Why I think the "52 Week Money Challenge" isn't the best idea out there…

52 Week Money Challenge

Have you see this posted on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter?  Surely you’ve seen it by now, it seems everyone I know is sharing it like it’s a magic diet pill for your finances.  We all know diet pills don’t work and while this challenge may work, it’s just silly.

The premise is this…

Week 1 you deposit $1 into a jar
Week 2 you deposit $2 into the jar
Week 3 you deposit $3 into the jar
Week 4 you deposit $4 into the jar

…all the way until week 52 where you deposit $52 into the jar.  At this time you’ll have saved $1,378.00.

In case you care what my opinion is on the subject…

I think this is a bit silly for a myriad of reasons, but for starters how do you know come 11+ months from now you’ll have an extra $200/month to deposit into the jar?  If you have that much now, why not start saving the $52/week right right away?  This is way more complicated than it should be because each and every week will be a different amount.  My guess is that many people will fall off the wagon half way through the year.  This is a band-aid and not a solution for financial irresponsibility.  There I said it.  This is for people who can’t manage their money and find themselves broke at the end of the year.  Which isn’t YOU.  You are here because you know how to live frugally or you’re learning how – way to go!

If you budget money for all of your expenses on a monthly basis, you will have the money in place for all of life’s needs.  Christmas budget, car maintenance, back to school clothes, etc.   Think of budgeting (we suggest the envelop budget method) like stockpiling toothpaste – when you need it, it will be there.  When your radiator explodes (do they do that?) then you’ll have the money that has been building up in your car maintenance envelope to take care of the problem.

What do I suggest doing instead of the 52 Week Money Challenge?  

FIRST set aside a percentage of your income each and every month to be automatically drafted out of your bank account into your savings account.   When you have an emergency fund in place ($1000 minimum) and IF you are debt free then start investing your money.  But this $1, $2, $3 a week thing is for the birds in my opinion.  If your family makes $4000/month and you put 5% into savings that’s $200/month and at the end of 12 months you’d have $2400. Or if you’re stuck on the $1,378 number then you can depositing $26.50 per week into the jar (or savings account).  Either way you must ask yourself:  “What is the purpose I have intended for this money?”  That is a vital part to this equation.

HOWEVER like I mentioned briefly above, it all depends on what this money is for. Is it for an emergency fund or a Christmas budget?  If your money doesn’t have a purpose assigned to it there’s a much higher chance you’ll raid the funds when something unexpected comes up.  You need to have 2 different things in place:

  1. a budget that covers your day to day and month to month expenses and
  2. a savings plan that will cover emergencies.

That’s it for now until you’re debt free – then invest the extra, don’t stick it in a jar.

WHO I think this will work for would be someone who is learning to get in the habit of saving but even still I’d suggest starting with a flat weekly amount and not bothering with changing amounts each and every week.

I know this is a super popular savings method that popped up seemingly out of nowhere over the past couple of months so I’d like to hear what your thoughts are.  Do you disagree with my thoughts on this method?  Are you in the middle of this program, if so how is it working out?  I’m looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!

 


Comments

  1. Kris says

    How about the fact that it’s FUN?! Not everything in life has to be dead serious. Sometimes doing silly things (that as a byproduct net you an extra $1,300 at the end of a year) can be a way to add a little fun into your life. It’s also an EXCELLENT life lesson for the kids. It teaches them the idea of starting small and building up to great things… it teaches multiplication/division/addition/subtraction with the chart… it sets an attainable goal to have fun with… and it teaches them to stick to something they have started. How do you know you’ll have an extra $200 in month 11 you ask? Because you have started small and gradually cut out “just one more little thing” to reach the next goal amount and because you are having fun reaching your goal. (Of course even if you start saving the $52/wk now, assuming you have it, you don’t KNOW you’ll still have that by month 11… we never KNOW what life will bring that’s part of the joy.) Of course a savings account with interest is smarter than a jar… and then you can teach the kids about compound interest as well. (Kids can start savings accounts with just a $1 at my bank.) So if it’s not FUN for you then pass, but don’t knock something that others may find a fun way to either get started or to add a little extra something to their savings.

    • Leslie says

      My 7 year old and I are doing this together. I am saving starting at a dollar a week and we changed it for him to start at .25 cents a week. We love it and it is something we do together and at the end I will have 1000+ saved and he will have 200+ saved. It IS fun and no I dont think it should be peoples only savings plan but to do it as a fun way to save AND teach my son a lesson I think it is a great idea. Yes you do have valid points, but I do not feel you should knock ones attempt at trying to save.

    • Mindy says

      A group of ladies at work started this challenge at the begining of the year…and it is going well. However we added a few ‘rules’ to help out.
      1. you can’t be more than two weeks behind.
      2. you can pay for whichever week works best for you. Example: we were on week#6 however I had $40 left over from groceries so I paid for week #40. Just so long as I pay for week#6 at a different time.
      3. We are allowing you to have your money back at any time for situations that deem extreme.
      4. you can’t take from one savings account to pay into this challenge.
      We are enjoying the extra cash that will be ours at the end of the year. I personally will be paying off a portion of my student loans with the money. A co-worker will be using hers for a Vegas vacation, another for bathroom upgrade etc.

  2. Eryn says

    Sure, I could squeeze $26.50 a week into my jar, or I could do it this way and trick
    Myself into doing it. Whatever works!

  3. Jo says

    I think you are being pretty harsh in my opinion. I for one have taken the challenge along with several of my friends. Before I got married and had a child and other expenses, I was able to save a lot more. I now have a 401k and Roth but those are designed for automatic withdrawals and I don’t have to think much about t hem. I wouldn’t consider that “financially irresponsible”. This challenge is easy and a fun way for my friends and I to connect in a way that is positive and beneficial to our financial freedom. It may not be the best way, but I think that in the tough economic times we live in, any savings a person can do should be applauded.

  4. Ginny Logan says

    I’m doing it and I am not offended one bit by your post. I found it entertaining and you have very valid points. Like the first person said, it’s fun. That’s probably the #1 reason I’m doing it. I started doing it backwards with the hope of having even more saved by the end of the year because obviously if I can set aside $52 a week at the beginning I can do better then $1 at the end. We did get tight at the end of January and again this month so I skipped around. I went to a week that we could afford, but I am trying to knock out the big numbers first.

    Another idea that I had was to use my ING accounts that I have opened when they have the $50 bonus for opening. I renamed one of them my 52 week money challenge and transfer the money to it each week. Easy peasy for me since I’m more of a techy person then one to have cash in a jar. Plus it’s earning interest! :)

    I don’t know what the “extra” $1,378+ will be for, but God does. I use the word “extra” loosely since we are capable of saving that money without the plan just like you said in your post.

    Good read and good thoughts.

    • says

      Ginny Logan I love your idea of crossing amounts off as you’re able to and not strictly sticking to week 1 $, week 2 $2 etc etc…Will definitely be doing this challenge your way!

    • Jennifer says

      Ginny,
      I LOVE your idea of starting backwards. It’s a great idea for people who want to see quick results of their work. I also love the fact that you didn’t just completely skip saving for one week but rather put in what you could and marked that day off. This is good for sticking to a goal and not stressing when you can’t. At the end of the year you still meet your goal on time. I am giving this a go and will use your method.

      Thanks a milli.
      Jen

    • Sabrina says

      Ginny
      I am totally in sync with your post. It is a fun way to save!. I have a ROTH, a 401k, I even have some stocks, and other investments, but this is my spending money when I go on vacaction, my overall vacation money, or my Christmas shopping money. I can use it for whatever I like because I already have a maintenace fund, and an emergency fund.

