I am definitely NOT the financially-inclined partner in my marriage. I am not the bread-winner; I’m not the budgeter; and I’m certainly not the saver. I am a GREAT spender. My husband calls me a “marketer’s dream.” So, when the holidays come and go, you can imagine the stress in our household as I’m doing A LOT of spending and he’s doing A LOT of the financing.
“Why was the credit card charged so much from Etsy?”
“Who did you Venmo $50 to?”
“We pay HOW much a month for that?!”
All valid questions I typically get from my husband when he’s trying to get the finances in order after a big hit like Christmas. But, because I lack so much of what he has in order to properly manage the finances, I sometimes end up finding myself arguing, debating, and trying to simply justify every single purchase I made over the holidays. I got tired of feeling like I was in high school all over again asking my father for money to purchase something I knew I needed but he thought was unnecessary. And though that may very well be the case at times (because sometimes a new pair of shoes just call my name), it isn’t the case ALL the time – especially when it comes to Christmas. So, to avoid this quarreling and stress, I jumped on the Weekly Savings Challenge train, and it has been a game changer!
The Weekly Savings Challenge is a year-long savings concept that even the most financially-illiterate (like myself) can do! The best part is that the actual “saving” happens in such small increments that it’s very practical and easy. The idea is that for each week of the calendar year, you put away the amount of money that correlates with that week number, so on the first week of January, I put away $1; on the second week of January, I put away $2; and so on all the way to week 52 putting away $52. Do this, weekly, for the whole year, and at the end of the year, you’re left with $1378 to spend however you want – in our house, Christmas gifts!
Now, there are several tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to make this weekly challenge run smoothly.
Keep a separate checking account.
I like to do the actual saving through my bank app on my phone. I have a separate checking account solely for this purpose called “Christmas Account.” I also have a separate debit card with this account keeping my Christmas purchases separate from everything else. Every week, I take 2.5 seconds out of my day to transfer the money from one account to the next via the app. Easy Peasy!
Set a reminder.
I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning let alone to transfer a different amount of money each week, so I have an alarm set in my phone for every Sunday evening flashing, “Transfer Money” across the screen. When it goes off, I already have my phone in hand to stop the alarm, so I quickly switch apps and make the transfer.
Keep a log.
Aside from the account history of transfers, keeping a log of what week number it is and how much you’ve transferred already keeps the entire process organized and on track. I’ve used actual printed out charts in the past that I’ve found on Pinterest; I’ve also kept track via the notes app in my phone. Either way has worked for me and keeps me organized.
I find it easier if I save $52 on week 1 rather than waiting until week 52. I like to just get the larger and potentially harder-to-save chunks of change out of the way now rather than later during the hectic part of the year. But, there’s no wrong way. I’ve done both successfully. However, if you are like me and you do start with $52 instead of $1, I definitely recommend a very organized and consistent record be kept in order to differentiate the weeks versus amounts being saved. Also, doing it this way makes more sense if you intend to use this savings for Christmas, as you’ll have most of your savings sooner rather than later.
Double up on weeks.
Finally, if saving money for Christmas gifts is what you intend to do with this challenge, then bulking up on weeks is necessary in order to have the money in time to purchase for Christmas. This is incredibly easy to do if you’re saving in order of the calendar weeks beginning with $1. What you do is, instead of saving just $1 on week 1, you can save $10 on week 1 and that covers weeks 1, 2, 3, AND 4, so you’ll finish weeks before Christmas. If you want to finish 8 weeks out instead of just 4, then put away $36 on week 1 and pick it up from there. This tactic also helps if you want to start purchasing sooner rather than later for the holidays.
This easy saving concept has made our Christmas spending less of a concern and much more stress-free. In fact, my husband’s skepticism and concern with my spending has turned into pride and confidence in my planning. I did something financially responsible for our family, and because of that, a huge weight gets lifted off of our shoulders by avoiding this financial dip and fighting about money.
We’ve benefited so much from this challenge. As long as you stay on top of each week, you’ll be rewarded at the end of the year in more ways than one. Now, hurry up and get started because you’re already two weeks behind schedule! Don’t wait to get on this money-saving train. You’ll thank me in December!