How To Succeed At The 52 Week Money Challenge

With a new year comes goals, resolutions and promises to “get right”. Finances is an area that is often at the top of many a list and you may have seen the 52 Week Money Challenge come through your social media feeds.

The basic concept of the plan is to save a specific dollar amount each week of the year.  The most common one is to save $1 week 1, $2 week 2, etc.  Some variations suggest reversing it and saving $52 week 1, $51 week 2, etc. to get the larger dollar amounts out of the way early on.

Related Article: How To Save $1000 in 90 Days

I love the concept because it appeals to just about everyone – especially people who do not save on a regular basis.  Janeane of Janeane’s World put it best on her post reflecting on how the 52 Week Money Challenge can benefit entrepreneurs: “great things can come from saving with the tiniest of starts”

5 Steps To Succeeding With The 52 Week Money Challenge

5 steps to succeeding with 52 week money challenge #BudgetingDivas #52WeekSavingsChallenge


Step 1: Determine what you are saving for? Having a tangible savings goal will help to keep you focused and motivated

Step 2: How much will you save this year? Is there a specific, reasonable dollar amount you need to save for your goal? The great thing about the 52 Week Savings Challenge is that the dollar amounts are pre-set, but you can and should tweak them to your personal needs, if necessary.

Step 3: How often will you save? The easiest way to save is to base it on when you generally receive your income. If you’re saving small amounts daily, divide your amount from step 2 by 365 to see you daily goal. Weekly – Divide by 52. Bi-weekly – divide by 26. Monthly – Divide by 12.

Step 4: What is your mini savings goal? Write out your savings goal or make a visual and place somewhere you’ll see on a regular basis. Example: I will save $____ every _______.

Step 5: Accountability will help keep you on track. Link up with an accountability partner to keep you on track. If you’re on social media, Tweet or Instagram your goal using #BudgetingDivas #52WeekSavingsChallenge to join up with fellow divas committed to learning to save, make and manage our finances.

Simple Ways to Save Money

If you make savings a part of your regular routine, then it does not become a chore or hardship, but something that just comes naturally.  Making changes to your lifestyle – starting new habits – can be difficult.  When you make dramatic changes, you get a rush and do fantastic. However, if you crash and burn then it’s easy to slip into old habits and overcompensate with splurges and large purchases.  The best route to success is to take little steps and keep building upon them.

  • Automate your savings. If you have direct deposit, start off with a small amount (say $5-10 per pay check) for a month or two, then increase it by $5 and so on. Digit is a great tool you can use to help get you started with this process, too! I easily saved $300+ dollars the first few months I started using this tool. (Note: In mid-2017 Digit began charging a monthly fee)
  • Avoid the vending machine at work. I have a Mountain Dew habit. The price in our vending machines at work have slowly crept up from $0.50 to $0.75. At one soda a day…okay at 2 sodas a day for a work-week that’s a difference between $5.00 and $7.50.  By purchasing a case of soda (12 cans for approximately $2.50) and storing in my office, I’m paying as little as $0.21 per can. That’s a $0.54 savings per can – or $1.08 a day (with the 2 cans a day that I’ll own up to).
  • Check your car’s owner’s manual. Oil changes every 3 months or every 3000 miles is the norm that we are used to. However, many cars can go longer than that based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Check your manual to confirm how long you can go between oil changes.
  • Check the price per unit on your favorite detergent, juices, etc. Just because it’s a larger size doesn’t mean that you’re paying less per unit.
  • If you purchase items online, price check. Free shipping does not always equate to a savings.  Sometimes paying shipping at another site can be less than your item with free shipping somewhere else.
  • Utilize coupons. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer, but those small amounts can quickly add up.  You can take it a stop further and learn how use the rewards programs at your local drug stores (CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens) to save even more.
  • When eating out, order water instead of soda or tea. For a family of 5, if drinks average $1.50 (and that is a low figure) you can save up to $7.50/tax off your meal.
  • Know the dining specials at your favorite restaurants – when do kids eat for free or a reduced price, buy 1 get 1 dinner or lunch specials, etc.
  • Give up or scale down on expensive habits like smoking, drinking, shopping, gambling, etc.
  • Pack snacks and food when going on car trips or even when running errands around town. Having your own food will eliminate stopping at fast food or grabbing items from a convenience store.

