About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.

Comments

  1. I opened one of these capital one savings accounts yesterday. I set it up to automatically transfer $25 each week. It works out about the same at the end of the year but is easier to remember and small enough that I won’t miss it.

    • I agree, why not just save a set amount per month. If you can save 200 in January then why not keep that going every month?

      Keeping in the savings account rather than the jar… No brainer!

  2. C.K. Walker says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea!!!

    One aspect of the Pinterest savings jars is that there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing the jar fill up. May I suggest doing something to simulate the visual aspect of filling a jar with change by posting a black and white printout in the shape of a thermometer, pile of bills or piggy bank and then marking out the equal amounts along the side. Color in each week as the money builds and see how realistic saving can be while keeping that saved money safe.

    I also like your safer savings idea from a risk management standpoint. Fire, flood, tornado, robbery–they happen; and while we don’t like to imagine it happening to us, saving that money into an FDIC insured bank account means that in case of a real emergency, it’ll be there for you when you really need it.

    • Robin Cleckley says:

      What is the advantage of opening up this account, why not open another account at your bank or credit union?

      • Robin – The advantage is that you’re setting up a distance between this account and your regular checking account. That makes it more likely that this account will be a true savings account and not a safety net for your regular account.

  3. Emily Moore says:

    Love the capital one account idea!!! But I am also going to create some sort of visual. I don’t want to dip into the money!!!

    • With a few people interested in it, I’d be happy to create a visual. It’ll take me a week or so to get to it, but I can create something and share it. Would people like a thermometer-type thing or a checklist of the weeks to mark each one off with a running total of the balance?

      • I like the stack of bills!

      • I love the idea of a thermometer!

      • If u own the capital one account you can set goals. .. as you keep adding money you can see a bar that reaches toward the end. If u hover over it will tell you your percentage towards your goal. It’s a good enough visual for me :)

      • I think a visual would be great. Give a little bit if encouragement and also shows your children the goal you are working toward.

      • Amy Clark says:

        I am doing the challenge backwards, but my friend had made her what she is calling a bingo card with all of the numbers 1-52 on it and she says as long as she marks the number and bingos at the end then she has accomplished the same thing. I will do better just to follow the structured plan.

  4. W. Williams says:

    If you open up multiple savings accounts, do you have to log into each one separately, or when you log into your account at capitol one, can you see them all? And with multiple accounts, can I do a transfer from home connected checking at another bank, to any one of my accounts at Capitol One? Right now I select xfer from USBank Checking to College Account. Thinking of moving my online savings because I’m unhappy with the online bank we’ve been at for some time, but want to understand what I can and can’t do. Thanks!

    • In my experience with Capital One you can only log into one account at a time. Yes, you transfer from a different bank’s checking account (I bank at a credit union, but wherever) into/out of Capital One. It’s done online and it takes a couple days for the money to show up when you initiate a transfer. Does that help?

    • I have all my accounts under the same login on Capital One. Once you have your Checking Account open, you can set up “savings goals” (separate savings accounts). Carrie, this is exactly the plan we’re doing as well through Cap 1. Thanks for sharing!

    • You can have multiple accounts under the same user, in which case you will see all of them when you log in. They all earn the same interest rate, but it is a great way to earmark money for different things. I personally have 1 checking account and 4 savings accounts. When I log in, my main screen shows all 5 accounts, and I can click on one to see the details. I can move between accounts without logging out and back in again. I set up my husband as a second owner on all accounts, but you can specify who co-owns which accounts. As far as transferring, you can transfer money immediately between Capital One accounts, and you can link external accounts so that you can transfer back & forth between them (with the 3-day delay Carrie mentioned). I always have Capital One initiate the transfer from my linked external account, and that way I can easily specify which savings account the money will go to. But each account does have a separate account number, so if you’d rather push the money from your other account, you can still specify which savings account it goes to.

      I hope this helps. I was so hesitant to switch to Capital One, but I finally did about a year ago, and I’ve been really happy with it.

      • How did you do that? I monkeyed around in there for at least an hour the other night and couldn’t figure that out. I checked help and everything. (Yes, it’s probably some obvious thing I didn’t do)

        • We have used these accounts for about 10 years. It used to be ING Direct. Log in to your account, if you already have a checking account, just open a savings account. You can open as many savings accounts as you want. We have 10+ savings accounts. We put aside money each paycheck for things like Christmas, taxes, car savings, emergency fund, etc. Transfers between capital 1 accounts are instantaneous. There are restrictions on the number of transfers into and out of savings accounts. Those restrictions are federal regulations for all savings accounts though. Transfers between external accounts take a couple of days. I also pay all my bills through my Capital 1 checking account. I’ve found their processing of payments to utilities and such is much faster than my regular bank. Thanks for the article. This is the way we have saved for years. Wish more people focused on budgeting and living debt free!

        • Hmmm… I don’t know how I did it! It has just always been like that for me. :)

          My account is a Capital One 360 account, previously ING Orange. When I first login, it goes to the Summary under the My Accounts tab, and it shows all of my accounts, including my Capital One credit card (that one is new). The tabs across the top of the main page are: My Accounts, Transfers & Deposits, Payments, eStatements, My Info, and Alerts & Messages.

          I wonder if we just have different kinds of accounts? Or if it is because I also have a checking account there?

        • I also have had my account since it was an ING Orange, but mine is SAVINGS. I don’t have a Capital One checking – maybe that is the difference. I see those same tabs and I *think* I clicked every option and looked on every page. I’ll check again. I have a contact with Capital One and I think I’ll email them to ask too.

        • I think it might depend on how you set these up. I set up an account first. I referred my husband (boyfriend at the time) and he set up his own account (separate log on). When we got married, we decided to combine our accounts (same log on). I feel like we called ING at the time to do that. Then within our combined account/logon, we created a number of separate accounts to track savings goals.

