How to save £671.61 in 2024 with the 1p Savings Challenge
The New Year's often a time when many people resolve to start regularly setting some cash aside – but it's not always easy to find a savings method that works for you.
To help, many of our Forumites regularly share their favourite saving methods on the MSE Forum – and one of the most popular is the 1p Savings Challenge. It's a clever, fun and relatively painless way to amass a surprising sum, and even if you don't follow the challenge to the letter, it's a great prompt to get you thinking about your savings and what you can afford to put aside. For help with the basics, see our Top Savings Accounts guide.
How it works in a nutshell
Scores of people take part in the 1p Savings Challenge every year, and the idea's pretty straightforward.
You start by saving 1p on 1 January, then 2p on 2 January, then 3p on 3 January and so on – saving what you saved the day before, plus a penny more each day – right the way up to £3.66 saved on the last day of December.
Now, usually the 31st December is the 365th day of the year, making it £3.65 to save that day, which gives you a total of £667.95. But every four years, MoneySavers find themselves caught up in the cycle of the sun, and as a result should add an extra £3.66 to their pot when there’s a leap year to account for the extra day – like in 2024. So – with all that being said – if you started on 1 January 2024, then by 31 December 2024 you'll have saved a grand total of £671.61. Got it? Good.
What if I didn't start right at the beginning of the year?
You can simply catch up by adding together the totals of each day you missed – so if you joined in on 5 January, you could put 15p in your pot, then save 6p the following day. Likewise, if you started on 20 January you could add £2.10 on your first day, and then resume the challenge as normal on 21 January, when you'd save 21p.
How to save for this challenge in 2024
MSE Forumite enthusiasticsaver has set up 2024's 1p challenge on the forum. And to make it even easier for people to join in – whether you're an experienced MoneySaver or a newbie to forum challenges – we've created our own version of the 1p Savings Challenge tracker. Simply download or print off the table, and tick off one box per day.
There are a few ways to play and watch your dough grow:
1. The literal approach – a jar. If you use cash, the challenge is traditionally done by putting loose change into a piggybank or sealed jar each day. However, we know many people use cash and coins far less now, especially since the pandemic, so below are ways you can do this online.
2. The more realistic approach – transfer the cash. Manually transfer the cash into a savings account via online banking, in small amounts if your bank allows, or monthly amounts. You'll need to check first if your bank lets you transfer small amounts, eg, HSBC allows you to build up from 1p each day. To do it that way, you'd have to log in to your account every day, which could be quite laborious.
So while it might defeat the object of it being a daily challenge, you could put away the month's total in one go if you prefer. If so, we've totted up how much you'll need to save in that period:
If you want to reverse the order of the challenge (more on that later) but still want to put away the month's total in one go, here’s the order in which you’d need to save the cash in:
Alternatively, you could split it equally over 12 months and set up a standing order if you wish. In this case, you'll need to set aside £55.97 a month (that's a rounded-up figure for 12 equal instalments, meaning you get an extra 3p during the challenge if you use this method – don't spend it all at once!).
3. Bank with Monzo? Set it up so it saves for you automatically. Monzo (which is a big advocate of the challenge) does all the hard work for you and allows you to transfer increasing amounts automatically into a separate virtual 'pot'. It does this on a daily basis and lets you transfer tiny amounts, using the free web service IFTTT, which stands for 'If This Then That'. See more on how Monzo lets you do this.
How to adapt the challenge if you're skint or flush
While the concept is simple, what's really important here is that you're thinking about saving and trying to set some money aside – so if the traditional structure of the challenge doesn't work for you, why not adapt it?
You could just use it as a way of emptying loose change from your pockets and mark off that figure on the tracker in no particular order. Have a dig down the back of the sofa, coat pockets and old handbags too!
For some, starting in January may feel a bit tough after any Christmas expenses (plus it's usually best to pay off debts before you save – see our Repay Debts or Save? guide for full help). If so, you can join in later on in the year – our Forumites always welcome new members to challenges. Alternatively, you could reverse the order if you're feeling unexpectedly flush, so you start by saving £3.66 on 1 January, meaning you'll only have to put aside 1p on 31 December.
Which brings us on to some exciting news… this adaptation of the challenge has been so popular with our MoneySavers that we found ourselves inundated with requests for a reverse ordered tracker during 2023! Well ask and you shall receive, our pretty-penny MoneySavers. You can now find a reverse version of the challenge tracker on the second page of the PDF. Just select which page you would like to print using your phone or your computer’s settings.
Share with us how you get on – and help inspire others
You can find this year's sheet (both normal and reversed) to print and download below:
To take part with other Forumites, you can add your name to the forum thread. Some of us here at MSE Towers are giving it a go too, so please join us and let us know how you get on. Keep us posted via our social channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – or leave a comment below.
MSE Molly: The 1p challenge funded my new carpets!
I’ve mixed up my savings habits over the years, but by far my biggest success whilst taking part in the 1p Challenge happened in 2021. I decided to complete the challenge alongside my husband (then fiancé), adding both our challenge earnings to the same pot. Transferring the full monthly amount to a separate online pot each payday meant that by December 1, we’d saved up the exact amount needed to pay for our new carpets, in full.
Completing the challenge alone saved me £667.95 across the full year, so between the two of us we saved £1,335.90 over the 12 months. If you can afford to take part, do give it a go. In practice, it requires minimal effort, but can offer great peace of mind knowing you have a bit of a cash buffer the following new year. Look at it as a future present to yourself! Full permission to say 'Thanks past-me!' on January 1 2025!