The 100 Envelope Challenge to save £5,050 has taken TikTok by storm, but is it worth a try?
If you want to boost your savings in a year or less then it’s a great way to focus your mind on the goal, as long as this total is realistic for you and your budget.
Savings challenges are a brilliant way to motivate and focus on hitting a target.
Whether you want to save for a holiday, to boost your emergency fund or top up your housing deposit fund it can be both fun and practical.
The 100 Envelope Challenge is grabbing attention thanks to viral TikTok videos and the high amount you can save. If it’s a realistic goal for you, then this could be a great way to boost your savings.
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What is the 100 Envelope Challenge
The 100 Envelope Challenge is a money saving challenge that involves numbering envelopes from 1-100 and filling those envelopes with the corresponding amount in cash.
With any money saving challenge the idea is to get you motivated to save an amount you can actually afford. It can encourage you to cut back on excess spending so that you hit your savings goal.
You will pick two envelopes at random every week so you won’t know how much you need to set aside each time to meet the challenge.
So you could need to save £100 or you could just need to set aside £1 – the mystery is part of the fun!
What is the total amount you can save with the 100 Envelope Challenge?
The goal of the 100 Envelope Challenge is to save £5,050 in less than a year.
That’s a pretty big goal so you will need to figure out first of all if £5,050 is actually a realistic total for you to hit in that time.
Start by calculating whether there’s actually £5,050 going spare in your budget over the course of the entire year.
Now, part of the reason for using a savings challenge is it can make you cut back on unnecessary spending – such as your daily coffee, takeaways, beauty treatments, days out and shopping. However you need to check your budget first to see if when you take these things away you actually will still be able to hit the £5,050 target.
Write down all of your monthly income and outgoings, including large bills coming up such as car MOT or insurance renewals. Now figure out what money you have leftover after your outgoings and see if you will be able to take £5,050 out of that over the course of 12 months.
If you won’t be able to, then look at ways of boosting your income! There are lots of ways you can make a quick gain and earn some extra cash.
How does the 100 Envelope Challenge work?
In order to do the 100 Envelope Challenge you need to take 100 envelopes and label them with numbers 1-100.
Give those envelopes a shuffle and place them at random in a box.
Then you will take one envelope from the box twice a week. Once you’ve picked an envelope place the same number of pounds as is written on the envelope. So if you pick number 62 place £62 in that envelope. If you pick number 4 then place £4 in the envelope and so on.
Pop the filled envelopes into another box and once your challenge is over the amount in all of your envelopes will tally up to £5,050.
One big downside of the challenge is it involves withdrawing cash to make it work. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t carry that much cash around these days. Pretty much everywhere prefers you to pay by card anyway!
You could try doing a virtual version of the challenge, where you transfer the daily amount into a savings account online and keep physical track of your progress with a printable tracker like the free one I have at the end of this post.
Tips for completing the 100 Envelope Challenge
Split the envelopes into high and low amounts
Opening seven high value envelopes in one week may make it tough for you to manage.
You can split the envelopes into two piles of 1-50 and 51-100 and alternate which pile you choose an envelope from each week, or pick from the low pile more than the high pile in weeks when you are struggling.
Remember that if you stick to the low pile only at the beginning you will face large amounts towards the end of the challenge, so try to spread them evenly over the course of the 100 days if you can.
Keep track of your progress
If you are struggling then seeing how far you’ve come can be a real boost.
Write down how much you save each day and add up the totals as you go. Once you see how much you’ve saved after even just a month you will be inspired to keep going.
Use my free challenge tracker, available to download for free at the end of this article, to keep track of how you’re doing.
Don’t start if it isn’t realistic
This may be a lot to save in just under a year, so if you think this is going to be too much or you have big spending pressures coming up then reconsider starting.
There are tons of challenges out there that can help you to get motivated and saving. I have outline 12 of the best money saving challenges in this article.
Cut back on your spending
When looking to change your savings habits, whether long or short term, you’ll probably need to address your spending habits.
Write down a list of everything you spend money on, right down to details such as snacks you buy on the go and day trips.
Now think about which of these are truly necessary and which ones you can cut back on.
You can also take a look at your monthly bills and see where savings could be made. If you have subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix can you cancel them? If you have a contract with a company such as Sky TV you could try negotiating a reduction in your monthly bill. I have a whole article with tips for reducing your Sky bill here.
You can easily earn a little extra money by switching bank accounts, as many banks offer cash incentives for moving your current account over.
There are lots more ways you can cut back on your spending in this article about frugal living.
I have tips to boost your income with side hustles in this article.
Speed up the challenge
If you want to save your £5,050 faster then you could speed up the challenge – if it’s manageable for you.
Try opening three envelopes or more per week instead of just two.
Too much? Try the 50 Envelope Challenge
What if the 100 Envelope Challenge is too much? You can still use this cool savings challenge by cutting it in half.
Take 50 envelopes and label them from 1-50 and open just one a week, and place the corresponding amount in there.
You will save £1,275, which obviously is a lot less than the full 100 Envelope Challenge however it’s still a significant amount to save!
Free 100 Envelope Challenge Tracker Printable
I’ve got a free 100 Envelope Challenge Tracker PDF printable for you to download and use to keep track of your progress!
Simply download and print it off, then on the sheet you need to colour in the envelope that corresponds to the number you have picked.
This helps you to visualise your progress! On the back you could also write down a list of how much you have saved each day and add up the total as you go. This way when it gets tough you can see how far you’ve come!
Final thoughts on the 100 Envelope Challenge
The 100 Envelope Challenge is a fun way to save a good chunk of cash which makes it a great choice if you need to save £5,000 this year.
However you should only embark on it if it’s a realistic target for you or if you can drum up extra cash through side hustles or cutting your spending to be able to meet the savings challenge.
Best of luck with saving £5,050!