100 Envelope Savings Challenge: How To! (Free Printable!)

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Are you looking for a way to save money this year? If so, you should consider participating in the 100 envelope savings challenge! This is a great way to get your finances in order and start saving more money. 

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The 100 envelope challenge is a great way to kick start your savings and make it a fun experience while you’re at it. Whether you’re planning to save for an upcoming life event or just want to put back money for medical expenses or your child’s college fund, this challenge will give you a head start and help foster healthy saving habits in an exciting way. 

Keep reading to learn more about the instructions on how to do this and how to access the free printable that goes along with it. In this post, we’re discussing maximum savings, how to stay motivated, and what your end goal will be once you finish this challenge.

What is the 100 Envelope Challenge?

The 100-envelope savings challenge is actually very simple. All you need are 100 envelopes to start with, and you can either buy these or print them with this free printable template. You will then label each envelope with a number one through one hundred. 

You’ll want to put your envelopes in a location that is convenient for you to access and that reminds you to participate in the challenge during your scheduled time frame, which you can customize to fit your personal savings timeline. 

The goal is to mix them up so that you can randomly pull an envelope every day, week, or two weeks and have a different numbered envelope, avoiding pulling high numbers only or low numbers only. You don’t want to go in numbered order with the envelopes because that makes it less exciting and will make it much harder to stick to towards the end of the one hundred days. 

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The numbers on the envelope will correspond to the amount of money you will be putting into that envelope to begin your savings! The 100 envelope challenge is somewhat similar to the cash envelope budgeting system, which you can read more about here. However, this challenge focuses solely on building up those savings rather than working on a budget as a whole. 

This makes the concept of saving a little less intimidating. Rather than working on an entire new budgeting system, you can focus on a specific savings goal and hopefully find some joy in using this system to give yourself more motivation to save and live your best frugal life.

Why the 100 Envelope Challenge Works

The 100-envelope money saving challenge works so well because it is an interactive way to actively save your money for a goal or plan you have coming up. Instead of constantly saying, “I need to start saving for a new car,” or “I really need to start saving so I have a cushion in case of emergencies,” this plan helps you put those thoughts into action. 

While the idea of pulling the 100 envelopes and having to stuff cash away may seem daunting, it helps to motivate you and push you towards a goal that otherwise you might have continued to put off. This challenge can also create good spending habits because if you are putting all of your extra money into the envelope challenge, then you have less to spend if you are a shopaholic or a person who likes to eat out a lot and is not the best at keeping up with expenses. 

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Also, you are much less likely to spend the money once it has been put into the envelopes as cash, you can think of it as out of sight and out of mind until you reassess all of your savings. Another perk of putting the money away in these envelopes as cash is that you can physically see your savings! 

Imagine opening that desk drawer and seeing envelopes filled with cash. That is the best motivator you will need when trying to save your money!

How Much Money Do You Get from the 100 Envelope Challenge?

So, I bet the top question on your mind is how much money you will be saving with this 100 envelope challenge? You are sure to be surprised by these numbers. If you add up all of the envelopes at the end of this challenge, you will have a whopping 5,050 dollars! 

That’s one way to kick start a savings plan. While you may look at that number and think it seems like a large and intimidating amount to put away in such a short amount of time, don’t worry, this challenge can be customized for you and your budget in many different ways. 

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We will discuss some of the most popular variations of this challenge further down in this post, so stay tuned and don’t get discouraged! Savings are something everyone should invest in because you never know what life can throw your way, or maybe you just need a motivator for getting ahead by planning for life events such as down payments for a car, house, or even planning to have a baby on a budget! 

This challenge really helps you put away a large chunk of change so you can begin to plan for the many steps forward you want to take. Don’t let the timeline turn you off from this challenge because in this post I want to emphasize that this plan can work for everyone no matter their current circumstances!

Free 100 Envelope Challenge Printable 

Included in this post is a free printable template for saving money with 100 envelopes method. This template includes a quick overview of the instructions, which I highly suggest printing and posting up near the area where your envelopes will be kept. This way you have another reminder of your goals with the challenge and can physically see the rules so you are less likely to forget to draw an envelope for the day or week you are participating in. 

Other things included in the printable template for this challenge are printable envelopes. Yes, you can avoid going to your local office supply store and spending money by using this printout and folding your own envelopes from it, as you can see the savings are already beginning. This template also includes a brief overview of popular variations to daily participation, including weekly, biweekly, and monthly options. 

