With the new year, there’s a lot of talk about savings plans, and one popular year long plan is to save a dollar the first week, two dollars the second week and so on. That’s great, but all too frequently, people give up by the end because they have to save $45 this week and $46 the next and not everyone has that kind of extra money in their budget. I know I would definitely struggle with that kind of plan.
But don’t despair, my friends. There is a plan for you. Try the 26 Week Savings Plan! The plan starts the same way, but ends at week 26. You will still manage to save $351 using this plan. That’s no chump change.
This plan works exceptionally well if you get paid bi-weekly. Instead of saving the required amount every week, save the required amount every paycheck. Pulling $1 or $2 or $3 from your paycheck is pretty easy, and because you’re only increasing the amount by $1 every week, by the time you get to week $26, it might not be so hard.
If you’re the sort of person who struggles to put money into your savings account every paycheck, this might be a good way to ease into it. You start with just a dollar, which is pretty easy. By week 26, you might find that you can very easily put an extra $26 every week into a savings account. Or maybe $26 is too much and you find that your budget is just a little too tight with that missing $26. Think back to when it was less painful. Maybe $20 is the magic amount for you. Maybe it’s just $5 or $10. Every little bit counts.
This is also a great plan to use as you’re counting down to big events where you might like to have a bit of extra spending money. Maybe you like to start your Christmas shopping on Black Friday. So start your savings plan so that you have $351 to spend on Black Friday! Maybe you’re saving up for a big vacation or a new phone or a new piece of furniture for your house. Turn it into a game and challenge yourself to save every week. You might be surprised to find that you were spending money on things you don’t really miss once they’re gone.
You can also get your kids involved in saving this way. Okay, so maybe they don’t have $26 to save. (And if they do, can you pay my allowance too?) But reduce the amount. Maybe they increment ten cents at a time and end up with a little over $35 by the end. To a kid, that’s a magical number!
To help you out in your quest, I’ve made you a printable chart. Print it out and put a big ole checkmark next to each amount that you save. Hang it somewhere where you will see it. Maybe that’s on your fridge or near your desk. Maybe you want to keep it in your wallet to remind you to save and not spend. I don’t know what it is, but being able to physically check off your goals always seems to make them easier to accomplish.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.