Understand It’s Not About Saving a Specific Amount of Money
While your goal for the year may be to save a certain amount of money, the true goal of this type of challenge isn’t the money you’re able to save during the 52 weeks. The true goal of this challenge is a lifetime change to help you form the habit of saving money each and every week. Once you understand this, the amount you save each week isn’t nearly as important as you putting aside something each week, no matter how little that amount may be.
Determine Where the Saved Money Is Going
The more specific you can be on where the money you will be saving for the challenge will go, the more effective it will be to bettering your finances. When you are saving toward a specific goal, especially one you strongly want to achieve, you will have more motivation to complete the challenge even when it gets difficult. For example, instead of saying you’re saving the money to pay off debt, get specific about the debt. Do you have a certain debt that bothers you much more than the others? Choose to use the 52 week money saving challenge to attack and get rid of that specific debt. The more specific you can be on where the money you save will be going, the better.
Personalize Your 52 Week Money Saving Challenge
You know yourself better than any premade challenge does, and what little things are most likely to keep you motivated to complete the challenge. For example, if you like a certain type of chocolate, allow yourself a small piece of it when you complete putting aside that week’s money goal. By attaching small rewards for achieving the goal each week, you make the challenge a more positive experience which, in turn, will make it much more likely to become a long-term habit.
Make Your 52 Week Money Saving Challenge Realistic
One of the big issues many people have with the classic 52 week money saving challenge is that even though it appears easy to accomplish due the the beginning being such low amounts, the reality is it isn’t realistic for a lot of people. If you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, it’s not likely you’ll be able to put away $200 (weeks 48 – 52) at during the holiday shopping season.
Being able to choose the amount you save each week makes it much more realistic to complete the challenge, but be willing to choose a more appropriate challenge, or create your challenge in such a way that it optimizes the chances of success. For example, maybe you know that you can save $5 a week at the minimum so you make this your base. In this scenario, you would try to save the highest amount you could, but not matter what, you would put at least $5 aside each week. You know your current finances better than anyone, so create your challenge to reflect this reality, while at the same time challenging you to save as much as possible.
By taking the time to create your challenge to reflect your current financial situation, and to make it more realistic for you to achieve, you will get a lot more from the challenge rather than simply using the default everyone else is using. By putting in a bit of time upfront, you can create a challenge that’s more likely to have lasting benefits for you and your finances.
(Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo)