People make New Year’s Resolutions every year…and they almost always include saving money.
Later, at half-way through the year, people tend to re-evaluate where they are against those early goals. For most people, they tend to have fallen very short of where they should be.
And yet we keep going through this loop, never really making progress!
But when it comes to getting much better at saving money throughout the year, we’ve got the surefire solution you need — the 52 Week Money Challenge!
Sometimes adopting frugal living habits is great for helping you get your spending under control, but that isn’t necessarily enough to also make sure that you are actually setting money aside and saving money each month.
My favorite thing about this challenge is how versatile it is — you can tweak the weekly amounts to easily turn it into a 26 Week Money Challenge, group the weeks together to become a 12 Month Money Challenge, and use it to save literally any amount of money by year-end in a super simple and incremental way!
What is the 52 Week Money Challenge?
Before I get ahead of myself, you may not have ever heard of the 52 Week Money Challenge, so I’ll explain.
There are multiple ways to use this challenge, so we’ll be covering the most easily attainable one in this article.
It’s as simple as this: there are 52 weeks in a year. You’re going to assign a dollar amount to each week, as it corresponds to the week of the year.
For the first week of the year, you’re going to put just $1.00 into savings.
For the second week of the year, you’re going to put just $2.00 into savings.
For the third week, $3.00; for the fourth week, $4.00; etc.
Add all that up and by the end of the year, after saving money every week, you’ll have put $1,378 into savings!
52 Week Money Challenge Printable
Keeping track of this might be a little trickier than some people like…after all, it’s hard to know what week number of the year it is at a moment’s notice!
We’ve taken the guesswork and struggle out of this seriously simple money challenge by creating an easy-to-use printable, so you can keep track of your weeks and savings amounts more easily!
Who is the 52-Week Money Challenge For?
This challenge is for literally everyone, regardless of age, job status, income level, anything!
If you’ve got a savings goal, then you need a good money challenge! This challenge is perfect for:
True, while some economic situations make it a lot more challenging to be able to put money away, with a little conscious effort to keep on track with savings, and possibly a little work on refining your budget (and possibly shrinking it), it is entirely doable!
For kids especially, this is a REALLY awesome challenge to get them well on their way to a lifetime of financial education and intelligence.
With easy to predict amounts, there is no reason why they can’t plan ahead whenever they might get birthday money or a job income, teaching them valuable, lifelong money lessons!
That said, do keep this in mind: if following the 52 Week Money Challenge, or any variation of it, would put you into debt, prevent you from meeting your minimum obligations (i.e. covering all your expenses), or anything else negative, then we strongly advise against doing this or any other money challenge until you’ve either increased your income to compensate, or gotten your debt under control and within budget.
Other Variations of the 52-Week Challenge
So as mentioned above, there are multiple ways to use this challenge.
The easiest method is saving the amount that equals what week of the year it is. We’ll list some other variations and main points about them here, in brief, since they mostly follow the same sort of format/rules.
Do note that a number of these larger amount challenges can be found online split into differing amounts per week, but we think that, for example, having to remember (or find the money) to save $125 one week and $325 another week is just far too difficult for those who are on tighter budgets. Consistency is the key to success, after all!
52 Week Money Challenge $1,000
With this challenge, you’ll aim to save just $1,000 in the year.
To make it happen: In the simplest way, you’ll set aside $19.24 per week, and end the year with $1,000.48 in your savings account.
52 Week Money Challenge $2,000
With this challenge, you’ll aim to save slightly more – $2,000 in the year.
To make it happen: In the same manner as above, you’ll set aside $38.47 for savings each week, to end the year at $2,000.44.
52 Week Money Challenge $5,000
With this challenge, you’ll aim to save slightly more – $5,000 in the year.
To make it happen: In the same manner as above, you’ll set aside $96.16 for savings each week, to end the year at $5,000.32.
52 Week Money Challenge $10,000
With this challenge, you’ll aim to save slightly more – $10,000 in the year.
To make it happen: In the same manner as above, you’ll set aside $192.31 for savings each week, to end the year at $10,000.12.
52 Week Money Challenge Backwards
With this challenge, you’ll end up with the exact same amount of money as with the originally outlined method above, $1,378 in savings, but you’ll put the weekly savings amounts in reverse order.
To make it happen: Using a simple chart/spreadsheet or even a scrap piece of paper, write down numbers 52 to 1, in reverse order. Starting with $52 and working your way back down, this is the amount you’ll save each week — week 1, you’ll save $52, week 2 you’ll save $51, etc. until you’ll only need to set aside $1 the last week of the year.
