1p challenge

How to save £670 in 2020 with the 1p Savings Challenge

The New Year's often a time many resolve to start regularly setting some cash aside – but it's not always easy to find a savings method that works for you.

Sometimes it feels like everyone else around you is just super-disciplined and you can't help falling behind. Even if you're not saving for something huge like a house deposit, but just want to build up a pot of money to pay for a holiday or an unexpected maintenance on your car, saving can be a real challenge.

To help, many of our Forumites share their favourite saving methods on the MSE Forum – and one of the most popular is the 1p Savings Challenge. It's a clever 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.

Each day you save what you saved the day before, plus a penny more. So you start by saving 1p, then 2p, then 3p a day – right the way up to £3.66 by the end of December 2020. (Yes, it's a leap year, so you've 366 days to save...)

If you start on 1 January, then by 31 December 2020 you'll have saved a grand total of £671.61.

How you can take part

MSE Forumite elsiepac has set up this year's challenge on the forum. 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 (which includes 366 days for the leap year). Simply download or print off the table, and tick off one box per day.

There are a few ways of actually stashing your cash:

  • Put coins in a jar. The simplest option is just putting loose change each day into a piggy bank or sealed jar, though you may find by the end of the year you will need quite a lot of loose change each day if you're tracking your cash in increasing numerical order.

  • Save via your bank account automatically. Some banks such as Monzo (which is a big advocate of the challenge) allow you to transfer increasing amounts automatically using the free web service IFTTT, which stands for "If This Then That". It's a piece of software which connects apps to trigger pre-programmed functions. See more on how Monzo lets you do this.

  • Manually transfer the cash into a savings account. You could do this online, though you'll have to log in every day to do it, and you'll need to check your bank allows you to transfer very small amounts (those we checked, such as HSBC and RBS, do). Warning – you may find this ends up being quite laborious...

However you do it, once you've saved the amount each day don't forget to tick the relevant box on the savings tracker. That way, if you accidentally miss a day you'll be able to spot it and make up the difference.

How to adapt the challenge

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 structure of the challenge doesn't work for you, why not adapt it?

For some, starting in January may feel a bit tough after the expense of Christmas (and remember, 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.

You could even just use it as a way of emptying loose change from your pockets and purse at the end of each day, and mark off that figure on the tracker in no particular order.

While it might defeat the object of it being a daily challenge, some prefer to save weekly or monthly instead. If so, tot up how much you'll need to save in that period. Or why not adjust the challenge for yourself by setting up an equal standing order payment into a savings account each month? 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!). It may lack the excitement of a daily savings challenge – but the important thing is you're still saving...

Share with us how you get on – and help inspire others

You can find the sheet to print and download below:

The 1p Savings Challenge

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. You can keep us posted via our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – or leave a comment below.