How the 2020 Envelope Challenge could help you save £5,050 in six months

In theory, saving money for the future is simple.

You just need to spend less money than you earn, and put away any money you don’t spend each month straight into your savings. Easy.

But in reality, human nature makes this simple act much more complicated.

We’re prone to impulse-buying, spending money the second it hits our accounts, and feeling that if money is in our hands, we might as well just spend it.

So we have to play tricks on ourselves to get around our own brains – like automating saving with an app, so we don’t have to think about our money at all, or hiding the money so we’re not tempted to spend it.

Enter the 2020 Envelope Challenge.

One mum says this trick helped her save $5,050 in just six months, and when she shared it on Facebook, the idea was flooded with praise.

The mum may have done it in dollars, but if you’re in the UK, doing the same trick will get you £5,050 in the same time. When we explain it ahead, we’re going to use £ for ease.

So, how does it work?

First, you get a box of 100 paper envelopes. Then you label each one from one to 100, and shuffle them up.

Twice a week for 25 consecutive weeks, you have to draw out two envelopes at random and put the corresponding amount of cash inside. So if you pull out envelope number 62, you put £62, and if you pull out an envelope labelled number 12, you put in £12.

By the end of the 25th week, there will be a total of £5,050 in the envelopes.

Now, obviously, this trick won’t work for everyone.

For one thing, you’d need to either have that cash hanging around in the house, or twice a week you’ll need to go to the cashpoint to get out the correct amount of money to put in the envelopes.

You’ll also need enough disposal income that if you pulled out the 100 and the 98 envelopes in one week, you wouldn’t be completely financially ruined.

But the challenge might help you if you know you have that money, but you always seem to spend it without thinking. Or if you’re the type that needs a challenge with an element of chance to get you excited about saving and keep you committed to achieving your saving goal.

Basically, it’s one of those mind tricks we mentioned above. This isn’t a challenge that’s going to magic up money out of thin air, but it’s worth a go if you have the money to save, but need some help making sure it doesn’t get spent on things you don’t need.

You’ll also need to stay strong and make sure you don’t go digging around in the envelopes for cash midway through the challenge. Only deposit cash into the envelopes, don’t take it out until the end.

The mum who shared the trick on Facebook wrote: ‘If you have a three-year plan to buy a house, you could have a little over $30,000 for a down payment by doing this.’

The hack has received more than 11,000 likes and 31,000 comments, so clearly people are keen to give it a go.

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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