As a new year approaches and we set new goals, we have to look at a basic need of most goals ... Money. Most goals take some $$ to help us achieve them. If you want to lose weight, you may want to get a gym membership or a personal trainer so you need a monthly allowance to account for this expense. Want to finally take a family vacation, we need to have money set aside for it. Maybe you have even bigger goals, like buying a new home, and you need money for the downpayment or you just want extra money to furnish the home once you buy it. Sometimes our money saving goals are long term for retirement or even to have an emergency fund. Whatever your goal is, a basic of that goals probably includes saving money to help us achieve them.
Today I want to share a few 52 Week Money Saving Challenge ideas with you. Make sure to customize them and make them your own. If this challenge helps you save $1000 in a year and you know you need $2000, maybe you can double the challenge to save up to your goal amount? Make a serious attempt at savings and your goals will come true faster than you think.
Here are a few tips to help you set your money aside. No matter how you save, just make this money "untouchable" to keep saving towards your goal.
1. Most banks let you set up separate savings account for basically no costs. Maybe set one up for your vacation plans, your home furnishings/renovations or downpayment. If the goal is big enough to save for, create an untouchable account to put money aside and save for it.
2. I know I heard Dave Ramsey and many others talk about money envelopes. Create a monthly budget to set aside the money you collect for your goals. Keep those envelopes in a budget planner that you use each month to track your budget/goals. At the end of the month, put that money into your dedicated savings account. If you are going to save cash, make sure to talk to a lender when you need to put that money into a bank account to "season" and be available for your home purchase (typically it needs to be in an account 2-3 months before you need it).
Challenge 1 - $5 Bill Challenge
This is a simple challenge especially if you tend to pay cash for things. This challenge is fluid and flexible, but also unpredictable. The challenge is, anytime you get a $5 bill, put it aside in your monthly savings envelope. Don't spend it, just save it. You should keep the challenge fun, pay cash and when you get a $5 bill save it, but don't go out of your way to collect that $5 bill. For example, do not pay $10 over your bill and ask for two $5 bills in change. It's a fun challenge, but since it's so unpredictable ... Will I get three $5 bills this week or none? You really have no way of saving a specific dollar amount. Maybe, you can add this challenge to one of the other saving challenges below. Never hurts to have "extra" set aside.
Challenge 2 - Piggy Bank Change Challenge
This is another simple challenge to do to help save extra cash. But, just like the $5 Bill Challenge, this one can be unpredictable as the total amount saved. How to do the Piggy Bank Change Challenge… Go out and buy a big piggy bank or a simple big jar. Anytime you use cash and get change back, drop that change in the jar. No one really wants a pocket/purse filled up with loose change as it just gets heavy. At the end of each day, take any change you collected out of your pockets and drop it in the jar. Slowly over time, that change adds up. I use this one all the time. I like to be able to buy myself the smaller things that costs $200-$300 that are like a splurge to me. One time, I used it to buy a new FitBit for example. Something I didn’t really need, but just wanted. At the end of the year, if you keep dropping all your change into a jar, I know you will probably have a few hundred dollars saved up. Again, this might be a good challenge in addition to some of the bigger and probably harder challenges below. It’s also a good challenge to help your kids save up for something they really want to get.
Challenge 3 - $300 in 12 Week Challenge
Does a year long savings plan sound to daunting? Why not start with a small 12 week challenge to save $300. That is just saving $25 a week. This is an easy way to build up your goal fund. Repeat it 3 more times to make it a year long challenge and now you saved $1200.
This challenge creates smaller more attainable goals. A year is a long way out, but we can do anything for 12 weeks if we set our mind to it and focus on it. Plus, this is a short enough time to create a habit of saving and putting a smaller dollar amount aside each week. Plus, this challenge is so scaleable. Want to save $2000 a year, set aside about $40 a week. Each 12 weeks that is $480, add in an extra $20 at the end to celebrate and you have $500 saved up.
Maybe you want to start smaller until you can find that extra money in your budget. So in this case make your first 12 weeks easier by setting aside $10/week and save $120. Next 12 weeks you realize you can now up it to $20/week = $200. Next 12 weeks you up it again to $30/week = $360. The final 12 weeks you up it to $40/week = $480. If you simply added an extra $10/week to each 12 weeks challenge by the end of the year you would have saved $1160.
Challenge 4 - Save $2500 in 52 Weeks Challenge
Here is another fun challenge, see the downloadable printable. This is a challenge to Fill Your Coin Jar. Each coin represents one week of the year. Inside each coin is a dollar amount. Simply pick a coin for the week and set that dollar amount aside in one of your envelopes or in your real savings jar. Some weeks you might have more money to save, so pick a larger dollar amount. Other weeks might be a budget stretch to save at all, so pick a smaller amount. Color in each star until the page is complete. At the end of the year, you will have saved $2500. Remember, this challenge is also scaleable. Want to save $5000, double these amounts. Have a little extra money this week, simply round up to a $5 or $10 dollar amount. No matter how you do it, you will feel incredibly accomplished once you hit your savings goal and can reward yourself with whatever you wanted to achieve.
There are so many different money saving challenges you can find with a simple Google search. Find one that works for your budget and your goal and stick to it.
Setting a budget for yourself is also a big trick to making this goal attainable. There are also many budget planners to help you put all your expenses on paper along with your income. You can easily see where money is going and where maybe you can cut something out. How often do you really look at your bank statement, those subscriptions like Netflix sneak up on us and add up. If you don’t use it, cut it out. This is where a budget helps you truly see where you are spending your money.
Finally, trying to save up but your budget is just tight and it seems hard. Think of little things you can do to earn a little extra cash. Maybe a yard sale or Facebook market place items you no longer use, put that extra cash in your savings plan. Plus it’s a great way to declutter. There are apps like HONEY or IBOTTA that help you save while you shop. Those extra “savings” you just made on your bill, consider it spent and just turn around and put directly into your savings account. Can you pack a lunch or cut out one coffee a week to help you save that $10? Small changes truly do add up!
You got this! I can’t wait to hear back from you in 12 weeks or a year on what you bought/did with your savings challenge. Did you earn enough for that home downpayment? Did this money saving challenge help get you a step closer to that goal of owning your first home? What an accomplishment that would be! Definitely let me know if it did.