I started my 52 Week Savings Challenge because I wanted to instill a little more discipline in my habits, to capture some of the money that I might otherwise have mindlessly frittered away. My jar is slowly filling up but I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it. It’s quite honestly been fun not knowing because there are lots of interesting possibilities! Even so, it seems like it might be time to give more serious consideration to a few of the options because the novelty of the challenge is wearing thin and I’m going to need a strong “why” in order to keep going for 10 more months.
Let’s consider some options for each level of saving that I listed on my 52 Week Savings Challenge Chart for 2017. Before I start with specific ideas, please let me point out that there are countless worthwhile charities that would welcome a donation of any size. Please support organizations with which you are familiar and where you are confident the funds will be used appropriately.
Please note that I’m working in US dollars and will be tossing out possibilities according to local prices. It also bears mentioning that these are possibilities that appeal to my interests, values, financial situation, and shopping/spending savvy. Your situation may be wildly different. I’d love it if you’d leave suggestions in the comments if something else appeals to you.
Possibilities for $104
The first option on the chart is to save $2 per week, for a total of $104 saved during the year. When Jay & I were broke new parents, this would have felt like untold riches. It’s still nothing to sneeze at but it doesn’t carry the same emotional weight now as it would have then. What, other than a charitable contribution, could I do with $104?
- A dinner date with my husband. We don’t eat out often, and when we do, we usually end up at a casual dining joint. With $104 we could choose a nicer place for our date night.
- A movie night with the family, including tickets and overpriced movie theater snacks and beverages. We don’t see many movies in theaters because of the cost, usually preferring to wait and catch them on video for less than the cost of one theater ticket. But sometimes there are special films that we would like to enjoy in the excitement of opening weekend. We could do that with $104.
- New paint for the master bedroom. We’re working on the house bit by bit and aren’t afraid to DIY things like painting, but good quality paint costs money. $104 would be enough to paint our master bedroom.
Possibilities for $260
The second option on the chart is to save $5 per week, for a total of $260 for the year. This is a sum that causes me to feel its weight a little bit, which is probably why I feel a greater need to be prudent when spending it.
- An even nicer dinner date with my husband. We could have a delicious meal at an even nicer restaurant if we wanted to spend this amount of money, but that really isn’t our style. We’d be likely to choose a more modest place to eat and have money left for something else we wanted to do.
- A weekend getaway (that’s a night or two mid-week for pastors’ families) with my husband. For $260 we could stay at a modest hotel in an interesting city and spend a couple of days exploring museums and parks.
- Theater tickets. $260 would purchase a couple of tickets to a Broadway touring company show in a nearby city. My daughter and I would be more apt to do this than my husband since he’s not a fan of musicals.
- Refinish the living room floor…maybe. We’d need to rent at least one large tool to complete this home project, and I haven’t priced it out yet, but I think we’d be close.
- Sponsor our International Student for another year. Remember when I mentioned our sponsored student? We could sponsor her education for another year for $260. We’ll do that anyway, with or without the 52 Week Savings Challenge, but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else might consider child sponsorship.
Possibilities for $520
Saving $10 per week for a year will produce a stash of $520. This feels substantial to me and would allow more options, but also makes the decision harder because I feel a greater need to be responsible!
- A nicer getaway with my husband. Our tastes are modest, so we could stay someplace for a couple of days, stay in a reasonable hotel, and enjoy a restaurant meal or other outing for $520.
- A home improvement project. $520 will go a long way toward a DIY home project like refinishing floors, repainting walls, or replacing light fixtures.
- An appliance. We have a couple of older appliances that could easily need to be replaced in the not-too-distant future. $520 would be enough to replace certain appliances or a good start toward the replacement cost for others.
Possibilities for $1378
Saving $26.50 per week, the average amount of savings per week from the chart that inspired mine, would yield a total savings of $1,378 in a year’s time. This is enough money that it doesn’t feel to me like an amount that should be spent frivolously. It would allow more travel, more home improvement, more textbooks, more responsible behavior.
While the decision isn’t final where the money from the 52 Week Savings Challenge jar will end up, I suspect I know. My husband, daughter, and I are hoping to take a short term mission trip over her Christmas break, so I kind of think the money will go toward personal travel expenses, last minute supplies for the work we’ll be doing, and thank you gifts for those who support the mission team. I’ll keep you posted!
Okay, your turn! How would you spend $104 or $260 or $520 or $1,378?
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