Have you heard about the 100-day money challenge? It’s also known as the 100 envelope challenge. If it suits you, it can be a fun way to spark life into your current savings or help you get started.
What Is The 100 Envelope Challenge?
Can you close your eyes and imagine being $5,050 richer in just 100 days? While this 100-day envelope challenge is difficult, it can also be fun.
Saving money is always a good idea because it allows you to spend money when you need it, rather than having to borrow it from someone else. When you save money, you can also reduce your debt, which is a great feeling. If you want to become rich, then focus on investing your savings instead of spending them.
Saving money is a good idea for several reasons. First, if you save money, you’ll have extra cash to spend on yourself or give to charity. Second, you’ll have money saved up for emergencies such as car repairs, medical bills, or unexpected expenses. Finally, and most importantly, you’ll be able to start setting money aside for retirement.
How The Envelope Challenge Works
If money management isn’t your strong point, this challenge might be right for you due to its simplicity.
For this 100 day challenge, you start with 100 envelopes that are all currently empty. Write one number on each, starting at 1 and going up to 100.
Every day you do the envelope money challenge, you pull out a random envelope. Whatever number is on that single envelope is the amount of cash you put into it. Once your 100 days are up, your cash envelopes will total $5,050 in savings! You can use the spare cash for separate savings, extra cash towards a financial goal, or paying down credit cards.
How Long Does The Envelope Challenge Take?
The 100-day envelope challenge obviously takes 100 days to complete. That usually breaks down to 14 to 15 weeks or 3.5 months.
You can choose other time frames if they so suit you. For example, you can do a challenge variation where you make it a 52-week challenge, or you could do just weekdays, so it takes longer.
If you have a specific goal in mind, you can make this a savings jar challenge where you make it whatever number week challenge you need or want. This money-saving trick can be a weekly money challenge of any length you decide. You’re the one that’s doing it, so make it yours.
What Is The Day Money Challenge?
The 100-day money challenge is a version of the broader day money challenge. You still number and fill envelopes in the hopes of finding more financial freedom by the end of it, but you can decide how many days you want to do it. Some people starting out might only do 30 or 40 days, for example, just to get something going.
It’s all about changing your money habits for the positive, so the actual numbers involved may not be that important. Hopefully, what it does is lead you to a solid savings plan in the future.
How Much Money Do You Get From The Envelope Challenge?
If you do the original 100-day challenge as intended, then you’ll wind up with a savings potential of $5,050 when it’s all said and done. Even the best budget planner out there would be proud of that accomplishment. That’s enough to possibly invest in a mutual fund, certificate of deposit, money market account, or dividend stocks. You can use your savings to start generating some passive income.
Alternatively, you can just use it immediately to wipe out high-interest debt or your credit card debt. In addition, any budget category that needs money can be taken care of with an automatic transfer after you deposit that money in your bank account.
Step-by-Step Guide To Do The 100 Envelope Challenge
Get started with this challenge in nine easy steps:
- Get Envelopes: Purchase a bunch of envelopes. You need 100 of them, they need to be empty, and they need to be big enough to hold cash bills. They might also need to be durable enough to hold coins.
- Write the Numbers: Number every envelope starting at 1 and ending at 100.
- Store Them: Get a container to store your envelopes. An empty shoe box works well, but you can use a basket or anything you like.
- Shuffle Them: You don’t have to shuffle your numbered envelopes like cards, but you do need to randomize them, so you don’t know what number you will pull each day. The surprise makes it fun.
- Pick a Daily Envelope: Once a day, choose one empty envelope without looking. Don’t cheat by picking an envelope with a number you think you can handle that day.
- Insert the Money: Regardless of the number, get that amount in cold hard cash and seal it inside the envelope.
- Set the Envelope Aside: Whether it’s the back of your box of envelopes or a different box entirely, keep your envelopes with cash together. A divider is helpful if you use the same box. You can also just put filled envelopes upside down.
- Track Your Progress: Whether it’s a digital spreadsheet, printable trackers or just pen and paper, track your savings thus far to stay motivated to continue to the end.
- Finish: When you run out of empty money envelopes, you’re going to have $5,050 more than you did when you started. Congratulations!
What You Need To Do the Envelope Challenge
This challenge doesn’t require much in the ways of supplies, but you need a few things.
A Stack Of Envelopes
Save money by getting plain white envelopes without the privacy interiors. Only you should be using them anyway. Colored envelopes might be fun, though.
