There is an assumption that the 52 week money challenge is all about trying to save $1,378 during a one year period. While this is the direct result if one accomplishes the entire challenge, it’s missing the bigger point of the challenge. What the 52 week money challenge is really trying to do, and what’s its true goal is, is getting you into the habit of saving money each and every week.
Think about it. There are plenty of ways you can go about saving $1,378. In fact, there are a number of actions you could take to earn that much much more quickly. You could sell a single object (or a variety) that you have in your home that’s worth that much. You could take on a second job and earn that much in a few months. It’s not so much the amount that’s important, but the way that amount of money is saved.
The true brilliance of the 52 week challenge is that it forces you to save every week, even if all you can save is a little bit of money. It instills a habit, and that habit is finding a way to save something, no matter how little, each and every week of the year.
It’s also brilliant in that you can begin forming the saving money habit with an amount that’s so small that anyone can do it. All you need to save the first week is $1. Anyone can do that. Once you do that, then you have the confidence you can also save $2. Then $3 in week three and $4 in week four. During the first twelve weeks, the most you will have to save in any one of those weeks is $12. That may not seem like a lot of money, but it’s an important three month period where you have formed the foundation of a new habit. That habit is to save money each week.
For those who are going to attempt to do the 52 week money challenge, the important lesson of the challenge isn’t to complete it, as much as to continue to do it for the entire year. The amounts saved each week are arbitrary. Whether you decide to do the classic 52 week challenge (start with $1 in week one and end with $52 in week fifty-two) or the alternative 52 week challenge (you choose the amount to save each week between $1 and $52), saving the $1,378 by 2016 is secondary to saving some amount each week. With that in mind, you should consider creating your own 52 week money challenge which tries to save this amount (part of the challenge is challenging you to save more money than you think you can), but where you won’t stop even if you don’t make your goal for one week. Far more important than saving a specific amount each week is to save something each week.
The reason this is important is because once you have established the habit, you can choose any amount to save at any time. You have made it a part of your regular life to put away something each week, and you can do it this year in and year out. Some weeks it will be a little, while other weeks it will be more, but every week you will be saving some amount of money. Establishing this habit is the foundation of learning to be debt free and save money for your future. It’s the cornerstone from which you can build the financial life that will keep you debt free and putting away money so you have it during emergencies.
Before you dismiss the 52 week money challenge as a gimmick, realize that beneath it is a an important habit-building program which can benefit you in numerous ways, and this is the reason you should do it. Do your best to achieve the challenge however you determine to lay it out for yourself, but never forget the true importance is to save some amount, any amount (yes, even a penny if that is all you can one week), each week for a year so you have an ingrained habit of saving money every week for the rest of your life.
No Effort Money Saving Hacks
If you are making a conscious effort to save more money you may be looking for a savings hack. In recent years, smartphone applications that make saving money easier have become more popular. One great app is digit.co. It makes saving completely effortless by analyzing your account, making small withdrawals, and placing them into your savings accounts. Once you’ve downloaded it and activated your account, Digit does the rest. Check it out at digit.co.