“Hon, what exactly do you do with your allowance?”
“Well, that’s my business.”
“Yeah, but, you work from home…”
“Hey, we made an agreement a long time ago that we each get the same amount of cash each week to blow as we see fit. No questions asked, remember?”
“Yeah, but, what?”
“You’re right, forget I mentioned it.” Kiss kiss.
Throughout 2014 this exchange between me and the Hubs reared its little head a few times. In each instance, I managed to dodge the conversation. And for good reason. I was up to something. I know, shocking.
Image provided courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalartform/3470826111/
I’m a thrifty person. As some of you know, I love DIY challenges and I’m not above digging through a neighbor’s trash to rescue furniture cast-offs. When I was young, my thriftiness was out of necessity. However, sitting here today in the middle-aged cheap seats I find that my propensity to save a buck is just part of who I am. Hello, my name is Kimba, and I’m frugal.
Back in the beginning of 2014 I wondered just how penny-wise I could be. I came across this savings plan called the 52 Week Money Challenge. The concept is fairly simple: each week you put a set amount of money in an envelope. For the first week in January, you contribute $1. In the second week, it’s $2. This goes on each week throughout the year until you reach week 52 at the end of December, when you contribute $52 and the total in the envelope is a whopping $1,378!
I’m happy to report that I successfully completed the challenge. Hoorah for moi! Here are a few lessons learned along the way:
Have a goal. Your motivation will be helped along if you have a goal for the money you are saving each week. Perhaps a down payment for a car, or a graduation trip for your daughter, or maybe new furniture for the living room. I decided I wouldn’t tell the Hubs about my little savings experiment. Instead, I used the challenge results as his Christmas present – with the caveat that we will use the money to take a little vacation break in the middle of winter 2015. Every time I put money in the envelope, I smiled and imagined the surprised look on Hubby’s face Christmas morning. Nailed it.
It’s tempting to borrow from the envelope – don’t. The yardman needs to be paid. You need money for pizza delivery. The Cub Scouts are back at the front door selling popcorn. Do not use money in the challenge envelope to supplement daily expenses. The envelope has to be held sacred. No dipping.
Don’t skip a week. Consistency is key. I made it a habit to put money in the envelope every Friday morning. Pick what works for you and stick with it.
It’s easy in the beginning. The first fifteen or so weeks are not particularly painful. Taking a few bucks out of my cash allowance and tucking them away in the envelope was effortless. However, those last two months were not as easy, especially during the holidays when spending is already at a critical mass. One suggestion is to do the challenge in reverse, so the easiest months are at the end. If anyone has tried the challenge in reverse, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.
Want more suggestions and support? Go to The Today Show 52 Week Savings Challenge for additional ideas.
Would I do the 52 Week Money Challenge again? Maybe. I would need a new creative goal for motivation. You know, I have been thinking about a boob job…
We’ve got $1,378 to spend. Where should the Hubs and I travel in March? Has to be some place warm – suggestions?
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Tam Warner Minton saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Cozumel! Always a great place to go! Way to save it up!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:41 pm
Currently have a friend in Playa De Carmen who is posting pics and making Mexico look fabulous!
Lois Alter Mark saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm
That is awesome! Such a great way to save. You could always come to sunny San Diego for your vacation 🙂
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:42 pm
San Diego would be nice, but we’re looking at maybe an all-inclusive. Who would provide free drinks for me in San Diego? 🙂
WendysHat saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm
Awesome! My friend posted this years ago and I loved it. I’ve done this a few times and it’s fun! She actually revamped it the year after her original and does it backwards because it seems the the beginning of the year you have more extra cash and things get tighter at the end of the year.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm
Wow, more than once – that’s inspiring. What types of things have you done with your savings?
Ellen Dolgen saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm
I am not sure I could do this! That “B” word – budget is always tough for me! YIKES!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Ellen I bet you could do it. Don’t think of it as a budget, think of it as your own personal get out of jail stash!
Mary Buchan saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm
I love this challenge and have decided to go for it this year. It makes saving fun. Thank you for sharing!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Yea Mary! Let us know how it goes.
Carol Cassara saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 10:40 am
Loved this the first time I saw it and love it still. Sharing.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Thx for the share Carol – you’re awesome!
marcia @ Menopausal Mother saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 12:11 am
This is a great idea, and what you did for you hubs on Christmas….priceless!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 16, 2015 at 10:19 am
Thx Marcia – we’re still trying to find some place warm for a March trip. Punta Cana keeps coming up – anyone been there?
Michele saysJanuary 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm
Interesting concept. A part of me is tempted to do the math for that $100 one. 🙂 I’ll refrain as I have way too many tabs open to read here on the net. LOL
I don’t feel that going backwards makes sense. Sure you could be getting easier, and there are things that seem great about it. It just feels like a part of the concept is to build momentum and going to smaller amounts seems like the opposite desire. I would love to hear from someone who has tried the backwards way.
