You may have seen the 52 Week Savings Plan floating around the internet over the past few weeks. It’s a plan that makes an appearance around December each year in hopes of encouraging you to save some money over the new year.
The idea is that you save $1 on week one, $2 on week two, $10 on week 10, and continue this process throughout the entire year. On the last week you will have saved $1,378. It’s hard to argue with the math. If you follow this plan exactly then you will have saved that exact amount.
But that’s the problem.
I’m not one to criticize anyone for wanting to save money. But while the math works out on this plan, I don’t think in practice it works very well. I think you get to August or September and quit. It takes too long to save too little and at the end things start to get tough.
Let’s take a look at what this plan really is and then I can provide you with a nice alternative.
Instead of laying the plan out by week, here’s what the plan looks like by month:
January – $15
February – $30
March – $46
April – $80
May – $82
June – $98
July – $114
August – $165
September – $150
October – $210
November – $186
December – $202
This plan sounds great on paper and in January it’s a breeze. But if you follow this plan exactly you’re saving $913, or 66% of your total goal, in the final 5 months of the year.
What’s happening during that time? Back to school shopping. Kid’s sports. Winter clothes and coats. Christmas. If you look at your budget each year, these are some of your most expensive months. And in order to follow this plan you must pack on the majority of your savings during this time of the year.
It just won’t work. You’ll quit in August with only $465 saved. You’d do better if you just saved $26.50 every week all year. ($1378/52 weeks). It’s the same thing, but spreads your savings out consistently for the entire year.
The impracticality of this plan is my first issue. My second is that it is designed to encourage people to “begin” saving. That would mean people that don’t have much, if any saved.
If that’s the case, then taking an entire year to save $1,378 is a joke. Most families need more than this $1,378 in an emergency account, and you can’t wait an entire year to get it. The average person following my plan saves more than double that amount in about 6 weeks.
Here are some tips to help you save money fast:
- Shop your home and auto insurance rates.
- If you’re in debt, temporarily stop your 401k contributions to increase your take home pay.
- Buy a term life insurance policy and cash out your crummy whole life plan.
- Have a garage sale.
- Sell unused items on craigslist.
- Pick-up overtime hours at work.
- Take a part time job like delivering pizza’s or cleaning houses.
- Start a freelance business.
Sure, this way probably takes a little more work, but the results come immediately. Why only save $1 this week when you could easily save more.
What do you think about the 52 Week Savings Plan? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.