      I have them set up to automatically be debited from my main account and deposited into ny ING account (after the $50 bonus for opening). Fun! Fun! Fun!

  5. Angela Willoughby says

    I didn’t want to keep up with what week and how much…so we decided to start saving $30.00 a week as well as 5% of the check to keep it simplified. We’ve had to borrow against it a time or two since, but it’s been paid back and the scheduled deposits are still made if we borrow from it. Our goal is to save $3k by the end of the year to either buy a car or put down on a car. Our financial situation is a bit taxed right now, but we’re nearly a third of the way there since we just got our tax return. :) Yay for saving money!

  6. Eunice says

    I totally agree people will fall off the wagon half way through that 52 week challenge, but that’s in any financial challenge. It’s all about control and commitment. I lean more toward the envelope system only because my money has a purpose. My husband and I started the envelope system in January on one income (husbands) and we manage to pay off 2 credit cards (both $300+ each). It’s astonishing how the money we paid those credit cards with, before were just floating in “throw away money” land all these years. After assigning names to our money, the little extra we did have we either save it or use it as a little bonus to ourselves. Challenge yourself to pay off that credit AND save money at the same time.

  7. Yvette says

    I love doing it! We switched it up though by randomly picking a number between 1 & 52 each week. We knew we wouldn’t have the money to save $50 each week come the end of the year (read: Christmas), and we also didn’t want to do it backwards. So we cut up 52 little numbers, put them in an envelope and every week we randomly draw a number. We love it!

    • Ernesto says

      I think the idea of the 52 week challenge is a good start point and like most have said it’s FUN. I have also gotten a bit more creative like some have said here and decided to write a dollar amount in increments on 52 popsicle sticks to have in the jar. Every week I pull out a popsicle stick and the $ amount on that stick is what I place into the jar. I have already pulled the $52 stick and the $1 stick. I do this with my kids and each one get to pull a stick one week at a time and they love it. Even though this may not be the “best” idea, finding fun ways to save makes it easier to do.

  8. Sarah says

    I did it to teach my kids how to save, not saving for a cruise to Italy or anything. Every two weeks I throw in an extra 20 or 40 to the jar, and when we get to a year we are going to vote on what to do with the money, we have thrown a disney trip out there, a tiger ( my son’s idea haha) they are super excited. And they have been adding tid bits of their allowance too.

  9. Cary says

    They are all practical application studies and what works for some may not work for others depending on where they are on the learning curve and how they learn best. If you think about it, this is the way we teach our kids all math skills: start with concrete and then move to the abstract. In economics, we start learning about money with envelopes or jars and real money and then move on to electronic funds and massive government budgets.
    The obvious next step to the 52 week challenge is to keep building up until you feel the difference and then keep your savings at that level. (In a bank account not a jar.) I think the idea is that people who habitually spend until they have none left will discover that they can make a big dent just by stopping the spending early.
    Obviously if you have debt, you are just fooling yourself about how much you can/need to spend and no gimmick will make you stop fooling yourself.
    The envelope system seems to be a good system that has worked for many but it is still just another visual aid to get you to the point where you can follow a budget. Really – your money is much safer in a bank acount.
    My favorite study for kids is to save a penny the first day, double each day until your house won’t hold all the pennies. (It won’t take long – less than a month.) That’s the power of compound interest at work.
    The bottom line is that our resources all come from God and should be used wisely. Going into debt is just our society’s polite way of taking what isn’t ours.

  10. Pamela says

    I can’t even keep track of paying my son an allowance so streamlining the savings plan is more efficient for me. I am all for streamlining my savings plans.

  11. Kim says

    I’m with you Julia. When I first saw this I looked at the end picture, because I’m a “big-picture” kind of gal. All I could see was big deposits right at Christmas time.

    Kudos to those who are doing this for fun, or to learn to save. However I am a realist. I think Julia is also. I don’t think it is “harsh” to be a realist, but when you visit sites like “theFRUGALfind” your intent is to pick up tips on living frugally. Julia (via Dave Ramsey and so many more) put forward tried and tested ways to save money. This weekly plan is a fad, and while fads may be fun, they may not be the best route for a family save long term, intentionally, and with their entire budget in mind.

    Thanks for piping up Julia. For our family we revisited our budget at the beginning of the year (even looking over ALL of last year’s expenditures). We’ve made some tweaks including savings, retirement and giving. We’re very happy to be telling our money what to do, instead of letting it slip through our fingers.

    • Krista says

      I’m not sure why people are so hung up on starting this in January? It’s June right now, and I’m going to start it this week. I’ll only be at the $26 level come Christmas.

      I guess my point is, if you don’t want to pay the $52/week at Christmas time, start it another time….

      • Anonymous says

        I started in june on purpose to avoid the big weeks around the holidays….I’m loving this challenge. Once my year is done I’m going to roll the money into a c d or something and start all over again. In the end it doesn’t matter how you do it….Just do it:0)

  12. Maria says

    I like the 52 Week Money Challenge becasue it’s ready to go. I don’t need to claculate what my budget needs to be, adjust it each week or month, make envelopes…I am not a stay-at-home mom (NOT THAT stay-at-home moms are not as busy!), I work full time and have a second job driving my kids around, attending my kid’s sports events, shopping and cooking for everyone – on a daily basis. I have the extra cash, not extra time to develop an intricate plan. Besides, the extra time I do have I need to give to myself to excercise, relax, get a massage so that I can continue to support myself and my family.

  13. Phyllis says

    I think it is a great way to ease people into savings who are not currently systemmatic savers. I am participting in the challenge I think its great . As a matter of fact I am doing this in additiona to saving 10% of my income . I am sure that it will get tougher as the year goes on , but at the end of the day this will be additional money that I would not have otherwise saved .

  14. Jay Pea says

    This is a good way to save money without thinking about it. Not all have a silver spoon and a penny saved is a penny earned. Be it for Christmas, a vacation or like me (extra spending fund after getting married next year in the Bahamas). This is something I will continue for retirement funds, as well as saving change in a 5 gallon water bottle. Don’t rain on everyone else parade because you might have a little more more change than some. All in all people are feeling good with saving in this poor economy.

  15. Niki Zucca says

    While it may not be the “best” method out there, I think it’s an innovative way to make saving money FUN. And it’s not difficult. I am extremely OCD when it comes to my budget/savings/etc. I actually enjoy sitting down and reworking our budget to find new ways to save us money. This 52 week program has just added a bit of structured fun into the mix. A lot of people who are trying this program out have an idea what they will be saving the money for (new clothes/vacation/pay off debt). My husband and I are just enjoying the fact that we are saving and will be adding this money to our emergency fund at the end of the year.

    And I don’t think it really matters if a person sticks with it 5 weeks-20 weeks- or the whole year. The fact of the matter is, it has probably INSPIRED many non-savers to save SOMETHING, and that in itself is wonderful.

  16. Timika Lavette says

    My thoughts…………the Challenge is a great idea for those whom need a little extra support. You seem to be very pessimistic. Oh well.

  17. Gail says

    With my husband and I both on fixed incomes, this is a great way for me to put a little aside each month. My husband doesn’t even know I’m saving money. I hope to save enough, eventually, to invest. I really like the idea since I’ve started.

  18. Jennifer says

    I love the 52 Week Money Challenge! My daughter has her first job and she is doing it with me. We will be using the money toward a trip next summer to Ecuador for her graduation.
    I am a teacher, and it costs me over $100 a week to commute to work. At week 26 I will start going backwards from week 52 so the more difficult months will be effortless since I will not be commuting during the summer. Also, by Christmas time I will only be putting in $27. Viva the money challenge!