        • Add me to the camp that has never had to do anything to see all my accounts at the same time. I have 6 different accounts for various savings goals and they all show up when I log in. It’s always been that way for me. Though I did open some of them almost 10 years ago, so it’s possible I was grandfathered into a previous way of doing it?

  5. I *love* this post and this idea! Going to set up my transfers right now. :) Thanks, Carrie!

  6. Would love a thermometer type printout so I could have a visual reward while doing this. I opened a capital one 360 (then ING) account about a year ago when they ran the deals for signing up and I am going to use it to set up right now! Thanks so much! Sidenote: I just finished reading your book yesterday on my kindle and have already started making changes based on your advice!

  7. Do you get a kickback from capital one 360?

    • Julia – Yes, like I mention at the very tip top of the post “This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.” Here’s a link to my disclosure policy: http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/disclosure-statement/

    • I love your site, just skeptical about opening one if there is conflict of interest. Thanks for your tips!

      • I understand. Go ahead and open an account with another online bank that distances you from your money and allows auto-transfers out of your main checking account – Ally is another I think, but I have no personal experience there so I can’t recommend it.

        • Julia. If you find it a conflict of interest (and I’m sorry to say this to Carrie), nothing stops you from going to the website without clicking on the referral link. I actually have been with Capital One (previously ING Direct) for a long time. I also have an Ally account since I didn’t realize initially why I was receiving so many Capital One documents.

          Carrie, I hope to try the reverse 52 week challenge but it will be tough.

        • Youri – Yep, exactly. You could certainly open an account without me as the referrer if that makes someone feel better.

        • Also, they aren’t necessarily recruiting Carrie to promote it. Anyone with an account can refer others and get a bonus.

      • Conflict of interest, REALLY? Carrie provides you with a ton of helpful info every month free of charge. This is a blog and blogs make money from referral and advertisements. Let’s be realistic here . I’m not attacking but please use some common sense!! After you sign up you will have the same opportunity to refer people and get a referral bonus as well. There is no conflict of interest, the same rules apply to everyone! ;-)

      • You can open a State Farm Bank savings/checking account. They are a virtual bank and have been around for more than 10 years :) You don’t need State Farm insurance to use their banking products.

  8. In the capital one account you can create a “Savings goal” that works like a thermometer type image. I used it to set up my rainy day fund.

  9. I set up an ING savings account (now Capital One 360) years ago and started saving in an account I “hid” from myself. I ended up with $10,000, which got me though 4 years of unemployment. Now that I’m working again, I am saving $50 every other week (which, with the original amount I added will amount to more than the $1,378 in the challenge). I love having money withdrawn automatically so I don’t have to think about it and I love having money hidden from myself so I can’t spend it. This is a great challenge.

    • Amen! What an awesome story. When we were getting out of debt we saved 10% of our net income into our account until we had a 3-month nest egg. Thanksfully, we’ve not ever had to seriously tap that nest egg. *knocks on wood*

  10. I am taking the 52 week challenge x 2. One envelope has the weekly amount starting at $1 and the other envelope has the amount starting at $52. I will be putting these in a separate account and will have twice the goal money at the end of December 2014 and it will never “hurt” more than $53 a week!

    • Love this idea, my daughter and her husband both wanted to do the challenge but they are pretty tight being newlyweds and Rachel’s student loans repayment just started. So I think they could make it work this way, great idea.

  11. Funny, when I saw the initial saving device hitting the internet I was palm to forehead screaming ROTH IRA. While I get/love the idea of saving for a year, how about the concept of saving for a lifetime. if you have taxable income and make less than 127k single/188k joint put $50-?/month into a Roth IRA. You get the advantage of Dollar Cost Averaging throughout the year and it’s a pretty sure bet that your return on investment will be much greater than a bank account. The after tax $ you contribute can be taken out o the account prior to 59.5 without the 10% penalty if you have an emergency down the road. Just my .02

    • Amy – True, invest for the long-term IF you have some emergency savings on hand that can get you through should, God forbid, a crisis hit your life. You’re right that a bank account is NOT a long-term investment (I am, in fact, planning to write about an investment challenge within the next few weeks too). This is a cash-on-hand-for-emergencies savings. Different purpose.

      • Yeah!!!! I have a retirement account, but it was automatically set up for me through the teachers union. I know this will not be enough. I am clueless on where and how to get started. I have started reading about this, but just cant seem to take the next step of actually investing or finding where and how to. Thank you Carrie and team for all you do!

  12. defiler2k says:

    I did this challenge last year but at a slightly modified pace.

    I put the money in an out of state credit union where it earns interest and I cant touch it unless they mail me a paper check. That removed the temptation of dipping in to the fund for spur of the moment buys.

    The purpose for my saving plan was to fund our Black Friday shopping spree, the fund in the end became our holiday spending budget.

    So I created a personal goal to save X amount by that date and I set savings goals per qrtr. Why setup quarterly goals? Because I had my deposits made directly through payroll so I did not even see the money ever hit my bank account hence I never planned around it. Also, making biweekly changes on my payroll deductions were just unrealistic at least for me so I just set my qtrly target and divided the target by the payroll weeks of that quarter and set my deduction for those quarterly weeks. I also setup a quarterly notice on my calendar to notify me when I had to change the deductions on payroll.

    It worked really well and as posted above it was more fufilling to see the account have a larger funding amount quickly than the 52 week challenge originally lists. I also made my payout week the week before Black Friday to allow time to get the check from my credit union. I start the plan on the first pay period of December.

    This year I’m committed to saving twice as much and I’m well on my way thanks to these tweaks.

  13. Good idea! I like the way you think.

    Of course, some families might have problems saving $52 the first week if their budget is already tight. But this could work for a lot of people.

    In fact, if $52 the first week isn’t a problem, and $51 the second week isn’t a problem, and $50 the third week isn’t a problem, maybe they can save a constant $52 every week for a year. That’ll turn that $1,378 into $2,704 (not accounting for compound interest earned).

