After hitting a peak of over 14 percent in the mid 1970s, the current average personal savings rate is hovering around the 4 percent mark, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
If that low savings rate reminds you of someone you know — your kids, another relative, a coworker, a friend who always asks to borrow money — they may simply need a system to help them save more. You can help by pointing them to a structured savings method that has been making the rounds on Facebook recently.
The 52 Week Savings Challenge is a weekly commitment for saving money. Each week, participants in The Challenge deposit into their savings an amount corresponding to the week number of the program. So in Week No. 1, participants deposit $1; in Week No. 2, participants deposit $2 (which, when added to the previous week’s deposit, now totals $3; in Week No. 3, participants deposit $3 (making the total $6), and so on through Week No. 52.)
If you follow the above example, the total balance in the account after one year will equal $1,378 — not including interest. Those primed to save more than $1,378 (plus interest) over a year can fine-tune The Challenge formula to save much more (see sidebar).
Kassondra Moreland, the woman who has become the face of the challenge, is the perfect example of someone who hadn’t been very good at saving. The 47-year-old Oakland, California, native had a tough time putting money away from early on.
“My grandparents spoiled me rotten,” Moreland tells Straight Talk. “My grandfather would always tell me, âYou need to save. You need to save.’ But then he always gave me everything.”
Later, as a grown-up, it was Moreland who treated herself well. “Shoes and clothes,” she answers, when asked what she spent her money on. “I love clothes. I just wasn’t saving.”
In the last few weeks of 2012, Moreland put in 53 hours of overtime at her job as a 911 dispatcher. And still, “In the end, it was all gone. I hadn’t saved anything. There was nothing I could fall back on. If I had a flat tire, I’d have to charge the repair. I wouldn’t be able to get any money out of my savings account.”
Then, right after New Year’s, Moreland discovered a Facebook post about The 52 Week Savings Challenge. Now, not only is she participating in The Challenge with a vengeance, she’s leading an effort to get others to do the same, too.
“I said, âWe’re going to hold ourselves accountable,’ Moreland recalls. “So I created a Facebook page for everybody who said they would do The Challenge.” In just a couple of weeks, Kassondra’s 52 Week Money Challenge Facebook page has attracted almost 3,900 members.
Most importantly, Moreland wants parents to set an example — in much the same way you can help the savings-challenged in your life. “It’s important to teach our children how to save,” she says. “I really want to push parents to sit with their children at the computer when they make their deposit or take their children to the bank with them, and show them no money in, no money out.
Would you ever consider taking the 52 Week Savings Challenge? Do you have your own system for saving money?
Comment on this article
Piggy B. on March 4, 2013 at 1:06pm
Currently doing this Challenge. Also encouraged my co-workers and family to do it also. Also doing it a 10x...The last couple of weeks of the year should be interesting lol
Ally on March 6, 2013 at 5:42pm
We’re glad to hear you’re taking the 52 Week Savings Challenge! Get back to us at the end of the year and let us know how you made out.
Realgem on March 11, 2013 at 8:17pm
I've opened 2 special accounts just for the challenge one contributing as the challenge directs, depositing money for the specific week $1 for week 1- $2 for week 2, etc. The other account I contribute as above but I add $20.00 each time I get paid (direct deposit twice monthly). I also have a piggy bank every time I break a bill I put the change in the jar. I am determined to save this year I have a few projects I need to complete and saving is the only way. I also recruited some family members & co-workers to join the money challenge.
Ally on March 12, 2013 at 5:36pm
We’re glad to hear you’re taking the 52 Week Savings Challenge! Good luck and thanks for spreading the word.
Debtfreediva525 on March 18, 2013 at 11:57am
I have been doing the challenge since reading about it on facebook and so far I am keeping on track with regular weekly deposits. I also contribute a little extra when I have it. I have this money being deposited into my Winter Savings/Christmas Club account that I can't access until November hopefully when November comes I can just roll these savings over to my challenge for 2014 which I will ante up $5.00 a week in the challenge. I wish everyone who participates in this challenge much success.