  19. Karyssa says

    I think it is a great way for people who have a hard time getting into the swing of saving to work their way up to making the sound financial decision of building an emergency fund. Everyone is not fiscally responsible by nature.

  20. Karen says

    It’s a great idea for many reasons. My husband and I did it many years ago when money was tight. Now I am doing it with a group of friends to see who can stick to it. And the money will probably go to the oldest grand child’s bank account. And every year have another jar for the next grand child. I don’t think anyone’s going to get rich off of it but I’m not getting much interest on my retirement or savings. So really we are not losing but we are gaining.

  21. Resa says

    I think it’s a great idea! I saw it on facebook in the begining of the year. Later that day when I made it to work, I was talking to a friend about it. Then another came along and joined the conversation. Long story short, before we ended our shift we had about 15 people interested in this challenge. everybody is still on track so far!

  22. Mr. K Hall says

    115 a month will get you to 1380. I’m doing it and trying to show my 15 and 11 year old daughters how something so small, can turn into something big. Don’t matter how much you save, as long as you are saving something. IMO

  23. Tina says

    I like anything that encourages me (and others) to save money. It encouraged me to open a rolling CD and deposit into that every month> Any time I have loose change it goes in a jar and my 52 week money challenge (I started backwards with week 52 with $52 dollars) is in an interest bearing account. It made me get in the habit of paying myself first. The challenge was FUN and I knew that other people were doing it too. Maybe a mental thing…but made me save nonetheless.

    • Florence says

      I don’t disagree with you Julia, your ideas are good. However, my goal is to invest the $1300 at the end of the year for my grandsons. It a really cool way for me to get started without having to take the funds from my personal saving.

  24. Jason says

    I think this is a good idea for my kids. They are 7 & 9. I will set up a jar for each one, then at the end of the year we can take the money and put it in their savings accounts. They already know that time + money + compounding interest = wealth. I travel for work, and when I go through a drive thru and order food, they always give your change back to quick and I don’t have time to put it back in my wallet before they throw my food at me. So I throw my change in the ashtray and the bills in the console. At the end of the year or when I’m home for awhile, I have the kids go out and get all the money out of my truck. We split it between them and put it in their savings accounts.

  25. Marcy says

    Wow! Haters are everywhere. Most folks do not save, bottom line. Any method to encourage saving should be welcomed. This is an excellent idea!

  26. Angel says

    As someone/some people said above, it is a good way to get people started or restarted into saving. After being out of work for a long time and going back to school, I have just recently started back working. Of course my first couple of paychecks were used to catch up on bills. This was an excellent way to ease myself back into saving for myself and my children. I get the whole ‘week’ dollar amount, they get a third, as it is three of them. Maybe everyone, like myself, couldn’t start off with a big or even medium amount but we’re getting there. Lord willing, when I graduate this May and get into my chosen profession, I’ll be able to double it and/or go backwards from $52, starting in the summer months as to not have to put out so much at Christmas time. Either way, though, it’s a great thing for a lot of people. And I think I’ll make my girls start being an active part of this so they can see, as someone said above, that a little can turn into a lot with a little dedication and perseverance.

  27. Megan says

    I have started this a few years back for my kids. I live frugal and well within my means. Teaching my children how to save it’s a fun way to do it, at the end of every year now they get $200 to spend how they want only if they put the money away each week. Its been a great way for them to earn their money every week save it and get rewarded. My husband and I have their college funds already set up but this money can go to them when they turn 18 for whatever they need in life it’s a great way for them to start saving and learning about saving, reward and long term pay off. THEY LOVE IT!

  28. Sharon says

    I think it is just a fun way to play with numbers. People like
    Numbers. I am doing it with my 7 and 5 yr old. They really are interested in earning money. I told my son I would pay him to do extra things around the house to which he thoughtfully responded, “mom, if I earn money, it has to come from outside of our family otherwise it really isn’t a gain for us.” This boy is thinking! Plus it is teaching them to save, teaches them the value of money, that EVERY penny counts, and they are learning to count money and add. As a homeschool family I $ee this as a great many of lessons.
    We plan to use the money for a special vacation. We have never been on vacation as a family so it really will be special since they worked hard to save, collect and spend the money.

  29. Barb says

    It offers the opportunity for people to develop the habit of saving each week, starting out small and increasing as you go, relatively painlessly. And, like compound interest, it increases exponentially throughout the year. I started this in January and have been diligent with it. Like all habits in life, the daily success of consistency will help people become savers for the long term. If you want to save more, then you can double or triple the amount you put aside weekly. Totally FOR this plan!!

  30. LindaBrenda says

    I disagree with u Julia. Saving should be encouraged on any level. Living frugally, I can’t stand. While it may work for some, it does not work for me. Coupons may work for some, but coupons do not work for me. This is what works for me. I keep my monies separate at two separate banks: Bills/Spending. However, I save money in a multiplicity of ways. I AM doing the 52 week challenge and so far so good. First things first. I save off the top of the paycheck and not the bottom. I have a safe deposit box at the bank. I have several envelopes of money in it for various things, vacations, winter boots Uggs or Michael Kors, unexpected car repairs, etc. While I do have to physically go into the bank to put my money away. I am tickled to death at the hundreds of dollars that are in the various envelopes. I am less inclined to go into the bank to take the money out. I am also saving all 10 dollar bills haven’t decided for how long or what I’ll how I will use them. Weening my self from credit cards and debit cards, I give myself a weekly allowance, and I use my debit as a back up. I have also put all credit cards into the safe deposit box.

  31. Christine says

    I didn’t read through all the comments but I noticed a few that really resonated with me: I didn’t want to get to Christmas and a) use it for Christmas or b) have to come up with all that savings during the most expensive month of the year. (I’m still trying to figure out how I want to deal with that one.)

    I love your tip about having a purpose for the money, and I am realizing that’s what I’m missing. I feel like if I “end” the project in December and don’t have a specific name on the money then it’ll just get spent on Christmas. Gonna get me a Sharpie for that envelope right now!

    The Challenge does seem very juvenile to me, but something different to help me save is a good thing. For example, I use one of those coin counters with the digital read-out on it. Seems simple, but I LOVE being able to see how much is in there. Usually when I cash it in it’s $70-80: enough for mad money on a vacation or a night for the family at the ballpark. I don’t notice the change gone at all; sometimes I even ask for a dollar in quarters to throw in there.

    Love your blog…off to read some past posts!

  32. says

    I’m doing this challenge as well but not because of Christmas money but just to leave it there for unforeseen events that I have to do fly back home when there is a family emergency. My family are back in Asia so the airfare is expensive. By doing this challenge, it will be an ‘extra’ money to have when I truly need it. :) And btw, I love reading your posts!

    Anah

  33. Noelle says

    I think it’s fun. I am enjoying doing it and watching my money grow. For me it is a splurge account. If it doesn’t work for you then so be it. Don’t knock another person’s idea. No where does it show you will need $200.

