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The 52 Week Money Challenge

By , December 6th, 2017 | 53 Comments »

how to do the 52 week money challenge
If you’re looking for a great way to start saving money right now that will net you over $1,300 in one year, we’ve put together an easy system which offers a good amount of flexibility to give you the greatest chance of success. This is a hybrid of the original 52-week money challenge putting more control in your hands to deal with the inevitable financial challenges which come with daily life.

How the 52 Week Money Challenge Works

In a lot of ways, the 52 Week Money Challenge is similar to a game of Yahtzee. There are 52 weeks in the year with a dollar amount corresponding to all 52 weeks. Each week your goal is to try to save the highest amount that is still available from the bottom numbers. While the highest dollar amount is the goal, there will certainly be weeks when you aren’t able to save the full amount. Whatever amount you are able to save each week, that is the number that you write and then cross that number off the bottom.

saving challenge
Click image to enlarge or print here (pdf)
Your goal for the first week is to save $52, but even if you aren’t able to reach that amount, you haven’t failed. In this way, it is similar to Yahtzee. Whenever you roll the dice, your ultimate goal is to try to get a Yahtzee, but depending on how things are going with the rolls, you attempt to get the best number you can from the still open hands on your card. In this challenge, you’re doing the same thing, but just with the dollar amounts, you’re able to save each week.

For example, say that you are able to save $42 the first week you begin the challenge. You would X out the $42 at the bottom of the chart and place it in the deposit line for week one and that would also be your balance since it is the first week. In week two you are able to save $18. You X out the $18 at the bottom of the chart and place $18 in the deposit line. You then would place $60 as the balance ($42 + $18) for week two. In week three you’re able to save $52 which you cross off, add and come away with a balance of $112. In week four, you have a tough week and are only able to save a single dollar. You cross it off, deposit the $1 and up your balance to $113.

Because you choose the amount to save each week in relation to your finances (always with the goal to try to save the top dollar amount still available at the bottom of the chart), you don’t fail the challenge just because you have a few rough weeks where you aren’t able to save a lot of money. We all have good weeks and we all have bad weeks and they don’t come about uniformly. By trying to save the most you can each week which takes into account the financial realities of that week, it gives you much-needed flexibility and a better chance of success compared to having a set dollar amount you must save each week that corresponds to that specific week.

Another advantage is that there is no need to begin this challenge at the beginning of the year, but you can start at any time. Week one is the first week you begin (as opposed to the first week of the calendar year). That means that if you come across this challenge in the summer, there is no need to wait half a year to begin. You can start today. Simply designate one day of the week when you will make the deposit and you are ready to go for an entire year from that point.

Get Started, Get in the Habit of Saving

The most important aspect of this challenge is that you simply begin doing it. Even if the first few weeks your saving amount is low, you are getting yourself into the habit of saving. As you become comfortable with that habit, you should find more ways to save that will help you knock off those bigger numbers always knowing that you have some small numbers there as well if finances get tight some weeks. Once in the habit, you may find it easy to save even more. There are also now kids versions of this challenge which replace the dollar amount with quarters, dimes, nickels or pennies depending on how old your child is and the amount that he wants to save.

Print the 52 Week Money Challenge by clicking here. Before you get started, also check out the 52 Week Money Challenge forum group where you can share how your challenge is going with others and both receive and provide support for others participating in the challenge.

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  • creditcardfree says:

    I like how you tweaked this Jeffrey!

  • Mjrube says:

    Love it! Great idea…

  • This is a really neat idea! I like how you decide how much you can save each week as opposed to going in order and saving an extra dollar each week. We all have moments when money is tighter one week to the next and allowing for the flexibility to choose your savings amount increases the likelihood of people sticking to this plan.

  • I like the change in this system, what a great concept Jeffrey!

  • This is a really awesome new spin on helping people save money.

  • James says:

    Thanks Jeff – let’s try this out. We’re always looking for new ways to save money.

