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100 Envelope Challenge: What It Is & How It Saves You $5000

With millions of views, the 100 envelope money-saving challenge that went viral on TikTok is helping people save $5,050 in just 100 days. Whether you want to pay off debt, build your emergency savings fund, or take a vacation, this challenge could help you crush your goal.

While TikTokers love to use bedazzled envelopes, you don’t need to spend money on fancy stationery — use whatever you have available to start saving! Here’s how to join this viral challenge and save over $5,000 in the next three months.

How does the 100 envelope challenge work?

The 100 envelope challenge is easy to set up. All you need is 100 envelopes numbered 1 through 100.

Each day, you pick an envelope and fill it with the amount of cash corresponding to its number. You put $1 into envelope #1, $2 into envelope #2, $3 into envelope #3, and so on.

If you want to start small, you can fill up the envelopes in order from 1 to 100. Keep in mind, though, that the final weeks of the challenge will require putting aside more money than in the first few weeks.

Alternatively, you can shuffle the envelopes, throw them in a bucket, and pick one randomly each day. That way, you can alternate between low and high cash amounts throughout the challenge.

If you fill up one envelope per day, you’ll complete the challenge in 100 days or just over three months.

Of course, saving $5,050 in 100 days isn’t possible for everyone. If you struggle to make ends meet, you can always adjust the challenge to fit your budget. That can mean filling up two envelopes per week instead of one envelope per day. You’re still working toward your savings goal — it just will take a little longer to reach.

How much money is in the 100 envelope challenge?

After completing the 100 envelope challenge, you’ll have saved $5,050. Each envelope will have a certain amount of cash, from 1 to 100.

When you add all the envelopes together — $100 + $99 + 98 + $97, and so on, all the way down to $1 — the total amount comes out to $5,050.

If you were to save the same amount each day for 100 days, you’d need to set aside $50.50 per day to hit that sum.

Is cash the best way to do the envelope challenge?

The 100 envelope challenge takes an old-school saving approach with envelopes and cash. But you can complete this savings challenge digitally if you prefer.

For instance, you could download a 100 envelope challenge printable that’s numbered from 1 to 100. Check off the “envelopes” in order or use an online number generator to pick a random number each day.

Once you’ve selected your envelope number, transfer that amount to your savings account. This online approach is more practical to using cash in a couple of ways. For one, saving a large amount of cash can be risky, as you could misplace it or lose it in a flood, fire, or burglary.

Second, cash doesn’t earn interest, so it will lose value each year due to inflation. If you stash your money in a high-yield savings account instead, you could earn interest each year.

If using envelopes and cash is more motivating to you, by all means, use that approach. But once you’ve completed the money saving challenge, consider depositing that cash in a high-yield savings account to keep it safe and help it grow over time.

Open a Chime high-yield savings account and take advantage of Automatic Savings features to reach your goals faster.1

How to reduce spending for a money-saving challenge

The 100-day envelope savings challenge is no cakewalk. While it might be pretty easy to fill up envelopes 1 through 10, you could have a tougher time with envelopes 50 through 100.

To hit your goal, consider ways to reduce your spending. Here are a few ideas that could help:

  • Opt for groceries over restaurants. The costs of eating out and ordering delivery can add up fast. Cooking at home and meal prepping at the start of each week could lead to significant savings. If you tend to eat out with friends, find out if they’d be open to a potluck dinner at one of your homes.
  • Cancel pricey subscriptions or memberships. Make a list of what you pay for streaming services, the gym, and other monthly expenses. Consider whether there are any you can cut, even if it’s just temporary, while you do the 100 envelope challenge.
  • Find free activities where you live. Check your local newsletter or city website for no-cost events that won’t make a dent in your wallet. Visiting parks, hiking on trails, and picnicking are all affordable ways to have fun.

It can also help to create a budget to track your income and expenses. Getting a bird’s-eye view of your finances can help you identify areas where you overspend and opportunities to cut back.

Other money savings challenges you can do

While the 100 envelope challenge is sweeping TikTok, it’s not the only money savings challenge you can try. Here are two others worth exploring, especially if you want to start small before committing to the 100-day challenge.

30-day savings challenge

The 30-day savings challenge works similarly to the 100-day challenge, except it spans 30 days. You’ll gather 30 envelopes and number them 1 through 30.

Each day, you’ll save the amount indicated on the envelope you choose. You could go in order or shuffle the envelopes and randomly select one.

After 30 days, you’ll have saved a total of $465. As with the 100 envelope challenge, you could complete a digital version of this money challenge rather than storing cash in envelopes.

365-day penny challenge

If you want to start smaller, consider the 365-day penny challenge. For this challenge, you’ll need a big jar and a whole lot of pennies.

You’ll put one penny in the jar on Day 1, two pennies on Day 2, and so on until you’re putting 365 pennies on the last day of the year. (Of course, you could start using larger denominations as long as you’re putting in the correct amount).

After a year of saving, you’ll have a total savings of $667.95. Scraping together pennies can add up as long as you stay consistent.

FAQs

How much money is in the 100 envelope challenge?

The 100 envelope challenge helps you save $5,050 in 100 days.

How can I save $5000 in 3 months with 100 envelopes?

You can save over $5,000 in just over three months with the 100 envelope challenge. It works like this: Gather 100 envelopes and number them from 1 to 100. Each day, fill up one envelope with the amount of cash corresponding to the number on the envelope. You can fill up the envelopes in order or pick them at random. After you’ve filled up all the envelopes, you’ll have a total savings of $5,050.

How does the 100 envelope challenge work?

The 100 envelope challenge has you fill up 100 envelopes with cash over 100 days. You’ll number each envelope from 1 to 100 and fill each with the amount that matches its number. You can go in order or pick a random envelope each day.

How long does it take to do the 100 envelope challenge?

It takes 100 days to do the 100 envelope challenge if you fill up one envelope each day. If this timeline doesn’t work for you, however, you can stretch it out over a longer period of time. You’ll still hit your savings goal eventually — it will just take longer than 100 days.

How can I save $1000 in 30 days?

To save $1,000 in 30 days, you’ll need to save about $33.33 per day. Hitting this goal might require lifestyle changes, such as cooking at home more, canceling expensive subscriptions or memberships, or switching to generic products rather than brand names.

If you can increase your income through a side gig, that extra income could also help you meet your savings goal.

Saving money is worthwhile, whatever your approach

If you want to build your emergency fund, take a trip, or save for another goal, these money-saving challenges can help. It can motivate you to progress toward your goal and save money daily.

Finding ways to reduce your spending and boost your income can empower you to hit your savings goals even faster. If you’re inspired to pump up your savings even more, check out these other money savings challenges.

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