The beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to set new goals. Over 188 million adults in the U.S. are estimated to be making a 2021 New Year’s resolution – whether it’s learning something new, making a lifestyle change, or setting personal goals to better themselves in the coming year. However, sticking to a New Year’s resolution requires dedication and self-control. According to U.S. News and World Report, an average of 80% of resolutions made in January will fail by the second week of February! Money-saving goals can be especially challenging in the current fiscal climate because they can seem overwhelming or impossible to set and achieve. The 52-Week Savings Challenge can be a great tool to help people achieve their savings goals over the next year.
The 52-Week Savings Challenge is an incremental savings plan that begins slowly, with low-commitment contributions, and is designed to require minimal effort and fiscal sacrifice. Saving money is both a skill and a habit that people learn to develop over time. The basic principles of the Challenge are simple. During the first week of the year, save $1. During the second week of the year, save $2. During the third week of the year, save $3. Throughout the year, someone following the Savings Challenge would continue increasing their savings contributions by $1 each week, so that by the fifty-second week – the end of the year – they would put away $52, if they were able. Successfully completing the Challenge would mean $1,378 in savings, which is a lot of money!
Some families are unable to take on this level of savings, but might consider a variation. Perhaps starting with 50 cents and ending with $25 is more do-able, for example. Whatever the amount, the concept is regular saving, and biting off small increments at a time, in order to build a long-term saving habit. People can complete the Challenge by saving their money in envelopes or in a container such as a piggy bank, but depositing the money into a savings account at a financial institution may be a better option. The idea is that if the money isn’t within physical reach at home people might be less likely to dip into their savings. Additionally, a savings account with a competitive interest rate can yield more money over time.
The 52-Week Savings Challenge is a great option for getting into the habit of saving money in the coming year. Taking on the Challenge means an opportunity to build good money management skills and habits, and gain financial peace of mind. A resolution worth trying to keep. Happy New Year!