I've been taking some time to prepare for 2020. 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 (still need to put my new label on the jar). This will be my seventh year doing this. If you'd like to read about my past experiences:

As I've mentioned before, some use a savings account at a bank, which we have, too, but with two kids in college now some months get really tight so it would be easy to dip into those savings. The cash jar just works better for us. I hope I don't have to use it for bills as I did in the past, but when I did, it was a lifesaver, so I'll keep with my jar.

The savings habit is getting easier. I didn't save all the money on the sheet, but came close. I had one or two IOUs when the kids needed cash for something but easily paid that back. We used some money in November for birthday gifts and a trip we took to the coast over Thanksgiving. No money was used for bills (a first! LOL!) And I had plenty for our Christmas shopping, doing Christmas stuff around town, and eating out during the holidays! I even had a little left over, which is a first for me!

Total saved for 2019 is $1265. Of this, $835 is shown in pic. Missing from pic: $100 spent on birthday gifts in November, and $100 spent on coast vacation in November, $20 for a holiday outing to the Portland Raceway to see lights, and $210 from a December royalty check that just went into my spending envelope.

Being paid quarterly by one publisher and two times a year by another made savings a little trickier. I only used checks coming in, not auto payments to my bank account, but I think I will start using some of that auto deposited money since it comes in each month. I also have a small side gig that pays me a monthly check and 10% of that goes into the jar too!

This was my 2019 Savings Jar, but my 2020 will look exactly the same. I just forgot to print out the new label and the sheet that I stick inside it.

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. This year I went into December with that final royalty check.

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 2020?