  14. I have a credit union, and one of my savings account it called a Christmas Club account. I haven’t used it in years so it’s just sitting there, with $1 in it. So I have now set up $26 to transfer in there from my checking account weekly. I dont need to have another bank to do this. And then I do believe the money does automatically transfer into checking in October, as theoretically this is when you would begin your Christmas shopping :)

  15. i am doing this challenge, but instead of putting that additional amount into savings, i’m transferring that additional amount against the credit card we have. Not only will it be an additional paydown of our normal paymement, but we’ll be saving on interest normally accrued on that amount. an extra 1378 against paying off debt, yes please!

  16. I saw this on FB all over the place. You brought up the exact point I made on my friends post. If you can afford an above and beyond extras savings of nearly 200 bucks the last few months before Christmas more power to you but I can’t. So I had the idea of Week 1 Save $52 Week 2 save $1 Week 3 save $51 Week 4 Save $2 and so on and so forth. It averages out your savings. Or so in my mind it seems to work. But I haven’t put it on paper. It just seems this 52 week savings plan has good intentions but like most resolutions few will follow through when the bigger savings start adding pressure on your monthly budget. I hope I don’t sound mean I just want to be realistic.

    • AnnieGrace says:

      I like your idea of alternating every other week with a smaller then larger amount. That would be a better adjustment for me since I get paid every other week. Payday Friday 52.00, next Friday 1.00, Payday Friday 51.00, next Friday 2.00…..Thanks Sheri!

      • C.K. Walker says:

        I was thinking about the larger one week, smaller the next, as I get paid twice a month, so putting aside $52 on pay week would be easy enough, but the $51 the next week much harder. Another idea I had was to do the auto transfer on payday of say $90 and then try to come up with $13 in savings the second week by way of coupons or found money in the couch or selling something on Craigslist or whatever. Ultimately, whatever way a person chooses to do this kind of savings challenge, the value is in doing it and continuing to do it over time. It changes your mindset and attitude about money while adding to your savings accounts.

        • Michelle says:

          I “pre-paid” December and part of November with some of my tax refund. I haven’t cancelled the auto-transfer for those dates, but it’s nice to know I can if I have to (which I probably will but that’s a long way off still).

  17. I did the math and that would be $106 a month.
    Also as to the jar issue for a physical sign of saving could you maybe use those decorative flat glass marbles? Or maybe pennies? Kind of a symbolic gesture.

  18. I have been using the CapitalOne formerly called ING for a number of years. I automatically transfer $75 each week to my account. I have also set up sub accounts for my kids under my main accounts and I can easily transfer money into their accounts.

  19. My husband and I were just talking about this a couple weeks ago when we saw it. We both thought that it would be better to do it backwards since December is such a loaded month anyway. Great idea!

  20. This seems like such a small amount of money to save in a years time. My husband (teacher) and I (entry level professional) saved 18000 last year and paid off 15000 in debt the year before. This year our goal is to get our of the rest of our debt and start paying down the house we just bought with. Extra principal payments. If we (making less than 100k per year combined) can save that kind of money each year, this challenge wouldn’t be much of a challenge.

    • For people living paycheck to paycheck, saving like this IS a challenge. Good on you and your husband for saving more but not everyone is in situations identical to yours!

    • Erica,
      I appreciate that it sounds like you are being really smart with your money, but I think it is unfair to judge that small steps that others are making are such a “small amount”. If you and your husband make around 100,000 a year, you are wealthy by many standards. I am college educated but only earn about 25,000/yr and am single. The “small amount” challenge is about all I can handle with housing, school loans, car repairs, etc. It may not be much of a challenge for you, so good for you to strive for a goal that is a challenge. I just wanted to clarify that what may not challenge one person/couple may be a challenge to another person.

      Best wishes on paying down your debt,
      Kate

      • Agreed with Kate, Erica. I make less than half what you two do, with 7 kids, one in college this year and two next, braces, childcare, mortgage, utilities, and tons of FOOD, it is hard to save even the challenge. In other words, it would be a huge challenge for me! Carrie, I was hoping to see you at the library, but had to be somewhere. I am looking forward to your posts and for my challenge, I will be tucking spare dollars into my sock drawer, as soon as I pay this dorm and board fee for this semester. I have about three months before the college bills hit hard again. I am hoping to get to $300, for a car repair or some other smallish emergency.

  21. Seriously? Get an American Express Savings account. Does everything your Capital One account does – except earn MORE interest. https://personalsavings.americanexpress.com/index.html

    • I didn’t know AmEx had fee-free accounts like that. I just checked and theirs does pay *slightly* more (0.1% – which is $1 per year for every $1,000 in deposits)

  22. AsUntoTheLord says:

    If your kids are of age to understand a little, consider explaining the idea to them as well and enlist their natural wonder and excitement to help motivate you…both to save AND not use impulsively ;-). If you’re saving for something specific, print a picture of it in outlined form so you (or they) can color it in. Delayed gratification is one of the most lacking ‘resources’ of our day and it is a lesson that is easiest to learn earlier in life, IMHO. :-)

  23. I have always loved the concept of this savings plan when I saw it floating around, but like many others, I just don’t have the funds at the end of the year for those larger amounts with hockey expenses, back to school, and Christmas all hitting the last half of the year. I decided to print off the weekly list and mark off what week I am putting aside. Right now, I am in recovery mode from Christmas so the lower amounts will be used, during tax time ( I get a decent return) I will take care of the larger amounts and mark them off of the list, and then by the time the last half of the year comes, I only have the lower amounts left to mark off of my list. Customized to my family’s financial situation! Thanks for the reminder of putting it somewhere other than a jar…total Starbucks/pizza money then ;)

  24. Well, If you can’t come up with $202/mth. I thought maybe you could put a spin on it,
    First month-$52, $1, $51, $2.= $106/mth
    Next month $50, $3, $49, $ 4=$106/mth and so on. It will equal $106 a month.

