100 envelope challenge to save over $5,000 in less than 3.5 months

If you’ve always made enough money yet struggle to save money at year-end, you’re not alone. 56% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in their savings account, according to a survey. One way of overcoming saving difficulties is through money challenges. The 100 envelope challenge will help you jump-start your savings goal in just over three months.      

What is the 100 envelope challenge?

The 100 envelope challenge is the money-saving trend going viral on social media platforms. The motivational money-saving challenge helps you save money using 1 to 100 numbered envelopes. 

You’ll find the trend becoming a buzzword in TikTok with hashtag #100envelopechallenge among personal finance enthusiasts. The hashtag has over 110 million views on TikTok. The challenge that started with hashtag #100envelopechallenge and expanded to #100dayenvelope challenge and #100envelopeschallenge, all gaining popularity with over 100k views. 

The challenge will help you save $5,050 in total in 100 days.

It streamlines your saving habit by making it fun, exciting, and enjoyable. It transforms the tedious journey of saving into a delightful nest egg boost.

If you have been wondering, “how can I save $5k in three months?” then the 100 envelope challenge is the perfect solution.  

100 day money saving challenge

The 100 day money saving challenge is what the 100 envelope challenge implies. It is all about making savings a practice.

For those who struggle to get into the discipline of money management, the 100 day money saving challenge enhances self-efficacy. The money challenge will drive you to overcome the impulse spending weakness that, most of us, struggle.

Benefits of Money Saving Challenge

Whether you choose a 100 envelope challenge or any other money challenge, a money-saving challenge activates your brain and fire up your saving mentality.

Everyone will agree that it is essential to put aside a portion of your earnings for the future.  

Let’s look at the research data: 

3 out of 5 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. What’s astonishing is that almost half of the Americans making $100,000 a year also fall under this category.  

Therefore, your income bracket does not matter. People still struggle to handle money effectively. The money Saving challenges are beneficial to addressing this issue to some extent. The following are some of the benefits of money-saving challenges:

  1. The challenge will kick start the most challenging task of saving money.
  2. It will help you get into a budgeting habit by deducting a portion of your earnings and living with the remaining.
  3. It converts a monotonous task into something sexy. Challenge is sexy.

How does the 100 envelope challenge work?

The hundred envelope challenge starts with 100 empty envelopes. You label 100 envelopes from number 1 to 100. These envelopes will be shuffled randomly and stored in a basket. 

Each day, you’ll take an envelope out and check the number on the envelope. Then you’ll place the amount of cash equal to the number on the envelope and carefully tuck it somewhere safe. You do this every single day until the 100th day when you’ll store the money in the last envelope.

If you diligently do this till the last envelope, you’ll save over $5,000 in less than three and half months. You’ll save exactly $5,050 in 100 days.

The process is so simple that anyone can do it. Also, you do not have to come up with more than $100 in a day. Therefore the challenge is doable for most people.

100 envelope savings challenge variations

The 100 envelope challenge requires picking an envelope randomly with a number and depositing equivalent amount on the envelope. Since the probability of picking a higher number envelope is equally likely just like any other number, one should always expect to have enough money to save. 

The other issue one might run into is when s/he has more money to save than the number on the envelope. The challenge requires you to save based on the envelope number. The saving potential is limited if we have more money than we need to save. 

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Let’s say I have $80 that I can stash away. If you’re in the 100 day money challenge, you will pull out a random envelope. I might pick a 20 number envelope. That means I just need to save $20. The remaining $60 does not go to my savings.

Variation #1 write envelope number after pickup

The one variation to the 100 day money challenge to accommodate the excess cash with a variation to add the envelope number after picking up the envelope. 

Let me explain this!

The standard method is to write envelope numbers in advance and then pick them up every day to save. You can modify the challenge to pick up an empty envelope, place all the money you have, and write the number. The number must be a whole number. It provides flexibility to save money as they come in. It provides an adjustment to the fluctuating cash flow problem. 

Variation # 2 weekly or biweekly money saving challenge 

The standard 100day envelope challenge has its shortcomings. It works great for those who make money every day.

The challenge does not consider an individual’s scheduled (biweekly and weekly) cash flow. Not everyone has a daily cash flow. It is challenging to come up with money when we have not received a paycheck. Therefore an envelope per day may not be feasible for everyone.

For the people with weekly paychecks, the 100 money challenge can be broken down into 13 envelope challenges where they save money every week. You’ll pick up 13 envelopes each week, even though the 13th week is only four days. The following table shows how much money is needed each week and how it correlates with the 100 envelope challenge. At the end of the 13th week, the total amount you’ll have is $5,050. 

Grand Total$5,050
Weekly Envelope Challenge

You can also do the biweekly challenge accordingly. You’ll have to be a bit aggressive for the biweekly challenge since you must save over $1,000 a couple of times. The following table shows how much money you need to keep biweekly to get the $5,050 at the end of the 100th day.

Grand Total$5,050
Biweekly Envelope Challenge

Variations # 3 complete short challenges 

It might be difficult for all to complete the whole 100 day challenge. A 100 day challenge may sound too long. It might be cumbersome to keep track of 100 envelopes. Therefore, it makes sense to break it down to show achievement in a short duration.     

In this variation, instead of 100 envelopes, we can do 30 envelopes. By breaking it down to 30 days, you can see the results in a month. Like the 100 day envelope challenge, we’ll have 30 envelopes with numbers. We’ll save money similarly but will stop on the 30th day. By the 30th day, you’ll have 465 dollars in total.

You’ll repeat the 30 day envelope challenge and continue it for a year. If you complete this for a year, we’ll have a total of 5,580 dollars.

Bi-WeeklyCumulative deposit
30 Day Envelope Challenge

By breaking it down to bite-size, the challenge is more effective. The maximum amount of money you’ve to come up with is 465 dollar instead of 100$. It makes the 30 day challenge more doable.

How much does the 100 envelope Challenge save?

The 100 envelope challenge saves exactly $5,050. It is incredible how in just 100 days, you’ll have over a significant amount of money in your account. It helps you save money and pushes you to analyze savings from a different perspective. 

You can use the extra money for a car down payment or tuck it away into your rainy-day fund or emergency fund. 


It is astonishing how you can accomplish a task that everybody struggles within a creative and challenging way. It might not work for everyone, and some might not be able to complete it, but it will set you on the right path, for what’s worth. It will help grow your savings potential and encourage you to live within if not below, your means. So take on to the 100 money challenge and start saving money today.