This is an age of instant gratification. If you are into saving money, you are much better off seeing those savings add up – even if it means smaller increments. Regardless of the age we are in, humans always plan and work better in smaller chunks. How about applying the smart principles to save money for yourself.
Well, smart people have thought about that. So came the 52 week money challenge.
The premise is simple.
- Save each week
- Save in small increments
- Start small and see your savings add up
You start with a negligible amount in the first week. Say $1 in the very first week, increase it to $2 in the 2nd week, $3 in the 3rd week, and so on till you save $52 in the 52nd week. This adds up to $1378 by the end of 52 weeks (or 1 year).
It works best if you can take the entire plan on a piece of paper, and stick it up on a place where you can see and measure on a regular basis. It helps if you share the challenge with others – you are now under pressure due to a publicly shared goal.
Get the 52 week chart here.
The All New Improved 52 week challenge chart
I have taken the same idea and made it to work for me with minor improvements.
- Instead of starting on Week 1 of whatever it was, I start with my own custom date.
- Depending on your own currency value, an increment of “1” may not be that high. So, I introduced the flexibility of deciding your increments by changing one number.
You can view my 52 week challenge Google Spreadsheet, and copy it for your own use.
You can easily see that starting with a small Rs. 100 savings in the first week cascades into a Rs. 5200 savings in the 52nd week. All these savings add up to a whooping Rs. 1,02,700 which is quite a significant amount at the end of the year. The good part is that you cannot break this habit after about 6 months, and that is when the instalments have drastically increased. You are forcing yourself to save money by that time – which is a good habit to develop.
Rinse and repeat every year to set aside some money. Your savings come back to help you during distress or at a later part of your life.
Apply caution though. Always check the last instalment to check whether you can really afford to save so much. In the above example, the last month adds up to Rs. 20,000 in savings. Plan for lesser amounts if you see that it is not going to work for you.
Making it easier in an Indian context
Make it easier for yourself by sharing your goal. If you lead a highly digital life like me, you can find this easier to adopt. You also have the additional advantage of sharing your goal with everyone on Facebook 🙂
I am talking about ICICI Bank’s iWish.
If you have an ICICI Bank account, you can go to iWish site after you logon to ICICI Bank. You can create a goal on iWish (e.g. Save 1 Lakh in 1 Year), and allow it to feed from your bank account on a regular basis.
At this time you cannot get it to execute on variable instalments – that is something you have to manage by yourself.
It looks and acts just like a Recurring Deposit account, with one major difference -you can share your goals with friends, and make your challenge well known. And, hopefully that induces some pressure on you to succeed.
Once you have the account setup, all you need to do is add increments on a weekly basis, and maintain your spreadsheet/chart to mark off your savings. Track your actuals vs. the plan, and see your savings grow.