If saving money is always at the top of your to-do list but you struggle with following through, here’s some good news: You can save a surprising amount with an incremental savings challenge. The challenge itself is simply called the 52-week money challenge, and the good news is, it works.
The challenge itself couldn’t be more straightforward. Every week of the year, you just set aside an increment of cash. Over time, it will grow into a sizable chunk of change. All you have to do is decide on the increment.
The original version of this challenge began with $1 increments. So, to complete this version of the challenge, you would save $1 in the first week of the year. In the second week, you would increase that amount by $1 and set aside $2, bringing your total savings to $3.
After that, you would continue saving one more dollar each week. In the last week of the year, you would set aside $52. It might not seem like much, especially starting with just a dollar. However, this will net you nearly $1,400 in savings over the course of the year if you stick with it.
One of the benefits of this method is that it gets you used to saving a little extra money each week. By the time the larger amounts—like the $40 and $50 contributions—roll around at the end of the year, you’ll be a savings pro.
And that’s just the base challenge. If you want to mix it up, there are several variations on this challenge. For example, you could start high and work backwards, counting down from $52 to $1.
You could also up the increment you contribute every week and really watch your savings swell. Starting with $2 means you would end the year with about $2,750 extra in your pocket. Adding $3 increments over the course of 52 weeks will save you about $4,100.
The good thing about this program is that it’s designed to be incredibly flexible. If you don’t like the idea of making larger contributions at the end of the year (when a lot of people are budgeting for the holidays) you could average out the contributions. Stashing $26.50 per week will still allow you to save up more than $1,300.
Whatever you decide, just make sure to keep track of your contributions. Just writing it down could be the visual reminder you need to keep you motivated to reach your savings goals.