In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new challenge going around the internet that is supposed to help you get your money in order. It’s called the 100 envelope challenge, and it’s pretty simple — you just need to set aside some cash every day for 100 days and see how much you save.
But does this actually work? And more importantly, is it something that you should try? Keep reading to find out!
What Is the 100 Envelope Challenge
This money challenge helps you save extra cash by breaking your savings into smaller, more manageable chunks. You can do the challenge in different ways, but the basic concept is to put $100 into 100 envelopes.
You can use this savings trick for retirement savings, vacation funds, emergency funds, etc.
This saving trick is based on a formula invented by Carl Friedrich Gauss, a famous mathematician from the 19th century. Namely, Gauss, when he was young, outsmarted his teacher by quickly adding up the numbers from 1 to 100.
If you group the numbers from 1 to 100 in pairs, the sum of each pair will be 101. There are 50 pairs of numbers, so the sum will always be 5,050.
The envelope challenge became popular in early 2017. It went viral on social media, and today, you can find the 100 envelope challenge on TikTok, YouTube, and other popular platforms.
How Does It Work
To do the challenge, you’ll need:
- 100 envelopes
- A pencil
- A safe place (box) to store your envelopes
Now, follow these simple steps:
1. Get Those Envelopes
Get the standard letter-sized envelope that’s big enough for your cash bills. You can also use a roll of coins, but we suggest using paper money because it’s much lighter.
2. Write the Numbers
Take a pencil and write a number on each envelope from 1 to 100. You can start from number one since you’ll be shuffling the envelopes.
3. Get an Empty Box
This can be any kind of box, from a standard shoebox to a lovely wooden treasure box.
Now put the envelopes into the box and shuffle them.
4. Pick a Random Envelope
For the 100-day envelope challenge to work, you need to take one envelope out of the box every day without looking at it. What makes the challenge exciting is that you never know how much money you’ll save each day, so try not to cheat!
5. Put the Corresponding Cash Value Inside the Envelope
For example, if you pick up the envelope with the number 30 on it, you must put $30 inside it. Now, this is probably the hardest part of the 100-day-saving challenge, so be strong.
If you pull out an envelope with the number 100 written on it on your first day, consider yourself lucky. This way, you’ll get rid of the C-note pretty early, which means you’ll have to put much less money in the following days.
6. Put That Envelope Aside
Don’t forget to put the envelope you’ve just filled with your paper money aside. You can use another box or if you want to keep all your envelopes in the same place, try separating the ones you used.
7. Keep Track of Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated to continue saving money. You can use a 100 envelope challenge app, a paper ledger, or a spreadsheet.
8. Do This Every Day
To complete the challenge fair and square, you must do this for 100 days (hence the name of the challenge), or 14 weeks, i.e., until you empty the box. If you do this right, you will end up with $5,050!
Different Ways to Do the Envelope Challenge
The envelope challenge can be done in different ways. You can do it for 100 days or 100 weeks.
The Weekly Challenge
If you’re low on cash, you can do a 100 envelope challenge on a weekly basis. How does it work? Again, you need to have 100 envelopes, write the numbers on each, and draw them out randomly. Just, this time, you won’t do this every day; you’ll do it every week instead.
However, at that rate, it’ll take you almost two years to reach your goal of saving $5,050. So keep that in mind!
The Bi-Weekly Challenge
If you want, you can also do the 100 envelope challenge bi-weekly. You’ll have to get one envelope out of the box every fourteen days. Consider this a long-term investment since it will take a lot of time to reach $5,050.
The Six Months Challenge
This is the longer version of the 100 daily challenge, and it’s a great way to save money without putting too much stress on yourself.
If you want to finish the 100 envelope challenge in 6 months, you’ll have to select two envelopes per week. It will take 182.5 days or 26 weeks to finish the challenge.
Selecting Envelopes in Order
If you want to do the challenge the old-fashioned way, you can select the envelopes in order, from 1 to 100. This way, you’ll be able to save:
- $325 — from days 1 to 25
- $950 — from days 26 to 50
- $1,575 — from days 51 to 75
- $2,200 — from days 76 to 100
Based on this 100 envelope challenge chart, after 100 days, you’ll end up with $5,050 ($325 + $950 + $1,575 + $2,200).
What’s more, the most money you can save in one week is $679. Conversely, the least amount of money you can save per week is $28. Meaning, even if you quit on day 50, you’ll still have saved at least $950.
100-Day Challenge Pros & Cons
While there are several benefits of doing the 100 envelope money-saving challenge, you should also be aware of its downsides.
- It’s a great way to save money quickly, especially if you don’t want to work.
- You get easy access to the money whenever you need it.
- You can stop the challenge whenever you want.
- You will create a habit of saving money.
- You’ll need to have a lot of money to start this challenge. For example, if you divide $5,050 by 100 days, you’ll get $50.50. This basically means that you’ll have to have at least $50.50 per day to spare.
- Keeping large amounts of money in one box can be risky.
The 100-day money challenge is an excellent way to save $5,050 in just 14 weeks. If you stick to the rules, that is. At the same time, if you’re low on cash, you can adjust the challenge to suit your needs, i.e., you can do it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
What’s best, you can quit anytime you like, and you’ll still end up with a nice stack of cash.
How do you make a 100 envelope challenge box?
You can start by making a rectangular box. Take a sheet of paper, fold it in half, and then unfold it. Fold the top edge down to the middle crease. Now fold the bottom edge up to meet the top edge. Finally, fold the left and right edges in towards the center, overlapping where they meet. Your rectangular box of paper is now complete.
If you’re not into DIY projects, you can always use a shoebox.
How much do you save with the 50 envelope challenge?
If you do a 50-day envelope challenge and don’t skip days, you can save $1,275 in just seven weeks.
How much do you save with the 200 envelope challenge?
With a 200-day envelope challenge, you can save $10,100 in 28.5 weeks.
How much money do you get from the 100 envelope challenge?
If you do things by the book, you can save $5,050 in 100 days or 14 weeks. To do this, get 100 envelopes, mark each one with a number (from 1 to 100), put the envelopes in a box, randomly take out one each day, and put the corresponding cash value inside.
With the 100 envelope challenge, you can save a minimum of $28 and a maximum of $679 per week.