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Twists on the 52 Week Savings Challenge Finally Make Saving Easy

Brittney Monteith | December 21, 2016

It’s no secret that many Americans struggle with saving. In fact, this BankRate survey found that only 37% of respondents could pay for a $500 – $1,000 unexpected expense with the money in their savings account. We encourage all of our members to be proactive with savings, whether it is to create a cushion for hard times or to save towards a specific financial goal. If you’ve ever struggled with developing a savings plan for your lifestyle, then give the 52 week money saving challenge a try. This popular savings challenge has made the rounds on social media and helped many families easily jump-start their savings.

The Rules

The original rules of the 52 week money saving challenge start with putting $1 into your savings during the first week. Each consecutive week, you increase the dollar amount that you save. For example, $5 for week five, $25 for week 25, etc. The most you’d save in a week is $52 during the last week of the challenge, bringing your total savings to $1,378.

Breaking the Rules

There are an infinite amount of ways you can complete this 52 week challenge. The main benefit to the original rules is that, if you’re not accustomed to saving money, the savings plan starts you out gradually to get you used to consistently putting away money. One way to break the rules is to turn the challenge around. Instead of starting by saving $1, start by saving $52 the first week and then decreasing the amount down to $1. Proponents of this method argue that:

  1. Since you’ll see results quicker ($250 on week five vs. $15) you’ll stay motivated to complete the challenge.
  2. If you’re starting in January, it will be easier to put aside a greater amount of money during that month than December, when the holidays are in full swing.

52 Cards of Savings

This twist on the traditional challenge uses a deck of cards. Each week you draw a card and place the value of the card in your savings account. Jacks have a value of $20, queens a value of $30, kings a value of $40, and aces are worth $50. All numerical cards go by the number on the card. Once a card is drawn, write the date on it with a marker and save it as a reminder of your deposit. By the end of the year, the savings would total $776. Want to save even more money? Multiply everything by 2 and you save $1,552 per year!

52 Rolls of Dice Challenge

Take 5 dice from your favorite board games and each week roll them all. Add up the values and deposit that much money into your savings account. The highest possible annual savings would be $1,560 and the lowest possible savings would be $312. Want to make it even more interesting? Double the roll on the first week of each month. That increases the maximum savings to $1,920 and the minimum to $384. Additional variations are to not accept a roll under a certain amount or to double special rolls like straights or matching dice.

Tip from the experts:

It doesn’t matter how you complete the 52 week money saving challenge, only that you do complete it. Don’t feel limited to the suggested amounts or methods. Double the suggested amounts, or save the same amount each week – whatever makes you excited about saving and makes the activity your own.

Stay Motivated

52 weeks is a long time to stay motivated about a savings plan. Use these tips to help you reach the end of the challenge:

  • Save the money in a bank or credit union savings account, not in a piggy jar or checking account. Keeping your savings inconvenient to reach decreases the temptation to spend them.
  • Set up automatic transfers from your checking to savings account through your financial institution’s online banking. This makes the challenge easier and lets you save without jumping through hoops.
  • Create an end goal for your savings plan. What will you use that money for? Is it for an emergency fund or a down payment on a new car? Creating a goal will keep you motivated throughout the entire 52 weeks.

Don’t Stop at 52 Weeks

Remember that once the savings challenge ends, your savings plan shouldn’t. Think about what you’ll do once you complete the challenge. How will you continue challenging yourself to save? Let us know in the comments what tricks you’ve used to continue growing your savings account.

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