  25. ALSO, if people open Capital One accounts, I think you can typically find at least one offer that gives you some kind of kick back when you open a new account! I know its been a long time, but I swear there were some $25, $50 or even $100 ones back in the day. That may be for a checking account, but can be used the same way (and split into multiple accounts more easily).

  26. I really like a visual but money access not as easy as a jar. To tempting. Anyway you can save money is a plus. I like the thermometer as it’s like a to do list when you check something off it feels good.

  27. Hi. I do not do this with Capital 1 but I do it with my online bank account. I have several funds. One is a “bill pay” account. This isfor my garbage bill ($100 every 3 mo), water bill, oil changes, tabs…etc. That way when they come due, they are already paid for. I also had (when I was working..now looking for a job) a credit union where I had autmatic deposit to 2 accounts(1 was emergency savings….no dip) and the other dedicated to my next new car ( once car note is paid off, continue saving the same amount every month…so then you sell you car for cash + the money you saved & then you can get your next new car for cash –or close to it. I saved $200/paycheck (q 2 wks paid)—what you don’t see, you don’t miss & can’t spend. It is a little less convenient to take it out, so that helps. I tithe my money & have 3 places where it goes to…a separate account for each.

  28. P.S. I also have a “save to spend” account–that is for saving for bigger things & is available for spending (not like the car acount & emergency money credit union accounts). Right now it is for a major purchase I have to pay for over time…but goal is to pay it off early. I pay nearly everything with credit cards which I treat as debit cards….I enter each purchase in my checkbook. Then I always know “how much money I don’t have” & where my money went. That way you can see what you value. When I come to pay my bill, I check my statement with my checkbook. this way, it looks like I have more in my checking account online than I actually have and my checkbook reflects reality. (One can get $50 in cash & it be gone in 3 days & you don’t know where it went). I only have 3 and I pay each off either just before or just after the statement has posted. They each have rewards. I designate the Discover Rewards to day care.

  29. Littlebvt says:

    I COMPLETELY agree with doing the 52 week money challenge starting with $52 then decreasing the amount each week. My friends and I are putting our money in sealed and decorated photo storage boxes which we bought at Michael’s for $2.00 each. We cut a small slit on the top of the box to deposit our money and once it’s in there, it’s GONE until we open our boxes at the end of the year!

  30. stephanie says:

    I am on a fixed income so this would be incredibly difficult for me to do. there are months when I barely get to the end of the month with 4o dollars. I have a jar that I put all my change (minus quarters) and what ever is left in my purse at the end of the month. with the brutal cold here in the Midwest most of my money is going towards energy. I am able to save more money in the summer when I don’t have to turn the heat on.

    • Stephanie, when I was unemployed a 5 years ago I set up my Capital One Savings account, only it was ING at the time. I was in a similar situation, but felt I should put “something” away every week and I seriously started by only putting $2 a month in the account, sounds stupid, but it got me started. Now that I am employed again I raised that amount up, but my point is don’t get frustrated because you don’t have a large income, what is nice about this account is that they will let you start the account with as little as $5 to begin and will let you put as little as $1 in a month. Another thing that helped me is that I always resolve to put at least 5% of every windfall of money I get (taxes, rebates, birthday, Christmas money) even if it’s only $1 I put 5% of everything in my savings, of course more if I can.

  31. I just want to take a moment to say thanks to Carrie and all those with such good ideas. IMHO the normal 52 week plan seems like it could hurt people from saving. Because if you can’t make the big amounts you may feel bad about it and put you off from trying a plan of your own. Overall it has good intentions but like every savings plan should be tweaked to each persons saving abilities and budgets. I guess I look at savings plans like diets. Not all diets are one size fits all and neither are savings budgets. One woman mentioned this plan was nothing for her to save based on her budget, others are commenting they save what they can and fill out their savings budget accordingly. Take this 52 week savings as what it is: a good way to get in the habit of saving. IMHO. Again thanks everyone for the great ideas.

  32. funny thing is, someone on my Facebook posted the challenge…and I said the same thing, why not start with week 52? wouldn’t it be easier? everyone knows its harder to save during the winter when bills are higher.

  33. For me, a spender, saving in a jar is about seeing physically what my effort amounts to. The jar is the whole thing for me-not just moving theoretical money around in theoretical places. I need it to be actual effort and an actual visual pay off.

  34. A friend mentioned to me that your idea makes even more since when you realize you can use your income tax to take out the biggest amounts. I am so glad I found this. Thank you.

  35. The 52 week one I saw suggested trying it backwards as well

  36. You know, it’s a good idea but there is a problem: a lot of people wouldn’t be able to do it. Mainly because of the account. They, and myself included, need something tangible. I won’t feel like I’m saving anything if I can see or feel it. It would seem like money is just getting taken out of my checking account and disappearing forever. Sure, it would be great at the end of the year, but I would have a feeling of loss for an entire year? No, thank you.
    It IS illogical but I know that I’m not alone in this.

    Aside from that, it’s a great idea to turn it around. Not only because you’ll see results right away, but because people spend less in the beginning of a new year (once all the sales have died down.) We’ve already done all of our shopping and we’re getting taxes done. Money is on our minds. I really like this idea but I think I’ll just pick a solid dollar amount to add to my JAR consistently over the next year. Same result at the end, but it feels a little less daunting of a task.

  37. Have u made a visual yet? I need something like that.thanks

  38. Azieonnia says:

    I dont think you all understand that some people dont have it like that to start with the $52 and go down from there. I am a college student and the way they have it set up originally works PERFECT for me. The money is going towards my Barcelona, Spain trip and the money is due next January so thanks but no thanks I will stick to the way the pintrest post says.
    Just thought I wpuld let you all know that not everyone who plans on doing this 52 week money challenge is in living well off.

    • Azieonnia,
      I live paycheck to paycheck. I do this challenge twice, one account I started at $52 and the other at $1. I am certainly not “living well off” but I do find this is do-able for me. I think the important part is learning to save.
      I find this savings plan almost “addictive” as I watch both savings accounts grow weekly.
      Good luck with your savings, your studies, and enjoy the Barcelona reward next January!

