A woman has shared her simple yet effective money-saving challenge that saw her put away £1378 last year.
With the cost of living crisis continuing to rumble on, people are searching for easy ways to stash away more cash.
Recently we learned about the 1p a day method which could help you save over £600 for Christmas 2023.
And now a TikTok user has shared another clever money-stashing hack, which she uses to help boost her savings.
To try the hack, simply get a piece of paper, draw 52 circles (one for each week of the year) with the numbers one to 52 in them.
Then each week you pick a circle filled with an amount of money you can afford to put away, whether it’s £2 or £30, and you repeat this throughout the year, colouring the circles each time you save an amount.
The money-savvy user suggested that if you earn monthly wages, you can work out what you have spare that month and choose four different amounts based on that saving goal, then select one to do each week.
For example, you may find that one month putting away £50 feels doable – so you might set aside £20 in week one, £15 in week two, £10 in week three and £5 in week four of the month to tot up to the £50 total.
Sharing several video clips detailing her progress with the challenge last year, the user explained: "Each week I picked an amount I could do, I found that doing some of the higher numbers earlier on in the year helps as it’s not so close to Christmas then."
While the super-saver said she is using the money from this challenge to fund a holiday abroad, you can use the money you put away towards bills, for Christmas or simply to set aside for when you might need it.
In response to some comments that the current climate might make the challenge difficult for some, the user said that even small amounts can add up.
"It would have to be a pound every week for most people in this day and age," the comment read. "Don’t have a lot left after food, bills, rent, mortgages."
The TikTok user replied: "I totally appreciate that, even a pound each week adds up, each person's circumstances are different."
In a separate video the user explained that you can carry out the challenge whether you get paid weekly or monthly.
Replying to a comment which read: "Can you help with a plan for monthly payments?" she wrote, "So I am the same, I actually get paid every four weeks and I still did this challenge based on my monthly payments.
"So what I would do is see what I have been paid that month, work out what I can afford to spare that month and then choose four different amounts from that, I hope this helps."
Watch: Lidl claims cost of living boost as Christmas sales rise by a quarter
What the experts say
According to Pete Hykin, co-founder at Penfold, these kind of simple money challenges can really motivate people to keep saving.
“One of the key benefits of this method is that it can start small and gradually increase the amount saved each week, making it easier to save more money over time," he explains.
"This can help to prevent people from becoming overwhelmed by the task of saving a large amount of money all at once."
Another benefit is that this method is visually encouraging, as the person can see the progress they're making each week by ticking off the circles they've filled in.
"To get the most out of the hack, one could consider setting a specific savings goal in mind, whether it's a holiday, deposit on a car, or an emergency fund," he adds.
"Setting a goal will give the person a clear objective to work towards, which can provide motivation to stick with the challenge."
It's also important to be realistic about what you can afford to put away each week and to not overcommit yourself.
"Saving should be done in a way that doesn't cause undue stress or strain on your finances,” he adds.
So what is it about money-saving challenges, like the 1p challenge and the 52-week challenge, that make them so effective?
According to Vix Leyton, presenter of money podcast False Economy and consumer expert at Hotukdeals, it's the "gamifying" of saving that is so appealing to those wanting to stash more cash and helps the schemes work.
"Creating what is effectively a reverse advent calendar style game adds a bit of fun, as does a physical manifestation of your goals in the shape of a chart to remind you to keep on track," he explains.
"The 1p savings challenge is also a great way to gradually build good money saving habits. This mindset is a fantastic, low-effort way to springboard into a better way of managing money."
For those looking to make more of an impact, Leyton says apps like Cleo and Plum that can do some calculations for you on how much you can afford to save provide brilliant ‘rainy day’ options.
"With margins as tight as they are, we have never needed these practices more," he adds.