By now I’m sure you’ve seen this challenge floating around the internet. If not, its point is to inspire you to save money incrementally. I can dig that. Having money in the bank is an absolute necessity. Emergencies arise and you should have funds available to take care of business without it having a huge impact on your check book. What I find troubling about this challenge is that it focuses on saving a relatively small amount over a long period of time. A whole year to save $1,400? That breaks down to be a savings of about $116 per month, or $4 per day. People spend more than $4 per day on coffee alone! When you do the math, the challenge doesn’t really add up to be much of a challenge at all.
In the past few years, I’ve read countless articles, blogs and books, and have watched numerous documentaries and television programs on personal finance, and there’s one overwhelming message for increasing your savings:
GET OUT OF DEBT
Yep, it’s that simple. So, I propose applying that $4 per day or $116 per month to paying off debt, which, in the long run, will yield much larger dividends. Just think about all of the money you could save if you didn’t have debt. Your car, student loan and mortgage payments would go straight to your savings account instead of into a finance company’s bottom line. How does that feel? Damn good, right? This can be your reality. But, you have to be honest and know that this 52-Week Money “Challenge” ain’t gonna get you there.
If you’re looking for a plan on how to get out of debt, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. We’re following his plan and, let me tell you, it’s helped us get our financial lives in order. You can hear more about it and where we are here.
So, are you up for this new and improved 52-Week Money Challenge? I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I am saying it will be worth it.