Think You Can’t Afford to Save? Try the Penny Challenge

A mother and daughter collect pennies and put them in jars.
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What difference can saving your pennies make? A lot, it turns out, if you’re doing the penny challenge.

This money-saving challenge helps you put aside $667.95 in a year — or $671.61 in a leap year. To participate in the challenge, follow these steps:

  1. Start by saving one penny on the first day.

  2. Each day that follows, add one cent to the amount you saved the day before. For example, on day two, you’d add $0.02 to your savings. On day three, you’d add $0.03 and so on.

  3. Continue this pattern every day for an entire year.

Now, please note: You’re not simply saving one penny a day. If you did that, you’d wind up with only $3.65 in savings at the end of the year. Pretty pointless.

The key to growing your savings with this challenge is adding an additional penny to what you’re depositing each day, not to your total savings. So on day two, your total will be $0.03 because you’re adding $0.02 to the penny from the first day. On day three, you’ll have a total of $0.06 after making your daily savings deposit.

This chart shows how much you’d deposit each day — along with your savings balance — for the first week of the penny challenge.

Penny Challenge at a Glance

Day Daily Savings Balance






















You’re starting out with super small amounts, but your money will grow over the course of 12 months. And because the daily saving amounts are nominal, you don’t have to stress about needing a bunch of money to build your savings.

Saving Money With the Penny Challenge

If you stick with this money-saving challenge for an entire year, you would deposit $3.65 on the last day of the challenge and you’d end up with a total of $667.95. (Trust us, we did the math.)

That’s $667.95 you could add to your emergency fund or use to pay down debt. It’s money you could put toward a future vacation or a shopping spree.

Plan out how you’d like to use your savings. Having an end goal that really matters to you will serve as great motivation to stick with this challenge all year long.

Tackling the Penny Challenge by the Month

While it’s easy to find enough spare change to get this challenge started, it gets progressively difficult as the days and weeks pass — especially if most of your financial transactions are cashless.

You can hack the challenge by putting your savings aside once a month rather than once a day. By grouping together all of your daily savings for the month and making one deposit, you won’t face the struggle of coming up with exact change each day.

Savings Growth Month by Month

Month Amount

























Pay yourself first by making your monthly savings deposit before you spend money on bills or other expenses. Or schedule automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account so you don’t even have to think about saving.

Let the money sit in your account without making any withdrawals and by the end of the year, you’ll have over $600 to spend as you please.

Nicole Dow is a former senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Deputy editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post.