Meet the 52-Week Money Challenge: The Simplest Way to Save $1500

Almost everyone will agree that squirreling away money for a future time is important, and just as many people would likely also agree that saving can be impossibly hard.

The 52-Week Money Challenge is an extremely popular saving strategy precisely because it makes the process incredibly easy (and even a little fun).

As it’s designed to stretch over one full year (52 weeks), the beginning of the year is a great time to kick it off. But really, this is something you can start any time you want, and for any reason – to save enough to replenish a depleted emergency fund, fund a home improvement project, pay down what you owe, or buy a new car, for instance.

So, how does it actually work? We’ll break down the challenge for you below, but first here’s a quick look at why it can be so helpful to adopt a method like this if you’re serious about saving.

The 52-Week Money Challenge: How It Works

It’s fairly straightforward: start small, with just $1 in the first week of the challenge, and then slowly build up the amount you save every week until you’re putting away $52 in the 52nd (final) week. Just follow the steps below to get going:

Step 1: Make sure you have an annual calendar easily accessible so you can mark off your progress. Alternatively, you could draw up or download a 52-Week Money Challenge tracking chart (there are plenty available online). It’s probably also worthwhile setting weekly reminders on your phone or digital calendar so you don’t slip up.

Step 2: Decide on an appropriate savings vehicle, be it a high-interest account or a glass jar, for instance. You should preferably go for an option that you can’t easily access so you’re not tempted to take cash out when you should be putting it in.

Step 3: Pinpoint your starting week and set aside $1.

Step 4: Add another dollar to the amount you save with every passing week for the next 52 weeks (or until you reach your own specific goal). The process looks something like this:



















Step 5: Tally up your savings at the end of week 52. If you completed the challenge correctly, you should have stowed away a total of $1378, or more if you’ve been earning interest on your deposits.

As you kick off with just one dollar and gradually grow the sum from there, the challenge makes saving feel incredibly doable. It eliminates the paralysis you might experience when faced with the daunting task of socking away one large sum by a certain date without a clear strategy. By enforcing a weekly behavior, it also helps you to forge a habit that you’re likely to stick to.

What’s more, because you’re essentially achieving a short-term goal every time you make your weekly deposit, you benefit from the motivating thrill of a series of small wins – the regular dopamine spikes that come with each achievement will have you wanting to repeat the behavior of saving so you can experience that “high” again.

4 Key Variations on the Original Challenge

If you add three more weeks to the typical challenge, you’ll save just over $1500 – a really decent sum. There are also many other ways you can shake up the game a little to suit your situation, some of which will leave you with an even larger end amount.

1. Work backwards: Save $52 in the first week, and then lower the amount each week until you end on just $1. This is a safer option if you’re starting out with a fair amount of spare money, but are anticipating being a little more cash-strapped in the later months of the challenge.

2. Mix up the order: Write out the amounts from $1 to $52, and every week deposit and cross off whatever sum you can handle at that time. Maybe $35 feels doable in week 1, but week 2 is tight and you can only manage $8, for instance. You should still end up with the same total.

3. Set a fixed weekly amount and automate transfers: If you prefer consistency, pick a sum that’s feasible for you and set aside the same amount each week. To save just over $1500 in total, you can fix your weekly deposit at $29 over 52 weeks. It’s a good idea to then schedule regular automated transfers into a bank account so you can save without even thinking.

4. Start with more; increase by more: If you have the change, kick off week 1 with $2 and increase the amount saved every week by $2 instead of $1. You’ll finish with $2756 – a sum that should stand you in good stead, regardless of whether it’s for an emergency fund, a debt repayment, or that new gadget you’ve been eyeing for years.

The information contained herein was prepared for general information and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional, tax, financial or legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. Eloan a Division of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, its subsidiaries and/or affiliates are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or tax advice. Please consult with your attorney, financial consultant/planner, accountant, and/or tax advisor for advice concerning your particular circumstances.