Now that you’ve decided on your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to start putting them into action.
If you’re prioritizing your savings this year, use the 52-week money challenge to make sure you stay on track.
Maybe you want to save for a down payment on your future home. Maybe you’re aiming to finally go on that dream vacation next year. Maybe you just need an extra push to get your emergency fund in order.
Think about what your savings goal is before you begin so you’ll be more motivated to stay the course throughout the year. Once you have a goal in mind, jump in and start saving with the 52-week money challenge.
What is the 52-week money challenge?
With the 52-week money challenge, you aim to put away an increasing sum of money each week for a year in order to reach your savings goal.
There are countless versions of the challenge, but generally, you should match each week’s savings amount with the number of the week in your challenge. In other words, you’ll save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on until you put away $52 in week 52.
If you stick to this challenge throughout the entire year, you’ll save a total of $1,378.
How to get started
First thing’s first, you’ll need somewhere to store your savings.
A simple piggy bank may work for you, but you likely don’t always have cash on hand to deposit. Not to mention the issue of having your savings in such an accessible place. You can easily fall into a pitfall of sneaking those savings out over the course of the year.
Instead, open a high-yield savings account and transfer your challenge money into it. In addition to curbing your impulse spending, a savings account can help you accumulate a bit more over the course of the year through interest earnings.
If you really want to make things easy, set up your bank to automatically route money into your new savings account. If you never see it, you won’t have the chance to miss it when it goes into savings.
Adjust the challenge to fit your needs
To really make the 52-week money challenge help you reach your savings goal, try personalizing the process to suit your needs. The details don’t matter as much as actually accumulating your savings by the year’s end.
Saving an increasing amount of money over the course of a calendar year can be difficult, mostly because your spending likely increases in December. If you’re worried about holiday spending, try flipping your money challenge so you instead put away $52 the first week, $51 the second and so on.
Perhaps you’re anticipating a bonus sometime during the year or a cash gift for your birthday. Use those extra sums to get a head start on the tougher weeks or catch up if you fall behind.
You may want to simply save the same amount every week until you reach your year-end goal. By transferring $26.50 into your savings every week, you’ll accumulate the same $1,378. This is helpful if you want to go the automated route, as you’ll be able to direct the same amount each week or month.
Maybe you have more ambitious goals. Double up on the challenge by saving $2 week one, $4 week two and $6 week three until you save $104 week 52 for a total of $2,756.
There are countless versions of the challenge that you can find templates for online, but don’t be afraid to put your own spin on the challenge. The best method is whatever helps you reach your savings goals.
How to stay on track
Set reminders and benchmarks for yourself to make sure you don’t quit.
You should already have an end goal in mind before you start saving, whether you want to put the money toward a down payment, your emergency fund, a vacation budget or some other goal. Having something to work toward will help you stay motivated throughout the year.
Keep a regular reminder on your calendar to put away each week’s set amount. Weekly notifications can ensure the challenge stays at the front of your mind.
If you need extra help staying motivated, set smaller benchmarks for yourself throughout the year. For instance, for every 13 weeks that you successfully save (four times throughout the year) reward yourself for staying on track.
After you hit your savings goal in full at the end of the 52 weeks, or at least have some amount more than you did before saved, don’t stop there.
You’ve already accomplished the most difficult part — getting started. Start over with another 52-week money challenge or set a new goal to accomplish next year.