you may want to make some adjustments.
Start with a higher savings amount
If you’re looking to save more than $1,378 in a year, consider increasing your starting amount.
Depending on your income you can add a multiplier to increase your savings while still following the general structure of the 52-week challenge.
For example, to double your savings you’d multiple each week’s savings goal by 2. So, save $2 in week 1, $4 in week 2, and so on. By the end of the 52 weeks, you’d have saved $2,756.
Similarly, you can increase by a multiple of 5 to save $6,890. Just bear in mind that by week 20 you’re saving 3-figures a week.
Do it backward
For many people, it may be easier to tackle a 52-week challenge in reverse.
Instead of saving $1 the first week, save $52 and work your way backward.
If you’re starting your challenge at the beginning of a new year it may be easier to find the higher savings amounts toward the beginning of the year compared to at the end of the year when you’re likely dealing with increased spending because of the holidays.
Make it timely
Another fun way to adjust the 52-week challenge is to tie it to the current year. So for 2022, aim to save $2,022.
Calculating this can be a bit more effort than it’s worth, so I’ve done the math for you.
Download the free savings tracker below to save $2,022 in 2022.
Save $26.50 each week
Another way to customize the 52-week savings challenge is to average it out across the entire year.
Instead of starting small and ending big or starting big and ending small, you can make nice consistent deposits into savings each week.
This is probably the best option if you want to automate transfers directly from checking to savings since you can set it for the same amount.
It’s may also seem a lot less daunting to save just over $25 a week (or around $100 each month).
Choose your own goal
Finally, you can adapt the 52-week money challenge to any financial goal you have by simply taking your savings goal and dividing it by 52.
For example, if you want to save $5,000 this year, you could save around $96 a week to get there.
If you like the incremental steps of the traditional approach, simply determine the multiplier you’d need to use to get closest to your goal.
For the $5,000 example, you could multiply by 4 to hit your goal (and some). If you don’t mind dealing in cents, you can get more precise with your multiplier (ie. multiply each week’s deposit by 3.7 to hit $5,000).
Have you been struggling to hit your monthly savings goals and add extra money to your
Getting intentional about saving money is one of the best financial decisions you can make. And the 52 Week Savings Challenge is a great way to get started with your savings efforts.
A 52-week saving challenge is also super customizable so you can adapt it to any goal you have. Or even do multiple goals at once to save even more money.