52 Week Money Challenge 2018 in Pesos

Some time ago, a blogger placed a challenge in her blog called the 52 Week Money Challenge wherein one would save an amount that is incremented by 50 pesos every week. Week 1 starts at 50 pesos; week 2 is 100 pesos, and so on and so forth. The reason it is called the 52 Week Money Challenge is because the challenge lasts for 52 weeks.

A lot of people got excited about the 52 Week Money Challenge and in today’s lingo, went viral. It was even featured on several news programs. I think all the hoopla stemmed from the way the formula was presented which made people think that they can save more than 60,000 pesos by just saving a few hundred pesos every month. The problem becomes evident when you realize that the figures presented in the formula are to be saved in a span of just a week. In fact, if you look closer, beginning with the month of February, you will actually have to save more than 1,000 pesos every month to be in line with your goal. If you are a minimum wage earner, this amount could be staggering. With this formula, you probably won’t be eating anymore by July.

Minimum wage earners in Metro Manila get *512 pesos per day. In this 52 Week Money Challenge, you will be saving an average of around 6,000 pesos a month, this is more than 50% of a minimum wage earner's monthly salary.

Let me introduce to you an easier version that is not that suffocating. Essentially, with this version of the 52 Week Money Challenge, instead of increasing the amount you’ll be saving by 50 pesos every week, you’ll only be increasing it by 5 pesos.

click on the table to enlarge it

With the original formula, you’ll have to save almost 8,000 pesos in December but with this formula, you’ll only have to save 1,000 pesos in December. See the difference?

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In this minimum-wage-earner-friendly version of the 52 Week Money Challenge, the average amount that one has to save is only around 600 pesos per month or a little more than 5% of a minimum wage earner's monthly salary.

Indeed, you reap what you sow, so instead of getting more than 60,000 pesos in December, you will only get around 7,000 pesos. That though, is still a significant amount.

Now let’s move to the topic of where you should be storing your money from Week 1 to Week 52. While storing your money in a piggy bank is okay, it is dangerous, a fire might destroy your money, and people in your house might steal it. What I would suggest is to open a passbook savings account without an ATM and to store your money there. Obviously, you can’t open a bank account with five pesos. So I suggest putting your money in a piggy bank until you have enough to open a passbook savings account.

And what do you do with your 6,000 peso windfall?

You will want to divide this money into six parts, each part consisting of a thousand pesos.

If you are fabulously single, you may use two parts or 2,000 pesos on Christmas merriment such as going to the movies, eating out, or visiting a theme park. Just make sure to go with friends who have jobs, so you don’t end up paying for them. For those with families, you may also do the same thing with 2,000 pesos but you probably won’t be able to bring your family to a theme park, you may be able to bring them to a movie, though. Do I hear you asking about popcorn? No, you don't get to buy overpriced popcorn at the movie house!  You go home after the movie, and eat your leftover food from Noche Buena!

You may also use one part of your money from the 52 Week Money Challenge (or 1,000 pesos) to augment your Noche Buena food fund. Another part of your money or 1,000 pesos could be apportioned for gifts. Just don't dream about buying somebody an iPhone though.

READ: 13 Tips on How to Save Money

And what do you do with your leftover money?

If you are prudently disciplined and can manage to delay gratification (like this awesome guy I know), you can keep the money in the bank and use it for unforeseen eventualities in the future. However, if you are like most people, you are probably thinking along the lines of “treating” yourself (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

If you count yourself among the generation Y or the selfies, you probably would want to travel someplace. The farthest your leftover money could probably take you to though is Baguio or Tagaytay, so don’t even dream of going to South Korea.

I hope that everyone out there will be encouraged to take up this 52 Week Money Challenge. At the end of the challenge, human nature will probably dictate that you splurge or "treat yourself" to various things and experiences, so my real challenge to you is to overcome those urges and to delay gratification. Instead of spending your money on something as fleeting and insignificant right now and right away, wouldn't you rather postpone your gratification and go all out on a much later date? Instead of spending your money on a trip to Tagaytay right now, why don't you delay your gratification and go to a nicer place next year? Think about it.

READ: 10 Financial Commandments for Travelers


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