    • Ashanti says

      I agree with you Noelle. The whole $200 issue is the fact that for the month of December you will actually need $202 if you’re following the challenge exactly. That’s one of the reasons many people start the challenge backwards and try to save that amount at the beginning instead of the end of the year. Personally, I think it’s smarter to save what you can when you can each week so I don’t follow the challenge exactly, but I still use it as a base. Why? Because it’s FUN! =)

  34. Ashanti says

    I’m loving this challenge. I’m still pretty young, but it made me think about the fact that I don’t have any savings at all. SO, not only did I start the challenge as soon as I found it (third week in January), but I also began sending a percentage of my check to a savings account I can’t get to easily. I could send all the money to my savings account, but I really like having the visual stimulation of the increasing money in my hands when I add to it. I also don’t follow the 52 week plan. I add whatever I can, which is often even more than that. I’ll modify when the year is over and send all the money I’ve saved to my savings account. Then I’ll start again next year and give myself a bigger challenge! I get excited just thinking about it, which never happened before when it came to saving money. I agree that it is a juvenile way to save, but it has made me pay money and attention to my savings. Next stop: investing! =D

  35. Gene says

    Not everyone can afford to set back 200$ each & every wk ! I’m starting mine now so this time next I can go to Fla . I am disabled & on a fixed income ,this is fun & works great for me !

  36. Danielle says

    Honestly, I do have a hard time saving money. It has always been a challenge for me. So when I saw this, I thought it would be a great idea to start slow and continue to build up each week. I like the fact that it requires more at the end of the year, because it will challenge me to really think about what Christmas is all about. I started in January, and I’m pretty excited about where I am so far. When next January rolls around, I’m going to keep it adding to it until I can get to 100 a week…Saying it now seems like a dream, but if you were to tell me that I could save this much so far, I would have laughed. I do have the envelopes as well, and am paying credit cards off too..but I needed to start an emergency fund! Thanks for all your suggestions…

  37. Jane Ann Murphy says

    I too saw this on Facebook & decided to try it. I brought in my change I saved in a can at the beginning of the year. That totaled $104.00. I was able to cross off weeks 51,52 & 1 at one time. I had to use it one time, but was able to replace it. I’m now going backward saving a smaller amount each week. I now have over $700. Anyway to save.
    It can’t hurt.

  38. Sabine says

    I started this in July of this year to save money for next years summervacation. And while on holiday in July or August next year, I intend to have started (again in July) to save for the following year. And because at the start I will only have to save small amounts, putting money a side while on holiday, won’t hurt so much!
    Also I try to include my son in the process. He’s 9 years old, and very fixated on ‘brands’ and ‘labels’, which leads to arguments when he needs new clothes or shoes, because I think it’s a waste of money, since he grows so fast. When he now points out what he really really wants, I challenge him to find a cheaper alternative. The money ‘saved’ goes to our summervacation. This is a FUN way of making him more aware of the consequences of his choices. I have to say that we argue a lot less during our shopping trips, now that we share the same goal!
    Also, for example, I now make an effort to go to the cheaper supermarket that is slightly further away to save ‘just a few bucks’ on my groceries. And I find it much easier to walk past Starbucks on my way to work knowing I only have to save € 11,- this week 😉
    I have no idea yet how I’m going to put aside € 202,- in the last month of the challenge, but (and I say this to the writer of the article): THAT is the CHALLENGE of all this! Having to make an EFFORT to reach a certain goal. And because you start of easy, you’ll get a chance to find ways , be creative and look for cheaper alternatives to put bigger amounts aside.
    Because even though I can pay my bills each month and put food on the table every day there’s no money left to go on a holiday with my son. At this point I don’t see how I can put aside 4 x € 26,50 = € 106,- EVERY month. But if I can save € 11 this week, I know I will be able to save € 12,- next week.
    Maybe I won’t reach the goal of € 1378,- , maybe saving € 20,- a week will be the maximum I can reach. Who knows, I can’t tell yet. But I’m curious to find out! :-)

  39. Sophie says

    Well, here we are in October and I’m just commenting on this!

    I had the same initial response to this as you; I instantly thought about the tough weeks when the $27. would be hard to come by, I already have a budget I’ve based on percentages and preferences that optimizes savings each two weeks, etc.
    Then I figured, “Hey, it doesn’t hurt to try it out before deciding if it makes sense. I’ll do it with (my four year old son).”

    And it’s fun. It’s been fun from the git-go. I went to our bank and explained this next part, so we could go in and sit at a customer assistance desk to do it with a bank associate. We started by rolling pennies, so he could conceptualize coins becoming dollar amounts, then nickels and dimes in various configurations. We took trips to the bank to get a five dollar bill for a roll of dimes, and variations of bill/coin roll exchanges.

    Now we are at the point where we do feel it. That’s good for discussion, too. We talk about creative ways to put that amount in, like dividing Week 28’s $28.00 by all 14 budget categories and subtracting $2 from our allotment for each.

    But the very best part is that this is his Christmas fund. So this year, *he* gets to decide how to holiday shop. Do we choose one “big” present for each person, or a stocking stuffer and a medium present for each, or choose ‘x’ amount for immediate family and ‘y’ for extended and ‘z’ for friends? Do we use it all or choose not to? And the one he’s most excited about: giving something modest to each person, choose one new holiday festivities decor item, and make a contribution to an organization. Last week he suggested NASA (with great enthusiasm).

    So that’s my two cents.
    Ahahahaa, see what I did thar? “Two cents”! Ahahaa–…
    Ahem.
    ‘Scyooze me.
    (Teeheehee)

  40. maryg says

    she is so wrong – I didn’t start this to pay bills, buy clothes, etc. I started it because it looked like fun. to do what ever I wanted with it at the end of the yr. it’s mine. I still paid bills, bought clothes, etc during the year. those don’t wait til the end of the yr. She is totally missing it. I don’t see iresponsibilty, I see this as putting money in the “piggy bank”. just on a larger scale. get a life

  41. Angelica says

    It’s September and I have not fallen of “the wagon”. It is a fun way to save money and
    the bonus is at the end of the year I’ll have $1378. to do as I please. Save it, spend it, take a nice weekend trip, whatever it may be. It’s not for everyone but I am having fun with it and have challenged friends to join me.

  42. Sara says

    i came across your blog looking for the image to save. i’m actually doing this with my husband. why? because we do everything you said for “life” and “serious” shit.. for a year we’ve been talking about having a vacation together. but something always comes up new responsibilities no time etc. then there goes another year of being oh so serious. we decided to do this challenge together and at the end of the 52 weeks we find a place that we can go have an adventure with only the money from this “jar”

    I think you’re taking this savings method the wrong way. perfect other example? while you’re being serious and responsible but that designer bag you’d really love to buy for your self for xmas. throw those dolla bills at that jar and buy that shit come christmas…guilt.free.

  43. AngieDJ says

    Tonight I decided to start the 52 week challenge. Not because I can’t budget my money but simply because I think it would be a fun thing to do. For the past 8 or 9 years I have been saving money from September to September for my birthday. I started out with coins. That didn’t accumulate quick enough so I started saving one dollar bills. If you mostly use credit/debit cards for small purchases or have kids that will dip into it, it won’t work for you. Here’s some of what I’ve done with my shoe boxes full of dollar bills. I’ve paid for my 2013 7 day vacation to Aruba, my 2012 cruise to Alaska, my 4 vacations to Myrtle beach, I’ve bought a recliner, coffee table, flat screen TV, plus it’s paid for my dog’s boarding while on vacation. When I was saving coins, I managed to buy a tabletop stereo, VCR (that was a looong time ago), and a very nice tennis bracelet I had to add $300 to the bracelet). This year I saved $1370 in dollars. The 52 week money challenge will just be another way to up my funds because for my next birthday i want to visit Ghana, West Africa. This money that I am tucking away is strictly for pleasure. My paychecks pay my bills. Since I’ve been doing the dollar bill thing for so long, this challenge shouldn’t be so tough. I love taking vacations that I can pay for on the spot rather than dipping into my savings or borrowing from a bank. There’s nothing irresponsible about it. I should have a really nice stash by next September. The dollar bill thing was easy. At the end of the day/week, whatever one dollar bills I have in my wallet go into a box and I don’t spend it once it leaves my wallet. It’s just like storing your coins at the end of the day except it nets bigger results. When September rolls around I count the bills up, take pictures of my stash and head for the bank to cash them in. I should probably put it in an interest bearing account but the little bit of interest it’ll collect will probably just pay for the gas I’ll use driving back & forth to the bank

  44. Carole says

    Just read your review of the 52 week challenge form back in Feb 2013- I guess I must have heard of it/started it a little before then since I started with week 3 in January. I have a regular savings deduction that goes into our Christmas club account, so this was extra $$ put in. The Christmas Club account automatically empties out into the checking account on Oct 1st (today) – with the 52 week challenge added in, I managed to save almost $1500 extra (from mid January to Oct 1st). I’m delighted. With this week’s paycheck I’ll be starting a new 52 week challenge year and am looking for ways to up the ante. Starting Oct, the larger amounts come out in July/Aug/Sept, not at Christmas. Works for me.

