In JanuaryÃ‚ I challenged you toÃ‚ notÃ‚ do the popularÃ‚ 52-week money challenge. At least, don’t do it the way that many suggest. Common advice says you can save $1,378 in a year’s time if you:
- Save increasing amounts each week.Ã‚ Start with $1 during week one. Then, increase your savings by $1 each subsequent week. That means in week 37 you save $37 and on week 52 you sock away $52.
- Put the money in a jar.Ã‚ Paste a savings chart to a jar, then put it on your kitchen counter so you’ll never forget to put a week’s savings in it.
What Is Our 52-Week Money Challenge?
I suggested that you kick that wisdom to the curb. Yes, let’s work to save $1,378 in one year’s time, but instead do these two things:
- Save decreasing amounts each week.Ã‚ Get the heavy lifting done right now while your motivation is highest.
- Put the money in the bank.Ã‚ I recommended aÃ‚ free Capital One 360 savings accountÃ‚ as a great way to automate the money going in and make it a little difficult to get the money out (withdrawals take 3-4 days to process).
(ReadÃ‚ this initial articleÃ‚ to learn all the reasons I suggest you don’t do the 52-week money challenge, at least not their way.)
Other Online Bank Account Options
As I said, I personally use a free Capital One 360 savings account to make my 52-week money challenge deposits, butÃ‚ if that doesn’t float your boat, here are a few other options:
- Ally Bank.Ã‚ With an Ally Bank account, there’s no minimum deposit to open an account and no monthly maintenance fees. You can also deposit checks remotely with their eCheck Deposit feature.Ã‚ Check the widget above for the latest APY (annual percentage yield) that Ally Bank offers. If you’d like to open an account, just click the orange “Open an Account” button above.
I’ll say this – I own enough bank accounts that I don’t personally have an account with any of these banks, but if you’ve decided (for whatever reason) that Capital One 360 isn’t for you, these are other options to consider.
My Update So Far
I realize I’ve taken a few months off from posting updates (sorry about that), but here’s how things are going for me and my family. We have been saving and are on track, even if I haven’t been reporting it.
Here’s what I’ve found – I decided at the beginning of the year that I didn’t want to set up all my weeks at the beginning and just let them go. I wanted to be more engaged throughout the process and not just set it and forget it. It’s important to me to go in every month and set up the transfers.
That being said, I’ve been doing one monthly lump sum at the end of each month. This has been working better for me and my family, but if it works for you to set up the transfers each week, feel free to keep on keepin’ on that way.
- I’ve made $585 in deposits since I last updated. I also have $105 scheduled to transfer to the account later this month – this totals the deposits for weeks 30-34.
- If you’ve been keeping up with the savings chart, you’ll be at 88% of the total goal by the end of the month.Ã‚ That’s $1,207 out of $1,378 saved. Yahoo!
I have to say, as the year is going on and I’m seeing the amounts decrease, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I’m getting such a sense of accomplishment, like “Yes, I’m actually doing this!” Ã‚ Seeing the amounts decrease every week and month feels so great, especially as other expenses are ramping up (school supplies, gifts, etc.).
Knowing how this feels, I don’t know how anyone could stick with this challenge going the other way and seeing the number goÃ‚ up each week. Ã‚ I wouldn’t want to be thinking in a couple of months, “$200 extra? Where does that come from?”
While we have still been saving and keeping up with the challenge, a major thing that derailed me from these updates was my Mom’s brain tumor and series of complications that followed in April and May. That was my primary focus for those months which kept me from checking in regularly with you, but I’m happy to be back on track now.
In terms of challenges with the actualÃ‚ savings part of it: I mentioned previously that the money I’m saving through this challenged is earmarked for our health insurance deductible. At the beginning of the year, my husband and I decided to spend our full deductible this year getting things checked out and taken care of. Now it’s August and we’ve barely made a dent. I think that part of that is due to not wanting to get out of the savings mentality and move into the spending mentality. Sometimes it’s just painful to spend the money you’ve saved, to see the balance you’ve worked hard to build go back to zero. Can you relate?
Whether you’ve been keeping up with these deposits for the year or you need to get back on track, here are a few things to do this month:
- Schedule deposits.Ã‚ Set up five weekly deposits, totaling $105, for August (thisÃ‚ printable chartÃ‚ is a great way to track all the deposit amounts):
- Week 30: $23
- Week 31: $22
- Week 32: $21
- Week 33: $20
- Week 34: $19
- If you haven’t already, figure out what the money is for. Maybe it’s for an emergency fund. Maybe you’ve decided to use some of it for Christmas expenses. Maybe you’re putting it toward your next vehicle. My point: It makes no sense to save and save and save without a larger purpose in mind, whether it’s saving for a rainy day or saving for a specific upcoming expense. That being said, if you’re just getting your feet wet with savings and really want to see that balance be $1,378 at the end of the year, I won’t argue. :)
Maintain Your Motivation
Whether you’ve saved $1102 or $11.02 this year doesn’t really matter to me.Ã‚ MuchÃ‚ more important than your bank account balance is your motivation.
I believe your motivation isÃ‚ the most important assetÃ‚ you have in your journey to a better financial life.Ã‚ If you have sufficient motivation, then you’ll eventually have sufficient finances.
If you have sufficient motivation, then you'll eventually have sufficient finances. #truth
— Watean (@ThePYDTeam) February 7, 2014
I’m committed this year to helping you successfully complete the 52-week money challenge.
I’ve said it already, but it bears repeating. Please, leave a comment after this article that articulates any challenges you are having as you work to set aside money this year. But also, brag up your successes. What has worked? How has setting aside money every week helped you? Let’s work together as a community to see each one of us reach our potential.
As always, I welcome your ideas on how else I can help you succeed.
All the best,