  39. Just signed up. Love the idea of shopping for presents next year with the money I saved. :)

    Thanks Carrie for the great ideas! I love your emails and website.

  40. I would love the visual!!

  41. lostAnnfound says:

    I did this last year at a friend’s suggestion to save up for a trip this year. It was helpful to start off slow because my husband gets laid-off from his job at the beginning of the year and is usually out for 2-3 months during winter (construction), so when less money was coming in I was still able to set up a way to start saving some extra money.

    I did notice (at the end of this savings period) on the printout my friend gave me that there is a discrepancy. The total saved is actually $1,278.00, not $1,378.00.

  42. I see the point of if you “have” the money and are disciplined enough to set aside $52-49 in the first two weeks, then yes, do the 52 Week Challenge in reverse. But for those who need to prove they can save and haven’t learned the basics of it, then asking them to set aside $1 is a heck of a lot easier than asking to set aside $52. The immediate results are there, sure, but if you can set aside $52.00 on week 1, chances are you have the financial fundamentals pretty well figured out. I think the reverse 52 WC is great for those who have the discipline, but when I’m teaching financial ed. to adults or high schools, I promote the $1 on week 1, just so they can see how easy it is to implement and do.

    Also, lostAnnfound, I think you’re math is wrong… because it’s definitely $1,378.00. Hope this helps!

    • lostAnnfound says:

      Hi WC,

      Thanks for pointing out the math error. It was partly the printout I was going by and partly my math. When I got to week 48 it said I should have $1176.00, but then the following week the sheet I had said $1125.00 should be the total for that week. For whatever reason I could not see the error, even though it was right in front my face! At any rate, I started forward from $1125.00 for the last couple of weeks and thought I should have $1278.00 at the end and so stopped early. I still saved $1278.00 last year, but now that I see the discrepancy I’ll be doing the FULL $1378.00 this year. Thanks!

  43. My sister and I saw this challenge a few weeks ago and have decided this is doable for both of our families, but we want to have the total savings around Thanksgiving so we can use it for Christmas gifts for our children. We are both stay at home moms of 4 children each. Our husbands are both very hard workers, but it is still very difficult to find money at Christmas. This plan is a great idea, and I will be calling her to suggest starting with the larger amount when I complete this post (it will take us some time to make up, since we are making our start be this past November). Thanks for the advice!

    • Helen in CA says:

      There’s a variation of this plan called Black Friday Challenge (or something like that). It ends w/ 1600 if started Jan 1. It too is a countdown plan, w/ some modifications (like small savings on tax day). Key to it is to start (or end) w/ $10 instead of $1. If your budget can handle it…..

  44. People should do what works for them. One process will not work for everyone just like exercising to lose weight vs dieting or some combination. Here are some counterpoints that I feel compelled to make.

    With regards to doing it in reverse, I like that idea but there is something to be said for starting slow. Many people are more likely to hold on to something they’ve worked hard for and plinking away a few dollars a week can add up slow but it doesn’t hurt to set it aside. While you haven’t sacrificed as much it has taken time and that often means more appreciation for what you’ve accomplished. Again, it really depends on the individual.

    I really have a bone to pick with your dismissal of using a jar. So, your saying permanent reuse of a jar (of any material) is not appropriate, its better to leave it for consumable things? That sounds like a bit of broken logic to me. Sure some people actually do their own pickling and jams (wish more still did) but it sounds like your suggesting that it is better than we just consume what comes in the jars and dispose of them. Either way your stance is irresponsible. Sorry to be so candid.

    I’ll avoid full conspiracy on the bank suggestion, but seriously there isn’t a whole lot of value in this to me. I’m a proponent of having at least a few hundred dollars around in cash anyway, I think its good practice. Savings accounts don’t provide squat for interest rates anymore especially when you consider inflation of the dollar its kind of like swimming upstream. Having the cash physically in front of you is also much more tangible and for some may be more rewarding as far as seeing their progress.

    Now that I’m done bashing, good article.

  45. I thought the same way but when my friend says its a CHALLENGE than I thought let me see if I can handle it when it gets rough. If some people save up too much too early they are going to spend it in a few months (look how quick folks file taxes and quick to spend it). I think just seeing a little bit in there will make you want the bank look larger. One friend says she put in whatever week and scratch it off. Ex. Wk 1 she used wk32 n scratched off $32 and wk 2 she might have really used $2.However you choose to do it is fine either way, aslong as your saving. Im already a pretty good saver so Im just doing it to save even more

  46. I have never been one to save,,,one of my biggest faults, but after reading this, I think I can do it.. I am a seasonal worker and am laid off right now, so I think I will start small, maybe 25, then when I can I will increase it. Going to come with a plan this afternoon. I have had credit card debt for many years, and in Feberaury, will be free of that, so this will be great. Wish me luck

  47. I have the CapitalOne 360 account and need to get back to having an automatic deposit from checking put in there. However, I still have (and really like) the big change jar we have at home. Everyone in the family contributes their spare change when they can and we agree on what we’re saving for. One year it was a new kitten, the next it was extra spending money for vacation. Since we all contribute and all have a say in what it’s being used for, it’s that much easier to keep from grabbing a handful of change to spend on coffee or something because it’s not just my money that’s in there. The kids each have their own savings counts, too, but this has been a great visual reinforcement for saving.

  48. I’m doing it the pinterest way, mainly because I’m a grad student right now, so $52 savings is not possible now, but might be in December.

  49. Last year I started saving a different way. I didn’t have anything planned out, just wanted some cash on hand when we were low and needed extra money, so I just used it when needed. It worked out well, even allowing us a few hundred at Christmas time since my husband was out of work.