  45. nicole says

    I guess I’m doing it the “idiots way” because at the end of 52 weeks the most I have to come up with is $52 and that seems manageable to me. I don’t have any extra money for savings at the end of the month. But this way is gradual and I feel like i can come up with a small amount each week. And some say, what happens at the end of the year…simple, start over at $1

  46. Michelle says

    I think your ideas are great, and they make since, but I also think the challenge is great also for people who either work on commissions, are just starting to figure out this money thing, or $200 a month looks really big to them. That’s just my thoughts. :)

  47. Jamie says

    I love this idea. Both my husband and I work and we both have separate savings plans (say what you will about us not combining incomes, but it works for us). I am going to see if he is on board with trying this challenge. I think it is a fun way to save some extra money without thinking about it. We are throwing around the idea of doing a beach Chritmas next year with our three kids. This will provide extra spending money without it coming out of our budgets. I want to try the Popsicle stick way.

  48. charlotte says

    I think this is a great idea because at the moment 200 dollars a month looks like a lot of money. Gradually building it up to that makes it seem painless. I would have to double the amounts because I am on a bi weekly pay schedule, though.

  49. Lou says

    I whole heartedly agree with you! While this may look fun, I think it would work perfect for teenagers in high school trying to save for something specific. However, for adults that have a steady income then a budget in one form or fashion is in place in order to pay their bills. If saving money is desired then creating a direct draft from your check or bank account is the responsible thing.

    • Anonymous says

      I don’t agree with the plan, but I’ve considered alternating weeks as a slightly better solution. $1 the first week, $52 the second, $2 the third, $51 the forth… It balances out the spending (like the $26.50 in the article) and still feels more fun than saving x amount per month.

      • Anonymous says

        I think its a great idea to start backwards too. I started with $1 this year and it was alot of fun, not that My family dont save with automatic drafts already. It was just an additional savings outside the bank. Me and some girl friends are planning to do it in 2014 for a girls day out in December.

    • Anonymous says

      It works out to be the same amount. (I was crazy enough to work it out.) But, it would be easier This way. Start the New Year with the Higher amount, that way your not spending High amounts of money, during Christmas Time.

      • ANONYMOUS says

        If you deposit the money into a saving account, starting backwards will accrue more interest (though admittedly not much) throughout the year.

  50. Nichole says

    Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea. Yes, a lot of people do know how to budget their money, but most don’t. I know we are frugal and some of us save anyway but I think it’s just an additional and FUN way to say. I have a few family members who are extremely financial savvy and well off but they said they wanted to do it for fun. Also, I think it puts other things such as discipline in your life. While, yes, you might not need it but there are plenty out there who do.
    Just my 2 cents. :)

    • kee kee says

      I am middle age and have never budgeted. I think it is great because having a set number value that changes makes you not one to miss a numerical value and if you ever do you know where you are. Plus it doesn’t feel like I am really sacrificing until I really have built up the discipline.

  51. Joelle says

    I think this is a great tool to show people that saving up money isn’t really that hard to do. Yeah it might not be a permanent solution but it’s a start. Once they realize that they actually can get by with having less and less money every week it will be easier to concentrate on long-term goals, leading to other ways outside of this challenege to save money and become more frugal in the long run. You have to start savin money at some point and this challenge is a very good place to start.

  52. Amanda says

    I think it’s an excellent way to learn how to save. Sometimes it is better to go back to basics even for the person that doesn’t know how to save. I think it is especially a wonderful way to teach kids how to save their money also. My teenager makes money tutoring and then blows it!uIf he does this and sticks to it. He could buy something great or save for a car!

  53. Danielle says

    This is good for my family because we are of the working poor and live paycheck to paycheck and I coupon (some weeks, unless the stuff is free I can not even afford to coupon) and we still struggle. The numbers are doable for my family. It must be nice to have $200 a month every month for disposable income. And my husband is adopting my son so we are going to be losing $240/month child support shortly and be even more tight budgeted. That $1,400 will make for a nice Xmas for my kids next year and I won’t have to rely on charity organizations like I have had to up until now. This post was extremely off putting and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Elizabeth says

      The last month is $200+ a month. If I don’t think I could do that, it is easier to do $140 a month (the average). If that doesn’t work, then something less, even $20 a month. The plan seems easy in the beginning, but the last months are hard for someone trying to make it by. I don’t think the proposal was “200 every month or don’t bother”. Rather, it is look at the whole picture and what you’re able to do. If you can’t do 200 a month, this might not be for you, because that is what the last month requires. If you build up to $20 a week and can’t find more, that’s fine. Just keep saving, and use it purposefully. All the best to you and your family! Hope you find something that works for you. :-)

    • Ashley says

      You have looked ahead at the end of this plan right? Do you realize that in order for you to have that $1,400 for Christmas you will need to be giving $200 a month at the end?

  54. Kathy says

    well I started it in January 2013 and at first I thought it was silly too and would not work. But as a training tool to save and encourge saving I think it works. I would not have started off at $52 a week because I was not use to saving anything. As I saw it grow I got exicted about saving and it became easier. Now I have an extra $1200 in the bank that I would not have had if I had not tried this. My goal for 2014 is to start with the 52 and stay there each week since I am alrady at the 52. WOW maybe we can catch up angin next year. I may have $2700 saved. any way possible helps.

    • shirley says

      a couple of family members decided to try the 52 week challenge. we are enjoying it and remind each other not to forget. it is fun and we are planning to add it for extra vacation money.

  55. Sarah says

    We do this every year. The way we make it less painful is to flip flip the weeks…so week 52 then 1, the 51 then week 2 etc.

  56. says

    I agree with you. I am new to your site, I am naturally frugal according to my mom. Anyway I do agree with you taking 5% of your monthly income to save and have it automatically drafted out. I’ve notice that some of your principals are the same or similar to Dave Ramsey. Are you of fan of his or a financial peace graduate?

    • Maria says

      Jennifer, can’t say I’m a fan of Dave nor a financial peace graduate! But I’m glad you agree with my point of view! Thanks for the input.

  57. steve says

    I really believe the 52 week challenge is good especially in teaching the younger ones how easy it is to save a little at a time and how it adds up. For the younger ones. I would make it a 31 week challenge. At the end it will be nearly 500.00.

  58. Pam says

    Having a chunk of money at the end of the year is better than having no chunk at all. Maybe this is the motivation some people need to stay on track.

