How You Can Afford To Travel: The 52 Week Savings Challenge

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As an advocate for travel on any budget, I wanted to share my experience with the 52 Week Saving Challenge, an easy way you can save OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS for your next trip! Here's how it works: You commit a year to saving money, putting $1 in a jar the first week, $2 the 2nd week, and so on. If you keep it up, at the end of a year you will have saved a whopping $1378.00!

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket. - Will Rogers

I started the challenge on New Years Day 2017 and finished in April 2018, way more than 52 weeks later. I got busy and let it slip away without contributing every week. Nevertheless, I was still able to set aside a butt load of cash for my honeymoon in Costa Rica without really trying. When I brought my jar to the bank I found out I had saved...(drum roll please)....$866.11!! 

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. - Norman Vincent Peale

I loved this challenge so much that I decided to do it again. This time I made a promise to myself to go all the way to week 52 so I can afford to go on a spontaneous adventure. I invite you to start the challenge with me! I have created a printable template so you have no excuses not to start immediately. Simply print and glue it to a mason jar (or any type of container) and cross off the weeks as you contribute.

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Make sure you fill out what you are saving for and consider adding a photo to the jar as well. A picture of the Eiffel Tower or a new mountain bike is a huge motivation to put in $4 instead of spending it on a latte. Vision Boards are a great example of how seeing your dreams can help you make them come true. I like to think of it this way: If I contribute to my jar every week, I am going to think of (and look at) my goal 52 times. That means I am 52 times more likely to make it a reality. To quote The Secret: "What you think about you bring about. Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head." I know this may seem kind of crazy, but there are so many things that I have manifested into my life, from my career to trips around the world. Why can't you do it too? Even if you don't believe in the power of your dream, I encourage you to take this one small step to achieving it anyway. If you don't feel any closer to your dream after a year, you will still have accumulated a huge jar full of cash, how can you complain about that?

 Giving up gourmet coffee may seem like a sacrifice now, but it will be worth it when you are drinking espresso in paradise!  Cafe Milagro , Quepos, Costa Rica

Giving up gourmet coffee may seem like a sacrifice now, but it will be worth it when you are drinking espresso in paradise! Cafe Milagro, Quepos, Costa Rica

I would encourage everyone to do this challenge for a couple of reasons. Obviously a healthy savings is incredibly important. But, more than that, putting aside money every single week actually became a habit for me, one that has carried over in other aspects of my life. A couple of years ago I did a 52 week cleaning challenge similar to this one and now cleaning and saving money are weekly habits. The challenge may be hard at first, but after a couple months it will be more of a routine that doesn't require so much thought or energy. Try to do the challenge in order without skipping ahead. Completing all 52 weeks is more realistic if you ease into it and start contributing gradually. Also, don't be like me! Try to do it whole-heatedly and finish all 52 weeks!

The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. -T.T. Munger

If you don't have the financial means to start the challenge now - or if you just like to break the rules- try saving another way! Keep a jar for spare change and add to it as often as you can. Another option is to take out $5 - $10 cash back each time you go to the grocery store. If you shop twice a week, $5 ends up being $520 at the end of one year and $10 turns into $1040! Or, keep it simple and commit to contributing a set amount each week. No matter what you decide, make sure the challenge is for YOU and on YOUR terms. Your dreams are worth achieving and you deserve to keep some of that hard-earned money before giving it away to everyone else!  

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -  Eleanor Roosevelt