Mother reveals how she saved $5,050 in 25 weeks with the 2020 Envelope Challenge

A mother’s simple trick for saving more than $5,000 in less than half a year has gone viral after it was shared in a budgeting group on social media.

Dubbed the ‘2020 Envelope Challenge’, it requires a box of 100 paper envelopes, each labelled with sums from $1 to $100.

Twice a week for 25 consecutive weeks, two envelopes should be drawn at random and the corresponding amount slipped inside – so if you pull envelope number 59, $59 must be deposited and so on.

By the end of the 25th week, there will be $5,050 in the envelopes – provided you have enough disposable cash to part with in the first place.

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Completing the '2020 Envelope Challenge' will help you save $5,050 in less than half a year - provided you have enough disposable cash to deposit each week

Completing the ‘2020 Envelope Challenge’ will help you save $5,050 in less than half a year – provided you have enough disposable cash to deposit each week

The challenge is based on a formula discovered by 18th century German mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Gauss noticed if he split the numbers 1 to 50 and 51 to 100 into two groups, he could add them together vertically to get 101. 

For example 1 plus 100 equals 101, as does 2 plus 99, 3 plus 98 and so on until 50 plus 51.

The total of the two groups is therefore 50 multiplied by 101 – 5,050 – which is the amount you can save by completing the envelope challenge.

Filling the envelopes over any length of time will leave you with $5,050 at the end, but you’ll need to deposit into two envelopes twice a week if you want to save that figure in 25 weeks.

‘If you have a three-year plan to buy a house, you could have a little over $30,000 for a down payment by doing this,’ the mother who posted the trick on Facebook wrote.

The hack has drawn 11,000 likes and 31,000 comments since it was shared online, with a staggering 161,000 people reposting it on their respective accounts.

Delighted responses from those impressed with its simplicity include ‘that’s lowkey smart’, ‘sounds like a plan’ and ‘lightbulb moment’.

Others tagged their friends and partners, writing: ‘We should do this! It would help me save.’ 

‘I love this idea. It would be a fun way for us to save up for something special,’ one woman replied.

Another confirmed the numbers add up: ‘I did this! You can go in any order and it turns out the same.’

But some argued that few people earn enough to contribute the higher amounts on a weekly basis.

‘Okay but you gotta have that extra money first,’ one man said.