The 52-Week Money Challenge Makes Saving Easy

We all want to save more money in 2019. Building savings and spending less ranks No. 4 in New Year’s resolutions after eating better, exercising more and getting fit, according to an Inc. survey. So it’s no surprise that social media is exploding with one popular plan to help you put aside a significant stash. It’s called the 52-Week Money Challenge, and it may come as close to painless as any saving strategy you’ve ever met. The secret of the challenge is to trick you into saving money incrementally.

Start by saving $1 the first week and then add another dollar the second week so that you put away $2. Add another dollar in Week 3 so that you sock away $3.  By Week 4 you will be accustomed to tacking on that extra little bit of one more dollar and the saving of $4 should be easy. Keep building with an additional $1 each week and by Week 52 you’ll be able to count $1,378 in your savings account.

Another way to use this plan is to reverse the amount you’ll save each week. Start with $52 for Week 1, and cut the amount $1 for each successive week. On Week 2 you’ll stash $51 and on Week 3 you’ll save $50. By Week 52 you’ll have dropped the amount down to $1, but you’ll have accumulated almost $1,400. The principle of incremental saving still applies.

Put these savings into an account apart from your regular checking or savings. Open up a new account into a new bank if you can. The strategy here is “out of sight, out of mind” so that you won’t be tempted to break into the fund for a quick vacation or dinner at a fancy restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.

This idea is growing in popularity on social media and bloggers are ready with tips to help you succeed. Google “52-week money saving challenge chart” for free printable charts that will show you just how fast you’ll accumulate significant savings.

Berna Anat used the challenge to successfully pay off $50,000 in student loan and credit card debt in January 2018. Now she’s offering tips and lessons on Instagram to help others match her success. She’s also teamed with Evernote to let potential savers know about The Ever Better Challenge for a free 30-day program that promises to help you “find your focus and finish what you start.” Check it out if you’re serious about saving but don’t think you can commit to a full year.

Many bloggers provide links to savings apps along with their stories to illustrate how they’ve made the challenge of saving money work for them. One of these is the blog Gathering Dreams, which suggests a different technique to help you save $5,000 by the end of the year. This strategy suggests you never spend a $5 bill that comes into your hands. Put it into a savings jar labeled with your end goal.

Trip to Ireland? College loan? New sofa? Don’t dive into the jar for one year, and you’ll be surprised at the amount you’ve hidden away. If you think this plan sounds like your grandpa emptying his pockets at the end of the work day and putting all his loose change into a mason jar, you’ve nailed the concept.

If you’re ready to reduce your debt, stop sweating over paycheck-to-paycheck living and plan for a big purchase, you’re not alone. A recent survey by Fidelity Investments found that 48 percent of respondents said their top priority among New Year’s resolutions is to save more. Some 29 percent said they plan to pay down debt, and 15 percent resolved to spend less.

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