Last year, it seemed like the new trend in the frugal and financial world was the 52 week savings plan. You know, the one where you save 1 dollar the first week of the year, 2 dollars the second week, and so on. Heck, even I wrote about the plan and TRIED to do it myself. I say tried because I didn’t finish. Yes, this frugal and financial fanatic didn’t finish the program. There were big reasons why I didn’t continue (mostly because the price gets higher the closer you get to the holidays) but what I learned is that there are a few other ways you can accomplish this type of savings. Actually, I came up with 3 new 52 week savings plans that just might work out better in the long run.
Save in Reverse
This is the easiest way to use the 52 week savings plan from last year, and not feel burned out at the end of this year. It seems really easy to save a small amount per week, until summer (and your vacations) start to hit that checking account. From summer on, the amount just get bigger and you start to resent even the little bit of money you are putting aside. By the time Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah roll around, all you want to do is take that money you are supposed to be saving and actually spend it on other things. By going in reverse, saving 52 dollars the first week and 51 dollars the second week, you set yourself up for success. You’re already motivated to save since it’s the new year, and you know that the number will just get smaller and smaller.
Save by Number
This is my favorite new way to save because it’s centered around getting our kids accustomed to saving throughout the year. This plan is also great for those of us on a very tight budget, and just can’t shell out the amounts in the regular 52 week savings plan. It’s very similar to the reverse savings, but you are choosing one amount to save each week of each month. Since there are 12 months, and you’re starting in January, you would save 12 dollars each week of January. In February, you’ll save 11 dollars each week, and 10 dollars each week in March. This plan works for kids since the amount changes every month. Since the amount also decreases, you don’t have to worry about them giving it up all together. I’ll write a more detailed post later in the week on how well this works for kids.
Note: all numbers are based on savings deposits being placed in accounts on fridays. A few of the months have 5 fridays, which explains why a few of them have 5 weeks instead of 4.
Bulk Saving Plan
As a freelance writer and contractor, it can be pretty difficult to do the 52 week savings plan when you don’t have a steady paycheck. One way to remedy this is the set up a bulk payment each month. For example, if you add up the weekly amounts for the reverse savings plan, it equals 250 dollars for January. Since my payments come in every 30 to 45 days, assigning a one time savings deposit of this amount is much better for me than struggling to get 52 dollars together for the first week, then 51 dollars from the next week. Again, this amount will decrease month after month, so if I end up getting a windfall of money from a contract job, I can take care of 2 or even 3 months at a time. By the time I get to December and only have to save 4 dollars for the whole month, I’ll be more inclined to double, triple, or even increase it tenfold. Again, you’re setting yourself up to succeed and be motivated to continue your saving.