The Automatic Savings Challenge – Save $1,000 Or More

November 30, 2016
Trying to find a savings challenge that actually works? Well, here's one and it's effortless!
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There are a lot of savings challenges out there. I’ve even tried a few and failed miserably at every single last one of them too.

Well, except this one that I’m about to share with you.

I don’t know what it is about us folks who happen to fail at these varying challenges. Perhaps it’s the lack of flexibility.

Or it could simply be that it’s not easy to stay encouraged when you fall off a week and miss putting in whatever amount you were supposed to based on the challenge.

Too many rules make the challenges harder to keep up with as it progresses and by week 15 or 16, I’ve fallen off the wagon.

That’s why I needed something that would do all the work for me, so in the end, I would have a big pile of cash that required little effort from me as possible.

Today I want to introduce you to what I like to call the automatic savings challenge.

Nah, it ain’t fancy. Nor is it as elaborate as some of these other challenges out here.

But I’ll bet you one thing, if you actually follow the steps and leave the money alone, you’ll be surprised at what you accomplish at the end of the year.

You may very well have $1,000 or more in your savings account once it’s all said and done. Now let’s discuss how you can start stacking your cash automatically with very little upfront effort.


Trying to find a savings challenge that actually works? Well, here's one and it's effortless!


The Automatic Savings Challenge


I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s not about the amount of money you save.

What’s more important is you just start saving. Saving has less to do with the dollar amount and more to do with building a healthy habit of spending less of your money.

Let’s go over the steps…


1) Decide your savings goal. What are you saving for?

For example, if you want to take your kids on a weekend vacation to the beach next summer, this could be your goal.


2) Calculate your savings amount. How much is it going to cost?

You need to research how much it would approximately cost to make this happen. Once you know that amount you will be able to create a plan to begin saving.


3) Open up an online savings account.

I use Capital One 360 because I’m able to open separate accounts for each goal. If you have $250 to start with and you’re a new customer, I recommend opening an account with Capital One 360 using this link because you’ll get a $25 bonus for opening an account that can go towards your savings goal.


4) Figure out how much you need to contribute weekly or monthly to meet your goal.

Once you know this number (divide your total savings amount by the number of paychecks you expect to receive within your savings timeframe), you can do one of the following: 1) set up an automatic deposit into your new savings account with your payroll department or 2) have the amount automatically drafted from your checking account on your paydays (which is how I have mine set up).


5) Then…do nothing.

Ignore your money. Create a budget based on what’s left. If you get paid $800 every two weeks and you need to save $20 each paycheck, you will budget off the remaining $780. Pretend you’re not even saving the money!


Save $1,000 Or More


I know some of you like concrete examples, so I’m going to give you one.

Myla wants to go to California next year to see her baby brother graduate from UCLA. She’s a second-year grad student at NYU, so she knows she needs to start saving early.

She wants to explore Cali with her baby brother while she’s out there so she anticipates needing more than enough money for airfare, local travel, and food.

Her brother stays on campus so it will be impossible to stay with him so she’s going to go the Airbnb route to save money on lodging expenses.

For airfare, Airbnb, and other associated costs, she estimates she’ll need around $1,500.

She has 17 full months to save and she’s paid bi-weekly at her job. There will be one or two “third paychecks” during this time since she is paid bi-weekly.

However, to make things simple she is saving based on her expectation of receiving 28 paychecks in a 15 month period versus 17 months. This ensures that she has the amount she needs well in advance of her trip.

So, she’ll take the total amount ($1,500) and divide it by 28. She will need to save $54 per pay period.

Therefore, on each payday, $54 is withdrawn from her account before she even knows it exists. If she sticks with the automatic savings challenge, she’ll actually exceed her goal of $1,500.


Why does this work better than other savings challenges?


It works because you’re not putting any thought into it. You’re not worried about setting aside $20 this week and $25 the next week. You’re not worried about collecting five-dollar bills.

You are simply focused on creating an automatic contribution for whatever amount you need to reach your goal or whatever amount you can afford to save.

If you can only save fifty cents, save it!

Saving fifty cents per paycheck may seem like a small amount to some, but this money may eventually cover an unexpected co-pay at the doctor’s office.

Fifty cents per pay period could turn into a decent sum of money that can be used to buy your kid a birthday gift next year.

Don’t be intimidated by large savings goals or lack thereof. Just save something and it will get easier.


Tracking Your Progress


Instead of tracking your progress each month, I want you to track your progress before you start.


Well, because you’re going to set this automatic savings thing up and forget about it. Remember?

If your goal is to save $10 per paycheck for a year, you’re going to need something to help you make sense of your savings strategy.

Therefore, I have created an automatic savings challenge printable to help you map things out.

It’s not hard to use, simply write in your numbers and you’ll get an idea of where you will stand in a year, or whatever the timeframe is for your goal.

Please sign up for the Automatic Savings Challenge Printable by entering your email address in the box below. Plus, you’ll be on the mailing list for other emails that will empower you to save more money in the future!

Join the Automated Savings Challenge

Get your Automated Savings Printable and updates on all things money related!

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Wrapping Thangs Up


The automatic savings challenge will work if you complete these steps. This is how I save for any goal that comes up.

If I have a wedding to participate in, I create a savings goal. We have a savings goal for kid’s birthday celebrations. I also have one for back to school expenses. There’s even one for car taxes. And yes, these are all separate accounts with Capital One 360 (I think I have like 8 or 9 of them).

When the time comes for me to use that money, it’s there and I don’t even miss it because I make use of what’s left after those savings goals (needs) have been met.

