52-week savings challenge

Can you try a new way to save every week for a year? Each week, we will try a new way of saving money and chronicle the journey. Follow our 52-week savings challenge here:
Let us know how you do!

Take on the 52-week money challenge

Think you have what it takes to save cash every week of the year? This writer tried and failed. Learn how to avoid her mistakes and master this challenge.


Week 1: Create a weekly dinner menu

What’s for dinner? Here’s how planning your meals a week ahead can save you time and money.


Week 2: Stop buying booze at restaurants (drink at home!)

If you think the specials are expensive, take a gander at the wine list. Restaurants always jack up the price of alcohol.

If you can stay away from this part of the restaurant’s menu, your budget will thank you, but is it worth it?


Week 3: Cut back on your dog budget

How can pet owners take care of their pets in the manner to which they have become accustomed and still save money?


Week 4: Try a no-spend month

Think you can go 30 days without spending money? Follow these tips and flex your savings muscle.


Week 5: Write down everything you spend for a week

Keeping a weekly “spend” journal can help you figure out where your money is going … and how many dollars you are wasting.


Week 6: Make your own shaving oil

Fancy products need not be expensive. Here’s one surprising way men can save money — and their faces.


Week 7: Mow your own lawn

Are there armies of landscapers everywhere across the country? Cut your own lawn and rake in the savings.


Week 8: Cut communication expenses

We wanted to cut our cellphone costs. But oh, what a hassle it turned out to be!


Week 9: Eat your leftovers!

Don’t spend the money on groceries if you don’t plan to eat them. Leftovers are meals that can save you big bucks.


Week 10: Never, ever pay full price for hotels

Paying a hotel’s asking rate has gone the way of the minibar.


Week 11: Conserve gas by carpooling to work

If you live near a co-worker, cut down your trips to the pump by sharing rides for your commute.


Week 12: Buy diapers and wipes in bulk online

Those smaller packages of frequently used items add up. Knock off a few dollars by buying in bulk.


Week 13: Eat only seasonal, local vegetables

Does buying seasonal produce from local farms make financial sense?


Week 14: Stop overpaying for insurance

Shopping around for the best quote could keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket.


Week 15: Constantly pay your credit card bill

Paying your credit card charges as you go allows you to take advantage of the payment methods’ benefits and keeps you from racking up a monthly bill you can’t afford.


Week 16: Take your lunch to work

Looking to save money on food? Take your lunch to work and cut costs and calories.


Week 17: Ride your bike to work

Sure, biking to work is good for your health, but is it good for your wallet, too?


Week 18: Mix your own cleaning supplies at home with a few basic ingredients

You could buy a different cleaner for every surface in every room of your house, or you could buy a few basic ingredients and mix your own as you need them.


Week 19: Be your own hairstylist

Do you frequent the hair salon? Save big bucks by channeling your inner stylist at home.


Week 20: Try meal replacements

Would replacing meals with a soy-based drink save money? Maybe, but would you be happy?


Week 21: Get rid of your security system

Your home’s security system doesn’t have to break the bank. Get rid of monthly payments with these DIY tips.


Week 22: Use air conditioning efficiently

Is it more efficient to keep the temperature at a set level or is it better to turn off the air conditioner when you’re not home?


Week 23: Pay your credit card bill every week

Making several payments a month accomplishes more than lowering your card balance faster. It can improve your credit score, too.


Week 24: Try Dollar Shave Club to save on razor blades

A close shave need not nick and bleed your wallet. We try a new way of buying razor blades.


Week 25: DIY pool maintenance

Taking care of a pool can mean a lot of work and handling nasty chemicals. Is it cheaper to pay someone else to do it?


Week 26: Join a meat CSA

You may have heard of fruit and vegetables shares you can buy from farmers. Some even include eggs! You can save money buying the chicken (and cow, pig and lamb) the same way.


Week 27: Shop eBay for “vintage” name-brand items for a deal

If you don’t mind wearing secondhand designer duds, you can save a bundle.


Week 28: Take your breakfast/coffee and lunch to work

Is it always cheaper to take your coffee and breakfast to work? It may not always be an apples-to-apples comparison.


Week 29: Don’t buy new: Semi-new or open boxes can be just as good

Why waste money on a new product when you can save big bucks buying barely used products with warranties?


Week 30: Don’t shop without a list

Making a list before you head to the store will make you less susceptible to retailers’ sale tactics.


Week 31: Buy generic dog food versus name-brand dog food

How much will you save by switching your dog from fancy dog food? And will Fido even notice?


Week 32: Will using safety razors save money?

They can, but be ready to spend on first-aid supplies. See what happened when one reporter tried them.


Week 33: Clip money off your grocery bill with coupons, loyalty cards

Do you have to be an extreme couponer to save money at the market?


Week 34: Quit cable TV and its creeping costs

Picture this: You saving a bundle every month by cutting the cord to that pricey cable subscription. There are cheaper ways to watch your favorite programs.


Week 35: Buy only from local stores and save?

Avoiding the chain stores and shopping at local grocers and merchants has surprising benefits.


Week 36: Don’t make these holiday spending mistakes

The holiday season is filled with temptations to overspend. Steer clear of these 5 things to avoid a holiday debt hangover.


Week 37: Housework is a never-ending job, so why not stock up on supplies?

You can soak up savings by buying melamine sponges in bulk. These specialty sponges are made to get rid of crayon, grease and other stains.


Week 38: Stop drinking beer, tap into savings

Vices cost money. Is there a payoff to laying off the booze?


Week 39: Cancel useless subscriptions

Comb through bank and credit card statements to identify subscriptions or memberships you no longer use, then redirect the funds into a savings account.


Week 40: Buy store-brand items

Does buying generic goods mean sacrificing quality for the sake of saving?


Week 41: Lose weight and save money on food by eating less

Cut spending by cutting calories. Satiate yourself by thinking of the money you’ll save by reducing meals.


Week 42: Can you negotiate a better deal on utilities?

Are your cable, electric and other utility bills taxing your budget? A polite phone call or two can sometimes yield surprising results.


Week 43: Just because money is tight doesn’t mean you can’t save

Squirreling away some cash is even more important when you don’t have a lot of it.


Week 44: The craziest things they did to save money

These consumers got creative and colorful when they were forced to stretch their dollars.


Week 45: Never buy condiments again?

Don’t steal from businesses, but maybe take a couple of extra packets of sugar for tomorrow’s coffee. Is this a great way to save?


Week 46: 7 ways to save money on groceries

Do those blue-light specials really save you money? Here’s how to actually save on a grocery trip.


Week 47: Reuse items and containers

Peanut butter and salsa jars are perfectly serviceable after their original contents are depleted. Why toss reusable jars so you can use a plastic bag for leftovers?


Week 48: You, too, can save like a Brazilian billionaire.

Find out how Carlos Wizard Martins made his fortune — and how he got that middle name.


Week 49: 4 saving and investing tips every 20-something should know

It’s not easy to start saving and investing for retirement in your 20s, but you can. Here’s how.


Week 50: Tips that can lighten the expense of moving.

Moving requires a lot of heavy lifting, but you can alleviate the burden by trimming the cost.


Week 51: Join an organic veggies club

Buying organic veggies at the grocery store gets expensive. Why not join an organic veggie club so you can eat healthy on a budget?


Week 52: 5 easy ways to save money in minutes

Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. Here are simple steps you can take in a snap to cut your costs.


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