52-Week savings Plan: Why You Should (or Shouldn't) Participate
52-Week Savings Plan Pros:
Anything that gets you in the habit of saving money is a good thing. With the 52-Week Savings Plan, you start out gradually and build up (print out our 52-Week Savings Plan Chart). It's great for those who feel like they have no money to put away at the moment. After all, it's not hard to save just one dollar. Building on that principle week after week isn't hard. By the end of the plan you're saving $52 a week – which is a great amount to either build upon or continue into the next year.
52-Week Savings Plan Cons:
Trent Hamm, author of writes in the CS Monitor, “Of course, the catch is that the later weeks are far more challenging than the earlier ones. If you start this in January, December's weeks are going to require you to put away $49, $50, $51, and $52, respectively. This plan is asking people to put aside more than $200 during the one month of the year when money is often the tightest.” An easy solution? Doing the plan in reverse. Start by saving the most in January and end by saving just $1 a week in December. Most people are more motivated to try something while it's new and novel.
52-Week Savings Plan Alternatives:
Success in saving depends on finding a method that works for you. What motivates you? Are you a visual person? Does seeing money add up in a jar motivate you, or will you be tempted to take it out and spend it? Here are some other Simple Savings Methods:
- The $5 Savings Plan is an easy way to save. Here's how it works: Whenever a $5 bill comes into your possession, you save it in a special jar or envelope. Over time, they will add up. The more you incorporate using cash into your spending habits, the more you will save (if you're a credit card user, you won't save as much).
- The Change Jar challenge also adds up quickly and painlessly. Forum member lizer writes, “We save all of our change for the year. One year we had over $700 in change. That was our christmas money.”
- Round Up Payments. Find a debit or credit card that will round up transactions to the nearest $1 and depositing the balance in a savings account for you. Bank of america's Keep the Change program is one such program.