What would you do with $1,378 in cash on January 1, 2021? 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 January 1st, 2020, we’re going to save $1,378 (or more) in one year. You and me. It will be easy!
I’ve been doing this challenge for the past five years, and I’ve been able to save over $11,000!
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 make a copy of 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. You get to choose which way you do the challenge.
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, or as many weeks you are ahead of pace.
Why do this?
Well, this is how I did my personal challenge in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019 and I ended up saving $2,590.97 (2014), $2,267.67 (2015), $1,462.65 (2016), $1,406.12 (2018), and $2,711.72! I decided I would just enter whatever I saved for that week, but I actively tried to save something each week. Some weeks, I saved over $250 because I sold a bunch of stuff on Facebook Garage Sale Groups or got a Rakuten 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, 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 2018, I earned over $500 in interest across all of my Capital One accounts! Sometimes, I put that interest back into the Savings Challenge account toward my weekly goals.
I don’t use an envelope anymore for this challenge, I now have a Savings Challenge Category in my YNAB Budget where I keep this money. This is one of the categories for one of my Capital One 360 Savings accounts, so it is still earning interest, and I can see exactly how much I have currently in my YNAB budget. Find out more about how using the YNAB budgeting system changed our lives!
The key to this challenge is, once it goes in the envelope (or jar or account or YNAB category), DON’T TOUCH IT (except to deposit at the bank)! I will admit that I have trouble with this. I’m always using this as my decor shopping fund, but I do keep track on the spreadsheet. This year, I’m going to try my hardest NOT TO TOUCH IT!
It’s easy to come up with extra cash! I put everything I earn from Rakuten & Ibotta in there. I also put PayPal cash I earn from Swagbucks & 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 to deposit at the bank. Some people like to save every $5 bill they com across. However you do it, just make sure you do it!
You can do this! Come save with me in 2020!! Start by putting $1 in an envelope right now, and you’ve finished Week 1!
See all of the Weekly Savings Challenge Posts here.
Get organized & save in 2020!!