  59. Jen says

    I don’t think this savings plan was meant to be a band-aid for bad financial planning. My family and I are using it as a fun way to save for a short vacation around Christmas next year. The kids are really enjoying keeping track of it. And maybe those who do succeed with this will use it as a stepping stool to learn to save more regularly in the future.

  60. laura says

    I think this would be great for young kids, put some of their allowance away each week, or course it would have to be adjusted for their kinds of income. Maybe 5 cents a week, it would only be up to 2.60, so they wouldn’t feel like all their allowance was used up, but by week 25 but they would have $68.90 by January 1st. That would seem like lot to someone who gets a $5.00 a week allowance. Can you imagine being 7 or 8 and having that at christmas time? You could buy something really good and they get the habit down. Of course for my kid, who gets $50 a pop from family for birthday presents, it might not make as much of a dent.: He’s only turned 7 people, not 20! Inflation I tell you!

  61. Jamie says

    My husband and I already have a savings, but as we are expecting a baby, I’m doing this 52 week savings as a separate savings account for her. And as I’ll be out of work for a few months, it’s easy to add to a savings starting at a lower amount. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this idea. Once you get in the habit of putting money aside, then you can tailor it to an amount that works for you.

  62. Anita says

    It’s just fun…..yeah – save, emergency fund, budget, invest…..check. This way you can get the whole family involved at their own level and have something short term to look forward to. I target it for Christmas and Black Friday / Cyber Monday….week or whatever!

  63. Sterling says

    I agree with the author of the website. However, I believe any method that gets people to start saving and planning for the future is not a bad thing given our current economy . I see this method as being a starting point for a more frugal lifestyle, perhaps even a minimalist one.

    • Anonymous says

      It’s only a bit of fun for the family and well worth the challenge. No big deal if you cannot make the last couple of months. If you don’t try it you will never know. Good luck to all those saving enjoy the reward at the end whatever that may be.

  64. Terri says

    I think it is great. Everyone has different savings needs and because we make different amounts, we have to do what works for us. I did it as just that, a challenge. I already save a set amount, and the 52 week challenge was extra. Thought was fun and made it! In week 51. :-). It was fun and a creative way to save. I understand the other concepts of saving $26.50 weekly and yes it’s the same, but again, people have to save the way it works for them. Key is “WE’RE SAVING!!”

  65. Steven says

    You can easily figure out how much you save for any number of weeks:

    (#weeks²+#weeks)/2 = money saved

    if you keep this up for 28 years you’ll save over a million dollars haha.

  66. Ansley says

    What I do is print off the sheet and then highlight the amount I put in as it goes into savings. Done this in the past and will usually put the larger amounts early on when I have it available. That way when the end of the year (AKA holidays) rolls around I don’t feel totally spent.

  67. Jessica says

    Its just an idea and a goal everyone can work on for the year. How you do it is up to you, backward, double, and I am starting week one with $.25 for my 11 years old. If it works you will be reward it with some nice amount of cash.

  68. Anonymous says

    I think it is a great idea. I tried the whole putting away 5 dollar bills thing this year but it didn’t save me very much as I hardly carry cash. I plan on trying this in 2014, but not in order, I will save whatever amount I can in random order and just keep track of which amounts I deposit. I am a full time college student and preschool teacher and don’t have set income so this is a great savings tool for people in the same situation.

  69. says

    Your reasoning is sound, but like you said it depends on your goal. Short term savings for a Christmas Fund so you don’t have to charge anything is an excellent idea…maybe an Anniversary weekend getaway…if this fund is in addition to your long term savings. Since we have neither type of savings I want to do this plan and keep on going :) Do you have a better way to get started?

  70. says

    Hello
    I am constantly trying to find a good way to save for Christmas…going to give this a try. I am going to save the highest amount I can for the week and then cross them off as I put the amount in the envelope. So this will be randomly but will still end with the same amount. Some weeks I am just richer then others. :)

  71. Sarah says

    When I saw a negative reaction to this savings plan I was very curious to find out if the author had a better plan. I have been investing more and more time into learning about budgeting, savings plans, and retirement so I have been reading everything and taking ideas from everywhere to find something that works for me.

    I found this savings plan in December 2012. I was so excited because it seemed manageable. Before 2013 I really didn’t have much extra money and I was struggling with monthly bills. In late 2012 I had to move back in with my mom and I still live there. I understand this is not possible for many people but I can say this decision was made with sacrifice to both my mother and me.

    I decided to double the weekly amount so at the end of the year I would have saved just under $3,000. The thought of being able to save that much with the student loans I had seemed insane, but exciting. I posted the budget on my board at work and each pay check that was the first thing I paid. There were pay stubs where I had unexpected issues so I couldn’t contribute and I would “I.O.U.” myself but I always paid myself back. The end of the year was particularly tricky due to some high bills, but I really tightened my belt but it also forced me to think about my goals and about the savings plan.

    This budget was a spring board to savings for me. When I decided to save based on this format, I also really looked at my fiances, my student loans, etc. In 2013 I used this savings plan, consolidated my student loans, accepted some basic facts about student loans (I’m $100K+ for professionals, not the $20K nonsense that people complain about), paid off credit cards, switched banks, reinvested in an old IRA, stared a new IRA and stopped spending money and silly things. I really credit this savings plan to helping me find a sense of control in my finances. I sent a 2013 savings goal and I saved more than two times that amount!

    I have my new 2014 – 52 Week Savings Challenge already posted on my work board (my 2013 challenge is highlighted with the word “YAY!!!!” written across it) with my new variations (saving triple the first half and double the second half of the year). Buying my first home doesn’t seem like a pipe dream anymore. I’m happier in my life knowing that I didn’t go through years of schooling and expense for nothing. This savings plan really had changed the way I view my fiances.

    Everyone needs to find what works for them. This plan worked for me but it won’t work for everyone. I think this article highlights that it’s important for you to take control of your fiances and find something that works for you.

  72. Katherine says

    I did it this year for fun – stuck with it but actually doubled the amount each week and earmarked it to pay for an extra vacation this year. I’m going to continue it for 2014 but go backwards as it seems money gets tighter toward the end of the year and plan to use it like a Christmas club to cover gifts and the extra food and other expenses of the holidays.

  73. Sharon J says

    I think its a great idea to start backwards too. I started with $1 this year and it was alot of fun, not that My family dont save with automatic drafts already. It was just an additional savings outside the bank. Me and some girl friends are planning to do it in 2014 for a girls day out in December.

  74. Lisa says

    I am terrible at saving money! This Christmas was so tight I could hardly buy my doggies little gifts for their stockings! When my cousin posted the 52-week challenge on Facebook, I felt a light go on inside of my head! I said “I can do this!” I’m sorry, but I don’t have $200 a month to put away in a savings account…that’s my car payment. But I can give the amounts listed on the chart and begin to discipline myself in a way that it’s not going to be painful to save money!

  75. Anonymous says

    I like this savings concept for introducing saving in a creative way to keep it interesting for primary school age children towards a particular goal in 1 year (family weekend end away, week’s cottage rental, etc. This savings plan should should not be an adult’s personal savings plan, but a supplemental plan above current savings for a particular project.

  76. Heather says

    I saw this idea about a month ago and thought it was brilliant. However we are planning on doing it backwards as well. AND, we are doubling up on the payments. I think this idea is a BRILLIANT one for people like my husband and I who already have a budget but spend WAY too much money on extra garbage every week that we really don’t need. Also, I have a 5 year old who got some money for Christmas and from the tooth fairy and she is eager to just “run out and buy something” – Hmmm, I wonder where she’s getting THAT from??? We budget AND we have weekly savings AND we have a credit card we are paying off as well… but why not have this chunk of money at the end of the year to see just how much we DIDN’T spend on crap we didn’t need in the first place? I think any type of savings is better than none, and if this is the kind of thing that motivates people to start being aware of what they spend/save, then so be it.

