Jan52013

56 Comments

Give this super-easy 52-Week savings plan a try, and have an extra $1378 by the end of the year!

I spotted this ingenious and simple savings plan* on Facebook, posted it on my wall, and it went viral with 3,074 likes and 4,230 shares as of this writing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously, this plan hit a nerve with a large number of people who know they need to save, want to save, but are dealing with the reality of tight budgets.

On many calendars, each week is numbered, beginning with Week #1: January 1-7.  On this 52-week plan, you save the amount of dollars that corresponds to that week’s number. If one week you find yourself with extra cash, add it to the pot. You’ll end up with more than the $1378 total by the end of December or you’ll have created a bit of a padding for weeks that don’t have any extra cash left over.

Print out this chart or make your own and check off each week as you save. If there are other members in the family with an income, encourage them to do the same. A family with 2 breadwinners could end up with a grand total of $2756, and52 week savings plan that’s no small-potatoes! *I have no idea who originally created this chart, but I thank them!

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(56) Readers Comments

  1. This could also be an excellent source for a cash kitty. Many preppers believe in having cash on hand in the event you can’t access your checking account: a bank holiday, grid down event, societal chaos, etc. You could place the different denominations in an envelop and store it in a fire proof safe, your freezer or your BOB.

    Just a thought…. :)

  2. I like this. This is a slow and steady rate to build a emergency cash reserve, This could be great if in week 13 or so you get a flat tire. With this you have the cash on hand to go and take care of it. You will not have to charge it and it will feel good knowing you were able to take care of it now.

  3. Love it! Anything simple, do-able, and helpful is great in my book. This is all three!

  4. Nice idea, but I get paid monthly. Setting aside $202 to $250 in December is a stretch. Setting aside $104 every month would be more doable.

  5. LOVE THIS!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!

  6. I’ve seen this several times on facebook but the problem that most people aren’t realizing is that by the middle of the year – you’re having to put aside $100 per month and by the end of the year it is $200 per month. If they can’t afford to do that now – how will they afford that a year from now?

    Sorry – the idea is nice – don’t get me wrong….but many people will get discouraged a few months in because they are unable to put aside what is on the chart.

    • Well, mostly we spend more than we need to. I think the great thing about this plan is it uses such small amounts in the beginning to form the habit of savings, while slowly increasing the amounts. If you took $200 a month out of my budget today I don’t know what would happen, but I am willing to bet that if it disappeared slowly I would adjust to it. I think a plan like this can really help a lot of people, even if it doesn’t work for everyone.

    • Yeah I agree about December. I think I have a painless solution for that. Start with 5$ on week one, go through as planned and then only put in 4, 3, 2, 1 in the four weeks of december and you have your full amount of $1378. You just pay that big month in November.

  7. This is wonderful. Maybe at the beginning you could double up at the lower amounts if you couldn’t do the larger amounts at the end. Just emptying out the change in the bottom of your purse would help. My son never spends his change. He throws it into a large jar everyday and treats himself to a ski vacation every other year on his change. That is a painless way to save.

  8. I was looking at this not too long ago and I thought it might be better to do this BACKWARDS. That way by the time the holidays roll around, you will be putting the finishing touches on your savings rather than the bulk payments.

    • That idea is GENIUS!

    • I like the idea of doing this backward! Awesome plan!

  9. My plan is to put aside $20 out of every paycheck (every other week, in other words) into my cash reserve, and $200/month into my savings account. at the end of the year I’ll only have $520 instead of the $1,378 you’ve mentioned, but in my case it’s much more achievable. I don’t count my savings in that figure because I’ve got some major specific expenses that I’m saving up for.

    But that cash reserve has saved my financial bacon more than a couple of times, so that I didn’t have to whip out the plastic every time some emergency came up. I’m now out of credit card debt, and now just have my student loan to pay off, and (God willing and the river don’t rise) I’ll have that paid off by the end of this year.

  10. Today I got a dollar back that I overpaid for my daughter’s school spirit shirt last year. Perfect to start this savings plan with. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Maybe if people were having trouble with the larger amounts at the end they could instead just do a three or six month challenge and keep starting from the beginning after that time was up. So only the smaller amounts were put in, but there was still some savings going on and the habit would be formed and there would be even a little money for an emergency or Christmas.

    Even if you did to say Week 5 then had to start again you would still have Approx $150 at the end of the year, would still get some gifts for the kids at Christmas, for cash.

    I really like this idea and not sure if I will be able to do the larger amounts but will certainly do it until I can’t find $25 per week or more and then just start from the beginning again with $1 per week until again I can no longer find the larger amount.

    I have printed off the sheet and have put it in my finance stuff so it will be seen all the time and remind me to do it.

  12. We are going to try it with a twist.
    First off we are starting at week 20 ($20). Once we get to week 52, we will continue up to 72. Still one full year of savings, but we will end up at $2438.

