How To Rock The 100 Envelope Money Challenge

Have you ever wanted to save money? Well, now is your chance! The 100 envelope challenge can be a fun and simple way for you to find ways how you can save more every day.

You can try it with all your friends and family, or do it solo, if you’re feeling brave enough!

It takes the idea of having a daily target to save money and, using 100 envelopes, turns it into a real challenge. A challenge where you are never quite sure what it will be on any given day, until you pull your daily envelope out.

What is the 100 envelope challenge?

The 100 Envelope Challenge is a personal finance challenge that involves saving money by, well, saving money! The goal of the challenge is to save $5,050 in envelopes by the end of 100 days using only one envelope for each day.

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How Does The 100 Envelope Challenge actually Work?

This all sounds very simple and it is! One envelope a day for 100 days. But you have to be honest with yourself about what your budget is and your ability to save money for 100 days straight.

If you want to take part in the 100 Envelope Challenge, the first step is to get yourself 100 envelopes. On each envelope, write a number from 1-100.

To start your money challenge you pick an envelope at random and put the amount of money from that envelope inside of it and stash it away somewhere safe. E.g. if you pick envelope number 37 then place $37 inside.

This challenge works by picking an envelope at random every day for 100 days until you fill all the envelopes. When you successfully do this you will have saved $5,050.

Tools needed to organize your 100 day envelope challenge

To be successful with your challenge there are a few supplies you’re going to need. Nothing fancy but being organized makes the challenge easier and making it colorful and arty makes it more of a pleasure.

Pile of colored envelopes splayed out in a semi fan to illustrate the 100 envelope challenge.

Why should I do the 100 day envelope challenge?

The 100 envelope challenge is an exercise that helps you save money quickly and effectively. It involves saving $5,000 in less than 4 months.

Many people have said it helped them more money than they thought possible because it allowed them to see the impact of their savings on a daily basis.

Who shouldn’t do the 100-day money challenge?

Some people may be better off not doing the 100-day money challenge. The challenge is difficult for those who struggle with saving money, as the challenge means putting aside a good amount of money each and every day.

It can also be overwhelming for you if you are struggling to manage your finances, as there is no limit to how much you have to save each day.

If you don’t get paid in cash then the challenge is that much harder as it will require regular withdrawals of cash in order to fill your envelopes.

How Much Money Do You Save With the 100 Envelope Challenge?

If you follow the original 100 day money saving challenge and successfully complete it then you will save $5040 in 100 days. Now that could be a huge stretch for you but if you achieve it, wow! What a great achievement it is.

Downsides to the 100 Envelope Money Challenge

Drawbacks to the 100-day money challenge are that it is too hard for some people, especially those on a low income or with high outgoings.

You cannot earn interest on the money in the envelopes so you’re effectively losing a little money each day.

And finally, it’s a lot of money to come up with day after day, so you find it difficult to keep going for the full 100 days.

100 envelope challenge: is it for me?

Many people have tried the TikTok 100 envelope challenge to see if they can save money. However, not everyone can do this. The key is that you must have the motivation to save money, then this challenge might be for you.

It’s a great way to motivate yourself and create an emergency fund, pay down debt or take a vacation.

This technique will help you do all of these things within a very short space of time.

The 100-day challenge is an excellent tool for saving, but wanting to do it and having enough money to do it are two different things.

Accepting the challenge doesn’t make you bank balance any better or worse. You still need to be able to afford to save this kind of money if you really cut back on spending.

100 envelope money saving challenge tracker pdf

Grab your free 100 envelope challenge printable tracker and loads more money saving printables from the free resource library – subscribe below

Tips to Increase Savings with the 100 envelope challenge

If you’re worried you wouldn’t be able to afford two high numbers in one week e.g. 76 and 89 then split your 100 envelopes into 2 piles. 1-50 and 51-100.

Pulling an envelope from each pile means you won’t get hit with 2 very high numbered envelopes. This makes sticking with the challenge more feasible.

