Think You Can Handle the $100 Envelope Challenge? See How Fast You Can Save

Are you excited about a fantastic money-saving idea? If you’ve tried saving money in a fun way, you might know about something called the $100 envelope challenge. It’s a cool and creative way to save cash.

We all try to find the best budgeting and saving tips that fit our lifestyle. Be it buying a piggy bank, opening a new bank account just for savings, or even trying out new apps to help you cut expenses to save more money. 

However, if saving conjures the usual images of going to the bank or using a piggy bank, you might want to give the $100 envelope challenge a try. It would encourage you to put money aside and save in an organized and fun way. 

Let’s save up money with a twist!

What is the $100 Envelope Challenge?

The 0 envelope challenge is a surefire way to manage your finances and increase your savings. The challenge is simple: take 100 envelopes and label them with different dollar amounts from 1-100. 

Every day, you pick up an envelope randomly and fill it with the stated amount of cash. Repeat the drill until you’ve saved $5,050. 

You can tailor the challenge to fit your budget. For example, you could start with 50 envelopes on a tight budget. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could label 200 envelopes! 

The key lies in finding and sticking with a system that works for you. So if you’re looking for one of the best ways to save money, the $100 envelope challenge is definitely worth trying!

How To Do the $100 Envelope Challenge and Save Money

The $100 envelope challenge is a guide to saving money for an emergency fund

But before we go through the step-by-step process, let’s take a closer look at the prerequisites of doing a $100 envelope challenge. There’s a high chance that all this stationery, excluding a bunch of envelopes, would already be available in your household.

You need:

  • Set of 100 envelopes. 
  • Pen or marker to write numerical values from 1-100. 
  • An object to stash away the cold hard cash. E.g., a shoe box, an empty container, or a basket. 
  • Decorating stuff like stickers, colored pencils, or crayons. 
  • Envelope challenge tracker (optional). With this tracking tool, you can keep an eye on your savings perfectly.

Start saving money today with this 9-step savings strategy!

1. Get 100 Envelopes 

The envelopes are the first and foremost requirement of a $100 envelope challenge. Make sure to have standard-sized envelopes ready to jumpstart your challenge. Also, prepare cash bills in various small denominations to make stashing them away with minimal effort. 

You can add coins to the envelope, but remember that it will make keeping the envelopes intact much harder. 

Besides, buy a batch of colorful envelopes if you want to add a blend of creativity. 

Two Women Happy Holding Money
Image credit: DepositPhotos

2. Label Envelopes From 1-100

Begin numbering the envelopes starting from 1 to 100. Doing numbering in order is fine, as you’ll shuffle them up later.

3. Get a Box or Container To Fill with Envelopes

There’s no hard and fast rule about the box or container. Use anything you’re comfortable with that is accessible to you. Some nice options are a shoe box or a basket. 

You can decorate it for a motivation booster, but if you’d rather spend your time somewhere else, simply get a decorated box from the market.

4. Shuffle Envelopes Like a Deck of Cards

Before popping the lid on the shoe box, make sure to do a solid shuffling for more random pickings. 

Remember, while the task for this challenge is to pick an envelope each day for regular purchases and to save a certain amount, the randomness will add to the fun.

5. Pick An Envelope at Random Each Day 

Random is the key word here; picking an envelope in such a way is an important step in this challenge. Every day you’ll pick up a random envelope, and the amount mentioned on the front is the amount that should be saved. 

Repeat this step every day until the last day, when all the envelopes finally get used up.

6. Insert the Mentioned Cash

Once you pick an envelope, set aside that amount in cash. Let’s say you pull up an envelope with the number 80. You place $80 inside the envelope. Once you’re done with this, set up a seal and place it in your designated container.

It may be good to focus on saving money by taking lunch to work or saving money on groceries where you can. Instead of buying anything, think about saving for the future. Focus on spending less. 

Live frugally, invest in energy-efficient bulbs, build savings, and ultimately you’ll be able to spend less money entirely and have enough saved by the end of the month to pay your bills.

7. Track Your Current Progress

You can manually track the record on an Excel spreadsheet or some dedicated tracker mobile apps and printables to do this job effortlessly. 

You finish the challenge once all the envelopes are filled with corresponding cash. At the end of the challenge, you save up to thousands of dollars, which are all yours to keep! 

