Which savings game is better? The 52 Week Money Challenge VS Fives & Fifties

Since it’s the start of the new year, you’ve probably heard about the 52 Week Money Challenge on social media somewhere. If you haven’t, click here for a brief introduction. In a nutshell, its a game/challenge where you:

  1. Save $1 at the end of the first week of the year (by putting it in a jar), $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and then so on until you slot in $52 the final week of the year.
  2. Or you can do it the opposite way – $52 the first week of the year, $51 the following week, and progressively less until you hit the final $1 payment in the last week of the year.

If you commit to this Challenge (and stick to it), you’ll find a sweet $1,378 in your jar at the very end. Not bad huh?

The Fives & Fifties Game (courtesy of Myn’s Desk, but there are variants all over the internet too) is essentially where you keep your greens and save every $5 note you receive. If you’re up for Expert Level, save every $50 note too. If you’re curious as to how much I managed to save playing this game, click here.

So which one is the better savings game, and which one should you do?

52 Week Money Challenge

  • You know how much you’ll be saving every week for the rest of the year, so there are no surprises and you’re prepared
  • Depending on which variant you choose, it either is easy-peasy at the start of the year (and gets progressively more difficult) or vice versa. If you get a bonus at the end of the year it shouldn’t be too much of a problem though 🙂

Fives & Fifties

  • There is no true set amount of savings, it’s based on luck (which makes it more fun)
  • But it’s not entirely luck: the more you spend and break larger notes, the higher your chances of receiving green – so it’s a great self-regulating mechanism (or “punishment”) when you’re spending a lot
  • Because the notes are green, they’re easy to spot and identify (and then stash away). This will quickly become a habit and you’ll find yourself automatically separating the green notes from the rest of your purse, meaning you’ll less likely “forget” to do it and quit after a few months.
  • Your savings pile will be colour-coordinated and look pretty. And you will feel a deep satisfaction once you see them all stacked up like lettuce leaves; bonus is that you’ll probably feel less inclined to steal from the stash and ruin it.
  • It’s more a game than a challenge; so it’s fun.
  • Did I also mention that it’s fun?

At the end of the day, I think they’re both great mechanisms to get us to save more. I don’t think you necessarily need to choose one, the best way to really save money is to have a number of different “games” or savings streams. So while I do play Fives & Fifties, this is a supplement to my main savings – which is where I immediately transfer out a chunk of my monthly salary and stash it away at the start of the month.

If you like the idea of both the 52 Week Money Challenge and the Fives & Fifties game (and can afford to) I’d suggest doing both.

If you need to pick one or the other; I think the Fives & Fifties game is better, for all the reasons I listed above. And ultimately, how much you manage to save from the game is anyone’s guess – so half the fun is stashing it all into a jar and then counting your treasure at the end of the month/year 🙂



2 thoughts on “Which savings game is better? The 52 Week Money Challenge VS Fives & Fifties

    • That’s a good point which I probably should have mentioned in the post – the 5s and 50s would only work with cash spending 🙂 I don’t know if I could ever commit to a strict penny challenge, the most I’ve done is keep a change jar at my work desk!


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