It’s safe to say we’d all like to save a little more money. But the modern world is so chock full of temptation that making a flimsy, half-baked promise to ‘sort of save a bit’ will get you absolutely nowhere.
Saving money is a bit like dieting. You need a clear plan in place, a set target and a defined time frame – otherwise you’ll probably just gobble up everything in sight. In short, you have to set yourself a challenge.
In early 2015 the internet went mad for one such challenge when a DIY blog posted the ‘52 week money saving challenge’. To date it’s enjoyed around 188 thousand shares on social media.
Essentially the idea is that you start in week one by throwing $1 into a jar (it’s designed for Americans), then each week you save an extra dollar, until you save $52 in week 52. At the end of the challenge you’ll have saved a cool $1,378 — about £880.
It’s a nice idea, but you don’t really save enough fast enough for it to be particularly motivating. Another money blogger suggested an alternative challenge, which is essentially the original one in reverse. You save $52 in week one, reduced to $1 in week 52.
This helps you save money faster, but we think we can go one better. Enter the Lending Stream Money Saving Marathon.
The main problem with both these challenges is that the bulk saving is too condensed for many people to manage. Sure, this makes it easier in the months where you have to save less… but considering most people earn a fixed amount each month, it makes more sense for the saving to be more evenly spread. Also consider that the pound is worth a lot more than the dollar, so doing a straight swap where you save £1,378 is probably too big a saving for many to manage.
So here’s our challenge. In week one you save £26 and decrease the amount you save by a pound until week 26. This means after three months you’ve saved a decent £246.
In week 27 you then save £1 and increase back up to £26 until week 52. By the end you’ll have saved a very respectful £702. If you want to save more you can always start again after week 52, changing the increment of saving to suit your needs.
If you can, we’d suggest planning your time in advance so the period of reduced saving happens when you’ll need some spare cash, like for a holiday or Christmas. We’d also suggest setting up a free savings account for saving the money. This is way better than having the money in a jar at home, where it’s easily spent. Most high street banks and building societies will let you open one for nothing. Shop around to find the best interest rate.
So good luck! Here’s a handy chart for you to keep track of your progress.