What would you do with $1,378 in cash on January 1, 2015? Would you pay off a credit card? Buy something fun for yourself? Do a project around the house that you’ve been putting off? Save for the holidays?
Starting on January 1st, 2014, we’re going to save $1,378 (or more) in one year. You and me. It will be easy!
You’ve probably seen Savings Challenges like this before, and mine is very similar, but a little different. Each week, you save the amount of money for the week of the year it is. So for week 1, you save $1, for week 2, you save $2 for a total of $3, and so on. If you save the weekly goal every week, you’ll have $1,378 at the end of the year. It’s that simple.
My challenge is a bit different in that I give you several ways to end up at the same goal (or more). I’ve attached a spreadsheet for you to download or print so that you can keep track of what you’ve got. The workbook has 3 different tabs at the bottom. Each tab is the same spreadsheet, just with different weekly goals: forward, backward, and alternating.
Why the different strategies? Because not everyone has the same saving ability. Some people find it hard to save $202 in December, so the forward method probably isn’t for those people. Sure, it’s cheap in January, but you have all of the large goals in December, right when all of those impulse deals are available. Likewise, some find it hard to save $202 in January for the same reason, just backwards. The alternating goal is equally weighted, which works out to about $106 a month, each month.
Here’s where my challenge gets even more different: if you are savvy enough, you can save a little less that the goal in some weeks, and a little more in others. I’ve included a column in each spreadsheet for the Amount Ahead or Behind. This column right now is all ugly, negative and red. But, when you enter an amount more than that week’s goal in your weekly savings spot, it turns green – just for that week. Why do this? Well, I did a similar challenge this year, and I did it this way. I ended up saving over $2,200!! I decided I would just enter whatever I saved for that week, but I actively tried to save something. Some weeks, I saved over $250 because I sold a bunch of stuff on Facebook Garage Sale Groups or got an Ebates check for more than that week’s goal. Some weeks, I saved $0 because I forgot. I don’t stop if I hit the final goal, but I always try to at least hit the weekly goal.
In case you’re wondering, I do the Alternating weeks method.
I keep my cash in an envelope (you could use a cute jar like this), and when it’s full or I hit $100, I take it to the bank & deposit it. Then, I transfer that money to my Capital One 360 High Interest Savings Account. It’s a high-interest account that I use specifically for this challenge. I earn WAY more interest in this account than I do in any others. In 2013, I earned almost $8 in interest (in 6 months), and I put that money back in the challenge.
I find the account works better for me, because its easier to move money from my checking account in there. Plus, I don’t spend it as easily. The key is, once it goes in the envelope (or jar or account), DON’T TOUCH IT (except to deposit at the bank)!
It’s easy to come up with extra cash! I put everything I earn from Ebates & Ibotta in there. I also put PayPal cash I earn from Gift Hulk, Swagbucks & checks from InstaGC, money made from selling stuff, and money received as gifts in there. My favorite way to save cash is by breaking bills. If I use a $20 to pay for something, I put the change in the envelope. In 2013, I saved $2,245.10!
You can too! Come save with me in 2014!! Start by putting $1 in an envelope right now, and you’ve finished Week 1!
See all of the Weekly Savings Challenge Posts here.
Want more ways to save? Check out my Home Management Binder Series! Get organized & save in 2014!!