Person standing on top of a mountain, symbolizing the achievement of financial freedom through alternative savings methods

Alternative to the 52 Week Money Savings Challenge

Saving Money for a Better Future: The Alternative to the 52-Week Money Challenge

When it comes to saving money, you may have heard of the 52-week money challenge. The idea behind this challenge is that each week, you add one dollar to the amount you’re saving, starting with just one dollar in the first week and ending with $52 in the last week. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved a total of $1,378. While the 52-week money challenge can be a fun and interesting way to save money, it may not be the best solution for everyone.

Midway through the challenge, you may find that you’re saving a higher percentage of your income than you can realistically manage. On the other hand, if you’re in a financial position to save more, the challenge may not hold you accountable for saving the right amount.

A Better Solution: Saving a Percentage of Your Income

That’s why, instead of following the 52-week challenge, you may want to consider saving a percentage of your income. The most common savings target is 20%, but for those who are new to saving, it’s a good idea to start with a smaller, more achievable goal. For example, if you net $40,000 a year, it may not be realistic to save 20% of your income right away. Instead, focus on cleaning up your budget and finding areas to trim expenses. Aim to save at least 5% of your income, and gradually increase that amount over time as your budget allows.

Choosing the Right Savings Account for Your Money

When it comes to saving money, it’s important to choose the right type of account. For your emergency fund and short-term savings goals, a high-yield savings account is a great option. This type of account typically offers a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account, allowing your money to grow faster. If you’re saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement, you may want to consider a retirement account like an IRA or a 401(k). These types of accounts offer tax benefits and the potential for compound interest, helping your savings grow even more over time. No matter what type of account you choose, it’s important to make sure that it is FDIC insured so that your savings are protected.

Automating Your Savings

One way to make saving easier is to set up automatic savings through your bank. Have a portion of each paycheck automatically transferred into your savings account until you have at least 6 months of income saved. This way, you’ll be prepared for the unexpected and have a solid emergency fund in place.

Tips for Staying Motivated and Achieving Your Goals

  1. Here are some general tips for motivating yourself to reach personal goals, including saving money:
  2. Write it down: Write down your goals and keep them visible. Seeing your goals every day can help keep you motivated.
  3. Make a plan: Break your goal down into smaller, manageable steps and create a plan to achieve each one.
  4. Celebrate small victories: Celebrate each step of the way, no matter how small. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.
  5. Get an accountability partner: Find someone who will hold you accountable for reaching your goal. They can help keep you on track and provide support and encouragement when you need it.
  6. Reward yourself: Set up a reward system for yourself. For example, if you reach a certain milestone, treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a movie or a special meal.
  7. Stay positive: Focus on the progress you’ve made and the positive changes you’re making. Remind yourself why you started and what you’re working toward.
  8. Don’t give up: Remember that setbacks are normal and part of the process. Don’t give up, stay focused on your goal and keep pushing forward.

The Benefits of Challenging Yourself: Building Strong Financial Habits

Challenging yourself to reach your financial goals can have numerous benefits, not just in the short-term, but also in the long term. By setting challenging yet achievable goals, you can develop a strong sense of discipline and motivation that will help you stay focused on your financial journey. This, in turn, can lead to the development of sound financial habits, such as budgeting, saving, and reducing debt. By challenging yourself and consistently working towards your financial goals, you will not only reach them, but you will also build a strong foundation of financial health that will last a lifetime.

Additional Alternatives to the 52-week Savings Challenge

It’s been a while since 2018 when I originally wrote about saving a percentage of your income instead of the incremental increases that the 52-week savings challenge calls for. Since then I’ve considered several alternatives, and have seen several written about. Here are a few more alternatives you might want to consider.

  1. The 30-Day Challenge: This involves saving a set amount each day for 30 days. The amount can start small and increase as the challenge progresses, helping individuals build their savings gradually.
  2. Pay Yourself First: This involves making a commitment to set aside a portion of each paycheck for savings before paying other bills and expenses. This helps individuals prioritize their savings and ensures that they are consistently setting aside money for their future.
  3. Reverse Budgeting: This involves starting with your monthly savings goal and working backward to determine how much you need to save each day or week to reach that goal. This helps individuals prioritize their savings and stay on track.
  4. The No-Spend Challenge: This involves committing to not spending money on non-essential items for a set period of time, such as a week or a month. This helps individuals reduce their expenses and build their savings.
  5. The Envelope System: This involves setting aside cash for specific expenses, such as groceries or entertainment, in envelopes. Once the cash in an envelope is gone, individuals are unable to spend any more money on that category until the next month. This helps individuals better control their spending and build their savings.


While it may take time and effort to free up your budget, the reward of financial freedom will be priceless. Set your sights high, incrementally increase your savings, and reach for your goals. With time, effort, and discipline, you’ll find that saving a percentage of your income will yield far greater returns than following the 52-week money challenge.

About the Author

Scroll to Top