    What I did was when I was out shopping and it asks if you want cash back, I say yes and get $20. I would do this once on every shopping trip (as long as there was enough money in the bank), and since I only go out shopping once every week or two, it worked out well. When your buying groceries, adding anoyher $20 to your weekly/biweekly bill is barely noticeable (except when things are really tight) When I got home I put it in a secret hiding place with the rest of my stash. Since I rarely use cash for anything, it works for me, because I didn’t have it with me while shopping. My husband on the other hand, often uses cash, so he couldn’t know about it. ;)

  50. I can’t open the template to print. It says it is corrupted. Am I the only one with that problem?

  51. Well, that’s disappointing, I can’t get a savings account with the above mentioned bank, as I am a Australian and not in the USA………..will have to look into some good savings accounts around here.

  52. Why not just be smart, and not waste a year of your life to save a weak $1300+. Take this 52 week challange, actually make it a challange, and make it a 52 days. I started this idea this new years when I heard about it, and completed my “52 DAY challange” just this evening. So this so called “52 day challange” is an 18 day challange for me now. I am a server and collect tips for barely an hourly wage.

  53. Good alternative to the challenge Carrie! I think it doesn’t matter how you save the money as long as you do it. Saving is extremely important and most don’t know how to do it.

  54. Ok i am a college student, and a reservist here is how i did three 52 week challenges in 1 year. I play the challenge like BINGO, everytime you get paid, or extra money, knock off as many as you can afford too. For example after all my dues are paid i have 300$ bucks well i well keep 200$ for spending and use the 100$ left over to apply to the challenge, in any random order. With this Bingo method you can finish the challenge in about 4 months or less. Even challenge friends thats on your level of savings!

    Another way to challenge yourself and get more moeny than the 1378, is to overpay at times. Iike on week 6-9, 16-19, 26-29, etc, round up to the nearest ten, so you would put in 10$ weeks 6-9, 20$ weeks 16-19, ….. if you cant do it all the time thats fine too. You still seeing results.

  55. I saw this challenge last year, decided to start at $52 for week one and decrease it. I completed the challenge and had fun doing it. I originally kept it in a jar, then when i got $100 or so would put it in the bank, just so I didn’t have the extra money hanging around for temptation. I figured doing it “backwards” would work best because trying to find $200 or so extra around Christmas just seemed daunting. I elected to use a http://www.smartypig.com account. Gives you a visual on meeting your goals and if you are using it for shopping can get extra bonus money from electing to get certain gift cards. It was in an interest bearing account but also somewhere hard to get the money out. i was glad to have had it on hand too as I have had several financial issues come up. Using it as an emergency fund helped eased those issues. I am a single mom, did the challenge while paying off several thousand dollars of debt earning about 30K a year. It is a rewarding challenge to know you can save while getting other goals taken care of. I also transfer automatically $60 a paycheck for my “mommy money” I pay myself about .17 and hour to be MOM. I do whatever I want with it and I don’t feel guilty…..it’s usually pay off more bills but now that most of them are gone the spa once in a while isn’t a killer!! Good luck to everyone trying it!

  56. Thank you for printing this form the way I am doing this savings plan that I found on Pinterest. I’m a bookkeeper and the extra hours I earn at this time of year is more than the rest of the year. One difference in my plan is that on week 27 I’m going to start over at $52. Also, I plan to make all the bigger payments now while I have the money.

  57. I get paid every two weeks so I do my savings combining 2 weeks at a time. I chose to include a week from either end, (1+52, 2+51, 3+50, etc.) This way I save more but dont get hit with 200 at once.

  58. I have two credit union accounts. One in the city where I live and the other in the city where I used to live. I am doing this challenge in both credit unions. As soon as my direct deposit is made on Fridays, I transfer the money to my saving accounts. The first week, in one of the accounts, I transferred $52 and in the other I transferred $45 (week 1 through week 9). The second week, I transferred $51 and in the other I transferred $10 as on my homemade chart I was on week 10 in that account. In essence, I am saving $53 per week. I find this an easy way to save money. There is no way I could do this if I had to put the actual bills in a jar or a shoe box. That would be too tempting for me! I did this last year from January to the end of June. I used that money to fund the expenses for my wedding (second marriage for us both and very small and casual). My husband and I each put $25 a week in our savings account. It may sound like “small potatoes” to some folks, but it works for us! I just wish I could talk my kids into this type of savings plan.

  59. I am sorry but I just do not want to put my money in one of the “too big to fail banks” that does not pay even an interest rate of 1.00%! I have two different savings accounts; one that pays me 6.00% APY & the other that pays 5.10% APY with direct deposit and only up to the first $5,000.00. But to me that is still better than 0.75%.

  60. Carrie,

    This is a great website! I’m fortunate to have found it as I always enjoy different thoughts on money management.

    As the 52 week challenge has taken off for a second year, it is really awesome to see so many people saving…some for the first time ever.

    What I appreciate is all the different ideas people have to save. While I agree I personally prefer to have my money go directly into an account, for those that are new to savings putting it into something in front of them can be very beneficial for them.

    I think if we look at there being different levels of savers, a first step might be to save in a jar. Once comfortable with savings, they could then move to putting it in an account. I’ve been a saver my entire life, but I know for some people it’s a totally new experience for them.

    Anyways, great post, Carrie and I look forward to reading more of your blogs! :)

  61. Great advice!! Love the chart! A group of my friends and I actually did this for 2013 and set up a Facebook group to share extra ways to save. You are absolutely right about the jar on the counter, as well as starting with the smaller amount first. It’s cute but it’s not practical for the purpose of saving.

    Many of us actually, did the traditional order and the reverse in two separate accounts. I used my PNC account and my credit union. I think the option to do either is great for anyone who is not use to saving as long as they use a separate account.

    This year I’m working on adding whatever I save from budgeting as well.

    Glad I found your blog!

  62. I love the idea of saving backwards. Tracking this in my planner. I’ll make a page to show my current savings.

    http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com

  63. I definitely like your style better, but my problem with any 52-week challenge is that it’s not very practical. Most people, including me, get paid bi-weekly. I transfer money to my savings account (I don’t put it in a jar) on payday. But for people new to saving, I think it’s great. Maybe a little too high maintenance, but great. For most other people, they can probably do better than $1,378. Happy saving!

