The holidays may be over, but before you know it, they’ll be back again. And while the holidays are generally a festive time of the year, they also tend to be expensive. In fact, the average American spends nearly $900 on gifts—and many people need to account for other expenses, like decorations and food.

As a result, folks end up in debt, and up to a year later (as was the case in 2018), 15% of Americans are still paying off credit card balances from the previous holiday season. That may be because only one in three Americans create and stick to a budget.

The best thing you can do to prepare is to budget and plan for the increased expenses that typically come in November and December.

Fortunately, there is a saving method that, if you follow carefully and diligently, could help you save some extra cash: the 52-Week Challenge.

Here’s how it works:

The 52-Week Challenge

The 52-Week Challenge is year-long, personal contest that involves saving a small amount of money every week—specifically, a dollar amount that matches how many weeks into the Challenge you’ve made it.

Here’s how it works:

Week$ Amount to Save
Week 1$1
Week 2$2
Week 3$3
Week 4$4

Toward the end of the Challenge, you’ll stash away $50 during week 50, $51 during week 51, and finally, $52 during week 52.

Week$ Amount to Save
Week 50$50
Week 51$51
Week 52$52
Total:$1,378

At the end of the Challenge, you should have $1,378 saved up—with any luck, enough to handle your holiday expenses.

The key, of course, is to make sure you start the Challenge on time (a year before you need the money, or around New Years), and to keep track of your savings.

Be mindful, though, that staying on track toward the end of the Challenge can be difficult, as multiple transfers of around $50 in one month add up.

You can also work this Challenge in reverse. If you received a holiday bonus this year (or came into a lump-sum of money some other way), you can take the money you have on hand and put it in a savings account (or a certificate of deposit, money market fund, or other interest-bearing investment), effectively starting at Week 52 and working backwards with the final deposit being $1.

If you need help getting in the habit of saving—for the holidays, or for any other financial goal—you can turn on Auto-Stash (aka Set Schedule to a limited set of Stash customers).

Make saving and investing a habit.

Go automatic with Auto-Stash.

Start now