Update to Our 52 Week Money Challenge
Well, we’re 80% there with week 42 on the 52 Weeks Money Challenge. This post is an update on how it’s gone so far. My wife and I decided to try out the challenge as a way to create savings for a vacation. It’s been quite an adventure, we shared together the happiness and the frustrations. During the course of this 42 weeks, the challenge has created a lot of laughter, a lot of fun, competition, and enhanced the communication around money and savings between the two of us.
The Challenge also stimulated a little romance in our relationship. We competed over who would deposit their weekly amount first and then remind the other in a playful cheeky kind of way that it was the other’s turn to turn the money in. Seems like my wife always put hers in first. What I noticed is that my wife would remind me it was time for the weekly savings challenge in ways that were non-threatening and would keep me from going on the defensive, which helped to make the experience thus far pleasant.
You start the 52 Week Money Challenge off Week One by saving $1; then Week Two you save $2; Week Three you save $3, etc., until you reach the last week of the challenge, Week 52, when you save $52 that week. Your savings at week 52 would add up to $1,378 per person. In our case, my wife’s and my savings, added together, doubles and ends up being $2,756. At week 42 we now have $903 each for a combined total of $1806.
Right around month six a bit of frustration started setting in for both my wife and me because of the amount required to deposit weekly had reached $26/wk and continuously increasing each week. The amount increased to what was no longer pocket change. We decided it was more convenient to compute the total of the weekly amounts due each month and make one monthly deposit of the total month’s amount, as opposed to the weekly amount owed. My wife gets paid monthly, and it was especially easier for her to budget a monthly savings amount in instead of a weekly amount as she would have to set aside the monthly amount anyway and then deposit the weekly amount each week from that monthly amount she set aside., She said, Why go through all that budgeting?” Just put the monthly total in when the monthly check arrived. To her, less bookkeeping is always better. We have continued since then with making just one monthly deposit for all the weeks of that month until we reach the 52nd week.
By the May 5, 2017, week 52 of the challenge, we will have saved together $2,756. Wow, that’s awesome, and we didn’t put much of an effort into it. My wife is already planning the next 52 Week Challenge, but she wants to do it in a different way. When I asked about it she simply said, I’m not going to tell you yet, I want you to remain focused on the challenge at hand.
I’m here to tell you there were times that I could’ve not put my money towards the 52 Week Challenge and then spent it on something else. Keeping my mind focused on the end goal and having my wife do it with me made it much easier. The process brought back memories of the days I would start a saving plan and somewhere before I reached the end goal I’d dip into the savings and of course never replaced the monies I took out.
Had I thought about it before we started this challenge I would have done it in reverse. The first week set aside $52. Then the following week decrease that amount by $1.00 and set aside $51. Doing it this way by week 37, I would only have to save $16, and on the final week 52, I would only have to save $1.00.
Doing it this way would produce immediate results. After four weeks of saving my wife and I would have had $202 each for a total of $404. Doing it the way we have currently been doing it, after four weeks, we only had $10 each for a total of $20 which is not much of an incentive to continue. It took us 20 weeks to save a combined total of $420 instead of the $404.00 in four weeks in the alternative plan. When saving, the total counts; and if you are like me, seeing a greater value upfront earlier is a great motivator.
However, knowing that we’ve saved $1806 together to date is also a motivator. I was going to recommend that you not start your 52 Week Money Challenge around the time you have major spending to do i.e. Christmas time; but then if you have been following the blogs of FreeFinLit101.com, you have learned how to budget and save for fixed, variable, gift giving and emergency needs. If you start your 52 Weekly Money Challenge during the Christmas Spending Time, it will help keep you on your Holiday Pre-Planned Budget and not spending more than your gift giving budget allows. You will still be adding to your savings during the holidays and not spending the money you could be saving on wants instead of needs for Happy Holidays indeed!
My hope is my wife’s plan for next year is to reverse the process like I outlined above and get the heavy lifting out of the way first. Then at the end of the 52 weeks, all I’d have to worry about is pocket change. Hint, Hint to my editor/wife.
Have you started or completed a 52 Week Money Challenge? If so what was you experience?