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Check out our weekly savings plan challenges! We’ve got a free printable tracker for everyone, no matter your budget or schedule. You’ll also find a blank editable template, so you can create your own chart. It even works for kids. Click though to get your FREE 52- week money saving challenge printable.
Picture this, it is one year from now and you have $1,378 in your savings account. What could you do with that extra cash? How would you feel knowing that you have that cash cushion?
Is saving more and spending less one of your resolutions this year? You are not alone. Saving is in the top five New Year resolutions. And for good reason. We can all do with a little extra cash in our savings account.
If you are not used to saving, it can be a little daunting to set a goal of saving $1378. You may be wondering how on earth you save that much, particularly if money is tight each month.
Good news: a savings challenge can help you meet that goal and it is a lot simpler than you think. We’ve got 5 different challenges for you to choose from, so you should find the right fit for you. We’ve also thrown in some tips for saving on everyday purchases to help you reach your goal.
First, we’ve packed this post with lots of helpful information. I’m going to walk you through the whole process and might not need to read everything. So, I created a table of contents. That way you can jump directly to those sections that interest you.
WHAT IS A YEARLY SAVINGS CHALLENGE?
To begin with, a savings challenge is a simple tool that helps you put aside money on a regular schedule. They usually start with a small deposit, but quickly start to grow. What this means is that you are harnessing the power of the “snowball effect.”
The snowball effect is when something grows at an increasingly fast rate. The image comes from imagining a snowball rolling down a hill and gathering more snow as it rolls. Eventually it becomes a force to be reckoned with.
The snowball effect can have a negative and positive impact on our lives. In the case of a savings snowball, it is positive. Watching the total grow at an increasing fast rate becomes quite addictive. It is what motivates you to keep finding ways to stop spending and start saving.
WHY ARE SAVINGS CHALLENGES HELPFUL?
For starters you will end the year with just over $1000 in your savings account. It may not seem like a lot, but you will be doing so much more that simply saving money. What you are doing is creating a savings habit that will serve you well.
Why is that important?
It’s establishes a healthy Habit
In this video author Charles Duhigg talks about the power of habits.
The brain establishes habits to simplify our activities. If would be overwhelming to think about everything we do. Habits are routines that automate aspects of our behavior. I don’t have to think about putting on my seat belt, I do it automatically.
Look at it this way, establishing a saving habit can be one of the best decisions you ever make. An easy savings challenge will help you overcome the initial resistance. Every deposit you make increases your balance and your motivation to save more. Once you get into the habit of depositing money regularly, it’ll become automatic.
Tracking a habit is powerful motivator
Let’s be honest, establishing a new habit can be hard at first. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. In fact, it is natural to feel some resistance to the change. Think of it like pushing a boulder up a hill. It takes a lot of work at first until you reach the top of the hill and then it becomes a lot easier.
A positive feedback look helps make that initial climb easier. Setting up a tracking system in which we check off a box provides that feedback loop. Watching your savings increase is also a powerful motivator. A tracker is a powerful psychological tool, so why not take advantage of it?
It will protect you against unexpected expenses
Did you know that 39 percent of Americans do not have the means to cover an unexpected expense over $400? Another report found that about 25% of Americans have enough money to cover an unexpected $1,000. Are you one of them? If you finish this challenge, you will have a rainy-day fun to cover all those unexpected expenses.
It forces you evaluate your spending habits
Let’s face it, the money must come from somewhere. This means you must spend less. Having a weekly or monthly savings goal will help slow down your spending. It forces you to think about how you are spending your money and where you can make cuts.
HOW DO I START?
So, let’s get started.
- Set your goals: It really helps to decide what you will do with the money. Perhaps you want
- To build up an emergency fund
- Save for a particular item
- Have money to cover Christmas expenses
- Go on vacation
- Set up a savings account if you don’t already have one: This is a super important step. You need to have a place to keep your savings. Some people suggest using an envelope or jar to collect the cash, but a bank account is far more secure. Beside why would want to miss out on a year’s worth of interest?
- Choose your challenge. Download the 52 week money saving challenge printable and start tracking.
CHOOSE YOUR CHALLENGE – 6 METHODS TO CHOOSE FROM
This is the point where you choose your savings challenge. When it comes to finances, there is no one size fits all approach. The way you save will be different than the way I save. I have found that what works for one person can be unhelpful for another. You need to find what works for you.
FREE 52 WEEK MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE PRINTABLES
To help I’ve created 5 different printables for challenges to help you save at least $1,000 this year! I’ve also created a couple of blank trackers, so you can design your own.
