Previously on Have Your Dollars make sense, I wrote about the 52 week money saving challenge. Although it’s one of the more popular and easier money saving challenge to do, it’s not the only kid on the block. There are plenty of other ways you can challenge yourself to save money. Below, we can review the 52 week money saving challenge and then add on a few more that you might want to try. But first, let’s review the basics.
What is A Money Saving Challenge?
A money-saving challenge is a way to motivate yourself and/or others to start saving more money. Typically, they involve weekly or monthly savings goals for each participant to meet in order to meet a bigger year-long goal. This can be as simple as saving ‘x’ amount of money a week or using some other metric to determine how much money you can be saving. In the end, the goal is always the same, save more money!
Why Should I Do A Money Saving Challenge?
There are countless reasons why you should start saving more money. Emergency funds, money to invest with, big purchases, the list goes on. But, as mentioned earlier, many of us like to make a game or a challenge out of it to give ourselves more motivation. It’s simply a psychological game against ourselves really.
The other reason to start a money saving challenge is to turn saving money into a habit. In the beginning of the challenge, you might find it hard to save, but by the end, you’re putting money in the bank like a champ. Once you have that momentum, saving becomes more second nature rather than a struggle. The challenges are here to get us started down that path.
When Should I Start My Money Saving Challenge?
There is never a bad time to start a money saving challenge, but there are times that it’s easier to keep track of. The start of a new month, year, or even season can be used as a guideline. In the end, its up to you and what works best for you personally, but more than likely, one of those options will be the easiest.
Let’s Get Started!
So, If you are one of the countless numbers of people out there looking to get yourself more motivated about saving money, look no further. Previously, HYDMS brought your the most popular money saving challenge, the 52 week challenge, this week I’ll bring you even more challenge you can try. Below are just a few popular ideas of how you can start challenging yourself to save more money every day.
52 Week Challenge
At its core, the 52-week challenge is simple. First, come up with a savings goal for every week for an entire year. It can be a set amount of money like $20 a week, or you can start lower and work your way up. Then, simply start saving!
52 Week Challenge Backwards
A popular tweak to the original 52 week money challenge is doing it backward, starting with the most savings on week one and working your way back down. The strategy here is if you can save the most starting in week one, you’re more likely not to want to lower it moving forward.
52 Week Challenge Random
We could spend all day on different iterations of the 52 week money challenge, but I’ll just do one more. Each week pick a random number from $1 – $52 to save. Then, after each week, remove that week’s savings number from the available numbers until you’ve done them all.
No Spend Challenge
The no-spend challenge can be one of the harder challenges but is one of the most rewarding. Pick a weekend or another timeframe in which you’ll spend no money (except on bills that are due). You might need to get a bit creative to entertain yourself, but you’ll find there are certainly no shortages of free ways to have a good time.
How much food do you have in your fridge or pantry that’s been there forever? How much do you throw away because you have no use for it? The pantry challenge aims to get rid of all that wasted money on food you’re not using. Get creative with meals, and don’t buy any other food until you’ve cleared out what you currently have.
Keep the Change Challenge
Back in the day, people used to use this stuff called cash to pay for things. Yeah, that’s right, physical money would be exchanged. And the, they used to stick the change in a jar. You can do the same now. Using physical money is harder to spend than using a credit card. Use bills and put all your change in a jar. You’ll spend less and then have extra to cash in when your jar is full.
Pay for your Mistakes Challenge
We all make mistakes with our money, right? With this challenge, you’ll quite literally pay for it. Anytime you feel that you’ve purchased something you didn’t need or did something with your money that might not have been the best, “punish” yourself by setting aside a fixed amount of money to pay for that mistake.
365-Day Nickel-Saving Challenge
Starting with just a nickel on day one, keep saving one additional ticket every day for an entire year. So on day two, you’re saving 10 cents, days three 15 cents, and so on. Believe it or not, this will add up to quite a bit of money in the end.
No Eating Out Challenge
One of the biggest drains on our wallets can be dining out at fast food places and restaurants. Challenge yourself not to eat out for a month or two. You’ll see that you’ll be eating healthier by cooking meals at home and spending less on food each month, saving a ton of money.
This challenge is a little more unpredictable than others and could be easier or harder depending on where you live. Pick a day of the week, and whatever the high temperature is for that day, is how much money you’ll need to save that week. Hopefully, you live in an area with moderate temperatures. If you regularly hit 100 degrees, you could be in for a lot of saving!
Trim 1% of Your Salary Challenge
With this challenge, you’ll need to save 1% of your current salary over a year. So if you earn 50k per year, you’ll need to find a way to save $500. If you make 75k, $750. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as the money is there at the end of the year.
Bad Habit Challenge
Many of us have a bad habit that costs us money. Drinking, smoking, gambling, and many other bad habits can be detrimental to our health and our wallets. Start by cutting back or go all in by stopping all together. You’ll feel better and have extra cash to use more productively.
Little Vices Challenge
Maybe not necessarily a bad habit, but little vices can be as much of a drain of our wallets as anything. Getting that extra coffee every day, buying the lottery ticket, or getting some food on the way home as a snack can add up. Like the bad habits, you can start by simply cutting back a bit or cutting it out entirely if you want to maximize your savings. Without making these little stops you, the challenge could be saving you time and money!
Five Dollar Bill Challenge
This challenge can be done with any type of bill, but $5 bills are the most popular. Anytime you receive the type of bill you decide on for any reason, you automatically put it in your bank account. Birthdays, holidays, change from the store, no matter the reason, you save it.
This challenge doesn’t revolve as much around saving rather than changing your overall mindset. Find something of yours that you can donate every day for a month. It’s not as hard as it sounds. We tend to accumulate so much stuff and simply don’t have the time to use it all. The idea here is that you’ll be more focused on getting rid of your stuff and won’t buy anything new, saving money.
There are likely more than a few recurring charges or subscriptions on your credit cards you can ditch. With the Cancellation Challenge, see just how many you can get rid of. Any subscription is a candidate. Even if you cut out two or three, you could easily save an extra $100 a month.
This challenge will show you just how powerful doubling your saving amount can be. Start by saving just $1 a month and double every month. Believe it or not, in the last month, you’ll need to save over 2k, so be ready!
Challenge a Friend
Any challenge is more fun when doing it with a friend. You can take any of these challenges and get some friends involved, or you can simply challenge a friend to see who can save more money in any given month. Of course, if your salaries aren’t equal, you can go by a percentage of your income.
Saving money is an essential part of getting finances in order. Having an emergency fund can give you peace of mind in case something ever happens to your income. Once you have that set, you can start to invest any savings you have. There is no shortage of challenges to help in saving money, and no wrong time to start, so I challenge you to start saving today!
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.