Trying the 52-Week Money Challenge? Here’s How to Make It Easier and More Effective

52 week money challenge
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How much do you wish you had an extra grand in your bank account right now? If you’re anything like me, probably quite a bit.

I’ve got some good news for us both: If you start saving this week with just $1, you could end up with $1,378 by this time next year.

How so? By participating in the 52-week money challenge. Although it’s not clear who invented the challenge, it’s become immensely popular in the past few years.

The premise is simple: Save $1 the first week, and then add one dollar each week for the entire year.

So in week 2, you’ll save $2, in week 3, you’ll save $3, etc; by the end, you’ll have $1,378 to use towards gifts, a vacation, emergency fund or retirement savings.

Even if you’re familiar with the challenge, I thought you might be interested in these money challenge hacks from Jon Gorey at The Simple Dollar.

It had some interesting tips for making the most of this popular money resolution.

How to Rock the 52-Week Money Challenge

Have you unsuccessfully tried the challenge before? Or are you just looking for ways to make it easier?

Here are my two favorite hacks from Gorey’s post:

1. Do It Out of Order

If you follow the challenge in order ($1, then $2, then $3, etc.), you’ll have to save upwards of $50 per week in December, which could be pretty tough.

So Gorey suggests funding your account out of order, putting in however much money you feel comfortable with each week.

To keep track of what you have left, he recommends printing out the list and crossing out each amount as you put it in.

If you have extra money one week, for example, you could put $52 into your fund and cross that figure off the list. This way, all of your highest contributions won’t come in succession at the end of the year.

2. Automate Your Savings

If you think you’ll have trouble remembering to contribute, then consider automating your savings into an external account.

Gorey points out that savings app Qapital has a 52-week money challenge feature built in, which is pretty awesome.

Or, you could create your own savings challenge to save even more.

“Set up an automatic savings deposit for $100 a month,” Gorey suggests.

“Then, each month, kick it up by $5 (or $10). For example, save $100 in January, $105 in February, $110 in March, and so on. By next December, you’ll be saving $155 a month and sitting on a balance of $1,530. (If you use $10 increments, you’ll have $1,860 saved up.)”

Lastly, Gorey mentions Acorns, an app that help you automate your savings. (Personally, I love Digit; it’s helped me save more than $700 in the past six months!)

However you choose to save money this year — and whatever you’re saving for — make it a priority. When this time rolls around next year, I bet you’ll be happy you did.

To read all of Gorey’s money challenge hacks, click here.

Your Turn: Are you going to try the 52-week money challenge this year? What are you saving for?

Disclosure: Our friends stopped inviting us over because we were always digging for loose change between their couch cushions. We use affiliate links instead so we still get invited to a few parties.

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.