At the start of 2013, I saw this ‘savings challenge’ floating around FB and since every year I make a mental hope to myself that I’ll actually save some money to help get out of debt (which is hard when you live paycheck-to-paycheck and I never succeed at), I figured I’d give it a shot. The old fashioned way, with money in an envelope.
The idea behind the savings challenge is that if you were to save the value of the week (ex: week 1, save $1 – week 2, save $2 – week 30, save $30 and so on) then by the end of the year you would have saved $1,378.00. That amazed me, especially because it seemed so simple. And in those first ten weeks, since the values were so small, I jump started the savings by putting aside $10 each week until I’d actually reached week 10. But as week 40 approached along with holiday season, it got a lot harder to put that much aside every week.
Ultimately I decided there was no way I could set aside money for the savings challenge AND Christmas spending so at week 40, I set a $30 value and stuck with that for the remainder of the year. While I didn’t quite reach the total I was hoping for, and I ended up having to use some of it for Christmas presents, I finished the year with $1000 bucks – almost enough to pay off one of my credit cards (which is something I haven’t been able to do in a long time).
I’ve decided that for 2014, I’m going to do the challenge backwards because with the holidays out of the way, I could afford to set aside $50+ bucks aside a week now. And I think that if I work backwards and get comfortable putting aside $25 or $30 bucks a week when I reach that week, then I’ll just keep putting that much aside for the rest of the year, which will leave me with even more money to pay off another credit card next Christmas.
I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for succeeding at this. I have more debt than one should at my age, with nothing of that much value to show for it, but I’m a firm believer in actually paying those debts down and being responsible for them. Otherwise, I’d never learn to spend more wisely with age. It feels good to finally put a dent in something that’s really heavy to carry and I’m confident now that I can continue to get this under a more reasonable control with this yearly challenge.