    Second, we are making it a CONTEST! Nothing like competition to make it fun. I will get one envelope and my husband another. We shall see next year who has the most cash in their envelope. If we get it right, we will have $4876 in cash savings on hand! I just have to be sure my dear husband does not cheat by writing a big check on the last week!
    We need to have a prize for the winner. I’m thinking a special dinner or a weekend in the city. Then a big purchase for our preps. Any suggestions for prizes? Keep it clean, folks. This is a family website! LOL

    • Why not use the new saved money to go on a vacation?

  13. If the plan gets to be too much towards the end…even if you did weeks 1-26 and then went back to week 1 and did up to 26 again you’d still end up with $ 702 by the end of the year. Thats a decent amount and you’ve only had to set aside $26 a week max. Me personally, I have $25 taken out of my checking account and transferred to my savings automatically every week. I’ll have $1300 by the end of the year saved!

  14. You could also print it out and say one week you have an extra $50. Deposit it then and mark it out. Maybe start out with middle numbers or high and work your way around. It’s easier to do it in order just for remembering purposes, but you could do it anyway you want.

  15. Our twist is this – we are making “chips” numbering 1-52 and putting them in a box. Every Monday, we pull a chip and the number, and that amount enters in the pot. Then we color out the corresponding block on the grid. For amounts lower than $10, we automatically enter in $10, which give us $78! For kids – we use dimes instead of dollars….still adds up!

  16. Brilliant idea, I don’t have a lot of put away right now but this is definitely doable, and I get to level up every week! lol

  17. Hmmm…. I like the plan but I get paid monthly. What I think is doable for me is to combine the first two weeks with the last two weeks for the first month and mark them off. Next month save the next two lowest and the next two highest. That way the amount would remain rather constant. Sure, there may be a better way, but I love patterns. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. While looking at this I got another idea that may help those that aren’t able to put as much away in one chunk. If you took a standard deck of playing cards and drew a card every week and discard that card, the number value of that card would be what you put away into a savings. Having the values of the Jack, Queen, King and Ace being 11, 12, 13, and 1 respectively. this would put you at saving $364 over a year through a whole deck of cards with the highest amount having to be put away each week being $13. If that is too low you could also look at drawing 2 cards a week and going through the deck twice through the year. You would end up with $728. Just popped in my head, and thought I would share.

  19. I am doing this, but I split the $50 weeks into two weeks, so it’s easier for us. With this plan, I think we can actually do this.

  20. It would be much easier to put aside the $25/week all along, since I know I would never be able to put aside $50 a week needed at the end. Of course, if you have cush in your budget, maybe easing into less pocket money week by week works.

  21. Usually people get money back for taxes in feb and spend lots of money in december to make it easier flip the chart save the highest amount in jan and the lowest in december. That should make it easier for the big christmas spenders.

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  23. My boyfriend and I are doing this- this year. I am doing increments of $2/per week number, instead of $1, and my boyfriend is doing $3/per week number. We’re planning a trip to Disney for our daughters’ birthday next year, and this is what’s going to cover it! Great idea person-who-wrote-this-up!

  24. I am doing this on a monthly basis, and will end up saving the same amount. I get paid monthly so could not save on a weekly basis. This is a great habit forming exercise.

  25. DH and I are doing this on top of our usual savings – bank, change jar. Next year, I think we’ll go backwards like someone else suggested.

  26. What a great savings plan. Wehave 3 in our family and doing times 3. Wow, it is really growing! Thanks for the idea!

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  28. Even if you stopped contributing at the end of November, you would have a very nice amount saved. December is always hard with the holidays. Having that nice chunk of change could make for a very merry Christmas

  29. I am starting the plan in September so I that can save for next Christmas. That way in December I am only putting away between $14-$17, Thank you for sharing!

  30. For those who are concerned about having to add more money during the middle and end of the year, why not do this in reverse? You can add the most at the beginning of the year when most people have tax refunds and more money, then by the end of the year, you’re only adding a small amount.

  31. We have done this since January 1, 2013 and LOVE IT!!! It has been great for a number of reasons: (1) we have Christmas AND a vacation paid for with this fund and (2) it has been a great ‘emergency fund’. Last week, we had to make an unexpected trip out of town. We were frantically trying to pack and find someone to stay here with our dogs. We were calmed knowing that we could just take out the cash for our dog sitter and be on our way. We replenished the amount as soon as we got home. This was so much easier than banking (in the traditional sense). We have decided that for 2014, we will do this again but we are going to do it in reverse so that the end of the year isn’t so stressful. This is the IDEAL savings account in addition to a regular savings plan!!

  32. Where are you guys getting your high figures from???? You are paying in the amount of whatever the week is: $l first week, $2 the second week, $3.00 the third week, $4 the fourth and so on. By the time you reach 26th week (1/2 year) it will be $26. End of the year, or week 52, is $52. Each week’s deposit is added to the previous week’s balance. The balances are getting bigger, the weekly deposit only correspons with the week #. Simple, $52 is the biggest amount you deposit.

  33. Yes, but for then entire month of December all four weeks deposits total $202 and that is a rather large amount especially when you are trying to buy Christmas gifts. Didn’t you read the entry where she stated that it was hard because she only gets paid once per month and would have to put away $200 at the end?