  64. Have been doing it this way for 2 years. It’s called the Reverse 52 week Money Challenge :) It’s definitely a no-brainer to set aside the bigger amounts first. As the holiday season approaches, you’ll be happy to just be transferring the lesser amounts to your Capital One 260 account (formerly ING) :)

  65. I like your idea, but why not put it into an online savings account like Barclay’s that gives you .9% interest. This way not only are you saving money, but you are being rewarded to do so!!

  66. Hi Carrie!

    This is great advice, I’m late to the game but will try to catch up putting a portion of my tax return into the 360 savings account I just opened while reading your blog.

    Thank you, here’s to 2014!
    Angie

    • Angie – Welcome to the party! :) Don’t worry about being “late.’ Just start. Now. Count this week as week 1 and GO. Set up your four weekly transfers for $52, $51, $50, and $49. Then bulk it up even more with your tax refund. That’s my opinion, anyway… :)

  67. Love this idea, I’ve seen this all over but never seen it backwards! Like you said it’s all about the instant results. I have a friend who taped the dollar amounts all over the outside of her jar and each week they just pick an amount to put in. I like this way too even if you don’t do the jar, just keep a list with all the amounts and just pick one each week!?

  68. I started the 52 week challenge late, Feb. 14th. I am super motivated. Even if I get to 1357(week 46) instead of 1378, that is a good chunk of money. We have a few goals, a Florida vacation and moving to Florida. It will put a good chunk towards one of those goals. Thank you for sharing the 52 week challenge. If you haven’t started, I would say go ahead and start now, like we did. When I signed up with the Capital one 360 last week, they are giving $25.00 to open a new savings account.

  69. I’ve been trying to find an online savings account and the blog author mentioned Capital 360 Savings and many of you did as well… but there are many negative reviews out there for it so it makes me a little nervous. I’ve looked at Ally and same there. It makes me want to stick with AMEX because it seems to have a better reputation? Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong because I love the concept of setting up different savings accounts!!

    • We have accounts at all 3 banks mentioned in this post. We started with CapitalOne360 when it was ING and we loved them then. We have been migrating all of our accounts to Ally for about 1 month so I can’t say much about them yet. I am concerned about CapitalOne as they seem to be doing “maintenance” on their site every Saturday now and I can’t access online banking for hours. The plus side of Ally that we have seen is our direct deposits are arriving sooner. I love that transactions “hit” and are reconciled faster than at CapitalOne. AmEx is our tried and true for savings. I would recommend them to anyone. So far we just direct deposit money to them and haven’t had a problem. We’ve also transferred money out of that account. The rubber meets the road when something difficult happens and the only place that’s been so far is CapitalOne.

  70. I was taking place in the original 52 week program that we were saving away in a box, but we would always go to it and take money out when we needed it. We tried this last year without reaching the end goal because the money was always in the house when we needed a little here or a little there. It was always in the back of our mind that it was there if we needed it. I stumbled upon your blog and something clicked. Of course, why didn’t someone think of this before. DUH! I have opened my Capital One 360 account and can’t wait to start saving. Thanks for the great idea. Have you been able to create a visual yet?

  71. I just want to say that starting large and finishing smaller makes great sense and thank you.

  72. I am doing and have done the challenge but go backwards. The closer you get to Christmas the less likely you are to have the extra cash. It is easy and convenient because you do NOT need to go to the bank. Whenever you get extra cash just pick a week and save it. You will suprise yourself with how quickly it adds up. If you “borrow” from the jar, then leave it with a friends (we have a girl doing this and she is still saves). The important thing to remember is to save money and encourage others to save as well. Good luck everybody!!!!

  73. Christina says:

    The weekly interaction is too involved for me. I just set up an automated $115/month transfer into my Capital 360 account. That way I can just set it and forget it. I completely agree that having it separate from your regular checking account is important lest it be used as an overdraft account. If you ever really do need the money for an emergency, you can simply write yourself a check out of the account and deposit into your regular account. A transfer is also possible, but takes several days.

    Another quick savings tip. When you tell yourself you’re “saving” money on something – actually save it! When your grocery store receipt says you “saved” $12.57. Go ahead and do a quick transfer of the amount into your savings account. If you “saved” $10 by bringing your lunch to work, quickly transfer it to your savings account. It adds up!

  74. I’m confused. The link to the weekly download shows the chart for the original 52 week plan not your backward plan of saving $52 the first week?? Am I looking at something wrong?

  75. i just set up an acct at smartypig.com its an online (fdic insured) piggy bank. what i love is depending on your goal they offer many incentives to make your money go further. for instance, if your goal is a home improvement project, you can load your savings onto a home depot gift card with a 3% bonus. the percentages vary but making a dollar out of 15 cents just got a little easier. your welcome!

  76. great advertisement for capitol one…. i have a credit card with them but never use it and no it isnt in my wallet. I have multiple saving accounts, two in which money is deducted twice a month and into separate accounts. one in which I have no access too unless I go to my financial advisor thru work. ive only done it for a maybe year and two months now. my one hundred fifty $ a month deposit has turned into almost twenty seven hundred dollars. my use for the money was for a down payment on my first home. I already have money in an account. that was extra in case I had an emergency and needed to dip into instant savings.

    either way, regardless of your income and abilities to save something each month… it is good to do so. you never know when you will need it. especially car repairs. those can be a pretty penny.

