"A penny saved is a penny earned" - Benjamin Franklin

52 Week Save Money Challenge

By , January 10th, 2013 | 56 Comments »

saving money challenge
Update: Join (or follow along) with the 2018 edition of the 52 Week Money Challenge or the 2018 edition of the52-week money making challenge. For those who really have trouble saving, there’s the 365 Day Money Challenge that saves $668 a penny at a time

With the New Year, people are always looking for new ways to save money that isn’t difficult or complicated, and that can keep them motivated throughout the entire year. It seems like Facebook has provided a simple plan (courtesy of Kassondra Perry-Moreland) this year that anyone can follow and it’ll result in over $1300 worth of savings by December 31, 2013.

As the above image shows, it’s a simple concept that anyone can do. Because of that simplicity, there is a much better chance that anyone has a good chance of completing it. There are actually a number of different ways to approach this challenge depending on what you feel will work best for you. Below are a few ideas so that you can choose a challenge best for your needs.

Standard Challenge

All you need to do is save the dollar amount of whatever week you are in during the year. Week one you add $1, week two, $2 and week fifty-two, $52. Add that all up and you have a cool $1378 dollars saved at the end of the year. If you are staring this a bit behind, You’ll need to add the weeks you missed totals to your starting week so that you’re on schedule. This should be relatively easy since the dollar amounts are so low the first couple of months.

Reverse Challenge

While the challenge is pretty simple and straightforward, there may be some that want to amend the challenge a bit. Since the end of the year is a time when money is tight for many people due to the holiday season, one way to change the challenge to take this into account is by reversing the payment period. This way, instead of beginning with $1, you’d start with $52 the first week and working your way down to $1 the final week of the year. This hybrid method would mean money payments being more at the beginning but getting easier as the year goes on.

Do Your Best Challenge

52 week savings challenge

I think that my preferred method would be the “most you can save method” which you can get more detailed information about here and print the sheet here (pdf). In this hybrid model, you print out the above image (or make your own) and you shoot for the highest amount you can each week. For example, if week one you were able to save $46, you would cross out the $46 at the bottom and you no longer have that amount to worry about. Since there are always unexpected circumstances where some weeks you just aren’t going to have a lot of money while other weeks it will be much easier to save, this hybrid method gives you the flexibility to cater the challenge to the reality of life. In doing so, it gives you a much better chance of succeeding in the long run. By saving as much as possible, you should be able to knock off the higher amounts quickly, but if the unexpected does happen and there are a few weeks where you can only save a small amount, you have that flexibility that allows you to continue without feeling as if you failed. While not quite as simple as the standard model, I think it would work better for most people considering how life usually works.


Bi-Weekly Challenge

For those who get paid bi-weekly, it can be more convenient for them to do this challenge every two weeks (printable bi-weekly chart available) rather than each week. Switching to bi-weekly only changes the frequency of the deposits. The amount saved at the end of the year is still the same.

Bi-Monthly Challenge

Not to be confused with the bi-weekly challenge, some people get paid two times a month, or 24 times a year. For them, it can be more convenient to do a twice a month challenge (printable bi-monthly chart available). This variation simply allows you to pay towards the challenge when you get paid making it easier to pay yourself first. The total amount the same still remains the same.

Monthly Challenge

For those who only get paid once a month, another option is to do a 12-month challenge (printable monthly chart available). This greatly condenses the number of payments you make from 52 to 12, but if you know that the only way you are able to save money is to pay yourself first, this could be a good option to help with the success of saving money.

Double Challenge

If you are two times more motivated than most, you can try the Double Challenge (printable double chart available). Instead of beginning with a single dollar week one, you begin with $2, week two you put away $4, and in week fifty-two you stash $104. The payoff, in the end, is that you save double the money for the year, or $2,756.

Build Your Own Challenge

If none of these challenges meets your exact needs, then why not build your own challenge that does? You can take a blank 52-week money challenge (printable) and insert the numbers that work best for your financial situation. This gives you a lot of flexibility and you can shoot for numbers that make the most sense for your particular family.