  77. Melissa says

    I typed a whole response basically agreeing with you. It’s easier to say “I agree with you.”

    It is a fun idea, but it is just a savings plan on paper. What I do like about it is that it might help some people stick to a savings plan that might not look quite as fun :).

  78. says

    I successfully completed the 52,week challenge. Awesome idea! I used my credit card to buy Xmas gifts while collecting the bonus points. The money From the 52 week challenge paid for Xmas. The credit card was paid for with NO interest and I used my bonus points for gift cards of which I re gifted (dunkin donuts$25 cards etc). For me it was a win win. I don’t have a problem paying bills and saving money. I disagree with the author of this article. I thought this was a great idea for everybody. To me this was $1300 of found money. Most of the money I saved was from loose change. I do suggest after 15 weeks or so taking the money and relocating it to a savings or vacation account. I did find myself borrowing money for pizza delivery, but paid it back ASAP. I highly suggest doing the challenge. Good luck!

  79. Monicia says

    Currently, I’m a full-time Grad student in my 40’s and I am currently not working until I finish in the summer. I am supported by my husband and this is a small but easier way currently for me to save being that I do not have my own income at the moment, but I do have a few pennies of my own that I can spare. I understand if you have a regular paycheck, why not set aside a percentage of your pay each week or bi-weekly. However, many people make enough to take care of their living and literally don’t have enough left to do 10% or 1% at times. So again, you have to start somewhere and I think this is a little less painful and appears to be attainable for MANY! And not everyone has been a poor budgeter, many of us have fallen victim to the economy and have basically burned up any savings that we may have acquired over the years and are trying to revive our savings.

  80. jackie says

    This saving method is a GREAT idea. My church member introduced the Challenge, and after hearing about it we decided it would be a perfect fundraiser for our church. Blessing the house of God is our purpose. It would definitely not take the place of our regular tithes and offering, but it would be a sacrificial giving.
    Due to the economy and lack of jobs the church is the last bill to pay. I challenge you to take this 52 weeks of saving and give it back to God. YOU WILL BE BLESSED if you do.

  81. Sue says

    I agree, I was looking at this on f/b and thought that surely you would be better saving more at the beginning……………and if you put $52 in each week (providing you had that sort of disposable income) at the end of 52 weeks you would have a bumper $2,704!!!!

  82. Anonymous says

    Not everybody have steady income, some people get paid hourly and don’t get the same amount hours every week. While I see you point, before you jump with guns, you should look into this solution. When person see $1, $2, etc he knows he can manage it, by the time he have to save $10.00, he already motivated to keep up. But if you say he have to save $26.50 every week for next 52 weeks, you will scare him. For some people $26.50 it is lot of money, which they don’t have laying around every week. If you fortune enough to have steady job and be able to pay for food on the table, it doesn’t mean everybody have the same.

  83. E says

    Stick with the plan, here and there see what you have laying around in your pockets (change or bills) and toss it in there..

  84. bxgirl72 says

    I think it is great for anyone! I think the key is to set up automatic transfers. You can’t transfer $1 between accounts so maybe start backwards with week 52($52) until you get to week 4 ($10). Or vice versa either way works! Starting this year!

  85. D says

    I do think this is a good idea for some people and not others, like a lot of financial advice.
    I am confused by all of the commenters who say they can’t afford to put $200 in savings per month. It’s as if they are saying they are doing this INSTEAD of putting $200 in savings per month…if you can’t afford that right now, what will you do when you get to weeks 40-52, when, if you are following this plan, it DOES require you to put $200 per month in? It’s not less just because you’re doing it weekly. It will still be nearly and then a little over $200 per month by the end of the year.

  86. Angela says

    While, in general, I agree with your opinions about this, I feel it is not the nature of the program that will cause some one to stick with it or not. If someone is determined to change their life, to discipline themselves then saving by adding $1.00 every week or saving a flat amount every week won’t make a difference. It is just like exercise- many will clamor to the gym, but only a few will stick with it and change their lifestyle. It is not going to be because of the program they use, it is going to be because of their mindset.

    This operates on the principle of , there is always room for one more . I used this for myself in exercise. When I started, I couldn’t do more than one or two push-ups so that is where I started, then each day, added one more – forced myself to do it though it was hard. Now I can do 50.

    I was never taught to save and was never good at it. I started this program thinking I don’t have $10.00 a week to save, but I started with $1.00. I am now on $15 and realize that I have more to save than I thought I did. I might not make it to $52 a week and that is fine because for now, $15 a week is more than I was doing 15 weeks ago. So, whatever amount I get to through a lifestyle change of developing a habit and growing with it, when I get to that amount, it will be easy to stick with it- not because of the nature of the program but because I choose to change my mindset, I choose to not give up.

  87. says

    You all have heard of the show “Deal or No Deal”, right? Well, here’s an idea for those that don’t want to have the big amounts to come out so close to the holidays or those who don’t have the bigger sums now to put away. Instead, you select an amount that you can afford to put away that week and if you are short one week, you can put in a lower amount, mark it off and if you have a decent amount the following week, you can put away one of the higher amounts. Make sense? Say you pick Sunday to put away the money, just be sure and mark off the amount you put in that week and you can select from the remaining in the weeks after. This is also good for those that get paid biweekly. On payday you could put away one of the higher amounts and the week you don’t get paid, one of the lesser. I plan on doing it this way as I think it will be easier should life throw me a curveball. Happy New Year, y’all.

  88. KNVanderbilt says

    I think the 52-week challenge is great. All avenues of saving is great to me, if you do not succeed the 1st time, try again. When I was 19 I use to put $15/wk into my savings– within 2-3 months I challenged myself and because I was so close to the next hundred– I would add the extra $5 or $10 and before long my account when from $5 to $1500. I like the 52-wk challange. I contribute to a Roth IRA, 401k, my regular savings and we always keep cash on hand– that’s my COH.

  89. Monica says

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything written in this blog. I’ve been saying this for weeks… besides, any functioning budget applauds a nice and steady incoming/outgoing flow.

    It would be smarter to pick a steady number to be set aside from each paycheck. It may not be as “fun” but it’ll get you where you need to be in a much more efficient manner. Financial predictability is key, people.

  90. Candace says

    I felt the tone of the article was very degrading which made the author’s valid points on saving seem condescending and made me not want to read them. Honetly, people who need help managing their finances and savings would come looking to your website for ideas, not people who can manage their money well, unless they were looking for ways to save further (like me). Honestly, those people would have money managers, finance people and other other services to help them maintain their money.

    Perosnally, my husband and I are both in a fortunate situation. We save about 10% of my income in a 401K. Since my husband is an independent contractor and does not particpate in a 401K, we put roughly 10% of his and mine combine income on pay days into our savings. This money challenge is a great way for us to save even more in a structured plan. We did this for 2013 and had an unexpected car purchase right after Christmas. The money we saved during this challenge helped us cover taxes and we did not have to dip into any other savings acccounts or put it on a credit card. If we didn’t have this purchase, we were going to take the money we saved and put in in a CD (low interest, I know) for 12 months and do the challenge again this year and keep adding to the CD until we had enough money to moved into something that will gain us more money or place for a downpayment on a new house.