  34. People who get paid once a month can save $115 a month and have $1380 by the end of the year,

  35. Dave Ramsey would LOVE this idea! I just finished with baby step 1 and have my $1000 emergency fund saved up. However, I could follow this and put the money towards my lowest balance credit card. :-)

  36. People are pointing out that in December you will have to make 4 very large deposits and that is true. However, you can also mix things up a little. Lets say that it goes like this instead:

    WeekAccount BalanceWeek 1$1Week 2$52Week 3$2Week 4$51

    And so on….

    Coming around to the end of the year you will only have to deposit about $100.

  37. Sorry, my html code didn’t work out, but what I’m actually saying is that if you deposit $1 in week one, $52 in week 2, $2 in week 3 and $51 in week 4 etc, etc, at the end of the year you will only have to deposit about $100 instead of $200. This will make things easier.

  38. This is a great idea, but I go much further, I put away $50.00 per week that is diverted from my paycheck into a savings account.

  39. Just for clarification on the chart, it is off by $100! Week 49 the total is $1125 and then add $50 for week 50 and you will end up with $1175 – the cumulative total for this week states $1275 …… so you might have a bit of trouble putting in $150 for that week!

  40. I love this idea, and all the alternate ways to do this! I just set this up on auto transfer with my bank (took forever as I had to do them individually, but will be worth it because I wouldn’t reliably remember to switch the money over). And the nice thing is, if you’re going to be short on cash, no one will judge you if you don’t contribute the entire amount that week, or if you have to take some out. It happens. This is just a good guideline for people like me that go “I have to save money….Next week”. Next week never comes. So while I’ll try to stick with it, if I can’t one week, then that’s okay, the end result is that money is still being saved. Good luck to all!

  41. Have you done the math? According to this “easy” plan you will save $1378 this year. Divide by 12: $115 a month. You can set an automated debit amount in online banking to move that reasonable amount monthly to your tax free savings account. But on this plan you have to remember each week to move a different amount of money? That’s crazy! Plus – did you calculate what December adds up to yet 49+50+51+52=$202. As the amounts increase each week it will become more difficult for you to remember to do. If you like this idea then I propose you start with $52 and work backwards instead, resulting in December costing you 4+3+2+1=$10. You’ll also earn more interest that way. But really – why wouldn’t you just set up a monthly amount to set aside. Seems like a lot of work for $1378 to me.

  42. Love ALL these ideas! Anyone can find change around the house, in the car or in your purse to put in those first few weeks! I would rather put cash in however rather than having it direct deposit so I can SEE IT grow… flip side of that is… when you see it, its easier to spend it… Discipline! But at this point anything you put in is better than nothing at all :)

  43. My husband and I are doing this, but in our own weird way! We are doing it backwards, and by month! So the first Sunday of every month we’ll deposit the grand total of that month into our savings accounts, and as the year progresses the amount will get smaller and smaller. I just did out the math for each month and then the math for the whole year and it DOES add up to $1378. I’m going to print it out and hang it in our room! :)

  44. This is a great idea and I am just starting it for this year!..I love the idea of doing it backwards also..However as I was looking at the chart I noticed that week 49 is listed at $1,125.00 that is wrong. The actual amount should be $1,225.00..Love it!!

  45. I love this, we are a family of 6 and have always found it incredibly difficult to save, and too easy to use credit cards. We’ve suffered a few setbacks over the last few years, a car accident, lost wages, a blown engine, and our credit rating has taken a terrible hit. :( This plan will help us to start forming a good habit with saving. I plan to deposit the lump sum for December from our income tax return because I know it will be impossible to set aside the $202 come December. I also hope to contribute November’s amounts throughout the year and have the total amount saved by Oct 31st to make it easier once the Christmas season comes along with all the extra expenses. Wish me luck as I start trying to dig my family out of this hole!

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  47. I have been doing this savings plan. However, because I didn’t want to get caught around the holidays having to put $200 aside I decided to mix my weeks. I took the last weeks and coordinated them with the first. So the first week I saved $1 and the second week, I saved $52. I continued with $2 in week 3 & $51 in week 4. Since I’m paid every two weeks, I mixed the payments so that the smaller ones fall on weeks between checks.

    I look forward to saving the money because keeping up with the weeks and the savings amount is pretty involved. I have added the “Rainy Day Savings” calendar below that may make staying on track with the plan easy.

    https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/ctf3qj6bdrm9qqlmjb4pg577hg%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

    Cheers!

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  49. I am trying to do this this year. However, what I did to help with December is put $50 away last month on top of the $10 you are already putting away (1+2+3+4) so I put $60. This month, I hope to be able to put another $51 on top of the $26. I don’t think I could put $200 away any month. Then I plan to use this money FOR Christmas, or at least a portion of it. I’ve put it in a Christmas Club account, so I can’t touch it (because that is a huge problem in our house… access to the money.)

  50. My wife and I are in the middle or week 19. A reply to some of the skeptics…It’s fun, and you do not have to go in any particular order. I am going to start on the last 3 or 4 weeks so it will not be a struggle around the holidays.

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