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Budgeting

52 Week Money Saving Challenge [2021]

Saving money can be a challenge. Every time it seems as if you are caught up, an abrupt change of events occurs and your wallet is drained yet again. Life happens, and we’ve all been there. From the unexpected car maintenance, to the medical bills, to all the other unavoidable obstacles life throws your way. 

Unfortunately, while your expenses may increase, the chances are your paychecks stay the same. That said, there are ways to save a bit more by making a few, simple lifestyle changes. Join our 15-day savings challenge and rack up some extra change! The sooner you start, the more you’ll save.

Downloadable 52 Week Money Saving Challenge Spreadsheet

If you’d prefer to track your Money Saving Challenge progress in a spreadsheet, Credit & Debt is providing a free template you can use:

Instructions for Google Sheets – Money Saving Challenge Template

If you haven’t done so already, click here to open the spreadsheet template. You’ll need to make a copy of your own, so click File > Make a Copy and save it to a folder of your choice in your Google Drive:

Now that you have your own copy, you can edit the template each week. In the ‘Recommended Deposit’ Column, you’ll see our recommended weekly challenge dollar amount to help you save $1,170 in just 52 weeks!

Each week, note how much you saved in the ‘Actual Deposit’ Column. The first cell is filled in for you ($15,) and the ‘Total Balance Saved’ Column will update with each additional entry.

Instructions for Microsoft Excel – Money Saving Challenge Template

To use the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, first click here to open the template and click the download icon in the top right corner:

Save your copy to a location you’ll remember. Once you have your own copy, you can edit the template every week. In the ‘Recommended Deposit’ Column, you’ll see our recommended weekly challenge dollar amount to help you save $1,170 in just 52 weeks!

Each week, note how much you saved in the ‘Actual Deposit’ Column. The first cell is filled in for you ($15,) and the ‘Total Balance Saved’ Column will update with each additional entry.

Printable 52 Week Money Saving Challenge Chart

You can print this chart to help you track your savings each week:

We’d recommend putting it somewhere where it’s hard to miss, perhaps in an area where you sit down to go through your monthly finances.

How to Save $1,170 in Just 52 Weeks

So now that you have the template saved or chart printed, how can you start saving money each week? Here are 10 ways you can cut back on spending and save some extra cash:

1. Avoid Unnecessary Shopping

This is one of the most important rules to set if you want to save that extra cash. It’s easy to get caught up when we have credit cards and don’t always have to pay cash right upfront. However, this also leads to unnecessary shopping and purchases that might not be fundamental to your daily needs. We’ve all made purchases we look back on and regret, so sometimes being more strategic in your buying habits can actually make you feel better–allowing you to avoid clutter and save money. 

You can still allow room to reward yourself every now and then! We all deserve it. But do be thoughtful in your daily purchasing habits to avoid spending cash in unneeded places. Make lists to stick to when grocery shopping, ditch the weekend mall browsing, and make a budget that leaves no room for avoidable purchases. Making these small changes can help save you big bucks at the end of each month.

2. No Eating Out

We all love a good meal, but eating good doesn’t have to mean eating out. Sometimes stopping for fast food seems like the easiest thing to do, but those cheap meals add up! Refraining from spending money at fast food and dine in restaurants can easily save you hundreds of dollars a month. Instead, use the money you would typically spend on eating out towards your monthly groceries! Your money will go much farther–and who knows you might even find a new hobby!

Pro Tip: To save even more money on food, begin learning how to coupon. Pay attention to the weekly sales in your local grocer, and download your store’s app that offers digital coupons as well. Seeing your savings on the receipt at the end of each grocery store run can be rewarding and inspire you to start saving other ways. It’s simple, free and can even be fun. Saving money on things you are already going to buy will help you towards having a larger amount to save each month!

3. Cut The Drinks

Perhaps you’ve heard of –or even participated in–  “Sober October”, “No Drink November” or “Dry December”. The idea of this trendy challenge, which has really taken hold in the past few years, is to avoid drinking any alcohol for the whole month. Alcohol can get expensive, and cutting it out for a bit may help you grow your savings more than you think!

