The 52 week money challenge

We all want to save money for something— perhaps a holiday, Christmas, a new appliance for the kitchen, home renovations . . .  but it can be hard work and we often fail. 

The other day I was reading "Women's Agenda" and came across a method that was so simple and easy that I wanted to share it with you. 

This is how it works — each week you put aside the following:

Week 1: $1
Week 2: $2
Week 3: $3
Week 4: $4
Week 5: $5
Week 6: $6
Week 7: $7
Week 8: $8
Week 9: $9
Week 10: $10
Week 51: $51

And at the end you have = $1,378

After thinking about this option I realised that not every one will have (for example) $50 on week 50, but you might have it earlier (i.e. in week 10), so do a switch. In week 10, put aside $50 and in week 50 put in the $10. This is best done on a spreadsheet so you can keep tabs of which amounts you have put aside. 

The other way of doing this is working backwards — start the challenge large ($52) and end small with $1. This might work better for some families.  Of course, you could throw in a bit extra as you go, perhaps the small change. 

What do you think?

An option you would try?

Below is a list of 101 ways of saving and being money wise. I don't like the word frugal, it sounds painful and unpleasant (which it often is!), a bit like taking nasty medicine. However, being money wise sounds much more exciting and fun!! There are probably many things I have missed from this list, do let me know and I can add them!! 

Most important — pray, it doesn't mean that God will automatically add an extra room to your home, pay the electricity bill or cover the cost of repairs — what He will do is show you wisdom and teach you patience and contentment in whatever situation you find yourself in.

However . . . one of the dangers of being money wise is becoming obsessed with saving and making money.  I think there are some people who flourish in this area and spend so much time and energy saving every penny it becomes their life or there are those who want to make lot of money and we know that is just as bad.   "For the love of money is the root of all evil". (1 Timothy 6:10)

  1. Unplug your appliances when you leave the home or not in use (and more importantly when going on holidays/vacation)
  2. Turn down the thermostat on the heating — it doesn't take much to make a financial saving
  3. Put on a jumper or have a blanket over your knee in the evenings instead of turning up the heating
  4. Draft proof your home so heat isn't escaping
  5. Make heavy curtains to keep in the warmth in winter and heat out in summer
  6. Have shorter showers to save water
  7. Place your shower head with a reduced-flow head to reduce water bills
  8. Turn off lights when not in use
  9. Dry clothes on a drying rack and save power
  10. Eat at home and skip the take-away meals
  11. Stop drinking sodas — besides being unhealthy, they are wasted calories – drink water instead
  12. Skip the coffee when out
  13. Buy staples in bulk
  14. Go shopping with a shopping list
  15. Take a packed lunch when out and about
  16. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach (to stop the snacking)
  17. Make only one trip to the supermarket per week and use what you have in your pantry
  18. Cook simple meals 
  19. Make your own snacks
  20. Cook bulk meals for freezing
  21. If dieting, choose ones you can afford
  22. Stretch meals with legumes and vegetables
  23. Invest in a slower cooker
  24. Invest in a chest freezer as it allows you to buy in bulk and make meals in bulk to freeze
  25. Have meat free meals during the week (meat can be expensive)
  26. Buy vegetables when they are discounted, these are great for soups and casseroles
  27. Don't waste food
  28. Get excited with leftovers — be creative
  29. Grow a vegetable garden
  30. Buy at farmers markets, often cheaper than the supermarket
  31. Don't buy cookbooks, borrow from the library or create your own via Pinterest
  32. Make your own cleaning supplies
  33. Use cloth nappies and skip buying diapers that just fill up landfill 
  34. Skip alcohol, cigarettes and other habits such as gambling — expensive waste of money and bad for your health
  35. Avoid buying magazines and newspapers, most can be read online
  36. Buy secondhand — start shopping at garage sales, thrift store or charity stores
  37. Re-use and recycle
  38. Borrow from the library instead of buying new books and DVDs
  39. Shop around for insurances each year and find a cheaper option (we made big savings by switching companies)
  40. Pay insurance upfront for the year as it is often cheaper
  41. Look out for the best mobile phone plans, try haggling with the communications company
  42. Skip the extended warranties — expensive and most people never use them
  43. Don't upgrade just because others do
  44. Don't give in to peer pressure
  45. Try re-negotiating your rent or mortgage
  46. Barter with friends and family
  47. Make homemade gifts and cards, recycle gift bags
  48. Avoid the shopping malls
  49. Decide as a family to limit the amount spent at Christmas and birthdays
  50. Shop online for cheaper deals
  51. Share among friends i.e. books, DVDs, household appliances, the lawnmower . . 
  52. Sew your own clothes
  53. Repair clothing instead of throwing it out
  54. Don't buy the fashions
  55. Make or buy clothing is classical in style that can be wore for years without looking out dated
  56. Buy fabric when on sale
  57. Buy second hand clothes and modify
  58. Encourage the children to wear hand-me-downs
  59. Do your own hair (cut and colour) — cut your children's hair at home
  60. Go on simple holidays (vacations)
  61. Plan your holidays well in advance to take advantage of special deals
  62. Re-evaluate your social life
  63. Go for a walk rather than joining the gym
  64. Wait for a movie to be released on DVD rather than going to the movies
  65. Ask the question  — what I would like to buy, is it a "need or a want"!!
  66. Skip the brand names as they are always more expensive
  67. Use coupons (not big in Australia)
  68. Buy clothes on sale
  69. Buy perfume on sale 
  70. Make your own jewellery 
  71. Streamline your wardrobe
  72. Practice patiences and wait for discounts and sales
  73. Wait three days before buying a big purchase (some people wait 30 days)
  74. Do your homework before buying
  75. Consider the real cost of items before buy — are you getting value for money
  76. Have a plan — weekly budget
  77. Be organised
  78. Consolidate student loans
  79. Limit credit card use
  80. Have a plan for your retirement
  81. Consolidate and pay of debts as fast as possible
  82. Be aware of your bank balance and avoid over draft fees
  83. Understand how your bank account works to avoid charges
  84. Be aware of hidden fees and charges
  85. Pay bills on time to avoid extra charges
  86. Don't speed (avoid speeding fines and it uses less fuel)
  87. Have a loose change jar
  88. Don't put off visits to doctors or dentist as they could cost more later
  89. Buy generic medication
  90. Live where you can afford
  91. Buy a smaller home (cheaper to run)
  92. Don't replace your car every five years
  93. Cancel catalogs (especially those via email) to reduce temptation
  94. Find ways of rewarding yourself that doesn't cost money (bubble bath) — yes, we all need rewards, they should cost the earth!!
  95. Stay motivated and don't make frugal living the centre of your life
  96. Keep your distances from friends that lead lavish lifestyles that own all the latest "stuff"
  97. Focus on what you have and not what you don't have and want
  98. Take baby steps when it comes to savings
  99. Stay positive
  100. Pray  — should be number one really!
  101. Learnt to be content: Be happy with what you have. 
Happiness doesn't cost a cent and is far more rewarding that anything you can buy. 

