How to Set Up a Weekly Savings Plan

FT Contributor  | 

Despite being encouraged to save, some studies suggest that up to 65% of Americans have little to no money saved. Fortunately, getting started on a savings plan isn’t difficult. Most savings plans are based on a monthly schedule, but it can be much more beneficial to put money away every week. If you’re wondering how to save money on a weekly basis, here are some tips and tricks. 

Set Your Goal

Creating a weekly savings plan starts by setting a specific, overall goal, along with a timeframe. The money you set aside in savings can be used for a number of things, including vacations and trips, special events like weddings, long-term goals like retirement, emergency or rainy day funds, and even big-ticket purchases like a home or car. 

Many experts say you should set aside 20% of your income each month towards savings. This money can be used for a variety of things, but most often it’s saved to be used in case of an emergency. Regardless of what it might be, having a reason for contributing to your savings is extremely important. 

When it comes to a timeframe, if you’re saving for a particular event, the date of the event will determine how much money you need to set aside each week in order to reach your goal. If your goal is to generate a large amount of money over a long period of time, you should still set a timeframe so that you can stick to your objective.  

No matter what your goals are, they can be adjusted during the planning phase of creating a weekly budget. Once you begin saving, it is very important to stick to the budget you set. Avoid getting into a habit of breaking your budget, as this can prolong your timeframe. 

Make a Plan

There are many methods you can use to start a weekly savings plan. Some prefer the traditional method of setting a fixed sum at a specific time (every week in this case). This makes it easy for you to adjust your everyday spending habits, as you know how much you need to set aside to reach your savings goal. 

Others may prefer to try something a bit more unique, like a savings challenge. One of the most popular weekly savings challenges is the 52-Week Challenge, which dictates that you put a predetermined amount of money into savings every week. While the monetary amounts can vary depending on the type of challenge you’re looking for, a common method is depositing the dollar amount that’s equivalent to the week you’re in. In the first week, you deposit $1. In the last week, you deposit $52. Of course, this method can be altered depending on your monetary goal or timeline, but the principle is the same. 

Other types of savings plans involve funds generated from side hustles like part-time jobs or freelancing gigs. Any money that you earn weekly from your side hustle can be deposited into your savings account

Different methods will appeal to different people in different situations. Consider your individual circumstances, then choose a plan that will serve as an easy way to save money weekly. 

Research Savings Options

Your savings options will depend on several factors, including where you’re depositing your money (e.g. bank or credit union) and the company (e.g. First Federal, US Bank) you decide to use. Each account comes with its own unique benefits, including interest rates and ease of access. Below is an overview of some of the most common banking institutions and their respective interests rates on savings accounts: 

Bank Savings APY Min Balance
Ally Bank 1.90% $0
Bank of America 0.03% $0
Capital One 360 1.00% $0
Chase Bank 0.01% $0
Citibank 0.04% $0
Citizens Bank 0.01% $0
Fifth Third Bank 0.01% $0
HSBC 0.01% $1
KeyBank 0.20% $25,000
M&T Bank 0.02% $1
PNC 0.10% $2,500
Regions 0.01% $0
SunTrust 0.01% $0
Synchrony 2.15% $1
TD Bank 0.05% $0
U.S. Bank 0.01% $0
Wells Fargo 0.01% $0

 

To find the savings option that’s right for you, do your research. Contact your current banking institution to learn more about the savings programs they offer to determine which type of account is best. 

Set a Budget

The specifics will depend on how you have chosen to save your money, but there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to budgeting. First, you need to determine what your expenses are. Consider things like your rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, and miscellaneous expenses. Despite this being a “weekly” savings plan, it’s still important to consider monthly, yearly, or emergency expenses that could pop up. Track your spending so you can ensure enough money is being allocated where it needs to be.  

You may have to adjust your chosen savings plan based on the outcome of your budget. Perhaps you need more money than you thought for groceries, or perhaps you spend more on entertainment then you originally considered. Outlining a budget in a way that assigns a task to every dollar you have will help you stay on top of your money-saving plan by week by week. Once you have established a budget, your savings goal and method should stay consistent.

Tighten up Expenses

Analyze how you’re currently spending money and look for ways to cut down on your spending. Whether it’s spending less on entertainment or eating out less frequently, find out what your frivolous expenses are and reallocate those funds. 

Increase Your Income

Consider getting another job, even if it’s just a small side hustle. It can be a local part-time job or work that you take on a freelance basis. Regardless of how you earn the extra income, it’s a great way to consistently contribute to a weekly savings plan. 

Monitor Your Money

Keep an eye on your bank account. Make sure that there is no suspicious activity or a subscription you are not aware of. If you notice a suspicious charge, report it to your banking institution right away so they can clear it up and return the funds to you. 

Stick to Your Savings Goals

Humans are creatures of habit, and the most difficult part of saving consistently is developing the habit of saving. Follow these steps for weekly savings and take the process week by week. Soon, you will reach your goal.


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This post was updated October 17, 2019. It was originally published October 17, 2019.