Again, don’t focus on the dollar amount. Just focus on the savings and watch this thang get easier for you.


How do you meet your savings goals?  Do you like savings challenges?


Join the Automated Savings Challenge

Get your Automated Savings Printable and updates on all things money related!

Powered by ConvertKit



New to LAAB? Well, around these parts, we talk about money, making money, saving money, paying off debt, student loans and more.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to make more and save more money that may interest you.

Start a blog. Blogging isn’t easy but it can be quite rewarding. Whether you want to share your own journey to debt freedom or build an online business so you can quit your day job – blogging is a great way to do both! I’m not earning six-figures (yet), but I’m earning something and it’s helping me pay off my debt! You can create your own blog with this step-by-step tutorial I created for as low as $3.49 per month. You’ll also get a free domain (website name) name.

Take surveys. I take surveys to supplement my income in a variety of ways. I cash in points for Amazon gift cards which have allowed me to buy birthday presents, support my reading habit, and for stocking stuffers for my kiddos. I’ve even got gift cards to restaurants to go on date nights with the hubby. Some of my faves are Swagbucks, American Consumer Opinion, Opinion Outpost, Clear Voice, Pinecone Research, and VIP Voice. All of these are free!

Shop using Ebates. I’m always shopping online and I score some pretty hot savings using Ebates for cash back in addition to online coupons. You not only can save money online, you can get cash back for in-store purchases too. Sign up with Ebates (for free!) and make your first purchase and they will give you a $10 gift card to a retailer of your choice like Target, Macy’s, or Kohls.

Cut your cable. There’s a way to enjoy the same things you’re watching now at a fraction of the cost. All you need is a digital antenna, a streaming device like a Firestick, and a couple of affordable subscriptions. I’ve shared the details in this post on how to save over $130 a month.

Latoya Scott
CFEI/Social Entrepreneur
Latoya Scott is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and personal finance writer with a mission to help millennials learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck so they can become financially carefree.

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  • Kemkem November 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Love automatic savings. I still do it till today. I have some $ deducted from checking and into saving. It can be a nice little surprise after a while. Great post! Saving is always a good move :-).

  • Becky November 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    This is a great idea. It definitely seems easier than other money saving challenges I have seen! Love it!

  • Kim December 1, 2016 at 1:31 am

    I also use Capital one 360. I used it to save for my house, for an account for my daughter and my nephew/god son. It’s an amazing saving tool. Great advice in this post.
    Kim recently posted…Restaurant Review Travel Edition: Lolinda San FranciscoMy Profile

  • Kirstin Fuller December 1, 2016 at 1:53 am

    I’ve also tried a few of the savings challenges and failed miserably (lol). Automatic savings maybe the way to go. I’ll give it a shot starting with 2017!

  • Joanna December 1, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Sounds like a cool challenge especially with the new year coming. Automatic savings are great. I have a few accounts and forget that I have them sometimes.
    Joanna recently posted…Celebrate the Season with CranberriesMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      That’s a good feeling to have. It’s like finding money in an old purse!

  • Don December 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    This is great advice! We are looking for ways to save next year.
    Don recently posted…Give Her What She Really WantsMy Profile

  • Donna Shana December 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Sounds great. You know I tried the others ones, and you keep multiply or adding each week, and it became too much to keep up with. But this sounds sensible, set a goal, how much does it cost, proceed.
    Good info!

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, all the other ones were doing too much for me.

  • Tanya December 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    I love the tips you give. I set up automatic transfers bi-weekly while reading this. The goal is to save $2k next year for my daughter’s senior of highschool and freshman year of college.

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Yes, I know what you mean. My daughter’s only six, but we’ve been saving for senior year of college and freshman year since she was born! Lol!

  • RaNesha December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I have chosen to save a $100 per week and next year double it to $200

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      Awesome, RaNesha! I’m sure you will knock that goal right out of the park!

  • Mimi Green December 2, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Automatic savings is the only thing that has worked for me. I now have a Cap 360 account only because they acquired ING Direct. The interest rate isn’t as good but it still works.
    Mimi Green recently posted…A Quick and Easy DIY Ugly Christmas SweaterMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Me too. I remember when they were ING Direct.

  • Thirty30Courtney December 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I will be closing my BOA account soon and want to look into new accounts. I think automatic withdrawal would work marvelously for me that way I don’t even see the money. I also want to create another account specifically for travel.

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Yes, Courtney! It will work wonders!

  • Alexis @FITnancials December 2, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I use Digit to help me save money each week. It automatically puts money into my bank account and helps me save without even thinking about it.

    • Latoya Scott December 2, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      I would love to try Digit. They didn’t support my bank a while back when I tried to sign up. Maybe I need to try again.

  • Kiwi December 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I need to do this as its a simple way to save. Autosaving is perfect for my lifestyle because I would be saving and not thinking about it.
    Kiwi recently posted…THE BOUNCE BACK MOVIE SCREENING IN ATLANTA | Shemar Moore + Bill BellamyMy Profile

  • Philip December 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I’m going to do a video on this. I will link to this article!

    So many great ideas here.

  • Harley December 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Personally I’ve had more success transferring the savings manually. Making the required sacrifices to save money can be a real slog, but manually transferring the money into the savings account on payday is one of the more enjoyable aspects about the whole thing.

    • Latoya Scott December 22, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      I’m glad that works for you. A lot of us aren’t set up the same and this strategy just didn’t work for my family. I need and thrive on being able to handle my money as easily as possible and making manual transfers drove me nuts. This is more so designed for those who have trouble saving because they fail to plan or find themselves hard pressed to actually build a healthy savings habit.