You will notice that there are no fixed start dates. A lot of people like to start in the New Year, but there is no rule that says you can’t start in June.
Weekly Increase Method
This is simple. You start out by saving $1 the first week and increase the deposit by $1 a week. By the end of the year you will be setting aside $52.00 a week and the total saving is $1,378.
The first five to 10 weeks will establish that saving habit without too much pain. At first the balance will be small, but you will quickly reach $100 and then watch the savings start to snowball.
Weekly Decrease Method
The decrease method is the same as the first challenge but reverses the order of the payments. You start by saving $52 in the first week and decrease the deposit by $1 a week.
The end of the year can be a bit of a strain financially, so you may prefer less of an obligation. This method only needs $10 for December. The weekly decrease method will also build $1,378 over a year.
Increase and then decrease
This method is great for people that feel a little daunted by the prospect of saving $50 in one week. It starts out the same way as the increase method, but after week 10 the increments increase by $5 a week. By week 31 you are paying $35 a week. Then you start decreasing your savings in $5 increments until you reach the end of the year. This method will save $1000
Keeping it level
In this challenge you divide 1378 by 52 and deposit $25.50 each week. The advantage of this method is that you can easily set it up as an automatic transfer set to happen each week.
The Monthly Saving Challenge
This is my preference. I like to keep things super simple, so I prefer to transfer the same amount to my savings at the start of each month. If you save $100 a month you will have $1200 at the end of the year. If you increase it to $120, you will have $1440. Again, this is super easy to automate.
Make it your own
These tracking charts are blank, so you can create your own challenge. There is a 52 week money saving challenge printable and a monthly saving challenge. I’ve made them editable, so you can fill them in before printing. Maybe you want to double the amount saved. Perhaps you want to save less. It is completely up to you.
You could even create one for your kids. Start with 10 cents and increased by 10 cents and you will save you $135.
This handy calculator will help you create your own charts.
There is no right and wrong way to do this. Do what works for you.
DOWNLOAD YOUR 52 WEEK CHALLENGE PRINTABLE AND START TRACKING
By now I hope you’ll have realized that this simple savings challenge could make a big difference. All you must do is download the free 52 week money saving challenge printable of your choice.
MY TIPS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED
Get your family on board
It will be so much easier if you have your family’s backing and support on this. Older children can also help do things that save money. Send teens off to research creative ways to save money. Then ask them to bring those ideas to family strategy meetings.
Gather and your family for a discussion and explain why you want to embark on a savings plan. Brainstorm ways your family can save money. Post the chart where everyone can track the progress.
Deposit the money into your savings as soon as you get paid
Think of it as paying yourself first. When I was first managing my own money, I vowed to save what was left over each month. There was a problem though. I never had any money left over each month.
My mom told me to transfer the money at the start of the month, “You won’t miss it,” she assured me. I was skeptical about this but gave it a try. To my astonishment I found that I didn’t miss it. The money wasn’t there to spend , so I didn’t. It is a powerful mind trick.
Choose a challenge that syncs with the way you manage your money:
If you get paid monthly, you may find a monthly challenge works best for you. A weekly challenge may work best for those that portion out money on a weekly basis. The FREE 52 week money saving challenge printable gives you lots of options.
Consider automating the process
If you have on-line banking, you can set up automatic transfers. I find this is the way that works best for me. I set the transfers to happen just after I get paid and then I don’t even have to think about it. The money is not in my checking account, so I don’t spend it. Easy peasy!
I can set up as many transfers as I wish in your bank account. I save the same amount each month, so I just set the transfer on a monthly repeat.
If you can’t automate, set a weekly/monthly alert on your phone to remind you to transfer the money. Having your banking app on to your phone makes it easy to make the transfer as soon as you get the reminder.
Put the money in a savings account that doesn’t give you instant access
When I started saving, I created a saving account with another institution. It takes about 4 business days to transfer the money to my checking account. This discourages me from withdrawing it, unless I really need to do so.
12 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
This is the point where you must figure out how you are going to find the money to save each week. Do you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck? It could be time to take a long hard look at where all your money goes each month. I have found that it is easy to make small savings that really add up over a month or year.
Have a no buy week
This is one of the best ways to save a chunk of money in a hurry. Basically, you spend no money for one week. Everyone does this differently and sets their own rules. Here are some tips to help you succeed.
We budget $150 a week for groceries and miscellaneous expenses, and that is how much we save in our no spend weeks. $150 would take us to week 17 or give us enough for the last 3 weeks.
