Ever heard of the “52-Week Money Challenge?”
No, it’s not a game show.
It’s an effective way to save over $1,000 in one year by putting aside money every week.
If it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably wondering how this magical (and oddly specific) challenge works.
Don’t worry—it’s pretty simple once you get started!
This challenge is one of those popular money challenges that you don’t need an accountant, a business degree, or even a calculator to complete. You don’t have to give up your latte habit, live in fear that rates will rise while your money sits in the bank, or invest in anything more than action.
This post will take you through everything you need to know about the 52-week money challenge, plus some great strategies for making it even easier on yourself.
What Is The 52-Week Money Challenge?
The 52-week money challenge is a fun and easy way to build your savings account in just one year.
You start by saving $1 in the first week and then adding an additional dollar each week until the 52nd week.
- Week 1: Save $1
- Week 2: Save $2 (total saved = $3)
- Week 3: Save $3 (total saved = $6)
- Week 52: Save $52 (total saved = $1,378)
By the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll be socking away $52 for a total savings of $1,378.
You can do this challenge yourself or with friends and family members who want to save some cash for something special or just get ahead on their household bills.
How Does The 52-Week Money Challenge Work?
There are three main options to do the 52-week money challenge. Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll have saved $1,378 once you complete the challenge.
The 52-Week Money Challenge (From Lowest To Highest Amount)
The idea behind this traditional method is that you start at the lowest amount ($1) and work your way up until you reach the highest amount ($52) in week 52.
It’s ideal for people with little starting capital. They can start small and build momentum over time.
You can use this 52-week money challenge chart (from lowest to highest amount) to see how much money you will need to set aside each week. And there is no need to do all of the calculations yourself.
The Reverse 52-Week Money Challenge (From Highest To Lowest Amount)
You can also do the 52-week money challenge in reverse. Instead of starting with $1 and increasing by $1 each week, you can start from $52 and decrease by $1 every week.
The total savings amount is still the same ($1,378), but the challenge gets easier and easier.
This method is good for people who have a lot of expenses during the holiday spending season (i.e., Christmas) or want to save more at the beginning.
Saving $26.50 Each Week
If you want to complete this savings challenge without having to think about it, this method is for you. You don’t need extra willpower or lots of cash flow to do it. The best part? You don’t even need to remember to do it.
Just set up an automatic transfer of $26.50 each week to a high-interest savings account without extra fees (like the CIT savings bank account).
At the end of 52 weeks, you will have saved $1,378 with no effort required on your part (and earned over $$ in interest).
This idea will also give you peace of mind knowing that you have set aside this amount for yourself every week for 52 weeks straight.
When Is The Best Time To Do The 52-Week Savings Challenge?
As the name suggests, the 52-week money challenge lasts for an entire year.
According to CNBC, 43% of Americans from the Fidelity’s Financial Resolutions survey said saving more money was their top New Year’s resolution.
Many people find it easier to start the challenge at the beginning of January as a part of their New Year’s resolutions. It’s fresh and exciting and all about new beginnings.
But if that doesn’t fit your schedule, you can take this money challenge at any point in the year. That could be today, tomorrow, or whenever you want.
Just pick whichever day works best for your schedule and get going until you complete the challenge.
How To Do The 52-Week Money Challenge Successfully
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your 52-week money challenge.
Have A Specific Savings Goal In Mind
Think about what you will do with the money when you reach your savings goal.
Do you want a new car? A summer vacation? Or maybe new furniture for your cozy apartment?
Whatever your goal is, make sure you have one when starting this challenge so that when things get challenging or boring, it’s easier for you to stay motivated.
Fit It Into Your Budget
You want to consider how much money comes in each month versus how much goes out; then, create room for additional savings by reducing spending elsewhere.
For example, if you have cable TV but rarely watch any shows except sports games, consider dropping those channels altogether instead of just trimming back slightly—this will free up hundreds of dollars every year without drastically affecting anything else.
You can also use Trim (a FREE app) to help you cancel all your unused memberships and lower your monthly bills (internet, phone, credit card APR, etc.) automatically. So you can have more money for this challenge.
If your current budget doesn’t allow for an extra expense each week—for example, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now, consider making extra fast cash with your smartphone in your spare time.
Use The 52-Week Money Challenge Chart
You can download this 52-week money challenge PDF here to keep track of how much money you’ve saved and know how far along in the challenge you are.
Keep Your Weekly Deposit Safe
Whether you want to use a separate high-interest savings account or an adult piggy bank for this savings challenge, ensure that the money you save goes into this account first and doesn’t come out until you’ve hit your goal.
Benefits Of The 52-Week Money Challenge
There are many benefits of taking on this money challenge, including the following:
It’s easy to do.
This is one of those money challenges you can easily commit to without making any major adjustments to your current spending habits, even if you choose to do the reverse 52-week money challenge.
It will help you get into the habit of saving.
Saving is an important part of financial planning, but for many people, it’s hard to get into the habit (or even if they do start saving, it’s easy for them to stop).
This money challenge helps you save every week by making it a routine that can easily become part of your weekly routine.
It’s a good way to save for a specific goal.
It’s great for saving towards specific goals like paying off your consumer debt and building an emergency fund if something terrible happens (such as losing your job or having unexpected medical expenses).
You can adjust the schedule if necessary.
This 52-week savings challenge is flexible enough so that even if life gets busy or stressful and requires some adjustments along the way, it won’t derail the entire thing (or at least not too much).
Or, if you want to save more, increase how much you set aside each week.
It helps build confidence in your financial future.
Saving $1,378 in a year is an easy way to feel good about yourself and your financial habits, especially if you’re new to budgeting or saving.
You’ll also be more confident in achieving ambitious money goals later in life.
Even if you don’t finish the challenge (for whatever reason), you still can learn valuable lessons about your finances by tracking your spending habits, looking at where you can cut back, and even getting creative about making extra money.
Ready For The 52-Week Money Challenge?
It’s probably safe to say that most people don’t look forward to saving money. After all, it’s much more fun to spend it.
But the 52-week money challenge makes saving easy and painless because you’re not putting a big chunk of cash away at one time like other savings plans.
Instead, you put aside some money that feels manageable for you each week. It could be $10, $50, or even just $1. And what’s best is that by the end of this challenge, you’ll have saved almost $1,400 without feeling pinched every day!
Otherwise, you can print out your 52-week money challenge chart and start saving today.