2019 New Year Savings Resolution: The 52 Week Money Challenge

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With every new year comes new changes, and 2019 is looking no different! While most people are gearin’ up to lose weight and eat healthier, many of us are looking to fatten our savings account instead. In fact, over 34% of Americans challenge themselves to improve their financial situation as their New Year’s resolution.

And we’ve got the perfect way to get started! Get your game face on start building your savings with the 52 Week Money Challenge!

What is the 52 Week Money Challenge?

Saving money is tough, we all know that. That’s why, according to a recent Statista poll, saving money comes in as the 4th most popular New Year’s resolution. It comes to no surprise either, with over 46% of Americans not even having $1,000 in their savings account!

Of course, if it were as easy as “just doing it”, we’d all have piles of money in our bank. So how do we start saving more? Well, just like our slogan says, there’s 2 key components to getting people interested in handling their money better.

  1. Make it easy
  2. Make it fun

That’s where the 52 Week Money Challenge comes in.

There’s no better way to get someone interested in doing something they don’t want to do, than making it fun and simple to understand.

The 52 week money challenge is simple. You begin by saving $1 this week and increase the amount you save by an extra $1, every week, for 52 weeks (or one whole year).

It’ll look like this:

illustration of a graph show the original 52 week challenge

On and on it goes, until your 52 weeks are up. The last 3 weeks would look like this:

  • Week 50 – save $50 dollars
  • Week 51 – save $51 dollars
  • Week 52 – save $52 dollars

By the end of your 52 week money challenge, you’ll have saved $1,378 dollars! Just that amount puts you above nearly 50% of all Americans. $1,378 is enough to save you during a financial crisis, pay for a vacation, or just give you some peace of mind!

Why you should try the 52 Week Money Challenge

What makes the 52 Week Money Challenge different? It turns a tedious, often difficult task into a pain-free, fun game. Studies have shown that taking challenging tasks and making them into a game improves retention rate by over 90%, that’s quite the increase!

Not only is it fun, but it’s also easy! The act of slowly easing you into the mindset of saving money will help turn something you struggle with, into a healthy habit that you’ll enjoy.

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.

Edmund Burke

The benefits

Why, a savings of course!

Considering that a terrifying 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, it’s no wonder why we’re grasping for a new way to save. But what’s so important about savings anyway? We cover that more in depth over here, but a measly $1,000 in savings can, well, save us, from over 90% of all financial disasters we’ll face in our life.

With the ease of smartphones, apps, instant access to our banks and so much more, there’s no better and easier time to change our money problems than now!

Did you know? Even above poor spending habits, not having a safety net is the #1 driving rate of our record-breaking 1 trillion dollars in credit card debt. Stay financially secure by building your savings!

Different ways to do the 52 week money challenge

Of course, there are a few drawbacks with the original challenge. For some, starting out with a slow burn is tough to feel like it’s making much difference. For others, the thought of coming into November and December saving nearly 50 bucks every week just isn’t feasible.

Lucky for you, the challenge is flexible enough to fit just about anyone. Here are a few alternative ideas to consider if the original challenge isn’t your cup of tea.

The Descent

Prefer to start things off with a bang? Try this one out! Instead of starting out at 1$ and climbing to $52, do the opposite.

Crazy, I know, but hear me out. By starting out the challenge right from the get-go at $52, you can avoid some of the downsides of the original challenge. Primarily, the Christmas fiasco.

illustration of a graph show the descent 52 week challenge

It’s ok, we all tell ourselves we won’t overspend during Christmas time, and someday, we totally won’t! But let’s be real, we’re probably going to. By doing this challenge in reverse, you’ll only be required to save a few bucks each week, all the way up to Christmas. That’s a whole lot easier than $50!

The downside? You’re kicked in the gut pretty hard right from the get-go. Of course, if you’re prepared to save that much and can stick with it, then by all means, start saving!

The Pyramid

Can’t stomach the thought of putting away $50 right now, but don’t want to end up saving a ton during the Holidays? Then this just might be the one for you.

Keep in mind, this one will end up saving a bit more money (which is a GOOD thing), you’ll end up saving a little over $1,400 in the end. The pyramid challenge is a “meet in the middle” approach rather than committing to one end or the other.

How’s it work? Instead of saving $1 + $1 every week – double it. You’ll start saving $2, doubling it each week until you’re saving $52 by week 26. Once you’ve hit week 26, you’ll start reducing the amount you save by $2 each week. By the end of the year, you’ll be back down to saving only a few bucks a week!

illustration of a graph show the pyramid 52 week challenge

This is a helpful way to ease into saving, but also not be slammed at the end of the year. The Pyramid method is particularly effective if you work extra hours during the summer (such as a construction or utility workers and students).

