Dreaming of increasing your savings but aren’t sure where to start? The 52 week savings challenge is a great way to help you save $10,000 in a year! (Includes a free 52-week savings challenge printable!)
Money challenges are one of the fastest ways to jumpstart your financial goals. I love and always recommend the 52-week savings challenge for helping you save more money in less time.
Did you know that nearly 50% of Americans wouldn’t be able to come up with an extra $400 in an emergency, and less than 20% could afford to live off their savings for around six months? Having a savings account as a safety net to fall back on is incredibly important for all of us. Having money in the bank not only helps you navigate unexpected life surprises, but it also can give you more peace of mind about your financial situation.
No matter how much money you make, money challenges are an easy way to help you maximize your savings goals. I love the 52-week savings challenge because it’s fun, easy to stick to and customizable for your income level.
Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products and services that I personally love and believe in. Full disclosure here.
What is the 52-Week Savings Challenge?
If you’ve never heard of it before, the 52-week savings challenge is a strategic savings plan that allows you to save a certain amount of money each week over the course of 1 year (aka, 52 weeks). At the end of the 52 week money challenge, you will have saved at the very minimum $1,378, and as much as $10,000 by the end of the year!
Why the range? The 52 week money savings challenge is designed to be possible for even those people who don’t have very much money left over after expenses. The smaller the amount of money you put in each week, the smaller your goal is for the year. If you have a larger income (or an increased ability to save), you put more in. Simple, right?
Below I’ll map exactly how to save 3 different amounts of money: $1,378, $5,000 and $10,000. Choose the savings goal that is most achievable for YOU. No matter how much you save, it’s important and will help protect you and your family in case of a financial surprise.
I’ve done some version of this savings challenge for the past few years. It’s been a big piece of how our family has shifted our spending habits. It’s also been a huge help when it came to being more mindful about spending in general.
Imagine having those extra dollars in the bank. What would you do with it? You could put it towards a dream vacation, paying down student loans, create an emergency fund or even put it towards early retirement. I’ve personally used this challenge to put money towards paying off credit card debt and also to save for big home projects that I wanted to be able to avoid using the credit card for.
Start thinking about what your plan will be for this money BEFORE you get started. Motivation is key to finishing the challenge!
How does the 52-week money challenge work?
The 52-week savings challenge involves saving money incrementally each week. This really just means that you build on the amount you’ve saved the week previously. I recommend starting with the smallest amount of money first, especially if this is the first time you’ve ever tried a money challenge. Consistency is key.
If your goal is to save $1,378 in a year, you’ll start by saving $1 in the first week of the challenge. Each week moving forward will be an increasing amount of money, adding an extra dollar each week. So for example, you’ll save $2 in the second week, $3 in the third week, $4 in week for and so on until you save $52 dollars in week 52.
Want to be successful with the 52-week savings challenge? Here are some tips!
1. Determine the beginning of the challenge.
While many people choose to start money challenges at the beginning of a new calendar year (because hey, saving more money is always a great new year’s resolution!), you can start this savings challenge literally any week you want! All that matters is that you chose a week, and make your plan based on that.
You can also choose to start this challenge multiple times a year. Depending on your income, this can be a way to create multiple small savings accounts for different goals you have.
2. Use a separate bank account for your savings from this challenge.
I highly encourage people to put the money they are saving in the 52-week challenge into a completely separate bank account. When you add this money into a checking or savings account you regularly utilize, it’s hard to see your nest egg grow. It’s also way too easy to dip into it when you don’t truly need to.
Don’t fall into that trap! Establish a separate savings account specifically for the challenge and see it grow. There are some great high-interest savings account options online (also called a high-yield savings account), or you can open a new savings account at most banks and credit unions! Online banking makes it so easy to open one. A money market account can also be an option.
You can also put the funds in a separate checking account. However, I also recommend NOT ordering a debit card or checks for this separate savings account. Making it harder for you to use the money will help you avoid the temptation of spending it before you actually complete the challenge.
3. Follow the savings plan
Want to know a secret? It can be so much easier to hold yourself accountable to the 52-week savings plan if you print out a tracker and put it somewhere you can easily see it!
Free 52 Week Savings Challenge Printables
Below are three different FREE 52-week money challenge printables that I created to help you along your money saving challenge! It’s hard to be successful without a plan, and these printable documents were designed with that in mind.
Print out the one for the amount of money you want to save in the next 52 weeks- $1,378, $5,000 or $10,000. Keep in mind that the final total saved comes down to the amount of money you are putting away each week. Easily track the savings amounts you need!
Put it on your fridge, taped to the inside of your paper planner, or even on a wall so you can cross out the weeks as you work toward your goal. Don’t forget to write what you plan on doing with the money you save at the top!
