Are You Up For the 52-Week Savings Challenge?

By ERIN TURNER

How did you do budget-wise this Christmas?  Did you stay on track, completely fall off or are you reading this and saying, “What budget?”  Regardless of how you did, NOW is the time to get things together and be ready for next year.  You know how fast it comes and how all of a sudden it is Halloween and you’re saying, “Wait, I really was going to save for Christmas this year!”

Well, if you’ve been on Pinterest or any other social media, then you might have seen this great idea about saving money for next Christmas or for anything!  It’s easy, simple and effective.  Starting with the first week in January, you’ll put $1 in a jar then the second week you’ll put $2 in and so on until the final week, the 52nd week, when you deposit $52 for a total of $1, 378!  Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas gift to your self?

You can alter this however you’d like.  Some people are putting in 4 weeks worth, so that they complete the challenge around Thanksgiving and thus have the cash in hand for their Christmas shopping.  Others are reversing the order of saving and starting with $52.  This method recognizes that you may have some extra cash right now (from gifts, etc) and it is mentally easier to work down vs. up when you are saving. Plus, by Christmas time when most people are strapped, you’re only adding a few dollars instead of $52.  How you set it up is completely up to you and what you think will work best for your budget.

52-week Savings Challenge.  Photo by Erin TurnerPersonally, I’m doing it completely differently than both of the above mentioned methods.  This will be Week #1 for me and I’m adding $27 and working my way up to $52 in July.  Then from July to December I will work down from $26 to $1.  Weird?  Maybe…but here is my reasoning:  I don’t want to burn out right away so I was afraid after a month of tucking away $202 from our household budget, I’d be frustrated.  Plus, the months from March-July are lower spending months for us.  During those months we do Pantry Challenges, coupon and stock up more and then once our garden starts producing our grocery bill takes a major plunge.  So, for me it will be easier to add the higher amounts during thesemonths.

Then when the months which demand more of our finances (Sept-December) will be when the challenge is getting easier and descending each week. Again, this is the method I’ve worked out for our budget but it will look different for each household. If you have the ability and the drive, you can even double the amounts each week so that you end up with $2,756.  Wouldn’t that blow away your spouse if you wrapped up that and put it under the tree?

Now, I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that our family already saves monthly for Christmas.  So, this 52 week challenge money will be targeted for either a vacation in 2015 or paying down our house mortgage.   I’m going to save this money all year and surprise my husband with it as a “Santa” gift in his stocking. I can’t wait to see his face!

Another option for you to consider is where you are going to stow the money you save.  Many on Pinterest are suggesting a special jar but you might consider a bank account to keep it safe from others or even from yourself.  If you have a tendency to “sneak” a few dollars here or there to pay for pizza or your Starbuck’s, then you might want to start a special account at the bank for this 52 week challenge.

This is a fresh New Year with lots of opportunity.  Why not start now with this 52 week challenge and next year at this time, you’ll have accomplished an incredible task AND be ahead on your finances!  Ready, set, start saving!  Good luck to all who take the challenge.

Here is a link to a Spreadsheet from Stretchingabuckblog.com which you can print, cut out and paste on your savings jar or on your bathroom mirror to keep track of what amount you need to be saving!  Click HERE for the link to the PDF.

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 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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