I've been taking some time to prepare for 2019. That means working on my planner, picking my word for the year, getting my stuff for taxes together, as well as making sure I'm ready for the 52 Week Money/Savings Challenge. This will be my sixth year doing this. If you'd like to read about my past experiences:

The savings habit is getting easier. I managed to save more than what the sheet said so was ready for Black Friday to start Christmas shopping. The only issues I ran into this year were needing quick cash a couple of times. The first was when my son had a swim meet, so I did an IOU for $60. The second, and the biggest one, was a FB ad bill for $750 which came unexpectedly when I thought it would be due at the end of the month. Needless to say, I was grateful to have enough in my jar to cover that, even if it did make me postpone a few things like Christmas shopping until royalties hit my bank account. But this seems to be a norm for us so I'm just really glad I have that extra in my jar. As I wrote last year, some use a savings account, but with two kids in college now some months get really tight so it would be easy to dip into savings. The cash jar works better for us and has been a lifesaver more times than not, so I'll keep with it.

This year my royalty payments changed. Instead of being paid monthly by the publisher where I earn the most, it went to quarterly. (I'm still not making enough from my indie titles to put into savings. It's all going back into the books, but I hope that will change at some point in 2019 so I can go back to monthly jar deposits.) That meant I was putting money into the jar three times a year (since I stop at Black Friday and take December off) which was a little different than I'd done before. Still worked though. I managed to save more than 52 weeks worth of money using this. I started over at the beginning once I'd checked off the boxes my first time through.

Here's my 2019 jar!

If you take a look at the chart I keep inside the jar, you'll see Xs. That's because I don't use this copy of the chart to track amounts, only weeks that I put in an amount since I don't do this weekly. I don't go in order of the amounts—I skip around based on the extra money I have—but this second sheet lets me see how many weeks I'm ahead or behind for the year. There are times when I'm able to check off several boxes, but other times just one or occasionally none. My goal is to finish with the savings challenge by Black Friday. Not sure about you, but I don't have extra money to save once December arrives!

This will sound familiar if you've read one of these posts, but I want to say it again. 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. That adds 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 as I get paid, but as I've been doing in the past, I tend to going to call my savings jar a “rainy day fund” and “Christmas shopping fund” because that's what it's used for!

Are you ready to save money in 2019?