    best of luck to everyone in this crazy financial world :D

  77. Karen Fraser says:

    To start off I will say that last year when I heard of the Money Challenge, I knew that I could manage it… we have always been very careful with our money. I consider my family as working class, my husband and I both work, our 3 children still live at home attending University/College, and working. We own our home and have all the typical bills of most families, groceries, electric, cable, insurance, car payments, etc…; I guess you could say that we live modestly. We did have a significant debt at the time as we were still paying off some previous home renovations. I did the Money Challenge for 2013 and continued to save until March 2014 for a trip. I started the challenge in reverse like you suggested, but was laid off my job in the summer and switched to paying the $1 working up until I returned to work in Sept, then went back to making decreased payments. I also doubled the amount each week as to save for both my husband and myself (I manage the banking) I also used a separate savings account with a higher interest rate. We spent 2 weeks in Vegas, with road trips to Salt Lake City, and parts of California fortunately we have friends there and we don’t gamble or drink so that saved us lots of money. I have just paid off my credit card, which I also booked two airline tickets for a long weekend trip for my daughters to visit family this May. I maintained a balance in my savings account representing double the amount for savings for the first 4 months of 2014… so here we go again… saving for a kitchen reno, perhaps. I could have taken my savings account to $0, but it is so satisfying to see the amount of $ grow that I just had to start again. Meanwhile because I have been more careful and more in tune with our banking, credit, and bills I have managed to pay our bills on time, as well as pay down almost all of our debt, and still managed to have a healthy bank account, and to enjoy life. This type of saving principle can work for anyone if you want, even if you put a small amount away each week, or month. A little will go a long way, just stick with it. Good luck and good fortune to all those who try! :)

  78. Jeannie says:

    I have $25 per week automatically transferred into a savings account for each of my 2 daughters and I have it blocked so that even I can’t see the balance. Then I have $50 per week transferred into another savings account for the family. Again I can’t see the balance. No one in my family knows about it so it’s a great way to save for Christmas and/or vacations so we aren’t so stressed out when we want to do something. So far I have been doing this for over a year and because I never see it I don’t pay any attention to it. If I can’t see it I’m less likely to need it so this works best for me. Also I’m saving so much so quickly that I’m hoping it will never be used up and eventually it will be a large enough amount to feel like I have accomplished something for my family. So far I have been doing this for over a year and because I never see it I never pay any attention to it. If I can leave it alone until they are grown (one is 12 & the other 14) they might have enough to put a down payment on a house by the time they are in their mid 20′s. My account on the other hand is for emergencies, Christmas and vacations. Just so you know…..I am not wealthy and normally can’t save without having to raid it all the time. It really helped me automatically transferring it and blocking myself from seeing it. Although every now and then I get a message from my credit union that my transfer did not go through because there was no enough money. I just ignore it and it transfers next week without a hitch. I pretend it’s just another bill I have to budget for. Whatever it is, it’s working for me.

  79. This is a great idea! I opened another 360 savings account just to do the 52-week plan backwards. :) I picked an online bank-Capitol One 360 (over my credit union of 24yrs) because the interest rate is so much higher, and it will compound. You get credit for your interest every month and they charge NO fees. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to set anything aside-EVER. It feels great-even though it’s starting with only $52.00! :) Happy saving! I want a get-away and a kayak at the end of this year.

  80. I’m alittle late to the game with this being that it’s June, but I am going to start it as if it’s Jan – anything is better than nothing right? I opened my capital one account and will setup my payments once it’s verified. It may be less in the end but it will help towards Christmas shopping!

  81. I also did some modification myself, I deposit in multiples of 10 (i.e. 1st week I deposit 10$, 3rd week i deposit 30$ and so on) it’s really not that hard, basically I just need to have $520 saved up on my bank account, so my first paycheck of January I saved $520 and spent the rest – every week I transfer money from the $520 into my savings account. So that means after my first pay I can spend all of my pay because I already have the money I need to participate in the challenge for the whole year – I am just merely transfering them – and you’ll see that $520 work for you cause at the end of the year that $520 turn into $13780.00 just by you transferring the money.

    That’s why I love electronic banking, blog author is correct – dont save it in a jar, you’ll be tempted to spend it.

  82. I did the 52 Week challenge – not the jar – I just transferred the money into my savings from my checking every week. I need that saving for my vacation. Although I started 33 weeks ago, I have $561 for my vacation “spending” money. When I get back, I will start the plan you suggested. It seems painless. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • detoxicated1 says:

      l feel as though the 52 week money challenge is pointless and such a small amount. If you do this program for 40 years you’ll accumulate a measley 54,320 $$. Cut your expenses stop shopping for the latest fads and crawl through dirt. That’s what I started to do. I learned to save 200$$ a week and by 40 years that’s 416,000$$

      [comment edited]

  83. Lindsey says:

    The capital one 360 looks like a pretty good system, but Smarty Pig (www.smartypig.com) is a better deal. It is essentially the same thing but they give you a full 1% in interest paid quarterly. The name sounds goofy, but I have been using this for the last few years to save for many things and it is a great tool plus the interest rate is about the best you can find for a savings account.

Trackbacks

  1. […] you shouldn’t do the 52-week savings challenge (at least not their […]

  2. […] check out his post. Or, if you're having second doubts, check out this one by Carrie who says you *shouldn't* do this challenge! And what you should do instead […]

  3. […] Don't Do the 52-Week Money Challenge (At Least Not Their Way) — If you want to do the 52-week money challenge, save a decreasing instead of increasing amount each week. [Pocket Your Dollars] […]

  4. […] Minnesota personal finance blogger Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars recently presented an alternative to the 52-week money challenge. She suggested doing the money challenge in reverse. Her reasoning […]

  5. […] In researching the 52-week challenge, I found lots of blogs, websites, chat rooms, and assorted posts on facebook and twitter about the challenge.  However, this article caught my eye: Why You Shouldn’t Take the 52-Week Challenge […]

  6. […] I’d take the advice of one 52-week money challenge hacker and invert this challenge. I think the excitement of finally getting your project underway could easily fuel 15,000 words, […]

  7. […] be really challenging at the end of the year. So now, taking this great idea from the blog “pocket your dollars” we are going to do the […]

  8. […] resource recommends that you should do the challenge in reverse – start with $52 and work your way backward – which will start you off with more money in your […]

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