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How To Do The 100 Envelope Challenge and Save $5,000 In Less Than A Year

By now, you’ve likely heard of the viral 100 Envelope Challenge that has taken the internet by storm. It is a money-saving challenge designed to help you save $5,050 in less than a year (although you can pick the time frame that fits your budget).

The point of this envelope savings challenge is to help you jumpstart your savings so you can reach your financial goals.

After all, what could you do with an extra $5,000?

Now, you may be wondering, “Is the 100 Envelope Challenge Doable?” and “How Do I Do The 100 Envelope Challenge?” and don’t worry, I’ve put together this step-by-step process to help you complete the 100-day envelope challenge.

100 envelope challenge with cash stuffed inside black envelope

The 100 Envelope Challenge is the newest trend in the money management and finance world and is precisely how you’d get your extra cash.

This money hack has gone viral lately (and with good reason) because it leaves you with an extra $5,050 in your life.

This trend is perfect for saving on a down payment for a house, paying off debt, paying off student loans, saving for a big purchase such as a vacation, establishing an emergency fund, etc. The possibilities are endless!

100 envelope challenge started with cash stuffed inside black envelope

What is the 100 Envelope Challenge?

The 100 envelope challenge is a money-saving challenge that uses physical envelopes and cash to help you establish over $5,000 in savings in nearly 3 months time. You fill the cash envelopes each day with a predetermined amount of cash over the course of 100 days until you have filled each envelope number and reach your savings goal.

What You Need To Do The 100 Envelope Challenge

  • Envelopes – I really love the colorful ones because it just makes everything more fun
  • Black Sharpie – This is to write the numbers on the front
  • Cash (you can withdraw a certain amount each paycheck or run to the bank each day as needed)
  • Stickers – This is optional but is a fun way to seal your envelopes
  • Box or Container to Store Them In – I like to use a decorative photo box

In addition to the above supplies, I decided that it only made sense to have some sort of visual that will help you keep track of how many days you’ve completed.

So, I created a 100 Day Envelope Challenge Printable that you can color daily as you fill each envelope with cash! You can get that here.

100 envelope challenge printable tracker
100 Envelope Challenge Printable Tracker

How to Do The 100 Envelope Challenge

You start with 100 envelopes and write one number from 1-100 on each envelope. You then shuffle the envelopes and place them into a bucket or basket.

Each day you draw a random envelope and whatever number you draw, you place that dollar amount of cash inside and you do this for 100 days until the envelopes are filled.

For example, if on day one you draw the number 67 you would deposit $67 into that envelope and seal it. If on day two you draw the number 3, you’d deposit $3 into that envelope and seal it and continue this for 100 days.

By the end of the challenge, you will have saved, $5,050!!

100 envelope challenge
100 Envelope Challenge Physical Envelopes Numbered

What is the 100 Day Money Challenge?

The 100 day money challenge is just another name for the 100 day envelope challenge but it’s the same money challenge.

How much money will I have if I do the 100 envelope challenge?

If you complete the 100 envelope money challenge, you will save $5,050.

How to do the 100 envelope challenge if you get paid biweekly?

If you get paid bi-weekly, you can adjust the 100 envelope challenge to fit your budget. For example, you could pull 14 envelopes and fill those every two weeks or you can decide you have a certain amount set aside to fill the envelopes even if you do not complete the challenge within the 100 day timeframe.

woman stuffing envelope with cash for 100 envelope challenge

Why do you use physical cash and envelopes for this challenge?

If there is one thing that I agree with Dave Ramsey on, it’s that you have more of an attachment to physical money. It’s easy to swipe a credit card and spend money but you can’t easily do the same to save money.

That is why, choosing to have physical cash that you have to use to stuff an envelope, helps keep you on track. You are less likely to spend that money like you would if it were in a checking account, and you are more likely to complete the challenge because you are attached to that money. Once you have filled that first envelope, you will understand.

Think of this way – you know how excited you were as a kid to put money into your piggy bank? It’s like that feeling every time you have a filled envelope.

How do I do the 100 envelope challenge digitally?

If you would rather not complete the money savings challenge with physical envelopes and money, you can do the same challenge digitally.

Start by using my printable 100 envelope challenge chart above and then create a separate bank account to deposit the money into. You will then just transfer money into that account every time you pull an envelope. Since you won’t be using physical envelopes and there isn’t a way to use digital envelopes, you can use an online random number generator to help you pull a number for that day or week.

What do I do if I don’t have enough money to complete the challenge?

I completely understand the saving so much money in such a short amount of time is daunting. However, keep in mind, this savings challenge is meant to make you uncomfortable because if you already had this money saved, you wouldn’t need this challenge.

With that being said, if you don’t have the extra money to complete the challenge you can do one of two things – create enough money in your monthly budget to complete the challenge or increase your income.

I have a ton of great ideas for cutting out expenses in your budget and side hustles that can help you make more money so you can complete this challenge.

What do I do with the money once I’ve completed the challenge?

Once you’ve completed the 100-envelope challenge you can do whatever you’d like with the money. If you don’t need the money right away, I suggest you empty the envelopes and put the money into a bank account.

If this money ends up being an emergency savings or long-term savings, you can even choose a separate savings account such as a CD that offers high interest rates so you can earn money on your money. If you do need it right away, deposit it into your checking account. Just be sure to keep it separate from other expenses so you don’t overspend and lose the money you worked so hard to save.

Another idea is, you can use this money to start sinking funds to create savings accounts for reoccurring expenses.

100 envelope challenge

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

This is also the same challenge. There are 182.5 days in 6 months so you can adjust the 100 day envelope challenge to take a little longer to complete. Or you can do the 100 day envelope challenge as-is and complete it in about 3.5 months.

100 envelope challenge

How Can I Save $5,000 in 3 months?

You can save $5,000 in 3 months by completing the 100-day money saving envelope challenge because that is about how long it takes to complete this challenge.

Now that you know what the 100 day envelope challenge is, I want to express that I find this a great way to to save a decent amount of money over the course of a year. However, I understand why this may not be a feasible option for many.

The idea of saving $5,000 in under 4 months sounds amazing and who wouldn’t want that? But the reality is, not everyone has that extra income at their disposal (especially right now).

So, if you do choose to complete this envelopes challenge, keep in mind that the only important thing that matters is to complete the challenge. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there.

Want more money savings challenges? Check out:

JC in S.D.

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

32 envelope challenge: just put 1 penny into the first, 2 into the 2nd, 4 into the 3rd, 8 into the 4th, and so on. In just over a month, congrats - you have $43 million!


Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Or you can just not spend $35 a day on coffee and eating out and BOOM you saved $12,775 in a year.


Tuesday 31st of January 2023

If you have to run to the bank to get the money, you already have

Suzanne Spicer

Wednesday 15th of February 2023

@Tony,that’s the same thing my daughter and I said.


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

You should mention the 365 day penny challenge. Where on day 1 you put 1 penny in the jar, on day 2 you put 2 pennies in the jar, on day 100 you put $1 in the jar, on day 365 you put $3.65 in the jar and by the end of the year you will have $667.95 which isn't even close to 5000 dollars and takes much longer but it doesn't even seem like a lot of money throughout the year, and the $667.95 could come in handy


Saturday 18th of February 2023

@Katie, oh my gosh thank you! Not only did you give me the best idea ever, you did the math for me! I can't afford NOT to do this one!♥️

Christina Fecci

Saturday 14th of January 2023

This is a great idea that I just started, however, I’m doing it every paycheck so it will be much longer than 3 months. More like 2 years. But the end result will be worth the wait!