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How to Do the 52-Week Money Challenge

How to Do the 52-Week Money Challenge

Saving money can be hard, especially if you are just starting to save or your cash flow is tight. However, it can be much easier if you implement various savings challenges throughout the year, like the 52-week money challenge.

The 52-week money challenge helps you gradually save money over the course of a year. It sets a routine that makes saving money not only manageable but enjoyable as well. In this article, I’ll explain how the 52-week challenge works and give you some tips to help you stay on track.

What Is the 52-Week Money Challenge?

With the 52-week money challenge, you start by saving $1. Each week, you increase your savings by $1. So, in week 2, you save $2; in week 3, you save $3, and so on. By the time you reach the final week of the challenge – week 52 – you’ll need to put away $52. If you successfully complete the 52-week savings challenge, you will have saved a total of $1,378.

Because the 52-week money challenge doesn’t require you to save the same amount every week, it’s less intimidating, especially for those who are new to saving or who have tight budgets. As your savings grow and you become more comfortable with the process, you’ll find it easier to keep up with the increasing weekly amounts.

You can customize the challenge depending on your financial goals and circumstances. For example, if you want to save even more quickly, you could double the weekly amounts. Or, you can adjust the timeline to complete the challenge in less than 52 weeks if you prefer. It’s all up to you and your unique needs.

How to Get Started

Here are some steps you can take to get started with the 52-week money challenge. I’m making an assumption that you don’t yet have a dedicated bank account for the money to go into.

1. Open a High-Interest Savings Account

The first step in beginning your 52-week money challenge is to open a high-yield savings account. Choose a financial institution that offers the most competitive savings rates. You’ll find the best interest rates through online banks like EQ Bank or Motive Financial. Tangerine offers a very attractive bonus interest for the first five months, and most credit unions offer higher rates than the big banks.

High-yield savings accounts help your hard-earned savings grow more quickly. For more information on account options, check out our list of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada.

2. Make it Visual

To keep yourself motivated and on track, create a visual representation of your progress. The easiest way to do this is by using a printable 52-week money challenge chart that you can fill in weekly as you make deposits. Keep this chart in a central location, like your fridge or office desk, to regularly remind yourself of your progress. A spreadsheet also works, but it’s not as much fun.

3. Make Adjustments if Needed

Life happens, and unexpected expenses can pop up. If you find yourself struggling to save the prescribed dollar amount during a particular week, don’t worry. Simply make adjustments and continue moving forward to stay on track. The most important thing is to remain committed to your savings goal and to acknowledge that sometimes, some flexibility may be needed.

Keys To Staying On Track

Creating a budget is crucial for staying on track with the 52-week money-saving challenge. Start by listing your monthly income and expenses, and then prioritize your spending. Focus on essentials first, such as rent, groceries, and utilities.

Set aside a portion of your income for discretionary spending, like entertainment and dining out. Finally, allocate funds for your savings challenge. By doing so, you’ll be able to see where your money goes and ensure you have enough to reach your goal.

If you’re new to budgeting, this post explains how to make a budget. And here is a list of budgeting apps that can help you automate much of the process.

Tracking your spending will also help you keep pace with the 52-week challenge. Record every purchase you make, whether it’s a coffee or a major expense. You’ll quickly identify spending habits that might hinder your progress in the savings challenge.

For example, if you notice that you’re spending too much on takeout, try cooking more meals at home or planning your meals ahead of time. By combining a well-structured budget with tracking your spending, you’ll increase your chances of successfully completing the 52-week money challenge.

Benefits Of The 52-Week Savings Challenge

All savings challenges have several benefits. Here are some ways the 52-week savings challenge can help you improve your finances and life.

1. It Forces You To Save

The 52-week money challenge is an effective way to build a savings habit gradually. And starting with small amounts, like $1 in the first week, makes it an easy habit to stick to.

2. Helps Create A Savings Mindset

The 52-week savings challenge helps you develop a savings-focused mindset by setting achievable savings goals every week. With every deposit, you’ll feel more in control of your finances and see your savings grow over time. You’ll also become more disciplined and committed to maintaining these positive behaviours, even after the challenge has ended.

3. You’ll Have More Money For Emergencies

An unexpected financial crisis or emergency can wreak havoc on your budget, leaving you scrambling for extra cash. By using the 52-week money challenge to build an emergency fund, you can handle unplanned expenses without borrowing or going into debt.

4. Help You Avoid Using Your Credit Card

Credit cards are convenient, but they can lead to mounting debt if not managed carefully. The 52-week savings challenge provides a practical alternative to using credit cards for unexpected expenses. By growing your savings, you can rely on cash instead, bypassing the temptation to pay with credit and avoiding potentially high-interest charges and debt.

Remember, the 52-week savings challenge is not just about accumulating a tidy sum at the end of the year; it’s about building a secure financial foundation and developing positive habits that will last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts on the 52-Week Money Challenge

As you can see, the 52-week money challenge is a fun way to build a strong savings habit throughout the year. By focusing on a gradual increase in savings, week by week, you’ll be able to keep track of your finances more easily and watch your savings grow.

The key to successfully completing the 52-week money challenge is to stay consistent and remain committed to your savings goal. As each week passes, you’ll find yourself putting aside a little more money, motivating you to continue on this path. It may sometimes feel challenging, but remember that every step you take moves you closer to your goal.


Should I put my challenge money in an investment account?

Money saved during a 52-week challenge should usually be kept in short-term savings. For example, you might use the account as an emergency fund. Avoid putting the money into a long-term investment where you could potentially lose money. This includes most mutual funds, stocks, and ETFs.

But don’t put the money in your piggy bank, either. As mentioned, transfer it to a high-interest savings account where you can get a decent return without risking your principal.

How much can I save doing the 52-week challenge?

By following the 52-week money challenge, you’ll save a total of $1,378 in a year. This amount is based on you depositing an increasing amount of money into your bank account weekly, starting with $1 in week 1, $2 in week 2, $3 in week 3, and so on. In the last week, you’ll deposit $52.

What are some variations of the 52-week money challenge?

There are several variations to the 52-week money challenge worth considering. With the Reverse Challenge, instead of starting with $1, you start with $52 and decrease the amount by $1 each week. This could be helpful if you have more money to save upfront.

With the Bi-Weekly Challenge, you deposit money every two weeks, doubling the amount saved per deposit. This works well for people who receive biweekly paychecks.

Remember, the key is to find a variation that works best for your needs and helps you save consistently.

How can I modify the challenge to reach specific savings goals?

To tailor the 52-week money challenge to reach specific savings goals, you can start with a higher initial deposit and increase the amount according to your goal. You can also increase the weekly increments to save more each week.

How can I stay motivated throughout the 52-week money challenge?

To help you stay on track throughout the year, I recommend you visualize your goal by keeping a written reminder in a prominent place, like your desk or refrigerator door. Also, track your progress.

Regularly update a spreadsheet, journal, or mobile app as your savings grow. And don’t forget to reward yourself by setting mini-milestones along the way and celebrate with small rewards when you reach them.

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