  • I can see how the chart would make a difference if you are only able to start small. You’d see the reward and hopefully, it would encourage you to keep going.

  • Darla says:

    LOVE this spin on the 52 week challenge, Jeff. Actually makes it more of a game and I love to play games to win. 🙂

  • Jaqie says:

    I messed up already with the 52 week challenge, but I’ll get back on track. I like how you related this to Yahtzee. I may try that out next year.

  • Ramjett says:

    What a convoluted complicated way to save!
    Simply know that every $10 you regularly save per week will net you $500 over the course of a year.
    Set up a regular savings program with your bank where money is redirected to your savings account before you get it.
    Try $30 a week ( $1500 a year ) If you don’t have it to begin with you won’t miss it.

  • Terri says:

    I was sent this on Facebook. What a neat idea! It is very much like a game. This is a feel good way of saving money. I doubled the original 52 week challenge and saved over $2500! This is definitely a fun way to save.

  • C.A Brown says:

    I have tried this method for the first time last year, and it really works. You have to stay focused and committed to saving.
    There maybe a few things to cut out of your spending habits to achieve this, I myself had to cut out two trips to Starbucks I bought a bag of coffee beans to take my own coffee to work, and I began packing my own lunch I also stopped buying bottled water and started refilling and chilling my own water. the system works just need commitment.

  • Michelle says:

    I did it last year, got up to over 400 and needed new tires. It came in handy for that. Happy holidays!

  • blanca says:

    This sounds like a great challenge. I can’t wait to try it out in 2015.

  • Jed says:

    Hi, the whole concept is really interesting. I think this could be done with almost any currency in the world, not just US pennies. That means the whole world could join the 365 day money challenge which would be great!

  • emmett says:

    I think this challenge looks easy, but really isn’t. $1 for a week anyone can do, but $52 iss a lot for many of us. I’m curious how many actually succeed until the very end.

  • Giselle says:

    I love the idea of the 52 week challenge! I heard about it from a friend that’s doing it, and I think that I’ll start this month as well. What’s the worst that can happen? I save a few more bucks than I would have otherwise. Thanks for the great idea!

  • benedict says:

    Hi there to every one. I too, am on the bandwagon to do the 52 week challenge. It seems like a great way to save money with little effort. I wish everyone participating success, including myself. See you in a year $1000+ richer!

  • Grover says:

    I heard about this challenge from a friend and it looks like something I could do. I can’t wait to get started.

  • Stacey says:

    I don’t think that the 52 Week Savings Challenge will work for most people. It sounds easy. Who can’t save a dollar in one week. Or two dollars. But that last month is brutal. You have Christmas plus you need to save over $200. I don’t think most people who have never been able to save for an emergency fund are going to be able to do that. It’s one of those things that looks good in principle, but won’t work in reality. Just my 2 cents.

    • Moxxi says:

      I didn’t think it would work either but it does. I agree, for most people saving that much money the last couple of months of the year is tough, however you don’t have to. Each week simply pick a number from 1 to 52, cross it off the list and that’s how much you save that week. The amount you can realistically save depends on individual situations. For me personally it is easier to put away 52 dollars on week 18 because it’s a good time of year for me. Weeks 40 through 52 are rough and I save lower amounts like 5, 6, 7 dollars. The amount you save doesn’t have to match the week your on. Works very well if you know your good and bad times.

  • melaine says:

    I think this is a great idea on a way to save money a little at a time over the course of the year. It seems simple to do and easy to succeed. It’s something that I’m willing to give a try at the very least.

    I haven’t had an emergency fund for over 2 years now, and living paycheck to paycheck causes me a lot of stress. I need a way that can help me build one so can get rid of some of this stress. This looks like a good plan to start. Thank you.

  • Nannette says:

    I am not a regular reader, but I enjoyed this piece and decided to comment. The 52 week challenge looks like it’s something that anyone could accomplish if they put a little effort into it. I like the idea of choosing the amount each week rather than starting from $1 and progressing to $52. I think I would stumble doing that, but if I can choose each week, I could knock off some of those bigger numbers early. I think I’ll give it a try.