Join the library
4 years ago, my library started tallying up how much you saved with every visit. I looked at my receipt the last time I visited and discovered I had saved a whopping $7, 746 over the last 4 years. We use our library for so many things.
They offer books, DVDs, audio books, magazines, e-books, on-line newspapers and magazines. Many libraries also offer toys and games. All for the cost of a single membership and many libraries give those away for free.
Make your own bread
Almost everything you make from scratch is cheaper, but baking bread is a huge saver. We make a yummy multigrain bread that costs 80 cents a loaf. To buy something similar is between $3-4 in our part of the world.
The ingredients for making bread are relatively inexpensive and yet bread is not. We use a bread machine to mix up the dough and it is super easy to do. My favorite chef Jamie Oliver explains how to make bread from scratch
While kneading dough can be quite relaxing, we prefer to use a bread machine set on the bread dough cycle. Older kids can be taught how to start a loaf of bread,
Make your own coffee
Do you buy a coffee on the way to work? Have you ever stopped to figure out how much that costs? If you spend $2 a day that works out to $10 a week. If you work about 48 weeks a year, that works is $480. That would cover you until week 30!
We have a programmable coffee machine, so we set it up the night before. It starts brewing about 10 minutes before we get up and it is ready when we come down in the morning. We make extra and use our trusty travel mugs to take it with us.
Pack your own lunch
A lunch from home costs pennies and these savings add up over the weeks/ months and year. I have a microwave at work, so it is easy to pack leftovers and heat them up. We plan our meals with leftovers in mind. I also realized that I can pack the ingredients and put together a salad or sandwich during my lunch break.
Cut the cable
We did this 8 years ago and honestly haven’t missed it at all. Most of the major television stations stream their shows on-line. We also borrow the DVDs of television series from the library and subscribe to Netflix. Even the most basic cable/Satellite costs $70 a month. That is $840 a year. The huge bonus is the lack of commercials!
Cut down your grocery bill
Food is a probably one of the biggest expenses after housing each month. We save a huge amount by shopping the sales. We also buy no name brands and grow/preserve garden produce each year. For more tips read this post.
Get rid of one subscription
Do you have monthly subscriptions? We get sucked in by the introductory offer and end up paying for things we don’t use. Because they are auto billed each month, we don’t realize how much we are spending.
Look at your bank statement to spot monthly subscriptions. Then evaluate how much you use them. There is no point in paying for a service that is hardly ever used. Things like streaming services, magazine subscriptions, and gym memberships fall into this category
This is a trick I learned many years ago. Try cutting the amount you use in half. This would include things like soap, face cream, shampoo, toothpaste. You an also cut your dryer sheets in half.
We discovered that when it came to things like soap a little goes a long way. This dispenser helps dish out soap and shampoo in small amounts. Our bottles of soap and shampoo now last 4 times as long.
Cut Utility Costs
Utilities can be a money leak. There are so many ways to cut the costs. Hang your clothes to dry, use a slow cooker or toaster oven, or install a programmable thermostat. You’ll find some more tips here.
Enjoy free activities
Enjoy neighborhood walks, hikes, bike rides, and other free activities with your family. These activities won’t cost you a dime and are a great way to enjoy time together for less. Try
- 60 Very Simple Science Experiments Your Kids Will Love
- 50 Of The Best Indoor Winter Activities For Families
- 6 Amazing Secret Codes You Kids Will Really Enjoy
- How to Make Beautiful Land Art With Your Kids
Use rewards CAREFULLY
We are subscribed to a couple of reward cards. Our local grocery store has one that allows you to spend the points on groceries. We saved $120 a year. We also buy on-line purchases through Ebates (now called Rakuten) and save up to 5% in their cash back scheme.
A word of caution here, don’t get sucked into schemes that need you to buy higher priced items to get the savings.
All these tips will save you money and they will add up quickly. At the start of the challenge doing something as simple as making your own coffee will suffice. As you progress you will need to combine some to save enough for the weekly challenge.
Look how these savings might add up
|Money saving measure||money saved in one week|
|Bring your own coffee for a week||$10-$20|
|Borrow Magazine From Library||$4|
|Make three loaves of bread||$6|
|Bring your own lunch for a week||$35|
Of course, doing something more drastic like cutting the cord or having a no buy week will save you far more.
GET STARTED SAVING NOW!
Are you ready to save $1000 or more this year? Just go ahead and download the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge Printable and start saving. Then sit back and watch your savings add up. It’s your money and it’s time to make it work for you. Trust me you’ll be glad you did.
Have you tried a savings challenge? How did it go? Do you have any money saving tips to share? Please leave a comment below.