TikTok started the 100 Envelope Challenge, which has gone viral and has been viewed by over 150 million viewers. The challenge is similar to cash stuffing in that you store your cash in an assigned envelope. The difference is that with cash stuffing, you’re putting away money toward specific bills you pay monthly. The 100 Envelope Challenge lets you put money away for “whatever.” Have you participated in the 100 Envelope Challenge yet? If you did, you should be over $5,000 richer.
How the 100 Envelope Challenge Works
The 100 Envelope Challenge has been viewed by over 150 million viewers, with many accepting it.
If you have yet to take the challenge, here’s how it works:
- Gather 100 envelopes and give them each a different number from one to 100. Since this is a TikTok challenge, the envelopes should be well-decorated or colorful for the videos.
- From Day 1 to Day 100, put the amount of money in the envelope that coincides with the day on each day. For example, on “Day 1,” put $1 in the first envelope; on Day 10, put $10 in the envelope labeled “Day 10,” and so forth, until you get to Day 100, where you put $100 in the envelope.
- At the end of the challenge on day 100, you should have saved $5,050!
What Happens With the Money Once the Challenge Is Over?
The whole point of the 100 Envelope Challenge is to save money. Sure, there are other practical ways to save money, but TikTok influencers claim this to be an easy and fun way for millennials and GenZers to save money.
There is no specific guidance on what to do with the money once you save it, but money experts are talking, and if you want to make the most of your savings, put the savings in a high-yielding savings account or invest it wisely. But, the money is yours to use as you need.
One business owner, Jasmine Taylor, founder of Baddies & Budgets, has done the challenge three times since 2021, saving over $15,000. With the money she’s saved, she’s paid off her student loans, contributed the max to her Roth IRA account, and is putting money toward a downpayment on her first home.
One of the things Taylor did after saving the money was make a YouTube video showcasing her success from the savings hack. That yielded her 400,000 viewers and additional income helping others to save.
Are There Drawbacks to Using The 100 Envelope Challenge?
While the 100 Envelope Challenge has proved to be successful, some say it’s a little too unrealistic, and here are the reasons why:
Where is the money coming from? The goal is to save over $5,000 in 100 days. Realistically, many people don’t even make that much over that span of time, so how will they save that much during that time? According to Bankrate, 57% of American adults can’t afford to handle a $1,000 emergency expense. Realistically, most Americans don’t even have a $1,000 emergency fund.
The challenge is backloaded. During the challenge, you’re expected to save the amount of money that coincides with that day. That means every day, you’re not only having to set money to the side, but you’re going to have to save more money with each passing day. You will need nearly $500 just in the last week of the challenge. Every day of the final two weeks, you will need to save $90 or more a day, with $100 saved on the final day.
Need a better way to stash savings. Where are these envelopes being kept? Anything could happen over 3 months. The envelopes could be misplaced. They could be stolen. You may find yourself going in and out of the stash just to keep up with basic expenses.
You’re losing out on money. Most financial experts will tell you it’s never good to stash your money under a mattress or keep it hidden away in a jar because you’re losing interest. So, stashing your money away for this length of time in envelopes doesn’t seem smart. Think of all the interest you’re losing out on.
Addressing The Drawbacks
While the 100 Envelope Challenge in itself does present some unrealistic challenges, there may be a way to counter them.
According to Taylor, the challenge is doable, as she clearly demonstrates. But understanding that not everyone has $5,000 or more to save in 3 months, she offers some realistic suggestions (some of these may need to be applied for a longer period).
- Rather than saving in one envelope daily, she suggests putting cash in two envelopes weekly. That alleviates trying to determine where the money will come from daily.
- If it’s too challenging to save the money that coincides with each day, save what you can.
- Rather than using the envelopes in chronological order, pick an envelope at random and save whatever that amount would be. That alleviates being backloaded.
Rather than keep the envelopes in a random place inside your home, you may want to take what you save weekly, biweekly, or monthly and deposit it into a high-yielding savings account or invest it as you go.
The Bottom Line
Cash stuffing is a good savings mechanism for meeting your monthly bills. Now, it can also be useful for saving money. According to TikTok influencers, if you do it the right way, saving money can be as easy as 1-2-3, and within a few months, you’ll find yourself over $5,000 richer. Apparently, this can be done as often as you find the money to do it, doubling or even tripling your savings ability.
Saving money is always a win for you, regardless of how you do it. If you haven’t taken the challenge, you may want to give it a try. What’s your current savings plan? If you don’t have one, the 100 Envelope Challenge can only help your current situation and improve your savings goal. Just remember, when the challenge is over – take your success to social media.