With just a few supplies and self-discipline, you can make it through the year with your savings intact!

The $100 Envelope Challenge: Pros and Cons 

The challenge is meant to help you to save money, but does it work? Let’s see the pros and cons of the $100 envelope challenge.


  • The ultimate benefit of the challenge is helping you build up your savings. 
  • It helps you put aside money, thus sparing you from going paycheck to paycheck. 
  • This challenge can help you save money on impulse buys or retail therapy, which can add up over time. 
  • If you can stick to the challenge and don’t spend any money in your envelope, you’ll have extra cash towards your savings goal at the end of the month or year.
  • Saving lots of money becomes a habit, and that’s what the entire challenge is about.
  • The best part about the challenge is its variations and customization.
  • Ultimately, a substantial amount saved helps you pay off debts and other expenses, such as car insurance, rent fees, tax refund, and electric bill.


Of course, the challenge also has some drawbacks: 

  • The biggest one is it can be restrictive. For example, if you have a sudden unexpected expense, like a car repair, you may need more money. 
  • The challenge can be difficult to stick to, especially if you’re not used to budgeting and instead tend to spend freely. 
  • If you’re not careful, you may find yourself dipping into your envelope for everyday expenses or trivial purchases, which can defeat the purpose of the challenge. 
  • On consecutive bad (high number) days, you might have to save $679 a week, and that can be impossible at this time. 

Is the $100 Envelope Challenge Right For Me? 

It depends on your financial goals and your spending habits. The $100 envelope challenge could be a good fit if you want to know how to save money while keeping a strict eye on your spending habits and financial goals.

However, if you’re unsure if you can stick to it or are worried about unexpected expenses, try a different money-saving technique. There are many money-saving challenges out there that you can try.

Woman Holding Money Thinking Considering MSN
Image Credit: Depositphotos

Variations of the $100 Envelope Savings Challenge Formula

If you’re looking for tips for saving money, consider one of the many variations of the $100 envelope savings challenge. 

52-Week Challenge 

One popular variation is the 52-week envelope challenge, which involves saving $1 for the first week, $2 for the second week, $3 for the third week, and so on. At the end of the year, you’ll have saved $1,378. 

100 Days/$1,000 Challenge

Another variation is the $1,000 in 100 days challenge, which involves saving $10 for the first day, $20 for the second day, $30 for the third day, and so on until you save $1,000. 

Custom Numbers

You can modify the challenge to suit your needs. For example, you could start with 5 bucks in the first envelope and increase the amount by $5 each time. Or you could put away $10 in the first envelope and increase the amount by $10 each time.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to one of these formulas – you could always create your own saving strategy and customized challenge. Ultimately, the best variation of the $100 envelope challenge is the one that works best, given your unique financial circumstances. 

The $100 envelope challenge is one of the best money-saving ideas to balance your spending habits, along with a no-spend challenge

Frequently Asked Questions – $100 Envelope Challenge 

How Much Money Do You Save With the 100 Envelope Challenge?

The amount of money you save with the 100 envelope challenge depends on how much you put into the envelopes daily. For example, if you put $1 into the envelope on the first day, $2 on the second day, and so on, you will have saved a total of $5,050 at the end of the 100 days.

How Do You Calculate the $100 Envelope Challenge?

To calculate the $100 envelope challenge, you must divide your total savings goal by 100. For example, if you want to save $1,000, you divide 1,000 by 100 to get $10. 

You would need to put this amount into each envelope for 100 days.

How Do You Do the $100 Envelope Challenge Biweekly?

To do the $100 envelope challenge biweekly, you would need to save up enough money to fill 2 envelopes each week. One envelope would be labeled “Week 1,” and the other would be labeled “Week 2.” 

Put the appropriate amount of money into each envelope based on your savings goal.

Conclusion – $100 Envelope Challenge 

There is no end to the variations in money-saving games like the $100 envelope challenge. Create colorful, organized, and fun envelopes as long as you reach your target savings amount. 

Make saving money fun and exciting, and do the saving strategies to help you with your savings habits. With the $100 envelope challenge, you can also develop good money habits and financial discipline in the long run, paving the way to your financial empowerment. 

Challenge accepted? Start saving today and save a lot of money right now.