I am sure many of you have seen the 52 Week Savings Challenge floating around social media. It’s a great way to get motivated and start saving from just £1 or $1 a week. And saving anything is better than saving nothing, isn’t it?
However, often as the amount increases, people feel that this type of saving is not very practical and possibly difficult to carry on with. I think that saving even a small amount every week is important, but the goal has to be achievable and it also needs to stretch you a little! There is no point saving £1 a week if you can afford to save £10.
So, for those of you, who have already tried the original challenge, here is my 52 Week Savings Challenge Alternative ideas.
But let’s revive first. How does the original 52 Week Money Challenge actually ment to work ?
The challenge is a simple way to start saving money, using the number of weeks in a year as a time motivator. Ideally, you want to start at the beginning of a year in January and put aside a £1 or a $1 or whatever your currency is for the first week, £2 for the second week and increase it by 1 as you go through the year. The last week in a year you should put away or save £52 or $52, which means that in a year you should save £ or $ 1,378.
What are the limitations of this money-saving challenge?
Don’t get me wrong. This challenge is great to get you started with saving and make it fun at the same time. It’s also brilliant that you slowly increase the amount that you need to safe and are not confronted with a large amount of money that you are trying to save.
But the problem is that you either don’t save enough or you find that towards the end of the year you can’t afford to save £40 or $40 a week. The chances are that you could afford to save say £15 – £25 each week throughout the year, which would give you about the same savings at the end but wouldn’t make you feel like you are failing if you can’t put away £40 a week.
If you try to start this challenge at the beginning of a calendar year, you’ll be trying to put aside the most money, when you probably can’t afford to save much, as the year gets close to the Christmas festive season.
So, with this in mind, lets have a look at some alternatives to the 52 week money challenge to help you to save money in a more realistic way!
52 Weeks Christmas Saving Fund Challenge
Ideally, you want to start this challenge in October/November to help you to spread the cost of your Christmas shopping for next year more evenly. Work out a realistic budget for your Christmas or holiday season spending. This should include gifts, food, entertainment, travel or any other cost associated with your seasonal spending.
Divide the cost by 52 and this gives you your weekly saving target.
52 Weeks 10% of your income saving challenge
If you have a regular income, you can do this challenge monthly too, but if like me, you have a variable income each week (and day!) it’s better to save week by week. Simply calculate 10% from your income and put this aside to a special saving account.
Stretch yourself a bit more with double the challenge
If you think that saving £ or $1378 is not enough for your saving pot, why not double up the challenge. Simply start with £2 or $2 and double the amount as you go.
52 Weeks Spare Change Saving Challenge
This one doesn’t start with a budget, but it’s a fun and easy way to get you started. Choose a day in a week – say Monday and on the same day empty your purse and put all your loose change into a jam jar (or piggy bank). You can decide, what you consider ‘loose change’ whether that’s all coins or just small coins.
You’ll not know how much you’ll save in a year, but to give you an idea every few months you should take the loose change to bank to put into your saving account to. This way you’ll know what you are saving and your money will be saved too.
1/2 or 1/4 of the 52 weeks money saving challenge
A whole year is a looooong time! Trying to save for something in a year can feel really demotivating. Imagine you are saving for a new fridge. The chances are that the type of fridge you want is going to feel outdated, you might change your mind or your old fridge won’t last a whole year and you’ll need to replace it anyway!
I think, you will feel a lot more motivated if you shorten the amount of time, say have the next 3 months as your target for saving. And of course, you’ll need to decide on the amount you want to save and what’s realistic. Starting from £1 or $1 won’t take you very far, so think about starting from £5 or £10 might be a better start.
Few notes on how to practically run this challenge
Set up a spare savings account
To keep you motivated, you should have a separate saving account for this challenge only. Seeing your savings go up will help you to keep going. If you add the saved money to your regular savings, you’ll soon forget what progress you’ve made or it will be easy for you to miss adding your savings amount each week!
Lock your money in
As a special dare, use a saving account with limited withdrawals per year. It’s ever so easy to make a withdrawal if you fancy having a big night out and your regular money has run out. But if you have only a few withdrawals a year, you’ll think twice about initiating that withdrawal.
Set up a direct debit for your savings
If you’ve made a decision to save a non-movable amount of money each week, you can also make things easier for yourself by setting up a direct debit to be paid into your chosen savings account from your regular account. This way, you won’t have to do this manually, but you’ll also have to make do if some weeks your money are tight! This is not a bad thing, it will just push you a little further into working out your food menus and finding ways to make your money go further, whilst knowing that it’s all for a good cause (your saving pot!)
More useful resources
PIN THIS FOR LATER