If you’ve already heard about it – or perhaps already started the challenge – awesome! What I want to talk about today is an alternative way to do the challenge.
First, I should explain what the original version of the 52-week savings challenge is.
In the original version you save $1 the first week, then $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on for 52 weeks. At the end of the 52 weeks you will have a $1,378 saved. The purpose of the challenge is to prove that when it comes to saving money the ideal way to get started is with an attainable goal such as the first week’s $1 requirement.
Fellow Minnesota personal finance blogger Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars recently presented an alternative to the 52-week money challenge. She suggested doing the money challenge in reverse. Her reasoning was:
- You see an immediate impact – After just 4 weeks you will have $202 in the bank.
- Heavy lifting done early – If you started the money challenge early in the year, you will inevitably have all the big dollar amounts around the Holidays and year-end when people generally have additional expenditures. If you do the challenge in reverse (and assuming you start the challenge within the first few months of the new year) you will have smaller amounts to deposit around the Holidays.
I really like Carrie’s approach. Some people may find it hard to start the challenge in reverse because, well, the whole point of the challenge was to start small and show that you can progressively save more without it being a huge strain on your budget. Nevertheless, I think that doing the challenge in reverse is probably the better way to do it.
My Alternative to the Alternative
I have another alternative to the 52-week money challenge to share with you, and I think it’s the best approach. Instead of doing the challenge in order or in-reverse, I suggest doing the challenge where you pick and choose how much you save each week.
For example, let’s say you save $52 the first week and $51 the second week. Then, the third week you have a huge car repair bill. Maybe the third, fourth, and fifth week you deposit some smaller amounts. Alternatively, you could alternate between high deposit amounts and low deposit amounts.
No matter what you will still end up depositing $1 through $52, but this approach spreads out the amounts to be more in-line with the reality of your situation. I would still suggest starting with the larger amounts, but if you need to drop to the lower amounts you can.
Use our Spreadsheet and get Started
If you want to do the 52-week challenge, however you decide to do it, you can use our Google Spreadsheet and either track it in the spreadsheet or print it off and hang it up somewhere so you won’t forget about it.
There are two tabs in the spreadsheet. The first tab has a list of 52 weeks. Each week you should add what amount you saved. The ‘Balance’ column is a running total that calculates automatically.
The second tab has a list of $1 through $52. This can be used to track what amounts you already deposited. You can add ‘Yes’ to the second column when you’ve deposited each amount.
Be sure to make your own copy of the file – you won’t be able to edit the official file.
Whether you currently save or not, $1,378 is an amount I think any of us would be happy to see that in our saving’s account.
If you decide to take on the challenge, good luck!
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Are you serious about saving money? Here’s some articles that will help you save as much money as possible:
Have you ever tried a saving challenge? What could you use an extra $1,378 for?