There’s nothing to stop you from switching the envelopes you have pulled for another one if it’s the day before payday and money is tight. Just remember that each money envelope needs to be picked and filled in order to complete the challenge.

You could complete a progress chart and place it somewhere that you will see it always so you’re able to keep track of how far along you are in your challenge.

You can make this challenge more fun by making it public and engaging with others who are also doing the challenge.

FAQs

How can I save 5000 a year with envelopes?

You can vary this challenge to hit your $5000 in a year money challenge. Keep the 100 envelopes but pick just 2 a week instead of one every day. In 50 weeks you will have saved $5040.

How can I save $5,000 in 6 months with envelopes?

Again, alter this 100 envelope money saving challenge to suit your goal. To save $5,000 in 6 months you will need to pick and fill 4 envelopes a week for 25 weeks. Goal achieved.

How can I save $10,000 a year with envelopes?

Saving 10k in a year is a big goal but it can be done with envelopes for sure. This time, instead of 100 envelopes, you will need 200 envelopes – basically a duplicate set of envelopes numbered 1-100.

Pick and fill 4 envelopes a week successfully and you will achieve your goal in 50 weeks – saving $10,080 in a year.

How can I save $10000 in 100 days?

Phew, this is a HUGE goal and you definitely need a big income to achieve this. But again, you can use the envelope challenge to save $10000 in 100 days.

The difference is you number your 100 envelopes from 2-200 in twos. So the first envelope is 2, the second is 4, 6, 8 and so on until you hit 200 on the 100th envelope.

You then follow the same process of randomly picking and filling an envelope each and every day for 100 days. On the 100th day you will have save $10000.

Small pile of colored envelopes with male hand holding a pencil.

The maths of the 100 day envelope challenge explained

It sounds simple enough, 100 envelopes numbered 1-100 and you fill one each day.

But you need to take a little time to do the math to make sure the 100 envelope challenge total in any given week or month is practical given your overall budget.

Examples of the 1-100 envelope challenge total that can happen:

  • Day 1 – you pull envelope number 4 = $4 saved
  • Day 2 – you pull envelope number 7 = $7 saved
  • Day 3 – you pull envelope number 13 = $13 saved

In 3 days your total saved is $24 – easy peasy you might think. But what happens if you pull the following envelopes instead?

  • Day 1 – you pull envelope number 99 = $99 saved
  • Day 2 – you pull envelope number 93 = $93 saved
  • Day 3 – you pull envelop number 98 = $98 saved

In 3 days you are now trying to stuff $290 into envelopes. Painful!

If your budget does not stretch to this kind of cash saving on a daily basis then chose a variation from below or make up your own.

You could do a 100 envelope challenge twice a week. You could stretch the 100 envelope challenge to 6 months, 12 months or longer. Your money, your choices.

How you can do the 100 day money envelope challenge digitally

Follow the 100 envelope challenge process of having numbered envelopes and picking one each day. You need tohave or set up a separate savings account that is ring fenced for this challenge.

Instead of filling each envelope with the cash sum required, have a separate bank account that you will transfer money into digitally.

For example, if the envelope you have picked is no.53 then instead of putting $53 of cash into the envelope, transfer $53 into your savings account. Do the same each day, transfering money digitally instead of stuffing wads of cash into envelopes at home.

The plus side to doing a digital challenge is there is no need to find an ATM and withdraw cash on a regualr basis. It also means you won’t have up to $5040 hanging around the house as you near the end of the challenge.

100 day envelope challenge printable tracker chart pdf

Grab your free 100 envelope money saving challenge printable chart and loads more money saving printables from the free resource library – subscribe below

100 day envelope savings challenge Variations

If the original 100 envelope money saving challenge doesn’t float your boat then why not try one of the variations below?

10k in 100 days envelope challenge

You need deep pockets and a large income to even attempt the 10k in 100 days envelope challenge. You still pick and fill an envelope every day but the envelopes are numbered 2-200, even numbers only, i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8 and on to the 100th envelope is marked 200.

Follow the same process of randomly picking an envelope each day and filling it with cash.

