The "100 Envelope Challenge" has gone viral on TikTok Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

In recent months, a new money-saving trend has taken TikTok by storm, captivating users with its simple yet effective approach to saving money. Dubbed the "100 Envelope Challenge," this method has helped participants save over $5,000 in just a few months. The challenge was popularized by TikTok content creator @budgetwithmilly, who has garnered a substantial following of 45,000 users intrigued by her innovative budgeting ideas.

How Does the 100 Envelope Challenge Work?

The concept of the 100 Envelope Challenge is straightforward and accessible to anyone looking to boost their savings. Participants start with 100 envelopes, each numbered from 1 to 100. Each day, they select an envelope at random or in order and deposit the amount of money that corresponds to the envelope's number. For instance, envelope number one gets $1, envelope number two gets $2, and so on. By the time all envelopes are filled, participants will have saved a total of $5,050, equivalent to £3,970.

The appeal of the challenge lies in its gamified approach to saving. Jack Howard, the head of money wellness at Ally Financial, explains, "When saving money becomes a 'challenge,' it can be a motivator, especially when it results in $5,050 of cash." This element of fun can transform the often daunting task of saving money into an engaging daily activity.

Strategies for Success


Replying to @roseannmetcalfe hi you can get the booklet in my profile and good luck with the challenge 🩷

♬ original sound - Budget With Milly
The trend was originally made popular by @budgetwithmilly on TikTok.

Participants can choose their own pace, either depositing money into an envelope each day or whenever they can afford it. This flexibility is a key advantage, allowing individuals to tailor the challenge to their financial situation. "You have a daily goal that requires thoughtful planning to execute," Howard adds. "Knowing you need to meet the goal may stop you from spending on things you really don't need."

Budgeting Specialist Andrea Woroch highlights another benefit: "Methods like the 100 Envelope Challenge turn saving into a game, giving you a clear path and goal to follow, which reduces the mental load of planning and staying focused." The visual aspect of the challenge also helps, as seeing physical cash accumulate can be more motivating than abstract numbers in a bank account.

Potential Pitfalls

However, experts caution that while the challenge is beneficial, it should be approached with realism. Woroch notes that it might not always be feasible to deposit large amounts, especially as the numbers climb higher. "The challenge allows for customization, so savers can adjust the amounts to fit their budget while still making significant progress."

Courtney Alev from Credit Karma advises that those who are more visual will benefit most from this approach. "Seeing the notes you are saving can be more impactful than digital transactions," she says. However, she also warns against overcommitting and risking financial strain.

Keeping Perspective

Howard adds a note of caution about the realities behind social media trends: "It's important for people to understand that these viral moments don't always show the low moments in life. While some might easily complete the challenge, others may struggle or face unexpected expenses." Ultimately, the 100 Envelope Challenge is a fun and innovative way to save money, but like any trend, it should be adapted to individual circumstances to ensure it remains a sustainable practice.

Where to Buy Envelopes

For those interested in starting the challenge, envelopes can be purchased at most office supply stores, dollar stores, or online retailers like Amazon. With careful planning and realistic goals, the 100 Envelope Challenge can be an effective tool for boosting savings and building better financial habits.