How to Stay on Track During the Challenge
Being successful with the 52 week savings challenge takes a lot of motivation. Keeping that goal of what you’ll do with that money in mind each week helps, which is why I recommend determining what your goal is BEFORE you get started. Then, write it at the top of your tracker to help remind yourself of what you’re working towards!
Struggling to find the extra money to set aside and save? You’re not alone! That’s one of the biggest challenges for many people. Here are a few ideas that can help:
- Build it into your budget. I know the word “budget” can sometimes feel overwhelming if you’re not use to working with one, but don’t overthink this! Adding the 52 week money challenge into your spending plan for the month is a strategic and actionable way to stay on track. Just create a line item for the challenge!
Want some help with creating a budget that actually works for your family? Be sure to also read The Ultimate List of Budget Categories (Free Printable)!
- Try a financial product or app that makes it easy to set up automatic deposits for the weekly amount you need. I personally use and LOVE the Qapital app for this purpose. I have multiple savings goals, and the app takes care of the amount needed for the 52 week challenge automatically for each!
- Sell things you don’t need. I bet right now you can think of a few things sitting around your house that you never use and don’t need. Places like the Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Poshmark are great places to list these for extra cash.
- Cut back on expenses. One of the best place to find extra money is to take a look at what you’re spending more money on already that you really don’t need to.
Take a look at your last 3-6 months of bank statements and credit card bills. What are you paying for that isn’t essential? Are there any memberships that you don’t use (like the gym or streaming services)? How often are you eating out for lunch or ordering in takeout?
Cutting back on expenses can free up additional funds that you can put towards your savings challenge.
- Start a side hustle. Are you great at crafting? Maybe you’re amazing at graphic design, or you have a love for baking beautiful cupcakes. Consider taking that hobby and launching it into a real side business! Those extra funds can help skyrocket your savings.
My side hustle is blogging! I fell in love with creating content and helping others through blogging, and was blown away when I realized I could create a real side-income with it in my spare time.
What to Do with the Savings from the 52-Week Money Challenge
Looking for inspiration on what you can put this extra money towards when you finish the savings challenge? Having a goal in mind can help you stay motivated! Here are a few ideas:
Creating or Boosting Your Emergency Savings Fund
Emergency savings are important for every adult to have, regardless of how much money you make. Think of it as a savings account that you can fall back on when life throws you a curveball. This nest egg can help fund surprise bills or cover rent or mortgage payments if you were to lose your job.
Fund a Short-Term or Long-Term Financial Goal
Many people use the money saved from the 52-week savings challenge for trips, new furniture, a down payment for a new car, helping to pay for a move or even as contributions toward retirement. This challenge is fantastic for helping you achieve short-term goals, as well as give you a head start on long term goals.
Home & Vehicle Repair Fund
If you are a homeowner or own a vehicle, surprise expenses can pop up and completely wipe you out financially if you’re not prepared. Having a dedicated savings account like this (also called a sinking fund) to help cushion and cover these expenses is a great idea.
Paying Off Debt
Tackle your debt by putting the money from the 52 week money challenge towards it! By paying more towards your debt, you help reduce how much interest you end up paying long term. Once you take care of any credit card debt, student debt or medical debt you have, you’ll have even more money to use in other ways.
Have Some Fun!
Savings accounts don’t have to just be about tackling debt or saving for a rainy day; you can also use them to fund some FUN in the future! Think about things like a family vacation, spa day or even gifting yourself a pricey item from your wish list.
Ready to take on a challenge? Be sure to snag the free 52 Week Savings Challenge Printables above if you haven’t already!
The Benefits of the 52-Week Savings Challenge are Immense
The 52-week money challenge is a great way to start saving money, even when you can only save a little bit at a time. At the end of the challenge, you’ll become a more consistent saver, as you’ve worked on making it a habit over the past 52 weeks; be challenged to save even more money for your goals; create smart savings habits; and become motivated to achieve even bigger financial goals!
There are countless versions of this challenge. Whether you choose to start this at the beginning of the year or a random week, this challenge is an effective way to help you save more money. The most important thing and the hardest part for many people is just getting started! These small amounts of money add up fast, and if you commit to the full 52-week period imagine how good it’ll feel to reach your goal!
Sometimes all it takes is a small boost from a money challenge like this to help you on the path to improving your personal finances in multiple areas. Over time and with commitment, your bank account balance will grow and you’ll gain financial peace of mind. It becomes a win-win experience for you!
I hope this article helped inspire you to try the 52-Week Savings Challenge! It would be wonderful if you could take few seconds to share this article to help inspire others on their savings journeys, too. Wishing you good luck as you work to reach your savings goals!