According to vitagene.com, the three most popular New Year's resolutions are exercise to get in shape, diet to lose weight, and save money.
Whatever your resolution may be, staying motivated is the key to success. But you could also have some fun with your goals by making them a game, which could also help you stay committed.
What is the 52-Week Money Challenge
The idea is simple: Begin by setting aside $1 in the first week of the year, and gradually increase your savings by one dollar per week. Continue this method throughout the year – save two dollars in Week 2, then three dollars in Week 3, and so on, until the end of the year. After following through with the challenge, you will have saved a total of $1,378 by the end of 2021.
This challenge is a simple and effective way to build an emergency fund or set money aside for a future vacation. Plus, getting started is not intimidating at all — almost anyone can manage to save one dollar a week.
The challenge increases in difficulty throughout the year. By December, you will be saving $50 or more per week, which can be challenging to maintain. We all know that December is already an expensive month between gift-giving and donations. So, we came up with a couple of hacks to help you get around those more demanding weeks.
Get a head start
First, write down each week of the year with the dollar amount. It should look something like this:
Week one - $1
Week two - $2
Week three - $3
Week four - $4
Week five - $5
Week six - $6
Week seven - $7
Week eight - $8
Week nine - $9
Week ten - $10
And so, and so forth.
Week 52 - $52
A windfall is a piece of unexpected good fortune. Use those good fortunes to your advantage. Anytime extra money lands in your lap, put it towards your 52-Week savings goal. If you received a bonus at work, or cash for your birthday, consider putting a $52 contribution towards your goal. Keep that momentum rolling throughout the year, and cross the respective dollar amount off the list as you go. This way, you will have already knocked out the higher-dollar savings week goals before they even arrive.
Getting ahead is not the only variation for the challenge. Customize the entire 52-Week Money Challenge idea to fit your lifestyle.
Keep the savings ball rolling
If your goal is to improve your spending discipline and save roughly $1,400, there’s no reason you have to do it weekly, especially if you get paid bi-weekly.
Prevent the burden of having to save during the most expensive time of the year – the holidays. Instead, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account for $100 a month. Then, each month, kick it up by $5. For example, save $100 in January, $105 in February, $110 in March, and so on. By next December, you’ll be saving $155 a month and sitting on a savings nest egg of $1,590.
It’s not how you save. It’s that you save.
The 52-Week Money Challenge offers an easy game plan to help you start saving. But it’s certainly not the only way to save. Choose a weekly or monthly amount to save that works for you and your budget.
Good luck, and happy New Year!