The envelope challenge is a great budgeting trick that can easily be used to save varying amounts daily over a 100 day period until, by the end, you’ve saved $5,050!
However, did you know that you can tweak this so that you actually end up saving $10k in 100 days with the envelope challenge?
Keep reading to find out just how to do this – including the possibility of even saving $20k with this strategy to really level up your challenge (not to mention your savings)!
What’s the 100 envelope challenge?
The 100 envelope challenge is a budgeting strategy that encourages participants to save a certain amount of money in 100 days. It works by writing the numbers 1 through 100 on each envelope. You shuffle them and select one at a time each day, depositing the written amount into each envelope.
The benefits of the 100 envelope challenge are that it helps you to save money by setting a budget and sticking to it.
And not only is this method of budgeting effective, but it’s also fun! It encourages you to come up with creative ways of earning money and saving it so that you can reach your goal faster.
One big drawback of the 100 envelope challenge is that it requires a lot of discipline in order to stay on top of your budget and ensure that you are actually saving money. If you fail to fill an envelope with money on one or more days, it can be disheartening and cause you to give up.
Also, not everyone has enough extra money in their budget to allocate for a 100-envelope challenge, so it may not be feasible for some people.
But if you are disciplined enough to follow through with the challenge and you have the financial means to do so, it can be a great way to save money without a bank account and reach your savings goals.
How to save $10k in 100 days with the envelope challenge
1. Take a look at your cash flow
As mentioned above, one of the biggest blocks to save $10k in 100 days with an envelope challenge is that, at the end of the day, you will need to have 10k on hand.
Before you kickstart the challenge, take a look at your cash flow and assets. Is there enough money coming in that you can set aside this amount of money in 100 days?
Make sure all of your financial priorities are met before committing to the challenge. This includes rent, food, utility bills, and anything else that you need to pay on a monthly basis.
You may also be interested in: 43 Ways to Drastically Cut Expenses and Save Serious Money
2. Adjust the 100 envelope challenge for 10k
Since the envelope challenge will save $5,050 in 100 days, you’ll need to double the number of envelopes to hit slightly over your 10k goal, $11,100.
To make the math turn out right, write 1-100 on the first set and 1-100 once again on the second set. If you write 1-200, you’ll end up investing much more money, which may not be in your budget!
You can also adjust the length of time that you’ll be drawing envelopes. You can either draw two envelopes for 100 days or one envelope for 200 days. It will amount to the same total of ten grand.
3. Gather up the supplies you’ll need
Once you’ve determined that you have enough money available to commit to the challenge, it’s time to gather everything you need.
This includes 200 envelopes, a pen or marker, and a container where you’ll place your filled envelopes every day.
4. Have fun with the supplies
This challenge is all about finding a fun approach to saving money, so make sure to decorate your envelopes as creatively as you’d like.
You can use labels, stickers, or purchase colored envelopes to keep yourself engaged.
5. Put your challenge accessories in a visible place
It’s hard, if not impossible, to nurture a habit if you don’t have a consistent reminder.
For this reason, place your envelope challenge accessories in a visible place, like the kitchen counter or your desk. This will help keep you motivated and on track when it comes to filling out each envelope every day.
6. Set reminders
Another way to hold yourself accountable to the challenge is to set reminders. This can be in the form of a calendar, an alarm on your phone, or even a written note sticky-tacked to a wall.
Having reminders will help you stick to your challenge and save $10k in 100 days.
7. Start picking out two envelopes each day
Now you’re ready to get started with the envelope challenge! Each day, take two envelopes out of your container and read the numbers on them. This is the amount of cash you need to put in the envelope.
So if you draw a 20 and 30, add a $50 bill to the envelope. You may want to draw your envelope early in the day to make sure you have time to grab cash from the bank if you don’t have it on hand.
Don’t like the idea of needing to get exact change for cash? An alternative approach is to instead send the exact amount of money to yourself through a deposit, such as moving that amount of money from your checking account to your savings account.
Find out more about: What’s the Point of a Savings Account? (Pros and Cons)
8. Keep track of your progress
One of the things that makes the 100 envelope challenge fun is watching your progress as well as your savings grow. It’s exciting to see “big money” days where you’re saving over $50, and it’s still satisfying to tuck away the smaller amounts.
You can track your progress in a financial journal, money saving charts, a Word doc, or a spreadsheet. There are likely plenty of tracking apps that can make this easy to document on your phone or on the go.
9. Stay accountable
It can be easy to fall off with this challenge since it requires you to do something every day.
In order to keep going strong, make a promise to yourself that if you miss one day, you will draw two (or four) envelopes the next day. Resolve to never allow yourself to miss more than one day.
And for those who need a bit of external support, connecting with a friend can help. Either let a friend or family member know you’re doing the challenge or go in on the challenge with someone else. This will make it easier and more fun to stay on track.
10. Keep your money safe
A disadvantage of saving money in the form of cash is that it isn’t insured or protected if anything happens to it. So make sure to take good care of your envelopes as they are filled.
It’s best to place them in a container, and if you’re in a home with a lot of foot traffic, you may consider putting a lock on it.
When you’ve completed the challenge, deposit the money in a protected account as soon as possible. It will be rewarding to see the balance on the account once you make the deposit!
Can I save $20k in 100 days with the envelope challenge?
Yes, it’s possible to save $20k in 100 days with the envelope challenge, but it takes a lot of discipline and dedication. You’d need to save an average of $200 per day, which means you’ll need to draw four envelopes each day with amounts ranging from $20-$100 (or more).
It’s also important to note that this challenge is about building good financial habits and improving your money management skills.
The challenge is not meant to be taken lightly and should only be attempted by those with a steady income who are able to devote a set amount of money each day to saving.
Just as mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure that your income is stable enough to handle the challenge and that you have a plan for where you’ll deposit your savings once it’s completed.
How to free up $10k for the envelope challenge
When trying to save ambitious amounts of money such as $10k and $20k, you may need a little more cash on hand than your paycheck allows. Here are some ways to free up money for the challenge:
1. Take on a side hustle
Whether it’s a part-time job or a freelance gig, an extra income stream can make all the difference in your savings goals.
It can be as simple as earning small amounts of money taking surveys or you could generate more cash by gig economy jobs such as food delivery or rideshare driving.
2. Reduce your spending
Take a look at your budget and see where you can cut back. It may be necessary to make sacrifices such as giving up cable or eating out less often in order to free up more money for saving.
Related: 21 Cheapest Ways to Live Frugally and Cut Your Living Costs
3. Choose free events and happy hours
Rather than spending money on entertainment, choose free events or happy hours. There are plenty of activities and events in most cities that are completely free or heavily discounted.
You can even join local free groups on the Facebook marketplace if you want to find gently-used free items instead of buying new ones.
4. Start budgeting
Budgeting is a great way to ensure you’re tracking your spending and allocating money appropriately. There are plenty of free budgeting apps that can help you get started.
You’ll learn how to keep track of your saving goals and allocate money for different expenses.
5. Sell items you don’t need
Take a look around your home and see if there are any items that you don’t need anymore. You can sell them online or have a yard sale to make some extra cash on the side.