This will be my fourth year doing the 52 Week Money/Savings Challenge. If you'd like to read about my past experiences:

The savings habit does get easier each year, but we ran into budgeting issues. (Not the first time this has happened!) But I'm hoping we'll do better in 2017.

Some people use a bank account for their savings instead of a jar. I can see why this would work for them. That would keep me from using the cash in a pinch, but I have to admit, once again as in years past, having this jar on hand was a lifesaver at times, so I'm sticking with my jar.

img_0072You can see from this piece of paper I keep in the jar (the other side is the savings chart that I check off), how I raided my jar over the year:

  • $505 (paid back)
  • $200 (paid back)
  • $20 (The money was put in my wallet, not jar.)
  • $80 (One of my uses for the jar money is Christmas presents and holiday stuff, so I didn't plan to pay this amount back.)

I was pretty good about paying my IOUs until November rolled around and our budget completely exploded. I took out $1300 from the jar. I also cashed in two jars of coins worth approx. $250. $60 of the leftover money was later used for various things as our budget remained tight. So tight, in fact, I didn't try to refill the jar the way I had in the past when this happened.

img_0071Today, I'm making my 2017 jar and took a picture of my 2016 one. I had $1.00 left in the jar by mid-December. I left the dollar bill in there so I can start my 2017 jar.

If you take a look at the chart I keep inside the jar, you'll see Xs. That's because my royalties arrive monthly and aren't consistent, so I don't save by weeks or go in order—I skip around based on the extra money I have each month

There are many variations as to how to do this savings challenge—little amounts to start, bigger ones, jump around, etc.—so if you're interested in trying this, figure out what works best for you and the way you get paid. Search on “savings jar” or “52 week money or savings challenge” if you want to see how others do this. The past posts that I linked to above also have links to a few blogs about this.

If you're on a fixed income or don't have much extra to save, consider using a jar for spare change. As we found out in November, that does add up after a while. The real goal of these savings challenge isn't the amount that's put into a jar it's to get people in the habit of saving, so any amount put away is good!

I'll be using the same chart I found a few years ago on this blog post that explains how this works and got me started (use this link if you just want to print out the chart.) I'll continue to save monthly  due to the way I get paid, but this year I'm going to call my savings jar a “rainy day fund” because for us, that's really what it's become.

Who's ready to save money in 2016?