Published in: Banks | March 20, 2019

End 2019 $1,378 Richer With This 52-Week Money Challenge

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Saving money doesn't have to be hard. This 52-week money challenge makes it easy to save more than $1,000.
Woman holding a piggy bank while smilingImage source: Getty Images. 

Saving money can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task -- and it’s rarely fun. After all, setting aside money for your future means you can’t do stuff you want with your cash right now.

The good news is, with a little change in mindset, you can actually make saving into something fun and effortless.

You can do this by participating in the 52-week money challenge. If you do this challenge and start early, you can actually end 2019 with almost $1,400 more in your pocket with hardly any effort.

What is the 52-week money challenge?

The 52-week money challenge is a simple challenge you typically start the first week of the year. You start by saving $1 during the first week, and increase that amount by $1 each week so you save $52 by the final week of the year.

The chart below shows how this looks in practice -- and how much you end up with in the end.

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 6.43.42 PM

Data source: Author's calculations.

As you can see, each week you’re only saving a small amount of money. But, over time, your balance grows so you end up with a substantial sum. Fulfilling the challenge can be fun as you find ways to cut spending just a little bit more each week to come up with the cash to save.


How to increase your chances of success at the 52-week challenge

If you want to ensure you fulfill the 52-week challenge and end up with $1,378 at the end of 2019, there are a few techniques you can use to maximize your chances of success. You could:

  • Automate the process.Most banks make it easy to move a set amount of money automatically on a specific day. You can set up your payments for all 52 weeks at the start of the year when you’re excited about the challenge. If you make the transfer of funds automatic, you’ll never miss a week.
  • Put the saved money in a separate account. You don’t want your weekly deposits to languish in your checking account where the funds could get mixed in with your regular money that’s there to spend and save. You should have a dedicated savings account-- ideally one that pays a reasonable interest rate. Once the money is deposited each week into the savings account, commit not to touch it until the end of the year when the challenge is fulfilled.
  • Track your progress. To stay motivated, create a system where you can keep track of each week that you succeeded in saving the desired amount. You could have a spreadsheet where you check off that you made your transfer, keep track in your calendar app, or put a gold star on a chart you tack to the fridge. Whatever your approach is, find some way to monitor your success so you’ll stay excited about the challenge all year long.
  • Enlist a friend. It’s always more fun to fulfill challenges with your friends -- and you can help each other to stay accountable. So, ask a friend, or a few friends, if they want to do the 52-week challenge with you. Then, schedule regular progress reports where you check in to make sure everyone’s staying on track with their savings.

Since you’re saving only a small amount of money each week, especially at the beginning, fulfilling the challenge shouldn’t be hard and shouldn’t require any big lifestyle changes. But, you’ll end up with a pretty big sum at the end of the year that could enhance your emergency fund, help you save for the future, or be used to pay cash for a big purchase.

Start the 52-week challenge today

The 52-week challenge may work best if you start at the beginning of the year -- but if it’s well after January when you’re reading this, you can start at any time and just follow the plan for the next 52 weeks. It’s better to get a late start than not to start at all, and you’ll still be $1,378 richer by this time next year if you start today.

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