    We are doing it again this year and will be starting backwards. I do it 4 weeks at one time starting at the first pay cycle just so I am not moving money each week and since we get paid once a month and we may not be as active or diligent if we did it every week and mony was getting low. If you get paid bi-weekly, mabe you can do twice a month to help manage everyday income.

    Good luck to everyone.

    P.S. Julia’s comments on saving are valid though if you are looking into another way to save.

  91. Shantel says

    The whole concept is about developing a discipline to save using steps.
    You’d be surprised how many people lack the discipline to save money. Not sure why anyone would have anything other than something positive to say about this challenge.

  92. alli says

    I think this is a FANTASTIC idea for young kids, teens, AND anyone paycheck to paycheck. it gets them into the habit of saving early. if you can do more, by all means, do more; some do not have that option. and at the end of the day ANYTHING is better than NOTHING. I would suggest using something other than an easily accessible jar to save the $ in though.

  93. Rebecca says

    I think this is a fun way to get the family involved in saving. First, I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan and have lived the “Dave Way” for over 7 years. We do not have debt (except I view our retirement and son’s college savings as debt as I *do* send those accounts money every two weeks). Anyway, I don’t think many people use the 52 Week Challenge to pay off their debt. I think they use it for a new purchase, a vacation, etc. So long as people are saving, I don’t think there is a “right” or a “wrong” way. I enjoy doing the challenge (though I choose to do it backwards beginning with $52 and crossing off the weeks as I find extra money in my wallet at the end of each week). It does not take 52 weeks for me to save $1300 so I start over. My 12 yr old helps me and is a terrific cheerleader; “Mom, if you take coffee with you, you’ll save $1.50 by not getting it at the drive-thru. We can put that money in the jar”. Ahhh, a kid after my own heart. It’s fun and it works for most people. I am physically doing something to save money and it feels good. I think about that every winter when I’m laying on a beach in the Caribbean with the money I’ve saved.

    • Jennifer says

      Rebecca – It is so awesome to see someone else who likes Dave Ramsey, but I’m not necessarily familiar with the “Dave Way”. How is that??? Does he have that in a book?

  94. Jennifer says

    I just started this today. Already combined Week 1 and Week 2, however, I have made a slight adjustment to it. First of all, I wanted to just do a direct transfer from my checking to my savings account, but because my savings is with a credit union (I’m a teacher) and my checking is with Bank of America (been there since I was 18), they charge me a fee to transfer. Therefore, I am just taking out the money and putting it in a savings canister we have here in the house. I have set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of how much I will be putting away. For example, I had an extra $10 bill, so I went ahead and put it into the canister. I want to continue on like that; if I have an extra $1 or $2 or $10 to put in, I do. Therefore, it can make my final savings amount larger (if I stick to the Week 37 $37, Week 42 $42, etc.) If I have a week where I am short a few dollars, it shouldn’t hurt me too much. I want to do this to keep as a Christmas budget. Sure I could’ve set up a savings account to accrue interest, but I will have to see if BOA offers one without a monthly charge.

    I think this is just a good, simple way to save a few bucks. If you can give extra, great! If you cannot give extra, just stick to the plan. It can be special money. My husband can do this on his own and I can do it on my own and it can be money that we can apply as a treat for ourselves. No biggie. Don’t delve so deep into this as if it is a financial catastrophe to save like this. It’s not like it’s money to buy a car or a house (unless you are using it as a stepping stone). I really feel this challenge is for fun money. And even if you only stick with it for 6 months, it’s nice to have that little extra moolah.

  95. Caroline says

    I totally agree with Julia’s original comments. I liked the idea of the 52 week challenge when I first saw it, but then looked at how much I’d have to contribute every week when I got to the last quarter of the year. I have a strict budget to follow anyways so an extra $200/month would be a challenging commitment to keep. I think purpose is key, too. I like the idea of doing this for the purpose of having the money to spend at Christmas without the guilt of sending my budget way off balance. I am saving $5 a week flat rate (I think of giving up one fancy coffee at Starbucks per week)…. much easier to commit and less painful financially. As with any money plan…. it should be something that is realistically manageable if you intend to stick to it.

  96. Gina says

    I think this is a fantastic idea.. Saving money is saving money no matter how much you are able to save.. It all adds up!!! For those who are able to put more in the pot each week.. Try doubling or tripling it each week.. By week 52.. you will have saved over $4000.00.. I started before Christmas last year.. Good luck!!

  97. JUDY says

    I agree with those that said ‘Saving money is Saving money” my household including my 6yr old daughter is doing it and our little boxes that I made are by each other and she loves the idea of the FAMILY saving together, however when me and my husband do have extra left after the bills we do put a little more in the boxes….but the challenge is structured well and it also says for those that know they will have shorter funds towards the end to do it backwards starting with 52 to 1. Our Purpose is to do a least one or two FAMILY vacations every year

  98. Sherrie says

    I think this is a great idea for beginner savers. If you are not a saver normally, this is a good way to start you into the habit of saving, by the end if you find you can save 52 a week then the next year you should continue that.

  99. Chris says

    For the record, I invest $125 into my tax free savings account, $125 into my rrsp EVERY MONTH and my fiancée and I have TWO 52 week money challenge jars on the go…one is to put towards a house we are buying and the other jar is for our Christmas holiday next year. Don’t be so critical of ideas that are simple and work. We are not doing the 52 week challenge because we don’t know how to save ! We wouldn’t be buying a house, already own a brand new 2014 travel trailer and a brand new fully loaded pickup truck with all of the bells and whistles if we didn’t know how to pinch our pennies !!! Just sayin’……

  100. Jessica says

    I save money weekly in addition to this money jar. The intended purposes are personal and I think it is judgmental to say people shouldn’t be doing this because they clearly are irresponsible with money. Maybe people want to do this to save for Christmas or put in their Roth IRA on Dec 31 or many other reasons. Even if this is the only way people are saving, what exactly is wrong with that?

  101. Tiffany says

    I have to agree with Chris on this one. If you’re starting out with saving- say coming out of college (not used to budgeting very tightly) then starting out with smaller amounts is a good place to start. It’s easy for the first few months and you don’t think about “missing” up to $15 per week. It’s the equivalent of a few coffees or a lunch out. Then, as the “newbie” progresses the amount gradually increases until suddenly a person is saving more money then they thought possible at the beginning of the year. I’m a personal trainer, and in fitness you don’t start training for a marathon by running a marathon on the first day of training. You gradually build up your tolerance. I think this is the same. By the end of the year that $50 a week could be money that you have pinched by making your own coffee everyday instead of buying one every day, eating in instead of going out and walking to the store instead of driving and spending the money on gas.

    It would be great if everyone was perfect at everything the first time they tried it, but that’s not usually how it works.

  102. Lindsey says

    My husband I are doing this while we are paying off debt and reaching goals. We started backwards – which means the first week we started paying $52, then next $51, etc. With our weekly budget, if we cannot make it that week due to our weekly income and expenses we pay it the next week. It’s a line item and it’s working for us to build our emergency fund and pay off debt. It may not be “the best” but it’s working and has for three months.

  103. Kay says

    We started doing this the way you suggested, starting with the $52 the first week of the year and working down, except that we are depositing the money to our Capital One 360 account where the interest is better. We save otherwise, but this has been a fun weekly reminder to choose the frugal option, and, with interest, we should have an extra and relatively painless chunk of change at the end of the year we never really missed. Plus, the saving gets easier every week, which is its own reward!

    • Marci Loehner says

      I’m so glad that you are enjoying the 52 Week Money Challenge! I’ve heard of folks putting in the larger amounts when they have the extra funds so keep that in mind Kay!

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