How to automatically save $1,000 in a year


How can you save $1,000 in just 1 year?

You can save $1,000 a year by saving $20 a week. Setup an automatic transfer of $20 from your checking account into your savings account to occur every Friday.

save $1,000 a year by saving $20 every week for 52 weeks

Why is this better than other ways of saving?

I’m sure you’ve seen this “Money Saving Chart” picture being thrown around social media before.

How to automatically save $1,000 in a year 1
WARNING: This is a bad example on how to save money

If not, it’s just a simple chart broken up into 52 squares (to represent the 52 weeks of the year) with a random number assigned in each square.

The idea is that each week, you will select one of the squares, and that’s the amount of money you will save for that week, then cross that square off. The next week, you will select a different square and save that amount.

If you’re able to follow this “plan” through each week, by the time you cross off all 52 squares, you will have saved exactly $1,000.

Why this chart doesn’t work

There are a couple things wrong with this chart.

First, it’s not consistent. One week it expects you to save $51 dollars, while another week you only have to save $6.

On one hand, it’s nice to have this flexibility to pick and choose what amount of money you want to save any given week. For those of you that live paycheck-to-paycheck, this is probably very useful.

On the other hand, this is the exact reason why you’re not saving money in the first place! You go week by week paying all your bills and all of your expenses, then decide how much you can save after the fact. You have the wrong mindset about saving money, which is why you can’t save money.

The other problem with this chart is that it requires you to actually remember to follow through with this for 52 straight weeks.

This may sound harsh, but let’s be honest for a moment. You suck at following a plan. You are not very good at following through with plans. How’s that New Year’s Resolution coming along?

Do you really expect yourself to follow through with this?

Every single week, you have to go and find this piece of paper, pull it out, pick a square, login to your bank account, transfer that money from your checking account to your savings account, cross off that square, put the chart back in your folder, and remember to do it again next week. (Worse yet if you don’t do online banking, you’d have to drive to your bank once a week to accomplish this!)

Chances are, you will either give up and/or forget about doing this, or you’ll lose your handy-dandy chart and not care to continue printing a new one off.

So how should you save $1,000 a year?

The best way to make sure you actually save $1,000 a year, is to make the transfer consistent and automatic.

Setup a weekly automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account

That’s it. Login to your online bank account (or drive to your bank if you don’t use online banking, but honestly, it’s 2021, just use online banking), and setup an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account to occur every week on Thursday.

How much to transfer every week? Well, if you want to save $1,000, then you will need to transfer $20 every week (20 * 52 = $1,040).

Can you afford to save $1,000 a year?

Now, you must be really conscience of what’s going on here, because you don’t want to get to the end of the month and catch yourself needing to transfer money back into your checking from your savings.

With this plan, you are essentially signing yourself up for a monthly bill of $80/month. Can you afford this? If you truly want to save $1,000 a year, I’m sure you can make it work.

How can you save $20 a week? How much money do you spend at Starbucks to get your mocha-frappa-moneypit? Assuming your average drink at Starbucks is about $5, simply not going there 3 times a week will save you about $15.

Go to the local gas station to get the $1 coffee instead. Instead of going out on your lunch break to grab a McGarbageBurger, start meal prepping to save money and eat healthier.

Could you cut back on smoking, alcohol, or other impulsive buying? Chances are, you can find ways to save an extra $20 every week.

It’s OK to start out small

But maybe you can’t, maybe right now saving an extra $20 a week just isn’t in your budget. That’s completely find. What’s not fine is signing up for the $20/week and backing out later by having to transfer money back into your checking. Instead, understand where you currently are financially and work up from there.

For instance, let’s say you can only afford to save $10/week right now, or even $5. That’s OK, as long as you start somewhere. Setup an automatic transfer for $5 a week.

See how this goes for a few weeks, then try and increase the amount. Move it up to $7.50, then $10. Eventually, you’ll start getting used to having less money in your checking, and will be able to naturally begin saving more money.

To wrap up, I want to recap and leave you with 3 action items to begin right now:

  1. Decide how much money you can start saving every week right now
  2. Setup an automatic bank transfer from your checking account to your savings account to occur every week
  3. Focus on finding ways to spend less money

Adam Allard

Hi, I'm Adam Allard and I'm an avid enthusiast in personal development and personal finance. AADN (AdamAllard.net) is my personal blog where I write about all things personal finance, investments, making money, time management, personal growth, and anything else that's I feel is important to me. If I'm not writing new content for my personal blog, I'm writing content for my technical blog over at PragmaticWays.com. By day I'm a software engineer and write about computer programming topics on my tech blog at PragmaticWays.com.

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