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How to start saving money effortlessly with the 52-week challenge


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Often the hardest part of saving money is getting started. It can feel like a goal far beyond your reach. Why is this?

When many of us think about saving, our focus isn’t on the here and now, but rather on the end goal. Whether that’s saving for a house deposit, a holiday or even saving for retirement, we put our efforts into thinking about the total amount we need to save, instead of the journey we need to take to get there. The goal can feel so large, that many people question why they should even try.

In a world of instant gratification, many of us also choose to spend, rather than save. This can often cause us to go into debt or stay in debt. It can also mean that we don’t save enough for our future when that’s exactly what we should be doing.


Reasons to save money

You’ll rarely find someone who complains that they saved money instead of spending it on things. Much like hitting the gym, we regret only that we missed out, rather than the effort we put in. There is little downside to saving money! Below are some of the most common reasons people should save money.

It helps in an emergency

An emergency is just around the corner. How you define an emergency is of course subjective. Losing a job, boiler breaking, or unforeseen car repairs could fall into this category, whereas a last-minute trip away may be debatable.

According to Aldermore’s Annual Savings Tracker research, half of UK adults (47%) do not have money set aside in case of serious crises or life events, such as periods of unemployment, legal trouble, bereavements, or serious illness,

The result of this is that many people are forced into debt when times get tough. Having the ability to pay for emergencies and stay out of debt if and when they arise, is a critical factor in your financial security.

Being prepared for future events

– I did say there’s little downside to saving but rarely does anyone enjoy the process. We want things now and we really don’t want to wait -#yolo. We live in a world of instant gratification, but with only a little bit of consideration for our future and a focus on a budget, we can prepare ourselves for future spending events and ensure they don’t cause an emergency situation.

For example, if you know you will be replacing your car in 5 years, then it would be a great idea to start saving for it as early as possible. Loans such as car loans are subject to interest payments and if we can limit this as much as possible, we can save hundreds or thousands on the cost of the loan.

If you save £50 a month towards your next car purchase, after 5 years you would have £3,000 to put towards the deposit of your new car.

To give you an idea of how much that would save. If you borrowed the additional £3,000 over 3 years at a 9.9% interest rate, the total amount repayable will be £3,458.41, therefore the loan would have cost you £458.41

Saving money affects both your finances now and in future.

Staying out of debt

Saving helps you keep to your budget and put headroom between your income and expenses. By staying out of debt you can put your savings to work for you in the pursuit of your financial goals. The more you can put towards these goals and the longer you can do this, the better position you should be in due to compounding. The exact opposite is true when you go into debt.

To prepare for retirement

Saving money for retirement is incredibly important. Without putting our money into a pension or other savings methods throughout your working career, you would not be able to keep your standard of living when you quit working. The more you put into your pensions, the better standard of living you will be able to maintain when you no longer earn an income.

A large portion of those in employment underestimates how much money they’ll need in retirement. As a result of this, they don’t give consideration to how long it will take to replace their income and many receive the biggest pay cut of their life when they finally stop working, if at all.

52-week saving challenge

Starting to save money doesn’t need to be difficult. If I told you that you could save £1,378 by this time next year, starting with only £1, I wouldn’t be lying. But how can we do it? It starts with a commitment to yourself that you want to save money. Whether you want to pay for next Christmas, pay down debt or save towards your retirement, you need to have a reason why saving is a priority. Once you’ve committed to that, we need to make and stick to a plan.

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Example of the 52-week saving plan

In the table below, I’ve outlined the full 52-week saving challenge 🤯🤯🤯. It starts with saving just £1 in week one and finishes with a saving of £52 in week £52.

The challenge begins with saving just £1. Can you save that amount next week? Would that make any difference to your lifestyle? Can you plan to increase that to £2 next week? Would sacrificing a packet of crisps actually be a challenge? Starting to think ahead for your savings goals and planning to achieve them will ensure the best possible chance of success.

Getting into the habit of saving and planning this as part of your monthly spending is key to becoming a lifelong saver.

WeekAmount to Save This Week – £Total Amount Saved – £

As you approach the latter weeks of the year, the amount of money you need to save does increase. By that stage, the process of saving will be well ingrained and many of those who have completed this challenge have commented that they made positive life choices to increase their savings well in advance of this. A huge benefit noted was that by the end of the year, their savings rate normalised at well over £52 a week and they were able to continue this into the following year.

Remember if you find yourself with extra money in any week, you can add it to your saving pot. Your future self will thank you for it.

Ways to make saving money easier

Setting up savings “pots”

Online banks such as Monzo or Starling have the ability to create separate “pots” away from your main current account. These can be used to put your savings into. You can also set up rules on these pots, putting your savings on autopilot. For example, every time you receive a salary payment, you can put an amount into the pot.

Round up your spending

With many current accounts, you can also set them up to automatically round up any spending. Depending on the app, this could be to the nearest pound or ten pounds. The rounded-up balance can then be put into a savings pot of your choice.

I’d love to hear your tips to make saving money an easier process. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me a message on Twitter. I’ll update this post with the best.

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