When a 47-year-old, 911 dispatcher went to sleep on Dec. 31, 2012, she was like many of us: a hard-working woman struggling to understand why after 23 years on the job she had nothing to show for it. Sluggish from working 53 hours of overtime the two weeks proceeding, Kassondra Perry-Moreland prayed that 2013 would be the year she changed the generational curse in her family, broke her bad habits and finally started saving the way she desired.
When Kassondra woke up on January 1, 2013, her prayer was answered. She stumbled upon an image that outlined a 52 week savings challenge. It seemed simple enough. Each week you deposit the number of that week into a savings account. For example, the 1st week of 2013, you would deposit $1.00 into the savings account. Week 2, you would deposit $2. Week 3, $3 and so on. The largest deposit ends up being $52.00 and that will be the very last week of 2013. At the end, you would have amassed $1,378. Not bad if savings has always been a point of frustration for you. And if it hasn’t, you could always use it as an additional stream of saving. Kassondra knew she immediately would need to tell a few people to keep herself accountable, so she took to Facebook hoping to get a little support. “If I could get about 10 faithful people like my mom, sister, brother and few friends to keep me in check, I’d hit my goal,” she said.
Well, that was at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2. In 72 hours, Kassondra’s 52 Week Savings Challenge had become the hub for over 1,000 would-be savers searching for accountability and inspiration. Participants have chimed in from as far as France and Japan, posting pictures of their savings jars, screenshots of their new savings account balances and updated versions of the Excel sheet which shows what will happen if everyone doubles or triples down on their savings. If everyone in the group to date just does the minimum, they will have saved a few dollars south of $1.5 million dollars collectively.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” Kassondra says. “To think that a woman whose kids once called an ATM the “Magic Money Wall” as small children is encouraging people to make a life change in their finances is amazing.” Now Kassondra is asking parents in the challenge to involve their children. “I want to see them take their kids to the bank to make deposits. We have to stop this cycle of not saving in our communities.”
Check out Kassondra’s 52 Week Savings Challenge for yourself. The energy in the group is amazing and full of personal finance gurus giving great tips to help cheer participants on. Tiffany “the Budgetnista” Aliche, suggests that members automate their deposits and use Bankrate.com to find the best bank for them. Andrea Amir, owner and founder of Smart Money Chicks suggested that participants look for an IDA (Individual Development Account) in their area that will match the funds they save up to 3 to 1 depending on the savings purpose and what you find. You can search the IDA Directory to find one in your area.
You may also want to look into Natalie P. McNeal, aka the Frugalista’s No Buy Month in February, as well. It’s a full month of going cold turkey on non-essential spending. Yes, you read correctly! Non-essential means no nails, no hair or dining out unless you can get creative or DIY.
Remember that if these aren’t quite your thing, the important thing is that you just do something! On December 31, 2013, both you and your savings account will be glad you started today.
Patrice C. Washington is the Wisdom & Wealth Money Maven at www.PatriceWashington.com and author of the series, Real Money Answers. Follow her on Twitter at @SeekWisdomPCW for practical tips on wisdom, wealth & business.