52 Week Savings Plan Doubled
With this challenge, you’ll aim to save slightly more – $2,756 in the year.
To make it happen: You can use the same chart as for the original 52 Week Money Challenge, but instead of saving the dollar amount listed (that corresponds to the week number), you’ll save double whatever amount is listed there. So in week 1, you’d save $2.00, in week 2 you’d save $4.00, etc.
52 Week Money Challenge BiWeekly
This challenge has you combine every other week into one amount, to better match a biweekly paycheck schedule.
To make it happen: You’ll simply add together every 2 weeks in a row into one target savings amount. Week 1+2 is your first savings amount ($3), week 3+4 is the next time (and amount – $7) that you’ll save, etc.
Money Saving Ideas to Help You Crush the 52 Week Money Challenge
Organize your finances
It’s important that before you go into ANY money saving challenge efforts, you get a very good handle on your financial picture.
Knowing your credit score, your total debts owed, your total monthly income, etc., are all critical pieces of information that you’ll need.
The last thing you want to do is put money aside if that puts you over your budget for the month — it does you absolutely no good to save money all year if it just ends up putting you into debt by the same amount (or more) by the end of the year!
If you’ve got obligations that absolutely MUST be paid and this challenge would make it impossible for you to keep those payment promises, then we’ll say it again: this is NOT something you’ll want to start doing!
Know where you stand financially and make sure you’ve got things under control before you dive in!
Budget your money
I’ll say this plainly: there is absolutely no way you’re going to truly make the most of this challenge (or feel like it was truly the easy savings plan that it is) if you don’t have a solid budget.
When you first get started, it will be easy to find another dollar here and a few dollars there. But once you get up to the $20 or $30 per week amounts, and higher, it will get trickier and trickier to find that “loose change” equivalent in your paycheck.
If you haven’t made a point to budget your money before now, make a point to do so before starting this challenge. All you need is a solid budgeting method and you’re sure to see some serious money success coming your way!
Change your mindset
We’re going to get real here for a minute.
If you don’t budget, don’t keep track of debts, net worth, etc., and don’t have a strongly rooted belief that saving money is the most important use you can put your money to, then you’re going to struggle with any money challenges.
The reason for that is because you’re most likely a spender, not a saver.
If you aren’t conscientious about making purchases based on long-term value, or if you constantly have a need for “stuff” or the “next big thing,” then you simply don’t have your head in the right space to be saving money.
The fact that you’re reading this and clearly thinking about saving money is awesome, don’t get me wrong.
But if you’re the type to go on a weekly “let Target tell me what to buy” shopping trip, then you’re going to get pretty disgruntled with this challenge well before the end of it. Even if you do it in reverse (starting with $52 saved week 1), you’re still likely to hate it and have a tough time riding it out.
You’ll be stuck thinking about all the stuff you could have had instead of putting that money away to sit and “do nothing.”
Start working on changing your money mindset by making it a goal to NEVER spend money, and get strict about needs versus wants.
Side Hustles to Increase Your Chances of Winning the 52 Week Money Challenge
So obviously I mentioned a few times that some of the variations of this challenge (and even the main version itself) can be fairly tough to reach some weeks.
But maybe you’re already running on a bare-bones budget and money is crazy tight. What’s a hopeful saver to do?
Make some more money, that’s what!
Now before you argue that you can’t just “get a raise” or pick up a part-time job that quickly, I’m here to argue that yes you can.
You need a side hustle!
You know us, you know we love a good side hustle (and if you’ve followed our income reports, you know that it’s definitely possible to make a side hustle your main hustle)!
Some of our absolute favorite and totally doable side hustles are:
Pick one of these and get started today, and get ready to start making and saving some serious money!
Final Thoughts on the 52 Week Money Challenge
This is a money challenge that we honestly think everyone should make a point to do, and on a yearly basis if possible!
Our reason is that it first forces you to make it a priority to save money first, instead of spending it, but also becomes a great way to do a self-challenge year after year.
This year, do the regular 52 Week Money Challenge. Next year, do the 52 Week Savings Plan Doubled. The year after, try something like the 52 Week Challenge $5,000, or make your own “52 Week Savings Plan Tripled” or more!
The most important thing to remember, though, is this: whatever amount you save, even if you fall short and don’t complete the challenge, is still an accomplishment to be proud of. Remember the old saying: money saved is money earned!