My husband and I took a nontraditional route as newlyweds and didn’t buy a house for five years. We wanted to, especially when our children came on the scene, but our focus was paying off debt and saving up a down payment. The catalytic moment for our house fund was the day we discovered the 52-week money saving challenge.
If you’ve ever owned a house, then steady plodding is a way of life as you chip away at that mortgage. We wanted to create that habit even before we bought a home. Nowadays, you don’t even need a down payment.
So we chose to be a bit weird and get completely out of consumer debt first. Then we wanted a mortgage cheap enough that we could pay it off in 10 years.
While money was at it’s tightest, basic essentials were a challenge to afford, let alone a house fund. When I stumbled across the 52-week money saving challenge, I knew it was the next step for keeping our dreams of home ownership afloat.
What is the 52-week money saving challenge?
In a nutshell, you save money every week. Many people like to begin in January with $1. One week later, you save $2. Then, $3. By week 52, you’ll make your last deposit of $52 and your bank account will be $1,378 richer.
I explain the full challenge, its origin, and its pros and cons in my previous article “Why You’ll Thank Yourself for Taking the 52-week money challenge.”
Some people like to double the amount, save in reverse, or created a fixed, automated plan. To learn more about the many different variations to this original challenge, read “7 Ways to Take the 52-Week Money Saving Challenge.”
What we learned from saving money for 52 consecutive weeks…
It’s hard. Sure the first few months are simple, but then, it gets more difficult as the year progresses. It’s like working out. The muscles start to ache and your chest starts to throb, but your time isn’t up. You press on past that discomfort in order to reach new physical milestones and expand your limitations.
And so it is with this money challenge. We wanted to put every dime we could toward saving. Shaping that extremely vague goal into actionable steps with a clear result made all the difference.
So basically, we went from:
Save as much as we can toward a house we’d like to buy some day… (which equaled very little and sporadic saving)
Save $1,378 in a designated house fund in 52 weeks.
Realistically, that still isn’t enough to buy a house. It barely covers closing costs. Like I said, it was the catalyst that made the dollars move faster. We developed a stronger saving habit; therefore, we started saving money above and beyond the 52-Week Money Saving Challenge.
To me, that made every effort worth it. What seems like a small amount of savings can become much more. You can use this catalytic savings plan toward any endeavor. It’s forming the habit that makes all the difference.
If you launched a 52-Week Money Saving Challenge, what would you save your money toward?
Image Credit: Christian Koch (UnSplash)