However, whilst we all should be careful with our money — it doesn't mean we can't buy a coffee occasionally when out or stop for a meal. Life should be fun and being frugal all the time does take the fun out of living and makes us constantly think about money (which isn't healthy).

Treats are just that, treats that happen occasionally. 

And remember, nothing we own will last. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)



  1. What if I am doing all of them possible - but I still think it must be possible to save more money? ;P
    It doesn't take much to make savings, and then you can easily "afford" extras!

    1. Saving can be very difficult for some, especially if they have a large mortgage to fund each month or other commitments. The idea of the 52 weeks is to save for something larger than the small extras that people tend to buy themselves - perhaps a holiday and it can be fun watching it grow.

  2. Thanks for posting this because I need to find ways to save money. My book buying habit is getting out of hand. Plus I think the ideas on save on your electric bill is a must. I don't live in a house but I'm always looking for ways to conserve energy. Especially, when heatwaves are going on in the summer. And I agree with the whole wait for the DVD to come out. I live in NYC and the movies range from $15 to $20. Too high for my blood.

    Great post!

    1. Saving money isn't really fun and if you can do it without a lot of pain then its makes it much easier. Once I started to borrow books from the library (we have a great library network with all the latest releases) I realised I didn't need to own every book I wanted to read - the only books I buy these days are my reference books for sewing and quilting and my Christian literature as I can't get that from the library. As a result I am saving lots of money that was once spent on books!!

  3. Wow! What a list. I love my chest freezer and have been able to buy so many things on sale (and make freezer meals). We just started turning down our air conditioning during peak hours and I am already starting to see the savings. One thing which is fun for me is tracking the savings and seeing how quickly they can add up over time. #SmallVictorySunday

    1. I always find the first step to saving is the hardest, but once on a roll it can be quite fun. I am doing the 52 week challenge for a holiday and its been really easy as I have motivation and a purpose. Turning down the heating really does make a differences. We use to warm our house quite warm, we dropped it by 5 degrees and it has saved us quite a lot.

  4. These are great ideas to save money. I have not done a money challenge before but maybe I should start that for our next vacation. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup. Pinned to our linkup board.

    1. If you turn it into a game, it isn't as hard. I have also changed the challenge to better suit me - each week I put in the amount left over in my wallet, rather than following down the list. It means if I have a tight week, some of those smaller amounts are still there on the list. I am also rounding, for example for $9, I might put in a $10 note, which means in the end I will have more.It hasn't been as hard as others I have done and in fact I am finding myself making sure i have money left in the wallet!!

  5. I started doing that money saving challenge once, but then partway through the year we had something unexpected come up and we had to use what we had saved and couldn't save for the rest of the year. Budgeting can be a real challenge, but if you can get it to work, it is very satisfying to know you're not accruing debt or you're living nicely within your means. Your tips are fantastic - we already do a lot of those things, but there's a few different ideas in there that I think we could try! :)

    1. I thought I would give the challenge a go but each week I put in the amount left over in my wallet, rather than following down the list. It means if I have a tight week, some of those smaller amounts are still there. I am also rounding, for example for $9, I might put in a $10 note, which means in the end I will have more. It has been working thus far and it's been quite exciting!! I've also reduced expenditure in other areas to or thought twice which also helps. It's not necessarily about going with out, but rather making wise decisions.

    2. That's a good idea, too! There's lots of saving ideas that are really good! This year we've changed the way we do our finances & budgeting and we've been seeing great results - of course, all praise goes to the Lord - we prayed He would help us find some new ways to make some changes that would be good for us and that He would give us wisdom... and He always answers prayers. :)

    3. I have been very regimented to sticking to my budget spreadsheet and that certainly makes a differences!!! It does all requite a level of discipline which is never a bad thing to have in life!


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