Kids Challenge

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids (or the whole family) involved with these challenges, you can do the save money challenge for kids as well. In this case, you’re doing the same exact same thing, but you have challenge sheets that use quarters, dimes, nickels or pennies that can be used for the kids so they can save the appropriate amount for what they are earning. This is an excellent way to get kids to participate in the saving process, and if you can get them into the habit of doing this on a weekly basis, they will be in much better financial shape when they are on their own.

While the challenge is meant for saving, it can also be adapted to other things such as paying off debt. Instead of putting the amount each week into savings, simply place that amount toward the minimum payment of your credit card bill. This will help anyone in credit card debt pay off their bills much more quickly. Doing it in combination with a snowball method is a great way to add weekly snowflakes toward debt to speed up the entire debt reduction process.

As you can see, there are a number of ways that you can adapt this simple concept to what your particular needs may be, while still keeping the simplicity of the concept. The best part is that if you’re able to succeed, you will have nearly $1400 in savings which makes for an excellent emergency fund, or have paid off an extra $1400 worth of debt (which will save you much more than that in interest payments you would have had to pay if you did it slower).

saving money challenge, saving money tips, saving money challenge

What do you think? Is it a challenge that you would consider doing and if not, why?

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  • creditcardfree says:

    I would definitely consider this challenge. It is a great way to start the savings discipline. I think one could also use a similar system as a way to start making extra payment towards debt.

  • Wowitsawonderfullife says:

    I love the hybrid model. A little bit like yahtzee. It will work better for me as I always have a very spendy December. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Beawealthywarrior says:

    I read about this initially on FB and have been doing it by saving my one dollar bills. So far I’m up to week 4 with $10 but I also like the do your best hybird.

  • I might try this challenge with my son’s 529 account. It could work well.

  • Cubsfan says:

    I’m doing a hybrid of it myself. I did the first two weeks normal and plan on $52 next week and go from there.

    If you are saving to pay off debt, wouldn’t it make more sense to pay off the debt as you go so you don’t get even more interest?

    • jeffrey says:

      If you are saving to pay off debt, wouldn’t it make more sense to pay off the debt as you go so you don’t get even more interest?

      Yes, definitely.

  • My husband and I began the 52 Week Financial Challenge July 2010 on You Tube and we are so grateful to God for how it continues to grow and grow and grow years later! When I say grow…it has grown to THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people doing it on FB, Instagram, Twitter and all over the web. If you have a dream…DO IT!

  • Gailete says:

    Am I understanding this correctly? You aren’t taking the money out of your wallet each week, but are actually finding ways each week to save that week’s allotment of money? If it it just taking money out of your wallet, I know I sure don’t have an extra $200 in December (or any month) to put into savings.

    • jeffrey says:

      I think that is one of the weaknesses of the original plan — it appears simple because the first weeks are so low, but come Dec, you need quite a lot. That’s why I think the “do your best” each week would likely be more successful for most people.

    • DonnaB says:

      Yes, finding the extra money in December would be tight. However, this plan does not necessarily need to run from January – December.

      It just needs to run for a full year. How about beginning in July and ending in June the following year? Or September and ending in August the next year?

      This way the amount to be saved each week won’t be at the higher levels in December.

  • PreachNurse says:

    I love the plan. I started this month and I’m already excited about the prospect of the end results. If I’m successful, and I intend to be, I’m going to do it again, saving the money and donating it to my church. To God be all glory!

  • jan says:

    how do i get started?

  • Vicky says:

    I like this idea and I am going to try some version of it but the last month is going to be tough saving 105.00

  • RefundCheck says:

    How about starting with part of your tax refund check? Then yo ucan cross out some biggies and keep going smaller. Even $50 in a refund can help. (I hope you get a refund)

  • Tom says:

    I like the reverse idea. I am in debt to a store card of about $400. Not terrible, but I want it to go away, I can do this payment plan and be done soon. So I’m going to do the reverse plan, pay the $52 to the store card (starting today/Monday) and then next week do the same thing again, until it is paid off.