If you’d like additional tips and inspiration on your money savings journey, our ebook “Simple Tips for Succeeding At The 52 Week Money Challenge” is a great resource.

 Please chime in with your easy savings tips in the comments below.
I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

Still Dating My Spouse has some great variations of the 52 Week Money Challenge that can be used by couples as a joint savings plan.

4 Hats and Frugal shares three variations of the 52 Week Money Challenge including bulk monthly savings plans.

How I Pinch A Penny shares how doing the 52 Week Money Challenge in reverse can be a win even if you don’t make it all the way through.

Saving Advice shares how to do the 52 Week Money Challenge if you are paid on a 26 Bi-Weekly basis.

For those that love a great tracking tool, Savings Lifestyle shares a great downloadable spreadsheet for the 52 Week Money Challenge.

My children will be saving an additional penny each day (Day 1 – $0.01, Day 2 – $0.02, Day 365 – $3.65). I shared with my 12 year old that he could save over $600 in a years time – more than enough for the latest video game console he will most likely have to have at the end of the year.  He quickly took on the challenge!  We’re making it fun by seeing who will have more in their savings jar at the end of the year (boys versus girls).  Of course, there will be days we “forget” or get busy, but we’re tracking the weekly amount we need to save and can play catch-up when necessary.

Our family uses the tracker below to compare and add up our savings for each family member that participates in our penny challenge. Subscribers to our #BudgetingDivas newsletter will receive the full-size PDF file for this tracker.

I found this great twist of the 52 Week Savings Challenge over at House Made Home and love it! The 52 Week Savings Deck Challenge is where you draw a card from the deck each week that determines how much you save. It would be great to involve the children in drawing the card each week.

However you do it, I hope you will include some type of savings plan with your 2014 goals. Start small and work yourself up to larger amounts.

365 Penny Challenge Family Tracker

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  • Laticia Green

    How do I get the tracker for the penny challenge

    • Laticia Green

      Disregard this message

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  • Brittney

    I am a sibscriber, but didn’t get the PDF of the saving an additional .01 per day form.

    • kika

      Brittney, I’m also a subscriber and have yet to receive it 🙁

      • Check your inbox for our most recent newsletter and you’ll see a link to download. Happy Savings!

    • Hi Brittney – a link was included with your confirmation email. I have sent out an email with the link again. Happy Friday!

      • michelle

        I had it in my confirmation email, just went to print it and now I don’t see the link, does it disappear after you open it once?

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  • lindamanns

    These are some great saving tips and a great idea for saving. Thank you so much for sharing

  • Sarah Matos

    These are great tips. I have just started couponing to save money and found it helps dramatically.

    • It does! I’ve loved using Apps like Ibotta, Checkout51 and Wal-Mart’s Savings Catcher to maximize my savings and get actual cash back! Happy Couponing 🙂

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  • I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about this money challenge. I think that it is a good idea and will help a lot of people to meet some short term and long term financial goals.

  • Now this is something my husband needs to read. He always says he will bring his lunch, but then don’t and he spends almost $30 a DAY!!! It’s crazy that that $30 could be put in a glass jar for a rainy day. We’d be going on a trip every year if he put that $30 in a jar everyday and just took his lunch lol GRRRR 😛

  • I love saving! We have lots of goals this year to save for and I’ve already started!

  • this would be nice to do for college savings for your kids too! it then has a big purpose!

  • Pam

    Lots of great ideas here for people that need a little motivation or tips. I love the idea of children saving even a penny a day.

  • Lady Lilith

    Nice tips. I am one who really values the value of a penny. I literally save all of my change in a jar. You never know when it will come in handy.

  • I love the idea. Maybe I could save more by the end of the month better

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  • Fabulous Perks

    Great tips. I introduced a bunch of friends to the 52 money challenge. I’ll share this post with them. It’s such a great way to save. I like the idea of paying mysel weekly.

  • Aisha Kristine Chong

    These are very good and helpful tips! <3

  • I used to get picked on for bringing in snacks and stocking my desk at work as well as for locking the drawer they were in so they would not disappear. Then one day I told someone to start putting the change they put into the machines in a cup and I brought them in a package of the crackers they enjoyed. At the end of a week, I took out the amount I paid for the crackers I gave them and they had $12 left – they then started bringing their own food too. It adds up quickly.

  • Thank you! These are great ideas! I have a Zero Coke habbit and it can really eat all the money I have extra. So, I’m trying to do homemade lemonade with Stevia instead and it really helps to save money.

