"The more you chase money, the harder it is to catch it." - Mike Tatum

The 26 Bi-Weekly Money Challenge

By , January 3rd, 2014 | 8 Comments »

52 week money challenge bi-weekly
I received several requests from readers asking if there was a better way to do the 52 week money challenge when they are paid on a bi-weekly basis. They mentioned that it tends to be easier to save the money for the week when they get paid, but more difficult to do it the second week when no income is coming in. For those who get paid bi-weekly, they may want to follow this bi-weekly chart.

26 Bi-Weekly Money Challenge (click on image to print)


The concept is exactly the same as the 52 week challenge, where you’re adding a single dollar for each week of the year. The only difference is that instead of making the payment each week, you combine two weekly payments into one, and make it every other week. There is no difference in the amount of money that is saved. At the end of the year you’ll still have saved $1378. The only difference is that you’ll be making 26 payments during the year, corresponding to your paychecks, which should make the challenge easier to accomplish.

With the standard 26 week version, you would make a payment of $3 ($1 for week one and $2 for week two) for the first bi-weekly payment, $7 ($3 for week three and $4 for week four) the second bi-weekly payment, $11 ($5 for week five and $6 for week six) for the third bi-weekly payment until you reach the 26th payment which would be $103 ($51 for week fifty-one and $52 for week fifty-two). While straight-forward and simple, there is a major drawback. As with the standard 52 week version, this can make if difficult to save money toward the end of the year with the high payments during the holiday season, and why we created an alternate version.

Alternate Version (click on image to print)

The alternative version gives you more flexibility while still sticking with the 26 bi-weekly option. With this version, you still make the same payments throughout the year, but you get to choose which one you make for each bi-weekly payment. The goal is to pay the highest amount from the options at the bottom of the chart that you can make, then cross out that number. That allows you to pay off the higher numbers when it makes the most sense as the year progresses, rather than at the end of the year when money might be the tightest. It takes into account that a steady increase in payments over the year doesn’t always correspond with the reality of life, and for that reason it’s nice to have some flexibility in the amount when making the payment.

 As with most things that pertain to finances, it’s important for individuals to find what works best for them. The 26 week bi-weekly challenge is simply another variation that might make it a little easier for some to save the money than the standard 52 week money challenge. It’s certainly an option worth considering if you are paid on a bi-weekly basis, and you know that you’ll find yourself short on funds when it’s time for the next paycheck to arrive. As with all savings plans, they tend to be much more effective if you pay yourself first rather than at the end when there often isn’t any money left to save.

Go With Passive Savings Apps

If all this seems like too much effort, consider a passive way to save money. The last couple of years have seen rapid growth in apps which help people passively build their savings. One great new piece of software is digit.co. Digit is clever. It analyzes your checking account balances and then automatically makes small deductions which are swept into a savings account for you. Its super easy to install. Once you have it configured you pretty much need to make no effort to save, Digit does all the heavy lifting for you. Check it out at digit.co here.

Finally, if you’re still looking for the right challenge to fit your personality, here are a some other variations that might be worth taking a look at:

52 Week Alternatives
52 Week Standard
52 Week Variation
52 Week Make Money
52 Week Kids
Twice a Month (Bi-Monthly)
365 Days

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  • Jessica says:

    Or you could do $53 per weekly check. It equals the same as the 52 week challenge but doesn’t have you breaking the bank during the holiday season. Or if you like the change reach week go backwards so at Christmas time you’re only doing $10 (because the bigger amounts are at the beginning of the year).

    • Virginia says:

      Also, reversing the payments yields more interest.

      I’m setting up a seperate savings account to do this challenge and reversing the order so I start with $103 and $99 in January.

      An average daily balance of over a hundred will yield more interest than an average daily balance of like 4/5.

      Seeing $202 saved the first month plus interest is also more likely to make you feel like you are accomplishing something rather than just spinning your wheels.

  • Linda Dahlheimer says:

    Don’t you mean bi-monthly? We get paid twice a month, so I am looking for a schedule with 26 deposits for the year. Bi-weekly, means depositing twice a week, which would equal 104 deposits in a year? Am I confused?


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