However! I strongly suggest you follow the digital version for this because 10k is way too much money to have lying around in cash in your house.

Pick the envelopes as usual but then transfer the money from your checking account to a separate savings account you have set aside for this one challenge. On the 100th day you make your final money transfer and your balance will hit $10,000.

For a different 10k savings challenge check out my post on how to save 10000 in a year.

100 envelope 52 week challenge

This variation is not quite as painful as the challenge above. Saving 10k in a year can be doable for many more people if you really put your mind to it.

Use the same 100 envelopes marked 2-200. Pick and fill two envelopes a week. After 50 weeks (you can have a 2 week vacation from the challenge if you want!) you will have saved $10,000. Again, I strongly urge you to consider doing this challenge digitally.

For more year long challenges you could try check out my post on the best 52 week money challenges.

100 envelope challenge $10,000

This challenge is flexible. Basically, you have 100 envelopes and you want to save $10,000. Your envelopes are numbered 2-200 (even numbers only) but the timescale is entirely down to you. 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or longer, the choice is yours.

100 envelope challenge weekly

Prefer to keep things simple and save something each week instead if each day? Then why not create a weekly challenge for yourself. You can still use the same 100 envelopes.

It would be a 2 year challenge at one envelope a week. Alternatively you could drop down to 50 envelopes so still a weekly envelope to fill but for one year not two.

Pastel colored envelopes stacked upright

100 envelope challenges for tight cash budgets

If you are trying to live on one income and/or have a tight budget then the idea of saving $5,000 or $10,000 in 100 days is going to be a complete non-starter.

That’s doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a 100 day challenge. You just need to create one that fits your individual circumstances. Not too easy but not beyond difficult.

After all, if you’re on a low income you might not even have $1000 a month after just paying your essential and fixed bills.

  • You could have envelopes numbers 0.5 – 50.
  • Or envelopes numbers 1-20 and 5 sets of them. i.e. you have 5 envelopes numbered 1, 5 of them numbered 2 and so on.
  • You could even have some envelopes numbered 0 to give yourself a random day off!

Choose your savings goal then create 100 envelopes with numbers that add up to your goal total.

custom money saving challenges for low income families

When you’re a low income family or a singleton, the idea of saving $100 in a week can be a big ask. This doesn’t mean you cannot challenge yourself.

Make the challenge appropriate to your financial situation right now. In future years you might well be doing the 100 day money challenge.

Today, it could be the penny challenge or the $5 challenge.

If you want an envelope challenge then create one that means you will be stretched but not left with no money for food. You have to be realistic with challenges. Because you want to achieve them.

Your envelope challenge might be for 100 days, for 6 months or 52 weeks. work backwards to create your challenge. Start with the total you want to save then divide that total by 100 – this gives you 100 envelopes with the exact same amount.

Switch it up a bit by choosing different, random amounts. The only proviso is that the 100 envelopes add up to your target total.

Brightly colored envelopes spread out neatly.

Is there a 100 envelope challenge app?

There are plenty of TikTok’ers who have done this challenge but right now there is no 100 day envelope money challenge app that you can download or use to track progress.

Doing the digital version gives you a clearer view of your progress as your savings account balance will be increasing. Likewise if you use a printable tracker LINK then you can color in your progress each day.

Free printable 100 envelope challenge chart trackers

If you’re not doing the digital version, or even if you are, having a printable 100 envelope challenge tracker that you can use to track your progress is fun.

It makes it visible, you can have fun coloring it in with different colors and track your progress. Download your free printable 100 envelope challenge pdf from my resource library.

There are two free 100 envelope challenge pdfs for you to use. One is ready to go and numbered 1-100. The second is blank. Ideal for you to use with one of the challenge variations above.

Grab your free 100 envelope challenge printable tracker and loads more money saving printables from the free resource library – subscribe below

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

Pinterest image of the 100 envelope challenge for money savers.
Pinterest image of the 100 envelope challenge for money savers.

Last Updated on 11th October 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

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