The Penny Challenge Can Help You Save More Than $600 This Year



What difference can saving your pennies make? A lot, it turns out, if you’re doing the penny challenge.

This money-saving challenge helps you put aside $667.95 in a year — or $671.61 in a leap year. To participate in the challenge, follow these steps:

  1. Start by saving one penny on the first day.
  2. Each day that follows, add one cent to the amount you saved the day before. For example, on day two, you’d add $0.02 to your savings. On day three, you’d add $0.03 and so on.
  3. Continue this pattern every day for an entire year.

Now, please note: You’re not simply saving one penny a day. If you did that, you’d wind up with only $3.65 in savings at the end of the year (or $3.66 in a leap year). Pretty pointless.

The key to growing your savings with this challenge is adding an additional penny to what you’re depositing each day, not to your total savings. So on day two, your total will be $0.03 because you’re adding $0.02 to the penny from the first day. On day three, you’ll have a total of $0.06 after making your daily savings deposit.

Here’s how much you’d deposit each day — along with your savings balance — for the first week of the penny challenge:

Day Daily Savings Balance
1 $0.01 $0.01
2 $0.02 $0.03
3 $0.03 $0.06
4 $0.04 $0.10
5 $0.05 $0.15
6 $0.06 $0.21
7 $0.07 $0.28

You’re starting out with super small amounts, but your money will grow over the course of the year. And because the daily saving amounts are nominal, you don’t have to stress about needing a bunch of money to build your savings. 

On day 365 of the challenge, your daily deposit will be $3.65, but you’ll end up with a total of $667.95. (Trust us, we did the math.)

That’s $667.95 you could add to your emergency fund or use to pay down debt. It’s money you could put toward a vacation or a shopping spree.

Having a plan for how you’d like to use your savings can be a great motivation for sticking with this challenge all year long.

Tackling the Penny Challenge by the Week

While it’s easy to find enough spare change to get this challenge started, it gets progressively difficult as the days and weeks pass — especially if most of your financial transactions are cashless.

Grouping your daily savings into weeks and transferring them from your checking account to your savings account can help streamline things. 

Here’s how much you’d need to add to your savings each week, along with a running total of your balance’s growth:

Week Weekly Savings Balance
1 $0.28 $0.28
2 $0.77 $1.05
3 $1.26 $2.31
4 $1.75 $4.06
5 $2.24 $6.30
6 $2.73 $9.03
7 $3.22 $12.25
8 $3.71 $15.96
9 $4.20 $20.16
10 $4.69 $24.85
11 $5.18 $30.03
12 $5.67 $35.70
13 $6.16 $41.86
14 $6.65 $48.51
15 $7.14 $55.65
16 $7.63 $63.28
17 $8.12 $71.40
18 $8.61 $80.01
19 $9.10 $89.11
20 $9.59 $98.70
21 $10.08 $108.78
22 $10.57 $119.35
23 $11.06 $130.41
24 $11.55 $141.96
25 $12.04 $154.00
26 $12.53 $166.53
27 $13.02 $179.55
28 $13.51 $193.06
29 $14.00 $207.06
30 $14.49 $221.55
31 $14.98 $236.53
32 $15.47 $252.00
33 $15.96 $267.96
34 $16.45 $284.41
35 $16.94 $301.35
36 $17.43 $318.78
37 $17.92 $336.70
38 $18.41 $355.11
39 $18.90 $374.01
40 $19.39 $393.40
41 $19.88 $413.28
42 $20.37 $433.65
43 $20.86 $454.51
44 $21.35 $475.86
45 $21.84 $497.70
46 $22.33 $520.03
47 $22.82 $542.85
48 $23.31 $566.16
49 $23.80 $589.96
50 $24.29 $614.25
51 $24.78 $639.03
52 $28.92 $667.95

If you’re doing this challenge in a leap year (hint: 2020 is one), add an additional $3.66 to your savings in the last week to end up with a total of $671.61 for the year.

Using weekly balance transfers makes this challenge a more realistic feat than trying to find the right amount of spare change each day. Schedule automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account to make it even simpler to save. 

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.



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