Why the 52-Week Savings Challenge Doesn’t Work

Ever heard of anyone who actually succeeded in doing the 52-week savings challenge? Last January 2014, I’ve read quite a number of blog posts encouraging readers to do this savings challenge. I’ve also seen several versions that transmuted the dollar values to peso with varying increments from 10 to 100 pesos. As 2015 started, I saw once more a host of blog posts about this challenge. However, I have yet to read about someone who has successfully completed the 52-week savings challenge. (In case you do know someone who’s had, please do let me know.)

Why the 52-Week Savings Challenge Doesn’t Work?

The original 52-week savings challenge was in US dollars and if you’re working in the US, it would be quite easy for you to set aside $50/week even on just a $3,000/month income(the median household income in the US). Given that saving $200/month is doable and won’t hurt the budget much, why save only $9 during the first month of the year?

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52-Week Savings Challenge

It’s an entirely different story for those in the Philippines where median household income is roughly 30,000 pesos which is just about $1,000. Setting aside almost 10,000 pesos in 3 consecutive months is near impossible.

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52-Week Savings Challenge in Philippine Pesos (initial savings of 50 pesos with 50-peso increments)

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52-Week Savings Challenge in Philippine Pesos (initial savings of 10 pesos with 10-peso increments)

For me, and many others I believe, this system just doesn’t work. Why? First, Saving should NOT be a challenge. You do not save just because everyone else is doing it or because someone designed a seemingly cool way of doing it. SAVING SHOULD BE A LIFESTYLE. Incorporate it in your daily life and it becomes as natural as breathing, but also requires a little out of the box thinking like considering how you could check up on your mortgage to save money.
Also, consider things like replacement windows which help you to save without even having to think about it.

Second, the 52-week savings challenge is somewhat impractical and inefficient. The original system has one saving $1 on the first week of the year, then $52 on its last week. Bulk of the savings fall on the months when expenditures are highest which makes this system impractical. Inefficient simply because there are simpler ways to save much more than the $1,378 total of the 52-week savings challenge.

An Efficient Way to Save

Have you heard of the Savings Equation? It goes like this:


This, at least for me, is the best way you can grow your savings and, eventually, increase your investments. By setting aside money right after receiving your salary, you ensure monthly savings. This also disciplines you to live well within your means. How much should you save each month? Ideally, you should set around 20% of your income as savings; or 10% at the least. However, with the average salary of the working class, this may not be feasible.

Always save the maximum amount that you could while still having enough left for your basic needs. It doesn’t matter if it just amounts to 1,000 pesos per month – that would still give you 12,000/year which could double in 5 years time if invested wisely. Whatever amount you choose, the important thing is to set aside a specific amount every payday. Grow your savings by investing in mutual funds – you only need a minimum investment of 5,000 pesos so there’s no excuse not to have one.

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How to Save More

Want to increase your savings while barely noticing it? Use an old fashioned piggy bank or glass jar. When you get home every night, dump all the coins in your pocket and wallet into your piggy bank. If you need coins for transportation fees the next morning, set those aside first, then dump all the rest in the piggy. You’d be surprised how much your little piggy would weigh in just a few months.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Live simply. Do you really need a new desktop, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone EVERY YEAR? Why buy a 6,000 peso jacket when you can get a good one for a quarter of that price? Live well within your means. And for a little extra help, see how you can increase your income online click to earn money with Clixsense.

Again, let me leave you with this, Saving isn’t a challenge, SAVING IS A LIFESTYLE.


  1. Natumbok mo Olga!

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