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Stash More Cash with a 52-Week Money Challenge

Saving money is a hot topic right now, and rightly so, after the multitude of financial hurdles you survived throughout 2022. With inflation cooling off somewhat, it’s time to focus on increasing your savings, so you have a security net when unexpected expenses come your way.

We wish we could take credit for the 52-Week Money Challenge that’s circulating the internet, but we’re sharing it instead because First Florida Credit Union is an advocate for encouraging people to save.

What is the 52-Week Money Challenge?

The challenge comes from the idea that small moves can make big impacts over time. The savings challenge is broken into 52 weeks, which makes up a year’s worth of savings. Starting with only $1 in week one, you’ll increase that deposit amount by one dollar more each week until you reach week 52 and make your last $52 deposit. The breakdown looks like this…

Week Deposit Total Savings Week Deposit Total Savings
1 $1 $1 27 $27 $379
2 $2 $3 28 $28 $406
3 $3 $6 29 $29 $435
4 $4 $10 30 $30 $465
5 $5 $15 31 $31 $496
6 $6 $21 32 $32 $528
7 $7 $28 33 $33 $561
8 $8 $36 34 $34 $595
9 $9 $45 35 $35 $630
10 $10 $55 36 $36 $666
11 $11 $66 37 $37 $703
12 $12 $78 38 $38 $741
13 $13 $91 39 $39 $780
14 $14 $105 40 $40 $820
15 $15 $120 41 $41 $861
16 $16 $136 42 $42 $903
17 $17 $153 43 $43 $946
18 $18 $171 44 $44 $990
19 $19 $190 45 $45 $1,035
20 $20 $210 46 $46 $1,081
21 $21 $231 47 $47 $1,128
22 $22 $253 48 $48 $1,176
23 $23 $276 49 $49 $1,225
24 $24 $300 50 $50 $1,275
25 $25 $325 51 $51 $1,326
26 $26 $351 52 $52 $1,378

At the end of week 52, you’ll have saved $1,378!

How to Get Started

All you need is a basic savings account to get started.  This can be a primary or secondary savings account with your current financial institution. You could also find a high-yield savings account online with no minimum balance required that’s separate from your current financial institution where you transfer funds into the account. A separate savings account can make it less tempting to withdraw your funds on a whim.

Here’s a quick to-do list to get you started:

  • Establish a savings account to transfer your funds weekly.
  • Use a mobile banking app or online banking to make quick transfers.

You’re all set!

How to Make the 52-Week Challenge Fit Your Needs

With the plan as-is, you’re saving weekly. However, if you’re paid bi-weekly and would rather make one deposit every payday, you’ll combine two weeks and make one total deposit. So, for example, week one requires $1, and week two requires $2, making your combined deposit on week two $3. Simple enough, right?

But, let’s say that every year come December, you struggle financially because of the holidays, and you’re concerned that you won’t be able to save $52 that week. You can flip the schedule to begin your weekly challenge with $52 and work your way down to depositing just $1 for your last week of December. The plan is to help you save money, so it’s okay if getting there looks slightly different than what we’ve laid out in the chart above.

But how will you keep track? That’s simple too.

How to Stay on Track

Either print out the schedule or have a copy on your computer and cross it off each week as you complete the deposit. This may seem like extra work, but changing behaviors requires action, which keeps you fully engaged with your savings plan.

If you want something more automated, try these tips:

  • Choose one day that you’ll deposit your savings. Then, stick to that same day each week to stay consistent.
  • Set a weekly or bi-weekly reminder on your calendar so you never forget.

Why We Like It

The 52-Week Money Challenge is an excellent plan for someone new to saving or particularly challenged by the idea of saving. This plan offers a low entry barrier, just $1 to start. So, getting over the mental hurdle of saving is much easier than parting with a more considerable sum, like $100, every time you get paid. The most you’ll deposit in one week is $52, or $103 for the final two weeks if you’re making deposits bi-weekly.

We also like this plan because it gets you into the pattern of consistently saving and offers you a hands-on approach that creates good financial behaviors.

If you’re ready to fast-track your savings but need help finding more money in your budget, start by trimming your grocery spending. Try these 7 Tips to Reduce Your Grocery Bill Without Giving Up Your Favorite Foods.  

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