    Sure I’m not saving, but I’m reducing my debt and that is my goal for 2014.

    THANK YOU for a great way to save and to pay debt down.

  • Klsws says:

    I love the “do your best” method and the printout is perfect. My BF often finds no work during the winter months and can work 7 days a week during the summer. This way we can increase/decrease accordingly. We started today, we each will have our own jar. The money will be great for a trip, emergency or to help through the winter months.

  • Karla says:

    I’m wondering how people are going to put $52 in savings if they can only afford $1 to start with. If they can afford $25 to $50 a week wouldn’t it be better to put that amount in savings in the first place?

    • jeffrey says:

      That’s the reason yo put together the “Do Your Best” sheet. It gives a person the flexibility to put down more during weeks they are doing well, and less when things are a bit tougher. Another option for those on a limited budget is the 365 Day Money Challenge with starts with 1 penny and saves about $668 during the year.

  • Jessica says:

    I am doing this… I just recently learned about the 52 week challenge… Already I am at $393 so far. I do follow the weeks but when I pay cash for something and get change back, I put the dollar bills away as “interest.” The change goes into my 2 year old son’s piggy bank… So this way if for some reason I can put money a side for a couple of weeks, the “interest” will help out at the end… I kinda wonder if the 52 week challenge can be the answer to a lot of people student loan debt troubles??? Plus I wrote out a list of stuff I was buying and figure if I cut out some stuff I can save that money as well. So I am also putting away $6.13/day in savings as well. Within 365 days I should have $2237.45… WOW talking about savings!!!! Going to try to accomplish but that is why it’s call a challenge :)….

  • Wade says:

    I started this a few months ago and for the first time, I’m actually beginning an emergency fund! I can’t tell you how important this is. I’m happy I found a challenge that makes it so easy. Thanks for sharing this.

  • ebony says:

    The other day, while sitting around at work, my cousin told me about this. It sounds like a great idea and she has been doing it for two years now. She had no emergency fund when she started and has over $2000 now. I want to give it a try now too. What’s the worst that can happen?

  • dawn says:

    I think this is information is among the most vital info for me to help me begin an emergency fund. And I’m glad I found and read your article. I think I finally have a plan to start saving some money.

  • Grimm says:

    My husband and I did this plan this year to help us save up for a holiday vacation with our 3yr old daughter. He gets a holiday check every year (the company puts aside $2 for every hour he works and gives it back to him in July and December) but this money goes to our holiday celebration and presents for the family and charities.

    We chose to double the weekly amounts to make sure we had enough for the trip. We found that rather than increasing the amount every week (or decreasing if you work backwards) dividing the amount we want to save by 52 make things a little simpler and more manageable.

    So in 2015 we will be saving $60 week for a family vacation, $10 a week for the workshop tool fund, $5-10 a week for our emergency fund and $5 a week for our Toys for Tots fund at Christmas. This will free up the holiday checks for a down payment on a new car, maybe.

  • llc says:

    I love the whole 52 week idea. But the “Do your best” is even more perfect. This way….you can still keep up BUT add “what you can each week”!!! Now how cool is that???!!! OMG….I’m sooooo excited to start this. Gonna start with the $1 a week here at the first of October….then start backwards in Jan after Christmas……then….go from there for the rest of the year!!!!! This whole concept is just TOO cool and so excited I’m almost giddy!!!! LOLOL

    • llc says:

      And doing the same thing with the “penny plan” is just as cool for youngn’s and teens. Following the same concept (.01 on day one…..$3.65 on day 365: $667.95!!!!! Almost $700 …..JUST FROM POCKET CHANGE!!!!! NOW HOW COOL IS THAT???!!!!

  • Silas says:

    It becomes easier the longer you do it, the trick is not to try to find extra money to put away, but to avoid buying things you dont really need , instead put away that money, eg buying a cup of coffee on my way to work, i now wait till i get to work , you can always find more fun things to cut down on…


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