  • Such wonderful tips! This year we are starting to save more and look where thee problems in our budget are so we can save more.

    Really appreciate these money saving tips!

  • great tips for saving i need help in that rea i always seem to forget to save till i want something

  • Pam

    These are really good tips, even though I am not taking the money challenge.

  • I love the idea of this challenge. I did something similar to put my money aside for a smartphone. You list some great tips above. I myself have a diet coke addiction and not buying more at work has helped me saved a lot of $$$. I just drink water from the sink now.. I got used to it very fast!

  • My Hubs tells me I am very frugal…. not sure if that is his way of telling me I am cheap or what. I let him handle all the money so… I have less stress. I do always pack my own food when we travel, but not because of cost.. I do it for health reasons.

  • Chubskulit Rose

    I would like to do this 52 week money challenge. Thanks for the tips.

  • Sarah

    Oh I like this idea – I’ve seen it done with £s and as much as I would love to be able to save that much I couldn’t – but with pennies it’s actually doable for me! Right I best catch up the first couple of days! x

  • These are fabulous tips! I am excited to try this 52 week money challenge as soon as the husband finishing school and has an actual job that brings in money. Only a few months left and we will be able to get started! We already have a job lined up; it’s just surviving on savings until that day starts.

  • Ashley Gill

    I have seen so many variations of this savings plan. I think we are going to start the pennies on and have the kids come in with it. I have 5 days to make up.. but I think I have that much change just sitting here on my desk. Thank you for this post!

  • Great tips,we find that for our family we get to save more when we do our shopping in the evenings when the store has reduced alot of products and also buying in bulk at the cash and carry helps also doing those jobs that will cost alot but you can do them yourselves,for example when hubby is always fixing the car or buying the parts from ebay and then getting the garage to fix it works out alot cheaper than letting the dealer/garage find the parts for you.
    we always have a limit to what we can spend every week and always try to keep under it.

  • I never leave home without a bag of drinks and snacks for my boys. Whether it’s a short trip or a long road trip. I am sure I’ve saved thousands over the years by doing that.

  • Wow! I didn’t even think about the pennies. I know how my husband is always trying to get rid of his pennies. I need to get him a jar & let him do that in conjunction with the weekly saving of the amount equal to our anniversary #.

  • Pauline C.

    Thank you for the tips! Me and my boyfriend are actually saving up and we started like 3 months ago and we’re so glad to have save up a lot!

  • I attempted this last year when I saw it–I still think it is a marvelous idea-now to get myself to actually do it!!

  • gossipmoms

    I like all the tips here, yeas doing all these thing can save you some moola

  • These are some great tips you have here. Saving $2 a week might just work for me. Hey, something is better than nothing! It’s really hard for me to save but I really should.

  • I heard about this challenge and it’s such a great idea

  • When I travel, I always pack snacks and food and it saves me TONS of money, TONS!!!!

  • Rachée Fagg

    Great tips and ideas. My daughter and I are working on a savings plan and we are going to implement some of these.

  • therealitybuffet

    I will be doing the Money challenge this year as well ( the 1.00 per week one) and also the penny challenge with the kids. We will sit down this week and get caught up on theirs. This should be fun

  • Very good strategies over here. Love the penny challenge as well.. Thanks for sharing.

  • cafemochareflections

    That’s great for the babes! I want to do the $1 a week and go from there. My girls have big jars and they are throwing their spare change in it.

  • I think this is fantastic! Anything to get people focused on savings is a great thing to me. Everyone is different so I love that you included variations. Happy SITS Saturday!

    • Thanks for visiting! Always love to hear from a fellow financially focused diva 🙂

  • Dietta

    I like the challenge and have considered doing it, but I wish they would adapt it to the 26 week pay cycle :-)…

    • Hi Dietta! I did it (okay attempted to do that) last year and found an article to include. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • A friend had posted this challenge on her FB page and I thought it would be a great thing to try. I love the pennies idea and my 11 yr old is up for the challenge now too. (he has already been saving pennies so he is ahead of me already…hehe) Thank you for ALL of the great ways to save.

    Happy SITS Saturday,

    • You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping through. It’s great to hear that your 11 year old is already saving up. That is awesome.

  • Great tips Michelle. Love them all!

  • Rea

    One of my goals this year is to save so this is really very timely! Love it! 🙂