The Wave

Last but not least, The Wave. This one’s a bit more complicated, but hey, if it works for you, that’s all that matters.

The idea behind the wave is that you start at $10 each week, rising by $10 each week of the month. Depending on the month, you’ll end up saving $40 or $50 by the last week. At the start of every new month, you reset back to $10.

By the end of the year, you’ll be sitting on $1,400 saved!

illustration of a graph show the wave 52 week challenge

This is an effective method if you’ve got a very steady flow of income or get paid on a weekly basis. It helps avoid the slow-burn phase and keeps you safe from the Holiday craze! The downside is that you’re saving a pretty hefty chunk towards the end of each month.

Of course, the other methods require you to save a hefty chunk for a longer period of time, so to each their own.

Tips for saving money

Will power is a fickle beast, and staying on track with our financial goals is the hardest part of saving money.

As such, we’ve put together some helpful tips and tools that will keep you on the path and finally stay true to those resolutions!

Tips for saving money #1: Make a budget

Having trouble getting started simply because you can’t find a measly dollar to put away? Then it’s time to get yourself a budget. To make it even easier, we’ve laid out a 5 step plan on how to build an awesome budget.

There’s simply no better tool available for finding where you pinch pennies than getting yourself a good ‘ol budget. I guarantee you’ll be astounded at where your money is going every month.

Just as an example, the average American spends at least $20 on coffee, every week. That’s over $1,000 per year in just coffee! Now, I’m a coffeeholic too, so rightful I can’t tell you to just quit coffee. But simply cutting your buzz addiction down to $13 a week, you’d be a third of the way to your savings goal already!

Did you know? Think that’s bad? In a recent study conducted by Acorn, it showed that 1 in 3 Millenials spend more on coffee every year than they do on retirement!

Tips for saving money #2: Set reminders

illustration of a phone.

Got a phone? Of course you do. Use that handy device to your advantage and set weekly reminders so you never forget to save that money! Consistency is key here, we’re challenging ourselves to hit a milestone, and there’s no slackin’ allowed.

By the time week 52 comes around, you won’t even have to think anymore. Saving money will be like walking the dog by the time we’re done.

Speaking of phones…

Tips for saving money #3: Make technology your best friend

We live in an incredible time, with the power of near limitless knowledge and potential at our fingertips.

Here at Financillustrations, we’re all about personal empowerment, and finding that spark people need to get excited about money again. That means getting past the gloom and doom of debt, bills and other expenses we don’t want to pay. Instead, we’re here to crush goals, complete challenges, and for the first time, give ourselves a sense of fulfillment when it comes to our money.

That’s why we suggest using the Qapital app.

Qapital is an awesome little tool that lets you budget, set goals, create challenges and even compete against friends. In fact, Qapital has its own 52 Week Challenge pre-built into the app. All you have to do is hit a button and your funds will automatically transfer to your savings account for you.

Not only that, you can set up custom events – like putting 5 bucks into your coffee fund after you visit your favorite hiking spot. Feel guilty sitting around playing video games? Make a fund to add a few dollars for every mile you walk. The sky’s the limit with what you can come up with, so get creative!

There’s no better way to remember to save than not having to remember at all. Technology can do the dirty work for you, so use it!

Use a high yield online savings account

What did I say about technology? Not only are there some neat apps out there to make your life easier, but there are also online banks too! That’s right, online banking has made things almost stupidly easy to safely build our savings.

The advantage of online banks is that, because their upkeep is so low, their savings accounts often have significantly higher interest rates.

Personally, we use Ally our savings safety cave. Their savings account can climb all the way up to 2.2% interest, which is basically the equivalent of having your money stuffed away in a certificate of deposit – without any of the hassle. It’s awesome! At least, we think so.

The “downside” to high yield accounts is that they often take 3 or 4 days to withdraw from. But when it comes to emergency savings, you shouldn’t be touching that money in the first place.

So get yourself an online account and start growing that money even more!

TL;DR

The 52 Week Money Challenge is just one of many ways to turn the tough fight of saving money into an easy win.

Think of saving money much like our financial version of exercising. If you haven’t been doing it regularly, it’s tough to get started. Not only that, it can feel like you’re making no progress when you first jump in. I know it may seem difficult, but if you stick with it and make it fun, you’ll start building healthy habits in no time!

One of the key elements to improving your life is having financial security and peace of mind. Set some attainable goals and start winning those financial battles one step at a time, you’ll be amazed at the positive effect it can have on your life!


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