The numbers you write on the envelopes should be easily visible, so you immediately know how much cash to put in each envelope per day.
Something to keep all your envelopes organized makes this much more secure. You might even want to decorate the container and envelopes with stickers for more fun.
Pros And Cons Of The Envelope Challenge
The envelope challenge is supposed to be fun and productive. Yet, like anything, it has potential pros and cons you should weigh before you do it.
The strong points include:
- A simple method of saving cash fast.
- Access your money easily.
- Stop and then restart the challenge if your money circumstances change.
- Make saving money a habit.
Potential drawbacks might include:
- Serious motivation is necessary to see this to the end.
- You might overlook the box if it’s not in plain sight.
- Some days you may not have enough cash for your envelope.
- Keeping excess cash lying around might be a theft or security risk.
- You need to buy the envelopes.
How To Do The Envelope Saving Challenge Digitally
You don’t have to do this with actual cash. That idea turns some people off for two reasons:
- Having up to $5,050 in cash lying around makes them nervous.
- Many people don’t even carry cash anymore.
So, why not do it digitally? Then, you save even more money by not buying the envelopes from the get-go.
Using Digital Envelopes
The digital version could follow these steps:
- Download or print a tracker chart.
- Create a separate bank account for your envelope amounts to transfer into.
- Use a random number generator to roll your numbers. Here is a free number tracker to use.
- Transfer the money from that number unless you already marked it off your tracking sheet.
- Keep going each day until you fill in your whole chart.
Envelope Challenge Math
Here are some fun math facts you can entertain friends and family with while you do the challenge:
- Finishing the first 10 envelopes saves $55.
- Completing the first 25 envelopes saves you $325.
- Completing half the envelopes will save $1,275.
- Completing Three-quarters of the envelopes will save $2,850.
- The weekly minimum for random envelopes would be $28.
- The weekly maximum for random envelopes would be $679.
These numbers and tidbits might just help you maintain your motivation, even if they don’t get others doing it, too.
Is The Envelope Challenge Suitable For Everyone?
Everyone should be saving money for the future, but that doesn’t mean the envelope challenge is suitable for everyone.
Who Should Do The Envelope Challenge?
Consider this challenge if you:
- Have extra money laying around when you pay the essential monthly bills
- Are personally challenged by money management and want to get better
- Have yet to set a saving goal that you actually meet even with money left over
- Don’t have debt or high-interest debt
- Want to make a new money savings habit while having fun
Who Should Not Do the Envelope Challenge?
Alternatively, the envelope challenge might not be a great idea if you:
- Are currently living from one paycheck to the next
- Your budget is tight and not because of reckless spending
- Feel anxiety about money due to more expenses than income
- Have irregular monthly income
- Stress over pulling a high-number envelope
Just remember that you can also reduce the number of days in your challenge or even pause and resume it as need be.
Can I Do The Envelope Challenge In Six Months Instead?
Six months usually has around 180 days, so you can certainly spread your days out to last for half of a year instead of getting it all done in under four months—some people like taking weekends off from this and only doing it on weekdays.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Something as novel as this always has questions that come up a lot.
How Much Money Do You Get From The 100 Envelope Challenge?
If you label the envelopes with every number between 1 and 100, and if you actually fill each envelope with the right amount and never spend the ones you already did, then you’ll total up to $5,050 with the 100 envelopes money-saving challenge. That’s impressive!
How Much Do You Save With The 200 Envelope Challenge?
Some people enjoy doing 200-envelope challenges. If you do it the same way as the 100 days, you can save up to $20,100 in about seven months.
How Much Do You Save With The 50 Envelope Challenge?
Others take it smaller to keep it more manageable and do just a 50-day challenge. However, they still save up $1,275 with the 50-envelope money challenge.
Key Takeaways About the 100-Day Envelope Challenge
You wouldn’t be the first person to skip to the end of a page and read the conclusion at the end just to decide if the content was worth reading in the first place. That’s okay, and it’s also smart. Your time is precious.
- The 100-day money-saving challenge involves saving money in 100 paper envelopes over a period of time of three or more months.
- If you go all the way to the end, you’ll save $5,050 of your own cash and money.
- Even though it’s a challenge, it’s a fun way to start making saving money a habit.
- It’s great to do if you have additional funds left at the end of each month once bills are paid, but you aren’t using your extra income wisely.
- It might not be a great fit if your income isn’t steady or your bills are more than your expenses.
- If you are worried about having that much cash lying around, you can always do it digitally.