In January, we typically start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. For some, this might mean setting goals to eat healthier, stop smoking, read more books, or lose some weight. For others — it’s all about building an emergency fund by saving some extra money.
Although some people may feel that starting and keeping new habits works best at the beginning of the year, the 52 Week Money Challenge will encourage you to save an additional $1,378 over the next 52 weeks no matter when you decide to start!
Here’s how the “52 Week Money Challenge” works:
The 52 Week Money Challenge is based on saving a certain amount of money every week over the course of an entire year (hence, the number 52). The number of dollars you save will change from week to week. There are three ways to complete this challenge. No matter which way you choose, 52 weeks of savings will earn you an extra $1,378 in your savings account.
Method #1: Counting Up by Ones
This is essentially the first option, but you’ll be headed in the opposite direction. It’s a good option if you want to feel like your savings endeavor is getting easier as the year goes on.
You’ll begin with $52 on Week 1, then on Week 2, you’ll reduce this number by one dollar (to $51). On Week 3 you’ll save $50, on Week 4 you’ll save $49, and so on until you reach $1 on Week 52.
Method #3: Counting Up Evens by Twos, Then Down Odds by Twos
This way’s a bit trickier. You’ll be alternating between even-numbered savings amounts for the first half of the year and odd-numbered savings amounts for the latter half. The pattern will go like this:
Week 1: $2
Week 2: $4
Week 3: $6
Until you get to $52 at week 26.
Week 27: $51
Week 28: $49
Week 29: $47
Until you get to $1 on week 52.
Helpful Tips to Make the “52 Week Money Challenge” Even Easier
- Keep a digital or printed spreadsheet on hand to track your savings progress.
- Make sure you have a reliable place to store your savings. A simple piggy bank may not cut it, plus having your savings accessible may tempt you to dip into it before the end of the challenge. Consider opening a savings account with CCCU if you don’t have one already. They even have special accounts for kids, seniors, and aspiring homeowners!
- If you’re doing the challenge as a family, make a colorful chart with your kids to track your savings. Add a sticker or big “X” for each day you complete the challenge.
- Keep yourself reminded of your weekly savings goal by setting up an alert or reminder on your favorite device.
- Schedule your transfers with online or mobile banking so you don’t have to think about it.
- Get everyone in the family involved by having your children do the challenge for themselves — but with cents (1¢ for Week 1, 2¢ for Week 2, etc.).
Stay motivated and keep your eyes on the prize by focusing on the extra security you will gain with a larger savings account or emergency fund!
Keep in mind that if you perform this challenge as a family, you will be teaching your children the importance of saving and creating healthy habits for them to continue in the future. Children as young as five can participate in these early concepts which will be the first step on their road to a financially successful future. If you keep the financial lessons fun, your children are more likely to repeat the behavior on their own.
More Tips for Cutting Back and Saving Even More
At the end of the 52 Week Money Challenge, you can have even more in your pocket if you use these tips for cutting back in small ways:
- Never underestimate the cost savings of gas from carpooling.
- List and sell the furniture, tools, toys, clothes, and other items you don’t use.
- Take another look at your monthly subscriptions (movies, cable, sports, radio, magazines, meal plans, clothes subscriptions, etc.), and limit them or negotiate a lower monthly cost when feasible.
- Start going to your local library for books and movies.
- Become a “coupon cutter” and sign up for rewards programs for your favorite grocery store and retail stores to save on food and clothing.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it. Too many times wandering around the aisles of the grocery store allows for extra snacks and non-essential items to land in the grocery cart raising the total bill. Meal planning and creating grocery lists help to keep your budget on track.
- Consider debt consolidation. Debt robs you of income. Learn more about how Debt Consolidation with CCCU can help you save by combining your outstanding debt into one manageable payment with a lower interest rate.
- Finally, the Holy Grail of savings: A monthly budget. There are some great free budgeting templates available online with a simple online search.
CCCU is always looking for new ways to help you save for the important things in life. If you have questions about saving for your future or about your unique financial situation, visit any of our branch locations where our teams are ready to help!