Grab your FREE 100 Envelope Challenge Printables by filling out the form below:

Free 100 Envelope Challenge Printables

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    This way, you don’t have to be overwhelmed when you go into this challenge, and if you get overwhelmed with trying to do it every day at first then you can look at the template you have posted in your office area and adjust to a schedule that feels more comfortable for you. The most important part of this is that I want to give you the tools you need to kick start and really build your savings, without building up any stress. 

    So, keeping this template handy while you do the challenge can serve as a reminder that you don’t have to abandon this completely if, you fall on tough times, you can just adjust it as needed. For example, if you start out using this as a daily method but three weeks in find yourself struggling to pay for other things because of the challenge, then take a look at the template and change it to weekly or biweekly instead! 

    This way you can stay the course of saving but not put yourself behind to do it. Finally, the template comes with a tracker so that you can hold yourself accountable and watch your savings grow every day or every week you participate in the challenge!

    How the 100 Envelope Challenge Works

    This challenge of savings is really quite simple, all you need are your 100 envelopes, some cash, and the tracker that comes with the attached free printable. You will plan a schedule for yourself that you can stick to comfortably and once you have all of your envelopes, you will label them with numbers one through one hundred. 

    You can choose to keep them in a drawer, box, basket, or whatever convenient location of your choosing. I suggest setting up an area in an office or a bedroom where you can keep a box of empty envelopes, a drawer to put filled envelopes, and a wall to post the tracker and instructions from the template. This way, you can turn the corner of your bedroom or office space into your personal savings area. This will also help you to stay motivated and keep up with your scheduled participation in the challenge. 

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    You will want to mix up your empty, labeled envelopes so that you are drawing them at random rather than drawing them in order. This keeps the challenge exciting and keeps you from getting high numbers or low numbers consistently. You don’t want to be stuck pulling them in chronological order because this will make the end of the challenge an uphill battle rather than an even chance of numbers at random. Another good tip is to frequently shuffle the box of envelopes each time before you draw. 

    Once you draw your envelope you want to put that amount listed on the envelope into it in cash. So, if you draw envelope 50, you will put 50 dollars into the envelope and then you can put it away in your drawer of savings. Don’t forget to mark it off on the tracker as well, and watch those cash savings climb higher and higher.

    1.   Print Out 100 Envelopes or Buy a Box Of 100 envelopes

    The first and one of the key aspects of this free printable 100 envelope challenge is, of course, the envelopes themselves. These are not only a main component of the challenge but also a physical symbol of your savings throughout the challenge that will serve as a motivator as you continue on this journey to financial stability. 

    You can utilize whatever form of envelope you want to; you can go buy security envelopes, regular generic envelopes, or you can use this included free template which has printable versions of the envelopes already labeled with those numbers. You can simply print, cut, and fold for free, all those 100 envelopes, and this will also save you from driving to your local office supply store and being tempted into buying anything else along the way.

    Free 100 Envelope Challenge Printables

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      2.   Write the numbers 1 – 100 on 100 Individual Envelopes 

      The next part is the simplest step, in my opinion. All you are doing is labeling each envelope with the numbers one through one hundred. Label them legibly and clearly, so that when you or other participants draw, they are not confused as to what may be a six, a nine, or who knows what. Remember each envelope will get its own number no matter how low the cash amount will be. 

      So, even if you draw the number one envelope, you will only be responsible for putting away one dollar, though if you want to put anything extra in or grab another envelope on days where you draw low numbers, then be my guest! This is a customizable challenge, and you can make up whichever rules benefit you the most. You just have to be sure to stick to them!

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      3.   Put the empty envelopes in a drawer or a box

      You want to put the empty envelopes in a drawer or a box. I suggest keeping the empty envelopes and filled envelopes separate. This way you can avoid pulling already filled envelopes or digging through cash stuffed envelopes to get to the empty ones. You can keep the empty envelopes in a box above the drawer you are using for the filled envelopes, or you can place a divider into the drawer you want to use and label the different sides for filled and empty spaces. 

      This way you can have easy access to all of your tools for this challenge. Since this is going to end up with a lot of money in cash, you want to make sure you choose a secure location. You may want to utilize a lockable box, drawer, or filing cabinet to keep the cash stuffed envelopes in so that you are not worrying about the cash being misplaced or moved by someone else.