Kimba saysJanuary 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Good point Michele. I do think starting small and then building was a good way to stay motivated, at least for me. But I would like to hear from anyone who has done the challenge backwards.
Irish Carter saysJanuary 11, 2015 at 11:23 pm
Wow. I seen this challenge back last year and never heard about anyone who finished it so it was great to hear some follow up on this. How exciting to get to take a trip. Fun. I also think your idea of doing it backwards would make it more successful. Great article on this challenge.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm
Thx, are you going to try the challenge? BTW, love your name!
Suzie Cheel saysJanuary 11, 2015 at 1:48 am
Wonderful Kim and congrats on completing it and sharing here- I think it is a brilliant idea. Enjoy that holiday
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 11, 2015 at 11:09 am
Hi Suzie and Happy New Year to you too. Thanks for sharing this post.
janieemaus saysJanuary 10, 2015 at 7:53 pm
Wow! That is a fantastic idea. Let me know where you go.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 11, 2015 at 11:10 am
Will do Janie – so far we’re leaning toward Punta Cana… all inclusive. Seems like a good idea!
Lynn saysJanuary 10, 2015 at 9:22 am
I have seen this also before. I think it’s a sign that I need to do it. I think I like your idea of doing it backwards also. Just seems like it would be a little easier. Good luck finding a warm vacation spot. I would say Vegas, but it would cost you almost that much in airfare
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 11, 2015 at 11:11 am
Vegas is almost always a good idea. But I think we’re leaning tropical…
Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm
I’ve used envelopes before, but never with sliding amounts like this. I love it! I think I will start with $100 and go down by $1 each week. Who’s doing the math? What will I end up with? 🙂
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm
LOL Sue, sorry, I can’t help you with that math problem. But it sounds like you’ll have saved a bunch by the end of 2015!
Marquita Herald saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm
What a great idea Kimba! I’d selfishly suggest you come here but even with $1,371 you’d only be able to manage a weekend at best and that’s without airfare. I’m sure you’ll find some place great and I look forward to the story of your adventure. In the meantime, I’m getting myself an envelope! 🙂
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm
Oh how I wish I would make it to your sandy beaches on the 1400 bucks! Maybe that can be my saving goal for next year.
Kelly L McKenzie saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm
Ok this is the second time I’ve come across this idea this week. The angels are telling me something, no? Love that you did it and that your husband was totally in the dark until Christmas Day. Good on you! I’m signing up. Off to gather my cash. Thank you.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm
Good luck Kelly! Pls let me know how it turns out for you.
Vicki saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm
I’m of course partial to a trip to Florida, and you could come see your mama on the way to or from. I do recommend that you go someplace you have not been to before, rewarding yourself for a job well done! I probably would aim for Costa Rica or some exotic place like Jamacia. Keep all your fans up to date on your decision.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Florida is definitely on the list – will see where the Hubby is leaning toward…
Marla saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm
So fun Kim. I prefer an automatic monthly transfer of money into a separate account that is for travel only. Simplifies it. I’ve been doing it for years and love knowing that the money will be there for me to do what I want to do.
As for a trip recommendation in March, start in Puerto Vallarta and take a boat to Yelapa to stay in a place with no walls. Outdoor living is awesome and it’s an experience a bit off the beaten path.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm
Oh, I like the sound of Puerta Vallarta and that place with no walls!
Nathalie Villeneuve saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm
Cool! I really want to do this. You are SO disciplined! I think that the fact that you had a great motivating factor was key! I think you should go to Myrtle Beach. I’ve never been there but my Sister-in-Law loves it there and I want to go!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm
I do like the idea of Myrtle Beach, but is it warm enough? Remember, I’m a transplant from Florida, so my idea if warm is 70 degrees or higher!
Rena McDaniel saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm
Well of course the BAM conference in Nashville where else?!? I’m going to try this except for one thing I realized reading this I’ve been getting screwed for the last 23 years! I don’t get an allowance…hubby and I need to have a serious talk!!!! He needs to lose weight so I think I’ll take it out of his lunch money hahahahaha! Still…I am going to do this my birthday is Jan. 10th and next year I will be going somewhere warm as well!
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm
Well, the BAM conference is already on the radar – but sans the Hubs so I think I’ll have to pick another spot to journey with him. Early Happy Birthday to you and I can’t wait to hear where you’ll be going to celebrate in 2016!
Carol Cassara saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:46 am
What a fun way to save. I love it.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 11:24 am
It was a lot more fun than I had expected.
Barbara Kram saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:43 am
Hello, New York. Drinks will be ready for your arrival.
Kim Dalferes saysJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:45 am
Babe you know I love you, but I need to go some place warm. Poughkeepsie ain’t the Bahamas!