Not only does this help save money, but it also improves your health in many ways. Whether you enjoy a glass of wine in the evening or a couple of beers with dinner on the weekend, cut it out for a week and see how it positively impacts your wallet, and your health! Take it a step further and try it for the whole month. 

4. Hold The Phone!

In today’s world, convenience is a huge determining factor in most of our daily decisions. We have companies that bring you whatever we want all with the simple push of a button. While these services bring convenience and ease to our everyday life, they come with a pretty price tag. If you’re notorious for ordering food on UberEats, using Favor to have your midnight snack cravings delivered to you, or paying to have your groceries brought to your doorstep–stop for a week and see how you save by not racking up these extra fees.

5. No Online Shopping

Just like with using convenience apps, online shopping can seem like a good idea in the moment but later prove to be a wallet drainer. It’s easy to get distracted by all the promotional emails in our inboxes, the online sales, and free 2 day shipping provided by huge names like Amazon Prime. However, online shopping can lead to debts that you wouldn’t have accumulated otherwise. Go a week without logging in to your favorite online retailer and save the money towards something more rewarding than a quick impulse buy.

6. Check Your Subscriptions

Are you drowning in subscriptions? Do you NEED the subscriptions? Can you remember what all you are even subscribed to? Use this week to go through and clean out all the products and services you are subscribed to. Since most subscriptions are set up on autopay and come directly out of your bank account each month, they are easy to overlook and forget about. Having 5 different streaming services is probably not necessary and cancelling some that you can do without could be a great way to save monthly. 

Pro Tip: Talk to your friends and family and see what services they are subscribed to. You can all team up and get a different one and share accounts so that each of you is only paying for one, but can enjoy multiple! You pay for Netflix and your friend can pay for Hulu!

7. Sell Clothes or Home Items to Consignment Stores

Get a kick-start on spring cleaning and make some extra cash this holiday season by cleaning out your closets. There are plenty of consignment stores that buy clothes on the spot. 

Some require the items to be seasonal or trendy in order to hand over any cash. Other stores will pay you after your items sell. Dig through your drawers and see if you have any trendy items that don’t fit your lifestyle anymore! This is an awesome way to declutter, give back, and get some extra cash while doing it!

8. Become a Homebody

We all enjoy going out and spending time with friends. But if you are one to hit the town every weekend, your eventful Saturday nights might be catching up with you. Start hosting dinner parties, game nights, and get togethers at home instead. Everyone can bring a different dish, bottle of wine, etc., taking the weight off of you to provide it all and allowing you to still enjoy company and a drink all in the comfort of your own home. In just one weekend of staying in vs. going out, you could be saving well over a hundred dollars just by eliminating the need for Ubers, valets, expensive drinks and much more.

9. Carpool

Gas is expensive, and if you live in places like LA, you know just how expensive it can get. If you commute to work everyday, try getting a friend and carpooling instead. You can alternate weeks and save a ton on gas money. If you’re all going to the same place anyways, might as well utilize the opportunity! Think about it: if you spend $45 a week to fill up your tank for your work commute, you could carpool with 3 colleagues and each vow to drive one week. You just saved 3 weeks worth of gas money, equalling $135 a month! That could be a total of $1,620 savings or more each year.

10. Reward Yourself

Budgeting is hard and can make you feel like you’re a prisoner in your own home. Saving money doesn’t always have to be bad though. After you make a strategic budget for yourself and make simple changes in your everyday life, vow to reward yourself at the end of it all with a bit of the money you have saved. Don’t go overboard, as that will defeat the purpose, but do be sure to give yourself a nice treat for sticking to it. You will feel like your efforts were worthwhile and satisfied with saying no to certain decisions leading up. If you’ve stuck to our 10 week, you have most likely saved hundreds of dollars. So reward yourself for doing great, stick the rest in savings, and continue to find other creative ways to save!

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