      4.   Each day, week, or even month, pick one envelope at random

      As I have mentioned before, you can customize this 100 envelope money saving challenge to suit your needs and your current budgeting system by stretching out the timeline. While the original challenge is intended to be for daily participation, you can choose weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. 

      If you know you do not have a large savings to expenses ratio, then you can stretch the timeline of this challenge out however you like. You can even make other rules for yourself too. Just remember that whatever rules or schedule you implement on yourself, you should plan on sticking to them! 

      That doesn’t mean that you can’t change your timeline if you begin to start struggling with putting away the money required from the envelopes, but it just means that instead of abandoning the challenge altogether, you should adjust accordingly and stay on course to see that goal of 5,050 dollars at the end of the tracking period.

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      5.   Put the labeled dollar amount in the envelope and store it in a different drawer or box

      Once you draw an envelope on your scheduled time frame, you should immediately put the required amount of money into it and put it away. Don’t draw the envelope and then say you’ll put the money in there later, because that leaves more room for you to forget about it, which will put you behind schedule. 

      Also, you don’t want to put the money in the envelope and then just leave it lying around, fill the envelope once you draw it, and then place it in your previously agreed upon location. This way, you can know that you completely finished that goal for the day, and you can check it off on your tracker. 

      This will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, and while your pockets may be lighter, your savings will be steadily growing.

      6.   Repeat This Process Until You Run Out Of Envelopes

      Finally, just continue doing this until you run out of envelopes. When you mark that final envelope off on your tracker, you will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and you can look into your drawer full of savings and actually see all the cash from all of your hard work. 

      Motivation is key, and I want to make sure you have all of the tools you need at your disposal which is why this attached free 100 envelope challenge template has everything from printable envelopes to rules and variations on the challenge itself. Like I said earlier, post up the instructions and variations in your savings area as a continuous reminder of your goals and ways you can still continue if you need to adjust as you go through.

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      Different Ways To Do the 100 Envelope Money Saving Challenge

      I have discussed a few different variations for the scheduled time frame of this challenge, like adjusting from daily to weekly, biweekly, or monthly participation, but there are plenty of other ways to have fun with this challenge! You can make up some rules of your own and do things like have a spinner that tells you to draw two if you get a low number, or if you want the whole family to participate you can have a spinner with each family member’s name on it, that way each time you’re ready to pull an envelope you can spin and see who gets to pull it for the day. 

      This is a wonderful idea if you want to help foster responsible saving habits for your children. While you don’t have to make them put their own money into the envelopes, it is still a good way to get them excited and involved with saving habits.

      How can I save $5,000 in 6 months with 100 envelopes? 

      100 days only shakes out to a little over 3 months so if you want to extend that time to around 6 months then that is around 200 days. So, you can spread out your participation over 200 days, which doubles the amount of time you have to meet your savings goal, and at the end of that 200 days, you will have saved 5,050 dollars with this challenge.

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      Is the 100-envelope challenge for me?

      The 100 envelope money saving challenge is for everyone! No matter the budget you have or the goal you want to put out for yourself, this challenge will result in over 5,000 dollars of savings. That may seem like a crazy goal, but you can stretch the timeline out in a way that works for you and your current financial situation.

      Pros and cons of the 100-envelope challenge

      The pros of this challenge are that you save a lot of money in a relatively short amount of time, you build healthy saving habits, you end up with a sizable cushion of savings, and you decrease your spending in the process. 

      However, there are some cons such as having to use cash to fill the envelopes. Cash is not as popular as it once was, as we all use debit or credit cards on a daily basis now. The idea of having such a large amount of cash may also give some individuals anxiety but don’t worry, there’s a way around that!

      Free 100 Envelope Challenge Printables

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        How to do the 100-envelope challenge digitally

        If you don’t want to continually take out cash for this challenge, or you live with roommates or others and don’t want that type of cash lying around, then you can also participate digitally. While the digital version won’t use physical envelopes or cash, you can simply use your current checking and savings account in place of the envelopes. 

        Just write out numbers one through one hundred on strips of paper and draw one each day in the same way you would the envelopes. Once you draw your number, you simply transfer that listed amount from your checking account to your savings account and don’t touch the savings account until the end of the challenge! 

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        hi! I'm shannon

        I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.