I ask you guys this regularly, but have you browsed Pinterest lately? Have you been on Facebook? Chances are you have seen those crazy yearly savings challenges that require you to only save a few dollars on week one, but by week 35 you’re supposed to be putting away $50 a week. While this is feasible for some people, $50 a week is too much for a lot of families. That’s $200 a month! And in the end, most people are probably going to fail at these challenges because they can’t commit to savings that amount.
This challenge is slightly different than the others you have seen, as it doesn’t require a concrete amount of money be saved.
It works like this: every time you get a five dollar bill, you save it. Now, if you use a debit card all the time, this probably won’t be as effective; I get that. But, if you use cash, even occasionally, it could make a pretty big impact.
I started this savings challenge in late December 2016, putting every five dollar bill I got back in change into our safe (out of sight, out of mind). It’s now almost February and I have $65 put away. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s more than I started with. And the best part is that I haven’t even noticed that that money is gone. Five dollars here and there doesn’t make me cringe.
So, even if I could only put away $50 a month, which is 10 five dollar bills, I would save $600 in a year. No, this doesn’t compete with the $1k saving challenge, but it’s doable, which makes it more effective. Think about goal setting. You’ve probably heard of the SMART: Specific, Measurable, ATTAINABLE, Relevant, Time-Bound. The takeaway is Attainable!
If start the $1k in a year savings challenge and you go in knowing that you won’t be able to save $50 a week towards the end, you are setting yourself for failure. Avoid all of that pressure and resulting failure with something that is feasible. Even if you can only commit to saving all the one dollar bills you get.
I know this simple savings challenge has helped me start a small savings, and I know it can help others and be a realistic option. So, if you don’t know where to start with saving money, try this easy challenge first.
I recently read Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”, and it has opened my eyes tremendously. He has a way with being blunt and slightly harsh but in an uplifting and empowering kind of a way. While I’m not following his plan to a T, the book has made me rethink my financial situation and see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of money. If you are serious about bettering your financial situation and being able to save $50 a week or more, you should check this book out. I also recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s podcast to really get your financial goal juices flowing.