  • Shirleen says:

    Where’s the best place to keep money for this challenge so that it doesn’t get spent on other things. Should I keep it in a separate bank account or at home in a jar?

    • You should keep it someplace that you won’t accidentally (or purposely) spend it. A separate account would work. An online account would also work. A jar at home would work if you have the discipline not to touch it. The best course of action is to do what will work best for you — you know yourself best, so choose something you know will allow you to save the money each week.

  • yolanda says:

    Can I start this at any time or do I have to wait until the beginning of the year? I would like to start now, but won’t it get confusing if i start now instead of when the year begins?

    • You can start anytime. It just means that you’ll end the challenge this time next year. As long as you cross off your numbers each week, there shouldn’t be any confusion where you are in the challenge and what amounts you still need to save.

  • Polly says:

    Thanks for the wonderful idea. I love it and I think I can do it. I’m starting next Monday!

  • august says:

    I’m happy that a friend sent me to this challenge. I think it’s something that I can do and I want to try. A dollar a week isn’t a lot, but it adds up over the year. I think this will help since I have had trouble saving money in the past. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Knorr says:

    I’m going to try this beginning today!

  • Damian says:

    This is a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to give it a try and build my emergency fund. Thanks for the idea!

  • Janeen says:

    I’ve been looking for a way to start my emergency fund and this may be the perfect way for me to do it. It seems possible, unlike many other things I’ve tried. I’m hopefully optimistic I’ll have over $1000 in it next time this year. Starting this week.

  • freddy says:

    I’m in. I’ll update this again very soon to tell everyone how I’m doing.

  • kitty says:

    I’m not that much of a online reader, but I’m happy I came across this idea. I was hoping to find something that could help me create an emergency fund, and this seems to be a good fit. I hope I can succeed. Please wish me luck!

  • bilar says:

    I’m on board. Thanks for such a creative idea on saving money.

  • ward says:

    How many people have continued with this challenge? It’s August now, so half the year is over. Are people still saving money or have they given up. It sounds easy, but do people really follow through? That’s the real question.

  • betsy says:

    Howdy! I think this is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it out. Trying to save an emergency fun is something I have always struggled doing, so I’m hopeful this will be the solution. It seems like a fun and easy way to save. Wish me luck!!!

  • lauren says:

    This is genius!

  • andrea says:

    Count me in as another who is going to try this.I need something to motivate me to start an emergency fund and this seems like it will do the trick. Thanks for the idea!

  • orange peeler says:

    I’m in as well. I’m not even going to wait until the beginning of the year. I’m going to start today!

  • shannon says:

    I’m not sure why but I don’t think this is such a great idea. How is anyone supposed to save over $200 in December when it’s Christmas. That’s just not possible. I think you need to come up with a better system so i can save money easier.

    • marie says:

      The idea is that you save specific numbers when you can. You don’t have to wait until Christmas to save the bigger numbers. If you know you’re going to be tight in those months, save the higher numbers ($40+) in another part of the year. You don’t have to save in order. Wait until December to save your $1 for instance.

      Also, you don’t have to start this challenge at the beginning of the year.

  • wilfred says:

    Nice post. I think everyone could benefit from saving a bit more money and this looks like a creative way to do it. The most important thing is to begin. Even if it’s a small amount, starting will do wonders for your savings in the long run. Make it a habit!

  • Juliann says:

    So, has anyone actually succeeded in completing this challenge?

  • frances says:

    Thanks for this marvelous posting idea! I’m in! Can’t wait for the new year to start and to put some money into my savings account!

  • Kaycee Fisher says:

    I did it in 2015, after 6 months of being unemployed in 2014. Happy to say I was able to save $1500.

  • scfr says:

    Why does this say “by Amanda Stewart”?
    This article was written by Jeffrey Strain,the former site owner who actually put in a lot of work and creative effort to write original, thought-provoking content.


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