We’d ask like to have more money in our savings kitty but it can be daunting knowing where to start.
A money saving challenge is a great way to give you the tools and the incentive to start squirreling away your green rather than splurging it.
We’ve lined up ten of the best so you’ve got no excuse not to swell your savings over the year.
1. Save Your Pennies
OK, we’re going to break you in gently with our first money saving challenge.
If saving dollars each day sounds a bit steep, simple start with a penny and build from there. Day 1, save $0.01, day 2 $0.02 … day 100 $1.00 and so on.
If that sounds fairly pain-free, then you’ll be amazed that in just 12 months you’ll store up a tidy $667.95! Not too shabby for a few pennies each day!
2. 52 Week Dollar Challenge
If you’re setting your sights a little higher, our next money saving challenge could be the right one for you.
Based on weeks rather than days, this time you’ll be saving a dollar in week one, two dollars in week two, and so on, until you save $52 in the final week of the year.
How can you accomplish that? Well, the first few weeks probably aren’t going to be too much of a headache.
As the weeks go by though, you’re going to need to start thinking about cost cutting on your food spending, treats and luxuries to meet your goal.
If you stick to your guns, the rewards are pretty substantial – around $1400. The key is setting up an automatic payment to your savings account each week – leaving you less tempted to ‘forget’ to deposit the money.
3. No Spend Challenge
Maybe you’ve read stories online about people who have gone for months, even years, spending only on strictly essential purchases. Many have been able to clear college debt and other loans without taking on crazy second jobs.
What does this money saving challenge involve? As far as reasonable, sticking to paying for only essential things such as rent, bills, and travel expenses.
This means that coffee on the run, lunch from a deli, after work drinks with friends are basically out while you’re doing this challenge. Work out in advance what your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are, and buy only your needs.
Maybe contemplating a year without a Starbucks could be a bit much, and we’d agree, for a start it makes sense to start with a much shorter period.
Try a spending fast for a week or a month and you may be surprised just how much you were spending, that’s now safely tucked away gaining interest every day.
4. Zero Day Challenge
If the whole no spend challenge sounds a bit overwhelming, then the zero day money saving challenge is a great cut down version that can still have a big impact on your spending habits.
This works by trying to have as many days as possible where you spend $0.
So rather than commit yourself to going for a longer period, such as a month, with no unnecessary spending, and potentially feel like a failure if one day you don’t make it, you set out with a clear goal in mind each day:
Keep your expenses at zero or as close to zero as possible, on as many days as possible.
The whole goal here is to heighten your awareness of what you are spending unnecessarily. This will help you to have keeping expenses to a minimum at the forefront of your mind at all times.
5. Store Cupboard Challenge
Many of us have become accustomed to eating what we want, when we want it.
We may shop with good intentions, but it can be tempting to head to the grocery store whenever the fancy hits us for something we don’t have in the house.
This money saving challenge involves bringing those urges under control, and focusing on what you already have in your fridge and cupboards. This may mean using up that tin of hotdogs or eating that pack of crackers you’ve had for a while.
The satisfaction that comes from eating what’s there – and saving shedloads of money in the process – will soon outweigh any disappointment that comes from not satisfying that initial urge.
Another bonus – you cut down on food waste, which according to one study amounts to an average of $40 per month for an average American family.
Now that you’re squirreling away lots of dough each month, you’re going to want it to work hard for you.
Check out our guide to the best savings rates out there.
6. Save With a Buddy Challenge
Well, when we say with, we don’t exactly mean combining your savings. We’re talking about getting a little competition going!!
If you’re someone who works best when you’ve got someone to monitor you, or better yet, someone to beat in a competition, then this could be a great option for you.
Decide between yourselves what challenge you’re going to take – choose one with variable outcomes, rather than the 52 week or save your pennies challenge as you’ll save the same amount – boring!
You need a challenge where the harder you work, the greater the reward – and bragging rights!
This can be a great way to motivate both of you to work hard to meet your goals and as much as anything, it’s good to know that you have someone to ‘account’ to at the end of the term.
Even if you’re not in competition with someone else, bring a friend on board to be your savings ‘conscience’.
We always work best with someone monitoring us or to report to. Knowing you’re going to discuss this with them can provide a powerful incentive to keep you on track during weaker moments.
7. Bring Your Own Lunch Challenge
Similar to the no spend challenge, but just focusing on one meal a day, this money saving challenge has the potential to save you big time.
With men spending an average of $21 a day and women $14 a day on lunch imagine how much you could be saving on lunch if you saved all of that through the year.
Alternatives could include making soups and salads at home to bring in to work, heating up leftovers, or making sandwiches. All of these options will work out at a fraction of the cost of buying lunch our every day.
An additional bonus is you’re likely to pack healthier food from home too, meaning you get health and wealth benefits.
8. Go Shopping… In Your Own Closet Challenge
It’s easy to become reliant on a few tried and tested staples and then top these up at regular intervals with impulse purchases on the weekend.
Doing a thorough inventory of your clothes – and making yourself wear what fits – can help you to appreciate what you have, without the need for buying more.
You’ll help your current wardrobe to wear out more evenly, have a greater range of attire and you can stash away all those dollars that you’d normally have donated to the back of your wardrobe!
If you’ve got some things that you’re never going to wear again, eBay is always an option for turning them into more savings.
9. Save With a Purpose Challenge
We all know academically that saving is great, but without a clear goal in mind, many of us can struggle to find the motivation.
Saving with a purpose is a money saving challenge that takes care of the motivation. Decide what you want to save for – maybe a vacation or a home deposit – and set up a dedicated account for it with a target to reach.
Some banks even offer accounts that you can name as funds for specific purposes. Then every latte you forfeit, every meal you cook in, rather than buy out, takes you one step nearer to achieving your goal.
If you find yourself struggling for the motivation to save money, here are important reasons to save money.
10. Regular Savings Challenge
If you currently pool all your funds in one account, this is not the best way to keep you in the savings habit.
Make sure that you put your savings somewhat separate. Some accounts have disincentives to withdrawing funds, such as suspended interest if you do.
For best results, make it as inaccessible as possible. We’re talking another bank, not activating online banking, no bank card – no temptation to pull it back into checking.
Having a regular payment from your checking to your savings account can help to stop the temptation to skip a month, or save you from ‘forgetting’ to save.
The Bottom Line: The Best Money Saving Challenge
A money saving challenge can be a great way of increasing your savings without changing our jobs or circumstances. The keys are:
- Get going – start small and you’re more likely to stick with it
- Get help – involve a buddy who’ll keep you honest
- Get motivated – be clear about your reasons for saving
For more frugal livings tips to help you get the most of our your finances be sure to explore our blog.