In recent years, the idea of an ipon challenge has become more popular, and dare we say, more effective with Filipinos. We’re huge fans of them ourselves here at PesoMatters for two reasons. One, it makes the normally arduous task of setting money aside more fun, making us more inclined to get into it in the first place. Two, it teaches us to be systematic about saving money. Instead of just setting cash aside when we feel like it or slipping a handful of bills under our mattress when convenient, we’re compelled to follow a set of rules, which makes us more likely to stick to the program long enough that we see actual results.
To help you get started on your own, here are a few suggestions that you can try this 2021.
The 52-Week Ipon Challenge
What it is: This weekly savings challenge is popular because it allows you to pursue a savings goal at your own pace. You start with a small amount, to get yourself used to the habit of saving, but as you raise the stakes by a fixed increment per week, you’re able to accumulate a decent savings amount by the end of the year.
How it works: On Week 1, set aside a starting amount you’re comfortable with, which will also serve as your weekly increment, say P20. On Week 2, increase the amount you set aside by your weekly increment. So from P20, you now set aside P40. On Week 3, increase P40 by the weekly P20-increment, and set aside P60. Continue on this trajectory, and by the time you reach your 52nd week, you’ll have saved a total of P27,560.
Click here to download an Excel template you can use for your own 52-Week Ipon Challenge.
The Monthly or Bi-Monthly Ipon Challenge
What it is: If you like the way the 52-Week Ipon Challenge is set up, but would rather save money on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, you can simply apply the same concept of increments to your chosen time frame.
How it works: Just like before, start with an amount that you’re comfortable with, which will also serve as your monthly increment, say P500. On Month 2, increase your monthly savings by P500, which should give you P1,000. By the end of 12 months, you’ll have saved P39,000.
Click here to download an Excel template you can use for your own Monthly Ipon Challenge.
The Fixed Amount Challenge
What it is: A simpler ipon challenge, this one only requires you to set aside a fixed amount—can be P50 or P100—every day or every week, depending on what you’re more comfortable with.
How it works: Assign an envelope or a piggy bank where you can put your daily or weekly fixed amount every day. If you save P50 per day for an entire year, you’ll save P18,250. If you save P100 per day for an entire year, you’ll save P36,500.
The Sticker Challenge
What it is: Every time the -ber months roll around, it’s become a tradition for Filipinos to line up at their favorite coffee shops to collect stickers in exchange for a planner. We thought, well, why not use that same principle, and apply it to a savings goal instead?
How it works: Choose a savings goal that you want to achieve over the course of two months from our ipon challenge templates. From there, you’ll find that each circle represents a day and the denomination that you need to set aside for that day. Every time you fulfill a goal, put a sticker on the circle, or simply shade it in. Now, it’s up to you how to go about it—you can hit several mini-goals on the same day—as long as you complete everything by the end of the time period. To make it more fun, take on this challenge with your friends, and compare notes by the end of the challenge period.
The Envelope Savings Challenge
What it is: This ipon challenge simply requires you to label different envelopes with different denominations and to fill those envelopes at your own pace. When an envelope is full, you deposit the amount into your savings account, and you start all over again.
How it works: While the denominations are entirely your choice, we suggest creating envelopes for all denominations that come in bills: P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000. Why? Well, while an envelope stuffed with P20-peso bills may not amount to much, seeing a wad of bills may encourage you to stick to the challenge. After all, how often can you set aside P1,000?
The Swear Jar Savings Challenge
What it is: A swear jar aims to prevent people from swearing by fining them a fixed amount every time they utter a word of profanity. Over time, the jar gets filled with money, while the habit is, ideally, kicked off. This is a principle that can be applied if you have habits that are getting in the way of saving or if you have bad habits that you want to shake off in general. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone. One more thing: While swear jars work because people are held accountable for their actions by witnesses, there’s no reason this can’t work if you’re honest with yourself.
How it works: Decide on a habit that you want to shake off—say, you’ve been doing a lot of online shopping lately, and it’s hurting your finances. To help drop the habit, fine yourself a fixed amount every time you open an e-commerce app or visit an e-commerce website on your browser. Make sure the fine hurts you enough that you’re dissuaded from doing it too often. You can also use this to develop new habits. If you want to wake up earlier every day, say, no later than 7 a.m., fine yourself a fixed amount every day that you wake up later than your goal hour.
Saving is just one part of the wealth generation cycle. Find out more about the role it plays in the overall state of your finances here.