Searching Pinterest at the beginning of the year showed me tons of ways to save money. One of most popular being the 52-week savings plan. You know the one I’m talking about. You start by saving .50¢ or $1.00 the first week and then increase your savings by .50¢ to $1.00 each week after. I completely understand that new beginnings bring about a need for change. But given how many New Year’s resolutions are forfeited, starting a plan that increases in amount each week doesn’t sound like the best idea.
I started my search because my husband and I are planning to move in a couple of years. Since we don’t usually have extra money, making a conscious effort to save is important. One of the ways I chose to save is with the 52-week savings plan. I didn’t like the traditional schedule of saving, though. That is why I came up with variations to the plan to make saving even easier.
Only having to save .50¢ to $1.00 at the beginning of the year and adding only .50¢ to $1.00 each week after seems great at first. If you start your plan it at the beginning of the year, by the holidays, when most family’s wallets are tight, you’ll need to put $40 to $50 a week in. That doesn’t sound that awesome. I don’t know about you, but I never have extra money at Christmas time.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to start the savings plan with the larger amount and then decrease it each week? If you started a savings plan like this at the beginning of the year, then by the time the holidays roll around, you’d only be adding $10 or less each week. And, you’d have most of your money already saved.
What if, like millions of people, you can’t afford to take $40 to $50 out of several paychecks in a row? Wouldn’t it be easier to take a higher amount one week and a lower amount the next? Start with $53 the first week, then only $1 the next week, then $51, then $2, and so on until you meet in the middle. That way you aren’t having to continually take large amounts from your regular budget.
Of course, a plan that changes so drastically from week to week would totally confuse me unless I had a printout that showed me exactly how much I need to add to my savings jar. That is why I created the free printables below.
The first is the traditional 52-week savings plan that starts with .50¢ and increases by .50¢ each week. The next is the same plan but in reverse. It starts with $26.50 and gradually decreases by .50¢ per week. The next, alternates between the largest amount and the smallest amount, decreasing and increasing by .50¢ each week. Any of these plans will help you save $715.50 in a year without breaking your budget.
Then there are the same plans, except the amounts are in whole dollars, i.e. $1, $2, $52, $53, etc. Any of these will help you save $1431 in a year. I personally like these plans the best because it’s easier to add or decrease by a dollar. Counting change gets annoying after a while, and once I finally do reach my goal amount, I don’t want to have to roll the change or pay a machine to turn it into cash for me.
Click any of the links to download or print your savings plan.
Another point I’d like to make is that you don’t have to start your savings plan at the beginning of the year. Depending on what you’re saving for, the summer might be the perfect time to start a savings plan, and subsequently, the best time to reap the rewards of saving your money all year.
I hope that having a variety of options will make it easier for you to save, even if your plan is just to have some extra spending money. I’ve found that setting a goal helps me save. And if that goal gets me a new home, the incentive grows exponentially. How do you usually save? Do you save so that you have the extra money in case of an emergency or do you have a plan? I’d love to hear about it.